Helpful tips and advice for new business owners looking for the perfect candidates that will fill crucial roles on your staff…
If you are opening the doors of your new business, you should know that it is a prime time to do it. According to two recent reports by The Hartford Financial Services and Capital One, small business owner optimism is on the rise with 50% saying that current business conditions are “excellent or good” (up 6 points from the same quarter in 2014) AND nearly 80% of small business owners feel their operations are successful.
However, you will need to build a strong, hardworking team of employees on which you can rely to promote your brand, work with clients in a way that generates loyalty and dedicates themselves to the smallest as well as the most challenging tasks you assign with enthusiasm. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It is, but finding the best candidates requires a plan and expert advice to follow. After all, everyone knows that job candidates need to prepare and do proper research before they are interviewed, but what is less often emphasized is the reality that employers should do the same thing.
Rebekah Allen, owner of International Minute Press in Phoenix, AZ, is a veteran of helping new businesses develop effective marketing strategies as they launch. She becomes an ally to them in all aspects of their business, providing advice in critical areas, including the process of finding the best employees. She offers common sense advice, sharing, “Hiring staff can be challenging. My recommendation is to be patient and to do your due diligence. You should also network with other businesses that hire similar employees and get recommendations from them. Be willing to invest some money in the hiring process, via background checks or by using companies that help with the hiring process.”
No Boring Questions (unless you want boring answers…)
You could look over a person’s resume a few minutes before you sit down for the interview and ask a lot of boring questions that will yield a bunch of boring answers, learning nothing significant about your potential hire. Remember that the purpose of the interview is to get to know more about the person that will be working under your direction every day, so wouldn’t you say it is worth investing a bit of time to present them with questions that will prompt revealing answers?
Related to the process of becoming more familiar with your candidates, go ahead and read their blog posts, check out their social media profiles and see if you can find some insights beyond what is printed on their resume. At that point, you will be armed with a little bit of knowledge from which you can ask intelligent questions that have a focus on specific challenges they may have faced or projects on which they may have worked that may reveal unique strengths or weaknesses.
If individuals do not have a substantial online presence from which to gather data, you can still check out what they have done previously with the companies for which they have worked for additional individualized question fodder. The effort you put into preparing for each interview will be worth it as you need to get more than generic information about your candidates during the interviews if you want to land special people on your payroll.
Here are 2 tips for preparing a productive interview:
1. Offer them a chance to relax and reveal personality: To get a feel for their personalities and how they might fit in to your daily operations, let them let their proverbial hair down, for starters. An easy way to do this is to simply ask them to tell you about themselves. Then, you should actively listen and take note of whether they reveal professional or personal details. Let them offer a glimpse of how they see themselves so you can decide if it’s a proper fit for the company culture you prefer to build.
2. Put them on the spot to assess their performance under pressure: You may want to know what your candidate is “made of”. Ask, “What is the biggest professional challenge you have faced so far?” You may discover that a project they handled didn’t go as planned, but how they faced adversity and came up with solutions is very valuable. They should be able to state how they would remedy that problem in the future. Also, don’t be timid about asking them how they would solve problems that they will face within their first month of employment with you!
With a good mix of broad, open-ended questions and factual questions, you will be able to get a nice profile of your candidate, from how they handled particular project challenges to asking what they consider to be their biggest mistake in their professional career. The key is to present questions that will reveal answers that help you find the best specific matches for the positions you have and the culture you are hoping to develop.
Here is a motivating fact as you select your staff: Small Businesses created 108,000 jobs in March 2015, according to ADP employment records – Bureau of Labor Statistics
Neil MacLeod, Regional Vice President for Minuteman Press International in Vancouver, Canada, advises keen awareness not just during the interview, but continuing afterward as the perfect employee on paper and in a one-time interview still needs to prove those positive traits consistently for you. Neil explains, “Staffing is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. Staff can make or break your business. Therefore you need to be diligent in your hiring process. I have found over the years that the person that dazzles you in the interview process always does not turn out to be the best employee. I am sure there are many business owners that will tell you the story how they hired the person that fooled them on the interview process.”
Expert hiring tip from Neil MacLeod for new business owners: “Before you make your final decision, pick your 2 best candidates and invite them in for a 1-2 day trial. This will give you the opportunity to evaluate their personalities and how they interact with your staff. Finding a new staff member with a good attitude that is coachable and willing to learn sometimes can outweigh the person who thinks they know everything. Obvious previous experience must be taken into consideration as well.”
There is a bonus if your new business is a franchise opportunity: If you are among those entrepreneurs embarking upon becoming a franchise owner, then hiring staff is a process that (if you selected your franchisor wisely) you are not left to your own inexperienced methods to complete. Certain select franchisors have officers of the company present and active during the set-up, staffing and various other critical areas of new business launching.
For instance, Jack Panzer, Area Manager located in Arizona/Colorado for Minuteman Press International joins his colleagues with a wealth of knowledge on the subject of hiring staff as part of a complete support system afforded to new Minuteman Press franchise owners. He offers his insights, sharing, “Being in the business services industry for over 40 years and assisting with setting up, staffing and building sales in our stores worldwide, we feel strongly about one major thing – STAFFING our stores with the highest rated candidates, those rated ‘9s and 10s’, is one of the consistent factors in our stores success. With our company history and reputation, it is only natural for our owners to lean on our LOCAL back up and support team to assist with the interviewing and testing of these potential employees. All our owners need to do is pick out the one they like the best based on personality. We, the support staff, will then help train them on all our systems and programs.”
With some thoughtful preparation, patience and perhaps advice from mentors, you will be able to find the best candidates to build the hardworking, loyal staff you need to run your new business with great vigor and pride. You deserve to have employees whose work ethics and abilities match the jobs you need filled, but you also deserve to have the best chance to have people working for you who you genuinely like as well. After all, this is the beginning of what will hopefully be a long and rewarding entrepreneurial journey.
Bo Gustafsson, owner of International Minute Press, Scotsdale, AZ, shares his wisdom on the subject with the following, “Do the leg work. Don’t hire in panic just because you need “a body”. Be very clear in your expectations and correct mistakes or bad/wrong behavior immediately, in a clear mentoring manner. Let your staff understand that working for you will be a great learning experience they will have for the rest of their life, no matter where they go. First and foremost, be a good example yourself.”
For more helpful tips and advice from a trusted business services provider, find your local Minuteman Press at http://www.minutemanpress.com.
Learn more about Minuteman Press franchise opportunities at http://www.minutemanpressfranchise.com.