10 questions to ask before hiring an employee for your trade business

Business is running smoothly, but you don’t have time to scratch yourself? Perhaps you’re always on a job, can’t answer the phones, or don’t have time for invoicing. You decide you’re ready to expand, to find someone to ‘lighten the load’. Where do you start? It’s really easy to just accept the first person that comes along and ‘just get the ball rolling’.

To ensure you’re 100 per cent happy with your decision to hire, here are 10 questions to ask before hiring an employee:

1. Do you need to delegate some of your tasks?

As the business grows, you need to keep an eye on strategic matters. If you’re too stretched now, letting down customers and damaging the brand, perhaps it’s time to delegate the work. So what tasks can you delegate? Depending on what’s on your plate, the right person could be a tradesman or someone in the office.

2. Is the position full time, part time or a sub-contractor?

Rather than committing to a full-time hire – with a regular salary and benefits – some businesses are better off employing someone on a part-time or casual basis for two to three days a week to begin, or a sub-contractor, if a tradie. Once you have an understanding of what you need to delegate, this will become clear as day.

3. Do you have a defined role to fill?

Don’t advertise a vague job title. Instead, take time to come up with a job description that spells out the specific responsibilities of the new employee. That will help ensure that you pick a truly qualified candidate.

4. Can your network help you find your employee?

Hiring an employee recommended by someone you trust in your network can take away much of the uncertainty and increase the chances for a successful fit. So, be sure to ask around.

5. Are you hiring someone with your skills?

If office staff is your need, be careful to avoid hiring a candidate who excels in areas that are too similar to your own skills. They should have strengths that compensate for your weaknesses. For example, if your bookkeeping skills are not up to par, look for an employee with experience in that area.

6. Can you make a multi-year commitment to the employee?

Hiring a full-time employee means you need to be prepared to provide steady income and developmental opportunities. You are responsible for someone else’s motivation, pay, safety, training–and drama. So before you commit, be sure to have training goals in place, along with a plan for paying a salary over the long-term. A conversation with your accountant to ensure you can afford this expense is a good idea!

7. How will the new employee add to your bottom line?

Employees are a huge financial investment, so you need to understand how the person can help make your business more profitable. Your new employee needs to toe the line on helping you gain and retain more customers, and/or lighten your load so that you can.

8. Would you spend time with the employee outside of work?

We spend more time at work than with your friends or in bed asleep, so it’s important to get along on a personal as well as professional level. When you interview candidates, look for shared interests and approaches to solving problems.

9. Will the candidate be a good model for future employees?

This one is important. Before committing to a new hire, make sure the employee possesses the necessary qualities to serve as a model to the workers you may hire down the road. Your employees set the culture of the company.

10. Can you count on them to stay a while?

The employee will come to know the company inside and out, so it’s important that he or she is eager to grow with the business. Make sure you understand the person’s reasons for joining and the experience he or she is seeking with your company. Less employee turnover means you’ll save money on recruiting and training costs.

So now that you are armed with the right fuel, are you and your business ready?

What’s next?

  1. Join our Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook Group, for access to trade business specific conversations, tips and resources, plus a like-minded community of tradies.
  2. Book a 15-minute Game Plan Call with Andy, owner of Dr. DRiP plumbing and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, to clarify your priorities and get clear action steps.