Is the Perfect Employee Really Out There?

In today's competitive job market, small business owners often find themselves feeling the odds are against them in finding the right employee. Positions in accounting, information technology (IT) and sales are increasingly in high demand and require businesses to have human resource tools that are both competitive and strong enough to bring in the best possible recruits.

While you may be wondering if that perfect employee really exists, there are some things you can do to be ready if and when the time comes and they walk through your front door.

  1. Analyze your business and be sure that hiring an employee makes sense financially and emotionally. It's estimated that hiring the wrong employee can cost you two and a half times their annual salary if they don't work out. If you're a sole proprietor, taking the next step and bringing in an employee can be both a blessing and a curse if you don't carefully consider your applicants. You must be ready to relinquish some of the control you have over certain tasks and willing to share your space with another person. Try testing the waters by using a temporary staffing service to see if expanding your enterprise is the right step.

  2. Don't just pick up the Yellow Pages to find a staffing service, contact other business owners and ask for referrals to staffing agencies they have used in the past. You should also ask questions about the process, what the base salary rate was and how well the temporary employee worked for them. Once you've found an agency, schedule a time to meet with your recruiter and review the following areas:

    • Does the agency specialize in a specific industry or position?

    • What is the agency's fee structure? Is it negotiable?

    • Don't sign agreements or contracts before you receive viable resumes and negotiate an agreeable rate of pay. Placement fees can run anywhere from three to six times the weekly rate for a temporary to permanent employee and for a salaried management position, a percentage of their annual salary.

    • Educate the agency contact on your businesses, exactly what you're looking to accomplish with the position, and the ideal traits the candidate should possess so they can better represent your business.

    • Once you start receiving resumes, you'll need to carefully review each one before scheduling the interviews. Look for previous positions held, areas of responsibility, and any red flags such as gaps in employment history or short term positions, as these can indicate a lack of commitment or interest in the previous jobs.

  3. Once you've scheduled the interviews be ready to evaluate not only the applicant's work history but also their personality. Often times a motivated and enthusiastic candidate is worth more than one who is extremely well qualified but lacks a team spirit and positive attitude. Ask the candidate a series of character-based questions such as 'What book(s) are you reading right now?' or 'What do you do in your free time?' These types of questions will reveal a deeper personality and give you an indication of the candidate's real character. Remember that tasks and job duties can be learned by a willing and eager employee, however, personality and a positive attitude cannot.

  4. Be forthright with the candidate on the expectations of the position, as well as any opportunities for advancement. The applicant should leave the interview feeling that they have a firm understanding of the job, as well as your plan of how they would fit into the vision of the organization.

Is the Perfect Employee Really Out There?
Download File | Visit Archives

Brought to you by:

Making an offer

You've found the right candidate and you're ready to make an offer-Don't waste time! The candidate is most likely working on additional job opportunities and may be receiving other job offers. Review your benefits against other like industries and try to offer a package that's as competitive as possible. Consider additional perks if you cannot compete on compensation as much as you would like. Vacation time and flexible hours can go a long way to luring and keeping a good employee, even if salary isn't ideal.

A few caveats

When working with an agency there are also a few services that may or may not be included in your base rate but should definitely be open for negotiation.

Background Checks. Does the agency perform and provide background checks on all candidates? In today's identity theft riddled society, it's very possible to have candidates that forge their resumes, educational experience, or even an entire identity. The average cost of a background check is about $175 per candidate and is small compared to the potential costs to your business should a new employee compromise confidential data or secure areas of the organization which could amount to tens of thousands or higher. It's always best to do your homework and make every attempt to know whom you are bringing into the fold.

Pre-Employment Testing. Agencies often offer pre-employment testing as a separate charge to the recruiting process. If your agency doesn't provide this service, you can also use a third party vendor to administer any necessary testing or screening such as personality, drug tests or polygraph examinations. Many large corporations use these screenings as a last step in eliminating candidates before making the offer. Typically, most pre-employment tests can be completed in between 60 and 90 minutes. Most tests today are Internet-based, but a few still use paper and pencil. Costs to the employer can range from less than $100 to $3,000 per test. One note of caution-you will need to verify what testing is allowed by law (federal, state, and local) and test only those areas that you deem absolutely necessary.

Hiring Guarantees. Most agencies provide some type of guarantee on employees that they represent. Typically this can run from a refund of the staffing fee or a free replacement candidate. Check with your agency and verify that there is some type of guarantee clause before signing with them.

Finding the right employee can be a time consuming and costly process. The steps outlined above are a good starting point, but don't be afraid to utilize staffing services and outside agencies to remove some of the burden and help you hire the right employee.

This article written by Fiducial. To learn more about staffing services for your small business, contact your Fiducial representative at 866-FIDUCIAL or visit our web site at

Already a member? log in here.

Editor's Choice