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Today, with ever more employees suing their bosses for wrongful discharge, sexual harassment, and racial/gender/age discrimination, it is increasingly important an entrepreneur understand how to hire. Hiring is not a simple matter of placing a help-wanted ad in the newspaper, receiving resumes, and then holding interviews to select the best candidate. The bulk of the work of hiring comes before the person is actually needed.

Functions to Fill

Part of organizing a business is determining what positions are needed for the required tasks of the business. This is a wise practice because employees are generally the largest expense of the business and therefore should be hired only when necessary. Nevertheless, it is important to develop job descriptions to prepare for the eventuality of hiring employees.


Typically, when entrepreneurs (and managers) develop job descriptions, they focus entirely on the duties and responsibilities of a particular job. Although this is important, it is equally important to develop behavioural profiles of these jobs. Even though a candidate may have the education and experience required by the job description and may display some of the behavioural traits necessary for success in the position, the candidate’s personality and values may not fit in well with the culture in the organization.

This is an important distinction because education and experience can be acquired and behaviours in most cases are taught, but the right values – which enable the right hire to fit in with the company culture – must already be present. In today’s business environment, a company’s culture is a competitive advantage, so hiring people whose attitudes and values are consistent with it becomes a most important goal in hiring.


The Employee Search

The first and best place to look for an employee is among current employees, sub-contractors, or professional advisers. Referrals from trusted people who know the business have a greater likelihood of yielding a  successful hire. Even during start-up, it is important to be constantly on the lookout for good people who might come on board as the business grows.

Executive search firms are good for management positions, and online resources have become an effective starting place for hiring, particularly with technically oriented positions.



Most entrepreneurs dread interviewing job candidates, primarily because they don’t know what to say and don’t understand that their questions should be designed to reveal the individual’s personality and behaviour – how he or she might react in certain situations.

This can be accomplished in part by asking open-ended questions, questions that call for more than “yes-no” answers. For example, ask, “What is your greatest strength?” or “How would you handle the following hypothetical situation?”. While the person is answering the questions, be careful to note the nonverbal communication being expressed through body language.

Entrepreneurs must be aware that certain questions should never be asked in an interview situation because they are illegal and leave the entrepreneur open to potential lawsuits.


Human Resource Leasing

Entrepreneurs who are not ready n to hire permanent employees or who need to remain flexible because the business environment is volatile and unpredictable may want to consider leasing employees or employing temporary services.

A leased employee is not legally the entrepreneur’s employee but is, rather, the employee of the lessor organization. That firm is responsible for all employment taxes and benefits. The entrepreneur simply receives a bill for the person’s services.

Employee leasing is a rapidly growing industry known as the Professional Employer Organization (PEO). More and more business owners are finding it advantageous to have a third party manage their human resources. In effect, the PEO becomes a co-employer, taking on the responsibility of payroll, taxes, benefits, workers’ compensation insurance, labour law compliance, and risk management.

Bernard Taiwo
I am Management strategist, Editor and Publisher.