By Key Business Advisors
Human Resources

By Colin Wilson
Key Business Advisors Director

Many business owners struggle when it comes to hiring the right employees for their business, and even their managers can get it wrong because they don’t have a HR or recruitment background. One of the most common mistakes business owners and managers make is promoting their business to a potential candidate before actually conducting interviews. They then look at the candidate, apply “The Eye Ball Theory” and figure out a strategy to try to fit the candidate into their business – big mistake if the candidate doesn’t really have the potential and was just the best pick of a bad bunch.

How do you know whether or not a candidate is right for your business? Resumes can be fluffed up, referees can be planned, and candidates say yes to everything during interviews to convince you to hire them, especially if they are desperate to leave their current employers. Soon after they join your team, you start noticing that they don’t possess the right skills, experience and attitude which you initially thought they had. You start questioning yourself, but you persist in the hope that their performance will improve. However, you find out soon enough that their motivation and attitude towards the job are slipping, and you are scared to go down the dismissal path because that would create another problem. It is harder to dismiss underperforming staff after their probation period ends, but you insist on keeping them because you have already invested in their training and wages for over six months.

To make sure you get the right staff for your business, you need to develop a recruitment plan, ideally before the need to hire arises. Job roles or position descriptions have to be defined and should include good KPIs which outline what the candidate would have to accomplish to be successful in the role. It is critical that the position description reflects the company’s strategic direction so that the candidates see how their contribution would be linked to achieving the company’s goals.

Interview guides and reference check forms are also vital, as they allow you to use the same criteria to assess each candidate’s suitability for the role. Candidates can now make a claim under the Fair Work Act if they feel that they have been discriminated against at any point during the recruitment process, so having a recruitment policy and the correct documentation in place would protect you and your business from potential claims.

Most importantly, remember to recruit attitude first and skills set second. You must look for candidates who have a positive attitude, as it is key to business success! You can always teach someone with a positive attitude the skills set needed to perform a role, but it is harder – and sometimes impossible – to teach the right attitude. Make a list of the skills set you want and require for the role, as well as an “Attitude Must List.” Ask the candidates questions which drill down into both their skills set and attitude. The candidate whose skills set and attitude are aligned with your business needs should be your number one preference, while you have to think twice about candidates who do not seem to be 100% committed to the role nor willing to be a team player to make a difference and grow your business. You can test candidates or get them profiled to ensure that they are the best fit for your business.

Selecting the right candidate for your business can be hard, and there are no guarantees until your new employee starts. If your process and paperwork are compliant with Fair Work requirements, then you and your new employee can feel comfortable that joining your business was the right decision because you demonstrated professionalism throughout the recruitment process. You must also have an effective and thorough induction program in place to ensure your new employee’s success and job satisfaction. The induction program should cover your new employee’s first two to six weeks on the job, depending on the complexity of the role. Get your existing employees and even your suppliers to help induct new staff into your business to build their relationships with each other and promote a positive work environment from the start. Create an action plan for your new team member, and make sure they are clear about what they need to work on so that they stay committed and motivated to improve themselves and grow your business.

Key Business Advisors has been helping SMEs get the recruitment process right. If you need further help in hiring the best staff for your business, email info@keyba.com.au or call 1300 4 ADVICE.

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