When small business owners have a need to hire a new employee it’s typically due to growth or an unexpected exit of an existing team member. Regardless of the scenario, the need feels pressing and immediate. The acuity of the sting of being understaffed is often directly related to the size of your team.
In observing our clients and business network partners (as well as being in this situation ourselves), we have come to realize immense value in taking our time in searching for the right talent. The delay in hiring on the front end is more than worthwhile as the first step to reduce turnover and retain satisfied personnel. Small business owners often ask us about our hiring practices so we've created a summary to share. Here are 6 items that we never miss when hiring a new team member.
Consider personality/demeanor/cultural fit first
Taking the time to consider your existing office culture is huge. Are you a zany ping-pong-playing group who likes to talk across the office to each other? Does the day to day schedule have a revolving door, or is it more of an 8-5 office? Can folks work as they find inspiration, or is the work dictated by client deliverables? Knowing WHO you are as an office (or who you would LIKE to be if you're a startup) is the foundation to finding the right fit.
When it's time to read through the resume submittals, look for more than experience; check for consistency. Does this person seem to job hop? Also pay attention to how the resume is put together regarding spelling and grammar. An exceptional resume will be tailored to the job for which they are applying. Taking the time to consider a well-written resume will pay off.
At Payroll Vault we schedule phone screenings to introduce ourselves and have an initial conversation. Our Team spends a lot of time communicating with our clients, their employees and with each other. With this initial conversation we are looking for a friendly demeanor and the ability to build rapport. We ask the candidate to take us through their resume and talk about the different positions they've held. Toward the end of the conversation, we introduce ourselves and speak a bit about the position we’re hiring for and the Payroll Vault history and culture. When the conversation goes well, an in-person interview is scheduled.
During our face-to-face interview process, we begin with light conversation to allow the candidate to relax. If others from the team are available for a greeting, take the opportunity to do so. Once the official part of the interview begins, it’s important to walk through their resume in detail and ask a lot of open-ended questions. Our focus is on situational examples of customer service and communication alongside the skill set for which we're hiring. If you, the interviewer, are doing the majority of the talking - this typically is a red flag. The candidate should present themselves professionally, be prepared, have questions prepared, and display a basic knowledge of the company.
Internal team discussion
Ideally, there should be more than one set of eyes on the candidate. The more the better, and at various stages of the process. If one person does the phone interview, then others should perform the face-to-face interview - this is ideal. Once all screenings, conversations and interviews are complete, come together and review feedback with each other in order to make sure little nuances were heard/seen and that the hiring team is on the same page about who they'd like to bring on board.
Once a candidate is decided upon, we call to offer them the position contingent upon a successful background check (important!). Then, we send a follow up welcome email to outline the details of the discussion including start date, pay rate and any items needed for their first day. Take the opportunity during the conversation, as well as in the email to let them know how much you're looking forward to them joining the team.