Every business needs a support network…

In episode 22 of the BizNation Podcast we spoke about when to hire help in your business, so therefore in this article we are going to break down, the HOW of hiring help, step by step and even touch on some mistakes that can be made in this process, which is also available in episode 24 on the podcast.

When deciding to hire help in your business, it means your business is growing or you’ve decided to take off a hat or 2 that you have been wearing for a long time.

This is not easy, releasing some of the load and responsibility can be daunting, as we know we can be a little controlling in our baby, our business.

So where does the process start, how do we navigate through this new idea, you could use one of a few methods:

Asking people you know, this could be family or friends.

Further expanding to your network contacts in case someone knows someone is another option.

Reaching out on social media to your further business contacts or even in a group is another great method.

Posting a job ad to Gumtree, Indeed are further free options available and when all else fails or if you need a particular professional candidate, you can pay for an ad on SEEK.

No matter which method above you ended up using, you need to be prepared for the next step – the screening process.

Reviewing resumes and applicants and then beginning the interview process.

From the resume you can get a pretty good understanding of someone applying, looking for little signals such as their email address, like sexynameyear@gmail.com does not show me professionalism. 

Now not to be too judgmental as many applicants have not been taught about these key aspects of their resume, so depending on what else you read in the resume as to whether these candidates make your short list.

And this is where testing the candidate begins, measuring them on items such as enthusiasm for the role and willingness to work with you in the early stages can give you some solid signs of the kind of person you could be working with.

Phone interviews have always been a favourite of mine to conduct. These can help both parties cut to chase really quickly before anyone wastes too much time.

I judge a candidate based on how they answer the phone, whether they seem glad to be receiving the call, by the way, this one is unscheduled, so you can catch the real person and not something rehearsed.

In this first phone interview, ask about what they want to be paid, really get into these kinds of details quickly as there is no point wasting your time meeting someone who is way out of your price range. Also touching on their availability for your roles requirements, such as days and times can save you a lot of pain.

If they have ticked a few boxes on the phone interview, use the ending opportunity to advise that you will reach out via email if their application progresses so let them know to keep an eye out, and even across their junk folder. It’s also a great idea to get their day/time availability for an interview at this stage.

This can be controversial these days as good candidates have been known to be snapped up for other roles, so you need to find the right combination of timing to get this working well for you.

But this at least gives you breathing space to conduct many phone interviews before committing to the actual interview process, see who else is out there before setting the appointments.

There is nothing worse than meeting someone you phoned in the first few resumes that you lined up for an interview and then regret actually having them in the interview or worse going back to them to actually cancel.

Although we hold the power as the business owner, you would much rather candidates have a positive than negative experience as you never know if you will cross paths again in the future. Or they could be a future customer of your business, let’s not forget this.

Interviews these days have morphed to online like many other things, so when you do decide on who is getting an interview, you need to advise them to attend the meeting, and even if it’s in person, with a good amount of notice.

But again not forgetting they are in the job market to get hired so having the process too slow can also see you lose good candidates to other positions.

I’ve always used day 1 for resume reviews, day 2 for phone interviews and then day 3 for the actual interviews, but 2 days in between is ok also and it will depend on your time options whilst running your business as well.

When going back to your candidate via email for the interview invitation, it’s a good idea to offer them day/time options, depending on their situation and also offer them to call you directly if the 2 options are not possible for them, but remember at the end of the phone interview you got their availability, so use this to your advantage.

So moving onto the interview, online or in person, they really don’t need to look any different. You should already know most of their skills and also their desired wage from the phone interview, so now it’s a great time to get to know them as a person.

So it’s a great opportunity to give them the floor, ask them to tell you more about themselves, using these methods sometimes breaks down any tiny barriers as most people love to talk about themselves.

Asking questions about previous positions they have held (if they have had them) and what they liked about them and also not forgetting why those roles ended.

It’s important from this question to get an understanding of their working experience and see if they are negative or positive to their journey in other employment.

If you have a candidate that only expresses a negative experience, even if that workplace is pictured as a very poor environment, it’s time to listen for warning bells.

Sadly many employees are just negative people and you might not want that in your business, not to mention, some even go as far as ruining your business reputation in the broader community.

Other questions you can ask is for them to describe to you a situation where they felt challenged in the workplace and how they did they overcome this.

Asking them questions about where they grew up and if they have a small or large family can get them to open up to you personally and you can get a better understanding of them on a personal level.

Another really good question is “tell me why I should hire you” or “what can you bring to this role” this normally gives the candidate an opportunity to show them they understand the role and also want to bring their best to your workplace.

After the interviews, during all of which you have been taking notes, I recommend a reflection time, even just an hour to think back over the interviews and candidates and who stood out and why. I like to make notes of the candidates I have interviewed from appearance, especially if you saw a few in one day, it’s super easy to forget who was who.

Beyond all else, go with your gut feelings, this is a tool that can be used strongly to your benefit, if it doesn’t seem right, feel right or something was a little off, then don’t ignore this, even if you are desperate for help.

Being desperate for help in your business does not mean you have to compromise.

Mistakes that can be made:

That desperate move – say for example, you didn’t get enough applicants and you feel like you just have to hire the best of an ordinary bunch. This can make or break you. Desperation leads us to making bad decisions in our business.

On the flip side of this, having foresight on hiring in business and being able to see the future is almost impossible, let’s be honest. So finding the right balance is a strategic game as much as it is a mental challenge.

You are hiring because you need someone and many small business owners find they need someone yesterday.

But trust me when I say, slow it down, be fussy and you will end up in a much better place than when you start the process.

It often pays to interview a 2nd time, there is a strange physiological benefit behind this that a candidate will relax more on a second interview and often show their true personality, perhaps simply because they feel they have a good chance at getting the position.

Once you reach the stage of choosing your right team member, it’s really important you have all the ducks in a row to get them started. Induction plan, contract, payroll and all those things many small business owners find annoying.

Back in the day you turned up and signed all your paperwork on your first day or later that week, but having this sent to a team member before they start will give them a warm and fuzzy feeling of belonging, officially take off the job market and also show them you take them seriously.

It’s all about setting the role up for success.

Having a first day plan and sending them this in an email is another great way to start with your team member.

Depending on the team member, junior or senior and really for both, little things like staff amenities, can they bring a cold lunch, is there a microwave, what to wear, all of these things might have been discussed in the interview process, but it’s nice to send to them in writing before they start.

You can go far with all of this and it will depend on the role, your business and how you want to go through this process. But I highly recommend going through a thorough process with your new team member and ensuring everyone starts on the right foot.

Like I said before, setting the role up for success.

But what about hiring an outsourced contractor:

This process, in my opinion, can be even more challenging than employee’s.

When you decide it’s better to take this path instead of an employee, finding the right person to work with is super important as this is a true business relationship and some see it like having a partner in their business.

Dealing with professional contractors has massive advantages. They are in business themselves so they can bring so much value to the table.

You might be bringing in someone for your social media, and they can see so much of your business from just wearing this hat alone.

So imagine if you were in a position to not only bring in a social media expert, but also someone to help you with your finances, either at the same tie or another point in time.

A contractor might sound daunting and this is for a few reasons.

We are exposed, fully visible in our business, there is nowhere to hide from these professionals, they can cut through our bull-shit reasons, excuses and really see what’s going on. This can form feelings of concern with us business owners when considering this option.

Maybe we do want to hide, maybe we want to avoid the truth. You might have been wearing your own social media hat for many years and think you are doing an awesome job at it, but just don’t have time for it anymore.

So then in comes the cocky contractor that wants to impress you and show you all the mistakes.

So we need to be mentally prepared for this, we could be making grave mistakes, we could have missed serious pieces such as Facebook pixels or have no SEO rankings from our website.

But you know what, this is not a bad thing, it will give us some hard truths and maybe even shed light in areas we don’t know about. 

A contractor is going to hit the ground running from the get-go. They can bring such an elevated position to you as the business owner really quickly.

But this is all based on finding the right one.

And this comes back to, just like hiring the employee, that gut feeling, that magical moment of connecting.

Not all contractors are suited to all clients and you will again need to slow down the process and ensure you are vetting your options.

We all know a contractor is going to be more expensive, but like I said in episode 22, it can be even more about the return on investment.

So reach out from google, post the question on a social media group, ask your biz buddies for recommendations, this is step number one.

Then you need to be the stalker, you need to find the potential contractor online, via their website, and in other places to get a feel for who they are and how they can help you.

Once you have narrowed the field, it’s time to reach out, send that enquiry or for some, book a free chat to get the ball rolling.

Be prepared for this as much as the employee interview process.

Have a list of great questions and really find out what they can do and how much it is going to cost.

If you happen to find a contractor that seems to be avoiding the cost side, this is a little warning bell for me, it either means they are super expensive and they know it. Or potentially, and I’ve seen this before as well, they are actually not that confident in what they have to offer or even as far as they don’t like to be a “sales” person of their own services.

So there’s a few things to keep in mind:

Contracts are also a great indication of working with a true professional, having an engagement contract or service agreement should come into the conversation can show you they mean business.

Either party can set up this contract, but certainly ask your new found partner if they have one ready and then it can be reviewed by both parties.

This will also set up the relationship for a successful commencement and ensure everyone knows where they stand, at what rate and what services are being supplied.

So ultimately you have many decisions to make when hiring and going through the process. Find what works for you and your business, be prepared to spend some time on it and again I stress, don’t rush it if you can possibly avoid it.

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