EnMast http://www.enmast.com Small Business Community | Small Business Tools, Templates, Help and Resources. Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:45:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Hottest small business articles | January 2015 http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/hottest-small-business-articles-january-2015/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/hottest-small-business-articles-january-2015/#respond Fri, 30 Jan 2015 17:52:30 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18671 For small business owners, the new year often means a lot of new stuff: new budgets, new goals, and new employees. So we focussed on hiring in January. We wanted you to be enlightened and equipped to navigate the murky waters of hiring.  We even gave away one of our most powerful tools, The Business

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For small business owners, the new year often means a lot of new stuff: new budgets, new goals, and new employees. So we focussed on hiring in January. We wanted you to be enlightened and equipped to navigate the murky waters of hiring.  We even gave away one of our most powerful tools, The Business Owner’s Guide for Employee Interviews! (Still free for download until February 1st!) 

hottest small business articles

AND we hosted a fantastic webinar with Dave Delaney: The 2015 Guide to Using LinkedIn. It was such a huge hit that we’re offering it again in April. (Register here!)

We have just a few more slots open in our Mastermind Groups. These groups are designed for all you business owners who are serious about breaking through barriers you’ve encountered in your leadership or your business. If that’s you, let us know!

Here’s the top small business articles for January 2015!

1. Hiring employees? Here’s 5 things you need to know

hiring employees

Hiring employees is hard. It’s time consuming and it’s risky (mistakes are painful and costly). For most of us, it’s not something that we’ve been trained to do. But if our business is going to grow, a big part of our job is going to be getting good at hiring and training employees. Here’s what you need to know.»

2. Employee Compensation: 3 mistakes small businesses make

employee compensation

When it’s time to start recruiting for a job there’s always the question, “How much should I pay employees?” Maybe you aren’t hiring, but your employees are asking for raises. How much do you need to offer in raises to keep them? For starters, don’t make these mistakes.»

3. The ULTIMATE Small Business Hiring Guide: Everything you need to know about hiring an employee

the ultimate small business hiring guideWe know how tough hiring can be first hand. So we put together a comprehensive, step-by-step epic guide to hiring just for small businesses. If you’re hiring (or soon), this is your ultimate resource!»

4. The phone screen interview: What questions should I ask?

phone interview question

You wrote a great job ad, you know what you need to pay for it, and you have some candidates lined up. What should you do next? Phone screen them before bringing them in for an interview! Brad shares the questions you should be asking.»

5. Top 10 hottest small business articles of 2014

Top 10 small business articles of 2014

We looked back at last year and found our top 10 most popular small business articles read by you — business owners — in 2014. We wanted to find out what articles had the most impact on owners, what topics were most important to you, and what you wanted to know and learn more about. Check it out.»

What was your favorite article this month?




Employee Interview Guide


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The key to organic business growth: Don’t let your business get stagnant http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/key-organic-business-growth-business-stagnant/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/key-organic-business-growth-business-stagnant/#respond Thu, 29 Jan 2015 14:00:34 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18656 This article originally published at Anchor Advisors. “What is the difference between a living thing and a dead thing? In the medical world, a clinical definition of death is a body that does not change. Change is life. Stagnation is death. If you don’t change, you die. It’s that simple. It’s that scary.” – Leonard

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This article originally published at Anchor Advisors.

“What is the difference between a living thing and a dead thing? In the medical world, a clinical definition of death is a body that does not change. Change is life. Stagnation is death. If you don’t change, you die. It’s that simple. It’s that scary.” – Leonard Sweet

Let’s face it. The last four or five years have not been boom years for small business. If your business is growing; well done. You are beating the averages. But for most businesses with 20 or fewer employees, while we are back to pre-recession levels, growth has been elusive.

organic business growth

There are loads of reasons for this, many of which are beyond our control. But one of the strengths of being a small business is that we actually have more control, when it comes to shaping our destiny, than, say, a big corporation. No, we are not immune to the ups-and-downs of the larger economy; but the beauty of owning a small business is that we can make changes faster, and we are freer to seek business where it can be found. There is risk involved. Isn’t there always? Making changes and finding new ways to do things is hard. But the opportunity to switch things up is there, if we want it.

So, if 2015 is the year that you have decided “enough is enough”–and you want to get growing again, we’ve got three “proverbs” to guide you along the way.

If nothing changes, then nothing changes

Economically speaking, nothing is going back to “the way it used to be”. You won’t find growth by looking backward. If you want to find growth, you need to look for it in new places–places you haven’t been before. You may need to shift your business model, or your service offering, or your pricing. You may need to challenge your assumptions about what can be sold online and what can’t. The point is that what you had doesn’t matter any more–you’re starting over with a blank slate. How are you going to do it now?

We all have our comfort zone, which is some version of a level of business that keeps us out of poverty and doesn’t cause us too many headaches. It’s a nice place to rest. But if you want to grow–if you need to break the cycle of stagnation–then you have to make that comfort zone uncomfortable. Some of this can be a shift in your mindset; like, I’m not going to settle for “out of poverty”. Instead I’m going to get paid what I deserve to make! Some of it might be hiring some hot new talent that is going to push you for better clients and more interesting work. But there has to be something that makes it “not OK” to stay in that zone.

What gets measured gets done

One way to break through that complacency is to have someone hold you accountable to real numbers. Create a budget–not just for expenses–but for new sales. Create a plan to take actions that cause sales, then measure the results. If your actions aren’t causing sales, you are failing. Someone should be disappointed. Someone should force you to look at those results and make changes to improve them. It’s very hard to do that unless you have someone from outside the company holding you accountable.

Who holds you accountable? What are you willing to be held accountable to? If you goal is growth, and you aren’t growing, who’s looking at the numbers and telling you that’s not OK?

Change begins with you

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Leo Tolstoy

As the leader of your business, you are the one who needs to create the change that your business needs. Usually that means making changes in how you think, attitudes you have, assumptions you’ve held. If you want different results from the same thinking and the same actions…well, that’s just crazy, right? So how are you going to get yourself into a different head space?

  • Reach out to some other business owners and try to see the world through their eyes. What do they see that you don’t see? Try this with someone 10 years (or more) younger than you!
  • Take your youngest employees out to lunch and ask for their opinions about your industry. Where do they see it going? What is it going to look like in 5 – 10 years? Then imagine what would have to happen for their predictions to come to pass.
  • Look at 5 businesses that are experiencing growth outside of your industry. Why are they growing? How is their business model different from yours? How could you adapt that model for your industry?

To gain that new insight, we need to give up some of our biases. We need to let go of the all the lessons we “learned the hard way”. We need to take a step back, and look at the world with new eyes.

If 2015 is the your year to get growing again, look in the mirror first; then start making changes. This is hard work, but you don’t have to do it alone! Give us a shout. We’re more than happy to find someone to walk with you, who can help you through any switch, shift, or transition, to get your company on a path of growth.



Business Owner Job Description Template


Photo credit: Jim Larrison

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4 ways to include your team in the hiring process http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/4-ways-include-team-hiring-process/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/4-ways-include-team-hiring-process/#respond Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18566 It might be tempting to approach the hiring process in a do-it-yourself fashion. After all, as the leader of your business, you know what you’re looking for. You have the details of the role you’re hiring for and likely have an ideal candidate in mind, too. But often times, including your team in the hiring

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It might be tempting to approach the hiring process in a do-it-yourself fashion. After all, as the leader of your business, you know what you’re looking for. You have the details of the role you’re hiring for and likely have an ideal candidate in mind, too.

hiring process

But often times, including your team in the hiring process means a you’ll achieve a more well-rounded approach to hiring. Getting outside perspective from your team not only shows you trust and respect their opinions, but means they will be more on board with the new hire when the final decision is made.

There 4 are main ways you can include your team in the hiring process.

#1: Evaluating a specific skill.

Each one of your team members has a certain area of expertise you can tap into during the hiring process. For example, your Communications Manager would be best at evaluating a candidate’s communication style, writing performance, interpersonal communication skills, etc. By allowing your team members to assess a potential hire’s skills based on their own, you might get some interesting insight based on what they notice in their one-on-one interview sessions.

#2: Asking different questions.

Your interview candidate is going to be on high alert while speaking with you (the boss.) But when he or she speaks with different team members answering different questions, certain qualities can become more clear. Rather than each of you asking the same questions over and over, posing varied questions means your candidates are more apt to let their guard down and spotlight character traits that might not come out while answering questions with the team leader.

#3: Assessing fit with company culture.

Company culture is defined by your team–not just you. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to include your valuable team members when deciding on a new member to add to that team. Gather input from each department to see how they feel the candidate fits within your current company culture. This is a perfect way to spot any red flags before making an offer, too. The last thing you want to do is bring in a new person who creates conflict within your office culture.

#4: Eliminating blind spots.

You might not see the fact that an interviewee has any major pitfalls if you have your hiring blinders on. Face it: It’s easy to get set on a certain candidate and not notice their flaws. But when you have other key team members in on the hiring process, they can help point out those blind spots and save you from a major hiring faux-pas. Team feedback can be a lifesaver during interviews.

Make the hiring process a team effort

When your team members feel like an important part of the hiring process, they feel their value within your business. They see that you turn to them for perspective and can see that they’re being heard. That in itself is extremely valuable.

Sure, it might extend your interview period by a few days, but it makes your hiring strategy more effective, too.

Bottom line: The hiring process has to include more than just you. Two minds are better than one…so imagine the power of multiple minds.

What about you? What other ways do you include your team in hiring?



Employee Interview Guide


Photo credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg

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The 2015 Guide to Using LinkedIn http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/2015-guide-linkedin-webinar-recording/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/2015-guide-linkedin-webinar-recording/#respond Tue, 27 Jan 2015 17:42:47 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18631 To watch the 2015 Guide to Using LinkedIn webinar, enter in password “Jan2015″: Note: This video will only be available until February 9th, 2015.          

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To watch the 2015 Guide to Using LinkedIn webinar, enter in password “Jan2015″:

Note: This video will only be available until February 9th, 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

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The ULTIMATE Small Business Hiring Guide: Everything you need to know about hiring an employee http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/the-ultimate-small-business-hiring-hiring-guide/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/the-ultimate-small-business-hiring-hiring-guide/#respond Mon, 26 Jan 2015 20:57:20 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18615 Small business hiring is an essential (and often challenging) facet of entrepreneurship. Any business owner who’s made a bad hire (and most of us have) can tell you the pain of realizing your mistake and trying again and again to “fix” the bad hire, before you finally fire them. Not to mention the money and

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the ultimate small business hiring guide

Small business hiring is an essential (and often challenging) facet of entrepreneurship. Any business owner who’s made a bad hire (and most of us have) can tell you the pain of realizing your mistake and trying again and again to “fix” the bad hire, before you finally fire them. Not to mention the money and time you’ve spent interviewing, training them, and then fixing their errors! It’s no doubt that bad hires are expensive.

small business hiring

Image via grasshopper.com

So, to save you all that heartache, toil, and money, we’d like to share our 8 step process for hiring with you. You’ll find that this process is a little different from the one most business owners use. You know the one: where they meet someone they like, then they think about a problem in their business and they hire that person they just met to fill that need. That kind of quick pick-up fails just about 100% of the time! Instead we need to be more methodical. Let’s start by defining success!

Step 1: Define the job with a stellar job description

Before you can find the right candidate, you’ll need to know exactly what you’re looking for. This stage is like making your shopping list before going to the grocery store. If you skip it, you are likely to spend your whole grocery budget and come home without any main courses!

When you hire without a job description it makes it much harder to figure out if the candidate is a fit (fit to what?); and the candidate isn’t even sure what job they are taking on. It’s easy enough to recycle an old or existing job description—or to even use one you found on the Internet. But creating even just a one line job description–that really shows what success in the role looks like–will provide the necessary direction and focus for you (as the person doing the hiring) and for the possible job candidates (who need to know what the job entails).

Every job description should answer three main questions:

  • What do you want me to do?
  • Why am I doing this?
  • How do I know I’m doing a good job?

Answering these questions creates a clear path for both you and the candidate to decide if they are right for this role.

Constructing the perfect job description doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, with this template, you can craft a quality job description in less than two hours. Not so bad, huh?



Employee job description template


The secret: Be clear. A 3-page-long list of tasks really doesn’t help candidates know what’s important or where to focus. Start with the larger roles, and leave the smaller tasks up to them.

Before you leave this step, don’t forget: the power of a well-defined job description goes beyond the small business hiring stage; it becomes the mission statement for your new employee and guides them to accomplish goals throughout the year.

Step 2: What salary do you need to offer to attract good candidates?

Now that you have a better understanding of what you’re looking for in the perfect new hire, you’ll need to do some research to decide how much you are willing to spend on him or her. You may have a number in mind that you want to pay, and that may be a good place to start, but ultimately you don’t decide what a fair salary is. The market determines the salary that you have to offer in order to attract the talent you need.

[Many small business owners feel that they can’t “afford” experienced candidates and so they “settle” for wooing junior applicants. If this is you, don’t feel so bad. There are benefits to hiring a more “junior” employee. While young applicants may have less experience, they may also bring unique abilities as well as greater drive to learn and improve their skills].

When considering experience and skill set, you don’t want to offer too much, but you also want to pay enough to attract the talent you need—right? There’s a process for that.


This process helps you:

  • Discover an average salary range for the type of role you have
  • Find out what similar types of jobs are paying in your geographical area
  • Tweak your job description so the level of duties fit within the salary range

Perks

Once you’ve identified the appropriate salary range, you’ll need to see how that fits in with your allotted budget. Sometimes, that means you can only offer a salary that falls in the low end of the market average. If that’s the case, we need to think about what we can offer, besides money, to attract the best talent.

That’s when you highlight the other perks you can offer, like:

  • Flexible scheduling
  • Value of work-life balance
  • Great company culture
  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Stock options or bonus scheduling

Regardless of the type of perk you can offer, there is always some sort of benefit to leverage; it isn’t always “about the money”. Small business hiring is all about being agile and offering a unique opportunity that can compensate for a lower salary and smaller benefits package.

Step 3: Begin the search with a compelling job posting

With your job description and your salary range in mind, you can now start writing the job advertisement that will attract your excellent candidates. No, you can’t just post the job description – it looks lazy and isn’t designed to attract the best candidates. If you want great candidates, you need a compelling posting.

A well-written job ad will:

  • Highlight the challenges and opportunities involved in the position. An ad that highlights challenges and opportunities attracts more high achieving candidates who want to work hard and excel. (Does it show how their hard work and smarts will pay off?)
  • Stand out from the others. Job boards have tons of similar job postings. Make yours more interesting. Use a creative job title (but include the traditional one for search purposes). Include some personality. It’s OK if some people are turned off by it, your ideal candidate will be attracted by it. (Does it resonate with the kind of candidates you want?)
  • Have some character. Your company is one of a kind – show folks what they are missing by not being a part of it. (Does it showcase your company culture and voice?)
  • Include the important information. Tell people what they need to know in order to evaluate if this is for them. Talk about travel, odd work hours, or other quirks of the position. Job postings with the company name and a salary range get more applicants, and the applicants are more likely to be qualified – don’t leave those out. (Does your audience know who you are and how much you are willing to compensate for this position?)
  • Entice the appropriate generation of candidates. Don’t forget that you have very different audiences out there. Speak in the language of the audience that’s most likely going to fill this role. (Does it speak to Millennials, Gen Xers, or more experienced candidates?)

When you’ve reviewed and completed your job ad, ask yourself, “Would I want to apply for this job?” or “Who will find this attractive?”

If it doesn’t sound all that appealing to you, it’s likely that others won’t find it exciting, either. Strike a balance: make sure you’ve eliminated overly jargon-y words and get to the point, while still showing off your company’s unique personality.

Here’s a sample job ad we’ve used. Use it for inspiration as you craft your own ad:

sample job ad

LinkedIn also has some great job ad examples that work well.

Remember: you want to attract candidates who will be engaged at work.

Your goal for this step is to envision life before as well as after you hire your new great fit employee. Only after you’ve really articulated what you need and what you can offer the right candidate, will you be ready for the next step.

Step 4: Write your interview guide

Most business owners wing it when it comes to interviewing. When I ask them about it, they’ll tell me how good they are with people, how they have a “gut feel” that never fails them. But then when I ask about their hiring track record, it’s usually a very different story…

If you are going to compare candidates accurately, you need to have a written interview guide. By preparing questions in advance, you insure that you ask all the candidates the same questions, that you cover all the skills and issues that you want to cover, and that you don’t make bogus assumptions about how the candidate will answer (because when you follow the interview guide, you ask the question and let them answer!)

What should you ask?

In the interview, you need to get to know the candidate and assess how they will likely perform in this role in your business. The best way to make this assessment is by reviewing past performance. So I start every interview off by reviewing the candidate’s resume from bottom to top.

For each role I ask the same questions:

  1. What exactly was your role? What did you do?
  2. What obstacles did you overcome? What results did you achieve?
  3. Tell me about your boss? What made him/her a great boss? What would you change about him/her?
  4. Why did you leave?
  5. What was your salary?

By going through every job in this methodical way, I can see the career progression (or lack of progression) that the candidate made. By listening for repeated themes I will discover what they are good about, what they care about, and what kind of supervision they need. I can also track their earnings so I can more accurately assess their salary demands at the end.

The second half of the interview I use behavioral questions. These questions usually start out with “Tell me about a time when…” You want the candidate to respond with an example. By using actual historical examples you find out how a candidate really behaves. Most interviewers use hypothetical examples, like “Suppose we were doing something like X? You could do that, right?” How do you think that candidate is going to answer?

Take your job description and think about what the 10 most important behavioral traits for this role are. Then write (or, borrow, or find) questions that address each of these traits.



Employee Interview Guide

This is a good time to remember that if you’re your own HR department, you need to make sure you know some basic HR guidelines and the mistakes to avoid when hiring (just to ensure you don’t ask any illegal questions that could get you into hot water). I’ve listed a few of them below.

Questions you CANNOT ask job candidates about (aka, it’s going to get you sued)

  • Personal relationships (marital status, children, sexual orientation)
  • Personal debt
  • Race, religion, language
  • Military discharge
  • Drinking/drug habits
  • Age

By writing your interview questions out ahead of time, and sticking to the interview questions, you can avoid accidentally stepping into any of these off limits areas; and you can focus on just listening to the candidate during the interview.

Step 5: Screen the resumes

Now that your job ad has been out for a few days, it’s time to start sorting through the pile of applicants. If you’ve done a good job on the posting you should have 50 – 100 applicants in a few days.

So how do you know when an applicant is really special?

Great applicants are ones that not only meet your skill requirements, but also demonstrate a sincere interest in the role. So first, sort out the ones who didn’t bother to customize a cover letter, and put them aside. Then scan through the cover letters and only look at the resumes of candidates that spark your interest. After you’ve done that, go back and evaluate based on experience.

Strong applicants will showcase a track record of motivation, loyalty, and accomplishments. They have given you specific reasons why they are right for this job. In fact, Business Insider showcased an A+ resume that might serve as a great comparison during your review process.

As you get to the resumes, keep in mind a few red flags that might help you to narrow down the pile more quickly.

Those indicators might appear as:

  • No cover letter (I only look at these candidates if I’m desperate.)
  • A skills-based resume (usually covering up a spotty history, or a change in career)
  • Silly or made up job titles (like “Chief Smiles Officer”)
  • Missing contact information
  • Spelling errors
  • Overly designed resumes (if you can’t read it, toss it.)
  • Gaps in employment
  • Skills that don’t align with those outlined in job ad
  • Extremely long resumes (if they can’t be brief here, they never will be.)

Know your pet peeves and trust your gut when it comes to a good resume vs. a bad resume.

Another way to screen applicants: Google them. That’s right, check out their social media presence and other work on-line. CareerBuilder found that two in five employers are screening applicants through these outlets. If the interviewee is willing to post content for the world to see—it’s free reign for you as an interviewer. If they are making an effort to get their best work found – that’s a good sign.

As you work your way through the applicants, keep these concepts in mind, too.

You won’t always find the perfect match of experience and qualities, but when you’ve narrowed down the applicants to a small pool, it’s time to get a better idea of who to hire via the interview stage of the small business hiring process.

Step 6: Interview your applicants

It’s day one of interviews. You have a list of questions to ask your interviewees and you’re prepared to study body language and other unspoken cues.

I always like to interview with two interviewers – one asking questions, including follow up questions, and keeping the candidate engaged, the other focused on taking notes. This is an important decision – get as many sets of eyes and ears involved in the process as possible.

Take note of your first impression, but don’t let it dominate your thinking. Just sit down and ask the questions on your interview guide. Maybe the interview isn’t going well and you are thinking about cutting it short? Keep going to the end; some candidates take time to warm up. Similarly, if you are wowed at the start, keep going. A good interview is going to uncover both positive and negative things about each candidate. You want to persist until you discover both!

Also note if they committed some of the interview faux pas, like:

  • Having a cellphone buzz or ring during the interview
  • Badmouthing former bosses or co-workers
  • Dressing too casually
  • Not bringing a copy of their resume
  • Not doing their homework about the organization
  • Asking questions about salary, time off, etc. in the first interview

Once the Q&A session is done, consider using some of these supplemental tools that will help you better understand your applicant’s character and hard skills, too.

Writing samples & testing

Some companies have all of their top candidates complete general tests like WonderlicTM to get a basic overview of their competencies.

Personality profiles

Personality profiles include Myers Briggs (MBTI), AVA, and OAD tests. We’ve used all of these before; but we like DISC and PDP profile testing the best. These tests help us get inside the candidate’s head so we can see what drives them, how much energy they have, and how their personality will fit – or not – with the role and within the company culture. For example, if you are hiring a Lead Sales Person, you need someone who is great at taking initiative, very personable, very actionable, etc. DISC and PDP (among the others) will tell you if that person has those qualities or not.

personality profile testing for small business hiring

When you review your findings, it will be easy to narrow the search down to one or two of the best possible candidates from the first round of interviews. On the second interview, have the interviewee speak with other employees and get outside feedback on their perception of the candidate.

Step 7: Make an offer 

You’ve talked with your team and thought long and hard about which candidate to hire. You’ve weighed how different candidates fit within your office culture, their different experience levels and skills, and their communication styles.

Once you’ve identified the best possible candidate, it’s time to make an offer and get that person on your team.

During this stage of the process, you’ll be negotiating several important facets of the new person’s role:

  • Salary (How much will they make?)
  • Vacation time (How many days can they take off during the year?)
  • Benefits (What perks–like healthcare and retirement–do you offer?)
  • Flexibility (Do you allow work from home days or flexible scheduling?)
  • Timeline (When will the person start?)

There may be some back and forth between you and your potential new hire, so be prepared to answer questions and consider proposals.

One of the most pivotal points during this stage is likely the salary negotiation. A few tips for negotiating as the employer:

  1. Know your budget. Have a concrete salary range in mind and stick to it.
  2. Show the numbers. Be prepared to explain your first offer with salary comparisons from similar roles you’ve found in your area.
  3. Let the potential employee explain why they feel they deserve a certain salary.
  4. Make realistic promises. If the negotiation includes a future pay raise or promotion, follow through on that promise and stay true to your word.

When you’ve settled the details of the offer, the candidate might need some time to weigh the offer and talk it over with his or her family. However, be sure not to allow too much time in between—that’s one of the easiest ways to get your offer turned down.

If you can both come to an agreement—guess what? You just filled the position!

You may think your small business hiring process is complete, but actually, you’ve just reached the training and onboarding stage.

Step 8: Post-Hiring: Training & Onboarding

Hiring is only the first part of your employee’s journey. During the training stage, you’ll be onboarding your new team member and getting them comfortable, informed, and eventually engaged at work.

Consider an onboarding process that includes:

  • Calling the employee the night before his/her first day to reinforce excitement
  • Connecting with your new hire’s support system (family, significant other, spouse)
  • Having an office or work space prepared
  • Making the training materials available or getting training scheduled
  • Encouraging and providing opportunities for the employee to participate
  • Assigning a mentor
  • Celebrating the first day as a team
  • Visiting with them throughout their transition period

Why is onboarding important?

In order to be successful, your new employee needs to be equipped with the right tools, training, and historical information to really understand their role within the business. In fact, one study found that 75% of employees felt that thorough new-hire orientations were important and worthwhile.

Yes, training takes precious time. But think about it: If your new hire isn’t properly trained, you might spend even more time going back and fixing their mistakes. Or worse—they might sit at their desk unsure of what to do for the few first months. Bottom line: Training is essential and will save you money in the long run. Develop a training and onboarding program so they can hit the ground running.

Thought you were finished at this last step? Not quite.

Not only do you need to train—you also need to retain. Developing your new employee is an on-going process. But as a small business owner, you probably already know nothing is as easy as it seems.

Small Business Hiring: In Conclusion

Use these steps as your road map while you move through the small business hiring process and you’ll be prepared for each and every phase. By having a solid pool of candidates; by screening and interviewing carefully; and by finishing through to training and onboarding, you will have a team of rock stars in no time!

Yes, it’s an involved process with many different steps and stages. But hiring for your small business will not only equip you to make better hiring decisions–it will ultimately help you better understand your business.

Your turn: What would you add to this small business hiring process? Are there other tools that help make your small business hiring process run smoothly and effectively?




EnMast small business owner community

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How to ask good interview questions: Be skeptical! http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/how-to-ask-good-interview-questions-be-skeptical/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/how-to-ask-good-interview-questions-be-skeptical/#respond Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:57:05 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18601 It’s always painful to have an opening on your team. Often, the person you’re missing was someone you relied on; someone who got stuff done! Now they aren’t there; and who’s getting that stuff done? It’s probably you (in one way or another). That open position is dragging you down. It’s no wonder that you

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It’s always painful to have an opening on your team. Often, the person you’re missing was someone you relied on; someone who got stuff done! Now they aren’t there; and who’s getting that stuff done? It’s probably you (in one way or another). That open position is dragging you down. It’s no wonder that you want nothing more than to fill it! Fill it now!

I believe this feeling of urgency — the desire to get a position filled now– is the root cause of many bad hires.

good interview questions

When we bring the “I want to fill this now,” mind to an interview, we are looking for someone to fill the job. At the same time, the candidate is looking to fill a job (too often any job). So when someone who wants to get hired is being questioned by someone who wants to hire, they often work together to get their mutual goal met! You need to ask good interview questions to find out who you’re really hiring.

How does this happen? Imagine an interview like this:

Interviewer: “So do you have experience with budgets?”
Candidate: “Of course.”
Interviewer: “Did you projects come in under budget?”
Candidate: “Yes, most of them did.”
Interviewer: “So you think you could create budgets for our projects, and bring them in under budget?”
Candidate: “I’m sure I can!”
Interviewer: “Well, that’s what we need. You’re hired!”

Frequently, a candidate hired like this shows up for their first day of work only to find out that what “budget” meant at his former position is nothing like the budgets in this new one. And project management, well, that looks different too! Over the course of the day, the new hire’s position becomes more clear (or unclear as the case may be). And he’s not alone. In fact, (the boss thinks to herself) this guy doesn’t know anything about how to manage our projects and get them in under budget! But then, she didn’t really ask him if he did, did she?

Even if you need to hire now, it’s essential that you slow down and be a skeptic when you are interviewing. 

What do I mean by “be a skeptic”?

Don’t ask leading interview questions!

I’m talking about questions like, “You’ve done budgets, right?”. Instead, ask open ended interview questions and let the candidate tell you what he or she actually did; like, “What’s your experience with budgeting? What sort of inputs did you receive? What tools did you use? What did the result look like? How did that get used to run the project?” We can’t assume that what we mean by “budgets” (or any other term that we use in our office) matches the candidates definition and experience. We need to investigate; and find out what that means to them, how “budgeting” was done, and by whom. Candidates often want to talk about what their team or department did, obscuring what they actually did. Unless you are hiring the whole team or department, you need to know what they did, from what inputs and with what tools.

  • Do ask for examples and compare those examples against the tasks and responsibilities your new hire will be handling.

    The best predictor of future results is past performance. (As long as the performance is in a similar role in a similar environment. Beware of someone with lots of big company experience looking to join your small company!) The best way to evaluate performance is to elicit examples of how the candidate performed in the past at tasks which are analagous or similar to those that need doing in your company, in this role. This is where behavioral interviewing shines.
  • Do dig deeper. Good interview questions come with follow up questions.Don’t just take an answer at face value. Channel your inner journalist and cross-examine the candidate to uncover more information. If they give you a very rosy, positive example, then ask them for a time when that didn’t work. When they are struggling for a good example, wait until they finish and ask for another example. If they are an expert they will have more than one!
  • Don’t help them.When we want this candidate to be THE ONE we’re tempted to help them out a little bit. Maybe they are struggling for an answer and you prompt them with the next step; or they are looking for an example and you give them some ideas. You are effectively “rooting” for them to get the job! Don’t do that! Make them prove that they are the best candidate. If they are struggling, simply wait quietly. Either they will get it together, or they won’t.

I know it’s hard to go slow when that open position is killing you; but it’s so much better to go slow and get the right person than it is to go fast and hire the wrong person. That will to set you back months. So be patient. Let the candidates show you that they know their stuff.

Good interview questions should reveal both positive and negatives from every candidate — because, guess what, every candidate has them! You know you are really getting to know them when you get a real sense of their strengths and weaknesses. And if you are lucky enough to have a tough decision at the end of the process, being able to compare strengths as well as weaknesses only means you are making a more informed decision. So take the time to be sure you know what you are getting from your candidates before you make anyone an offer.




Employee Interview Guide


Photo credit: PicJumbo

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The phone screen interview: What questions should I ask? http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/phone-screen-interviews-questions/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/phone-screen-interviews-questions/#respond Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:34:30 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18591 If you’ve got a good job posting out there, and know clearly what you need to pay, you should have a solid batch of resumes to sift through. Pick out the best, and let’s set up some phone screen interviews. But wait. Do I know what questions to ask? What do I need to know at

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If you’ve got a good job posting out there, and know clearly what you need to pay, you should have a solid batch of resumes to sift through. Pick out the best, and let’s set up some phone screen interviews.

But wait. Do I know what questions to ask? What do I need to know at the phone screen stage? On second thought, why am I even doing a phone screen interview?

Phone screen interviews give you a chance to talk with a number of candidates and shrink your pool of candidates before you commit to meeting someone face-to-face. It’s a quick check, and it works. Even just getting a little more information about their background and experience will help you eliminate some candidates. It’s no substitute for a face-to-face interview; that extra data you get on the phone will only help you identify candidates you want to speak to FURTHER. It will not necessarily identify the best fit.

phone interview question

I shoot for 30 – 45 minutes per phone screen, so you have to be focused.

Start with the basics

My first order of business is to ask the candidate to walk me through their resume from bottom (oldest job) to top. I want them to tell me a bit about each role, how they got the job, and what there responsibilities and accountabilities. I try to focus on what they did (as opposed to the team they were on, what did they do themselves, what was their role). Then I also find out why they left each job; I want to learn about the circumstances between jobs that aren’t on the resume.

If there’s not a clear career path, if the jobs don’t really lead from one to another, I want to hear about that too. Why the shifts? What are they looking for now?

Are they right for this role?

Ideally, you have already asked them, in the job posting, to give you a run down of why they are right for this job in their cover letter. And ideally again, the most promising candidates actually told you about some of their skills and experiences that made them think they are a fit. Let’s dig into those. I usually ask to hear about their experience with some of the key success factors for this job. For example, if I’m looking for a project manager I might ask about what systems or software they’ve used. I would ask them to tell me about a project that got off track, how it got off track, and what did they do to bring it back on schedule. I want them to give me examples that show me that they have already done the things that I need them to be good at to succeed in this job.

Are they in the price range?

phone interview questions on price ranges

I don’t want to spend time phone interviewing candidates who are out of the price range. So I ask every candidate what their salary expectations are. Now candidates are coached not to answer that question — they don’t want to start too high and eliminate themselves, or shoot too low and undercut their value. I get that, but we need to know that there’s a negotiable range here. If you know what your price range for the job is you might say, “We are able to offer a salary within the range of $X – $Y (using real numbers of course).” That’s what the job is worth to you. That’s where you see the market value; so we should be able to attract candidates in that range.

Some candidates will say that they are in the range just to get to the face-to-face interview. So I will go a little further, especially if my sense is that they want more than I’m offering. I’ll be clear that the range is firm: “If we continue in this process are you willing to accept an offer in that range? Where did your last salary fall? At the high end of the range, over that range?” I really want to pin this down because there’s nothing worse than investing hours in an interview, only to find out you can’t afford the candidate.

Now sell it a little bit

If I feel like I want to invite them for a face-to-face interview I’ll spend a few minutes reviewing the job posting and job description with the candidate. I want to get them excited about the role, so I’m emphasizing the challenges and opportunities available to the right candidate. I want to hear their excitement too, so I’ll ask how that sounds to them. Do they have any questions? You aren’t trying to convince them to come work for you, you’re just making sure they see the opportunity and are excited by it. The right skills and experience, in combination with real enthusiasm and curiosity about the role or the company, make them a more desirable candidate for an interview.

Like I said before, if I’ve got a really great job posting (and I’ve put it in the right places; where my ideal candidate will be looking for it) I’ll usually have 50 – 70 applicants. Of those, I might expect to phone screen 10 – 15, and then meet 4 – 6 face-to-face. I want to make sure I talk to enough candidates to generate a rich pool of candidates to interview. Don’t be shy eliminating people right at the phone screen stage; you’re doing everyone a favor. If there are some candidates you aren’t sure about, it’s OK to have a “maybe” pile; but focus your energies on those top candidates that are a great fit. Come back to the maybes once you’ve met the best fit candidates.

Red flags

There are other red flags you can pay attention to, and be grateful for, in the phone screen process. They are not always deal breakers, but it is important to pay attention to the scheduling process, and to how the candidate handles themselve in the interview. First off, if you can’t schedule a candidate, there is a good chance that they are not the right candidate. In rare instances there are extenuating circumstances, and candidates can’t be responsive because of personal or professional emergencies–but these are rare.

phone screen interview red flagsIf they can’t respond to your phone calls or emails, it is more likely that they are either not very interested in, or not very focused on, this opportunity. Move on. When it comes to questions, if they avoid them, don’t understand them, or just can’t seem to give you an intelligent response, this is also a red flag. Pay attention to how chatty or quiet the candidate is. Are you exhausted after 15 minutes on the phone with them? Is it like pulling teeth to get answers from them? These behaviors are not always the final nail in the coffin, but they are indicators that need to be weighed in balance, both with their experience and skills, and the requirements of the role you want to fill.

There are other red flags, certainly, and you will know them when you see them. Pay attention to that instinct! You will learn to listen for bitterness, arrogance, insecurity, or false confidence. While none of these traits necessarily will put them out of the running, you want to make sure that what you’re hearing won’t interfere with functioning with a team. With your team. The phone screen is not a perfect qualifier for this, but if you have reservations and decide to move someone forward to a face to face interview, you should be thoughtful about addressing those reservations in the interview.

To recap: you NEED an excellent job posting. When you pull your best resumes from a healthy applicant pool, call them up. You want find out their actual skills and experience; you want to identify their true compensation range (as much as possible); and you want to see if, after hearing about challenges and opportunities, they are excited and curious. If you stay focused, and listen to what the candidate is saying (and how they are saying it) about what they’ve actually done, you should be able to sort through the pile pretty quickly, and get to the best candidates to interview for your job.

What questions work for you? What do you look for in a phone screen?




Employee Interview Guide


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How to write a job posting that attracts great applicants (and repels the ones you DON’T want) http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/how-to-write-a-job-posting/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/how-to-write-a-job-posting/#respond Wed, 14 Jan 2015 14:00:09 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18554 The job posting is the most fundamental tool that you have to attract great talent to a job opening, yet many business owners fail to use it effectively. A well written job posting acts like a shining beacon to attract talented folks who share your values and are looking for a terrific opportunity, while at

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The job posting is the most fundamental tool that you have to attract great talent to a job opening, yet many business owners fail to use it effectively. A well written job posting acts like a shining beacon to attract talented folks who share your values and are looking for a terrific opportunity, while at the same time discouraging applicants who are “just looking for a job“.

how to write a job posting

I’ve outlined the important features of a good job posting below. Read on if you’d like to learn how to write a job posting that WORKS.

Write about the candidate

The primary purpose of the job posting is to market your job to potential applicants. It’s a marketing tool for your company and for the opportunity you have available. Just like other marketing documents, it needs to be written with the audience (in this case, applicant) in mind. Don’t talk about you; talk about them. Start your job posting off by describing, in terms the candidate will recognize, who the ideal candidate for this position is. You want that ideal candidate to read it and say, “Wow, this position is perfect for me!”

For example, look at this job posting example for an Executive Assistant:

You are a poised executive assistant to the owner of the company who gets great satisfaction in taking charge of the millions of tasks that your boss needs you to manage. Calling anyone, from the CEO of a company, to a vendor, or member of the press, is nothing new to you. You are self-motivated, and thrive on executing all the details in a fast-paced environment. In your approach you are agile and able to easily shift between different areas of focus; from accounting (in QuickBooks) and clerical tasks, to calendar management, to event planning. If that’s you, keep reading because we have an opportunity you won’t want to miss.

Present the challenges and opportunities together

Are you looking for candidates that will give this job their all? Candidates who want to make a difference? Then show them the difference that they can make! Use the job posting to talk about the ways that a successful candidate can make a big difference by being amazing. Also demonstrate the impact this amazing work will have on the company. But to make that big difference there are obstacles to overcome, right? It’s no walk in the park! You need to show that rock star applicant what will make the job challenging. It’s going to take hard work, creativity, and the ability to create something out of… well, not very much.

Who’s going to take a job like that? A job that requires hard work and overcoming obstacles? Not someone who’s just looking to keep a chair warm, that’s for sure. But someone who is passionate, confident, and ambitious–they’ll run for that job.

Show the candidates how they can make a difference, but also show them how hard it will be.

For example, look at this job posting example for a Financial Operations job:

Every day we process lots and lots of data, on time, and with 100% accuracy. You will reconcile accounts and prepare reports and will help create and improve processes and procedures to enhance efficiencies, strengthen controls, and develop products and services for our customers. You will be challenged by frequent interruptions and will interact every day with a diverse group of customers and vendors. We want you to succeed, so you will start by performing all the basic tasks flawlessly and learn the details of our business. Once you have mastered the basics, you will be expected to take on more responsibilities, supervise staff members, and receive more rewards.

how to write job postingAsk them to do something special for you.

One of the problems with recruiting in the digital age is that it has gotten way to easy to apply to jobs. For the candidate who has a lot of time on their hands, what’s the downside of “applying for every job that’s even remotely close to what I’m qualified for”? There is none.

To correct for this, you need to ask your candidates to do something special in order to apply to your job. Include a list of questions that you want them to answer in their cover letter; ask them to attach some relevant work samples; anything that makes them do something more than emailing their resume. Again, this filters out the lazy or barely qualified job seekers and helps you to focus on the most qualified candidates.

Don’t go blind

Sometimes business owners don’t want candidates to know where they’re applying. We have found that does not attract the best candidates. The motivated and ambitious candidates want to make sure the company is right for them. They want to do their research; so tell them about your business in a way that’s going to fuel their curiosity.

For example, look at this job posting example on how this advertising agency describes their firm:

In return, we will provide you with a creative, collaborative workplace, a friendly, laid-back environment. Our office is in River North, close to the Chicago Brown line stop and several bus lines. There are snacks, occasional gourmet cupcakes and a little dog to hold when you’re feeling down. And most importantly, we do great work and we have a good time doing it. You can learn more about what we do and the types of clients we work with at our website www.example.com.

For the same reason, don’t skimp on salary info — you should know what range you are willing to offer and put it in the ad. Learning to how to write a job posting with a salary range on it, it helps you to attract a better range of candidates; those who are wildly overqualified won’t apply if you tell them the job pays $50,000. (Here’s how to figure out how much to pay employees)

Your job posting is your first impression — before the candidate gets to know you, they will see the job posting. Make the job posting work for you by acting like a preliminary screen; by appealing to the best candidates and discouraging those candidates who would otherwise be wasting your time.

What do you include in your job postings? What tactics do you use to attract the good ones and repel the not-so-good ones?






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Employee Compensation: 3 mistakes small businesses make http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/employee-compensation-mistakes-how-much-to-pay-employees/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/employee-compensation-mistakes-how-much-to-pay-employees/#respond Tue, 13 Jan 2015 18:47:46 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18546 Issues surrounding employee compensation come up frequently for the small business owner. When it’s time to start recruiting for a job there’s an inevitable question: how much should I pay employees? What’s a fair wage for this job? Or perhaps you aren’t hiring, but your employees are approaching you for raises. How much do we need

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Issues surrounding employee compensation come up frequently for the small business owner. When it’s time to start recruiting for a job there’s an inevitable question: how much should I pay employees? What’s a fair wage for this job? Or perhaps you aren’t hiring, but your employees are approaching you for raises. How much do we need to offer in raises to make sure we keep our best people?

employee compensation

There are 3 big mistakes I see people making as they evaluate employee compensation in these situations.

Mistake #1: Too little data.

I’m always shocked at how frequently business owners have salary discussions with their employees using nothing more than anecdotal information. The employee comes with salary surveys from Salary.com, or Glassdoor.com, or an industry trade group, and our instinct tells that these numbers are crazy high. But instead of countering with facts of our own, we call a few friends and ask what they are paying; and then come back to our employees and tell them they are out of line.

Your friend’s salary information is certainly relevant, and your instinct may be right about the Salary.com data. But you really need more than just notes from a few friends; you need more, and more objective data, so you can have a really productive conversation.

Mistake #2: Too narrow a view.

The second thing I hear from business owners is, “We can’t afford to pay them more.” Maybe this hasn’t been a terrific year for your firm, or maybe it has and you’ve spent a lot of money investing in computers, or offices, or new people… But regardless of the reasoning, it all comes down to the fact that your people are asking you for raises and YOU aren’t seeing more money in your pocket. I hate to say this to you, but it doesn’t matter.

You are competing for talent with a wide range of other businesses. If there is more work in your industry than there are people to do it, salaries are rising.

Mistake #3: Avoiding the issue.

Other business owners, when faced with pressure from employees (employees that they, ahem, need in order to be successful ) decide to just avoid the issue. “If I tell them I’m working on something, and then keep putting it off, maybe they’ll stop asking”. Not likely.

Avoiding the issue breeds resentment and communicates to the team that you don’t care. If and when the issue does come back up, in their frustration they may feel justified making higher demands, or walk into the conversation with a lot less good will.

What to do instead

Every year I encourage clients to go see what the market value is for their key positions. I have a problem using “industry survey data” because you don’t really know how a title translates to a specific role when you are talking about different companies. Instead, go out and see what jobs are actually being offered, and at what salaries.

I search Careerbuilder.com and look for real jobs, being offered by real companies, and compare them against the job that I’m pricing. It’s going to take some judgment on your part, but adjusting for the differences in roles and region, you can come up with a range that you have confidence in.

(I made a video explaining my process in detail here: What to pay for a particular job. )

Once you have a well researched salary range, you can be confident that if one of your people left you because they wanted more money, you could replace them in that range. If, generally speaking, your people are getting paid on the low end of the range, it’s time to bust out the raises. If they are on the high end of the range, you can be confident that you are paying them fairly. Having that confidence can make all the difference when it comes to hiring or just keeping great employees.

How do you figure out salaries for your employees?









Photo Credit: jypsygen

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Hiring employees? Here’s 5 things you need to know http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/hiring-employees-things-you-need-to-know/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/hiring-employees-things-you-need-to-know/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 21:19:40 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18526 Hiring employees is hard. It’s time consuming and it’s risky (mistakes are painful and costly). For most of us, it’s not something that we’ve been trained to do. But if our business is going to grow, a big part of our job is going to involve recruiting, selecting, and training new employees. The success of

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Hiring employees is hard. It’s time consuming and it’s risky (mistakes are painful and costly). For most of us, it’s not something that we’ve been trained to do. But if our business is going to grow, a big part of our job is going to involve recruiting, selecting, and training new employees.

hiring employees

The success of your business is in large part dependent on the team you hire. You can’t be everywhere, you can’t do every job. If your business is going to grow, you need good help. Hire poorly and your growth gets stunted. Instead of expanding your capacity, poor hires eat up even more of your time as you fix and correct things they do wrong. By the time you get them fired, you’ve missed 6 months of opportunities and their salary has put you in a financial hole.

So we need to hire well; but how? Here’s a few truths about hiring employees that many business owners are resistant to realize.

1. You can’t “wing” it

Maybe you think “I’m good with people, I’ve got a big network…How hard can this be?” So you meet a couple of people. One “feels” right and you hire them. To do what? What do you pay them? How do you evaluate performance? That kind of shoot from the hip approach is inconsistent at best; and will always cost you more in the end. No. You need a hiring process that starts with a job description and ends with a written interview guide.

2. There are no short cuts

I know you need someone now. Unfortunately it takes 8 – 12 weeks to make a good hire. I’ve tried lots of ways to speed it up and everything I’ve tried has failed! It’s not just that it takes you time to figure out what you need, but then the candidates need time to respond. You need time to get to know the candidates to make sure they are a fit; and the candidates need time to evaluate you and make sure you’re a fit.

3. The best results come from having more candidates

One way to short cut the process is to just screen and interview a few candidates. It seems efficient. I know a couple people who might be good, I call them up, get them in, and BANG; hire one. Sure, you might get lucky and know just the right person for the job. But statistically, the bigger the candidate pool the more likely it is that it contains the best candidate. If you pick an apple from a basket with three apples in it, and I pick an apple from a basket with one hundred apples in it, which of us is more likely to get the best apple?

4. You are going to make mistakes

There are a number of mistakes that everyone makes when they are first hiring employees. All of us have: hired too fast, hired people too much like ourselves, got wowed by a great candidate who ends up being a poor fit for the team. We all have done it, and some of us still do it! The best defense against falling into those traps is to get help. Find someone who has done this before and ask them for help. We all have blind spots when it comes to hiring. Getting another set of eyes will help you to see more clearly.

5. Get good at hiring and watch your business soar

When you have a solid team behind you, it makes an amazing difference in your business. A solid team can give you so much confidence. You know that whatever challenge a client throws your way, they can handle it. You don’t worry about selling a new project and spending the next four weekends in the office; your team can handle it! With the right team, you can start offering services you don’t even know how to deliver, because your team does!

So this month we’re going to be taking you step-by-step through the hiring process. We’ll give you insights from experts who can help you to find that top-knotch employee that will help your business take off!

What questions do you have about hiring employees? What is the scariest part of hiring for you?







Photo credit: PicJumbo

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Employee Interview Guide: The Business Owner Interview Guide http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/employee-interview-guide-business-owner-interview-guide/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/employee-interview-guide-business-owner-interview-guide/#respond Mon, 12 Jan 2015 20:28:12 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18524 When you are growing your business, hiring the right people for the right jobs is critical. Making a bad hire in a critical job can set you back six months or more; while making a great hire can accelerate your growth. So how do we find the right people for the right job? Well, that’s a complex

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Employee Interview GuideWhen you are growing your business, hiring the right people for the right jobs is critical. Making a bad hire in a critical job can set you back six months or more; while making a great hire can accelerate your growth. So how do we find the right people for the right job? Well, that’s a complex process; but one of the important keys is a terrific interview.

We created a hiring tool for business owners like you to help you with interviewing employees. Knowing what questions to ask is the first step, and The Business Owner Interview Guide will help you do just that.

Here’s what’s inside: 

  • A complete, step-by-step guide to interviewing employees
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Want to join a community of other business owners who understand your struggles? Looking for tools, templates and how-to guides for everyday business challenges and problems? Join EnMast.

 

tools displayWe’ve got a library of small business tools and templates that can fix everything in your business, from the flat tires (trouble employees and low productivity) to the major engine failures (no new sales, how to raise your prices) and more!

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By joining EnMast, you’ll become part of a community of business owners who understand and who can help you become a better, more confident business owner. We’ll all work together to help you build your business faster, work smarter instead of harder and make more money!

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jill salzman“EnMast’s tools are invaluable in helping anyone — not just me — grow their business and their profits. Small business owners would be hard-pressed to find EnMast’s community, tips and tricks anything but helpful. Brad Farris is one of the brilliant minds in business today and I trust his guidance. You should, too.”

 

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The Business Owner Interview Guide will help you ask the candidates the right questions so you can identify the best possible hire at your company. It includes a complete step-by-step to conducting a great interview, and a worksheet with interview questions you need to be asking.

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How to attract talent to your small business (and how not to) http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/attract-talent-small-business/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/01/attract-talent-small-business/#respond Thu, 08 Jan 2015 14:36:36 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18518 There’s nothing that makes a business more successful than top-notch talent. When a business owner has a team they can count on, the sky is the limit — we have all the confidence in the world and it shows. But when we don’t have the talent we need, when we aren’t confident in our team,

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There’s nothing that makes a business more successful than top-notch talent. When a business owner has a team they can count on, the sky is the limit — we have all the confidence in the world and it shows. But when we don’t have the talent we need, when we aren’t confident in our team, we start holding on to things we should be delegating. Soon we are overwhelmed; and letting opportunities pass us by.

how to attract talent

But how to attract that talent? We can’t offer a huge salary, and big company benefits beat ours every time. How do we find those smart, aggressive team members without those tools?

In my experience, I’ve seen strategies that are successful, and not so successful. We’ll start with 5 successful strategies on how to attract top talent:

1. Show them how they can make a difference working for you.

The biggest thing that you have to offer to team members is the chance to make a difference. In a small business every employee is a front-line employee. No one is “pushing papers” or lost in a cube somewhere. For action oriented, high-achieving people, being able to see the results of their work every day is really attractive.

This is why it’s imperative that you have a a mission or purpose for your business that goes beyond making money. It can’t just be something hanging on the wall. Use it in your job postings, talk about it when you interview. Don’t just recruit folks to a job, give them a mission!

2. Let them know it won’t be easy.

Just like high performers want to make a difference, they are attracted to challenge. So don’t sugar coat it! Let folks know that you are David; and you are out to slay Goliath. This is a big job we are calling you to, there are real obstacles, are you up for it? If you pitch the job like that and someone is excited to join — they are going to be a winner. If they aren’t, well, they weren’t going to last anyway, right?

3. Be a mentor.

To get great talent that’s smart and aggressive you might have to take a chance on someone younger; someone who shows promise, but may not have the full track record. To do that you need to be prepared to be a mentor, to teach her the ropes. She’s not going to know everything that you know; that’s OK. Build in some time to train, develop, and mentor, and you’ll have a terrific team member for half the price of your big business competitor.

4. Look far and wide.

Your perfect candidate might not be 3 blocks from your office — they might be 3 states away! If you want to find the best talent you need to take them wherever they can be found. That means setting your team up to succeed working remotely and being willing to find talent that’s far from a major city. This strategy isn’t for every job, of course; sometimes you need to be together. But when you can, be geographically agnostic.

5. Always be recruiting

Just as you are always on the lookout for new clients, you need to always be on the lookout for new talent. It’s not like you are going to hire someone on the spot; but you can add them to your LinkedIn, share articles with them occasionally, and try to see them socially. These are all good ways to assess their fit with your firm before you need to hire them.

And here are a couple of other tactics I’ve seen used a lot that don’t work.

Offering too much “flexibility” too soon.

too much flexibilityMany small business people went out on their own at least partly for the flexibility that it affords them. Because they find it so valuable they want to offer flexibility as a benefit to attract top talent. The problem is the flexibility also attracts folks who just want to get out of work. It’s great to offer flexibility to team members once they’ve demonstrated a track record of productivity and effectiveness. Too much up front communicates a lack of accountability.

Trying to compete on price

You meet a candidate with a stellar resume — just the kind of guy you’ve been looking for! But — he’s got an offer from a BIG firm — it’a a lot of cash, big corporate benefits, the works. Still, he would rather come work for you. Should you scrape together the money, buy up the benefits, and make a run at him? In my experience, no. The guy who’s looking for the big company package doesn’t get what it’s like to work in a small firm. What’s going to happen when he has to put paper in the printer, or buy his own office supplies on his way to work? He’s going to take that big company job that’s what. Say “no thanks” and let him go.

You need to know how to find top talent. It’s essential to the growth and success of your business. But it’s not going to be easy. Are you up to the task? Follow along this month as we talk all about it.

What have you done to attract terrific people to your team?








Photo credit: Brian Dys Sahagun, Giphy,

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