Building a strong team requires taking the time to find the RIGHT people. This means team members who not only have the skills you require, but who also fit with your business culture. If you are a solopreneur, this is even more important since your team is that much smaller and each member needs to complement your style. If you’re thinking about hiring help, take a few minutes to read through these tips before you write that job description, to make sure you get the help you need:

Don’t Look For A Clone. How many times have you thought your day would be easier if only you could clone yourself? I know…but stop right there. Trying to hire another version of yourself is not the best approach to take when you’re looking to expand your team. Instead, seek out employees based on a specific skill set you need. Understand that this is an opportunity to hire someone who has complementary skills to yours. Think of it this way: most people like you will be starting their own business, so trying to find someone like yourself might be harder than you think. In any case, the benefit of adding a valuable member to your team is not just that they can complete the tasks you assign them, but that they can help you propel your business forward in a real and meaningful way. With that in mind, try to find someone who really shines with a few skills that are important to your business. This will make it easier for you to know the type of work you can pass to them, and be assured that anything you delegate to them will be done to a specific standard. It’s better to strive for excellence from a specialist instead of getting moderate results from a generalist. This might mean you need to hire more than one person to cover the entire workload; however, when you have people in the right roles, everyone wins. Your business will be more productive and efficient, and your team will be happier too.

Look to Fill Your Gaps.  When hiring you will of course be looking for someone who can “do the job”. However, among the qualified candidates there may be a big difference in how the job gets done – in other words, the approach of each candidate. As a hiring business owner you should be looking for someone who not only shares your values, your passion and work ethic, but who can push you and your business to the next level. This often means someone who brings skills that will help you solidify gaps in your own skill set or in that of your team. Do you need someone who is highly organized? Do you need someone who can work in a fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants environment? You must also consider practical aspects such as, do you need someone who can work weekends and evenings? Think about these things ahead of time so that when you are interviewing, or even writing that job description, you know what adaptive skills a candidate will need to be successful in your organization, as well as the skills you are looking for to help expand and grow your business.

Don’t hide your faults! It may be hard to let someone see behind the curtain, but whomever you hire will soon be privy to that point of view — it won’t be long before they can identify your faults. If you are late with everything or tend to over-promise or push tight deadlines, this might be something to discuss with serious candidates during a follow-up interview. Once you know which candidates can do a great job, it’s a good practice to do a follow-up to ensure they are a great fit, and this is a good time to determine if you will be able to work together and complement one another, despite your respective faults. Everyone has their quirks, even when trying to be the perfect boss or employee. Having a frank discussion about this topic (from both perspectives) is an important part of finding out if you will work together well and can save everyone time and effort in the long run.

Finding the right fit. Every organization operates under a different set of principles, and these principles govern the way you serve customers, conduct marketing, treat employees and communicate information. Often in smaller organizations, it can be harder to identify the culture because the lines may be blurred between the company’s identity and the owner’s identity. Also, sometimes owners don’t give much thought to the established culture of their business  because it’s something that comes naturally and has been built over time. However, when you bring in a new team member who doesn’t necessarily understand or operate within those values, conflicts may arise. Regardless of how experienced a candidate is, if they don’t fit with you and your team, the clashes that ensue can overshadow any positive work that is being done – and cause stress within your company that is better avoided. So how do you know if someone is going to be a good fit? One way is to consider what the culture of your business is, as well as the type of person who will fit with it. Carefully construct a few questions to use in the interview process that will give you an idea of each candidate’s approach or personality. Are you looking for someone who is really positive? Innovative? Creative? Methodical? A little edgy? Be clear on your company culture, and it will be easier to make sure that your hires will fit in.

Ready to start looking for your new employee? Don’t forget to post on the Vegan Mainstream Job Board, free for the first 20 days. Using portals specific to the vegan community can help narrow your search efficiently and make you more successful in hiring an employee who fits your business culture.

TAKE ACTION: When you are ready to start looking for a new hire, make a list of all the gaps in your business (large and small) so that you have a clear picture of what you need from your new team member. If you have team members, you may want to include them in the brainstorming.

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