A Time for Hiring

Hiring is an important process and the decisions you make can have a positive or negative effect on your business. Here’s how to get a great employee.

For most entry-level jobs, placing a classified ad in a newspaper is most effective. First you must identify your target audience and find which publication serves that demographic. A local newspaper will likely be your best bet, although there are many internet sites which could work well too – just make sure that it is Canadian-based and that the fees are appropriate. Most newspapers have an online classified section in which your print ad will also appear for no extra charge.

Next, you need to write a compelling ad. Keep it concise. Read other ads to see what sort of style you prefer. Here’s an example:

Growing print company looking for bilingual sales rep. Must be self motivated, organized, and experienced. Vehicle an asset. Salary plus commission. Fax resume to: 555-5555.

Once the responses start coming in, separate them into two piles: To be interviewed and To be tossed.

A resume should be professional and well written, that includes relevant work experience, technical skills, work history and achievements. References should be checked, although most people fail to do so.

Once you’ve narrowed down the resumes, it is time to start phoning to set up an interview with them. This step will eliminate a few candidates – you can often learn a lot about a person from the first phone call. Look for signs of motivation at this point – if they are not willing to go the distance to meet with you, chances are they won’t go the distance for your company. If a candidate appears hopeful, ask them to come in for an interview.

Start the interview with an overview of your company. Show them samples of your work and let them know what your specialty is. Prepare a few questions, but don’t read from a sheet – it’s best to have a natural conversation with the person. Ask them why they chose this field, what they would do in specific situations and what changes they have initiated in previous work places.

After the first round of interviews, you should be able to narrow the candidates down to a few who would be suited for the job. During their second interview, it may be a good time to give them a little ‘pop quiz.’ For example, if someone claims to type 60 words per minute, have a document prepared for them to type. You may find a few embellishments on the person’s resume!

Once you have selected your final candidate, inform them of the news. Arrange for the person to come in to discuss specifics such as remuneration, employee benefits and job expectations. When everything has been understood and agreed to, give the person a tour of their working area, introduce them to their co-workers and give them an overview of the project they will be working on.

For example, if the new graphic designer will be designing a cookbook, explain the project and ask them to familiarize themselves with the layout of a few cookbooks before they come to work. This will give them some food for thought and make them comfortable working with your company. It will also get them excited about their upcoming project, while giving you a chance to test them again. As you probably know, some people will come to work with a stack of cookbooks and thumbnail sketches. On the other hand, you may get someone who says, “What cook book?”

However, most new employees go through a stage where they want to show you they are a great employee. Early mornings, late evenings – an entrepreneur’s dream employee! Unfortunately, this euphoria often changes a few weeks into the game.

If the new employee fails to live up to what is expected, inform them that their behavior is not acceptable. For example, if a new employee begins coming in late, tell them firmly that you expect them to be on time. Explain your reasons and listen to theirs. Remember, just as you are still feeling them out as an employee, they are still feeling you out as a boss. By setting your parameters early in the relationship, you will avoid unproductive habits from souring the work environment.