Hiring Help for Small Business Owners
© 2005Peggie Arvidson-Dailey
As a successful small business owner,you’re accustomed to
long hours; non-existent holidays and weekends spent working.
When was the last time you went to your dentist? When was the
last time you had an uninterrupted night out with your partner?
Whether your goal for 2005 is to find more time for family or
personal enrichment –like attending classes and conferences —
you’ll want to consider bringing on some help.
The following tips can help you get started whether you want to
bring on a team of 10 or an occasional backup!
Don’t expect to hire a replica of you! Each person you meet and
interview will be a living, breathing human, with their own
habits, mannerisms and even ideas! This is fine – -as long as
their ideas and habits are not philosophically opposed to yours.
My first hire, Jen, was pursuing a graduate degree, had just
moved to the area and is nearly 20 years younger than I am!
She’s detail-oriented and relies on schedules to get things
done. I’m a bit more ‘seat of my pants’ type of operator. She’s
a perfect fit because she complements my way of working! Over
time she’s grown into managing portions of my business that I
neglected – like maintaining scheduling and billing.
Know exactly what you expect from your new hire. Before you
advertise for help, sit down and write a job description. List
your goals for the new hire – do you want someone who can fill
in on short notice when you need to take a day off, or do you
want someone who can work a regular schedule? Do you want
someone who can meet with clients, set their own schedules and
attend meetings and events on your behalf or do you simply need
someone who can pick up your overflow? By spending time working
through your thoughts on hired help you are setting yourself up
for a great working relationship. If you can clearly articulate
the job to all applicants, they will have the opportunity to
determine if this is a mutually agreeable fit. Be sure to
concentrate on specific job-related descriptions, and not
Determine what type of manager you are! It’s imperative that
youre honest about your workstyle. After all, if you say you
want an independent thinker, but really do a lot of
‘checking-in’ you may end up with an unhappy helper. On the
other hand, if you hire someone who needs lots of feedback, you
need to be sure that you are cut-out for the ‘people part’ of
the management process.
Set aside time. If you expect to hire someone by the 15th of
next month you may be setting yourself up for failure. Just as
you can’t expect to find a perfect replica of you – you can’t
always put a deadline on your hiring process. In other words,
plan to advertise, interview and train until you find the RIGHT
person. (SECRET TIP: If you find the right person – Hire them
right away and then find work for them! Never pass up a great
Ask your insurance carrier about your responsibility for
insuring your team members. Whether you hire Independent
Consultant’s or Employees is a topic for another article,
however, you need to make certain that your company is covered.
Determine your time-off policy. Just like you, your team members
will need time off – whether to recover from the flu or just to
re- charge. How will you handle these absences?
Create a disciplinary and review process. Whether you need to
tackle issues of poor performance, or chronic absenteeism —
have a policy in place before you bring on your first team
member. Questions to address in this process include: How many
emergency absences are acceptable in a given time period? How
will you deal with customer complaints and concerns? How will
you reward outstanding performance? What format will you use to
communicate with your team?
Find a reputable company for conducting background checks. If
your companys product or service requires your employees to
access clients homes, children or possessions do not overlook
the importance of conducting a background check. You can search
on the web, ask your insurance provider, or talk to your local
police authorities for recommendations on companies to conduct
this check for you. In each instance, you will need the
applicant’s signature and understanding that you will have a
third party conduct a background check as a condition of
Create a Fact Sheet for Applicants that you can provide along
with an application to interested candidates. This sheet should
cover your basic job description, expectations and hiring
Create your training program. Whether a detailed manual or
one-on-one training for a specified period of time – make sure
you have a written outline. Your training program should include
all aspects of the job you expect your new hire to complete.
Many misunderstandings and frustrations occur simply because a
new hire didn’t understand the expectations of the boss.
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