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How to Hire an Employee in 7 Steps
At a robust company, hiring managers will be called up to make a new hire with some regularity. If the company offers fulfilling work and competitive compensation, there will be no shortage of job seekers—both individual candidates and recruiters who represent job-seeking clients—within hours of a job listing being posted.
When confronted with a vast pool of candidates, choosing the right person can be a daunting task. But with an organized system in place, hiring employees can be a stress-free and even exciting process, particularly when the best candidates begin to emerge.
- Define the position. This step takes place before you post a job listing. You and your colleagues must assess the internal needs of your company and determine whether there’s a role that needs to be filled. Perhaps you’re scaling up, and your CEO or your human resources department determines that an additional team member is needed to achieve the company goals. Or perhaps a role already exists, and it has been recently vacated by a previous employee. In this case, you must decide whether that person should be replaced one-for-one, whether the role should be adjusted, or even whether the role should still exist.
- Ask yourself: will this be an employee or an independent contractor? In the United States, businesses may employee two types of workers. One is an employee, who may be asked to provide their exclusive professional services to a company. In exchange, the company must provide the employee with a salary, a contract that guarantees a period of employment, and some array of benefits such as access to a healthcare plan, paid leave, or annual vacation time. The alternative is an independent contractor. These workers do not have the same guarantees of sustained employment and they may not receive any employee benefits other than a cash salary. In exchange, independent contractors are permitted to work at more than one company simultaneously and there are limits to how employers can control the way these contractors work. A middle ground is a part-time employee, who will have fewer hours of work on the payroll system than a full-time employee but who—like an independent contractor—is likely to have a second job that will be competing for their time. Note that it is harder to recruit great candidates for part-time work; most people want to live comfortably off of one single job.
- Post a job listing. Once the parameters of the position have been internally established, it’s time to create job postings on various platforms. In today’s world, many staffing and recruiting services assist in the process, although they may charge significant fees to employers. Community job boards can be a good resource for cost-conscious small business owners who seek top candidates but cannot afford the fees of the big recruiters. Personal networks also help, but they don’t always yield the most qualified candidates. Broader business networks can provide a wider array of candidates.
- Review applications with an open mind. As applications begin to roll in—and, if you’ve written a great job description and offered competitive compensation, you will get plenty of candidates—read each one with an open mind. Perhaps you have an image in your head of the ideal employee for the open position. And perhaps that exact candidate will emerge during the hiring process, but by keeping an open mind, you may find someone who is even better.
- Interview your top candidates. In today’s job market, it’s rarely possible to interview every candidate who applies. But it would also be a serious mistake to hire someone without interviewing them first. This makes the in-person interview process one of the most essential parts of finding the right candidate. Make sure your job interview questions cover essential topics. Ask about the candidate’s personal self-assessment, including personality traits, their work style, and ideal work environment. Ask about your description of the company’s culture and the candidate’s thoughts on it. Ask your potential candidates: “Is there a question that I didn’t ask you but should have?” Don’t forget to provide clarity about the role’s start date, compensation, job title, an employee handbook, employee benefits, health insurance, and anything else that would be of interest to a candidate.
- Perform due diligence. Before extending any offers, make sure that you know enough about your candidates. Call their references, and pay the necessary money to conduct a criminal background check. It’s also during this stage that you should make sure that you have fulfilled the legal requirements—as delineated by the United States Department of Labor—for conducting an equitable job search. You’d hate to be moments away from your hiring decision only to learn that you haven’t followed proper protocol.
- Make an offer. If you think you’ve found the right candidate among your pool of applicants, it’s time to extend a formal offer letter detailing proposed terms of employment. Bear in mind that a candidate may be interested in working for you but may not be impressed with your proposed salary, benefits, or other factors, such as social security or workers’ compensation insurance. If you really want this person to work for you, prepare for a bit of negotiation. Ultimately, you will decide whether this candidate’s requirements are a worthy trade-off for the opportunity to have them as your newest employee. Typically, the best employees are well worth whatever you’re paying them, so don’t pinch every last penny.
3 Tips for Hiring the Right Employee
Some of the most successful managers live by the following hiring tips as they work toward identifying top talent to bring in for an open position:
- Choose relevant job requirements. Don’t make them so loose that you end up with a bunch of potential candidates who are grossly underqualified. On the other hand, the right employee may not need a decade of past experience in the industry, so don’t scare away potentially great employees by demanding needless experience or skills that are more of a luxury than a necessity.
- Be respectful of the applicant’s time. One of the big hiring mistakes employers make when filling an open position is assuming they’re the only option in a candidate’s job search. The top talent on the market is likely to be contemplating multiple positions and they may already have a job offer in hand when approaching you as a potential employee. Respect is a two-way street, so if you’d like your candidates to show deference to your company culture and to make an effort to fill out a job application and come in for an in-person interview, be sure to extend that same respect back to them.
- Don’t rush. A hiring decision will affect a lot going forward. Don’t let anxiety about the process or dissatisfaction with current employees rush you into making a hasty decision when picking a new employee.
By adhering to these steps and hiring tips, you can turn the process of hiring employees from a dreaded necessity to an invigorating way to breathe life into your company. If everything goes well, and you’ve found the right fit, both you and your new hire will be looking forward to their first day with equal degrees of eagerness.
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