The need to hire talent is a good indication that your business is scaling up, but entrepreneurs looking to make new additions should proceed with caution.
Finding candidates that fit the bill can be a challenge, with over a third of small businesses reporting a shortage in talent for positions they need filling, according to joint research by American Express and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
Making a dud hire could inhibit your firm’s growth and firing an employee can be a headache as you’d have to dedicate even more time and resources to that and finding a replacement.
Over a third of small firms report a shortage in talent for positions they need filling according to joint research by American Express and the Centre for Economics and Business Research
But what are the attributes of a ‘good’ hire? Should you employ candidates with the right skills – on paper – or those with less experience but the right mindset?
We asked the head of a recruiting firm for his tips.
James Reed, chairman of REED Recruitment, replies: When I’m interviewing candidates, I look for many things but the first thing I want to establish is whether I trust this person or not. Importantly, when it comes to doing a job there are two types of trust that are necessary:
- Does the candidate have the skills required to do the job?
- Are they honest, and will they bring integrity to their approach to their work and to the company that they work for?
If a candidate has the right skills ‘on paper’, but you suspect them of being dishonest or untrustworthy in some way you’re unlikely to want to include them in your team.
But what if their skills appear incomplete and yet you admire their integrity, their openness to new ideas and their resilience? What if your candidate lacks all the necessary skills to do the job, but displays the desired mindset? Should you hire them or not?
Obviously, the best applicants demonstrate both, but when push comes to shove mindset trumps skillset.
When we asked top employers around the world how much they value mindset, they told us that a person with the right mindset is on average seven times more valuable to their organisation than a ‘normal employee’.
More than anything, it is your people who will determine how your company progresses and how your culture develops.
They are your future and every time you hire someone you are adding to your company’s DNA.
Don’t hire in your own image
More organisations are recognising the importance of creating and nurturing diverse teams that are composed of people with a range of different backgrounds, personalities and beliefs.
James Reed, chairman of REED Recruitment, says mindset trumps skillset
Today the best managers know that finding the ‘right fit’ for the team isn’t about hiring in your own image; instead, it’s about nurturing a group of people with complementary skills and experiences.
Hiring a team of individuals with similar personality traits who get along in the traditional sense will hollow out creativity and greatly reduce the likelihood of innovation.
Hiring in your own image is an ever-present danger for companies who rely on staff referrals for their new hires. They simply aren’t casting the net widely enough.
This is an easy trap to fall into but the best ideas are often developed with the input of different people, and sometimes you need a new perspective to join the team and disrupt the status quo in order for true progress to happen.
Teams tasked with developing new products and technologies in particular require a level of variation when it comes to different personality types and skill sets.
Truly innovative teams should have extroverts and introverts, creatives, analytical types and disruptors.
Challenge your first impressions
Many of us can make snap decisions when we’re interviewing. Rightly or wrongly, it’s commonplace to jump to conclusions in the first five minutes of the interview.
You can often judge within the first few moments whether you’re going to get along with this person or not – that’s human nature. But that’s not what you’re there to do. You’re not there to have a friendly chat, you’re there to make a hiring decision.
Don’t let your first impressions cloud your judgement. If after the first couple of questions you’re thinking ‘this person seems perfect’ – spend the rest of the interview challenging your own opinion.
Alternatively, if at the beginning of the interview, the candidate slips up in some way and you don’t think they’re much good, spend the next 55 minutes challenging this assumption.
Spending a serious amount of time on hiring does make a lot of sense. Smart organisations don’t simply invest in new products, they invest particularly in the people behind them.
Small Business Essentials