4 Hiring Tips for Entrepreneurs by Jennifer Stein of @destinationidoMonday, March 10, 2014
As a business owner with more than ten years experience, I’ve definitely learned what not to do when it comes to expanding a team. I’ve gone from a two-person team to a staff of 15 people. Through it all, I’ve learned from some bad judgment calls, yet I’ve also had some major hiring victories. Your company may differ in some ways from mine, but I’m certain the overall concepts may prove helpful no matter if you run a stationery studio or an online favor company.
1. Avoid hiring friends or family – that is, if you can help it.
When you hire someone you’re close with, it’s great if it works out – but when it doesn’t, it can turn ugly and potentially ruin the relationship (or at least put some irreversible scars on it). In the beginning, it can seem exciting and the financial gain could be too good to pass up. I get it. I’ve been there. But when things go South (and unfortunately, more often than not, they do) the relationship can go with it.
Now, I’m not saying working with friends or family is doomed to fail, but the risks are greater because it not only impacts your company, but your personal life. My rule of thumb is: the reward should outweigh the risk for both parties. For example: if you’ve worked together before (perhaps you became friends at a previous job and can reference that experience) or if it’s a small independent project (for example, I happen to be good friends with several freelance writers we hire), then chances are you’re safe. But if you’re considering your best friend of 20 years to lead your sales team because she was recently laid off, you may want to rethink your strategy.
2. Determine if the job can be done by an independent contractor.
We work with several independent contractors and it has proven to be a great option for our small business. We’ve done this for a couple reasons. For starters, the scope of the job isn’t large enough to hire a full-time person. Also, for certain jobs, the overhead to hire an employee far exceeds what it would cost to work with an independent contractor . . . from health care benefits to equipment and office space, the price tag can add up.
3. If you’re considering hiring someone straight out of college, see if they will do an internship first.
This provides helpful insight for both parties and can act as a “dating” period before you “propose.” You can see if the person is the right material for your company. They can also see if they like working for you. It’s a two-way street and even if they are a fit, you might not be. Better to learn that before you’re paying a salary and benefits (and they begin searching for a new job on your dime).
4. Have more than one person interview the candidate.
If you’re like me, sometimes when you get to the point where you’re ready to pull the trigger on a new hire, you’re eager to get them in because the position should have been filled months ago. If there is urgency about it, it could cloud your judgment and you could miss key red flags. Ask another person at your company to sit in on the interview and come up with a few questions as well. Or if you don’t have anyone else at the company, perhaps ask someone you respect to come in and meet them. It could help you get the right person or avoid hiring the wrong one.