Build Your Business:

Creating Your Dream Team, Part 2

March 7, 2016

Owning a business is hard work, so making sure you have the best employees is important. You need to have reliable, trustworthy people that want your business to succeed as much as you do.

The first thing to do when thinking about expanding your staff is write down exactly what characteristics you are looking for in an employee: reliable, hard worker, self motivated, creative and good listener.

Making your own application allows you to ask questions that apply to your business and your needs. There are things you can and cannot ask. For a full detailed list you can click here

As you review applications, read over everything carefully and mark things that catch your attention to save time when its time to decide who to bring in for a face-to-face interview.

Don’t start an interview with: “Tell me about yourself.” You should already know about the applicant from reading their application, so start by telling them something about you and your business. Your name, what your title is, how you got to where you are and a little about what your business does. Not too much to overwhelm them, but enough to keep them interested.

Ask for all calls to be held during the interview to avoid interruptions. The applicant has set aside time for the interview and so should you. Give them your full attention.

If you feel it’s going well, ask if they have time for a quick walk-through so they can see exactly what’s behind closed doors. This can be beneficial to the interview process. (I was ready to hire a lady I thought would be a great addition to a business I managed in Atlanta. She had great questions and was so engaging, but once I opened the door and she saw 20 multi-head embroidery machines all going at once she had a panic attack and ran out the door. I never saw her again.)

I always look for how a person interacts with me when I interview them. Do they look at me when I’m talking? Do they ask questions? Do they talk badly about their last job and the people they worked with? All of this can be helpful in making a final decision.

Make it known what you expect from employees (punctuality, attendance, an ability to take direction and learn within a certain amount of time, etc.). Try a 30-day hire, where you give each other 30 days and within that time if I feel they don’t have what it takes or they feel this isn’t right for them, then we part ways. Put this on the application, so potential employees know upfront that there is a time limit on learning the job.

Most importantly, be open and honest about what you are looking for. If it is only a part-time job tell them that is all it’s ever going to be. If you need someone to be at work at 7 a.m., tell him or her that.

Also, when it’s time to hire a new person, let others in your company know. Seeing someone walk in and talk to the owner is a good way to get rumors started. Call a short meeting and let everyone know that your business is growing and you are interviewing to hire someone (or however many people you need).

When the new person starts they need to have a handbook with all of the company polices. Take the time to show them around and introduce them to everyone. Tell them who to go to for questions about their check, vacation and time off. Make sure they understand about lunch and break times. If your business is big enough to have supervisors, managers and a human resources department, then explain how that works.

Bringing on a new employee is a challenge for everyone in your company, but taking the right steps so everyone is aware of change and taking the time to hire the right person will make everyone happy. Never hire the first person you talk with just because you need someone. It pays to be patient for the right person.

Read more about your building your ideal staff, in “Creating Your Dream Team, Part 1.”

Connie R. Smith has been in the embroidery industry for more than 30 years and has been an industry speaker and consultant. She also is an award-winning digitizer. For more information or to comment on this article, email Connie at