Appoint the ‘Right’ Person for the Job

Appoint the ‘Right’ Person for the Job

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Most owners of SMEs have to fulfill this function themselves without the luxury of a human resource department.

Once a business starts to flourish it will have to employ more staff.  A sole owner can suddenly become an employer.  Delegation can fast become essential, making personnel training a priority.

The process starts by recruiting and appointing suitable people for the job.  This entails, among other, ensuring that the right people apply for the available jobs and secondly that the most eligible candidate is appointed.

Business owners often base their appointees on personal references.  It is, however, more appropriate to advertise vacant positions so that more potentially talented people could apply.

Such advertisements should be published in a newspaper or magazine that will prove to have the best chance at attracting potential applicants.

Be specific about the post and the kind of person that will best suit the business.

Other aspects that should be mentioned in the advertisement are:

  • The responsibilities of the job;
  • The strong points of the business;
  • Qualifying attributes that applicants should be endowed with, such as minimum academic qualifications, language preferences, etc;
  • In which town or city the successful applicant will have to work;
  • The format of the application, e.g. e-mail or facsimile;
  • Closing date for applications; and
  • Commencement date when the successful candidate should start working.

It is no longer general practice to advertise the job salary in the advertisement as it can restrict applicants that are interested.  The aim of the advertisement is to attract as many applicants as possible.

Entrepreneurs can also employ a recruitment agency to enlist suitable candidates.  The advantage of this method is that costs will be liable only after the candidate has been appointed.  Unsuccessful advertisements are for the account of the agency.

Agencies need the following information before they can begin to recruit:

  • A comprehensive job description;
  • Remuneration package details;
  • Qualities of the kind of person that will fit into the work environment;
  • Unique benefits that the job offers;
  • Reasons why the vacancy exists;
  • More information about your organisation’s key business;
  • Lines of communication of the job; and
  • Promotion possibilities.

When all applicants have been evaluated a shortlist of candidates who will be invited for personal interviews is compiled.  It is good practice to include other senior personnel as part of the interviewing panel.

Compile a list of questions that will be asked to all candidates.  If, after the interview, you are still not comfortable about having made the correct choice, it is perfectly in order to run a second or third round of interviews.

Tommy Du Plessis
Professor Tommy du Plessis is the director of the Potchefstroom Business School. His fields of expertise are entrepreneurship and small business management, and before joining the PBS he was the Provincial General Manager of ABSA in the North West Province. He is a regular columnist in newspapers on the field of small businesses, where he gives advice on a large number of topics that deal with entrepreneurship and small business management. He is also a regular guest on a South African radio programme that targets small and medium-sized businesses and also contributes to a London-based newspaper’s column on Business Start-ups. Visit The North West University website to find out more about the Potchefstroom Business School.