If you are in the position of starting a business, you will know that there are many things to consider. In the early stages (when it might still feel like a side hustle), you are spinning many plates to get everything successfully off the ground. In this early stage, a key component that you should be paying attention to is your hiring. If you invest in good hires from the beginning, you will be laying a concrete foundation that can be built upon, and setting yourself up for success in the future. Investing in hiring early will pay dividends later down the line.
Create a hiring process
A helpful tip when starting your business is to create a good hiring process from the outset. Building this into the fabric of the company will guide you well as you build and grow your new business. Knowing what you are looking for and the best way to attract those applicants will help to create fruitful, long-lasting relationships. Hiring is one of the most important decisions you make, as this will ultimately impact the culture of your business, and your workforce represents you and your company. Making thorough and sensible hiring choices ensures you have the right people to steer the future of your business. Having a sturdy hiring process and ensuring all DBS checks are carried out before the person begins working for you will save you time and energy later down the line.
The facets of a good hiring process include identifying the business need ahead of hiring and being very clear with your communications about what you are looking for. Writing a specific job role profile that accurately outlines what the role will entail and what skills, education, experience, and desired characteristics the candidate needs for the job is vital. Advertising the position in the right places impacts who you reach and the quality of applications that you get. Working with a recruiter may be a good option in order to ensure your role receives the attention that it deserves and reaches the relevant talent pool. Recruiters can also help with the initial sifting of applicants to save you time. They can remove applicants who do not meet the basic requirements, leaving you with the most suitable candidates to meet in person.
Be Care of Bias
When starting your business hiring process, bear in mind the potential for unconscious bias. It is rife in recruitment, and the best way to combat it is by implementing systems that actively eliminate the possibility of bias. These systems help you make impartial decisions that are not affected by your unconscious judgments. These include blind recruitment where applicants’ names and personal information such as gender or religion get removed from the CVs. That means that when looking at their CVs, personal information not relevant to the role cannot inform any decisions made about whether to take them through to the next stage. Addressing unconscious bias will lead to a much more diverse pool of applicants that make it through to the interview stage.
Investing time in creating a structured hiring process will attract better talent; talent will be aware of how much effort you are putting into recruiting. If you turn up to an interview ill-prepared and ask basic interview questions that don’t brush past the surface it can be a red flag to top talent who expect more from the company they will be working for. Equally, if your job description is unclear and vague, top talent will be put off by the lack of clarity around the role and may not even bother applying. The recruiting process works both ways; putting in the effort to create a robust process that treats the applicants with care and understanding will result in better talent applying for and accepting the role in question.
What are the best ways to attract talent for your early hires?
In order to attract the best talent, you need to be clear about what you are expecting and offer competitive compensation for the role. Sell the benefits of your company. What are your values and ambitions? The right candidate for you will care about your company ethos and future plans and get invested in the company. Articulating from the outset your company vision will attract people who align with this and want to put the work in to achieve it.
Top talent will know their worth and want to get paid accordingly. Although budgets are tight for any business starting out, understanding the importance and benefit of recruiting early on will show you that investing in an attractive salary for potential employees will attract the best talent on offer. It demonstrates to them that their expertise is valued. As such, they will give the best of themselves and want to prove their value by positively impacting your business.
Making the right hiring decisions by choosing people that will aid the growth of your business will ensure you see a return on your investment.
Make recruiting a priority.
When starting a business, there are many demands on your time. Understanding the importance of recruiting correctly, and setting aside the time to do this in a dedicated manner, will make the process much easier and ultimately save you time. By setting aside an hour a day to look through potential CVs, you will be able to review applicants without any distractions. Whether this is the first or last task of your day, this set time will allow you to have an uninterrupted window to carefully evaluate whether the candidates have the skills you are looking for and if they align with your business vision. There are now specific tools that make it easier to review CVs on the go, so if you want to set aside the time on your commute, or when you’re traveling to client meetings, it is easier than ever.
Dedicating an hour a day of uninterrupted time will allow you to screen more CVs and think carefully about the decision. That is a more productive way of working rather than grabbing time throughout the day where you won’t be as focused on the task at hand. When you understand the benefit of smart hiring decisions, it won’t feel like a task that you need to tick off your to-do list; it will feel like time you are using to invest in the success of your new business.
Identify the positions you need filling
As an entrepreneur, you will be used to doing everything yourself. However, as your business develops you will start to reach a stage where you have to hire help to maintain a good level of service and to expand. As you begin recruiting your first hires, assess which roles will be the most useful and make the most difference to your business. Perhaps you need someone to start taking over the business admin and invoicing to allow you more time to focus on other aspects of the business. Removing the mundane tasks that are vital in the smooth running of the business but take up a lot of time will free up your mind so that you can focus on areas of the business that will reap financial rewards.
Alternatively, maybe you need a person to start helping with business strategy and development, who has the skills to help you acquire more customers and grow your business. Investing in a hire who is solely there to focus on new business opportunities and grow your client base can rapidly increase your revenue stream. Or, if you’re at a stage in your business where you’re generating interest and potential clients but don’t have the capacity to take them on or fulfil orders, you may need a larger team to help with operations to ensure you don’t have to turn down new potential avenues of income.
Identify The Gaps
Up to this point, there is a good chance that you have done your company’s social media, marketing, and maybe even create your own website. These first hires allow the opportunity to identify areas that you may be weaker in and recruit to fill those gaps. Perhaps you want to recruit a marketer who knows where to position your business and how to talk to your current customers and your potential ones. Or a website developer to make your site more attractive and user friendly, which can improve the user journey and result in more sales. If recruiting for these roles, be specific with the technical skills you require, for example, you may want to state in the job requirements that the technical knowledge of SEO and how to implement it successfully is needed.
It is important to know what you need so that you can be clear in your job profile of what you’re asking for, and so that you can identify the candidate with the level of experience and specific skill set needed to fulfill the role. Starting with assessing what the business is currently lacking and what outside skills it would be beneficial to have enables you to make smart hires. These hires can elevate the direction, offering, and customer service of your business.
Beneficial characteristics for early hires
Once you’ve identified what roles you need filling and what skills are required, you will be able to better assess and filter through applications. When you have a pool of people that all have potential, the next stage of the recruitment process is assessing whether they will be a good fit for your specific company.
Meeting them at the interview stage allows you to get more of a sense of what they’re like, how they come across and whether their values align with the ethos of your company. Your first hires can heavily define the direction of your business. With so few employees, each person has a big effect on the team.
For your first hires, certain qualities indicate they will be an asset to your growing business. A self-starter who can get on with tasks without being micromanaged will ensure you don’t have to spend a lot of your time holding their hand. You’re hiring someone to relieve your stress and make it easier for you to start focusing on other areas of the business, you don’t want someone that you’ll have to spend a lot of time managing.
The Diamond in the Rough
Someone who understands the nature of startups and wants to work in that environment may be an asset to you. There will be challenges and curveballs as there are in any new business. You want someone who can help you overcome these unexpected challenges and who is not phased by having to adjust their plans or ways of working to account for these challenges.
Asking the right questions at the interview stage can often help you determine if the candidate will provide the positive, problem-solving attitude that is needed in a start-up. Having someone willing to pitch in and help where needed is very useful, whether it be pulling together a last-minute pitch or composing a response to an unhappy customer. Recruiting a candidate with a can-do attitude will have a positive impact on your business.
Starting a business without a solid base will only get you so far. You will reach a stage where the wheels begin to come off, or where growth stalls and becomes stagnant. Understanding the importance and benefit of investing in early hires will allow your business to flourish. Having a thorough and well-thought-out recruitment process in place will give you the best chance of attracting the top talent. With that top talent in place, you will be able to dedicate time to the growth of your business, whilst knowing that you have the support behind you.
Recruiting people with the skills that may be missing in the business currently, and people who share the same ethos as your business will ensure that the team is working together to strengthen and expand the business. The benefits that come with smart early hires make it all the easier for your business to succeed, ensuring that the additional income streams more than cover the initial investment in new hires’ salaries.