This week I’m wading into one of the hardest areas of running a childcare business: the hiring process!
Currently I’m deep in the midst of this tricky operation myself. We’re moving one of my experienced members of the team in an established daycare center to manage my brand new center (yay! It’s all happening! Finally!). So I need to find a new team member for that daycare, but also need a whole new team for the one about to open! Stressed isn’t even the word… So I KNOW how hard this whole process is.
Why is the hiring process so hard?!
From start to finish, the hiring process is FULL ON! You’ve got to advertise vacancies in a way that calls in the right kind of potential employees. Then you’ve got to shortlist the candidates and figure out who’s a good fit before setting up interviews with them.
When you interview, you’ve got to have questions that truly help you decide who will be the best hire for your team. Sometimes I include a challenge or test of some kind to help me see who’s best for the job.
Frankly the entire thing is quite exhausting! And also super expensive! The time, energy and money spent on the hiring process is quite something. But it has got to be done properly, so you can find the right person (or people!).
How to pick your next team member
I’ve already told you I’m up to my neck in hiring at the moment, and you might be wondering “Nyckie, how are you supposed to know whether to hire an “I-can-do-this-in-my-sleep” experienced person or a fresh-outta-the-bag newbie to join your All Star Team?” Well, I know that for most of us the whole hiring palaver can be the ultimate migraine (that’s right not just an ordinary headache), so I’m gonna go ahead and give you some tips!
As always, there are going to be pluses and minuses to every interviewee. There’s no getting away from that. Firstly, you’ve got to have a clear idea of who you need. You want someone who can gel with the rest of the team and slot in where you need them. They’ve got to add value to your team, right?
And it’s important to remember that – once hired – this person is representing YOU. They’ve got to be doing that in the right way. So this stuff really does matter!
The pros and cons of hiring
When it comes to the hiring process, there are so many things that we can discuss but this dilemma of old or new is one that always sparks a great conversation! There’s nothing wrong with some good old fashioned competition, right?!
So, when it comes to hiring your next ALL STAR Team member, I’d love to know: are you aiming to hire an experienced candidate or were you considering a newly qualified one? There are certain positions in your childcare where you definitely need to hire someone experienced who knows their thing – like a room or age group manager/leader. But there’s some flex with other roles.
There are definitely pluses and minuses to each one, so let’s delve in a little deeper to help you make a decision!
Hiring an experienced team member
Most of the time, hiring a more experienced team member can feel like the sensible thing to do. But not everything is always rosy. So let’s take a look at both sides of the coin!
An experienced person will be well-acquainted with the industry, so having to deal with angry parents or a nit-picking inspector will be like water off a ducks back to them. They understand how to talk to parents and explain things clearly. Which means they know the ropes and usually have some initiative, meaning they won’t constantly be needing reminders! Experienced staff don’t require as much training and can therefore cost your business less.
The down-side to hiring someone who is experienced is that they are potentially set in their ways. Occasionally when you have someone like this, who has come from a different way of working, there can be a bit of friction between yourself as the owner and between them and your existing staff. They know how THEY like to do things, and won’t budge on it.
Depending on the person they can be difficult to retrain for your childcare business. They might not like the way you’re doing things as the owner. However, it’s your business…so while you’d be open to feedback, at the end of the day you get to choose how things run, not your staff.
So the best way of steering clear of that situation is to lay out your expectations in the interview, and to find out theirs. If you align, super. If not, show them the door…
What can a newbie offer?
I know some people are swift to dismiss less experienced applications. But I don’t agree: newbies can be great! There’s no way you should write them off at the beginning. There’s something I love about hiring newbies.
Some people get concerned that they don’t have much experience but why not look at that as a clean slate? You can bring them in fresh without the potentially negative impact of any previous experience or habits from another business. No need for unlearning processes that you don’t use! They certainly carry less baggage. I’ve always found fresh staff to be easier to train in how I like things done.
Newbies have an air of excitement about them and are eager to show their willingness to work hard and learn. They tend not to have the same expectations as more experienced staff. They’re keen to please and make progress!
The main minus of a novice is that they’re a bit too excited and they’re not as hardy. So when it comes to tricky situations – like a frustrated parent or a mean inspector, they haven’t got the skillset to cope yet. They’ve no idea how hard the industry can be.
Things you should do with all candidates
Always check out their references. They’ve told you in the interview that they’re a hard worker…the proof is in the pudding! What do their previous employers say?
Use the interview to get to know them. Ask questions that go beyond the daycare. Try and get a feel for their personality because that’ll give you an idea of how they’ll fit in.
After the interviews and before making a decision, I like to check their social media to get another perspective. Don’t get me wrong – I totally understand that it’s not REAL LIFE! But it can open your eyes to what someone might really be like, are they as responsible as they made out? Or it may show you a completely lovely side that they didn’t feel comfortable enough to share or mention in the interview. It can be helpful but only as a fraction of the whole picture.
There are pluses and minuses on both sides whether they’re a newbie or not.
Remember: You want someone who will be a good personality fit for your center!
Go and watch my latest video on the hiring process and how to find the next star for your team! I’d love to know: what’s been your experience with hiring? Do you have a preference?
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