In the first part of this article we had a look at ascertaining whether we really did need to hire staff or not, as well as how to ensure that we were hiring them for a specific purpose. This week we will look at the next steps to take.

Ok, so now you have set up the job spec and posted the information where -ever you can think of on the web, at your local supermarkets – just generally all over. Suddenly, it’s as if the flood gates have opened and you are flooded with e-mails and CV’s. Everyone is looking for a job; whether they are actually qualified to do it or not is something else altogether. You will be able to tell at first glance (and I mean glance – don’t do more than that at this stage) who may be – and I stress MAY be – suitable and who definitely isn’t.

Here’s a true story:

I was looking for a financial administrator for one of my clients. The job spec was really very clear, to the point that we stipulated that the applicant should be a qualified CA (chartered accountant) with a minimum of 5 years working experience in a financial environment. One of the applicants we got a CV from (and there were over 700 applicants for the position) was working as a financial planner in one of the banks – she didn’t even have basic bookkeeping as a subject at school. Curious, I contacted her and asked her why she even responded since she was clearly not at all qualified for the position. Her response: “Well, I work in a financial planning department in the bank, so how difficult can it be?” Not too difficult I guess, if you have studied for 3 or 4 years and qualified and done the year-long stint as an article clerk and then actually worked in a financial department (and no, financial planning is not a financial environment – it is an insurance environment) for no less than the required period!

Once you have gotten rid of all the nonsense, it is time to take a more serious look at what is left (I was left with around 20 at this point). I usually draw up a checklist of sorts, of the requirements that are needed for the job. As I work through the CV’s, I tick off what they have. For me, the applicant needs to have at least 80% of the requirements before I even start interviewing, and of those some are not even negotiable. As in the above example, certainly the applicant having the required qualification is not negotiable – but the applicant having something like four years’ experience instead of the required five would have been a point that I would have been happy to negotiate. After performing this particular task, I was left with three people to interview.

Next time we will have a look at the next step.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Small Business Forum

The Small Business Forum is an independent network of entrpreneurs and small business owners established to encourage and support the creation, growth and development of small business in South Africa.

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