Scared to recruit

Notwithstanding the fact that now is an excellent time to recruit, what with all the talent that’s on the market, people who run businesses are worried about recruiting staff because of all the legislation that seems to be multiplying day by day.

But are they right to be worried?

Well, I don’t think so.

I was working with a group of small business owners today who are in the process of growing their teams. It’s true that these were micro organisations, but very soon they will be recruiting their first staff member and will grow their ‘family’ pretty quickly over the next six months or so – probably up to five or six team members.

As we were talking about some of the common bear traps in recruiting I could see a strange reaction beginning to develop. The energy seemed to leech out of the discussion and faces that had been fully engaged and laughing just a few minutes before were now very serious.

In fact, they had got themselves into a bit of hole and were asking more and more… strange questions about what they could and could not ask candidates in an interview situation. For example, “can I ask the candidate about piercings that they wear when they are out at night” one entrepreneur asked.

I have to say, in all honesty, that I have watched the recent developments in employment legislation with some… shall we say ‘scepticism’ over the past few years, but I had my own epiphany about recruitment a few months ago. Actually, when reviewed dispassionately, the vast majority of the new legislation already in place is designed to release (or keep) talent into the system.

I’m not even sure why I was so sceptical any more. Just take Norway. The legislation introduced some time ago to balance the number of men and women on company boards has been a roaring success. Not only has the measure reduced the amount discrimination but a huge amount of untapped potential has been realised resulting in a better performing economy than many European counterparts… and this was a somewhat unexpected by product!

I do recognize that there is an awful lot of legislation about and it all needs to be taken into consideration. But if you want to grow your business there really is no choice… you have to recruit and now is the time to do it.

If you do it openly, honestly and with a modicum of old fashioned common sense you won’t go far wrong, especially if you get some advice.

As one of the business owners I was working with today succinctly put it when she had her own epiphany: “If you work on your own you’ve bought yourself a job, if you employ people, you’ve got yourself a business!”

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