Why getting good employee is like meeting a spouse


The single greatest determiner of business success, after product, is the employees. Yet, as someone correctly observed, getting a good employee is akin to getting a spouse. Those who are single and searching can attest that getting life partner is a herculean task though, right from next door there are countless eligible and searching folks.

Many small business owners cite lack of good, loyal and competent employees as one of the key challenges to success, yet we have very high number of unemployed people in our locality.

The real challenge is mismatch or failure to hire the right person for the job. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, about 80percent of employee turnover stems from bad hiring decisions. Fortunately, this is within the control and influence of the business owner or hiring officers.

Hiring prowess is a function of time and experience. The longer you operate a business the better your perfect your hiring skills. However, you don’t have to learn from your experience and mistakes. Getting tips and assistance from experts and mentors can help a great deal.

The first step in hiring should start with interviews. But before interview, define precisely what it is you are looking for in a candidate. Have a written job description, attributes of the right candidate and expectations for the job you are looking to fill.

Do not conduct interview alone and do not interview just one person and make the decision. The more candidate your interview the better chance of hiring a good employee. The first impression is often misleading. It is important to conduct second interview and get to know the candidate deeper.

Do not be impressed by candidate’s excellent performance in other companies. The past is not always an indicator of future performance.

Previous performance may be attributed to other factors such as team work, culture, brand name und unseen help of seniours. Still the candidate could have been cog in the system whereas in your business you need all-round person who is capable of multitasking.

Look at the candidate ability to learn, attitude, flexibility and values that may be vital to your business success.

The outcome of your interview will largely depend on the quality of applicants. This in turn depends on how you sourced them. Thus, avoid asking your friends and relatives to send you list of people they think can do the job. Do a formal job advertisement for the job and spread it far and wide.

Avoid the common mistake of looking for cheapest employees. If you want to hire quality employees you must be ready to pay a premium for it. It may look attractive to engage commission agents, interns or cheap labour in order to cut cost but in real sense it cost your company more. You better hire few and expensive employees who can deliver than have a batch of incompetent non-achievers.

I once hired an employee who earned more than I was earning when my business was starting. It paid off good dividends.

Mr Kiunga is a business trainer and the author of The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market. [email protected]