Hiring the right employees

Every time a customer comes into contact with a member of your team, your reputation is on the line. If you want to hold on to it, you need to invest in good people. Your home based business needs talented people who are motivated and productive. Read on to find out how to employ the right employees for your home business.

The Employee's Role
But before you even begin to look for a new member of staff, you need to be clear about their role. As Jenny Partridge of UK recruitment specialists JMP Associates says: "Unsuccessful recruitment is often caused by not having a clear specification."
"If you are recruiting a sales manager, for example, you need to make sure that the sales director and managing director agree on what they want from that role."

Skills and Experience
Once you've decided the specifics of the job, you need to identify the skills you require. Separate core competencies from desirable attributes – and make sure you're clear on the things you're not prepared to compromise on.

Job Description Guide
If you've never written a job description before, it's worth finding some high quality samples. Don't rely on job descriptions you may have had in previous roles yourself – simply because it's been used on you is no guarantee of quality. Margie Mader-Clark's book The Job Description Handbook explains a lot of detail of how to write job descriptions, and includes a CD-ROM with templates you can use for many major roles. Microsoft has published a general template for job descriptions in Word format which you can also download and use as a guide.

And most important of all – don't deviate from this job description! If you find an exceptional candidate but don't think they are right for the role, don't employ them – keep their details on file and call them if the right role comes up.

Finding your applicants
Once you've decided what type of person you're after, you need to find them. Word-of-mouth recommendation can work, and it's also cost-effective. If you advertise, do it in the right place. Although they may seem old-fashioned, local newspapers may be a good option for non-specialist roles. A service like Kelly staffing solutions can be a great way to find employees for specific roles.

Finding the Right Person
If your requirements are more specific, start with specialist or trade publications.
And remember that the process isn't one-sided: to attract the best candidates, you have to make it clear what's in it for them. Sell the benefits of working for your company, rather than just listing the skills you require. Make sure the salary you offer is competitive, and think about the package as a whole – many candidates will be attracted by benefits such as healthcare or flexible working. To find out what's competitive, look at the papers, magazines and sites that you're planning to use to advertise your job, and find what the going rate seems to be – don't forget to adjust this for any local conditions, such as if you're in a major city where the cost of living is higher.

For remote workers or flexible home workers try Remote Employment!

Whichever option you choose, make sure you can handle the response – especially if you advertise over the Internet. As Jenny Partridge says, "Recruitment web sites can be worthwhile, although the disadvantage is that you do get people applying for every job under the sun." Using a recruitment agency removes some of the hassle involved, but it can be costly. Even so, don't simply choose the agency with the lowest fees. Look for agencies with a proven track record in your industry, build relationships, and ask around for recommendations.

Selecting interview candidates
Before you conduct any interviews, you'll need to draw up a shortlist. If you carry this out in-house, it's best to have more than one person do it to minimise any potential for personal bias.

This is the stage at which that detailed job description comes in handy: you can use it as a checklist to identify the candidates who have the potential to do the job. And remember: you have responsibilities towards applicants even before you've met them. It's illegal to base your selection criteria on race and sex, disability or age. If in doubt, seek legal advice. Keep unsuccessful applicants' details on file for 12 months – and take care to destroy them at the end of this time.

The interview
Keep interviews on track by remembering their two primary functions: to allow you to find out about the applicant, and for the applicant to meet you and fully understand the role.

Prepare for each interview by thoroughly reading the applicant's CV or application form, and ensure the interview starts on time and is uninterrupted. Make sure each interview follows a similar structure.

When you offer the position, make the offer in writing. State that it's subject to signature and return of the contract of employment, as well as receipt of satisfactory references. Ask for at least two references – and always follow them up!

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