Most organizers are solopreneurs who handle every aspect of their business, bringing in colleagues on a subcontract basis as needed, or perhaps engaging the services of a virtual assistant or other professional. My guest today has some great tips for you if this is no longer enough and you need to hire a regular employee.
As a small business owner, there are two areas that can cause the most headaches: staffing and accounts. While large businesses are able to employ whole departments dedicated to both areas, the small business owner faces the unique and un-enviable position of having to be expert in all areas of business management. For those running their own Human Resources or Accountancy Business, these problems are probably not so great, but for professional organizers they can mean hours of additional work once the day job is over. Taking on staff for the first time is exciting – it’s a sign that your business is growing – but it can also be daunting and making the right selection is essential. So how do you set about finding your very first employee?
- Personal qualities are sometimes more important than qualifications. Individuals who have a “can and will do” attitude, or a “can’t yet but am happy to learn” attitude, are often more valuable to a small business than those who have a list of excellent qualifications or work history.
- Always question why a prospective employee is leaving Goldman Sachs to work for your organizing business. There may be a perfectly legitimate answer, or there may be a dark secret lurking behind this sudden and unusual career move.
- Don’t discount people from schools with ‘poor’ reputations, over those with ‘good’ schools. Younger people from more dubious backgrounds with good qualifications have already proved they can succeed against the odds, while those from privileged backgrounds may not even know what an obstacle is, or how to deal with one.
- Experience is sometimes over-rated. Remember that an individual who is bright and keen is usually fairly easy to train and can be more flexible. While relevant experience in your sector is certainly important, it shouldn’t be the only factor you use to make your judgement.
Selecting, Interviewing and Aftercare
- Many small business owners find that the demands on their time are many, and the hours in the day are few. However, it can’t be over-stressed enough how important it is to make time for interviewing potential employees and making your decision. One rushed, bad choice now, can lead to months of frustration and additional work. Get it right at this stage and life may become significantly easier.
- Try to screen candidates prior to interview by ringing them in advance. Phone interviews are not always the best way to get an impression of people, but they can help. They are particularly important if you’re selecting customer facing staff or reception staff. You can normally discount people who say “Wot” when they answer the phone, at this stage.
- Again, as we are all pressed for time it can be tempting to just select a friend or your wife’s ex-mother-in-laws sister’s step-daughter to do the job. It can be a big mistake. If you’ve got the wrong person you stand the chance of damaging your business and ruining a relationship. Friends and families can make far more difficult colleagues than complete strangers. Always interview several candidates – most experts recommend at least three.
- When it comes to the interview itself you shouldn’t be doing most of the talking. You’ll need to ask the questions, but let the candidates talk. Most people will be keen to fill a silence, and may well give more away about themselves than they’d planned – for both good and bad. Essentially you are there to listen and learn, they’re there to tell you about themselves. Those all-important personal qualities tend to show best at this stage, so ensure you give them time to demonstrate them.
- Aftercare is important, and that may involve a little advance planning. There is a wide range of payroll software in Canada, and taking some time to select an appropriate system and getting it in place before you take on that first employee is worthwhile. Once you’ve found your perfect candidate you’ll be keen to have them on the team as soon as possible.
Carlo Pandian is a freelance writer and blogs about business, entrepreneurs and technology covering everything from QuickBooks essentials to social media management tools. He loves reading great entrepreneurs biographies and speaking at conferences about how the internet can help small businesses.