Businesses that are planning to grow in 2018 are being given advice to help deal with the challenges and opportunities they could face as a result.

January is the month when employers look to the year ahead and what they want to achieve from a business perspective.

Very often that will mean plans for expansion and that may also mean increased staffing levels.

Alison Schreiber, Director at HR Dept Durham, warns against knee jerk recruitment as too often this results in big expense, time wasted and the wrong candidate being given the job.

She advises that firstly, a review of the existing staff and processes should be undertaken to see if anything can be made more efficient or if anyone is over stretched or does a role needs to be split.

Alison said: “Auditing what’s currently happening and what impact growth will have on other areas of the business as you grow, will your accounts team be able to deal with more invoices?

“Once this is done you will know exactly what role you are looking for and what knowledge, skills and attitude the new employee will need. Recruitment is time consuming and can be very frustrating.

“Wading through hundreds of CV’s because the advert was not specific enough or worse still facing a discrimination claim because the advert was badly worded.

“Every candidate that comes for an interview the manager is hoping will be the right one so they can get back to the real job.”

Alison advises businesses to prepare questions in advance that test out the claims in the CV and that give the applicant a chance to demonstrate their attitude.

She added: “Many interviewers make the mistake of employing someone because they are like them, must be a good guy because he supports my team. This is a well known mistake in HR that even has its own term “halo” recruiting.

“Remember interviews go both ways – prospective employees are checking to see if your business fits with them so a well conducted interview and a chance to meet other members of the team gives a positive impression.

“Following a good process from job description through to onboarding the new recruit will make a huge difference.

“We help a lot of companies with recruitment, at any stage through the process and have a national network we can utilise to get you the best candidate.”