There is little doubt that now is an exciting time to be a small business, especially when it comes to hiring. It is certainly a “buyers” market for qualified candidates. Every job opening could be flooded with applications.
With the right combination of strategy, technology and commitment, organizations can make the right hire—quickly and confidently.
Here are a few tips for best practices in small business hiring:
- Define the function.
What is the job, exactly? Often, employees of small businesses where several hats; they do much more than their titles suggest. Before beginning the search for a new hire, make sure there is a clearly defined job role, for both the business owner and potential candidates. Do not rely too heavily on the term “other duties as assigned” after the fact.
- Consider alternatives.
Widen the pool of talent by considering other ways to fill the position. Freelancers, interns and contract workers help small business owners cast a wider recruitment net. A temp agency may also be right in the short-term, at least for immediate staffing needs. Independent contractors could be money savers, paid only when services are needed.
- Always be recruiting.
Recruitment is a process, not a result. Always be on the lookout for the next superstar addition to the company. Small organizations have enormous advantages; there is flexibility in recruiting not found in the bigger companies, with various policies and rules.
- Look to successful companies, and then do what they do.
Aristotle had it right thousands of years ago; he said “to be good, find a good person and do what they do.” Small businesses always do more with less, so by examining the successful practices of key industry players the small business owner can develop effective hiring strategies on a smaller scale. What type of ability are they seeking, and what do they offer?
- Let technology help.
At no other time in history, technology has been better suited for helping small business compete with the big guys. With recruiting software, applicant tracking and hiring management systems, organizations of any size can strive to get the best talent. Software-as-a-Service and online HR software can automate many recruitment tasks, leaving owners and managers more time to build traffic and make money.
- Never settle.
Just because a business is small, it does not mean they have to settle for a sub-par candidate. Use the size of the company as an advantage, by offering things the big guys cannot. For example, can a company offer flex time or the opportunity to work from home? That could be the benefit that tips the scale in your favor. Small companies also give an opportunity for inspiring employees, with “hands on” experience and answering to a smaller chain of command. Creative talent thrives on increased responsibility.
- Be open, fair and honest.
Never overpromise and under deliver, it is a recipe for an HR disaster. Every new hire should come to the job with open eyes; it is the only way to start the association on the right foot. Paying people too little will only have them leave at the first opportunity. There may be times when it is better to specify that a job is short-term or temporary. Be honest with your employees, and yourself.
- Be proactive.
If there is a particular person you are looking to recruit, then go out and get them! Utilize networks, professional associations and even social media for the search for new talent. Keep your options open, so when the right person is available, you can snap them up right away.
- Know the person you hire.
The smaller the business, the more influence an individual worker will have. Whatever size company, the perfect hire will compliment, not clash with, the corporate culture. Employment prescreening, background and education checks are necessary, but gut checks still have their place. The new hire has to be a perfect fit, and that means having a character that works well within the business.
- Be patient.
A small business owner may be under the gun to fill a position, but hiring the first applicant with a pulse may do more harm than good. No one can afford an inadequate hire, and waiting for the right circumstances could save time and money in the long run. This is also where technology can be a significant help. New HR management software, cloud-based recruitment tools and candidate tracking systems can shorten the time considerably, but patience is still effective in a hiring strategy.
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