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26. July 2012

Questions to Ask When Hiring Staff

Filed under: Business News — Tags: , , — John Delaney @ 21:20

Two chefs with a job offer at the interviewFor those who have never held an interview before, hiring staff for an internal position can be a difficult task without prior experience in the area. Knowing what questions to ask and what not to ask can be very important. This is the main reason that larger companies employ HR professionals to handle the interview process, preventing legal repercussions caused by queries relating to lifestyle choice, religion or ethnic background. In most cases, these precautions are unnecessary and satisfactory candidates can be checked out by contacting previous employers and referees.

Interview Goals

The goal of any interview is to ascertain the personal qualities of a candidate that will make him or her a useful addition to your workforce and asking standard questions will tell you a little about each candidate. Rehearsed answers will be obvious and should not be taken as true character traits. For example, the simple query “Where do you see yourself in five years? ” is an annoying question for candidates, especially in an uncertain job market where temporary roles are common. The answer given will provide you with an indication of what motivates the person and identifies life goals, whether personal or professional. A young individual may be married with children and wishes to provide stability for his or her family. This will tell you that the candidate has a family life and is likely to show up regularly for work, without the social distractions of a single lifestyle. A mention of being promoted during this time indicates ambition and willingness to take on responsibility. However, if there is no promotion path for the position, this candidate will soon become unhappy and the position should probably be reserved for a candidate without ambition – happy to perform the same job diligently.

Common Questions

If the candidate has an erratic job history, you are free to ask why they left previous companies. The reasons will indicate their commitment and if related to personal conflicts could indicate a problematic or argumentative employee. Other questions could include “What are your plans to improve our process?” a well-prepared answer will indicate due diligence. Although candidates dislike the question, it is fair to ask how much they expect to be paid. Some candidates will undersell themselves and unscrupulous employers may take advantage.

When hiring staff, common interview questions also include queries on hobbies and interests or a discussion on how best to resolve conflict in the workplace. Once all questions are asked, you will have a fair idea of the kind of person you are dealing with. Contacting previous employers will hopefully reinforce this assumption.


23. July 2012

Marketing tips for home businesses

Filed under: Business News — Tags: , , — John Delaney @ 20:12

Social Media Channels of Internet MarketingRunning a home business is an increasingly popular pursuit for many, but it is not enough simply to set up a business and wait for customers. Home business owners need to learn how to market themselves and their services. Luckily, there are some simple ways to get started.

Network, network, network

Marketing is about generating interest in your business. Start by telling family and friends and then branch out to telling other people. Look for networking events for local business owners or approach local organizations working in a similar or complimentary area to your own. Spend time getting to know them and explain how your products and services are needed. Make sure you have some professional looking business cards or brochures printed.

Using the internet

If you are not comfortable selling your business in person, think about using the internet to gain customers and supporters. Setting up your own website is fairly inexpensive and easy to do or, if you are not comfortable with designing your own website, you could pay someone to do it for you. If you sell products, give customers an easy way to buy them and if you are providing services then include a contact form or contact details so people can easily get in touch.
You can also promote your business through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which allow you to interact easily with clients. Joining relevant forums can also be a good way to contact potential clients. Make sure you read any forum rules before you start posting to ensure you are not picked up for spamming.

Creative advertising

If you are going to spend money on advertising, make sure it works. Think beyond traditional advertising and look for creative ways to get your message across. For example, do a giveaway at a local event with branded items such as pens. Look for ways to target your chosen market. For example, if you are targeting parents, see if your local school allows advertising in its newsletter which will be seen directly by your target demographic. Marketing is vital to create a thriving business, so as a home based business owner you should take it seriously.

Image: Cienpies Design&Communication – Fotolia

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