No matter what industry you are in, what personal aspirations you have, or your reasons for starting your own business – achieving growth is almost definitely at the top of your list for business goals.

It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway!) that you cannot grow your business alone. At one stage or another, you will need to get more people on board. And we know that can/will be very daunting.

When is the right time to hire?

How do I identify what I need?

How do I find them?

How do I know they are the right person for the job?

…all questions that are probably running through your mind in this stage of business ownership, and this blog is here to shed some light.

Firstly, knowing the right time to hire will be different for different businesses and business owners.

Once you’ve identified that it’s time for you to recruit, you’ll need to do some serious thinking in order to get it right…

What can go wrong?

You’d be surprised how many business owners hire people who “will do”, or hire the friend of a friend of their neighbour. It seems that, when overwhelmed by desperation to share the workload, people forget that the first 10 people working on a growing business will determine whether it succeeds or not.

Whether you are a team of 2 or a team of 10, each individual will make up 10-50% of your business and therefore will have a big influence on your growth and direction – so finding someone who shares your vision is essential. Also remember that while it seems easy (and fun!) to hire friends and family members, it may become difficult to maintain the level of professionalism required to manage your team effectively.

Further, hiring the wrong person can be expensive and emotionally draining for yourself, and could negatively impact the motivation of the rest of your team.

Finally, it might not seem like it, but a bad recruitment process can actually reflect poorly on your brand and reputation. It will give people an insight into you as an employer, your professionalism, and the organisation of your business – so make sure it does you justice! Similarly, keeping your brand in mind, future employees will become your representatives so making sure their values align with yours is crucial.

So how do you ensure you get it right (the first time!)?

The first step towards growing your team is to establish in your own mind exactly what you need and want for your business…

Consider what you need the person to be

From a practical perspective carefully consider what the job involves, how it will support the business, and the skills, knowledge and experience required to effectively fulfill the role. In smaller businesses it’s likely new recruits will need to be flexible; be really clear what you are hiring them for, the more detail you provide the better.

Obviously there is more to it than a job description and specification, but it’s a necessary place to start.

Consider who you want the person to be

Once the basics are covered, you can start to think wider around the type of person you want to work alongside. Establish the qualities they should have to be successful in their role that go beyond what can be stated in a CV. Such things as ambition, positivity, creativity, forward-thinking, an open mind, potential, organisation, personality or people skills – what is important for your business? Remember that existing skills, knowledge and experience will impact a candidate’s ability to perform a role now, but personal qualities will determine their ability to adapt and grow with the business in the future.

If you already have a small team, ask them what they would consider beneficial too. Afterall, they will be working alongside your new recruit so it’s important to get their input too.

Re-think how you are searching

Only once you’ve established exactly what you’re looking for can you begin the hunt for the ideal candidate. And now the real fun begins!

As we explained in our 2016 HR predictions blog – the job market is changing, the preferences of potential employees are evolving, and recruitment procedures must keep up. If you are looking to recruit a creative, dynamic and intelligent individual, you’ll need to think  creatively, dynamically and intelligently to attract them. Try to steer clear of the corporate jargon and boring descriptions. A vibrant job description, person specification and advert that reflects your personality will be more likely to attract employees who understand your culture and align with your values.

Along with adjusting how you search, consider where you search too. Utilise social media, talk to other local business owners (not to recruit them, but to plug their network!), and tap into universities and colleges with entrepreneurship programs – you’ll be more likely to find like-minded people.

Use your size to your advantage

We get it – you aren’t in a position to offer a free gym membership, bonuses and a company car so HOW are you meant to compete with the big employers?

The secret is to focus on attracting people who want to work for your cause rather than work for your perks.

You’ll be looking for people who aren’t solely motivated by money and status, but a sense of purpose and achievement. As a small business every employee will have real responsibility, the ability to make a difference, and a contribution towards something worthwhile. Your employees are valuable, unique members of a team – not just a number lost within a big corporation! Present yourself as a growing business and you will excite the right people.

Take your time!

We understand that you’re probably hiring as a method of coping with increasing workloads, but don’t allow urgency to cause you to compromise yourself and the standards you hold for your business in order to fill a gap!

It’s a vicious cycle – the more work you have the greater your need for extra hands, but equally the more work you have the less time you have to spend looking for (the right pair of) extra hands.

This is where it’s beneficial to let an HR expert take the weight off your shoulders! If data (and our experience) is anything to go by, most business owners aren’t exactly enamoured with HR tasks, particularly recruitment. It can be a stressful, drawn-out and time consuming process, but it’s also one of the most important tasks for shaping the future of your business. Get in touch with our team to see how we can keep your business on track for growth.

You’ve found someone, now what?

Finally, remember that should all your recruitment efforts pay off and you find the ideal employee for you, the process isn’t over!