For many small business owners, the prospect of hiring new employees can be both exciting and induce anxiety. On one hand, it’s great to have the budget and resources to bring new team members on board. On the other, it can be overwhelming when trying to balance everything else you do to keep your business running.
In a small business, the stakes are high since each new hire impacts the company’s culture and productivity far more than at a large firm. At Summit Financial Resources, we know all too well the pressures of ensuring that each employee is a passionate, engaged, and committed team player.
Whether you are growing your business from a solo operation to a multi-person company or creating a single key position, we have compiled some best practices for effectively expanding your team.
Recruiting is a Two-Way Street
When you choose to post your position online, take the time to craft a quality job listing. You might think it’s the candidate’s job to impress you, but recruiting is a two-way street. Odds are prospective candidates are scrolling through hundreds of different job postings. If you’re not a well-known brand and you’re trying to attract the best talent, you must stand out to applicants and prove that your company is the perfect fit.
Develop a job description that showcases what is unique and exciting about your company. Whether you explain how you’re disrupting an industry or share examples of recent media coverage, make it memorable. You also want to be as transparent as possible; be honest about the challenges the company is facing and any potential roadblocks the candidate might face.
The large job boards such as Monster provide sample job descriptions. Keep in mind that lengthy or anonymous posts and putting application forms in the way of receiving resumes can hurt your chances of attracting the right person.
Utilize Established Relationships
You can often find employees just by contacting people you already have relationships with. This can be as easy as calling select business colleagues and letting them know you’re hiring. You can also “advertise” your job opening in your e-mail signature.
Social media is an invaluable tool for getting the word out about your open position. Post it to Facebook and Twitter, and create a LinkedIn update informing your contacts of your hiring needs.
Woo Passive Candidates
LinkedIn allows you to search for candidates even if they are not actively looking for jobs. When you post a job listing on your company website or job sites, most of your applicants will be active job searchers. Active searchers will include a percentage of quality candidates as well as many that may not represent the cream of the crop.
With LinkedIn, you can fill this gap by searching profiles of “passive candidates.” These are the estimated 80 percent of users who may not be actively looking for a job, but could be interested in a good opportunity.
Incentivize Team Members
Next to actually knowing the candidate, referrals from existing employees is one of the best channels for recruiting. Your current staff represents a goldmine for finding new talent. After all, no one knows your company better than your own team, and you should empower them to help bring in great candidates.
One way to turn your workforce into your best recruiters is to offer an incentive program in which team members can earn rewards. Some reward incentives could be a cash bonus, gift cards, or other perks for successful referrals. Of course, promoting from within is a great way to incentivize and reward hard work.
Consider Specialty Sites
The two biggest online job sites are arguably CareerBuilder and Monster. However, there are many niche job boards tailored to serve a single industry, skill set, or professional group. There’s Medzilla for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries and Dice for IT and software engineering positions. DiversityJobs focuses on positions for minority groups, while Glassdoor allows applicants and employers to connect based on work culture.
When you use a targeted job site, you can customize your requirements or focus more heavily on a certain type of fit. The more specialized the site you choose, the more likely you are to receive applications from professionals with the experience you need.
Fish Where the Fish Are
Determine where the best candidates for your company would be hanging out, either physically or virtually. If you’re in the market for technical talent, drop by a hackathon. If you’re looking for someone in sales, a trade show is a great place to get a sense of how someone deals with customers. Looking for candidates with a niche passion? Check Meetup.com, which hosts thousands of official and informal groups.
Business conferences can also be a great way to attract talent. You have a chance to meet candidates one-on-one and pitch the business in a casual, non-interview setting.
More jobs are filled through networking than almost any other method. If you haven’t already, become active in your community. The local chamber of commerce is an ideal place to start. Get in touch with local colleges and universities and participate in job fairs. Reach out to professional associations, many of which have local groups with job services. Search online to find the ones that include people with the skills you want.
If there is someone you’ve always wanted to hire, now is the time to pick up the phone or shoot them an email. This type of networking often results in an eventual hire.
Interview Like a Pro
The interview is an opportunity for you to set up a new hire for success. Be clear about your expectations and find out what the potential candidate is hoping to get from the position. Be open about the hurdles you believe will impact them most in the role. The best employees will welcome challenges and look forward to finding solutions.
Work to get a sense of the candidate’s personality to determine if they are a good fit with your company culture. For example, if your core values include having fun and not taking yourselves too seriously, lighten the mood by adding questions that defy interviewing conventions.
Use your expertise. As a small-business owner, you’ve probably done the job for which you’re hiring. Ask the candidate to describe specific instances when he or she demonstrated a skill that is important for success in the role you are offering, then give them the chance to answer.
Be Prepared to Pay
Hiring the right folks for your small business is important, but paying them appropriately can keep them around for a long time. If you over hire and under pay, be prepared to lose employees in a year or two when they get a better offer.
If you’re unsure of what to pay for the position, check out websites like Salary.com and PayScale.com for an idea of what to offer. The federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics online Occupational Outlook Handbook also provides compensation information and other data.
Keep cash flow in mind. New employees should be only hired to match the growing cash flow of the company. Tie their expenses to increasing revenue or ensure their position will generate sales.
Onboard for Success
Recruiting doesn’t stop when your new hire arrives for their first day. It’s important to have an onboarding process where they can learn about your business and the full extent of their responsibilities. This will go a long way toward making your employees happy and successful. People who enjoy the company culture and understand their responsibilities are more likely to be productive, long-term employees.
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Summit Financial Resources specializes in working capital financing for small to medium-sized businesses that need increased cash flow. We provide working capital financing through invoice factoring, asset-based lending, inventory lending, and equipment financing.