Hire right first time round


Hiring of staff is a task that entrepreneurs often undertake with some trepidation, especially if they are new to this. And rightly so: hiring often means the business is growing and that in itself is exciting and scary, but the labour laws also mean that you have hire the right person to avoid headaches down the road.

Catherine Wijnberg, CEO of enterprise development specialists Fetola, offers some sage advice to help entrepreneurs avoid the basic pifalls.

Skills are important, but the real driver of results is attitude. So carefully probe and test the person’s attitude to work, to life and to daily challenges. You can do a lot with a person who has a ‘can do attitude’ even if they lack certain skills, but very little with someone that has good skills but lacks the right attitude.

Look for someone who will fit in with your company and staff culture. This is closely allied to the first point as hiring someone who is uptight, serious and easily offended could upset a fun-loving, relaxed office culture.

Interview on site, and more than once. Think of the hiring process as ‘match-making’. It is far better to get to know the true colours of a new staff member in the dating phase than making an alarming discovery after the wedding!

Have a labour expert go through your staff systems and processes. This means ensuring all the paperwork is in place for contracts and job descriptions, and you have simple but effective processes for induction, performance management and dispute resolution. Being fully compliant with the labour law is not only a legal requirement, but will strengthen your confidence and improve your ability to find, work with and manage your staff.

Check the details. This means properly checking applicants’ references.

The small business work environment often requires people to think fast, act rapidly and work smart.Finding people with these skills at an affordable cost can be really tricky so carefully determine if the competence claimed by the person is backed by performance before you hire.

Test their Skills. You may decide to hire someone with good attitude and train up their skills, but there is nothing worse than assuming a level of skill and then being disappointed.

Try before you buy. Internship is a great way to try out young blood – a six-month internship provides an excellent opportunity to identify skills or try new things in the business before you make a long-term hiring commitment.

Key take-away: Hiring the right people is important in any organisation, but critical to a small business where one staff member can literally make or break the company. Cover yourself by taking basic steps to avoid this disappointment. Read more here: www.fetola.co.za

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