Best Practices for Small Business Hiring

Across the country, small businesses add thousands of jobs to the workforce every month. If your small business is thriving and continuing to grow, you may be in the market to expand your workforce as well. Maybe you are new to the hiring game, or maybe you haven’t added any new employees in the last few years while your small business tested its wings before taking off. Regardless, if you have been on the outskirts of the hiring process, you may want to take a refresher course in Hiring 101.  
 
You might think hiring new employees would be a breeze. After all, aren’t people falling over each other to land an exciting position with a growing business?

It should be easy to simply pick out one of the many talented individuals who apply and get them started on training for their new position immediately – right? Not so fast, Tonto. According to a study conducted by Deloitte in 2015, companies in the United States spend thousands of dollars and an average of 50 days to pinpoint and train a job recruit. That’s a lot of time and money to put into just any potential candidate. If you intend to hire the absolute best person for the job, you need to put a little work into the hiring process yourself. Here are a few tips to get you started:  


Finding Employees 

Sure, you can write up a great job description and place a Help Wanted ad in hopes of attracting the right applicants, but don’t overlook other possible avenues.  

Use your resources. As a business professional, there is no doubt you have a number of established relationships with other business owners. Alert your colleagues that you are on the lookout for a great potential hire. They may just know someone who has exactly the qualifications you are looking for.  

Don’t overlook your current staff. Members of your team can be an absolute goldmine for recruiting new employees. Implement an incentive program in which current employees are rewarded for referring new hires.  

Speaking of your current work team, don’t pass up the opportunity to advance one of your hardest, most devoted employees into a higher position. Of course, you will then have to replace that employee’s position, but make sure you promote your best team members accordingly. This not only benefits the employee but offers a great benefit to your company as well. Loyal, dependable, hard-working team members can be difficult to come by. Keep the peace and promote from within when possible.  


Interview Like a Pro 

Whether you gain potential new hires by posting a job ad, considering current employees and their referrals, or utilizing your business contacts, the hiring process itself begins with a dynamic interview. To be honest, just about anyone can conduct an interview and ask a few questions, but it takes real talent to interview like a pro.  

Prepare your questions ahead of time. Think long and hard about exactly what you are looking for in an employee. Derive your questions based upon this criterion and jot down the type of answers you would expect from your ideal hire. Your interviewee isn’t the only one who needs to make a good impression and have all the right answers.  

To ensure you attract and hire exactly the right person for the job, you need to do a little fancy footwork yourself. Show up on time and set a positive example. Address any and all red flags that may have popped up on an applicant’s resume. For example, if there are gaps in the applicant’s work history, make sure to ask about the reason for these. There are good and bad answers to every situation. Make sure you allow your candidates the opportunity to respond accordingly to these questions.  


Measure Passion 

The skills and talents a potential hire possesses are certainly importance, but a dedicated, reliable employee may not end up being the one who holds the highest degree or even has the most job skill.  

Take careful note of candidates’ reactions to your questions. Do they seem passionate and eager to work for your company and learn new things? Did they conduct research before the interview to familiarize themselves with your company? Did they eagerly share previous stories and experiences that illustrate their skills and passion, or were the answers to your questions met with doubt and indecisiveness?  

Measuring a candidate’s overall passion for the job can help you assess whether they have a desire to work specifically for your company or if they simply are looking for a job. Skills and previous experience are important, but the winning candidate with a true passion to learn and succeed in your business may not possess the same amount of prior experience and knowledge other candidates exhibit. Make sure you properly measure each candidate’s level of passion for the position before making a hire based only on skill.  


Go in for the Hire 

Once you have pinpointed exactly which candidate you want to hire, you must act quickly. In today’s fast-moving, ever-changing world, potential employees with a passionate desire for success are grabbed up quickly. These candidates are on the lookout for a company that will not only help them achieve the success they desire but will also exhibit enough confidence in them to go in quickly for the hire. Don’t count on your preferred job candidate to respond to your offer if you take too long to make it. A recent MRI Network survey revealed that approximately 20 percent of job offers are turned down. Of those companies whose offers were rejected, 36 percent had taken more than three weeks to make an offer. Additionally, over 50 percent had only taken one to two weeks. The moral of the story is to move quickly. Make your offer within days, not weeks.  


Don’t be Stingy 

As a last step to hiring a quality employee, let’s talk briefly about pay. Suffice it to say, a stellar employee is not likely to work for long at a mediocre pay rate. If you are only willing to give out mediocre pay, you can expect to only end up with mediocre employees. Familiarize yourself with the average pay rates acceptable for the position you are hiring for and be prepared to offer fair compensation and an acceptable benefits package. If you don’t look out for your employees’ needs, the chances of them moving on to an employer who will is much greater. Paying your employees an appropriate pay rate is essential to keeping your best employees around for a long time. 

 
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