One of the biggest challenges for a small business is hiring the right team. Having motivated, dedicated and high performing employees is arguably the aim of all businesses regardless of size and maturity.
In a small business, there is nowhere to hide. Day-to-day actions and decisions have an immediate and significant impact, so everyone needs to make a strong contribution - and together!
You may have a great proposition or product, but if you dont hire the right people it will prove costly on many levels. Small business owners frequently cite hiring and retaining staff as bigger challenges than raising finance and backing. Dont underestimate the power and pitfalls of recruitment for a small business.
Common mistakes to avoid:
- Hiring someone doing the same job, in a more established company
Whilst they may be a good fit on paper, you need to find out whether this person will successfully adapt to an environment that doesnt offer the same level of support?
- Not knowing enough about someones personal circumstances
Small companies or start-ups need flexibility, as consistent or predictable hours are less likely. So this is an important area to explore for both parties. When you need all hands on deck to meet deadlines, exceptions may result in resentment amongst the team. Any negative atmosphere can escalate and quickly become destructive in a small office.
- Recruiting for current needs
There is a danger that a fast growing small business can quickly out-grow its staff. If an employee doesnt adapt at the same pace or rise to the evolving challenges, then suddenly a good worker, becomes an underperformer that you need to let go.
- Not really understanding someones motivations
You may be eager to snap up a candidate who looks perfect on paper, but make sure you really know why they want to join you. For example, why are they considering leaving a comfortable job or prepared to take a pay cut, even if there is equity? Start-ups/small businesses can sound exciting, but does the candidate genuinely understand what the environment will be like. Dont be afraid to test an applicants intentions by emphasising potential negatives for them.
- Managers looking for a mirror image of themselves
Complementary rather than identical skills are more beneficial in a small team.
What to look for in a candidate:
- Previous small business and/or start-up experience
- Tangible achievements and past personal contributions to companies
- Versatility and flexible, curious learners
- Mind-set as well as company culture fit
- Revealing candidate questions at interview are revealing
Many start-ups and small businesses choose to hire directly rather than through a recruitment agency, to save on costs. In addition to supporting candidates, we also provide training and support for managers and business owners who are new to interviewing.
If you feel that you would like assistance in direct hiring, wed be delighted to help.
As we cannot be experts in every relevant subject, we would love to receive 'guest' articles that may be of interest to anyone running their own business or thinking of doing so. ADD YOUR ARTICLE