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HR News » help wanted! (creative pros: do your homework before you hire)
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help wanted! (creative pros: do your homework before you hire)

Comments 0 Comments   Views 40 Views     About 17-07-2009

So you're a creative pro and business has been clicking along pretty well and you've reached the point where you realize -- it's time to hire some help. People who've hung around this blog know I spent several years in the corporate world in HR (and learning & development), before starting my own business.   I do help creative pros grow their business, and even hire when they're ready.  But I often get asked about hiring by entrepreneurs.  So....What do you do?

First up, what do you need?
If you're thinking, "Well, I just need some help. I need someone who can do a bit of everything."  You're going to need to become much more specific than that.  Before you go looking for someone, clearly define what you'll be having that person do day-to-day.

While it might sound great to find someone who can 'do a little light design work' while also keeping your books, writing correspondence, and keeping things organized, all while doing some customer service work as well, you're being entirely too general. 

Yes.  As a small business owner, you've probably be doing it all yourself for a while.  But think about it.  You have strengths, right?  Talents?  Things that you are more inclined to be good at doing than others?

So does everyone else.

So write a well-defined description of what you want this person to do.  If you need an assistant to handle administrative tasks, look for that.  

Know The Other Details About the Job
How many hours will you need this person to work?  When do you need them to work?  Do you need them to come into your office or studio?  Will you be working together virtually?  What specific skills do they need to have?  What computer programs will they need to have (and how proficient will they need to be)?  Do they need to be 'professional' or can they be more relaxed?  Do they need to have prior experience working with clients?  Handling schedules?  Again, get specific.

How Much Can You Pay Them
Don't just ballpark it.  Do the research.  Find out what others who do this type of work are making in your area.  (And yes, there are tools online to do this.  But will probably give you rates that are high for your area.  Still, you can take a look, just know that you can come down from that.)  

One Way to 'Research'
Let's say you've decided you need an administrative assistant.  One way to research (and get ideas) for everything from skills to look for to job rates (if they're listed) is to search the job ads.  Read the ads online at Monster and Careerbuilder, even Craigslist.  Search the ads in your local paper. 

Before you think, "but the companies on those sites are big, I'm just a small business owner."  Keep in mind that most of the salary listings at these sites are for companies that will also offer benefits, etc.  Your 'salary-structure' will probably look different.  But all you're looking for at this point is a ballpark.  If you want someone with a certain skill set and three years of experience, what are others paying people who have those skills and experience?   Which leads us to.......

Network, network, network
Ask around.  Ask other entrepreneurs that you know.  Ask how they hired their people.  Ask how they found that assistant and if they're willing to share, how much they're paying.  Ask everything.  

Finding Someone
Finding someone?  Well that's a whole other story.  You have to know what and who you're looking for before you can find them.  Start there.  Do the homework first.  We'll get to how you find them in a later post.  

All the best!
P.S.  Don't forget to sign up for the newsletter up in that little box up in the right sidebar.  ;-)

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