Smart hiring practices are a keystone to your company’s performance, whether you're hiring your first employee or bringing on your 100th.
As a small business, the potential impact of a new employee, both negative and positive, are compounded in your comparatively smaller-group dynamics.
Feeling a bit bewildered by the process? Follow these 8 simple steps for hiring as a small business. And remember, avoid these common recruiting mistakes throughout the process.
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1. Identify Your Ideal Candidate
Before you post a job vacancy take the time to figure out exactly what you’re looking for in an employee. Who is your ideal candidate? What skills are needed to fill the position? What type of personality is best suited to your office environment?
2. Communicate Your Expectations Clearly
Make the role and responsibilities clear in your job posting. Use the employee management mnemonic SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) when describing your needs. Don’t be vague! You’ll save everyone a lot of time and energy if you make it abundantly clear what the position entails.
3. Be Aware Of Bias and Prejudice
As resumes pour in, be aware of human tendencies towards prejudice. Bias can sneak in, even if we don’t mean it to. One solution is to designate someone else to receive resumes and have that person black out applicant names. This counters the risk that you might subconsciously factor in someone’s gender or ethnicity and forces you to evaluate their potential purely based on their qualifications. For additional tips, check out our compliance checklist for your employee hiring process.
4. Stay Transparent
As you schedule interviews, make the process transparent to all applicants. Google devotes an entire webpage to explain how they hire, how they interview, what they’re looking for, and how they decide whether or not to extend an offer. While your resources may not permit you to go to such lengths, you can take a moment to outline the steps to candidates in your initial phone interview.
5. Stick To A (Loose) Script
Use structured behavioral interviews. Questions like, “Give me an example of a time where you demonstrated leadership” have been proven to be more effective than hypotheticals. Conversely, asking an interviewee how many marbles would fill an airplane does nothing more than take up time. Be sure that you ask the same set of questions to each candidate so that you can accurately compare responses.
6. Involve Your Coworkers
Consider a job simulation and/or group interview. A friend of mine recently interviewed for a web-design position at a major cable television company. As part of the process, he was asked to complete a take-home assignment that mirrored what he’d be doing in the actual position. And when he returned the following day he presented his solution to a team composed of people he might have to work with if hired. The twist? One team member was told to be overly supportive, while another was directed to be purposely difficult. My friend was assessed not only on his idea and problem-solving skills, but also on how he handled the two juxtaposing personalities. Later, he was extended an offer, which he accepted, partially because the process gave him an accurate portrayal of what the job would entail and the personalities he’d be working with.
7. Test Candidates
For your final stage, ask candidates to take a multi-measure test. This will help you predict job performance and it has been verified as the most effective tool in the hiring process. Among other things, it tests for universal characteristics that correlate with high performing employees - intellectual abilities, locus of control, and agreeableness. Ultimately, this will help you determine who is the most able, most willing, and most rewarding to work with. Keep in mind that consistency and fairness are the most important traits to consider for leadership roles.
So you’ve found your perfect candidate and are ready to make an offer? Be prepared to negotiate. Will you offer flex-time or other incentives to make your company more competitive? Your small business will benefit from using a smart negotiator who will help set expectations with your newest team member.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.