To grow your small business into the empire you desire, you’re going to have to hire an employee! 

When I talk to business owners, there’s fear wrapped around hiring a team. They tend to wait too long and in the interim not grow as quickly as they should.

I asked Jame Geathers to come onto The Wednesday Wrap-Up to help us understand:

– What policies we need to have in place before our first hire.

– What goes into a job description to ensure we’re attracting the right type of employees.

– And what interview questions you should be asking. (spoiler alert: it isn’t “where do you see yourself in 5 years?!)

Below are some highlights from our chat, but I urge you to tune in for the full interview!

You launched your business, how did you start obtaining clients right away?

Jame shares with us that her first clients were all referrals from former colleagues and friends. 

“It’s best to put your best foot forward, in whatever you are doing. Whether you are in business now or not. Because you never know where that first client is going to come from.”  

“Referrals are the best compliment anyone can give you. They are willing to put their name on the line to refer you to someone else.” 

If you want to put in a strong referral-based marketing system, check out this article.

To grow and scale your business, I know I need to hire an employee sooner than later. Before I go out to hire someone, what should I be implementing in my business first?  

Most people hire and then realize they need to put in policies. But it’s better to create policies before you even write a job description. 

“Creating structure creates the culture you desire in your business and that starts with your first hire.” 

This also helps you set the tone and culture of your business upfront. Once you hire your first employee it tends to have a snowball effect. You’ll be hiring more and more. 

What are you referencing to when you say “policy”?

Everything from attendance, time off request, dress code. 

If your employees are in front of your clients, they are representing your company. You will want to define how they should present themselves.

You do not want to leave it as, “make good choices”. Your good choice, their good choice, and your client’s good choice may not be the same. 

Having an anti-harassment policy in place is a good idea, as well. 

If you are thinking, I’m only hiring one person it isn’t that important. It is, that person could harass you or vice versa. Writing out expectations helps everyone understand the working environment.

I’m ready to hire my first employee, can you share items that in the past have not benefited the employer or employee? 

A lot of employers will write out policies with a specific person in mind. Which leads to singling this employee out. 

A great example are dress codes. When you specifically name an article of clothing a person has worn. Everyone in the office knows who you are referencing. 

Or if you have attendance issues with one person and you make your policy so specific there is no flexibility. This will hurt other employees and doesn’t help with the company culture. 

You want to set expectations with policies but you are dealing with humans. It is important to be somewhat flexible but also have it defined. This is a fine line.

Employers either want to go to hard on policies or too flexible. If they are too flexible, why do you even have policies? 

Let’s break it down:

Rule 1: don’t be passive-aggressive when putting your policies together. No singling out problem employees to make them an example. 

Rule 2: Think about yourself as the employee and ask yourself is this fair? 
Employment is a partnership between the employee and the employer. It needs to benefit both sides. You are not trying to control your employees you are trying to manage and grow your business. 

Can you share 3 common mistakes business owners make when they go to hire employees? 

First, they refuse to create an employee handbook.

They tend to say they don’t want a handbook. They don’t want to be locked into anything. An employee handbook will protect your business, you and your employees.

You can not have expectations and not have them in writing.

It doesn’t matter what conversation you had with someone during the interview, or when they were late… 

If there is no handbook or a policy written. It didn’t’ happen. One day you will have the Department of labor or the EEOC calling you. If you don’t have defined policies… you will have a problem.

Second, they have unrealistic expectations.

Flexibility is a big deal for your employees. They have lives and other things going on other than working for your business. Your policies can not be so tight or rigid they can not have a life.

Lastly, not equally enforcing your policies.

You may have hired family members and then other random people. But your sister doesn’t come into work on time and one of the random people doesn’t come in on time. Both need to be disciplined the same way. You can’t favor one over the other.

Your policy is only as strong as the enforcement. 

Tune in to hear our chat about the pro’s and cons of hiring friends and family!

Putting together a job description to hire the right employee.

I see often business owners throw out in a Facebook Group, I need a project manager or VA.
But there is no specific skill sets, work hours, salary…

Can you give us some tips on how to create impactful job descriptions to attract people who will benefit and be a good fit for our business? 

When it comes to job descriptions, it is important for you to understand what you are hiring an employee for. When business owners have vague job descriptions, it’s because they are not 100% clear on what they want.

You need to think along the lines of:

– The duration of the project or job (hours per week)?

– Are they supervising people, if so, how many people?

– What type of skill set is necessary?

– Even think about their personality, do you want a go-getter that finds new solutions or someone that can change course quickly? 

It is important to have a well-defined job description, this will help you get qualified people that will be a good fit for your position. Otherwise, you will be inundated with unqualified applications.

Also, if it is too vague the right applicant may not apply. Or they may not find it, if they are doing an online search their skill set may not match up and they will never see the posting.

Pro Tip: don’t copy another job description. Or think if they have a degree, it’ll be fine we can work it out.  That’s a mistake. There are different types of degrees and experience and this may not align with your business. 

I can’t compete with Corporate jobs with high salaries, but I want a high quality candidate…

Make sure you are clear about the benefits of the position. Benefits can sell your position especially if you can’t pay as high as large Corporations.

Benefits include:

  • Flexible time (work when you can)
  • Flexible time off
  • Working from home
  • Gym membership
  • Half-day Fridays

Benefits attracts quality candidates. The ones that desire more of a life/work balance than being consumed with a higher salary.

Remember you are selling your position to candidates

Should you add a salary range in your job description?  Tune in to hear Jame’s answer.

When it comes to interviewing questions for hiring an employee, what SHOULD we be asking?

What is your greatest strength or weakness? Is commonly asked.

Everyone has rehearsed this in their head and they know how to answer it. Some will give you a real weakness but the majority will say a strength they are working on to make their self sound good.

So skip the common questions they can pre-rehearse.

You want them to think on their feet!

A great question, “When is a time you have failed?” And the following question, “How did you recover from it?”

The only wrong answer to this question is, I have never failed or I can’t think of one.
If they are value, it is a good indication they either don’t try or they don’t take responsibility for their actions.

Or worse they are completely oblivious or a liar.

This shows if this person is resilient and can rebound quickly.

Tune in for additional interview questions and her take on why you should be asking them! 

Remember, as business owners, it’s important you are hiring employees that wants to see your company grow as much as you do! 

Keep in mind. A lot of business owners don’t realize is that the cost of hiring a new employee and training them can be upwards of $20k-$30k. You want to ensure you are hiring employees that want to stay and grow with you! 

To connect with Jame Geathers:

To download her Interview Questions!