Once you have grown your customer base, you may find yourself needing an extra pair of hands.
Hiring staff should be a considered process. You want to hire someone who is going to stay with you for a long time, and who is going to enable your business to become more profitable.
You will initially spend time introducing this person to your business, helping them to get to know your client base and training them. Choosing the wrong employee can cost your business real money.
In this section of the ‘Employees and Automation’ module, we look at choosing the right time to hire, where to find your staff and how to interview them to ensure you make the right choice for your business.
Decide if the time is right.
There are two big red flags that signal its time to hire another member of staff;
- Standards have started to slip as you do not have enough time to deliver your best service. You need to be delivering your best service at all times in order to run a business that is going to last for years to come (i.e. one with good reviews and a solid base of repeat customers.)
- You are unable to spend time on your growth strategy. If you are too busy, you will end up either turning away customers or not putting in enough work to even be winning new ones. This is going to stop your company from growing.
If either of these apply to you, then it’s time to hire someone for the sake of your profitability. But first, you need to figure out what your employee is going to do and how many hours a week they’re going to do that for.
Build a job description.
Writing a job description is going to make who you need to hire finally become clear. Write a list of the tasks you need help with to get your business running smoothly and profitably once again.
List the specific tasks you need help with and the skills they will need to complete these tasks. It might not be important to have a specialized employee that knows all about your business, but rather someone who is brilliant at things you are not so good at.
You can now write your “Person Specification” (that’s the skills they need) and the “Responsibilities” (the tasks they’ll handle) that comprise your job description. We recommend leaving some wiggle room in your plans so that their role can adjust and grow with the business.
Find and attract the right applicant.
Now you know who you are looking for, you can start to advertise for the role and search for the perfect candidate. There are an astonishing amount of places you can find an employee, but these are our favourite and most reliable:
- Advertise on your website and your personal social media accounts, first. This will give you a link you can share on other sites, or with anyone you think can help.
- Ask trusted sources for referrals. Send the link to the opening to your current customers. Let them know you are hiring and what your values are. The bonus here is that is also serves as a reminder to your customers – they might end up booking you for one of your services, too.
- Advertise on online jobs boards, such as Indeed, Gumtree and local forums.
- Get headhunting. Always impressed by that guy that serves you coffee each morning? Or know of a competitor with great employees? Reach out to these people and let them know you have opportunities – you already have an idea of what they’re like, unlike the other applicants.
Remember to specify what you are looking for, how they should apply and when the deadline is.
Prepare your interview questions.
First of all, this is going to give each candidate a fair chance whilst applying, and give you answers you can compare.
Secondly, this is going to make sure you ask the right questions on the day. It might be your only conversation with the applicant before they become a really important part of your business. You have to get it right.
Here’s 8 steps you can use as a guide as you prepare:
- Welcome and outline
Put the interviewee at ease, set out how you will hold the interview and give a short introduction on the role being interviewed. Let them know the structure of the interview and how long it is going to take.
- Opening questions
Give the candidates the opportunity to talk about themselves. You should ask classic questions about work interest, work experiences and preferences etc..
Remember to ask the same questions to each candidate being assessed for the job.
- Behavioural questions
Find out how candidates have behaved in the past, ask them to tell about past experiences with reference to your business values. These questions will sound something like: “Please tell me about a time at work when…”.
Here’s some examples of values and the kind of questions you could ask to see if they possess them:
Trust and Integrity
“Please tell me about a time at work when you had to communicate a difficult message.”
“Please tell me about a time at work when you have used feedback to improve your performance.”
- Situational Judgment
These will help you predict how candidates might behave in the future. You explain a hypothetical situation that could arise whilst they work at your business. Then you ask a question about how they would respond to the situation.
Here’s an example:
“Imagine you are cleaning the carpets alone at a client’s house. You notice as you are leaving that the machine has caused a small chip in the client’s skirting board, but that it is not obvious when the door is open. Tell me what would you do in this situation.”
- Role-based questions and other mandatory questions
Usually these are questions such as their availability to work, any pre-booked holidays they might have or about their qualifications.
- Ask them if they have any questions for you.
It is a good thing if they do – it is their chance to learn if they are a good fit for the role, too.
- Wrap the interview up, indicating when they can expect to hear the outcome.
Entering a contract with your new employee.
Once you’ve made an offer to the right applicant and they have accepted, you’ll need to write up a contract for you both to sign.
The contract will be the basis of your relationship and ensure that everyone knows the legal standing of employment.
You should incorporate the following aspects into the employment contract:
- Specific working hours
- Holiday entitlement
- Job title and job description
- Place of work
- Probation period
- Notice period upon contract termination
Make sure your employee has signed the contract before their start date, so that the notice period, among other conditions, is respected.