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You can’t get the staff: Challenges of finding the right employees for your business

No business could be successful without good people. Your team is more vital than your product, offering, or USP, so you need the right employees.
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Without the right employees, no business would be able to survive. Yet most businesses have a horror story or two when it comes to making a hire. Whether you’re after a temp or a CEO, how can you be sure you’re putting your money on the right horse?

Test drive

In an ideal world, both candidates and employers would be able to try each other out for size before signing on the dotted line. Some companies even factor in “trial weeks” into their hiring policies. But this is beyond the realms of reality for most.

The majority of employers won’t have time to show a series of different candidates the ropes and keep them occupied for a week to find the right employees. Not to mention how the candidates would square that with existing employers – there’s only so many “dentist appointments” you can get away with.

A more realistic option is factoring in time in the interview process to see if the chemistry is right. A casual chat over a cup of tea, before launching into the competency questions, can provide a fantastic insight into whether the candidate will fit in and work well with existing team members.

Similarly, hosting open days and drop-ins for prospective graduate trainees will give them the chance to see the company in action and formulate an accurate picture of what it would be like to work there.

Think outside the box

People who look perfect on paper can turn out to be terrible hires. Sometimes it pays to think outside the box to find the right employees. Whilst traditional temp agencies might see like a safe bet, you don’t get much say over who turns up at your door.

Disruptive options such as app-based offerings can provide you with more choice, flexibility and – crucially – can often prove more cost effective when it comes to short-term hires. Equally, using social media to recruit can also lead to more interesting candidates, as well as showing you who is being proactive enough to seek out relevant posts and opportunities.

Go with your gut

Whilst candidates might be tricky to choose from, your gut is often the best indicator of who to go for when looking for the right employees. Even if a potential hire is slightly weaker on paper, or might have appeared nervous in the interview, your instinct might be to go with them.

Whilst academic qualifications and experience shouldn’t be discounted, your gut should get a say-so too. It’s by trusting your instincts that you can find those rough diamonds who end up being invaluable to your business.

Gregory Newman is the MD and founder of Toptask, an app which connects talented local students to employers needing help with tasks

Image: Shutterstock

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As the champion of UK enterprise for 20 years, Real Business is the most-read SME website dedicated to high-growth businesses and entrepreneurs. Through daily news, unique insight and invaluable guides we are an essential resource for thriving businesses.

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