Although this is not the most original topic to write on, it is one of the most mistake-ridden topics on entrepreneurship writing. I’ve seen many without the right qualifications attempt to give advice.
Recruiting for an entrepreneur is exceedingly tough, as entrepreneurs don’t think like job seekers. Where entrepreneurs find excitement, job seekers find something overwhelming and scary. When smaller, more entrepreneurial companies come to my staffing agency, I try to make time for them, as I can empathize with the frustrations and can help them overcome some of the mistakes that plague entrepreneurs upon recruiting their first employee.
Though, before talking about the mistakes, it is best to touch on the preparation that all entrepreneurs should have in hand upon recruiting what should be the future of their company.
As an entrepreneur, it is imperative that you write a job description. Employees want to know what they are doing on a daily basis, what is expected of them, what the pay and benefits are, and of course the culture and future of your organization.
After writing the job description, make sure to use it when pitching the potential employee regarding why they want to work for your company. Remember that you are the underdog here, and far-off things such as the five other areas that your company plans on getting into over the years are not going to excite the job seeker. Remember, it is all about stability, prediction and a career at a company that is going to last.
Therefore, focus on things such as the daily tasks of this individual, the expectations of them, where you see the person in X, Y and Z years (be realistic) and what makes your company worth considering when many other firms are actively recruiting this job seeker.
A big mistake that many entrepreneurs make is hiring an employee because they don’t want to do a particular task. Instead of getting their hands dirty, they immediately look for help through hiring. You should only get an employee when you have drained your own mental, emotional, and physical resources during 16-hour days, as nobody is going to treat your company like you are regardless of how good a prospect your company is.
Also, know that you are not going to get anything good without paying a salary that is market competitive – if not higher than other companies in your field. Jobseekers take a significant risk upon taking a chance with your company in its infancy. When I had to recruit from an apartment, I paid roughly 25 to 30% over market. Otherwise, I would’ve had subpar employee after subpar employee, resulting in turnover after turnover, resulting in a waste of my time and ultimately money.
Out of all the resources available to recruiting companies, getting a subscription to Monster or CareerBuilder resume search boards and cold-calling for a month is probably your best option. Advertising on the jobs side of Monster etc., rarely works. Why this is I haven’t the slightest, though my company has access to post on any and all job boards and we never do, except when a client explicitly requests it.
When I was first recruiting, I would sit down, draw out what type of professional background(s) would possibly be interested in working for a small, startup company and would begin to search resumes, then cold-call those individuals who I felt may be interested in the position.
What works best is when you e-mail the individuals first, bait them in with your inflated salary, be upfront about where your company is right now (don’t over hype it) and attempt to schedule a phone conversation at their convenience. A good example would be the following:
I happened to come across your resume on Monster and wanted to contact you, hoping that you may be interested in speaking further regarding an open position that my organization hopes to fill within the month.
We are a startup company that is fast-growing, hard-working and hopefully quite lucrative in the next few months. Due to growth we are looking for someone to manage our clients, as well as bring on new business for our company.
The title of the position is open as of now and I was hoping to have a chat to see what you are looking for in a career, what type of compensation that you are looking for and tell you little bit about our company.
Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.”
When you get them on the phone, you want to use your job description as a basis for pitching the job to these individuals. Entrepreneurs by nature are very scatterbrained and have trouble empathizing with those who don’t think like entrepreneurs. I can only tell you how many times I have had to teach clients, who own small companies, to pitch an open job in order to remain competitive in the recruiting market.
In the end, whoever recruits the best employees wins in business. You are going to face a lot of rejection upon trying to find the right individual. Remember that this is not your fault, but the fault of a society that praises job security over creativity (not to mention a society where it is untenable to be without health insurance, a costly proposition for the entrepreneur who needs a full-time employee).
Another thing to remember is that the employee that you’re going to get is not going to be perfect, but no employee, regardless of background achievements, ever is. As an entrepreneur, you are going to be moonlighting as a manager, which means that it is necessary that you train this individual, keep them engaged and grow them into the future of your company.