How to hire your right-hand man (or woman)


There comes a point in every entrepreneur’s life when they say this to themselves, “I need to hire someone to help me!” I want grow my business to the point that I am able to create jobs for some great people I have met along my journey. They don’t know it yet, but they will work for me one day!

My ultimate goal is to hire a slew of part-time consultants, two full-time staff accounts, and my own administration support key person. I personally want a Girl Friday (I have a particular lady in mind), but I would open to a Guy Friday too. However as small businesses owners, we have a tendency of hiring whoever is most convenient, not who is most capable.

All too often, I see entrepreneurs hiring family and friends with good intentions, but for all the wrong reasons. Just watch Restaurant Impossible, Cake Boss, or Sweetie Pies. I apologize for all the cooking show references. I am obsessed with the restaurant industry!  Be the Boss is also a great show too. These kinds of shows exhibit my point: you don’t know how people will act until they are in uncomfortable or difficult situations. In my line of work, results and quality are characteristics that are non-negotiable. Basically, my former clients may say something negative about me, however I will not put them in the position to say that I can’t count or my service sucks. I need my future employees to understand that and work to that standard as well.

I read a Manta tip this month that stated that 2/3 of hiring decisions fail within 3 years. I also taught a business plan course this year, I used an article as supplement material called the 7 Cs of Hiring. It stated that the cost of hiring the wrong person is usually $25-$50K. Needless to say, this fact sort of motivates me to not hire anyone. But I have to reasonable and realize that one day I cannot do this one my own forever. So how do I find a good employee who will represent my business the right way? I can read all the articles on human resources I want. But the question I have to ask myself is: Can my pre-selected candidates cut the mustard?

If I used the “7 C’s of Hiring, my candidate for my administrative support would fit the bill. She is competent as an administrative assistant and has held several positions that were comparable. Also she is capable, committed, and is full of character. I used to work with her some years back, so I know that we would be compatible. We share some of the same personal and professional values; establishing a company culture with her would be fairly easy. Compensation would be the only thing that would keep us from working together in my business. I would not be able to pay what she is worth in the beginning, but I would want her to know that I have a great future in store for her.

However, one cannot scratch out a living on empty promises. For me, this means I have to market my butt off to boost my revenue streams in order to hire her.

If you are thinking a team to help you run your business, should consider more than 7 C’s. Below are 9 questions you should ask when deciding to recruit employees. These questions are from Get the Right People by Steve Hunt and Susan Van Klink.

1. What types of jobs are we (or am I) hiring for?

2. How many people are needed and when will they be needed?

3. What sort of people should be hired? What characteristic do they need to have model employees?

4. What roles will other employees (if any) will play in the hiring process?

5. How will we (or I) source (or find) candidates?

6. How the candidates be selected?

7. How will new employee be trained and developed?

8. How will employees be kept after they are hired?

9. How will success be measured and improved upon over time?

Jéneen R. Perkins is a freelance accountant and consultant serving entrepreneurs, families and small businesses. She prides herself in being fluent in English instead of “Accountant-ese”.