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Before you hire anyone for your business…

By Pauline Muindi | October 14th 2020 at 10:00:00 GMT +0300

Did you know that employees are more valuable to a business than customers? On your own, you can only do so much. At some point, you will need to hire human resource to help you with various aspects of your business. Most often, it is employees who will be in direct contact with your customers.

Therefore, the kind of people you hire can make or break your business. This is why you want to vet job applicants carefully before hiring. Look at your company like a puzzle. For every position and role, you have to find the right fit to ensure the cohesiveness and success of the whole.

Many entrepreneurs make hiring mistakes that end up costing their businesses. While hiring the occasional bad apple cannot be completely preventable, here are common mistakes every entrepreneur should avoid.

Hiring because you can

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Many entrepreneurs love the idea of having more employees to brag about. They view the number of employees as a reflection of how big and successful the business is. This is why many businesses rush to hire as soon as they can afford to.

But hiring should always be driven by roles and responsibilities within the company. Before hiring, clearly define the roles and responsibilities that the new team member will serve. Can your current team handle those responsibilities? Will the new hire bring in enough money to cater for their salary and boost profits?

When you hire without properly defining the roles you are hiring for, you set up the new employees for failure. Without clear responsibilities, they will not know what is expected of them, how to be successful in the role, and what not to do. They are likely to be frustrated and uninspired, leading to bad attitude.

Having more cash in your business does not mean you should spend it on hiring more employees. More employees do not necessarily mean fewer problems – it usually means the opposite. After all, the bigger you get, the more difficult it is to keep the orchestra playing in harmony.

Instead of adding more cogs to your business machine, look at ways to make your current employees more efficient. For example, you can provide them with training to update their skills or equip them with new ones. This might also mean automating some of your systems or updating your equipment to make your process faster and more efficient.

Not doing due diligence

Anyone can write a great CV or hire someone else to do it for them. Many job applicants overstate their qualifications in their resumes. For all you know, “successfully managed a global digital marketing campaign” could be a fancy way of saying they watched someone else create a Facebook ad targeting an audience in another country. Some job applicants can also fool you during the interview process.

It is important to take your time when considering a new hire. Do not rush the interview process, even if you are desperate to fill the role. When you are desperate, you are likely to overlook critical flaws in potential candidates and end up hiring people who do not fill the bill.

“I can always fire them if they do not fit the role,” you might think. But when you consider the cost of recruiting, it is better to do everything in your power to avoid hiring the wrong person. Not to mention that once they sign the contract, you won’t be able to fire them without justifiable cause.

Conduct extensive interviews with candidates where you ask them all the important questions. Do not forget to ask questions that assess soft skills and cultural fit. Check out their academic and professional qualifications and call their references. You should also check the candidate’s online presence – you might find key information on social media or media coverage.

While it is important to make decisions based on logic in business, do not dismiss your gut instinct when it comes to hiring. Someone might look great on paper but still be a bad fit for your business.

Right person, wrong role

When you are recruiting, you might come across candidates who have great skills and are a great fit for your company culture. Even when the role you were hiring for is filled, you might feel bad about losing such great people, especially when you know your competitors will snatch them up. You might end up creating another role to retain the extra employee.

While this scenario might work out, it often doesn’t. You will be using a portion of your business profits to pay the individual’s salary. The employee might also end up frustrated if their responsibilities aren’t clearly defined and there’s no room for growth in their role. This creates a lose-lose situation for both employer and employee. As we’ve already established, hiring should always be about filling a specific role, not finding someone you like and creating a role for them.

Being slow to fire

A big mistake that many entrepreneurs make is holding on to employees who aren’t providing value. It is understandable that you feel a sense of loyalty to your employees, even when they’re failing at their roles. But this might end up costing your business, and that will do nobody any good.

To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to get comfortable with making difficult decisions. Many entrepreneurs confess that they regret not firing bad employees fast enough. Delaying the inevitable isn’t going to make your business smoother – it is likely to do the opposite.

The conventional wisdom for start-ups is “hire fast and fire faster.” However, you should always adhere to the legal requirements regarding termination. Firing bad employees frees up your budget and opens up the opportunity to bring in new blood. If the bad employee wasn’t pulling their weight, your team will appreciate them leaving and a better team player stepping into the role.


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