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Step-by-step Guide to Small Business Hiring

By Andrew Storrier

3 min read

Finding and recruiting good people to work in your business is no easy task, however quality hiring is critical to growing your organisation. Hiring, if you get it wrong, can become expensive and detrimental to your long-term business goals. This article will help you through the entire hiring process, making sure you nail every recruiting stage and find the right person for the job.

Nailing the Job Description

Getting the attention of superstar performers starts with the job description, which effectively communicates what’s great about the role and what’s expected of the candidates. An effective job description contains five key elements:

  1. A clear and precise explanation of the purpose of the job
  2. The tasks and responsibilities of the job
  3. How and with whom the successful candidate will complete the job – lines of authority, relationships to other roles and resources available to them
  4. Clear and obvious performance expectations
  5. Key selection criteria

A quality job description is essentially a blueprint for the perfect candidate and investing time in this area means a better chance of communicating what you want from applicants, as well as helping you recognise irrelevant candidates before you interview them.

Three Essential Job Interview Questions

The interview isn’t simply about assessing a candidate’s suitability with your organisation – it’s also about reassuring yourself you’ve made the right choice. You can ask as many questions as you like, but they should all reflect three core principles:

  1. Can the candidate do the job? From a skills and competencies perspective, do you feel comfortable leaving the person to their own devices and having them achieve what you ask of them? Are you confident they have the technical know-how to ensure they won’t fold under the first sign of pressure from a client or customer, nor react inappropriately? Do they have the required skills to do a good job?
  2. Will they love being a part of the team? We all have bad days, but can you see this person genuinely wanting to come in every day to face new challenges? Why do you think they want to be a part of your team as opposed to another? Where do they want to be in five years and how can you help them get there?
  3. Do you think they will fit in with your culture? Culture fit is sometimes as important as skills. Will this candidate fit in with the culture you have fostered?

Getting the Reference Check Right

Contacting a candidate’s referees late in the hiring process is often unavoidable, however you should always try to call them as early as possible – before shortlisting if you can. Viewing the reference check as a hurdle to complete can make you complacent, missing chances to probe the referee to reveal a candidate’s potentially negative qualities.

Questions for referees should verify the candidate’s abilities, while uncovering their personality traits. You’re looking for five major traits in your candidate, including cooperation, general intelligence, energy/motivation, dependability and social acumen. Allow the referee to extrapolate on any anecdotes about the candidate to give more insight into these traits.

Negotiating Salary

Money is the final piece of the hiring puzzle. You can ask an employee their pay or salary expectations during the interview, but don’t be surprised if they withhold this information. Make sure your initial offer is at least competitive with the market by cross-referencing with payscale.com or a similar resource.

Make sure you are aware of the industry award rate and minimum wage requirements.The Fair Work Obudsman has a list of relevant pay guides that may help.

If the candidate counter-offers with more than you were expecting, simply prepare an argument as to why you cannot agree to such a large increase and make your own reasonable counter-offer with supplementary arguments as to why you think it’s fair.

Try to avoid looking stingy, particularly if you’re really impressed with the candidate. However, don’t let a great candidate pull you outside the competitive market with outrageous salary demands.

For casual or part-time staff, provide the correct pay information and award rate so that there is transparency.

Onboarding

Engaging a new hire with the business in the first three months of their job is incredibly important to getting high performance and loyalty. Ensure the new worker feels welcome by introducing them to everyone and spending time talking with them. Have someone show them the ropes and assume responsibility for them. At the same time, give them plenty to get on with so they feel like they’re contributing. Good onboarding can increase retention by up to 25%.

Following these tips should help you build a team of stars.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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