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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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Tips for Hiring the Right Person

 

For small businesses, hiring competent and friendly staff is essential. Too often, businesses become turnover mills because they don’t know what kind of employees they need, or they keep hiring the wrong ones. It can seem like an impossible task at times. I know I have worked at places where new employees come in an out on an almost weekly basis. It’s demoralizing, and the time and money wasted spent training and retraining people is a drain. Let’s take a look at how you can find, and hire the right person for the job every time.

 

Where to Look

One traditional method of advertising job openings, is to post in classified sections. The Internet has expanded the ability for employers to search for new employees ten-fold. Depending on what type of business you own, you will use different job services. A small restaurant might be ok posting job openings directly to Craigslist, while a private accounting firm might stick to LinkedIn and Indeed. Where you post your job openings will determine the types of people who respond. A more professional job website will produce more professional applicants, while anyone and everyone can apply via a website like Craigslist. Picking where to post your jobs will help narrow the field from the start.

 

Sometimes the person you need has been right in front of you the whole time. Your customer base is a great place to search for future employees. Not only does it afford you the chance to get to know someone before engaging them professionally, but it also opens up other opportunities to market and grow your business. Sometimes your customers know of friends or family members that are looking for jobs. They are likely to vouch for them should they fit the position you need. This can be tricky, as sometimes the people they recommend might not work out, but still, it is another avenue for you to find the right person. Keep friendly relations with your business’s customers and let them know when you are hiring; you never know where your next best employee might turn up.

 

Dissecting a Resume

So once you have received a decent amount of job inquiries, you are going to want to start looking at the resumes. Chances are you will have a decent stack to look through, and plans to only contact a handful of the applicants. What you are looking for is pretty simple though: you want to find information relevant to the job being applied for, presented in an efficient and professional manner.

 

If a resume goes on and on about achievements and credentials that have nothing to do with the job being applied for, it is likely a waste of your time. The person who sent it in couldn’t even be bothered to fine tune his resume for your business, and he would bring a similar attitude to your company, something you don’t want.

Often, people create seemingly impeccable resumes by using resume templates. While some employers might see this as disingenuous, I believe this shows initiative in the applicant. If they care enough about the job to seek professional help on their resume, which is their foot in the door, chances are they will bring that same effort to the job. When sorting through a stack of resumes, it’s important to rely on your intuition. If you have a gut feeling about someone, then go for it. More often than not you will be proven right.

 

The Interview

Generally, the last part of the hiring process, the interview stage brings you face to face with a handful of applicants you have narrowed from your original job posts. The interview will allow you to fill in any blanks about the applicants, as well as get a feel for their personalities and attitudes. There are all sorts of psychological tricks people say you can use during an interview to figure a person out, but keep it simple. Here are some tips:

1)      Are they on time? Lateness for an interview is pretty much an automatic red-flag. Besides some exceptions (accidents, illness, etc.), there is no reason to be late for an interview.  

2)      Ask them questions from the resume. This not only tests their honesty about what they put on the resume, but lets you fill in blanks. Are they missing two years of work history? You can ask them about it. It’s a chance to find out more specifics about why they would be the perfect candidate for your job opening.  

3)      Put them in hypothetical situations. Ask them what they would do in certain scenarios that pertain to the job (how do they deal with angry customers, deadlines, etc.). If you keep the scenarios fresh and unexpected, you’ll see some honest answers. It will also give you a glimpse into their personalities, as people all handle situations in different ways.

Wrap Up

Most small businesses can’t afford to keep a rotating cast of new employees. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof method to guarantee if a new employee will work out or not. However, you can set up the way you hire people more effectively to increase the chances of finding the right person for the job.

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