Chartered Certified Accountants
and Business Advisers
At Sloane & Co LLP we can provide start-up businesses in the London area with help and advice. Here are some general points to consider regarding taking on staff.
As your business grows, you will probably need to hire new staff members.
Without good people your business cannot succeed, and for a new or growing business, making the right recruitment decisions can be the difference between long-term success or failure.
Consequently, you need a structured process for recruitment. Here are some things to consider:
Avoid getting swamped with piles of CVs. Talk to existing staff and define the vacant role that needs to be filled. Then build a picture of the ideal candidate, and find which applicants most closely resemble this picture.
Promoting an existing staff member to fill a vacancy can save enormous cost and risk compared to external recruitment. But make sure that the employee has sufficient training and skills to cope.
Structure your interview process, take notes and be consistent. Liking the person is not enough: you need to discover how competent they are. Open-ended 'behavioural' questions are good for determining this: you ask candidates to describe real-life situations at work when they solved problems similar to the ones they might encounter in your business. See more on conducting interviews below.
Existing staff might know good people who would be interested in the job. Offering a financial incentive can save you a fortune in recruitment agency costs.
Ensure that all new staff have a formal induction programme, intended to make them familiar with their new job. This will pay great dividends in the long term.
Hiring suitable staff is essential to the success of your new business, so it is vital to get the interview process right. Here are some of the factors to consider if you want to avoid losing a great candidate, or employing an unsuitable one.
Draw up a job description detailing the responsibilities involved. This will help you to clarify the type of skills and experience that you're looking for in the employee. Make a list of these characteristics and compare it with your impressions of the candidate.
Everybody knows the classic interview questions. But standard questions can elicit standard responses, so you need to focus on what it is you are really trying to discover about the candidate. The old favourite "Where do you see yourself in five years time?" won't necessarily tell you how the applicant will actually perform in the specified role.
Interviewers are increasingly using open-ended 'behavioural' questions which allow the candidate to demonstrate how he or she has acted in relevant situations in the past. For example, you could ask the applicant: "Can you describe a time when you were hard-pressed to meet a difficult project deadline with limited resources? How did you handle the situation?"
You want the candidate to be relaxed, not overly wary, so explain the form the interview will take beforehand. Be prepared to answer the candidate's questions about the company's size, mission, culture and future. The interview is a two-way process, and in a competitive job market you may want to create as good an impression for applicants as they do for you. Why not put together a one-page factsheet with details about the business?
Keep notes of your impressions as the interview progresses. These will act as a memory aid when interviewing a large number of candidates, and will also help you to be consistent and use the same criteria for each interviewee.
Be sure to follow up references from candidates' previous employers. Remember that what is not said can be as important as what is said.
It is essential to ensure that you do not discriminate against any candidates on the grounds of race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
There are many legal implications for taking on staff. Areas to consider include:
This is not an exhaustive list. You should always seek professional legal advice.
There are also tax issues to consider, such as setting up a PAYE scheme. We can help you with this.
If you are starting a business in the London area and would like professional assistance, contact Sloane & Co LLP.