Hiring someone new for your small business? Use these strategies to find — and hire — the best person for the position.
Finding and hiring the right people is easier said than done, but it’s an important part of owning a small business. Training and processing new employees is expensive, so managing turnover and improving employee retention is an excellent way to keep tabs on your bottom line.
Here are seven strategies you can employ to make better hiring decisions. (Click here to tweet this list.)
1. Perform background checks
If you’re not already conducting background checks, it’s time to start. They’re not that expensive — you can have a basic check performed for about $25, and they provide a quick glimpse of a candidate’s acceptability.
You need trustworthy employees, and background checks can weed out candidates with a shady past.
2. Look for flexible applicants
Hiring at a small business is different from adding team members in a corporate environment. If you have a handful of employees, you need flexible folks who possess entrepreneurial spirit. Your IT guy may need to help out with marketing, or your writers may need to edit too.
The candidates you consider should be able to think on their feet and willing to pitch in when their help is needed.
3. Ask for employee referrals
If you already have a few high performers on staff, they might have friends or acquaintances who would be a good fit for your company. Try instituting an employee referral program to encourage referrals of quality candidates — even a $250 payout is easily recouped if the new hire ends up being a good, long-term fit for your organization.
4. Write better job descriptions
Weed out undesirables by writing thorough job descriptions. Descriptions should be succinct, spelling out organizational culture, job responsibilities and all other expectations. Be clear about what you need, especially if you need employees with specific skills, certifications or backgrounds.
5. Offer excellent compensation packages
If you have the ability to offer new hires more pay, do so when warranted. The phrase “You get what you pay for” applies when it comes to employees. If you can’t offer a substantial salary, look for ways to sweeten the pot without affecting your bottom line. Telecommuting and unlimited vacation time are options, as long as your new hire is mature enough to handle it.
6. Go with your intuition
Even if you have a candidate with a stellar resume, glowing references and a perfect skill set, if something feels off about them, don’t ignore it. Your gut feeling might be spot on. There are so many facets to hiring the right person you might not always be aware of the information and subtle cues you receive about them.
Always make your personal feelings part of the final decision-making process.
7. Get input from your team
How your team will interact with a new hire may be vital to how well that person will work out. You could ask existing staff for their opinions based on a look at their resume or walk around the office, for example. Or you could involve existing staff in interviews.
Another possibility is to incorporate a Day in the Life program into your interview process. This is where potential candidates come in and spend a few hours working side by side with your staff. This may not be appropriate for all business types, but it can be a good trial run before committing to hire.
After landing stellar employees, learn how to retain them. Formalize your performance review system and communicate with your team often through praise and counsel. Finally, look for ways you can become a better leader. Hiring the right people is important, but so is making sure they stay committed to your company.
How have you landed your best employees?
Joe Howard is a small business owner who is always looking for new ways to optimize process and increase productivity. He writes about finance, entrepreneurship and career development.