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Business Coach: How to Get Good Employees

(Originally published on August 28, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Ruben Anlacan Jr.

Good employees are the foundation of any company’s success. However, most small to medium-scale enterprises have no HR department to do the hiring process that getting suitable personnel is seldom done in a professional manner. Making things more difficult is that the most qualified candidates naturally gravitate to larger companies because of higher offers and perceived job security.

Because entrepreneurs tend to be hands-on when it comes to all aspects of the business, they cannot hope to match the sophistication of the HR specialists in larger firms. Still, having a prepared procedure based on best practices will go a long way in improving your recruitment process.

Below are some of the most important things to do when you are hiring:

1. Have a list of the qualities necessary or desirable for the position. This will enable you to better judge the suitability of a job seeker. You could also supplement this with a negative list that shows characteristics that are absolutely banned from your workplace.

2. Interview enough applicants to select from. If you only have few choices, there is a strong tendency to just pick the bad from the worse, so I would suggest that you interview at least 20 applicants to have a better chance of getting an ideal candidate. To get a sufficient number of competent applicants, it may be necessary to spend a substantial amount on advertising for the position. This is one expense that will pay off in the long run.

3. Have an application form. Even if job seekers will be bringing their own resume, it is important that you have them complete an application form when they arrive. Customize your application form according to the position. Note that job seekers’ resumes contain what they want you to see, while your application form will bring out what you want to see.

4. Have plenty of space to indicate employment history in the application form. It is crucial to have the most complete employment record possible, so design your application form in such a way that there would be no reason not to include the applicant’s entire employment history.

5. Check gaps in employment records. It is important to know the reasons for an extended period of unemployment between jobs. There is a possibility that the gap was due to the non-inclusion of a job where the departure was due to a termination, or where the company is likely to give poor feedback. If the gap was attributed to a stint abroad, request to see the job seeker’s passport as proof.

6. Demand the necessary clearances. It is standard operating procedure to at least ask for a current NBI and employer clearance. Still, there are some small companies that neglect to check even the most elementary documents.

7. Allot sufficient time to do a thorough interview. Depending on the position, a proper interview should last from ten minutes to half an hour, at the very least. Rushing the questions will not allow the job seeker enough time to answer thoroughly. You would also be missing opportunities to better assess the suitability of the candidate.

8. Have prepared tests. Design or obtain tests that would measure the capacity of the applicant to do the job. These may be general tests like IQ tests or they may be more specific, like seeing if the applicant can operate a particular machine effectively.

9. Check on previous employers. One of the best ways to know if a prospective employee is truly suitable is by calling on previous employers. Inquire not only on his work proficiency but also regarding his personal attitude.

10. Require a physical checkup. Since it is very inconvenient and costly, one of the last but necessary things to do is to require the applicant to undergo a physical check-up.

This is very important because no company wants to be hindered by an employee that is always absent due to poor health. It may also be that the applicant is suffering from a highly contagious disease.


Despite all the pessimism, there are plenty of good employees in the market that are a fine fit for your operations. It just takes a little more effort and preparation to see a dramatic improvement in your hiring. This will give your company’s operations a big boost since having qualified employees in your company will enable higher levels of productivity and fewer headaches.


Business and management consultant Ruben Anlacan, Jr. is the president of  BusinessCoach, Inc. and a resource speaker for various business topics. He discusses overviews and tips for business from the point of view of a small- or medium-scale entrepreneur who has started several successful enterprises. Those who wish to ask questions or to make comments may visit or e-mail


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