The hiring process is tough for smaller companies. It takes time to discover the right employees.
If you've only recently started up your business, or you're a smaller sized firm, you'll want to read these hiring tips for small businesses.
8 Best Hiring Tips For Small Businesses
Always check references, and evaluate the phone interview.
Donata Kalnenaite of Agency Attorneys in Chicago urges small business owners to check references and use phone interviews first. Here's her take: You would be surprised as to how many people lie on their resume. Those who have been fired, created a bad atmosphere or who performed badly at work may still put the business owner's name as a reference, hoping that no one would call. This is exactly why you should check every single reference. Another one of the best hiring tips for small businesses? Conduct an interview over the phone. This will give you a quick glimpse into the candidate and will help you narrow down the pool. The reason why you should conduct the first interview via the phone is so that you can evaluate the person's communication skills on the phone, which is how many employees speak to clients. Furthermore, conducting a phone interview will save you time and effort as compared to an in-person interview. After you have conducted interviews over the phone, you should give the top candidates an in-person interview.
Kevin Kuske, chief anthropologist of turnstone, says to "recognize flexibility as a selling point." He adds that, in general, "top talent wants the option to crunch numbers at a coffee shop or stay in their slippers at home. As long as your team can meet its goals and collaborate when needed, offering flexible schedules and office hours is a huge selling point." As an employer, consider allowing some remote work from time to time. This can boost employee satisfaction and retention. Kuske adds that it won't hinder office culture and employee productivity.
How badly does a potential hire want the job?
Magaly Chocano, CEO at Sweb Development, suggests that an employer tries to determine their "hunger factor." You can teach skill but you can’t teach initiative, drive and hunger.
Solicit feedback often (and reciprocate).
Barry Moltz, author of several small business books, says to meet with your new hire often. Each week, get together and ask about the positives and the negatives your new employee experiences. Does he or she have enough training and tools so far to succeed? Then, evaluate the employee's own strengths and room for improvement.
Get rid of the employees holding your business back.
The people you start with are not always the ones who grow with you, says Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO at Mavens & Moguls: The biggest mistake and hardest lesson I learned when I started my company 15 years ago is not getting rid of weak people earlier than I did in the first few years of my business. Thus, I spent more time managing them than finding new customers. I knew in my gut they were not up to snuff, but out of loyalty to them, I let them hang around much longer than they should have. It would have been better for everyone to let them go as soon as the signs were there. They became more insecure and threatened as we grew which was not productive for the team. As soon as I let them go, the culture got stronger and the bar higher. It is true that you should hire slowly and fire quickly. I did not make that mistake again later on, so I learned it well the first time. I wish I had known it even earlier, though—but lesson learned!
Leverage your existing connections.
Whether you choose to post an update on LinkedIn or use a recruiting firm to find the right employees, you have a variety of ways to find new hires. Andrew Schrage, co-owner of the MoneyCrashers.com personal finance website, suggests contacting people already within your network when hiring for a small business. Sharing your hiring needs on social media can help garner new employees.
Give a potential employee a sample project to complete.
Kevin Pellegrino, Co-Founder of Go Time Gear, suggests one of the most useful hiring tips for small businesses. Start small with test projects before converting to a full-time hire: For each person we've brought onto the team, we've started them off with a small, well-defined project. This helps gauge their performance on relevant work for our business as a contractor. Evaluate their performance, communication style, and if they are a strong fit for the ambition and culture of your company.
Adaptability is key. Also, include the team in the hiring process.
Zaki Usman, CEO of Pagezii App, says the new hire must be able to adapt with the business: Hire someone who is comfortable wearing many different hats. Even though you are hiring for a specific role, keep in mind that having an all-arounder is very important in the startup phase. You need someone comfortable taking on different tasks. Look for a candidate who shows that flexibility—both in skill set and attitude, who treats the business as their own. This attitude is contagious and helps motivate others to focus on the overall success of the business. Another important tip is to involve the team. Once you've honed in on your hire, set up a team interview before making your final decision. Having your team sit down with the candidate has two benefits: 1) You get to see how well the team and your candidate get along. 2) Your team feels more involved in the decision making process, which boosts morale.
Do you have any hiring tips for small businesses? Let us know!
Interested in small business hiring advise from Mark Zuckerberg? Check out his one simple rule.
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