We’re experiencing a very exciting period of growth – and it’s led to our decision to take on a new team member. Not necessarily exciting for anyone other than us, I know. But bear with me here!
Throughout the process of recruitment, we’ve discovered a lot. And we decided it may be of some help to you if we shared the highs and lows of searching for ‘The One’. The one who can help reduce the always growing ‘To Do’ list. Who can help inspire and motivate us, and who can not only take the initiative and doesn’t need to be micro-managed – but will also share our enthusiasm for the potential we know our business has. And, as importantly, someone who is willing to take their turn at putting the kettle on!
Is that list of criteria unrealistic? We don’t think so. The person we ask to join us on our venture needs to be all of those things. But we do appreciate each employer will have different thoughts on what makes the perfect employee and a clear idea of the role that employee takes on.
So, where do you start? Here’s what we did…
First, we created a list of the specific areas of the business we wanted this person to look after
Doing this helps to create a job description. It also allows you to begin to identify some of the tasks you would happily delegate if you could. The things that although you find them an almighty grind, an enthusiastic employee would tackle them with relish!
Once you have the list, consider the type of person that is likely able to fulfil that role
In most cases, you’ll be looking for someone willing to get stuck in and help you achieve your goals. But if there are specific areas they’ll be responsible for, their experience, AND their personality must fit. Will they be customer-facing? Will they need to love data and spreadsheets?
Also, don’t be afraid of hiring someone better at certain things than you. It can be scary to let go if some areas have always been your responsibility. It can even knock your confidence a little. But if you’re paying someone, you want to be sure they’re freeing up your valuable time – or there’s no point in hiring them.
How much do you really need them?
From experience, your answer here is probably going to be the same as ours – “A LOT!” But take time to think this through. If you choose the right fit, it may be that a super-efficient and experienced person can achieve the same in a part-time role as someone less competent can over five days.
How much should I pay them?
This is probably one of the biggest variables in the article, and the answer will be different in every situation. Because it depends on the role, on their experience – and what they can bring to the table. Can they help you grow your business? Can they help you achieve more sales? If the answer is “yes” then take that into account. To become a valuable member of your team, they need to feel valued. And although you can express your appreciation of an employee in many ways, for most of us, money is an essential factor.
So, whatever you do, don’t try and get away with ‘as little as possible’. It will never work out for either of you.
Do they come with a glowing reference?
Never, ever, make the mistake of not bothering to check references. And when you do, make sure those checks are thorough. If you haven’t been bitten in the proverbial before, you’re lucky – we’ve heard some real horror stories from people hiring ‘a friend of a friend’. It’s not worth cutting corners or doing a friend a favour. Go through the right channels to find your ideal employee.
And, it’s pretty easy to be charmed by someone during a 30 – 60-minute interview. However, when the pressure’s on or you need someone to step up, will they be that person? Often only previous employers can tell you what you need to know. Of course, you never know if extenuating circumstances and personality clashes have led to a bad reference – but think carefully about whether you’re willing to take that chance. Aim for more than one reference check if you can.
Don’t make the mistake of looking for a new ‘best friend.’
Yes, it’s important (very important!) that you like them. And you need to think about whether they will fit into your existing team if you have one. But don’t be tempted to hire someone because you think they’d be a great person to chat to during the day or join you for Friday night drinks. These may well be part of your criteria, of course! But don’t be tempted to make them a priority.
And make sure you don’t choose someone because they’re ‘just like you’ – that would be the last person to choose because you already have a ‘you’. Therefore you need someone who will be great at all the things you’re not – or the things you don’t want to do.
Do you have all the basics covered?
If this is your first employee, have you taken the time to look into everything you need to do to stay firmly on the right side of employment laws? For example, contact of employment, insurance, contacting HMRC to register as an employer, statement of employment, pensions and holiday entitlements. It’s worth checking all this before you even start the recruitment process to make sure there are no embarrassing holdups or issues further down the line.
Also, are you sure you’ve thought through the practical elements of having someone else around? Where will they sit? Are there adequate phone lines if they’ll need access to the phone? Do you have a kitchen where they can get refreshments? Are the necessary health and safety measures in place? Are your ‘facilities’ (yes, I mean the loo!) in a fit state to share with an employee? These sound like crazy, obvious things to mention, but…
Right. That’s an overview of the deliberations and conversations we’ve had between ourselves over the last couple of months. We know we’re now ready to be bold and to employ someone new (after being a double act for a long time!). We’re prepared for it in every sense and can’t wait to introduce you when we find ‘The One’.