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How to hire the right people for your trade business

Hiring the right people for your new business is the difference between a thriving company and an unproductive one. The right employees mean your business has a fresh injection of talent and the right kind of energy to help it thrive from the get-go.

Hiring the right people for your trade business consists of several stages:

  • The first is identifying the talent you need and want
  • The second is attracting those people to your organisation (the application process)
  • The third is asking the right questions at the interview stage to ensure the right fit

We’re going to break down how to do each of these steps, including what you need to look out for when hiring the right talent and how to make the most of your interviews.

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The importance of hiring the right employees

Hiring the right employee/s is crucial for the success of any trade business.

The right tradespeople joining your business will ultimately help you increase productivity to be able to take on more work and projects. The best recruits will also help to bring fresh ideas, enthusiasm, and a positive mental attitude to the workplace.

On the other hand, hiring the wrong employee/s can have a negative impact on the company’s bottom line, as well as the behaviour of existing employees.

Factors to consider for hiring the best employees

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Their background and skills

One of the most important factors to consider when hiring someone is whether or not they possess the necessary skills and qualifications for the job. This not only includes their educational and professional background, but also their relevant experience and track record of success in similar roles.

It’s also important to assess their technical and practical skills, such as proficiency in using specific software, tools, or tasks.

For example, if you’re a plumber hiring another plumber to grow your business, asking them for an outline of their experience related to the role you’re hiring them for is relevant. You might even want them to complete a job-specific task to make sure they’re able to match the quality you’re looking for.

Whether they’re a good team/culture fit

In addition to technical and practical skills, it’s equally important to consider the business culture fit of a potential new team member.

This includes assessing their communication and teamwork skills, as well as their overall attitude and approach to work.

A good culture fit is essential for maintaining a positive and productive work environment. If you hire people who aren’t willing to get stuck in and help you grow, they’re bad for your business and other workers.

Some ways to assess this is through face-to-face interviews and scenario-based questions (e.g. how do you deal with conflict? You have a problem on a job, how do you go about solving it?).

References are also good ways to work out how potential new hires got on in their last roles. Make sure you ask for at least two references (even if this includes a character reference) so you know the candidate has a good reputation and positive employment background.

If they’re able and willing to adapt and learn new skills

Another important aspect when it comes to hiring the right employee is by assessing their ability to adapt and grow within the company. This includes their willingness to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities and their potential for advancement within the organisation.

A clear path for career progression is something you can also offer to attract talent. If people see an opportunity for their own personal development, especially if you’re a new business, they’re more likely to stay loyal and see the value in helping you grow your company.

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How to recruit employees for your small business

Recruiting employees for a small business can be a challenging task.

Small businesses often have limited resources and a smaller pool of potential candidates to choose from. However, with the right approach, small businesses can attract and hire the best candidates for their organisations.

Let’s take a look at a few of the tried and tested methods below.

Leverage your network and social platforms

One effective way for your small businesses to recruit employees is to leverage your network of contacts. This can include reaching out to current/former employees and asking them to refer qualified candidates, as well as leveraging social media and professional platforms to connect you with more talent.

If you have an Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook page (or all three!), make sure you post your available roles on those platforms.

Offer reasonable wages and benefits

Another effective strategy is to offer competitive compensation packages and benefits.

As a new business, high wages might not be doable. However, offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options, and a comprehensive benefits package that includes health insurance and meets your pension obligations is always appreciated.

You could also look at hiring apprentices and offering your training expertise as a benefit, which also keeps costs low and quality high.

Related content: Read our guide on how to hire employees for your growing business for more information.

Use digital recruitment tools

Start-ups can use online job boards and other recruitment tools to reach a wider pool of potential candidates. This includes using online recruitment platforms such as LinkedIn and Indeed, as well as reaching out to local colleges and universities to connect with recent graduates who may be looking for work.

Consider implementing a recruitment campaign

For trade businesses that want to attract the right talent quickly, a targeted recruitment campaign is worth considering. This can include advertising job openings in relevant industry publications or reaching out to professional organisations to connect with potential candidates.

Don’t underestimate the power of print marketing for trade businesses either. Read our guide for how to use this definitely-not-dead medium to your advantage.

Overall, recruiting employees for your small business requires a strategic approach that leverages your organisation’s strengths and resources.

By focusing on building a strong network, offering fair and competitive compensation and benefits, and leveraging the power of online recruitment tools, you can attract and hire the best candidates for your company.

So, how do you identify, attract, and recruit the best employee? The next section is going to look at how you can identify good candidates.

Qualities of a good employee/candidate

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How to spot a good candidate at an interview

Knowing what to look for when hiring staff helps you discover your ideal candidates. It’s important to not only consider the candidate’s qualifications and experience but also their personal qualities and characteristics. A good candidate should possess a combination of both hard and soft skills.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Do they have a strong work ethic?

This includes a willingness to go above and beyond to get the job done, a strong sense of responsibility, and a commitment to meeting deadlines and achieving results. This is evidenced by their work history and their reasons for applying to your open position.

Are they flexible and adaptable?

A good employee candidate should be able to adapt to changing circumstances and be open to new ideas and approaches. They should also be able to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions to problems.

This is evidenced through tests and example-based questions at the interview stage. For example, “Can you evidence a time you had to think outside the box in your last roles?”

Do they display good communication skills?

A good employee should possess strong communication and teamwork skills. They should be able to communicate effectively with colleagues and clients and be able to work well within a team environment.

This is evidenced by the examples they give in their interview to questions such as, “Do you prefer working solo or in a team?” and “How do you approach colleagues who you feel aren’t pulling their weight?”

A good employee should also be proactive, self-motivated, and able to take initiative. In other words, they should be able to work independently but also know when to seek help and guidance from their colleagues.

Are they positive and friendly?

A good employee should possess a positive attitude and be a good cultural fit for your trade business. They should share the same values and goals of your company and be committed to contributing to its overall success.

Most trade businesses are customer-facing, and an important aspect of good customer service includes a positive can-do attitude. Repeat business is unlikely if your customers have a bad experience with you or dislike your or your employee’s attitude.

Related content: Read our blog on how to build great customer relationships for more information.

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How do you attract good-quality candidates?

We’ve talked about what attributes a good employee displays, but how do you encourage them to sign a contract and work for you?

Here are several ways you can use to attract good-quality candidates:

  • Develop a strong employer brand: Promote your company’s culture, values, and mission to attract candidates who align with those values. Why not sign up to Checkatrade to save time and take advantage of our marketing success?
  • Use targeted job postings: Advertise your job opening on relevant job boards and professional networks to reach the right audience.
  • Offer competitive compensation and benefits: Candidates are naturally attracted to companies that offer competitive pay and benefits.
  • Leverage employee referrals: Encourage current employees to refer friends and acquaintances to open positions within your company.
  • Build a positive candidate experience: Treat candidates with respect by providing clear and timely communication. Stay open and transparent throughout the hiring process.
  • Utilise recruitment marketing techniques: Create compelling job descriptions and use social media for employer branding. A career section on your website to showcase your company culture and open positions wouldn’t go amiss either.
  • Leverage recruitment agencies and headhunters: If you have the budget, professional recruiters offer access to a large pool of qualified candidates, which can help you find the right talent for your business.

Read our blog: Spreading the load: Guide to taking on employees for more information.

Overall, hiring the right employee is essential for the success and growth of any trade business.

By taking the time to carefully assess the skills, qualifications, and organisational fit of potential employees, you can ensure you’re hiring the right tradespeople who are positive additions to your team and contribute to the company’s overall success.

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