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

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?

Employee Interview Guide

Photo credit: PicJumbo

Devan Perine

Devan Perine works with small business owners on their marketing and multimedia efforts. She's passionate about helping businesses build their presence online, and giving Gen Y a voice in the workplace. When she's not working, she loves to make a mess in the kitchen, and play with her band around Chicago. She loves to chat! Give her a shout on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.


  1. Kimberly A. Kline says:

    I am happy to see that you started with having a good job description. Not only is this essential in understanding who to hire, it is also invaluable when doing a background check to screen your potential candidates. In the background check process, the job description helps determine exactly what you need to check as far as criminal history, education, experience etc. And it also helps you with compliance issues.

    • Kim;

      Yes, there’s lots of good compliance reasons for having a job description AND it’s important that the job description really communicates to the candidates what you expect of them. I’ve seen some job descriptions that do a great job from a COMPLIANCE standpoint that when you read them are really just a list of tasks. Not so helpful!

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