By Jeff Herman | Equity partner, Wagner Wealth Management
If you want to learn more about the hiring process, you can literally find millions of articles on the internet just by tapping in some key words in Google (or, if you prefer, Bing) and hitting enter.
So why read what I have to say? In my 25 years in the financial services industry, I have literally been part of the hiring process for hundreds of employees. Yet, like most people reading this piece, I have no real qualifications in human resources.
Even with no HR background, I had to weigh in numerous times on the fates of industry veterans, fresh-out-of-college recruits, foreign nationals and more. In many cases, I was the person who had to make the final call on who got hired. In other cases, I was the person in charge of creating that job description. It is a decision a lot of people in the Upstate also have to make almost every day.
The hiring and on boarding of employees is a hot topic that often comes up when clients and friends talk about the biggest challenge of their jobs. It is a struggle especially in the professional world where a rise in recent college graduates and experienced people needing to change careers because of downsizing, coupled with people wanting to stay in the Upstate, creates an overflow of candidates.
So which way do you go? Do you pay more for experience? Do you invest in the future by hiring someone fresh out of college? The true answer is it could be both based upon the situation.
“Which way do you go? Do you pay more for experience? Do you invest in the future by hiring someone fresh out of college? The true answer is it could be both.”
Yes, salary and benefits are two things that must be considered when hiring a new employee, but they should not be the only factors. It really is a cop-out to say everything is a judgement call, so here are some “rule of thumb” thoughts to share that I have learned through the hiring process.
Hire for attitude and teach aptitude
Take a very critical look at your on boarding and training process. If your company has a robust program to integrate new staff, then you have a real opportunity to hire someone new to the workforce or possibly with no experience in your industry. We all love the idea of hiring a new person and watching them grow into their position and take on new responsibilities.
Don’t try to find the unicorn
The job description is your best friend. By creating a detailed list of what the job entails, you can have a firm guide to make sure the person you want to hire has the skills that fit the open position. A company may think it is filling a financial advisor position, but the reality is they may need someone with strong customer service skills after doing their homework. This takes time especially in a small business because, as the employer, the onus falls to you to figure out what the job really entails. However, it increases your chances of finding the right person.
Preserve your culture
This may be one of the more difficult areas when hiring a new employee, especially for a small business. If you have built a strong team culture, then obviously hiring a “lone wolf” would not be an optimal decision. Secondarily, we use a test called the “likability factor.” Would you and the other team members be happy spending personal time with the new employee? If you are able to hire someone and immerse him or her into your culture, then you have a huge advantage in keeping the office drama free. One last point to consider: What does this job mean to the applicant? This is very important when hiring someone experienced. Is he or she thinking, “I want to help grow the business,” or “This is the way we have done it in the past”? The answer to that question will help you make the best decision possible.
Remember that hiring is one of the most important things your company can do and that you as the business owner can make. If companies hired employees based on previous experience, then almost no one would ever get a new job or even a first job. If companies only hired people with no experience, then almost no one would ever try to become more skilled.