Some business owners don’t want to take a hands-on role in running their company. Others may find that their company opens for too many hours for them to be present at all times, or that as they are growing their business they want to open another branch. Whatever the reason for needing a manager, the hiring process can be difficult.

Some business owners don’t want to take a hands-on role in running their company. Others may find that their company opens for too many hours for them to be present at all times, or that as they are growing their business they want to open another branch. Whatever the reason for needing a manager, the hiring process can be difficult.

Skills required to manage the business

When hiring a manager, the first step is to determine the sort of person your business needs. One way to do this could be to review how you are currently running your business and make a list of what characteristics this takes on a daily basis.

If possible, you may also want to plan for the future. Is your business model or structure likely to change? Will you expand into new markets, perhaps overseas? If you can foresee events such as these occurring, you should add these requirements into the profile of the individual you are looking to recruit.

Some of the key skills business owners are likely to want in a manager include:
  • Industry knowledge and / or experience
  • Organisational skills
  • Motivational skills
  • Good communication
  • The ability to work well as part of a team
  • Flexibility and adaptability

Placing an advert

When you have completed a list of the characteristics you will need in a manager, start to compile your advert. When you are ready to place an advert, do consider where you place it. Don’t just advertise via your local newspaper or jobs board – for the right role, many individuals are increasingly willing to move, so you could consider using national websites.

There are also many industry-specific websites as well as publications such as journals – advertising via these mediums may mean that you appeal to a more specific group of individuals who are better-suited to the position.

While social media may be useful in finding candidates, some (particularly Twitter) only allow very limited space for a description – in fact, experts have argued that the time it takes to recruit via social media may be unsuitable for small businesses.

If your business’ website has the space, you could describe the job in greater detail here – many larger businesses will put downloadable application packs on their websites, which give full descriptions of the business, the role and the personal characteristics required for the role.

After placing an advertisement, ensure that your website and any social media sites you use are up-to-date. Candidates will be (or at least, should be) researching any companies they apply to and may be put off if they find inaccurate information online.

Screening responses

The majority of job applications are now submitted electronically or on paper, usually in the form of a cover letter and CV. You should filter these items to find candidates who appear to have the most relevant experience and skills.

Some recruiters will at this stage ask applicants to complete a detailed application form, or to partake in a preliminary telephone interview, although this may not be essential. Try to pick around 10 candidates to interview – you should not base a job offer solely on a CV and cover letter.

Interviews

Just as candidates should prepare for interviews, so should interviewers. A poll by job search website monster.co.uk found that one in seven candidates had been reduced to tears by interviews, and it was found that irrelevant questions and poor preparation were given as two of the most off-putting habits in interviewers.

If you have selected a candidate for interview, ensure that you research the information they have given thoroughly. If they have given details of a degree, perhaps view the course content on the relevant university’s website (although this is likely to only be appropriate for recent graduates). Likewise, research the companies they have worked for before to see what sectors or industries they have worked in.

Take the list you have compiled of characteristics required for the job and structure questions accordingly – competency based interviewing has become commonplace recently (e.g. questions that ask for an example, such as “Can you give an example of a time when you have had to motivate a team of people?”). You could then grade candidates according to their response.

Ensure that any questions you ask are relevant – if someone doesn’t have any experience in your industry, you should know this from their application. Instead of asking about their relevant experience, find out how their past experience applies to the available job.

References and CRB checks

Each candidate should provide details of referees upon request. While it is not a legal requirement to check references for new employees, it is certainly wise to do so, particularly for roles with a higher level of responsibility. Bear in mind that previous employers are entitled to turn down a reference request or may only give details of the candidate’s job role and the dates they worked for that company.

CRB checks are a legal requirement for certain roles – mainly roles that involve working with children or vulnerable adults. Financial roles that are FSA regulated should also be CRB checked. Candidates for other positions can have a more basic criminal record disclosure performed. Although this is not a legal requirement, it is becoming a more common practice. Always check the Criminal Record Bureau’s website for details of roles that can be screened, and which level of screening is appropriate.