Hiring smarter in 2012
More than 200,000 jobs were created in December, which is great news for the millions of Americans seeking work. Perhaps 2012 is the year you plan to add an employee or two and grow your business. It doesn’t surprise me, since 87 percent of new job creation comes from businesses with five or fewer employees, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
If you haven’t hired anyone for a while, here’s a quick refresher course on hiring smart. Since recruiting and training a new staff member is stressful and expensive, it pays to take your time and make sure you bring in the right person.
First, you need to figure out exactly what tasks the new employee will be doing every day. Do you need more help? Who else needs an assistant or associate? Which department is falling behind on orders or projects?
Next, craft a very detailed job description. Outline the specific skills and experience necessary for the position. This step is critical because you don’t want to waste time interviewing people who can’t do what you need done.
Take time to think about your current operation. Decide whether you need to create a new position or will be redistributing existing tasks and responsibilities. Be sure to involve your current other employees in the review process. Ask them for suggestions based on their daily workload. Consider how new orders and projects will affect your daily operations.
If someone has asked for a transfer or deserves a promotion, now is the time to revise your organization chart. Figure out who will manage and train the new employee.
Before looking outside your company, try recruiting from within. Someone may really want to switch jobs and be replaced by a new person.
Before you advertise the job, ask your employees if they know any great people looking for work. Offer a referral bonus if they introduce you to the person you end up hiring. Expand your search by asking vendors, suppliers and customers if they know any candidates. Ask your UPSand FedEx delivery people, neighbors and people you know from church or other organizations. Personal referrals are an important part of any recruitment effort.
If it’s an entry-level job, contact local community colleges, technical schools and colleges. If you don’t find enough good candidates within a few weeks, it’s time to cast a wider net. Start by advertising locally to avoid having to pay relocation costs. Then, expand your search statewide and nationally depending on the position.
Once you start interviewing candidates, don’t skip the most important step: checking references. Although it’s tough to get honest references because people are worried about being sued for providing negative information, call everyone listed on the candidate’s résumé. Verify start dates and find out what the person actually did every day. Titles are confusing and don’t often reflect the actual job responsibilities.
Be sure to establish a probationary period of 30 to 60 days. You want to make sure you’ve hired the right person. Ask your attorney to check on state labor laws regarding hiring and firing employees. In many cases, if you are providing insurance benefits, you can wait awhile before offering them to new hires.
Remember, small businesses are the engine of the American economy, so do your part to keep the country running smoothly.