Six hiring tips for SMEs and owner-managed businesses

With skills shortages affecting many businesses across the island of Ireland at present, making good hiring decisions is more important than ever, says Teresa Campbell.

The key to successful hiring is planning ahead and allowing sufficient time to check that potential candidates are a good fit for your business. While it can be tempting to make a quick decision to overcome an immediate problem, choosing the wrong candidate will almost always cost you time and money in the long run.


These six hiring tips will help you avoid common pitfalls


1. Clearly define the role that you want to fill and make sure that you know what skills are needed. Think about which of these skills are necessary from the outset and which can be obtained through training.


2. Plan ahead and allow sufficient time to find the right person. Hiring is a time consuming and expensive process and mistakes can damage your business — for example, an employee’s poor quality work may impact your customers while employees who have to be dismissed or who leave because they were never the right fit in the first place will mean you have to go through the hiring process again.


3. When screening candidates, check their CVs carefully and note down any issues that need to be followed up such as reasons for leaving a previous employer and gaps or inconsistencies in employment dates.


4. Verify qualifications. This is extremely important. If it turns out that someone you hired was not properly qualified and they subsequently run into trouble with one of your clients, this could potentially damage your business’s reputation.


5. If the candidate has a LinkedIn profile, check that their contacts and experience support the information presented in their CV.


6. Be careful when using LinkedIn and social media to screen candidates. It is advisable to let the candidate know if you intend to view their profile and obtain their permission. Remember that your use of data is subject to data protection regulations.


Keep in mind that potential candidates will also check your business out online. In a market where candidates are in short supply, it is important to review how your online and social media presence compares with your competitors.


Finally, remember that not all roles need to be filled in-house. Many businesses today outsource administrative roles such as HR, payroll and accounts so that their in-house teams can focus on the core business. For information on PKF-FPM’s HR and other outsourcing services, please contact myself or any member of our People and Culture team.


Teresa Campbell l Director