How to Hire for Your Small Business
Hiring Q & A with Printfresh Founder, Amy Voloshin
Are there any resources you’ve found helpful in the hiring process?
One of my favorite books on hiring is the Who Method which suggests a systematic process that is repeated similarly with all your applicants - it helps give a consistent evaluation so it’s easier to determine who is the best for the job. I also love Traction and there are some hiring tips in there as well, especially in terms of assessing candidates for whether they exhibit your core values and for GTW (‘get it’, want it, and have the capacity for the position).
How do you balance the need for experience vs the need for a culture fit?
I think that culture fit is a term that needs to be re-looked at. I like to refer to new team members as an addition rather than a fit. We all have so much to learn from one another and our team needs to have a wide variety of personalities to build the best team. Since we are such a small team and the complexity level of what we do is fairly high - most of our team came into their positions with a lot of relevant experience.
You’ve hired a lot of people over your years in business. What advice can you share for someone who is just getting started in building their team?
Hire slowly. I think it’s best to make sure you aren’t rushing the decision-making process, sometimes it’s best to wait for the right applicant to come along. Hiring for us might take three weeks or three months. However, firing quickly is also just as important. If the honeymoon period fades quickly or if someone is dishonest or works against the organization in toxic ways - it’s important to address it and deal with it right away.
What is the hardest thing about hiring?
Trying to articulate what it’s like to work with us. I always want to make sure that candidates walk away knowing some challenges about working with me, my partner, and being in such a super small company - I don’t want them to leave the interview with unrealistic expectations. When interviewing, I try to make it very clear what some of my more challenging traits are to make sure that it isn’t going to be a deal breaker. Being vulnerable in that way is hard, as it’s a bit like sharing negative things about yourself on a first date, but I think it helps candidates decide if working with me and my company is going to be the right thing for them.
Five Tips for Better Hiring with HR Consultant Anna Papalia
Anna has conducted over 8,000 interviews and for the past ten years has run her own business, consulting for CEO’s and owners of businesses in a variety of sizes and industries. Prior to starting her own business, she worked as a Director of Talent and an HR coach, helping people learn how to hire better. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or visit her website, www.Shiftprofile.com to learn more.
1. Take it Seriously
This is the number one piece of advice I give, and often one of the most common mistakes I see business owners make. Hiring someone great doesn’t happen accidentally, but as the result of hard work (you can’t just wing it!). Small business owners are constantly minimizing interviews, not preparing and not knowing what they want ahead of time. Instead, elevate the interview process.
2. Think About What YOU Bring to the Table
Whether making your first or fifth hire, you need to think about who you are and what you bring to the table and then ask yourself, do I want to replace myself so I can do other things, or do I need to hire my opposite? For example, a salesperson is much different than an operations person and the recruiting strategy to find each one is different. Figure out who you need, sit down and write a proper job description, and then cast a wide net (do not just rely on your friends of your network! Post it on LinkedIn and Indeed or ZipRecruiter.)
3. Trust The Process.
Give your post a deadline, usually, two-three weeks. Then, read all the resumes and reach out to the best applicants to schedule a phone screen. Before you speak to your candidates, prepare ten insightful questions to ask (ask them all the same questions!) Now you can compare them equally and move the best 3-5 applicants onto the next round, an in-person interview. Again, preparing great questions is key here - there are five types of interview questions: Standard, Technical, Brain Teaser, Behavioral and Personality. You can learn more about these on my website, www.ShiftProfile.com!
4. Don’t Talk Too Much.
The number one mistake hiring managers make is they talk too much. An interview is a test and should be conducted like a test, ask a question and wait for the answer (this can be painful for some people!)
5. Don’t Forget References!
After all of the work you’ve put in, you may feel ready to move forward with one candidate, but don’t forget the references!
Remember, trust your instincts, question your biases, and invest in the process!