When you run a small business, hiring takes on a special significance. Try these tips next time to make the process easier for everyone.
When you’re in charge of personnel for a small business, hiring is sometimes just a matter of deduction. That resume full of misspellings? Nope. The application that only has a name, phone number, and a “get back to me” message? Not happening. The resume that was clearly written for a tech company even though you run a restaurant? Um … no.
Eventually, you invite a few of the good applicants in for an interview, and it can get interesting pretty quickly. One is late, one is wearing sweatpants, and you’re pretty sure the third interview plagiarized most of their resume. Rather than finding and hiring great employees for your business, you’re working through a process of elimination.
That can work in your favor sometimes, of course, but it isn’t ideal. Never mind the fact that even a good interviewee can turn into a less-than-stellar employee. And when you only have a small number of people on your team, one bad attitude can make everyone’s shift a challenge.
What can you do, though? It’s not like there’s some small business hiring fairy who will drop the right person off on your doorstep. Or is there?
10 Tips for Hiring the Best Person for the Job for Your Small Business
When you hire a new employee, you’re making a commitment: to them, to your business, and to your current team. It’s a decision that impacts your bottom line, too. A good employee can boost sales through excellent customer service, camaraderie with other employees, and just by being efficient and responsible. The good news is that there are several ways to help you make the right choice.
1. Be active in your recruiting.
You can wait for someone to walk through your door and hand you a resume, but you’re going to be far better off if you can do some active recruiting. Post the open position on your social media channels where you can reach your already-dedicated fan base. Ask some of your peers if they have any good candidates that they can’t hire. If you run a bike repair shop, reach out to the local biking community.
2. Have a working interview.
It’s not uncommon in large corporations to have two, three, even four interviews with a candidate before making a job offer. That’s probably not feasible for a small business, but you could have two interviews (or one longer session), one of which is a working interview. Ask the potential employee to come in for a two-hour mini-shift and see how they fit into the flow of things. Do they ask good questions? Do they seem eager to help? Work side-by-side with them for a bit and see how it feels. Don’t forget to ask for feedback from your team, too. They may see things (both positive and negative) that you don’t.
*Make sure this is an interview. Asking someone to cover an empty shift or work more than an hour or two is not only unethical, it may be illegal.
3. Change your application process.
There’s a lot to be said for a resume and an application. Depending on your industry, however, it might make more sense to have an application process that starts with a few questions. Why do you want to work here? What do you know about this industry? What do you know about our business?
4. Do your due diligence.
In the age of social media, there’s no excuse for failing to look up a potential employee on various social media networks and peruse their public profile. Keep in mind, however, that you can only view public information; don’t ask for login credentials or “friend” status, as that could also be illegal or at the very least, unethical. Also, make sure you have the correct person if you look someone up. A lot of people have similar names on social media profiles.
5. Check references.
In the same vein, always check references, and try to avoid questions that have a “yes” or “no” answer, with one exception. Ask former employers if they would hire the person again (and find out why or why not.)
6. Get your team involved.
In a small business, hiring the right person is essential. Not only do they have to perform well, but they also have to get along well with your current staff. So trust the feedback you get from your team, and see if they have any recommendations on possible new hires.
7. Hold out for the right person.
Sometimes, the wrong help is worse than no help at all.
8. Skill is important. Attitude is more important.
You can teach necessary skills to a dedicated employee. Trying to reshape someone’s attitude is far more difficult, if not impossible. A job candidate with a positive and energetic attitude is almost always a good choice.
9. Listen to their questions.
Listening to a candidate’s answers in an interview is a given, but their questions are equally as important. Do they think on their feet and ask questions pertinent to the interview? Are the questions intelligent and thoughtful?
10. Don’t neglect training.
Once you find and hire the right person, it behooves both of you to have a thorough training process in place. You want them to succeed, and it’s your job to set them up for that success.
It's important to hire the right people. It's also important to have the right business insurance. Call your local Pekin Insurance agent today to learn about policies that can help you succeed.