Six Tips for Small Business Hiring

Six Tips for Small Business Hiring

You’re ready to add to your team and hire a new employee! It’s a great opportunity to find new talent to help your company, so why does it seem like such a chore? Whether you are hiring because your company is growing or because you’re replacing an employee, the prospect can be daunting. The hiring process often feels urgent, but it is rarely speedy. The time, money and energy that it takes to recruit, interview, hire and train a new employee is significant and distracts from other priorities. But, it’s worth the extra effort. A bad hire is a costly mistake that further drains scarce company resources and hampers productivity. We’ve reviewed advice from the experts and have some great tips on how to get the best results from your hiring process.

For small businesses, each addition to the team makes a big impact. It’s important that each team member pulls his weight and fits into the company’s culture. The first step in your hiring process should be to do an analysis of what you need. What skills are missing and what traits do the successful employees in your company possess that you want to replicate?

1. Attract with Good Advertising

Have you ever read a long, detailed job description and started to stress out before you even applied for the job? Lengthy job descriptions that list every possible task and every desirable skill to address every conceivable workplace scenario can be a turn-off to job applicants.  You are better off with a concise job posting. Focus on the day-to-day tasks, how the position fits into the company, the required skills, and compensation.  Research has shown that job seekers respond much better to a job postings written to convey what the company offers vs. what the company demands.  Check out the job postings of your competitors to get ideas.

2. Engage in Effective Recruiting

Ideally, you have cultivated a network that provides a pool of good candidates to contact when you are in a position to hire. It’s a good strategy to always be looking for potential employees and keep a database. When people show an interest in your company or industry, be willing to talk to them, keep their information and follow up.

Your current employees can also help bring in quality candidates. You may want to provide an incentive to employees for their recruiting efforts. In a small business especially, finding personalities that mesh and building a team with shared values is important. Candidates that your employees bring into the fold are likely to share characteristics with your team and be people with whom they’d enjoy working.

When posting your job description, think about where good candidates are likely to be — what websites do they frequent or where do they hang out? Embrace technology — use social media, your website, and online platforms to reach candidates. Many people are doing job searches using mobile devices, and people want to work for companies that embrace modern methods.

3. Conduct Meaningful Interviews

Be purposeful and ask questions to get information you need. Try not to get sidetracked on issues that don’t help your decision making. You want to understand their skill set, but also get a sense of their personality. If they’ve done similar work, ask for an example of what they did and how they did it.  Get a sense of how they respond to challenges and how they work with others. Is this a person you could see yourself spending time with?  Remember, you can teach skills, but you can’t change values or personalities. Incorporating other employees in the interview process can give you a better sense of whether someone is a good fit, and the interviewee will get a better sense of your company.  You may even wish to have them shadow your employees.

It’s important to be honest about what the job entails and transparent about the company and potential challenges. Why go through all the effort to hire someone if they are going to feel like the victim of a bait and switch when they show up to do the job. That could send you right back to the drawing board.

4. Sell the Company

Be aware of your company’s reputation and public image. Good candidates are going to do their homework and check out your company online. How’s your website?  What are your company’s reviews? If you need to spruce up your online presence, now would be a good time.

When talking to candidates, be sure you can answer the question of why they should work for you. To help you formulate an answer, you may want to consult your current employees. What do they enjoy about their work life? If you are a small business you may not be able to offer the same money or benefits of larger companies, but perhaps you can offer more flexibility or provide a more meaningful experience. Again, honesty is the right policy if you want to get the right match.

5. Exercise Due Diligence

Don’t cut corners in your eagerness to bring someone on board.  You don’t want to deal with unpleasant surprises after the fact.  Check references and listen carefully. Often what is not said is more telling than what is said. Do a background check and a social media search.

6. Don’t Settle 

Think of the time, effort, and lost sleep you expend on less-than-great employees. Now, think of the joy a perfect employee could bring — better business, happy coworkers, peace of mind. Great employees have all these associated benefits, plus they attract more high quality people. It’s worth it to take your time and get the hire right. Don’t rush and don’t settle!