Recruiting staff for a new business


Date: 21 September 2011

Following her appearance this morning on Woman's Hour, here HR Headmistress Kate Russell gives a few pointers on getting your recruitment right.

As your start up business begins to take off, it's not always easy to think about and plan for recruitment of staff. Business needs in the growth phase can change quickly and the trick is to be able to make a dynamic response to these, so make sure any staff you take on remain an asset to your business and not a burden. No one wants to have to go through the time consuming recruitment process only to have to follow it with the painful and potentially costly task of redundancy and dismissal.

First of all, do your best to assess what your business actually needs. This means planning ahead, not just reacting to a heavy workload. If you're still not completely sure what difference a new post might make, using agency staff can be a good way to go. It might cost a bit more initially, but you get to find out whether or not a particular role is really going to help your business in the way that you hope without making any permanent commitments. Remember that the Agency Workers Regs which come into force on 1st October give agency workers additional rights after 12 weeks in the same job, so ensure that if you go that route, you limit the usage.

Once you're clear about what you need, set about finding the right person. Plan the whole process: you'll need a job description, person spec, competence-based questions and, if you can, a means of testing that they can actually do the job. It all sounds, and can be, time consuming, but it's far better to plan carefully and spend the time at this stage of the process. The more objective you can be, the less likely you are to end up with an accusation of discrimination (there are a few 'bounty hunters' out there!).

You may not have started your own business to end up managing staff, but get this right and it could be the best investment you ever make.

Kate Russell, Russell HR Consulting

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