Small businesses are like a family in a lot of ways. The members that make up the operating staff are as close as people who grew up together. But every business starts expanding sooner or later, and its responsibilities require more skills and attention than the small initial staff can offer. The result is that the business owner needs to look at hiring new people.
However, just because someone has the necessary qualifications does not mean they will be a good fit with your tight-knit team. Before hiring new personnel, you should think more about your company’s internal culture. The new hires will need to mesh with the existing company culture or else tensions will rise. As such, there are several other factors you should consider before hiring someone to your growing business. Below, 16 business owners from Forbes Business Council explore what you should keep in mind when hiring new talent.
1. Ensure Work Environment Match
When adding to their team, I believe the most crucial step an entrepreneur should take is analyzing their work environment and matching it with the history of the applicants. From my past experience, some of the internationally qualified managers that I hired in my first year as CEO were not able to instruct or communicate clearly with the local staff and field workers at our rurally located power plant. – Akshay Chawla, SPARK Green Energy Ahmednagar Pvt Ltd
2. Hire People Better Than You
Make sure to hire people who are better than yourself. This is by far your most important mission in order to grow your business. It might also be the trickiest part, which means you need to put lots of effort here. – Sam Foroozesh, Cure Media
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3. Look For Leaders Who Could Replace You
Look for leaders that you believe are talented enough to replace you. Sales team members need to be agile, articulate and tenacious. They must be able to represent your brand as well as you can. To that end, train them on the skills they will need to succeed. Finally, always treat all team members humbly, with respect, and show them appreciation for a job well done. – Robert Riefstahl, 2Win! Global, LLC
4. Seek Alignment Of Vision And Goals
Entrepreneurs need to determine where they need help most and delegate the tasks that are not their core strengths. Identifying team members who align with their vision and goals will make the transition of tasks that can be offloaded easier. A company grows successfully when the entrepreneur stays in their zone of genius and can articulate their vision to new team members. – Jodi Daniels, Red Clover Advisors
5. Find Someone Bringing A New Skill Set
Try to find someone who brings a new skill set into the equation. This starts with knowing whether the founding entrepreneur is clear on their own strengths and whether they have a low enough ego to accept they will need other senior people to help scale and grow successfully. If possible, hire A-grade people; don’t settle for mediocrity as that’ll dilute the chances of success. One key area of alignment is that the vision and values of the founding entrepreneur be shared with the first few hires as they will help finesse the North Star narrative whilst driving focus on execution and delivery. – Barry McNeill, Sportsology
6. Hire People Driven To Succeed
Your first additions to your team should be people who are very driven to succeed and like to roll up their sleeves and dive in. If they have a strong drive, they’ll be willing to learn new things and will do so on their own. As many tasks ahead may still be undefined, this will be key in seeing that the tasks get tackled with gusto. Another essential element is that they’re good communicators. – Andrew Scivally, eLearning Brothers
7. Ask These Three Questions
Ask yourself three key questions. First, what will your business be in 3 years? Hire for your future wants, not your present needs. Second, what is the highest and best use of your time and energy? The ROI on you is the most important thing to protect. Third, list your top three characteristics, and then find someone with the opposite ones. Diversity will give you an exponential kick of value beyond your imagination. – Maggie Nichols, Eureka! Ranch
8. Understand Their Innate Strengths
When adding people to your team, find a way to understand what their core strengths are, not if they can do the job. Innately understanding the way that potential hires achieve results will help you find people who will complement the other people in your business and play to the others’ strengths. – Brian Chew, OC Wills and Trust Attorneys
9. Imagine Working With Them In The Future
Don’t imagine yourself working with this person tomorrow; imagine working with them in a year. Is this someone you’d want to spend time around long term? It can be very hard to attract and retain talent, so don’t jump the gun and hire someone who has red flags. You may want the position filled ASAP, but it’s much costlier in the long run to rehire and retrain. – Harrison Baum, Daily High Club
10. Hire Someone With A Positive Attitude
Hire a person with a positive “can-do” attitude when you add to your team. A new team member can increase their technical skills through education, but attitude impacts everything. – Michelle Wade, Jetstream Aviation Law, P.A.
11. Seek To Hire Subject Matter Experts
Entrepreneurs should hire subject matter experts that differ from their core skills. Those differences will influence the work environment, allow better collaboration and ultimately serve your customers better. Additionally, find team members that have a passion for what you do. You can’t pay for passion. Find people that love what they do, invest in them and empower them to achieve their best. – Joshua Curlett, Sound Productions
12. Diversify Your Candidate Pool
Diversifying your candidate pool is key. It’s natural for early hires to be people the entrepreneur knows personally or are within familiar networks. I once heard that “diversity needs to be baked into the fabric of the company, like ingredients going into baking a cookie.” It’s hard to inject extra flour after the cookie is baked. I wish I was more thoughtful about this in the company’s early days. – Scott Wolfe, Levelset
13. Look For Entrepreneurial Experience
It helps if potential new hires have startup or entrepreneurial experience in addition to their core competency because then they won’t be surprised if asked to take on responsibilities in areas outside their comfort zone. The team should be multidimensional. – Brian Murphy, Emerald Bioscience, Inc.
14. Develop Clear Standard Procedures
Early on in my career, the best step I ever took was to document step by step, and sometimes keystroke by keystroke, the solutions to common pain points. That led to creating standard procedures with well-documented instructions for every process. Having well-developed work instructions is the first and most important step to promote growth and establish freedom for the founder. – Mary Shores, Shores Communications
15. Build A Success Profile For New Roles
Build a success profile for all new roles. Document the competencies and behaviors that will drive success for each role and identify the metrics to use to measure success, well in advance of interviewing, hiring or onboarding. Take your time and do the “get ready” work! – Tedd Long, Managed Care Advisory Group
16. Use Consultants
Use consultants before hiring full time. This allows you to test out the function needed to figure out processes and the best ways of working without having to commit financially for the longer term. It also allows you to “hire quick, fire quick,” ensuring you can find the best person for the role without soaking up time or money. – Francois Devillez, AlphaSwap