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By Steven Kelly. Steven is an IBDEA Board Member

Here’s a common fact for small business owners who might not have a “human resources department”: Hiring a new employee can be draining, time-wise and emotionally. And, typical of burdens we bear, the human tendency is to cut corners.

Yet heed the wise words of Proverbs 13:11, which says, “Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.”

View the task of hiring the right person as an investment; by doing so, you’ll quickly realize that doing it right results in a more quality hire. Here are ten tips for hiring wisely:

1. Take your time: Priceless. Invest in the search process — both with your time, your money and your mental commitment.

2. Treat every search the same: Priceless. The same process should be used for an entry level employee as it is for a higher-level manager. A consistent procedure:

  • Helps you better recognize any changes that are needed in your process.
  • Projects to both your candidates and current employees that you value each and every team member at your company.
  • As you become familiar with your process, you discover it becomes quicker and easier as you go from one hire to the next.

3. Plan the position: Priceless. Create a thorough job description before posting. Include in this job description:

  • Position title
  • Department in which the position exists/Reporting structure
  • Days/hours for the position (See #4, below)
  • 1-3 sentence summary of the responsibilities
  • A list of the position’s key job duties/tasks
  • Position qualifications (i.e., previous experiences, skills, training, etc.)
  • Educational qualifications (i.e., degree and/or licenses)
  • If applicable, physical demands of the position
  • Qualities that would contribute to superior performance (example: “Bilingual in Spanish a plus”)
  • The various tidbits that are essential these days, including:
    • a) Exempt vs. Non-Exempt
    • b) Qualifiers such as “Job duties may be revised …” and
    • c) you’re an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Need help formulating the actual words? Here are two ideas:

  • Copy from others! Go to websites like indeed.com or monster.com and see descriptions that other companies use; then, use them as your own template.
  • Career One Stop. Create job descriptions using the website www.careerinfonet.org/jobwriter, which is produced by the U.S. Department of Labor.

4. By doing your homework ahead of time, you save time, money and headaches by being crystal clear with what are your needs and expectations. No sugar coating!

For example, by analyzing a particular schedule, you conclude that the job requires someone to work Saturdays and/or Sundays (and in our industry, we all know this only too well). Thus, say so up front. If the position is a 3pm-11pm job, say so.

Or, say you want to stagger your drivers’ hours so they can load at different hours: Be specific that this is your objective and how this might affect start/end times. Another example: Say you don’t want anyone from out of state applying, since you have no intention of paying for a move … say so!

Last: Discuss all these expectations when interviewing. By doing so, the prospect feels a sense of pride that they are being considered for the position. And, you’ve laid out everything in black and white.

5. Post the job: Priceless. 
Sometimes, depending on word of mouth or using free services such as Craig’s List isn’t sufficient. Shamrock Group has had good results using Indeed.com. This website’s benefits include:

  • Customized to your own marketplace/city.
  • Template for job description is very simple and has no minimum for text.
  • Ability to control your “Cost per Click”
  • Ability to control the moment you want to activate/deactivate the posting (vs., say, a required set period).
  • Allows you to build a profile of your company (text and graphics) to enhance your image.
  • Ability to review resumes and contact people (via email) who you are interested in, if they haven’t responded to your posting.

6. “The First Impression” tests: Priceless. So now you have a folder full of resumes. How to hone in on the best candidates? Pay close attention to every detail as you go from the written word to phone dialogue to personal interview stages. Create a grid and grade on a 1-5 scale. Examples of categories:

  • Structure of resume. Is it truly up to date? Void of errors? Did they invest the time to create a resume or did they merely throw together words in response to the posting template? (With indeed.com, you can tell the difference.)
  • Written responses. Send candidates an email and ask them to respond to a few questions. See what they type, how they type, how fast they respond, etc.
  • Voice intonation. Friendly? Approachable?
  • Eye contact. Enough said.
  • Word choices. Use of good grammar? Do they lean toward being positive or negative in nature by what they say?
  • The smile. A person who can smile easily speaks volumes about their personality.
  • The pet test. At the Shamrock Group, candidates must past the Bailee & Reilly test. How a person reacts to pets can also speak volumes about someone’s personality.
  • Clothing choice. Did they take the time to dress in appropriate business/business casual … or are you looking at holes in jeans and a “favorite team” sweatshirt?
  • The car (interior) test. Walk the person out to his/her car and observe what’s inside. If a car interior is in disarray and/or trashed, the person’s life might be as well.

7. Interview questions: Priceless. You can go online to research the wide array of questions to ask a candidate. Regardless of what you ask, two things are critical: Be consistent — and be prepared. Remember: Your company’s image is on trial just as much as your candidate is! Know the contents of a resume before the candidate walks in.

Today, the trend in interview questioning is toward behavioral vs. merely fact finding. Certainly, you can and should ask about the person’s past jobs, strengths and weaknesses, professional goals and the like. But ask a question or two that helps you see how the person dealt with a situation. Examples include: “Tell me about a time when…
“… you were told to do something you didn’t know how to do.”
“… you had to complete an important project and what the result was.”
“… you had to incent employees, how you did this and what the outcome was.”

8. Delve deeper: Priceless. So you feel good about hiring Joe Smith … now what? The answer: Feel even better about Joe. Probe further. This includes all or some of the following (depending on the position):
Checks. At the Shamrock Group, we use a company called Global HR Research. We have a consistent “package” we order with each potential hire that includes (some or all, depending on the position)

  • Background checks
  • Driving record checks
  • Drug testing
  • Credit checks
  • Personality testing. We require candidates to complete the RTW SelectRite test, which was created by an insurance company three decades ago to help decrease workers’ comp claims. The test evaluates the propensity an individual has towards theft, aggression, lying and faking — and delivers a “Qualified” or “Not Qualified” result.
  • Aptitude testing. Strive to reduce turnover before you ever even hire. For example, the Asher CPQ Aptitude Assessment test helps to determine how likely a person can be successful in Sales.

9. The job offer: Priceless.
 Similar to point #5, the “how” is of personal choice. And just like point #5, what’s most important is consistency and preparedness. Know all your offering facts before you make the call. Also, create a Letter of Intent that outlines every necessary detail, which the candidate signs upon acceptance. We can send you ours, as an example; or, you’ll find several online.

10. Welcome: Priceless! It’s Joe’s first day. Ensure he’s glad he chose your company by making him feel welcome. This includes:

  • Welcome packet. Includes the Letter of Intent, all necessary forms to complete, collateral that tells of your company history, products, mission, etc., an employee directory and diagrams of your building(s) that detail the who, what’s and where’s.
  • All systems go! Have Joe’s desk/office/truck ready, his email/phone established, and his uniforms/business cards on order.
  • Meet ‘n greet. Assign someone to take Joe around to meet employees and learn everything there is to know … bathrooms, office supplies, etc.

As we all know only too well, the process doesn’t stop at this neat and tidy #10. It’s ongoing — hopefully for years to come. But as our Proverbs wisdom tells us, if you scheme to get something quickly, your wealth disappears. It you put in the hard work, your wealth grows.

It’s this simple: Invest wisely in getting great employees, and you’ll be rewarded. Priceless.