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Hiring 101: How to Hire Employees

Human Resources

Knowing how to hire employees is often a key skill for successful business owners. Unfortunately, the hiring process isn’t an exact science. There are too many variables, too many moving parts, to ensure a successful new hire every time around. But there are several steps which, when done correctly, can go a long way toward tilting the odds of gaining a talented, hard-working new hire in your favor.

Composing a precise job description, placing online ads in the right places, and culling the blizzard of applications likely to follow are all essential elements of the hiring process. But the true test of a potential employee’s worth comes after these steps have been completed. Once you have a small pool of qualified candidates to choose from, it’s time to do the hard work that leads you to the best individual for the job.

Jon Burgstone and Bill Murphy Jr., authors of “Breakthrough Entrepreneurship: The Proven Framework for Building Brilliant New Ventures,” suggest asking three key questions to determine how to hire employees:

Can They Do the Job?

Determining if a person can do the job entails an in-depth look at their skills and experience. Look closely at his or her education and any additional training they’ve completed over the years.

Although it’s counterintuitive to expect a person with no relevant work experience to be competent in an open position, employers in their rush to hire make this mistake time and again. No business can afford to invest time and money in a candidate who may be smart and personable, but has never done the type of work you’re asking them to do.

But don’t just look at the number of years an applicant has under his or her belt. Focus on specific work achievements they can point to as evidence of their capability to handle job requirements in your business.

Will They Do the Job?

“Here, you’re looking for motivation,” say Burgstone and Murphy. “How committed are the potential candidates? Why are they excited to work for or with you? Ask them tough questions. Force them to express their likes and dislikes, the things they’re passionate about and the things they want nothing to do with.”

Closely related to this is getting a sense of their commitment to the new job. Look at the candidate’s work history and determine whether he or she has spent significant amounts of time at one position or flitted from one job to the next.

Will They Fit the Culture of the Organization?

Determining if an applicant will be a good cultural fit is another intangible but important element of effective hiring. Whether you interview the candidate yourself or your human resources staff does, pay attention to how they come across. Do they have an outgoing personality? How much to do they seem to favor collaboration and cooperation as part of their work ethic?

Focus On Interviews

Face-to-face contact can flesh out a job applicant’s resume in ways that tell you a lot about their potential. Be sure to ask open-ended questions, in which the candidate is required to expound at some length about his or her experience, the ways in which they have met specific job challenges and how they see themselves working with others.

Check Backgrounds and References Thoroughly

You’re down to one or two candidates who seem perfectly suited for your open position. Now is the time to conduct a thorough background check before making an offer. This includes verifying certain information the candidate has stated in his or her resume, including educational credentials, work experience, and contacting any references the candidate has listed.

Knowing how to hire employees takes time and effort, but the payoff is worth it. Once you put the right team together, your business will thrive.


This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.
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