15 Hiring Tips for Small Business Owners and Managers | The CoLab LifeSep 02, 2021
As an entrepreneur, a small business owner, or a manager hiring new team members can be a very hard task but also you can't avoid it and keep doing all the work by yourself. In one of our previous articles, we discussed how to hire the first employee. Now as you need more team members, here are 15 hiring tips for small business owners and managers.
1. Know yourself before you bring anyone in that is going to work with you.
An important part of assembling the right team is to know yourself—you might be the boss but you’re still part of the team! What are your strengths and weaknesses? What kind of skills and expertise are you bringing to the table? Are you a person that doesn’t mind being in the spotlight or would you prefer to stay behind the scenes? Understanding yourself will help you look for qualities in candidates that complement your own and will make your team more well-rounded.
2. Delegate before you even start.
If you’re alone in your business, then you’re wearing a lot of hats and your to-do list probably seems endless. But that to-do list can help you with hiring! First, make a list of all the activities that you are currently performing daily, weekly, and monthly (it’s going to be huge and scary but bear with us). Once you make a list of all the tasks and responsibilities that you are currently performing, start splitting the tasks up into two lists. One list will be the ones you will continue to do. Make sure these are things that you enjoy, are good at, and will help your business grow by doing them. The second list is the responsibilities your employee will perform. Put the list in order of what you want them to learn first to last.
3. Make a list of all the things you are not currently doing in your business (but not just the things that you need help with)
Yes, another list. But this one is really important! Make a list of any activities that you are currently not doing in your business that you wish or know you should be doing in your business. Perhaps you haven’t set up a social media presence for your company or maybe you haven’t created a customer referral system. Whatever you’re not doing and want to do, put it on this list. This list now becomes a set of goals you can work on reaching with your new hire(s).
4. Know your mission, vision, and values so you can hire people that share them.
Establishing what you stand for as a business is important. As an owner, you define your company’s mission, its values, and what the future holds for it. These concepts may feel abstract less important than objectives like increasing revenue, but they shape every aspect of your business. Hiring people with similar values and goals can help reinforce your company’s mission and improve operations.
5. Outline what the perfect person would look like.
So nobody’s perfect, but you should make a list of qualities, skills, and outcomes your ideal job candidate would have and would produce for the position you’re hiring for. Do you want someone who is a self-starter? Someone who is proficient at using certain software? Someone who can meet and exceed sales goals? Put this all down. This list will allow you to write up a job description, responsibilities, and expectations to go over with any potential interviewees. It will also help you weed out people that don’t fit what you need, so you are not wasting your very limited time. You want to get extremely specific on what and who you are looking for.
6. Create a compelling job posting.
Once you have the characteristics and responsibilities of your ideal employee in mind, it’s time to sit down and create a job posting. Remember, you want to be specific to ensure the people applying are qualified and a good fit for your company. There’s a chance your job posting is the first time your potential future employees are introduced to your business so make it count! Check out job postings for similar positions in your industry. Do you find them compelling? Do they make you want to apply? Are they full of cliches that make you roll your eyes? Competitor postings are a good source of information, but find ways to make your job posting interesting and unique so you stand out from the crowd.
7. Give applicants tasks to perform that relate to the position you are hiring for during the interview process.
For many industries, it’s not uncommon to ask applicants to demonstrate their skills through tests and assessments. For example, if you’re hiring an editor, then you’ll need someone who is an expert proofreader. You can provide candidates with a document full of errors and ask them to correct the ones they find. The test gives you a gauge of the candidate’s expertise and performance under pressure.
8. Use assessment tools when hiring (e.g. DISC)
Another item you can put in your hiring toolbox is a pre-employment assessment. These types of assessments are often likened to personality tests. They provide employers with a range of data from how a potential employee handles conflict to what motivates a potential employee on the job. A common type of assessment is known as DISC (Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance) assessment. A DISC assessment will categorize candidates into one of four potential personality types defined by character traits and work priorities.
9. Keep things consistent during the interview process.
As an employer, you need to treat all candidates vying for a job as fairly as possible. That means keeping the structure of interviews consistent. You should be giving the candidates the same amount of time for an interview and the same questions in the same order. Skipping questions makes comparing candidates more difficult because you’re missing information.
10. Follow up with references.
Tracking down and speaking to references sounds like a time-consuming pain, but it’s not a part of the hiring process you should skip. Do all the references seem professional or do they include people identified as friends or relatives? Personal connections can still answer questions about your employee but likely don’t have firsthand knowledge of their work performance. Former bosses and coworkers can help paint a more accurate picture of how this employee works individually and with others.
11. Invite current employees to reach out to a potential hire.
If you have other employees on staff, connect the potential hire with an employee so they can ask questions they might not feel comfortable asking you as the owner. Your employee also can answer questions that might not feel important enough for a candidate to ask in an interview.
12. Send an offer letter to who you choose and avoid only making verbal proposals.
Get it in writing isn’t just a funny quip. It’s words you should live by when it comes to offering a job to a candidate. It might be tempting to just tell a candidate you’d like to hire them and propose a starting pay rate/salary over the phone but maintaining a paper trail is incredibly important. It keeps things transparent when it comes to a job offer and any subsequent negotiations—for you and your potential employee’s sake.
13. Make them feel special if they accept the position.
Congratulations! You made a new hire. Now it’s time to make them even more excited to work for you. In the weeks leading up to a new employee’s start date, think about sending a gift or letter to express how happy you and grateful you are that they will be joining your team.
14. Give new hires anything ahead of time that can prepare them for their first week.
If there’s anything you can give your new employee ahead of their start date to make their first week smoother, do it. Work in a downtown area with only paid parking ramps? Provide a new hire with a parking permit ahead of time so they’re not stressing out on their first day over where to park.
15. Provide new hires with a clear path to succeed and feedback when they start.
When you hire someone to work with you and help you, they are depending on you to guide them, lead them, and give them feedback throughout your journey together. You absolutely must take some time to put together a plan or outline for your new employee’s first 90 days and up to at least their first six months. It can be a rough outline to start, but there needs to be something. This will help you gauge if your hire is progressing in their competency and meeting expectations on the timeline you need.
Do you know more hiring tips? Share them with us!