8 Important Things to Consider When Recruiting Your First Employee

Last updated on March 5th, 2018 at 04:41 pm

1. Legally Obliged to Provide an Employment Contract

You must provide all your employees with an employment contract within 2 months of the employee’s start date; and a failure to do so could lead to a complaint to an employment tribunal. Even though you have two months to provide the employment contract, it is good practice practice to supply the contract to the employee prior to the start date or at the very latest on the first day. You can download a UK Employment Contract here.

2. Provide an Employee Handbook

You are not legally required to have an employee handbook, but most good companies will use an Employee Handbook as it helps the business to manage their employees more effectively and to to comply with employment law. A good employee handbook will tell the employer what their legal obligations are to their employees and it will also explain to the employer what the employee’s statutory entitlements are. It should detail the exact statutory procedures that the employer needs to follow when dealing with performance issues, absence or misconduct. This will help to reduce the risk of the employer falling foul of employment legislation and facing a potentially costly tribunal claim.

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3.) You are legally obliged to recruit fairly.

The Equalities Act 2010 prohibits discrimination in employment on the protected grounds of:
Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex or Sexual Orientation. Irrespective of the size of your organization or sector, if you are recruiting a new employee the equality law is applicable to you. You can find detailed step by step guidance on how to recruit fairly at the equalities commission website.I would recommend that you read it carefully before recruiting.

I can also suggest that you implement an Equal Opportunities Policy and ensure all staff and hiring managers are made aware of the need to comply with it. You can acquire a an Employee Handbook containing an Equal Opportunities Policy here.

4.) Develop an accurate Job Description

A misleading job description can lead to you either receiving applications from or having to interview inappropriate candidates at your time and expense. And, in a worst case scenario, an inaccurate job description could result in a partially incompetent person being hired, who may turn out to be a weak performer or could even leave prematurely.

Therefore, take the time to properly flesh out the job description to ensure it is a true reflection of the role to be carried out in terms of scope, responsibilities, duties, and key performance indicators.

This could involve consulting with the current job incumbents to get the most accurate picture of the role.

5.) Develop an accurate Person Specification

The person specification which usually accompanies the job description details the essential and desirable criteria for the job. As with the job description, an accurate and truly representative person specification is a vital part of the recruitment process.

A useful way to structure this section is into Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours as it will help you to think more broadly and exhaustively in terms of the skills required to do the job. Knowledge would include any necessary qualifications, or levels of education or training. Skills detail the levels of and types of ability to do the job, for example, ‘Able to successfully present and pitch products to clients’, and Behaviour might be ‘Remains calm and effective under pressure’.

It is also important to indicate which skills are ‘essential’ and which are ‘desirable’ in order that you root out the unsuitable applicants early on and save yourself time and energy.

6.)  Good hiring software will improve hiring speed and quality

You can find a list here of: 5 Free or Affordable Recruiting Software Systems for Small Firms

stafftrakhiredashIf you only recruit a few people a year, perhaps, up to 20 people, you might  not need software and you may prefer to use our simple, downloadable applicant tracking excel template, known as StaffTRAK ATS.  It’s easy to use and it offers the ability to track applicants through 6 stages of the hiring process, produce automated interview schedules, and it produces a detailed digital dashboard of key metrics such as cost of hire, time to hire and source of hire. Try it out now.

7.) Perform a Structured Interview on a candidate as opposed to an informal chat.

Out of all the selection techniques that can be used on applicants, e.g. structured interviews, informal chats, references, ability tests, bio data, personality tests, structured interviews had the highest predictive accuracy. (Shackleton and Anderson) It was the most reliable prediction technique for candidate performance.

Selection tool Validity
Structured interviews 0.62
Work Samples 0.55
Ability Tests 0.54
Assessment centres (new recruits)l 0.41
Biodata 0.4
Personality tests 0.38
Unstructured interviews 0.31
References 0.13

As a small business manager, I therefore recommend that you use structured interviewing as opposed to an informal conversation during interviews.

A structured interview involves asking your candidates a set of predefined questions relating to the person specification of your job. For example, if your person specification has a requirement to ‘Able to successfully present and pitch products to clients’, then you would include one or more questions on this topic in your interview and so on.

I also recommend that you use ‘Behavioural Interviewing Techniques’. Behavioural questions are concerned with discovering how the interviewee performed in particular work based scenarios. The idea behind this is that past performance is the most reliable predictor of future performance. A typical Behavioural Question might be ‘Describe a time when you had to deal with conflict in the workplace?’ as opposed to a more traditional question which might be ‘Can you handle conflict?’

There are plenty of guides and support on line to help you develop structured interviews and behavioural questions, however, while necessary and effective, set-up can be a little involved and I recommend that you engaged a HR consultant to help you implement this. Please let me know if you would like any help.

I have included a sample of some behavioural questions below:

1. Can you describe a situation when you have used your communication skills effectively in a team setting? What was the situation? What was your involvement? Did your team reach its goal

2. Can you tell me about a business situation where you have had to set your own goals and targets? What were the goals? What method do you use to set your goals? How did you motivate yourself to reach these goals? Did you reach these goals?

3. Can you describe a problem you have encountered at work? How did you separate the symptom from the cause? What solutions did you propose? How did you choose the solution? Was it the correct solution? How do you know this?

4. Can you describe a situation when you have been overwhelmed with client demands or deliverables? What was the situation? How did you prioritize your time effectively to best meet these demands? How did you manage the communication with your clients?

5. How do you define commercial awareness? Why is it important? Can you describe a decision you have taken which demonstrates your commercial awareness? How do you keep yourself up to date with the organization and market current commercial issues?

6. Can you tell me about a work situation where you have suddenly become faced with a problem but you have turned this into an opportunity?

8.) Use a Selection Matrix as a basis for your selection decision.
A selection matrix is simply a table which contains the names of the candidates on one axis and the selection criteria on the other axis. The selection criteria would normally be the knowledge, skills and behaviour required to do the job as set out in the person specification.

After interviewing each candidate you would score them against the selection criteria, providing an overall score. If your selection matrix is well designed, the person who scores the highest would be the best person for the job, and should be the person you choose for the job.

In addition, if used correctly and in line with the Equalities Act, the selection matrix can also be used to demonstrate to interested parties that your selection decision was based on fair and objective criteria.

You may also wish to consider using a selection matrix to support your initial CV short listing decisions.

Recruiting Software: StaffTrak ATS 

stafftrakhiredashStaffTRAK ATS. This is a downloadable applicant tracking excel template. If you only recruit a few people a year, perhaps, up to 20 people, you might  not need software and you may prefer to use our simple, downloadable applicant tracking excel template. It’s easy to use and it offers the ability to track applicants through 6 stages of the hiring process, produce automated interview schedules, and it produces a detailed digital dashboard of key metrics such as cost of hire, time to hire and source of hire. Try it out now.

Recommended reading for entrepreneurs

The Financial Times Guide to Business Start Up 2017/2018: The Most Comprehensive Annually Updated Guide for Entrepreneurs (The FT Guides)

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