The Education of the Accidental Manager: Part 2
Tuesday's blog discussed how most business owners are “accidental managers” who have never been formally trained. I also argued in the blog that mastering employee management is an essential skill needed to grow your business. This is the start of a continuing series that I hope will help business owners improve in this area.
Employee hiring is much more critical in a small business than in a large business simply because you don’t have the budget to carry “dead” weight. Every employee you add is expensive, and hiring a bad employee can seriously affect the financial success of a small business.
My experience is that most small business owners hire too fast and make many of the following common interview mistakes:
- Talking too much. Don’t spend most of your time talking about the position and your company. I know you are proud of your company, but the purpose of the interview is to learn about the applicant.
- Not preparing. Think about what type of person you need for the job and what skills they need before they show up for the interview. I know you, as a business owner, are busy putting out fires, but this is too important to just wing it.
- Asking questions on the fly. In advance, prepare a list of the key questions you want answered. Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions.
- Not knowing what you can legally ask. Check out this good article about 30 questions you can’t legally ask and how to get out the information without breaking the law (http://bit.ly/MKn1mv).
- Not letting the applicant know about all parts of the job. Tell them the good and the bad.
- Don’t oversell the position. The purpose of the first interview is to narrow down the number of candidates to your top two or three. Then you can sell your finalist on the job.
- Letting your personal bias affect your decision. I’m a big Red Sox fan, but that should have no bearing on who I hire. You should always hire the best person for the job. (I have to confess, a Yankees fan would have to be a superstar for me to hire them.)
- Don’t be rude. Treat the applicant how you would like to be treated.
- Not making your top candidates feel wanted. Don’t commit at the first interview. But do let them know that they have the skills and experience that would be very useful to you and that you will be strongly considering them for a follow-up interview.
- Making quick decisions. Small business owners are notorious for making quick, gut-based decisions. It’s almost a survival skill for them. It just doesn’t work for hiring. You should be open-minded and friendly during the interview and wait until it’s over to write down your thoughts.
Until next time, thank you for your continued support and let’s make this year our most profitable year ever!
Like any good CPA, I need to add a disclaimer. Unfortunately, it is impossible to offer comprehensive tax info over the Internet, no matter how well-researched or written. And remember, I love my readers, but having me bookmarked on your computer doesn’t make you a client. Before relying on any information given on this site, contact a tax professional to discuss your particular situation.