When you run a small business, one of the trickiest things to do can be finding the right employees for your team. As your business begins to grow, it’s important to have a strong team supporting you, who share your values and work ethic, as well as bringing key skills to the role.
So, whether you’re about to hire your first employee or are expanding your already sizeable team, here are a few things to keep in mind during the recruiting process.
1. Define the role
Before you even think about inviting people in for an interview, decide exactly what it is you need help with. You won’t be able to find people with the right skills if you don’t actually know what skills those are! It’s great to have an all-rounder who is able to help with several different aspects of the business, but make sure they also have the core skills needed for their specific role.
Not only will defining the role help you attract the right candidates, it will also force you to think about how your business is growing and which aspects you need to focus on to become even more successful.
2. Quality check
You can tell a lot about a person from their application – particularly if you ask for a cover letter and CV where candidates have to write a little bit about themselves, their skills and why they would be a good fit for your team.
Start off by doing a quality check to sift out any unsuitable applications. For example, if you’re hiring a copywriter you should probably immediately bin any applications that are full of spelling mistakes! Also be sure to check their previous work experience, but don’t focus too much on what their previous role was – many skills are transferable, and they could bring a useful insight from a different industry. However, if none of their previous experience is relevant to your role, it might be time to sift them out.
3. Get to know them
It’s really important to get on well with the people you’ll be working with, particularly if you’re part of a small team. So rather than a quick 10 minute interview with a set of generic questions, spend a little bit of time getting to know each candidate. Are they easy to chat to? Do you have a similar sense of humour? Could you see them fitting in well with the rest of the team?
After an interview, it can be a good idea to invite the candidate in for a quick coffee and chat with the rest of the team in a more informal setting. You want to make sure everyone will gel and work well together. And if two candidates have very similar experience and skills, it often comes down to which one seems more like ‘your kind of person’!
4. Skills test
Hiring a new employee is a big step for a small business, so it’s vital you choose someone who has the skills and experience to do the role properly. Someone might talk a good game in their interview, but when it comes to actually doing the work? Not so much.
To avoid any nasty surprises, it’s a good idea to include a skills test as part of the interview. This might just be a quick 15 minute task before the interview begins, or it might be a trial day of work – this really depends on the type of business you run and what the new role is. For example, if you’re hiring a graphic designer you may want to ask them to create a mock-up logo ahead of the interview.
5. Match your aspirations
Having someone on your team who is passionate about the business is fantastic, but it’s important to remember that the role needs to fit in with the employee’s aspirations as well as your own. Have a chat with them about how they see the role developing, what their long-term goals are and how you can support them in achieving their career aspirations.
Likewise, you should be honest about where you want the business to go, what type of growth or changes might be expected, and what you’ll need from them in order to get there. You should make sure both your and your employee’s aspirations match up so you’re not going in entirely different directions.
And now, all you need is a lovely new office for your growing team! Whether you’re already a tenant at Eskmills and looking to up-size, or are taking the steps towards opening your very first office, we can help. Get in touch to find out more about the office spaces we currently have available, suitable for teams of all sizes.