This is a guest post from Kelly Azevedo. I first discovered Kelly when she was interviewed on the web show Mixergy. I love finding ways to streamline processes and make things more efficient, so when I found out that Kelly was a systems engineer who specialized in helping small business owners improve their operations, I was immediately hooked!
In this post, Kelly shares her tips for making the hiring process easier. If you find this info useful, be sure to check out her new video series 5 Days to Finding Fabulous Help for Your Online Business. Though the series focuses on online business, many of the tips she shares apply to bricks-and-mortar businesses as well. ~Carmen
Small business owners struggle with many issues, but one of the biggest challenges is finding help (even in a down economy) that is reliable and trustworthy.
In my experience working with successful entrepreneurs, problems in hiring nearly always come down to one common source which is both easy to identify and difficult to fix… it’s you!
Not to worry, it’s me as well.
Most owners are unprepared to be the manager and fall into the role suddenly when the business becomes too much to manage alone.
This pressure, combined with a lack of experience, can lead to disastrous hiring decisions.
Let’s cover the three most common problems in hiring, along with some strategies for overcoming them so you can hire the support your business needs this week.
Mistake 1: Not Thinking Through the Needs of the Business First.
It’s very common for business owners to think in terms of who is “out there” needing a job. For example, the stay-at-home mom who could do projects during nap time. Or the college student who is online between 10 pm and 2 am and knows some Photoshop.
Instead of looking at candidates and wondering if your business can use them, first consider your needs and your business’s needs.
Be ruthlessly honest.
Do you need someone to work overnight? Do you need coverage so you can take a vacation? Do you need someone who doesn’t mind when you blast 80s rock and dance around your office?
It may seem selfish to put yourself first, but when you begin a relationship by capitulating to the other party’s needs, then you’ve already given up your power.
However uncomfortable it makes you feel, you are the owner and you have the power to say yes, no, hire and fire.
Mistake 2: Being Unprepared to Assign Tasks
We often put more thought into needing a team than into what the team will actually accomplish.
When this happens, we end up with a half-written list of ambiguous tasks which confuse even the most veteran employees.
The “right” employee for your business is not the person who can anticipate and predict your every need and want.
You do not need a psychic employee, you need to train a capable employee with clearly defined tasks and outcomes.
This doesn’t mean that you have to develop a training manual to keep an employee busy for 40 hours a week for the next 40 years.
If you only have enough tasks for 10 hours to start, then create the job for 10 hours.
As you grow, however, and trust your employee more, give him or her more in-depth tasks (with training) and document everything you teach.
Mistake 3: Forgetting to Follow Up
Ever get that sinking sensation that you were supposed to call back a friend, respond to an offer, or answer an email?
Forgetfulness can be tricky in social situations, but it can be disastrous when it comes to business.
Giving your employee a task and then being unavailable for questions, or forgetting to follow up on the completion, sends two negative messages.
First, you make it seem as if the task was unimportant to begin with, and not worth your time to ensure it was done correctly.
Second, you may be just assuaging your conscience by assigning busy work , when you never intended to use the research provided or implement the solution given.
An employee who receives these messages will soon become disinterested and frustrated, and won’t give his or her best to the job.
The right relationship begins with a structure for assigning, completing and following up on tasks so that you can measure the effectiveness of your employee’s work.
Without this structure, you won’t know when it’s right to promote or fire and will forever feel like you’re throwing money down the drain while not getting the support you crave.
How to Avoid These Mistakes
I wanted to address these common hiring mistakes because I believe all three can be addressed and resolved before a single candidate is hired.
It’s hard to know who is the right person and with many companies getting hundreds or thousands of resumes, it’s time consuming to narrow down the list.
So you start by writing a job description that focuses on the needs of the business, the type of person you’d like to work with, and details about your company.
Then you create a task list that details the short-term and long-term projects, skills, responsibilities, and qualities of the person you want to hire.
Finally, you devise a reply request that isolates the skills outlined in the job description to test candidates before you hire.
For example, if you need a delivery driver in a local area, you may ask them the best way to get to a store across town during 5 pm traffic.
Even if you haven’t come up against these mistakes in your business, be aware of them during the hiring process.
By doing this work up front, you’ll be more confident in hiring, know when an employee is not meeting expectations, and be more comfortable going back to the hiring pool with a system in place to hire that works.
If you would like additional resources check out my free video series guide, 5 Days to Finding Fabulous Help for Your Online Business.
I’ll give you more step by step direction on hiring for your business and avoiding these common mistakes so you can build a team with confidence.
Kelly Azevedo (www.kellyazevedo.com) is the founder of She’s Got Systems, a custom coaching program that leads clients to get support, documenting and dominating in their fields. Kelly learned that her innate ability to create and utilize systems allowed her to complete tasks at corporate jobs in a fourth of the time and she sought out a more challenging environment. She has worked in successful six-figure and million-dollar online businesses, helping owners create the systems to serve their startup needs. Adapting quickly to the fast paced environment, constant changes and ever present challenge of communication in the online world, Kelly has supported her private clients in their group programs, private clients, product launches and all the daily business.