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Tips on hiring the right staff for your business.

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One of the most important things a business owner can do is hire the right person. Unfortunately, this is not easy or foolproof.

Most business owners go into business because they have a great idea or a skill that they can build something with and then sell. Most business owners are not experts in hiring, training, managing, coaching or firing. Human resources skills are not all that exciting to the average business owner. In many cases, human resources is low on the list of priorities for small businesses.

Hiring 101 - Tips on hiring the right staff for your business:

  1. Know what you want: Be clear on the job you are trying to fill. Clarify the roles and responsibilities for which this position will be responsible.

  2. What skills will the incumbent need to have? What behaviours do you expect? What competencies are required to be excellent at this position? 

  3. Use your network: Talk to the people you know who can help you find good applicants for the job. Post the job where good potential candidates will find it. 

  4. Review all applicants against the answers to #1 and #2. Identify the top few candidates that meet all (if not all, then most) of your requirements. You might consider using an assessment tool to help screen candidates. 

  5. Interview: Ask questions that will give the candidate the opportunity to tell you about how they have demonstrated the competencies you are looking for (skills and behaviours). Have a scoring sheet to use for each person you interview to compare. 

  6. Conduct reference checks: Create a list of questions that align with the interview which will help you confirm/deny any red or yellow “flags” that may have come up. Ask for references that can comment on the candidate’s work (direct supervisor, colleague, project manager, etc.) 

  7. Prepare your offer of employment: make sure the offer is fair, clear, and covers all the necessary details for you the employer. Consider having a professional review it for you. 

Now, you may have hired the right person, but it doesn’t stop there.

  1. Onboarding: Make sure you are ready for this employee on the day they start. Make them feel welcomed. Have ready all the tools they need, forms to complete, policies and procedures to review and sign, and have someone to walk them through the office/work environment to familiarize them with the company. 

  2. Training: Not only do you need to train the employee on what they need to do and the procedures to follow, but all employers also have to provide certain training as dictated by legislation. Make sure this is done up front to be compliant and to communicate that these things are important (i.e. Health and Safety, Violence and Harassment in the Workplace, etc.). 

  3. Probation period: (which should be outlined in #7) Have clear objectives for the new employee to meet during the probation period and monitor their work so you can see how they perform. Provide guidance and support during this period. Catch issues quickly and set objectives to remedy these. Now is the time to find out if the employee lives up to their interview. 

There are no guarantees in hiring, but following these tips will minimize the risk to getting the wrong person.

RP HR Consulting can work with you to: hire the right person; identify the training you and your employees require; have policies and procedures in place that are appropriate for your company. Contact us to get started.

Ramona Packham is a Founding Partner at RP HR Consulting. You can reach her at Ramona@rphrconsulting.com Visit rphrconsulting.com.

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