As the human resources officer it is your job to insure this process brings the highest quality candidates to the company. Without the best personnel the likelihood of success for the small business diminishes swiftly. Do not forget, the larger companies with higher rates of pay and better benefits are attracting the cream of the crop of qualified candidates. Your job is to hire the best from the next tier of candidates.
The process consists of finding qualified applicants, narrowing the pool of candidates through an application process, interviewing and selecting the best, negotiating a deal and finally training the employee to perform at peak efficiency and effectiveness. This article highlights each of these five steps. Additional articles on this website detail each of the five steps.
Step 1 – Recruiting Qualified Applicants
Finding and recruiting applicants for a position within your small business can be easy or difficult depending on your attitude towards the subject. I generally endorse the shotgun effect in finding applicants. No single method is going to work 100% of the time. Your real goal is to herd potential applicants to the business website where a plethora of information can be extracted.
The following is my list of different methods to use:
Internal Referrals – throughout the history of employer/employee relationships the number one source of finding good employees is from within the existing pool of employees. The employees already have an idea of whom among their family and friends is qualified to do the job. Use this tool to leverage your search.
Help Wanted Sign – a simple sign out front can attract applicants. Odds are they will not be the best qualified but every now and then a gem walks in the front door. One humorous example is used by Marty Grunder of Dayton, OH. He owns a landscaping business so instead of the usual help wanted sign, his says ‘Get Paid to Stay in Shape’.
Newspaper – still considered the tried and true tool to recruit candidates, a simple ad in the newspaper referring to the website can bring enough applicants for the application process. However, this medium of advertising is waning with the use of the internet.
State’s Employment Office – each state uses a system to get those unemployed back into the workforce. Simply go online and register your business. Applications will continuously roll into your office.
Secondary Education – depending on the nature and skills needed secondary schools of education are a prime resource for potential applicants. This includes technology schools, trade schools and your local college.
Internet – The advantage here is the opening up of the geographical territory for applicants. In addition, the cost to load a highly detailed job description is so inexpensive in comparison to other methods.
Step 2 – Application Process
This is a one-sided step. As the human resources manager hopefully you informed the candidates of the minimum qualifications for the job. Now the applicants provide you with the necessary information.
I encourage you to use an online application form for application and uploading a cover letter and the corresponding resume. Quite honestly in this modern-day and time, if you applicant can’t do an online form your company should not hire this person. It is simply a minimum requirement for modern technology ability.
The application form should be simple: Name, Address, Educational History (last two levels only), and Employment History for the last five years and Nonfamily Referrals. Try to keep the application short. Do not ask for a social security number at this point in the hiring process.
Step 3 – Interviewing the Potential Candidates
If you are like most human resources manager’s time is of the utmost importance. For the interview step, you want to spend quality time with the best candidates. Start by selecting those applications with the appropriate qualifications and backgrounds. Review them carefully and then read the cover letter. How does this candidate stand out from the rest? Choose the top three and interview them.
During the interviewing process, look for the WOW factor. Is there something from their past or attitude that impresses you? Allow the applicant to interview the company through you. This places them at ease.
Use a team concept for a second interview. The best two candidates should be interviewed a second time by not only you but the respective manager or supervisor of the position and if possible, the owner.
Step 4 – Hiring the Best Interviewee
In law a contract is considered sound when both parties have ‘A Meeting of the Minds’. The same is true between employer and employee. The goal of hiring an employee is a meeting of the minds. One preliminary step to offering a position to someone is to conduct a background and referral check. You can conduct criminal background checks via national databases and simply going to the local clerk of the courts office or website. Check for criminal and civil cases for this candidate. Be sure to include surrounding counties and cities. Contact prior employers in regard to this individual’s employment record. Sometimes you have to read between the lines as many prior employers are reluctant to discuss former employees.
If you are going to investigate the applicant’s financial history and credit, you’ll need a release from the potential candidate.
Once the supporting documents confirm the quality of the candidate it is time to negotiate wages, benefits, time commitments, expectations and attitude. As written in the job description all of these employee requirements are discussed.
One final note for hiring, some jobs require a physical examination due to the nature of the work. You are required to provide a conditional offer based on the results of the exam prior to demanding a physical.
Step 5 – Training
No two positions are alike anywhere in employment. Look at your own position as the human resources manager. How many times do you have to answer the phone as the backup to the receptionist? The smaller the business the greater the likelihood employees must perform multiple duties and fill different roles.
To address this, training is essential. Start out by introducing the company, the history and hierarchy of ownership and corresponding management. Then zero in on the actual job position and at times take breaks and introduce the auxiliary tasks.
If able, assign a mentor to guide and answer the new hire’s questions an alleviate concerns.
Finally continue with training via seminars, workshops, and online education. The company’s philosophy should be one of the continuous self-improvement in all positions.
As the human resources manager, frequently meet with the new hires and document these counseling sessions. Ask questions as to progress and ensure the employee is getting up to speed appropriately. Allow them to ask questions. The more important the position within the company the more you need to interact with the new hire.
Summary – Hiring Process
The hiring process involves five steps. First involves finding qualified candidates via multiple mediums. Secondly, use a simple online application process allowing you to thin out those unqualified in a quick and easy manner. Third interview the top three applicants with a two tier interviewing program. The first is interview is just with you. If you are WOWED then conduct a second interview with a panel. Be sure to include the immediate supervisor and a higher level manager/owner.
The fourth step involves a ‘A Meeting of the Minds’. Prior to hiring conduct criminal and reference checks. Discuss and negotiate with the employee expectations, compensation and conditions of employment.
The fifth and final step after finalizing the hire is training. Training is essential to teach the new employee the policies and procedures of the company. Make sure the culture is instilled in the mindset of everything the employee does. ACT ON KNOWLEDGE.
If you have any comments or questions, e-mail me at dave (insert the usual ‘at’ symbol) businessecon.org. I would love to hear from you. If interested in my help as an accountant or consultant, contact me through the ‘My Services’ page in the footer.