Need an Extra Set of Hands? Read This First.

by | May 14, 2024 | Business Stages, Growing the Business, Management Skills

It could be a holiday you had to spend working, or it could be a frustrated customer calling for the third time because you haven’t had the time to get back to them. Whatever the reason, recognising you need to hire someone is a big step forward for your business. 

And while the specific moment of realisation comes differently to everyone, the cause is the same: You (or your team) have got more work than you can realistically handle. 

But since any hire is a big time and financial investment, you’ll want to make sure you’re making the right call.

In a recent episode of the FieldRocket Podcast we spoke to Sarah Kidby, a recruitment expert from Strategic Coach. Here’s a summary of her tips for finding the right person.

Make two lists: your needs and your wants

“When I look at hiring, the first place we start is a list of activities that you would like to hand over to the individual you’re hiring,” explains Sarah. “What is it that we need, and what is it that we want?”

It’s best to split these out into two separate lists, making sure they’re all tasks you don’t enjoy doing. 

Make a list of your needs and wants before you hire anyone

These two lists are crucial for your hiring process. Your ‘needs list’ is the most important and should drive your hiring decisions. If somebody fits some of your wants as well – that’s great. But it’s important to not place too much emphasis on these. 

Why? Because “it becomes like looking for a needle in a haystack – or a unicorn,” Sarah jokes.

Making a hire has a lot to do with delegation and other business mindsets. But if you make the right hire, it won’t feel as much of letting go as shifting responsibility.

Balancing needs and wants

Your needs list should only cover 80% (give or take) of what you want them to do. The rest provides space for that person to develop into the role you want and need. “It allows them to grow and bring in a skillset that maybe you’re not aware of that could really complement what you’re doing,” explains Sarah.

“I don’t like to use the phrase jack of all trades, but if you’re constantly looking for someone who’s capable of doing everything, one of two things will happen. Either you won’t find somebody because it’s too wide and varied, or you’ll find someone that’s maybe 10% good at everything.”

5 tips for the hiring process

5 tips for your next hire

#1: Look for motivated people

When you’re making a hire, it’s easy to get caught up in experience, skills, and qualifications. They’re definitely important, but aren’t everything.

“Capability is something that we can teach and something that we can continue to develop. However, if they don’t have the motivation to do it today, chances are they won’t have it tomorrow or at any point in the future.”

If they don’t have the motivation to do it today, they won’t have it tomorrow.

But testing how motivated and driven someone is can be hard. “It’s really difficult because it’s not something you can easily measure. It’s a feeling as well,” Sarah explains. She went on to recommend looking for small details like their tone of voice and body language in the way they communicate to you.

#2: Make sure they are a cultural fit

Another thing Sarah shared was the importance of finding “right-fit people”. In essence, this means people that you’ll enjoy working with. “Making sure they’re aligned to your values, and that they can really blend into the culture that you’ve created,” she explains.

“If you’ve got someone that’s not aligned to your values, then they’re not going to stay with you for very long.”

But values can be difficult to put into words. And, if you’ve been running a business by yourself, they’re probably not anything you’ve had to think about. Her advice is to think: “What do you want your clients to think of you?”

Your values can be as simple as 3-5 words. Candidates with similar values are much more likely to be a good fit.

#3: Balance immediate and future needs

Smaller companies tend to hire for more immediate needs. “What we don’t want to do is hire for the needs of the future if we have immediate needs that need to be addressed,” Sarah explains.

That being said, looking to the future is almost always going to be a benefit – as long as you have the budget for it. For example, heating companies have very seasonal work, and plenty of trades companies secure large contracts that take place over a longer period of time. In these situations, try to hire in advance so you have time to train the new hire and settle them in.

#4: Don’t interview alone

Interviewing is a difficult process, and everyone sees something different in people. Sarah’s advice is simple: “Don’t do it alone. Especially if you get to the point of being desperate, you tend to have tunnel vision and miss some major red flags.”

Instead, look to see if you can get support from someone – even if they’re not directly involved in your business.

You’ll know more of the technical details, but they can help you catch some of the red flags and make a more balanced decision on who’s the right person to hire.

#5: Ask interesting questions

If you can have somebody with you for 3-5 years, then you are winning.

An interviewer is only as good as the questions they ask.

Firstly, try to avoid asking anything you could learn from their CV.

Questions that help you understand their goals and unique traits are important. But for Sarah, a more unique approach is a great way to break the ice: “The first thing I would always say is “tell me the best day you’ve ever had in the last 5 years.””

“Everyone has that memory, and everyone has a memory of their worst day. That’s a really good indicator of what’s really important to them…. But also what did they take away from that experience?”

Helping your new hire settle in

Schedule the right jobs to the right engineer

When all is said and done, hiring turns to onboarding. Especially for heating & plumbing businesses, a big part of this process comes down to settling into day-to-day work.

Gas Engineer Software is a fully-integrated job management solution that can handle everything from quoting to paperless certificates, invoices, schedules, and lots more. These days, more and more engineers and admin staff are becoming accustomed to working digitally.

Adding a new team member to your subscription is quick and easy. Not only will this enable you to get the most out of your new hire, but it will also help them get up to speed as soon as possible and free of stress.

Next steps:

If you’ve been thinking about implementing software into your workflow to save time, here’s what you can do next: