Small Business editor of the NZ Herald

Small Business: Hiring right - Dale Clareburt, Weirdly

This week, small business editor Caitlin Sykes talks to business owners about hiring right.
Dale Clareburt, co-founder and CEO of Weirdly.
Dale Clareburt, co-founder and CEO of Weirdly.

Dale Clareburt is co-founder and CEO at recruitment software startup Weirdly.

Can you talk me through a bit about your background in recruitment and how that led you to co-found Weirdly?

I'd been working in the recruitment industry for 20 years - building and running both global and boutique agencies - before co-founding Weirdly. Helping companies of all different shapes and sizes find people who will really propel a business forward - the ones who help gel a team and build an awesome company culture - hammered home to me the need for a tool that would help screen job seekers by cultural and values alignment.

In my experience as a recruiter you see people sitting with piles of CVs struggling to sift out a shortlist based on the unimportant stuff like where someone went to school or what their last job title was. Finding answers to big questions like 'does this person share the big vision we have for our company?' and 'will they fit into - and also challenge - my current team?' didn't happen until the end of the process.

All my experience told me that was upside down, and that we should be building shortlists based on those big, abstract questions. You can always teach someone a new skill required for a role, but you can't teach them a passion for your team and business.

What kinds of things do small business owners need to think about when they're considering hiring someone for a specific position in their firm?

There's plenty of advice out there about the practical steps to consider when hiring, but there are two things that often get overlooked by small businesses, which I think are the most important.

The first is to get clear on your mission, then hire someone who cares about it. The most common thing you hear business owners say is 'I just need another me', but what we often mean when we say that is, 'I need to find someone who cares about this business the way I do, who will go the extra mile and feel invested in the company's success'. A lot of that comes down to motivation. As a business owner, you're motivated by your mission - the change you're trying to create in your clients' lives - so if you look for someone who shares that same motivation, you're more than halfway there.

COMING UP: What are the experiences of some small business owners who have built up longstanding relationships with their suppliers over time, and how are they extracting the most value out of those relationships? If you've got a story to share about supplier relationships, drop me a note:

The second is to think about the holes in your team. That's not just about looking at the skills gaps, but asking yourself what personality types or perspectives would help your team become more productive or more creative. We all know diverse teams perform more highly so how can you add more diversity to your company?

What steps are important to include in the hiring process to ensure good outcomes?

It all comes down to planning really. Before you hire, make sure you know exactly who you're looking for. This will make the entire process more streamlined and save you loads of stress. Also before you kick off your search, think about what you can afford to pay, whether you need someone in the office all day or if remote working would fit - these are the kinds of things applicants will ask and you need to have an answer ready.

Then, make sure you're making the process easy on yourself; you still need to run a business so having an inbox flooded with CVs and sifting through paper in your evenings isn't going to help. Using one of the really simple management softwares out there will help heaps for keeping your inbox clear and the process stress-free. We obviously reckon Weirdly's awesome for this because it automatically helps you build a shortlist at the same time, but there are heaps of other management systems out there too.
What are your three top tips for small business owners wanting to get hiring right?

1. Always hire for culture over skills. If someone's got 80 percent of the skills you need, but an awesome attitude, they're going to be a better hire every time.

2. Keep job titles simple. No one knows what a 'guru of technical wizardry' actually does; people need to know what the job is to be able to apply.

3. Involve your current team. Generally speaking, good people know other good people so get your team to share the opportunity because you never know who they're friends with.

- NZ Herald

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