Work Better Entrepreneur: Staffing

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One of the great thrills of being a business owner is the day you walk into your office and see a team of brilliant faces looking back at you, pounding away on keyboards while doing your bidding. These employees are more than just workers; they are part of a machine, but good ones can be challenging to find. So the question remains, to reach true exponential growth, how do you find these killer people to be part of your team?

The Law of 3

Monster.com recommends the Law of Three

Interview at least three people for a position. Even if you have great instincts and love the first candidate, you are choosing in a vacuum.  Being able to compare candidates will help you see what qualities are most important to you and may inform as to what qualities are rare or common for the role you are filling.

Interview the candidate you like in three different places.  People change in different environments, and most likely your new hire will be working in different surroundings with different kinds of people. Different environments will make a false veneer slip away quickly if they have one.

Have the candidate interviewed by at least three different people. You’ll get buy-in from your existing team and you’ll also get different perspectives on your prospect.  Try to have people of varied ages, genders, and cultural backgrounds interview your prospects if possible.

The Right Stuff

Asking the right questions makes all the difference. We’ve all heard the classics - Why is a manhole cover round? Sell me this pen, etc. Aside from learning how an interviewee thinks or testing their communication skills, look at your potential employee as a collaborator. Gather information so you can answer: Is this a person whose vision aligns with my company goals? Are they motivated by what motivates me? Is he or she essentially ambitious or more interested in personal freedom? Do they like to work hard? Do I like this person? Will the rest of my team like this person?

Independent Contractors vs. Employees

Working with independent contractors gives you the most flexibility – defined lengths of commitment, no unemployment benefits, they handle their own health insurance, and often you are working with entrepreneurial minded people.

Many states are cracking down to make sure that workers who can be categorized as employees are hired and paid as employees, which ends up costing employers more money. Click here to get more familiar with the IRS distinctions as it is imperative you understand them before you make any decisions.

Independent Contractors

When to hire independent contractors – For specialized or short term jobs when projects are defined by due dates or other parameters but do not require that the person to report to work for specific hours designated by the employer.

Where to find independent contractorsRecommendations are the best. If you don’t know anyone who has worked with the kind of person you are looking for, Google it.  Who is doing the kind of work you need?  Go get them! Get the best.

How to vet them for success (i.e. you get what you pay for) – Follow up on all references and all projects listed on the prospect’s resume. It can be easy to make up obscure credits, so do your research!

Employees

When to hire – You are making a commitment when you hire employees – you will be responsible for unemployment insurance and payroll tax among other things. Make sure your business plan is engaged and that you understand the laws in your state.

Don’t over look:

  • Recruitment agencies
  • LinkedIn
  • Networking events
  • Online job boards

Part-time vs. full-time - Employees can claim unemployment insurance for a reduction of hours. Most people don’t know this but it’s good that you do. If you are unsure of your needs, hire part-time and then increase to full, but try not to go in the other direction.

Special considerations with hired employees – Background checks are highly advisable and easily available both regionally and nationally. Make sure you have protocols in place: employee manual, job description, quarterly evaluations, and a system to record both good and bad behavior. You will want everything documented should you need to fire an employee.

Insurance - Like it or not, businesses today exist in a highly litigious environment. Highly overlooked, one of the best investments you can make is in insurance – product, general liability, theft, etc. Talk to an agent who knows your industry as well as do you own research. Cost and coverage can vary wildly, and this is one area you don’t want to make a mistake. Too much coverage can be an unnecessary drain on finances while too little can lead to an empty bank account and closed business. Striking a proper balance can be key to maintaining your business running at an optimal level.

 

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