Celebrating the people behind British small businesses

How to hire staff

By Alison King, Director, Bespoke HR

If your business is growing, it may be time to consider hiring staff to help you expand. Where do you start and how do you attract the right people for your business?

Job analysis

The most important thing you can do is to create an accurate job description; what do you want this person to do? What background or skills do they need? What is the level of responsibility? Be clear on what you need; a vague advert calling for an ‘all-rounder’ is likely to give you a flurry of applications, but take up considerable time to process.

Nailing the job advert  

Getting the job description right is essential. Finding the right candidate, saving your business valuable time and effort, all comes down to crafting the right recruitment advert.

  • Always include the salary details: if you don’t specify the salary you may well receive a deluge of applications, which take time and resource to sort. It’s far better to attract the right level of candidate by being clear from the start on salary expectations.
  • Sell your business: advertising a job is as much about finding the right person for your business as selling your business as a desirable place to work. Open your advert with a winning paragraph about your business, clearly stating what you do and avoiding jargon.
  • Be clear about job titles: make sure the job title relates to the role so there is no confusion with applications and further on down the line. If your role requires a set of specific skills make sure these are clearly outlined. Divide these between what’s essential and what’s desirable for the role.
  • Include location: if travel is involved be clear about these.
  • Include keywords: these will help your job get picked up by search engines.

Where to advertise

There are numerous options available on where to advertise a job, and the type of role will dictate where you post it. The most common options are:

  • General websites, e.g. Monster, Reed, Total jobs etc.
  • Industry specific – e.g. The Caterer for hospitality roles.
  • Social media – Facebook & Twitter
  • LinkedIn – mainly professional roles
  • Web groups – e.g. Net mums
  • Newspapers – although these can be expensive.

Getting the interview right  

Things to consider before you interview are:

  • Do you have a suitable location / room layout? If not, consider conducting the interview in a local café or somewhere where you can chat.
  • Think about how long you want the interview to last and structure questions to fit into that timescale.
  • Will you ask the candidates to do a presentation, or will you be giving them a test? Let them know in advance if they are expected to bring anything with them on the day.
  • Anticipate any questions they may have, and what your company can offer them in terms of benefits and rewards.

You should always assess applications on their suitability for the role based on their skills, and document the entire application process. Remember that rejected applicants can request feedback within three months, and you will have to supply reasonable justification to explain why they were not successful. Be aware of Protected Characteristics to make you are complying with the law on recruitment.

Our golden rule is to always treat candidates as customers, a job interview is just as much about selling your company as it is about finding the right employee. Consider whether you need a second stage interview, and use a score sheet to create a robust audit trail.

Other considerations

Once you have found a suitable candidate, you must ensure you have the following in place:

  • Offer letter – we can supply templates to download to customise.
  • Employee references – make sure you have followed these up before you hire the employee.
  • Contract of employment
  • Staff handbook – setting out what’s expected of your employee and your company ethos.
  • Induction training – plan the first few weeks of employment, what your new team member needs to know and what will help them become acquainted with your business.
  • Uniform – if appropriate.
  • Staff payroll, right to work in the UK and NOK information.
  • Working time directive.

Alison King is Director at Bespoke HR, which provides outsourced HR for small to medium sized businesses. Bespoke HR is offering readers 15 minutes of free HR phone consultation, to book a slot visit www.bespokehr.com/contact-us. Follow us on Twitter @BespokeHRInfo