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Prepare for take-on - what to look for when hiring for the first time

Luke Whitmore - Law on the Web

  1. 16 April 2015
  2. Business
  3. 0 comments
Potential employees waiting for interview

If you’re taking the great leap from being the only employee of your business to hiring other staff, it can be as intimidating as it is exciting. Growing your business is very rewarding, but you want to make sure you start off on the right foot by employing the best people for the job – something that’s even more important for smaller businesses. Here are some tips on how to pick the best of the bunch when seeking and interviewing candidates.

Find people who share your vision

From the very start of the recruitment process, you should be clear about the mission and culture of your business and look to hire those who share your vision. This way, you can bring employees on board who will see their work as something fulfilling and worthwhile, rather than simply a way to make a living.

Another benefit of recruiting like-minded employees is that you have someone to discuss ideas with, allowing for more innovation in your firm than if you simply hired a competent worker with no interest in the business. It’s worth waiting for the right employee to come along rather than simply hiring the best person to apply the first time around.

Don’t overvalue experience

A lot of business owners make the mistake of demanding years of experience and reams of knowledge when it comes to filling job roles. Your business does, of course, need employees who can do their jobs, but remember that skills can be taught and the right candidate will be eager to learn.

For specialist roles, of course, experience and qualifications may be important, but you might want to think twice about rejecting an otherwise excellent applicant because they don’t fit the job description exactly. Bringing on someone with good potential and the right attitude might just be the best move for your business, allowing their talent to grow with the business and fostering greater loyalty than simply bringing someone on who’s already at the height of their career.

Test the skills of applicants

People can write whatever they like on an application form or on their CV, so if you want to make sure an applicant can truly deliver, work out a good way to put them to the test.

Whether you’re asking for samples of their work, roleplaying a sales situation, or challenging them to do some creative problem-solving, it’s a better way to get to grips with an applicant’s skills than simply asking them to tell you.

Cover your weaknesses

When hiring for a specific role, you’ll often be looking for someone with skills you don’t have – you might need someone to develop a website or do your finances, for example. A similar but perhaps less obvious point for consideration is that someone with a very different personality to yours can also be a great boon to your business by covering the weaknesses in the way you approach things.

While you’ll still want someone you get along with and who shares your overall goals, hiring people who approach problems in a different way can have huge benefits. For example, if you prefer to focus on the big picture, working with someone who excels at the finer details could yield better results than if you only hired people who share your way of doing things.

Make sure you stay on the right side of the law

It’s important that you don’t get so caught up in your search for the right employees that you accidentally breach employment regulations. Take a look at our recruitment and equality page for information on avoiding discrimination during the recruitment process.

When you recruit staff for the first time, there are new regulations and obligations you’ll need to keep in mind to avoid breaking the law. Our page about legal requirements for recruiting explains what you need to do before you can take on employees.

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