Smart Hiring Practice No. 1: Take the time to hire proactively. This means actively recruiting the right candidates as opposed to just filling the position with someone who may have some skills, but in actuality may not be the right choice for your business. Small businesses are often guilty of this. Just filling an open position instead of taking the time to identify, recruit and vet the right candidate is not the best route to a successful hire. Think of where you want your company to be in the future. Consider your growth plans and what kind of talent can help you achieve your goals and objectives. Taking the time to do it right will help you avoid mistakes, layoffs and firings, as well as lessen your risk and save you time, money and frustration in the long run.
Smart Hiring Practice No. 2: Thoroughly screen candidates. This is a very important step that should never be skipped! Consider all aspects of a candidate’s experience, personality, background and job history. Always have them sign a release that allows you to test for drugs, perform a background check and a credit check. While this may seem like an unnecessary step, especially to a small business, it can give you important information. You can hire an outside firm to run these checks for you. It’s well worth the minor cost. You may also want to consider personality tests that will give you an idea of how the candidate will work with others, clients, etc.
Smart Hiring Practice No. 3: Be aware of red flags! Never ignore red flags in the hiring process. These warning signals can include:
- excuses or vagueness about why they left previous positions;
- not researching or having any information about your company or what you do;
- not being able to back up their resume with names, facts, etc.;
- being late for interviews;
- not dressing appropriately for a job interview;
- not taking responsibility for previous failures, etc.;
- being unprepared for the interview;
- complaining about previous employers;
- not being able to provide references; and
- rudeness or a bad attitude.
Also, be just as aware of a candidate being too eager or too bubbly. This can fade as time goes on to reveal a different attitude. Remember, you are most likely seeing them at their best during the interview process and this is always subject to change.
Smart Hiring Practice No. 4: Smart job listing practices. If you are going to post an opening somewhere it’s best to list objectives in addition to the job responsibility. You don’t want to eliminate people who could be good hires because they don’t have the exact experience for the job. Sometimes, the best hires are people who have the skills to meet the objectives, but their experience may be in a different area or industry. Skills are often transferable from industry to industry. Since there is always a learning curve anyway on a new hire, they can learn the nuances of your business if they have the basic skills.
Smart Hiring Practice No. 5: Don’t throw new hires to the wolves. This means once you find a new hire, it is important to continue to mentor them and to help them fit in to your company. It can take months for a new hire to become completely comfortable. Make sure to offer training when necessary. And always give a new hire a copy of your employee handbook and make them sign a paper stating they received it. Communicate all objectives, your expectations of their timeliness, specific rules and regulations (i.e. use of cell phones on the job) and be clear in explaining their roles and responsibilities.
While hiring new employees is usually not an employer’s most fun task, it is one of the most important. When done correctly, it can save time, money, hassles and can ultimately be a very rewarding process.
Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, is president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., a high-risk HR and security consulting firm located in Akron. He is a renowned speaker, trainer and a celebrated author of several books, including the popular Life Rage. Tim, a former highly decorated police detective and SWAT team member, is a nationally-recognized authority on high-risk workplace and HR issues, security and crime. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.