Ready, steady, grow! How to Recruit Someone for the First Time

HOW TO RECRUIT YOUR FIRST EMPLOYEE for your small business or sme for ybkbs magazine for small businesses and entrepreneurs
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By Kathryn Rodgers

Your business has grown and you’re ready to take on your first member of staff – it’s an exciting time! Employing someone is a significant investment, and finding the right person for your business can be time-consuming and expensive. Here are a few things to consider to help you plan your recruitment process and get employee experience right from day one:  

Be clear about what you’re looking for

What are your values? What experience and/or qualifications do you need? Which skills will best complement yours? This doesn’t mean putting together a lengthy values proposition or job description, but a simple document setting out your requirements will help you avoid unconscious biases and target your activity to where you’ll get the best results. 

When it comes to target your activity

Think of your candidates as customers and your recruitment advert as a Marketing campaign. You can post a job on the major job boards for less than £100 (and this may well be worth doing), but thinking about where your potential candidates are likely to “hang out” and targeting your search accordingly will yield better results. Look at the social media platform(s) most relevant to your industry, post in appropriate groups and ask your network to help you gain visibility; if you attend networking events, mention that you’re recruiting there too – you never know who the other people in the room might be connected to… 

Use a mix of selection methods

Interviews are great for determining cultural fit, but used alone they’re not a great predictor of successful performance. Depending on the role you’re recruiting to, you might want to incorporate role play, psychometric testing or personality profiling to widen your view of your candidates. When interviewing, remember that experience- or competency-based questions will give a stronger indication of likely future performance – most people can give an ideal answer to a hypothetical situation, even if it’s something they’ve never dealt with! 

Treat all candidates fairly and respectfully

See people at the time you’ve promised to, and get back to them within a reasonable time period with a decision. Recruiting is as much about selling your company to the candidate as it is about them demonstrating their suitability for the role, and a negative experience during the selection process could put someone off altogether – either now or in the future.  

Once you’ve found your ideal candidate and they’ve accepted your offer, use the period between acceptance and their start date to set the tone of your relationship. Stay in regular contact, make sure any technology, equipment or Marketing materials they need are ready to go on day one, and that any training they may need is planned and scheduled. Once they’re on board, there are a variety of low-cost or free employee benefits you may wish to consider, but the most important consideration is what will be of value to your employee – so ask them the question. 

If you are a business owner thinking about taking on staff and you’d like some help, please feel free to get in touch and talk to me in more detail. 

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