By Marc Bishop, Sharon Crooks

Part of HR for Small Business For Dummies Cheat Sheet, UK Edition

As your business grows, you will reach a point when you can’t do everything yourself, but taking on an employee is a big step, so it’s worth taking the time to do it properly. Before you offer a job to someone, be very clear about what you need them to do. Follow these simple tips to keep yourself on track.

  • Check your business plan and be clear about how this job and this person will help you to achieve it.

  • If you don’t have a formal business plan, jot down a list of all the things that are keeping you busy.

  • You probably like doing some things, and some you need to keep in your control. Make a list of the activities or tasks you could hand over to someone else.

  • Now make a list of things that need to happen for the business to survive and grow. You’ll soon have more time, and you should do the ones you’re good at. Add the rest to the list for someone else.

  • Look at the ‘someone else’ list and check if it makes sense for one person to do all those things. If not, keep some for yourself. It’s unlikely that one person will be good at everything, so group activities together, like sales, customer service and writing proposals, or stock taking, deliveries and invoicing.

  • Write a job description using the list as your guide. Start by writing the key purpose of the job, then a list of responsibilities. Only once you’ve done this, decide what job title to use. (If you start with the job title you’ll write a job description to fit the job title rather than what you and your business needs done!)

  • Think about the skills, qualifications and experience someone would need to do the job well. You can differentiate between the essential and desirable things on the list, to give yourself some flexibility. This is your person specification.

You can use this process every time you need to recruit more people. As the team grows, you will bring in people with different skills and preferences so you’ll need to take these into account with each new vacancy.

Now you’re ready to go out and recruit!