6 Tips for hiring employees for your small business
Hiring can be one of the most important – and challenging – tasks you face as a small business owner. After all, it can be time-consuming and expensive to find, interview, and onboard the right person. Fortunately, according to research from LinkedIn, many job seekers are open to working for a small business, so you may have a leg up on your bigger competitors. With that in mind, here are some strategies to help you land the perfect employee.
1. Define the job
If you’re looking to fill an opening, you probably have a job description written and ready to post. But too often businesses make the mistake of not thinking through exactly what the job entails and making those duties clear to candidates.
Without this step, you run the risk of overselling or underselling the position. Let’s say you own an independent fitness center and enjoy posting updates about your business to social media, but it’s taking too much time, and you decide to hire a social media manager. Before you start interviewing candidates, you need to decide if the job will entail just posting what you write or if the new hire will have the opportunity to write their own posts. It makes a difference – and being clear from the beginning will lead you to a better match.
Pro tip: Here are the best tools for small business owners who want to use social media to promote their business.
2. Sell yourself
Job candidates aren’t the only ones who need to craft an elevator pitch. Remember, you’re selling something as well – your business. Talk about your values and vision.
Millennials, in particular, gravitate toward companies whose culture aligns with their priorities. So if you’re a landscaper whose business routinely donates yard services for disabled neighbors, mention that in the interview. Or if you’re a restaurateur whose employees started an oil recycling program, talk about how you support a green workplace.
Beyond perks like Doughnut Mondays and Take Your Dog to Work Fridays, stories like these help humanize your company.
3. Reach out to your staff
It takes time and money to launch an employee search. That’s why referrals are so attractive. While most hiring methods take 55 days, employee referrals take about 29 days. So reach out to your current staffers when you have an opening and ask if they know anyone who may be a good fit. Encourage employees to share openings on their social media platforms. You may even want to consider developing a program that offers incentives for referrals.
4. Be creative
It’s easy to gravitate toward big job sites when you’re posting an opening, but it pays to go the extra step and look for more targeted job boards ¬– or even skip the internet entirely and head to college or trade school job centers or career expos. The more approaches you take, the more likely you are to find just the right new hire.
Pro tip: Here's why it's even more important to hire the right employees at small companies.
5. Be inclusive
Diversity can provide real benefits for small businesses, from boosting the bottom line to improving employee satisfaction. Even though your business is small, you may want to take a page from bigger companies that incorporate diversity into their recruiting strategies.
Biotech company bluebird bio, for instance, gives interviewers a note with the company’s interviewing philosophy to make sure they understand how to approach the process. Interviewers are reminded that the company is looking for diversity of thought, background, and experience.
6. Compete efficiently
As a small-business owner, it can be tough to go head-to-head with companies that spare no expense when recruiting. But just because you don’t have the same resources doesn’t mean you have to limit your search for the best employees.
Sure, the big companies may not blink at flying in a job candidate, but you can reach far and wide, too, by offering opportunities for a video interview. It’s a cost-effective way to get beyond the resume and see firsthand if a candidate is right for the position. If so, you can always schedule an in-person visit.
Once you have the hiring behind you, it’s time to think about next steps to protect your business. Make sure you have the proper business insurance so you can go about business as usual and let a company like Hiscox handle the rest.