Not long ago, I posted a blog making the point that business is (always) all about the people; employees and customers - in that order. (You cannot provide good service by unhappy employees.) It starts with recruitment, however most of us (being untrained in the process and not understanding of the consequences) treat it as something that must be done as quickly as possible, taking the minimum time.


NOTHING is more important than getting this right. The future of our business depends on it to a very great degree. As such, we must not merely react to a need and appoint the first person who appears to fit our requirements. The process must be thorough, detailed and ongoing.


I could not say how many times I have heard a business owner say "I would like to get more/better people, but they're just not available."


Can't get the right people? You're not trying hard enough. Or should I say, you're probably not going about it the right way.


At this point, I must commend Jack Daly's "Hyper Sales Growth" - a text book for anyone involved in business sales. (Jack might not have written it as a text book, but it can be used that way.)


Daly says "Recruiting is a process, not an event. It should be ongoing and continuous."


Working with a client on recruitment over the past few months, we agreed on a principle: "Always recruiting". We then agreed that recruiting is actually a marketing process. The next point of agreement was the "ideal candidate" and the "target market" were actually, the same thing.


The starting point in this long and continuous process is to begin to make a list of potential candidates (having, of course, identified them as suitable, a cultural fit with your team and sharing your values) and then going about the process of building a relationship that will be of mutual benefit. As with any relationship, it takes time to develop trust and confidence; however with dedication to this task, a meaningful relationship will develop to the point where a discussion regarding your needs and the ideal candidate's aspirations will arise and a position with your business is appropriate. By this time, you will have been convinced that you share common values and that the team will be enhanced by their presence. (If not, the conversations will have ceased.)


This process may seem arduous and long–winded. However, if you're thinking this way, consider the relative upsides of having great people and the downsides of poor hiring choices. I know of a business owner who believes that poor choices have cost him over one million dollars over past years. And that doesn't take into account the effect on other staff, court cases and claims of unfair dismissal and workplace harassment. These cases may have been dismissed, but the toll on the business owner, staff and on business growth has been inestimable.


On the other hand, great people will enhance team performance, build on the positive culture and accelerate growth. (In fact, significant growth will not eventuate without them.)


Although it's 30 years ago, when I was first building what was to become my core business, I knew I had to get the right person first up, in that building process. I did not want to simply put a "salesperson wanted" advertisement in the local paper because it would attract people I would have to reject out of hand. Instead, I had the picture of my "ideal candidate" firmly in my mind and compared every person I came across for a match. It took months, but I did get that person who loyally stayed with me for a long and difficult period of early growth.


It's a long and ever-ending process, but it's worth implementing.

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What John Matthew believes about small business

That the owner has risked many things that others take for granted;

That there is no guaranteed income or reward for the considerable effort that is required;

That often, the family home is on the line to support the business and its constituents;

That there is a dignity and self-respect that is earned;

That entire communities would be better places if there was an increased appreciation and respect for small business.

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