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Finding Good Employees

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They All Look Good to Me

They All Look Good to Me

About a year ago I asked the question; “What is your most valuable business asset?”  In that message, I suggested taking care of your employees and offered several inexpensive suggestions to keep them happy in hope of retaining them.  Today I ask the question; “How do you find them in the first place?”  I have managed an accounting department and have hired people and will tell you it is difficult to find good employees.   In my current role as a consultant to small businesses I see employees from an outsider’s perspective and can say that an employee problem can be devastating to the productivity and to the morale of an entire company.  A small business cannot afford the drag that a bad employee can cause.  From my experience in a large company, I can attest that even larger companies are stymied by a bad employee.   That is why I believe it is so important to treat them right once you find a good one. 

When hiring an employee you need to take it seriously as the chances are they will be with you for a relatively long time.  The average tenure at a job in the U.S. is about 4.5 years according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.   Read the BLS report here.  Unfortunately that is only several years shorter than most marriages.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau , the average marriage last about 8 years. (See page 18 of 24 of report)

How do you find a good employee?  I will offer a few suggestions that might not seem too rigorous but many companies do not bother with them.   Even if you follow these suggestions you cannot be guaranteed to find a winner.  To increase your odds, take the time and effort to do the following:

  • Do a background check, including a credit check
  • Check work references; be careful if any offer lukewarm responses
  • Before hiring; order a drug test
  • Use multiple people to do interviews and have a standard list of relevant questions
  • Ask questions to assess their ability to deal with uncomfortable situations such as “how did you handle this…”
  • Check them out on Social media sites
  • If you don’t have an HR professional, find a consultant to assist.  In the big picture the cost is minimal.

Many small businesses use a “seat of the pants” approach when hiring employees.  This is simply a bad idea.  I implore you to take hiring an employee seriously since there is so much at stake.  The amount of work you can get from a good employee is so much greater than a poor employee and is even greater when compounding the length of employment which can be many years.

Have a great week carefully adding valuable assets to your company.


Written by pacelinebiz

January 28, 2013 at 7:46 am

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  1. this is so true, Doug!! I have been doing recruiting a long time and, 1. most of today’s candidates do not have the WORK ETHIC that WE have and, 2. a lot of these candidates are just another warm body and are not productive, nor do they take pride in the work that they do. Thanks for this posting… it hit home to me! 🙂


    January 29, 2013 at 12:53 pm

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