The ins and outs of hiring

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Hiring an employee is not an easy task, but if your business is growing and you need additional staff, you may have to step up to the challenge. Where do you start? How do you define the position you need to fill? What makes a good employee? These are just some of the many questions you'll have to answer as you look for an employee.

Before you post any openings, you should first determine if the need for a new employee is genuine. Jot down a list of responsibilities that you would like the new employee to fulfill. Study it carefully. Are you certain that there is enough work to hire another person, or could you divide the responsibilities among other employees?

Before you answer that question, think about your budget. Do you have the funds necessary to hire another employee? Not only will you have to pay their salary, but you may need to purchase other items, such as office furniture and equipment, to accommodate them.

If it turns out that you do need a new employee, you should clarify the position for which you are hiring. What exactly will the new employee be doing? Refer to the list of responsibilities you compiled earlier. Are you certain that one person can handle all of the tasks? Once you have a better idea of the type of position you need to fill, you can sketch out the responsibilities in a job description.

As you write up the job description, think about the kind of person you would like to hire. What kind of qualities would the ideal candidate have? List them on paper. Then read through your list and weed out any qualities that are unrealistic and underline those that the candidate must have, such as education, experience and work ethic. As you do this, keep your budget in mind.

If you can only pay minimum wage, chances are you can't afford an illustrator with a master's degree, so you may have to eliminate that quality. Although not as important as education and experience, you will probably want to hire someone whose work ethic complements yours.

Once you have an idea of the type of person you would like to hire, you can begin looking for them. First place an ad in the Classified section of the local paper. For the best possible outcome, consider running it for a week.

Post the opening in other publications, such as the church bulletin, and don't forget to check with your friends and business associates for candidates. They may know of someone who would be just perfect for the job.

If you have access to the Internet, take a look at the many employment Web sites. Post the opening or peruse through the resumes that have been posted. Inform the local unemployment office of the opening. If experience isn't important, contact the nearest college placement office and ask for a list of graduates who meet your qualifications.

If money is an issue, consider enrolling in the college's internship program. In exchange for college credits and experience, an intern may be assigned to work for you for a specified period of time. However, because they are so inexperienced, you may have to provide them with more guidance.

Finding the right employee often takes time, so be prepared. If you need someone right away, you may have to make some sacrifices. Instead of hiring that seasoned office manager who can't start for another month, for example, you may have to settle for that somewhat green office manager who can start right away. It's up to you to decide who best meets your needs.

As you continue your search, keep in mind that the best employees aren't always the most qualified or the most experienced. Sometimes all you need is that one dependable person who is willing to work hard and add to their skill set as necessary.

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