Effective Tips For Smart First-Time Hiring

ID-100287317Entrepreneurs have many “firsts” as they get a business up and running. One of the most exciting—and sometimes most challenging—is hiring those first employees.

There are many potential pitfalls that come with hiring the first time around. You no longer have to do everything yourself, but you need to ensure that your new employee(s) can handle both the job requirements and the extra effort needed to work in a start-up.

Here are some tips for an effective first-time recruiting process.

Write Detailed Job Descriptions

It’s critical to create specific, clearly-defined job descriptions before you start the hiring process. If you’re not sure how to do that, check out the U.S. Small Business Administration site for tips. You can also review similar job descriptions written by other companies for ideas on what to include.

A recent article on AT&T Business Circle states, “Without a clearly defined job description, how can you hope to attract exactly the candidate you need?”

Hire Specialists, Not Generalists

While a person with a broad range of skills can fill many roles, there’s still the possibility they won’t have that specific skill you want when it’s critical they have it.

“Instead,” says SmartRecruiters.com, “seek out and hire talent that specialize in different areas of expertise, so that you can build a strong team that compliments each other’s skill sets. To do that, you must have a detailed know-how of what skill stacks your product requires at each stage and look for candidates that specialize in those areas.”

Do Thorough Interviews

Here are three good interviewing rules-of-thumb:

  1. Have an in-person, structured interview (not Skype) and use experiential questions to see what the candidate really knows. For example, “Tell me about how you used [specific skill] in a recent project?” If the person doesn’t have that skill, there’s no way to bluff this answer.
  2. Ensure the candidate is a good fit for your company culture, whatever that is. Give them a very clear picture of how things are (busy, crazy, insane) so they won’t fall apart when they need to pull a 16-hour shift to meet a deadline.
  3. Once you feel you have the information you need, factor in what your gut tells you. You know better than anyone what your company needs. If your instincts are screaming that this is not the right person, don’t hire that candidate.

Be Ready For Arrival

Getting new employees in the door, signed up for benefits, trained, and on the payroll is the final stage of the hiring process. Just as with job descriptions, do this before your candidate search begins so you can present a smooth, organized process to your new employee rather than figuring it out on their first day. Be especially detailed with training procedures, and follow-up with the new person regularly to answer any questions.

Adjust these tips as needed to fit your particular company or market space. By following them, you’ll have a hiring process that works as well (or better) for your fiftieth employee as it did for your first.

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