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Recruiting your first member of staff

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By Jane Wilson, Alpaca

Recruiting virgin? – recruiting your first staff member

Firstly congratulations, things must be going well to be ready to recruit for your first staff member.  But let’s do this right, it can be tricky so follow this guide.

Plan the role

Think through carefully what the new role will be, you might be screamingly busy or need a skill set you don’t have – whatever the reason for the recruitment be clear on what you are looking for.  Write it down as a job description (some great templates can be found online) and see how it looks, it needs to be possible and attractive.

Decide on the pay

Next how much it is worth.  There is so much information available on the web, google similar roles or look at recruiter’s sites and work out how much that type of role typically pays, put that on the job description along with the hours you are looking for.

How to get it out there

Next decide how you want to spread the word, there are some amazing recruiters out there, but they will charge you somewhere between 18% and 30% of the salary for their work.  Alternatively, you can use social media (LinkedIn has a strong track record) and your own networks (friends/family/current and ex colleagues).  There are also many free recruitment websites such as Indeed.  Allow about 3 weeks to get the word out.

Applications are In

So you have had some people apply – now what?

Decide who you want to interview and who isn’t right for you – if you are short on time a telephone interview is a really great way of getting a feel for someone before you meet them (and really helpful if their role involves talking to your customers).  Decide when you are free to interview and call your candidates to book them in – we would suggest leaving an hour for the interview. 

Don’t reject anyone until you have your candidates booked in.  Unless you have had hundreds of applicants I would recommend rejecting everyone by email, thank them for applying and let them know others were more suitable – you never know you might want them for another vacancy sometime soon. 

Email the candidates who are coming to confirm the arrangements – location, dates and times, whose interviewing and what they should prepare.  Also ask them to bring in their passport for you to see (so you know straight away they are ok to work in the UK and ok to employ).

Interviews are set

It’s a really good idea to interview with someone else if you can, a second opinion can be invaluable.  Organise a quiet place, preferably not public, to chat in and do your prep.

Plan out the questions you want to ask in advance and try to ask the same main questions to all of the candidates so you have something to compare. 

  • Settle them in first, introduce yourself and explain the format for the interview
  • A good starter question is ‘what interested you in this role?’
  • Then focus on finding out what their experience is – ask them to talk through their experience which is most relevant to the role
  • Think through what key skills you need in advance – good communicator or calm under pressure? Then design questions to match e.g. Can you describe the last time you were under pressure at work? How did it feel and how did you cope?
  • Then move onto explaining the role in more detail using the job description, and checking their skills
  • Make sure you have a good feel for the person and their skills before you finish the interview. Don’t be afraid to ask extra questions to get to the information you need 
  • Finish the interview by thanking them, checking if they have any questions and let them know the next steps – the date for a decision or a further interview

Make your offer

Prepare in advance what you want to say about pay, hours, job title and start date. Call them first then follow this up with an email, and fingers crossed for an acceptance!

Looking for a business group to join to help you grow your business? Then sign up now and become part of The Initiative for mothers in business.

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