Most small business owners struggle with hiring. It is outside their comfort zone to be able to identify, onboard and manage people. I was in Corporate America for 30 years and did this regularly. I want to bring some of the lessons that I learned as part of this process. We are going to start with hiring.
The core of the hiring process is the Job Description. This relates to the duties that the person will be asked to do while at work. Last week, I posted about how the Business Brand needs to be explained as part of this. However, this week we need to tell people directly what we are going to want them to do. One thing that gets in the way is that many business owners wrap up too large of a job description for one job. One way I try to sort this out with them is to ask what they would pay someone to do a single job duty full time. If there is a large disparity, then the specified description likely describes 2 or more positions.
What does a Job Description consist of? Well, it is based around the hard skills that you want people to have. There are generally two halves of the Job Description. The first part is all about duties and responsibilities. You may go as far as to put them in a priority order. You should enumerate them to the reader. Be complete, but not exhaustive. Remember that different people talk about things using different language. It is important that you use plain language to explain the role. Use industry jargon only if the position is of such expertise that the applicant will understand the jargon or not be qualified. The second part is about qualifications. Again, these are hard requirements for past accomplishments that will help you separate out who is a likely candidate that will succeed in the position that you are offering.
You should consider a 3rd part of the Job Description – an overview of the company and why people should work for it. I have seen it from Mission and Values to ways that companies want to grow their employees. Pretty much anything that you want to tell people about what you do and why you do it. Especially in good times recruiting is a Sales Job and candidates are qualifying you as much as you are them. Information that makes your company attractive would be a great way of telling folks why they should work for you.
That brings me to the final point about this process – Emotion. I like to talk about it to clients as the Bacon and Eggs Breakfast comment. You know the Chicken is interested but the Pig is committed. As a business owner, you are emotionally tied up in the success of your business. You want to win and do a great job for your clients. You are like the Pig. But your employees are like the Chicken. They want to win. They want to do a great job for the clients. But – they do not live and die with the success of the business. They are not as emotionally committed. To them, it is a business deal. They are trading you the use of their skills and time for money. Nothing wrong with that. Do not expect them to have the level of commitment that you do. The way Silicon Valley gets around this is giving employees a meaningful equity stake (i.e. part ownership). The problem is that most small businesses will not have a liquidity event (a way for employees to sell their stock), so that avenue is limited. You can certainly plan for bonuses and the like, but you are not likely to be able to deliver life altering compensation. Because of that, your level of involvement will always be bigger than theirs. You have to understand that is the case and deal with it accordingly.
Have a great day!
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