A guest post from Mary Fraser of Fraser HR:
The business is going well and now it’s time to consider taking on your first employee. Before actually recruiting, it’s worth spending just a little time on ‘who’ and ‘what’. Recruitment can be expensive and as it does take time to set up and interview people, it is important to get it right. Getting it wrong can be a big expense too!
So here are my tips to help you with the process.
Write a job description
Let’s start with the job itself. What is the job? Yes, you are probably aware of the content, well roughly anyway. Too many small businesses keep a lot of this information ‘in their heads’ where it’s not easily accessible. It’s best to write it down!
What are the main responsibilities of the job? What are the main requirements of the job? A job description or job spec will help to clarify the new role.
Now write down the purpose of the job. Is the new job required to ‘assist’ you with your role?
Perhaps you are recruiting someone to ‘fulfil’ part of the job that is not part of your skill set? You are after all developing the business and you need to think about additional skills. But be wary of recruiting a ‘cloned you’!
Writing a job description will allow you to think more clearly about what additional help you need for the business right now and in the future too.
Write a person specification
Think about the person you need to do the job and again write it down. Consider what it is you will require from this person. You know after all what it takes to do this job.
What are the attributes you are looking for? They may include attention to detail, accuracy, flexibility, ability to speak a particular language?
The person specification may be written in terms of ‘essential’ and ‘preferable’ requirements. If you are recruiting a finance person then it may be ‘essential’ for them to have a specific finance qualification. But is it essential or preferable for them to be able to use a particular software? Perhaps you may decide to offer training to the right person?
Writing a person specification provides the opportunity to think about skills and attributes. It enables you to make a more informed decision for recruitment.
It’s also helpful for when you are preparing your interview questions. Further along the line, the person specification may help when you are job matching for further positions. It helps to have a template in place rather than starting from scratch all over again.
The real benefit of planning your recruitment
By taking the time to plan your recruitment, write a job description for the role and a person specification for the ideal candidate, you will be more confident about who and what you require for your business. As you will also need to assess the role and the person from time to time, it is important to have a set of criteria to work with too.
So this exercise will be good discipline and practice for you. You are after all ‘investing’ in new people; you are asking the new person to do a job for which they will require payment.
Sometimes the job description and person specification changes and that’s okay. It is not something that is set in stone! As your company grows and develops you and your people will do too.
About the Author: Mary Fraser runs Fraser HR which provides an external HR support service to small and medium sized organisations. She is an experienced HR professional, coach and mentor. With a passion for learning and development she now also coaches children at Poppyfields.