For small businesses, it can be a tremendous challenge to identify the exact traits and characteristics that are needed from new employees. The best small business professionals are often those who can take care of multiple tasks and have skills in several areas.
The ability to decide the criteria for the role you need to fill at your business is crucial, because it plays a large part in determining whether or not you hire the right people. Fortunately, with proper focus and sufficient planning, business owners can find out which areas their organisation is lacking in and hire the people that will be able to rectify the problem.
Determining Your Focus Areas
Before you can decide the criteria for the role you need to fill, it is important that you have a strong understanding of your company’s performance. You should be able to measure this performance in a few critical areas, including:
- Customer service
- Document and record management
- Marketing performance
Every company will usually have a slightly different way of measuring their performance, but small businesses need to have some understanding of how they are doing in these critical areas so that owners and managers can make informed decisions about company strategy.
Creating Job Descriptions
Based on these focus areas, the next step is coming up with a list of qualities or abilities that the prospective new hire must have. First, think about any technical requirements or certifications that it is obvious that the new hire needs to have. A good example of this would be hiring someone who has a strong understanding of the specific software that the accounting department uses.
Once that process is completed, you need to align your job description to the areas where you determined that company performance needs to increase. During this alignment you should be able to identify performance attributes or characteristics that prospective hires possess that make them more likely to be able to help your organisation improve its performance.
For example, if you were able to determine from your performance analysis that your business was providing less-than-stellar post-sale customer service, you would look for someone who was well-versed on your industry’s products or services and had history or training on dealing with customers. On the other hand, if your top-line sales numbers are low compared to some of your previous years or quarters, you should look into hiring a candidate with all the qualities of a good salesperson: self-motivated, a good communicator, and the ability to make suggestions to help potential clients solve their problems.
Tips for the Hiring Process
Once you have completed your on-paper requirements for the new position, your next step is to initiate the process of screening and interviewing potential candidates. Even though you might have a well-defined set of attributes or type of experience that you want your new hire to have, it is important that you also pay attention to the type of person they are and how they communicate and present themselves. You may find that you decide the criteria for the role you need to fill after interviewing a candidate with unique skills who opens you up to new possibilities.
Here are a few other guidelines to keep in mind while attempting to fill roles in your organisation:
- Remember to weigh the content of the candidate’s resume and cover letter against their in-person presence. You may feel that your ideal candidate should have both a very impressive resume and top-quality communication and presentation skills, but in reality it is rare for a company to come across the perfect candidate. Instead, their performance in each area of the hiring process should be considered based on the traits and attributes that you need them to have the most
- Try to develop specific interview questions that help you determine whether or not the candidate has the attributes that you need to fill the holes in your business. For example, if you need a sales rep that can perform at a high level, you might ask them questions to help understand their ability to interact with customers and prospect for new business.
- Get a second opinion. Even if you are the CEO or majority owner of your company, it is still important to get additional input to get a balanced perspective of candidates being interviewed. This input could come from a department manager or simply a senior-level employee at your company.
Although it can seem like a tremendous challenge, with some forethought your small business can decide the criteria for the role you need to fill and get through the process of finding the right person as smoothly as possible.