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8 hiring tips

Here's the first tip: Don't be quick on the draw. Take your time and set a realistic time frame for making hires. A pulse machine is not an interview; says Eileen Levitt, president of HR Team in Columbia, Maryland. David Ramp, business counselor at the University of Alabama’s Small Business Development Center, suggests spending a little money and hiring a placement agency to do prescreening. Seven more hiring tips from the experts follow, so read on. And good luck.

  1. Don't be quick on the draw. Take your time and set a realistic time frame for hires. A pulse machine is not an interview,” says Eileen Levitt, president of HR Team in Columbia, Maryland. David Ramp, business counselor at the University of Alabama’s Small Business Development Center, suggests spending a little money and hiring a placement agency to do prescreening.
  2. Write down what you want. Levitt recommends creating a job description that clearly outlines duties and expectations. Sounds like a no-brainer, but she insists that many small businesses skip this step.
  3. Get employees to help. The [good employees], the ones that you think are exceeding your expectations, ask them if they know other people like themselves, says Paul Sanchez, global director of employee research at Mercer Human Resource Consulting in New York City.
  4. Ask good questions. Levitt says it's a mistake to pose hypothetical scenarios to a candidate. She thinks it's more useful to ask them about things that happened in the past and how they handled it. Tell me about a time you waited on someone who was nasty to you. What did you do?
  5. Set a path. Before you hire, consider specific milestones for the person. For example, if you want the new host to eventually wait tables, create a timetable and task list to get there. Have a review process in place, suggests Sanchez.
  6. Be a snoop. Know what your competitors are doing, Ramp says. Get a feel for what others are paying. Also, go to other restaurants and watch the service. This will help create a profile of the kind of employee you want and don't want.
  7. Be up front about money. Don't wait until you're ready to make an offer to bring up compensation. Ask up front what the person expects. It'll save a lot of time.
  8. Check references. The most important question to ask the reference: Would you hire this person again? Levitt strongly recommends doing background checks, especially for jobs that require handling cash and credit cards.

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