If your business grows to such a size that you need to recruit people, you should think of it like  the process of making friends. Choose well and your business will be all the better for it. Choose poorly and it will bring you (and your business) down.

But, it’s even more important to choose employees well, because you’ll spend a lot more time with people that you work with than those you socialise with.

Some firms recruit ‘talent’ before they actually need them. But the greatest disservice you could do to your business and to the people you recruit is put them into non jobs. Talented people want challenge and work on meaningful things. Giving them a job because  they’re good is not good for you and it’s not good for them and before long they’ll get up and leave.

Other firms wait until they absolutely need to recruit new people, ie they get to the point where they  just can’t go on any longer without recruiting someone.   Those organisations tend to improve business processes and avoid unnecessary complication, not only simplifying their business (out of necessity) but avoiding costly mistakes and expensive processes.

But, when the time actually comes to hire, chances are you’ll be shortlisting the candidates based on the CV.

In a world of automation where jobs can be applied for at the touch of a button and CV’s can be sent out to many potential employers, how do you know that the person applying for your job actually wants to work for you?

How do you sift the Jamie Varon’s of the world who created the website Twitter should hire me from the ones who just want a job?

A covering letter

Cover letters are the equivalent of the Jamie Varon website. They separate the applicants from those who want a job and those that want any job.   Cover letters also do something else that CV’s don’t do, they distinguish those that can write from those that can’t.

Spell checkers of course can help with the spelling, but they can’t help with the writing. So on two competing CV’s the smart money goes with the one with the best covering letter.

At the interview

It’s good to have inquisitive people on board, those that ask questions and have a genuine desire to make things better. The best way to do this is by noting  the types of  questions that potential new recruits asks. Those that ask ‘How’ types of questions tend to be people who need directon and will generally need much more support. As a small business, can you really afford to provide high levels of support to that person?

Far better is the candidate that that ask why, not how. ‘Why do you do that?’ – why is good, it demonstrates and inherrent curiosity in the subject matter than the potential new hire has.

Test drive

Just like you take  a car out for test drive, wine sellers give you taste of wine before you buy it and Deli’s let you try a sample of cheese, wouldn’t it make sense that you do this with employees before you recruit them?

You could do this by taking people on a 1 month trial or ask them to complete a particular peice of work  which you pay them for.  If the potential newhire already has a job then maybe they could do the work a few hours  a week.

Either way, test driving before hiring could save you a some expensive mis-matched employees.

There’s good employees everywhere, you’ve just got to find them.

What do you think?

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