As a small business owner you know that the people on your team greatly impact the success of your company.  It is absolutely critical that you choose wisely. Here are some tips (and an example!) on setting yourself up to make an excellent hire.

Identify Responsibilities

The very first thing you need to do before you even conduct an interview is to compile a physical list of the job responsibilities the new employee will have.  Actually write it down!  Put the pen to paper and come up with a clear job description. Know exactly what you want to have them do. Will they be finding and compiling data? Will they be responsible for presenting and reviewing that data with the customer? What is it that you need or want them to do? You absolutely have to have that figured out before conducting an interview, but ideally you would want to have those job responsibilities locked in before you even announce that you’re hiring.

Require Strong Character

However, while making a physical list of job responsibilities is the first step, it’s actually not the most important part of the process.  You want someone joining your team who has character qualities that are a good match for those they will be working with and the job they will be doing – and you need to invest some time thinking about it. Be purposeful in hiring someone who can actively help you to build your business.  In the small business world there is very little room for error. Paper qualifications are far less important than the attitude and initiative of your employee.  Hiring someone who is willing to be flexible, can learn on the job, and is a self-starter will be much more valuable to you in the long run.

Outline Skills Desired

That being said, you still need to consider what talents and skills you want them to already have. Background experience in the area of work that your business deals with will always help. A good foundation is necessary in order to quickly learn the ropes and adjust to the way you operate your company. On the other hand, sometimes people are just naturally talented. You can give them a task doing something they’ve never done before and next thing you know they’ve done a better job than anyone else was ever able to do. Keep your eye out for talent like that, but make sure that they are still willing to work hard. The old saying, hard work beats talent, has never been truer. Hard, dedicated workers are always your best bet.

Job Description Example

As promised, here is an example of a job description, taken from our own files.  You will notice that it is organized into the 3 main sections: Attributes, Talents & Skills, and Responsibilities.  Each section is a simple list of terms, along with brief definitions for clarity, and the organization of those main sections is more or less by importance.

first page of job description includes summary, list of attributes required, and list of talents & skills desired

second page of job description includes list of responsibilities with definitions, explanation of education of work experience expectations, and hours & compensation.

Once you have thought about all of these things and determined what you’re looking for, then you’re ready to start the hiring process.  If you take nothing else away from this blog post, know that the point is to have everything laid out before you do anything, before you release the job description and especially before you conduct an interview. Taking the time to figure out exactly what you want will reap the most benefits and bring in the best candidates. Otherwise, you will get applicants who just waste your time, and that’s something you can’t afford to lose.