For small IT firms, hiring can be a big headache. Often, the hiring process goes like this: your workload gets bigger an dbigger until you hit a breaking point and realize you need another person to help you. This is great, because it means you're doing well. But it also means you now have to dedicate valuable time to actually finding the person to help share the load - in addition to completing all your other projects. (Not sure if it's time to hire? Check out the article "Is It Time to Hire Your First Employee?")
If you don't have a background in HR, the hiring process can be intimidating, and with good reason: hiring decisions are among the most important you'll ever make as a small-business owner, and making the wrong one can have seriously negative financial consequences.
To make sure you hire the right person the next time you need help, follow these six tips.
- Schedule time to hire. This is perhaps the most important thing to do if you want to hire the right person to help your business grow and your revenue increase. While it may seem like you have zero time to spare right now, rushing a hiring decision will just make your life harder down the road as you wring your hands over your new employee's subpar work or even (facepalm) have to fire them and start over. Do yourself a favor and schedule 30 minutes or so every day for reviewing resumes, setting up interviews, and conducting those interviews. If you don't, you'll never find the time.
- Network actively rather than waiting for the right candidate to come to you. Of course it's key to post job listings on job boards, but you can maximize your chances of finding someone who's a good fit for your firm by tapping into your existing network. Ask around for qualified candidates, and encourage people who know your business to spread the word. This takes some of the random chance out of the hiring process.
- Start with a small financial commitment. Hiring staff is perhaps the biggest financial commitment a small business can make. If you're not confident with your ability to choose the right candidate, consider hiring people on a contract or project basis. This is a smaller financial commitment and gives you greater flexibility, whether you want to let them go or bring them on full-time in the future. (For info on insuring contractors and subcontractors, check out "What You Need to Know about Subcontractor Insurance Coverage.")
- Never settle. If the hiring process drags on, you may be tempted to hire someone who's "good enough," but muscling through the process will ultimately pay off. Think of it this way: if you don't hire the right person this time, you'll have to go through the whole process again in a few months.
- Watch out for red flags. Applicants with spelling or grammar mistakes in their cover letters and resumes likely won't pay much attention to detail in their work. Those who demonstrate little to no knowledge of your company during an interview probably won't do their homework in other situations, either. And anyone who shows up late without a really good reason? Proceed with extreme caution.
- Ask the right interview questions. Some people dedicate entire careers to interviewing and handling other human resources issues, but you have to figure out how to do everything on your own. Boost your odds of success by researching good questions to ask potential employees before you dive in. The best questions are ones that let you not only learn about the applicant (and his or her experience and past performance) but also see how he or she responds to open-ended prompts. Ideally, you'll learn how your potential employee's mind works and get to know if he or she is a good fit with the attitude of your company.
Already found your next employee? Check out these tips for acing your new job as a boss.
Writtten by Brenna Lemieux - check her out at Google+ or Twitter