By Mark Creedon
The truth about hiring
One of the most common mistakes I see in
small business is the owner hiring someone because they like them.
The second most common is hiring someone because they are just like
Bringing a staff member into your business must be a part of an overall strategic plan for your business growth. And so, your decision also has to be strategic. Hiring someone because you like them may seem a good idea at the time.
At least it will be someone you can get along with, there probably won’t be any workplace conflict and you can have someone you can communicate easily with.
Now, before we get too critical of that thinking, there are aspects of it make sense. It can be lonely in small business. I have coached owners and CEO’s of businesses, which range from husband and wife with no employees up to businesses with 200 staff. A common thread across all those businesses is that it can be very lonely at the top. So employing someone who you like and you think you might get on well with does make some sense. Not to mention that fact that as an employee you probably spend more time with your work colleagues than you do with your family and as a business owner that is even more so.
On that basis, liking your staff can make sense. The problem is it isn’t very strategic. Liking an employee is fine as a factor, particularly in a small environment, but it cannot and should not be the determining factor.
So how do you choose someone to work with you in your business?
I will give you some simple steps to follow but you should also think about the language I just used, finding someone to work with you as opposed to for you. That is a great factor to keep in mind, but let’s look at some easy-to-follow steps first:
- Conduct a quick SWOT analysis of yourself and identify your weaknesses. Keep those in mind when you are looking to recruit. Depending on the role, and we will come to that, you want to find someone who will compliment your skill-set as opposed to duplicating it.
- Conduct a SWOT analysis of the business. Again, identify the weaknesses and design a role which will best fill that gap for you. Have a look at your opportunities as you may be able to design a role which addresses a weakness but can also take advantage of an opportunity.
- Be absolutely clear around the role you are looking to fill. Take some time to look at your business plan and goals and think clearly about what role will accelerate you toward those goals.
Too often I see small business owners almost hit the panic button as their growth starts to accelerate and they simply hire someone to try and take some pressure off only to find they didn’t hire the right person. In most cases that will be because they either did not take the time to clearly define the role or once they have taken someone on they have been very poor at delegating any of their tasks. We will talk about that shortly as well.
- Commit to writing the expectations you have of your new team member, but you must be clear and detailed. Many of the disputes and issues I see come about largely from a lack of clarity around expectations. This can be partly addressed with a position description but that just addresses the expectations around the tasks themselves. Be clear on what your expectations are regarding attitude, commitment and cultural perspective as well.
- Finally, hire for culture more than skills. This may seem like a strange idea. Surely you need someone with specific skills. Generally speaking, as long as a candidate has the basic skills you need, which you will have identified by following the previous steps, then you will be able to train them and fine tune their skills to best meet the needs of your business.
What you won’t be able to do is change a candidate’s basic personality traits and if they are not a culture fit for your business it is not going to end well for either of you. I really can’t stress this point enough. I have seen great businesses become terribly embroiled in conflict simply because of a poor culture fit of just one employee. If you don’t know what your culture is, it is vital that you take the time and have clarity on that.
Mark Creedon is the founder of Business Accelerator mastermind by Metropole and business coach to some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs – helping them build a true business, not a job.
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