Hiring the right employee can be a challenging process but hiring the wrong staff for your footwear business can be costly and time-consuming. Adam Davey, Director of BFA Partner Petaurum HR shares best-practice when it comes to recruiting and onboarding the best people

If you are successful in hiring the right staff for your footwear business, you will be paid back in employee productivity, successful working relationships, and a positive impact on the business. However, hiring great people who enhance your work culture, can be challenging and difficult to get right. The following is not a comprehensive guide to hiring but it does cover the key steps of attracting, recruiting and onboarding staff.

Define the Job Role

Hiring the right employee starts with an analysis of the job in question. This enables you to collect information about the duties, responsibilities, necessary skills, outcomes, and work environment of a particular job. Added to the wider information in terms of company purpose, vision and values you will have the standing framework of information you need to get started. The information from the job analysis is fundamental to developing the job description for the new employee. This job description assists you in planning your recruiting strategy for hiring the right staff for your footwear business.

Plan Your Recruitment Strategy

With the job description in hand, set out your detailed plan for attracting a high-quality pool of candidates. How will you let them know you are hiring? Newspaper or other printed advertisements, online job boards, LinkedIn or other social media promotion, your own website, a recruitment agency or referrals from existing employees are all options. Document your plan, budget and key milestones – it’s vital the recruitment process doesn’t drift. Also, think about what will attract the best candidates to apply. Why would they want to work for your company? Think about these key questions and they will help your campaign be successful.

Adam Davey and Mark Dyer of Petaurum HR

Review Job Applications

The work of reviewing CVs, cover letters and job applications starts with a well-written job description. Produce a shortlisting matrix so you can screen all applicants against the list of qualifications, skills, experience, and characteristics on the job description is a good idea. That way, you can formally score each candidate against the matrix. This ensures you review each CV thoroughly and means the decisions about those who you invite to interview are objective and based on the requirements of the job.

Pre-Screen Potential Candidates

The most important reason to pre-screen candidates when hiring is to save wasting time (at the formal interview stage. Whilst a candidate may look good on paper, a pre-screening interview will tell you if their experience really is a good fit for the job, and you can determine whether their salary expectations are in keeping with yours. Plus, it allows you to assess whether the candidate may fit within your company culture.

Ask the Right Interview Questions

The interview is still the key tool used by employers to assess whether or not to hire an employee. An interview is an opportunity not only for you to find the best candidate, but importantly, it also allows the shortlisted candidates to find out more about you, the company and whether they really want the position. Don’t just invite candidates in for a chat, but make sure you design your interview questions in advance. Keep them relevant to the role and make sure they allow you to elicit the information you need to make your decision. Cover the same questions with each candidate so you can compare “like with like”.

You may require the candidate to complete a test, give a presentation or complete a psychometric questionnaire so that you have additional information over and above the interview questions.  If you do, ensure you tell them in advance so they can prepare. Most candidates will be nervous at an interview so try and get them talking as soon as you can – preferably about something they will be comfortable with. Launching straight in with a barrage of technical, complex, or challenging questions is unlikely to help.

Decide Who to Hire

When you hire an employee, it’s tempting to offer the job to the candidate who is most like you. Beware of this practice when hiring. Why does your company need another employee just like you? Have you made this decision on fair, objective, and evidence-based criteria or are you looking for an easy life with a candidate you can get along with? A different type of person might add some much-needed challenge to the team and be able to drive business performance more effectively. If you get the hiring process right, the results will usually match your gut instinct. However, don’t feel under pressure to make an offer, if there is no one who fits the bill. Don’t be afraid to start over as nothing is as costly as making the wrong decision about staff for your footwear business.

Complete Background Checks

Effective background checks are one of the most important steps when hiring an employee. You need to verify that all the presented credentials, qualifications, skills, and experience match what they have told you. The background checks should include employment references, educational credentials, confirmation of right to work in the UK and where appropriate, criminal history. Some employers will also require a health check as part of their pre-employment vetting.

Make Job Offers

A contract ‘starts’ as soon as an offer of employment is accepted.  Be clear on what the terms of your offer are and what salary/benefits you are willing to offer.  If you are willing to negotiate on salary/benefits at this stage, stay in control of those conversations.

Onboard New Employees

The likelihood of someone leaving in their first year of employment rises significantly if they do not have a robust, high-quality induction. Resist the temptation to think that the process ends once the offer has been accepted. Depending on the job, and the size of the company, it can take between two weeks and six months for an employee to become fully settled. Design an induction to ensure they receive all the critical information to help them be successful as early as possible. Assigning them an induction buddy – someone who can guide and support them, answer questions, and help them to settle as quickly as possible – is a good idea. You’ve invested a significant amount of time, effort and money into finding the best candidate, don’t fall at the final hurdle?

Deal with Unsuccessful Candidates

Providing quality feedback based on objective, job-related criterion is an important part of not being offered a role. For the candidate, it will reassure them your process was fair and objective and it may also help them with their future development. For you as the employer, closing the loop of the recruitment process professionally is a key element to maintaining and enhancing your employer brand.  It will soon become known if you are the type of employer who doesn’t communicate their recruitment decisions promptly after the interview.

BFA Partner Petaurum HR is an HR specialist working across a range of sectors and industries, including footwear. Find out more via the company’s website. To read more expert HR advice for footwear business owners, BFA Members can log in to the BFA website and navigate to the HR and Training Resources area.