Well done! You’ve reached the point where you can no longer handle all the tasks in your successful new venture. This is the most exciting, and most terrifying, time in your entrepreneurial journey so far, right? If only you could clone another you and employ them that would be perfect! Or would it?
What if you need a ‘someone’ with a totally different skill set to your own? What if your business needs a colleague with an alternative approach? This is where things get complicated and this is where you can start to make mistakes. Get a head start in the recruitment game by checking out the disastrous mistakes that entrepreneurs in your situation make and learn how to avoid them.
Doing nothing is the biggest mistake of all
This is the mother of all recruitment mistakes and one that nearly every rookie business owner makes. You genuinely think that you are going to find the perfect candidate. Then you wait and wait for them to come along. While you are waiting, your business misses out on growth opportunities because you are over-stretched or because there is no-one fulfilling a vital role.
Forget about perfection because you will not achieve it. Instead, all you have to do is pick the best candidate from those that are available. They may not tick every single box, and they may not have every single skill and qualification that you would like, but try to look at the potential. Remember that there is such a thing as ‘on the job training’. Also, remember that when you train up an employee yourself it builds loyalty into the relationship and allows you to pass on the ethos of your enterprise.
Failing to obtain a strong field of candidates
You can have 500 applicants for your post but if they are all weak you will end up with a weak person in the role. You owe it to yourself to get as strong a field of candidates as you possibly can. You can only do this if you by prepare the best job description that you can. It is a big mistake to re-use a job description from another organization because you think it will save time. Cutting corners like this will end up costing you valuable hours in the long run.
Think carefully about the role that you are recruiting for and make the job description crisp and precise. If you don’t have the skills, hire someone in who does.
If you want to attract the best, you need to sell your business as a fantastic place to work. Show them that you are a caring employer who knows how to nurture a workforce. Tell them about any employee welfare schemes that you operate such as a Health Assured scheme and boast about your enhanced benefits programs. You can even blow your own trumpet about how great your office looks!
Not making the most of the interview process
The interview is your opportunity to assess if the candidate is a good fit for your organization by meeting them face to face. However, over-reliance on an interview is a big mistake.
Do not make your decision based entirely on performance at interview. Some candidates are very good at interview but terrible at doing the job! You need to recognize this. Instead, ask for as much supporting material as you can prior to the actual interview. Look at CVs, covering letters, emails, references (and check them) and personal recommendations. You can also check out their web presence and professional social media profiles.
Your candidate is not the only one who needs to prepare for the interview. You need to take the time to prepare in-depth questions that will demonstrate whether the candidate has the key skills and experience that you are looking for. Forget about “Tell me about yourself” it will not reveal what you need to know.
Interviews work best if there is more than one interviewer. This gives you someone to discuss things with and eliminates your own bias. Decide who is going to ask what before the interview begins so that you can avoid repetition.
As an inexperienced interviewer, you may inadvertently stray into potentially illegal areas whilst making small talk with the candidate to put them at ease. There is plenty of advice out there on what you can and cannot legally ask at interview so make sure that you read it. The last thing you need is to break the law during your first attempts at recruitment.