January 10, 2013

How to Add the Right People to Your Team, Pt. 1—Getting Started

Adding people to your team can be daunting, but the benefits of having additional assistance with your business will be worth it if you hire correctly. In this, the first in a two-part blog series on how to add the right people to your team, we cover what you should do well before you get to the point of actually hiring someone. In part two, we’ll discuss the interview process. 

Getting Started: A Clear Job Description

Before you hire a new team member, prepare for the hiring process by first determining job responsibilities, essential job functions and hiring criteria. 

Clear job descriptions serve multiple purposes. They define the roles and responsibilities of the job and give applicants a realistic job preview of expectations. Job descriptions can also be used to train new employees, to appraise employees’ performances and to write “help wanted” ads and interview questions. They can also be used as legal protection should an employee later state they are being required to do work they never intended to do. 

Job descriptions should include these elements:

  • a title which is descriptive of the responsibilities
     
  • a position overview that explains what this job sets out to do
     
  • specific job requirements, including education, experience, licenses, skills and abilities required for the job
     
  • tasks and duties, usually listed in the order of essentiality
     
  • physical job requirements, such as standing, lifting, walking, etc.; and finally
     
  • a disclaimer statement.

 

Finding Candidates 

Once your job description is complete, you are then ready to begin recruiting. Your first goal is to build an applicant pool of qualified candidates. It used to be that the most common source for job recruitment was to place an ad in the local newspaper, and depending on where you live and the labor market, this may still be a good starting point. But newspaper ads can be expensive—anywhere from $500 to $1,700—and that’s for a one-time slot.

Internet sites such as Monster or CareerBuilder have the advantage of saving time and money and can reach an expanded pool of interested candidates. Some disadvantages include half of all visitors to job boards are just browsing and are not seriously considering changing jobs; there are more unqualified candidates that will apply because it is easier to do so; it can be more time consuming to review and respond to applicants; and you may be excluding individuals who don’t regularly or easily access the Internet. 

Choose your advertisement media based on your personal skill sets, location and budget. If you aren’t very familiar with Internet job posts, and you hope to make the hiring process simple for you, don’t try learning how to work the Internet while simultaneously making a hire. Instead, stick to traditional sources. If you choose to use the Internet, be sure to post your ad on your personal website as well. If you are more advanced at using online technology, you may want to consider posting the ad on more professional social media sites like LinkedIn. 

A traditional advertisement includes the position and company name in bold with a description of important job functions, followed by critical job requirements and an explanation of how to apply. If you are looking for a more eye-catching advertisement, start with an attention-grabbing statement and highlight your top selling points: why would you want this job? To help your ad stand out from others, try using different (but not distracting) fonts or formatting. To make your ad pop, use positive descriptive words and include duties and how to apply. Also be sure if you post your ad online to include a link to your website where candidates can learn more about you and your business. 

If placing advertisements isn’t in your budget, or if you are concerned that the number of applicants may be too great for you to sort through on your own, there are other options. Ask for referrals from employees, clients, friends and colleagues. You may also request referrals or even interns from local colleges and universities. Temporary placement agencies may also be a valuable resource to consider. If your budget allows, consider hiring an outside firm to complete the entire process for you, with your input of course. 

The next step is the interview process. I’ll discuss that in detail in my next post.

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