Brett Febus likes to take his time when he’s looking to hire someone at Insource Spend Management Group. If that means he has to put off making a final decision and can instead bring the person in on a temporary basis, he’ll do it.
“It’s a huge responsibility when you, as an employer, hire a person,” says Febus, founder and president at the 20-employee financial consulting company. “It’s a responsibility to their family, and it’s very important. You owe it to that potential employee to make a good decision. You start making reckless hiring decisions or thinking, ‘Oh, if this person doesn’t work out, I can just lay them off or fire them,’ that’s a recipe for disaster.”
The approach of bringing someone in on a temporary basis to better gauge their fit for an opening is one that has served Febus well over the years.
It has afforded him the opportunity to get to know prospective employees and assess whether a role exists that fits both their talents and his needs. His approach is not that much different from the process he would follow when making a permanent hire.
“We still believe that this is a person that with 99 percent certainty is a perfect fit for the job,” Febus says. “But on the off chance that it doesn’t work out, I just believe I don’t want them and they don’t want me. So why not put ourselves in a situation via being a contractor first where a separation can be clean and painless for both of us?”
When you present an opportunity to a prospective employee to get to know them better before making a final decision, you’re showing them that you respect the magnitude that a job has in a person’s life.
Febus is confident that someone who is really committed to working for you and for your company will be willing to go through a longer hiring process.
“Sometimes when an employee is looking for a job, they are going to sit across from you and say, ‘Yes, this is perfect; I love it,’” Febus says. “And really what they love is getting a paycheck every Friday. They wouldn’t care if they were pulling weeds. As long as they were getting a paycheck, they’re going to tell you it’s perfect. It’s important that everybody is honest with each other and that you set expectations.”
Go through your expectations with them and talk about what their role in your company would be.
“Write those expectations down,” Febus says. “Here’s what we expect the job is going to be. … The key is keeping it simple and making sure the expectations are really clear and that you’re being very honest with them.”
If you choose to bring someone in on a temporary basis, don’t treat him or her differently than you would a regular hire.
“We go through orientation, we give them business cards, we do all those things just like they are an employee,” Febus says.
Your goal is the same in either case. You’re trying to determine if this person is committed to your company. Without that commitment, they’re probably not a person you want to hire.
“I have to know you’re not still looking for another job,” Febus says. “I have to know that you are committing to this just like I am, and we have both represented everything to each other in its most true form and you have a desire to stay here for 10 or 20 or 30 years.”
How to reach: Insource Spend Management Group, (800) 397-6880 or www.insourcesmg.com
Keep your eyes open
When is the best time of year to think about hiring people into your business? How about any month on the calendar?
“Don’t just think about personnel moves every December or every April,” says Brett Febus, founder and president at Insource Spend Management Group. “Think about personnel moves all the time.”
Febus keeps a stack of resumes on his desk at the 20-employee company.
“There’s probably 30 of them, and periodically, I just flip through them,” Febus says. “This person was a good person. Do I have a spot? How about this person or this person? I’m constantly thinking about personnel moves.”
Encourage your employees to let you know about people who they think would be a good fit for your company. Talk about moves you’re thinking of making with your leadership team.
“I’ll just bring them in and say, ‘Listen, here’s what I’m thinking of doing. Shoot holes in it,’” Febus says. “They might say, ‘Brett, I know you’re thinking we don’t need that person today, but maybe we do for these reasons.’ You can’t talk about it too much with different people.”
If you have these discussions on a regular basis, you’ll be ready when action needs to be taken.