Recruiting the best people for your firm

When you start your own business, it’s tempting to try to do everything yourself – money is usually tight, and you know exactly what you want. In the early days, it’s possible to be a one-man-band. But, as your client list grows, you’ll need help to keep on top of it all. This means recruiting staff.

Good recruiting

Staff issues are one of the major headaches reported by owners of professional firms.  Sometimes, it feels like we spend more time sorting out other people than we do on the actual business.

This article pulls together summarises many of the key issues that professionals face when recruiting and finding the very best employees for their firm.

Do professionals want to work for your firm?

First of all, ditch any thoughts of being in a position of power. Yes, you may be the one offering the job, but the best employees can be choosy.  Your firm has to attract them with its reputation for success, interesting work, career progression, camaraderie, benefits, company culture etc. – it’s about more than money.

Getting the best staff takes time. Your firm should be continually promoting itself as a great place to work, on all platforms and at all levels, even when you are not actively looking to recruit.  Read our five tips to avoid the nightmare of looking for new staff.

Design your perfect team

Once they are in place, have some of your staff found that the job isn’t really what they applied for?  If your job description is wishy-washy, or if you haven’t spent enough time thinking about what you need (hint – it may not be exactly what the last person in the role did), then there’s a mismatch immediately.  Unhappy staff don’t stay, and you’ll lose time, reputation, and money from the experience.

“When I find an employee who turns out to be wrong for a job, I feel it is my fault because I made the decision to hire him.”  Akio Morit

Be bold when drawing up the job description. To grow your firm, you may need someone that you don’t personally click with, but who has exactly the right attributes to push your firm forward.  If you would like help in analysing the skills within your team, we can help.

“Always remember that you often find outstanding people among those you don’t particularly like.”

Soichiro Honda

When someone in your firm leaves, no matter how amazing they were, it’s not a reason to be gloomy. It is a chance to look at the balance in your team and see if it is still fit for the new challenges your firm is facing. The skills and competencies your firm needs will change over time.  So, losing a team member can be an opportunity.

Part of running a firm and being a good leader is always thinking about what your team needs in terms of skills and training.  Do you have any succession planning? Who are you lining up for promotion? Who can step into so-and-so’s shoes if so-and-so leaves?   Not only that, but what skills do members of your team have that you are not using fully?  Instead of recruiting to fill a vacancy – would it be better to reorganise, fill the vacancy internally and recruit for another part of the team?  How can you keep your team members challenged  and motivated?

So, think carefully about what you really need, and remember that preparation before the interview will save you loads of time, and make it far more likely that you’ll employ the right person.

“As a business owner or manager, you know that hiring the wrong person is the most costly mistake you can make.” Brian Tracy.

How to recruit and interview to get the best person

Once you are clear about the type of person you are looking for, then you can start recruiting.  This link takes you to an article that will be helpful in setting up a clear and efficient recruitment process.  When you are recruiting professionals, it’s quite possible for the interviews to take place over the phone or by Skype.  Interviews like this need special handling.

Remember what I said earlier – your firm has to be attractive to the best applicants.  So, expect to be on the end of some probing questions yourself. Here are some tips on how to answer applicants’ questions.

It doesn’t stop with the job offer

So, you have recruited someone really promising. Exciting! Now they’ll just get on with being amazing, won’t they?  Too many employers think that: “Here’s the kitchen, there’s the loo, here’s your desk – you don’t mind sharing do you? We are all really busy this week, but why don’t you read through the back files?” is an induction. It isn’t.  It’s the best way to make a new member of staff feel a nuisance, uncomfortable, unwanted, and that they’ve made a big mistake.   Here are the top three complaints from new recruits.

The early days of a new member in your team are an excellent opportunity to get an honest view of your firm and how it works.  Harness their outside-eye and newbie enthusiasm while you can!  Making is vital to getting them to stay and perform at their best.  Here are some other thoughts about staff induction.

In summary, good recruiting needs:

  • Complete clarity about the role – how will you change your team to meet new challenges?
  • Sales and marketing all the time – not just when there is a vacancy.
  • Rigorous hire process – being scrupulously fair and open to get the best person for the role.
  • Thorough induction period – using their outsider views and integrating them into your team.

You can download free guides to successful recruitiment from our resource library.

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access