When it comes to operating a business, there are inevitably things that will go wrong. Machines will break, markets will crash and staff will create unforeseen mistakes. But, wherever possible, it’s important to take every step to minimise these issues that will affect business performance and profits.
One such way is to ensure you hire the right people for the job. Staff-related difficulties, such as poor performance, incorrect attitude or even theft, can all be avoided by a thorough hiring process. Below are some guidelines to help you make the right choice for your business.
1. The importance of integrity
Your preferred candidate might arrive at your door with four degrees, years of onsite experience, a marketable appearance and ambition, but if that same person is lacking integrity, then start looking elsewhere. If your candidate is without character and integrity, you cannot trust them to do the right thing in any situation. Skills and content can be taught, integrity cannot, so make sure you opt for a values-based hiring approach.
2. Don’t oversell the job
Just as you, as an employer, would want every potential staff member to be upfront about their weaknesses, so should you be as upfront as possible about any weaknesses within your organisation. Realistically, you wouldn’t be looking to hire anyone new if everything was operating at peak performance levels. Disclose any problems within the company and what measures you’re implementing to rectify these so it doesn’t become an issue at a later stage.
3. Write good job descriptions
You have to be accurate when outlining the job requirements but be careful not to give too long a list of responsibilities and requirements as this can deter great candidates who might be missing one or two required traits. It’s also worth including what your company will be providing for the successful candidate.
4. Interview, interview, interview
Make sure you interview at least three people for a position, even if you feel the first candidate is the best. The more people you interview, the more likely you will make the right choice. Once you have whittled down the potential candidate, interview that person at least two more times in different settings. It’s amazing how an alternative environment can bring out different sides to a person. If you can get others to interview the candidate as well, it always helps to have more input.
5. Ask the right questions
There are many techniques to getting the truth out of a person during the interview process and one such technique is asking the right question and then knowing what to take away from the response. If you ask a candidate why they left their former position and they run the organisation down (check the importance of integrity in point one), then you might want to re-assess this candidate’s chances. General questions to determine a person’s drive and ambition are essential, but try make them more specific to the job at hand.
6. Be prepared to answer questions
Not only is it important to allow prospective employees to ask you questions during the interview for their sake, it gives you great insight into what their priorities are, as well as what information you might need to include in future interview processes. At the end of the day, the job has to suit the candidate as well as the other way around.
7. The social media CV
Everybody has a digital footprint these days and, for the social media users out there, it’s very easy to quickly assess a candidate outside of the CV sent or interview persona presented. How a person conducts themselves on the digital platform can directly affect the reputation of your business. The candidate might also have relevant blog postings or other published content that can give better insights into his or her abilities and knowledge, suited to the work environment.
8. Knowledge of communication systems
On the flipside, an in-depth understanding of social media, messenger and telecommunications’ systems is essential for almost any profession. If the candidate seems confused at the mention of a virtual PBX telecommunications option, or doesn’t know what a Twitter handle is, then you are either going to have to invest in training, or look elsewhere.
The above Small Business Growth advice and points have been brought to you by ECN.
ECN is one of the leading telecommunications partners in South Africa. ECN offers a broad set of cost effective voice, data and hosted services to meet our customers ever growing technological needs. Our market leading voice solutions provide our customers with the option of replacing their existing voice service provider to substantially reduce their monthly telecommunications bill. Contact ECN today for leading telecommunications.