If you’re a CEO of an SME business or even a start up, a lot of your time is spent hiring the right staff. After all it’s the people that make your business work That’s why it’s with great care you must source your employees and interview them. You can never be 100 percent confident whether a new recruit will work out or not. You haven’t spent nearly enough hours with them to know how they will react in any given situation.

Along the years, I have made a few hiring mistakes and only realized it a few months down the line. Having had to hire and let go of employees in the last three years, here are my two cents on how you can increase the probability that the person you’ve hired is the right fit for your company.

[Related: How to be a great boss: Hiring and firing in the SME world]

Understand the role you’re hiring for

When putting the team together, it was extremely hard for me to know exactly how to evaluate a person for a particular role. I knew the broad skill set a person would need to have, but not every single, specific, detail. For example, there are some areas of marketing, tech and even content I didn’t know existed!
Looking back now, ideally I should have reached out to my contacts who work within those specific fields. and understood how they would’ve assessed someone in an interview.

My advice, take the time to understand the role you’re hiring for. It will save you time and effort for both parties involved.

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Watch out for red flags

What are the red flags you should keep an eye out for? They often vary from one role to another to another. The biggest warning signs I have personally come across became evident during the offer stage of hiring a new employee. Once you have an offer on the table, candidates very often feel that he or she aren’t being assessed anymore. At this point you would be surprised at how the true self comes out when negotiating the contract. I believe this is the best time to really find out one’s true personality.

Emotional intelligence when negotiating is a big indication especially if this person is being considered for a management role.

Don’t confuse aggressiveness for enthusiasm

No one wants someone with very little energy as part of the team. We are all running at a million miles an hour and you want a team who can keep up. You want someone who fits right into the vibrant, fast moving environment.

But how much is too much energy? I am always torn when I meet someone full of energy. I start to question: Is he or she going to be high maintenance? Is it a lot of talk but no action? Are they going to come off as aggressive towards the team or clients?

[Related: The emotional entrepreneur: A springboard to SME success]

The bottom line is that hiring is by far one of the toughest part of running a business along with fund raising. I am still learning how to increase the probability that the new hires will be the right one.