This is part two of a three-part series on employees.
When looking for employees, you’ll want them to meet specific attributes to best serve your clients and promote your business image. If they will only do backend work, look for integrity, problem solving skills, efficiency, and flexibility. If they will also interact with clients, you’ll want to add charisma, proper appearance, and an ability to successfully communicate with those in higher income brackets.
While it would be fabulous to find employees that will commit to your business longterm (I was incredibly fortunate in that regard), it’s not a realistic request. Don’t look for people that you can “groom” over time, look for people that will fit your business and make your clients happy immediately.
Perhaps you’ll want additional or specific attributes for your employees. Make sure you figure out what you are looking for before you begin your search.
How to Hire
First, clearly define the role and post it to various job posting boards and share with your personal and business networks. While Craigslist may stick you with 200+ resumes to dig through, there often is the diamond in the rough if you’re willing to put in the time.
No matter how many resumes you get, please don’t interview more than 10 people for the role. If you find yourself looking at more than 10 people, you didn’t do a good job culling the resumes. The more people you interview, the more difficult your decision can be and the more time you waste on people you probably shouldn’t have interviewed in the first place. If your first round of interviews isn’t successful, do it again.
Once you’re in the interviews and realize that the person you’re talking to fits your needs, it’s time to test them. The simplest test is to provide them with a variety of unique problems you have faced or conceivably could face in your business and let them tell you how they’d resolve the issue.
For an example, I often asked for them to walk me through how they’d tackle a large organization project (I usually give some more specifics). It can be quite revealing how they respond: some will want to jump right into the project and others will want to discuss it more with the client; some will pull everything out and put it in piles while others will start talking about labeling; and some may not know how to begin answering your question. By their answers, you’ll understand if they understand how to handle the given task and if their style of working fits your business.
If they sound like a good fit, put them on a probationary period to test them further. Try to take them to one or two clients’ homes to assist you in large projects (for free for the client) or put them to work on a couple back-end projects that will help you better gauge their skills. I usually pay minimum wage for this time and have them work 4-8 hours for me over the course of a week or two before I decide to hire them. Believe me, I’ve turned a few away after seeing how they interact with my clients, the speed at which they work, and the way they catch and solve (or don’t) problems.
After you hire them, it’s your call whether you want to keep them on some sort of probationary period with a review in a set time or accept them as part of your team. Pat yourself on the back as you’ve found someone great and get ready to set them up for success!
Stay tuned for part three of this three-part series: Training, Paying and Managing Employees