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10 Steps Of Successful Hiring for Small Businesses

The following is a simple but effective framework for hiring for small businesses. There isn’t a lot of red tape, it is practical and efficient. The sequence is specifically designed to be used when not using a recruiter, however it could easily be modified to suit hiring when using a recruiter.

This is a general step by step process that we go through when hiring. It may sound simple, but there are some subtle steps in here that have been learned from some fairly significant lessons over the years.

Employment Sequence

Step 1: Define the role

Be clear about the role you are employing for, including the skills and experience  you are looking for in the candidate. It definitely doesn’t all boil down to qualifications. Each role will require certain qualities that are specific to that role. Some roles will require no experience but will be heavy on talent and creativity, whereas in other roles experience will be essential. The primary qualities that tend to vary based on role are:

  • talent
  • creativity
  • communication
  • experience
  • qualifications

Step 2: Is it a new role or existing role.

  • If it is new role write up job description and a job ad.
  • If it is an existing role review previous job description and job ad

Step 3: Place the ad
Purpose: attract quality candidates that would be applicable for the position.
Make sure the ad is informative about the role and what you are requiring in an employee, and also remember to sell the opportunity to the candidates. Mention perks and benefits, company culture, career prospects, etc.

Place the ad in the appropriate place for the position. We have found that certain jobs get better results in different places.

Make sure the remuneration range is clearly in the ad, and also anything that is an obvious deal breaker. This will save you time processing resumes of candidates that aren’t suitable.

Step 4: Sort the Resumes
Purpose: Find the best potential candidates and weed out the inappropriate ones
Sort the incoming resumes based on the key elements you are looking for. While you are sorting, email any candidate for any information that may be required to justify the next step with them.

It is a cliché, but it does hold up, that bad presentation and sloppy grammar and punctuation in a resume is a big red flag. The hiring process needs to be approached as a symbolic microcosm of what to expect from the candidate as an employee.

Step 5: The First Phone Call
Purpose: Is the candidate worthy of a face to face interview?

There is nothing worse than sitting down to an interview and knowing in the first 2 minutes that they are unsuitable and having to sit through the interview for 30 mins to an hour out of courtesy. The first phone call is where you try and eliminate this.

Before the first call. Be clear on what the salary is, what the key factors (non negotiables) are that you are screening for eg Customer Service, IT Skills, management experience, hours required, etc.

During the call cover the following:

  • Ask them to talk about specifics that relate to the non negotiables of the position.
  • What stage of their career are they in.
  • Ask what salary they are currently on. This is such a deal breaker it is good to handle early.
  • Clarify the hours.
  • Discuss where they live and the distance needed to travel to work. Do they have a car, etc.
  • Answer any of their questions
  • Ask what their availability is like in terms of when they could start work.

Report findings of the first phone call to any executive and make your recommendations.

Step 6: Schedule Interview
Purpose: Make final decision on who to interview and organise times and dates.

Before scheduling the appointment you should have covered as much as you can on the phone and be as sure “as you can” that they are going to be a good employee prospect.

Schedule the interview with the candidate over the phone. Then email them confirmation of address and time of appointment.

Step 7: The Interview
Purpose: Establish whether they will be suitable for the position.
You are looking for a variety of factors:

  • Will they be able to do the job?
  • Is the position suitable for them as a next step in their life?
  • Are they a good communicator?
  • Do they feel like a good fit based on company culture?
  • Does this job offer career growth and new learning for them?
  • Do they have the specific skills and talents that are suited to the role?
  • Their genuine enthusiasm and interest in the role.

Step 8: What to cover in the Interview

  • Make sure you sell the job to the candidate.
  • History of the business and where it is currently and where it is going.
  • Describe the role
  • Share key elements about the position and what you are looking for
  • Ask them to talk about their experiences as relevant to the position
  • ​Ask them questions about their school life, first jobs, personal drives and motivations
  • Ask about where they are in their life
  • A few personal questions, their life, relationships, family etc.
  • Where they live and their travel plans
  • Discuss remuneration
  • Discuss the specifics of start times, casual culture, etc.
  • Ask them whether it is something that they would be interested in.
  • Discuss availability.
  • Tell them next steps in terms of when you are planning to make a decision.

Note: Never offer someone a job on the spot. Let them wait at least 24 hours. They need to experience the wanting of the job. If they get it too easily they can tend not to value it as much.

Step 9: Decision Making

Discuss the pros and cons of each prospect with relevant colleagues.

Step 10: Offering the job

Offering them the job phone call.
Tell them that you are ringing up in relation to the interview. And ask them if they have any further questions and if it is something that they would like to do. I want to sniff out and gauge their interest in the job to see if they had any second thoughts. If all good offer them the job. And negotiate start date.

Basically the more thrilled they are at getting the job the more promising the relationship will be.