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EDITORIAL FEATURE

Why Hiring the Right Fit is So Critical to The Success of Your Small Business By Lorraine Grubbs

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n today’s business environment there is little competitive advantage in price, product, and process. So, smart entrepreneurs rely on the other “P” to keep them on top of their game…People. By focusing on their People and hiring the right employees, these companies have discovered that they are able to stay ahead of their competition. As a small business owner, you don’t have a large number of employees, so when you hire, it becomes much more critical that you hire the right “fit.” A wrong fit in a staff of 30,000 is not good, but won’t be felt as much as a wrong fit in a staff of 10 - one tenth of your workforce! Hiring the wrong person will impact productivity, customer service, and overall employees’ attitudes. You’ve heard the phrase “hire for attitude, train for skill.” This article is designed to help you hire the right “attitudinal” fit. Skills will vary from job to job and that is something you can test or interview for without help. But attitude? That’s a different story. When a job needs to be filled quickly, many people will be tempted to put a warm body in the position to eliminate the strain of the extra work. This more often than not results in a bad hire, making your problem even worse. I learned the advantages of hiring the right fit during my 15 years with Southwest Airlines. We lived by the concept of “hire for attitude, train for skill” and, as a result, enjoyed low turnover and high productivity. So, how can you, the small business owner do it? Here are the 4 steps to hiring the right fit. 1) Identify the traits you are looking for in employees. “Nice people” is not specific enough. You need to define “nice” by looking at your company’s mission statement. If you don’t have one, think about what makes your company successful. Ask your customers – they know! What makes a good impression on them? What do they need from and like about working with your employees? You will get a list of things that can and should become your standard for hiring. Once you’ve identified the top three things every employee working for you must have,

make it non-negotiable to ensure that all future employees possess them. Some good “nice” attributes: customer service, otherversus-me oriented, initiative, empathy, hardworking, team player, etc. 2) Target your search efforts to find those people. Most small businesses don’t have a large advertising budget, so make your efforts count by targeting “those” people. Are you advertising in a way that “nice” people will be attracted to your company? Target your employment ads so they will appeal to the type of person you want to attract. Want someone with a good sense of humor? Make your ad humorous. Want someone with a caring attitude? Show that on your ad. Don’t overlook one of the most important sourcing channels, your own employees and your customers and vendors. Who better than they know what traits you need? Also, take some time to think about what people outside your organization think about your company as an “employer of choice.” Walk into a grocery store or around your community with your company uniform or clothing with your company logo and see if anyone makes a comment. Ask people what they think, and then be prepared to act on what you hear. With a good employer- branding image, your recruiting process is well on its way. 3) Interviewing the potential candidate. Your interview process should include someone from the team the person will work with, and a supervisor from that same team. These employees should have received basic interview training prior to being in the interview. This ensures a fair and equitable interview for the applicant. (There are lots of books on the market about the “legal” side of the interview.) Target your questions to get to the top traits you identified earlier. Use behavioral interviewing. For example, if you have identified humor as one of the traits you are seeking, try probing with the following: “Tell me about a time you used humor to defuse a difficult customer situation.” This makes the candidate think of a real scenario which they have Continued on page 43

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SMALL BUSINESS TODAY MAGAZINE JUNE 2013 | PG 19

SBT June Edition 2013  

SBT June Edition 2013

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