As a business owner you have a lot of responsibilities, but one of the biggest is the responsibility to hire the right people to help you grow your business. Of course, the larger your business the more you can focus on “big picture” things while others focus on details; you might not need to interview every employee or consultant you hire. Either way, you and your hiring managers need to ensure that you’re following best practices to hire the best people possible.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about hiring the right person for the right job:
1. Create a job description that stands up
Saying you want someone to help you with “social media” is not good enough. You’ll find that “social media” expertise, for example, varies widely. Similarly, asking for a Flash programmer is way too general. Seeking a branding consultant is not enough. Know what that person should do and clearly state responsibilities and expectations. If you’re unsure, ask respected peers and colleagues for help.
2. Know the limitations of the person you are hiring
Maybe you are looking for a blogger. This person might be technically great at using WordPress or some other blogging platform. But maybe he or she is a terrible writer. Maybe you have a great writer, but he or she just can’t seem to get the hang of including links to other online resources or using social media tools. Recognizing these limitations of the person you are hiring, before you hire them, will help you set realistic expectations. It’s not always fair to yourself, your company, your employees, or the person you are hiring to expect them to do things that they are unable to do or quickly learn to do.
3. Understand how the job might change
You must always think of the growth of your company. If you hire someone to do a task and only consider that task for this week or this month, you'll be practicing shortsighted employment practices; it’s best to hire for both the present and the future. Maybe you’re looking for someone to help you initially with public relations. But perhaps this person has some skills that could fit a director of marketing role as your company grows. Always keep future growth in mind when hiring.
4. Ensure they have the right attitude
A skill can often be learned. Character cannot. Someone who has a bad attitude, is not a team player, is not honest, and has other negative character flaws is someone you do not want on your team no matter how skilled they are. As you interview people and read over resumes, don’t only be swayed by strong skills. Let this person interact with your peers, watch them at lunch, and ask others inside and outside of your company what they think. Lastly, consider using a probation period for new employees so you have more time to observe their character and attitude.