As a small business owner, hiring is never an easy task. You are literally entrusting, often a complete stranger, to your entire world. Your financial world, your inventory, your product secrets, your business and if you’re like most small business owners, that business is your baby. Making hiring decisions that affect your bottom line, your customers, your growth can be a daunting and scary task. So, where do you start and how do you hire the right people? We’ve got a few simple key steps you can take to put the right people to work for you.
- Create the Culture You Want Through the People You Hire
Listen, you started your company for a reason. For many people, it was specifically to get away from a toxic corporate culture. You know the type of people that you want to work with. Someone once told me, “only hire people that you would want to have dinner with.” It’s not a bad way to think about hiring! Hire people that you would enjoy being around and people that engage you as well. Consider your customer base as well. You know exactly who your customers are and who they will relate to. Make sure you are hiring someone that your customers can relate to and someone that can also “talk the talk” with your customers.
- Put Job Descriptions On Paper and Be Clear
Job descriptions are EVERYTHING! Literally, if you don’t have a clear description of what you need from an employee, you’re not ready to hire someone. You may need the extra help, desperately even, but you have to take the time to put it on paper. You have to! Setting clear expectations of what the job encompasses and what your needs are will only serve to set up a very clear road map for your new employee. Your job description will set out specific tasks that this person will be responsible for. That list will lead you to training that needs to be done. Once training is complete, you now have a clear list of measurable goals based on your original job description. That job description should encompass how this person will be measured and potentially compensated. Clear expectations and agreed upon measurable goals. No questions, no complications down the road because you’ve set a road map to success. You have laid it out very clearly what the job is and how this person will be measured.
This sounds obvious, but, hear me out. Interviewing a potential employee is more than just a cup of coffee together. Interviewing should be a structured, well thought out meeting. This is not just a “get to know you” situation. As a small business owner, you can’t afford to hire a new best friend. You are not hiring a new friend. You are hiring an employee. Make sure you have specific behavior based interview questions in place before the interview begins. Yes, you should be working from a rough script. You are in the lead on this meeting. While you want to get a feel of who this person is, you also want to ask some industry specific “how would you handle” questions. Discuss previous experiences. After a structured interview, it’s ok to have a second conversation a few days later, that is more laid back and gives your interviewee that opportunity to come back with well thought out questions that they might have. This will also be a very clear answer as to whether this person is truly interested in your product, your brand and what your needs are.
- Test Them. Yes, a real world TEST.
This second conversation might be a great chance to say, let’s take a walk to the floor, or out with our customers or you could have this person meet you in the field with a customer. Try them out, see how they handle themselves in front of others. Observe and truly give them the opportunity to engage your customer or create a purchase order or handle a spreadsheet. Whatever task you need completed most, put them in front of it and test them.
- Realize the Resume is Just a Piece of Paper
What’s on paper doesn’t always fit with who is right in front of you. Their goals and ambitions may not fit with the culture and size of your business. Address that, ask about it. It’s ok to discuss your business’ shortcomings through their eyes. Walk through their resume with them but dig for more than just what the paper says.
- Call and Speak to References
References should play a large role in your hiring decisions. Speak to former bosses, co-workers. Get a sense of what type of employee this person truly is. Is this someone that didn’t fit that company for a reason? Is it something that will make them a perfect fit for you or a repeat offender of the same issue? Dig in, ask the difficult questions.
Hiring for your small business is an investment in your business, so invest the time and energy to go about it the right way. Investing the time in the job description and interview prep will create a measurable difference in the candidates you hire. Even in a tough employee market, the right person is out there. Be picky and choose wisely. Your friends at Localmize can always create a We’re Hiring page on your website for people to upload resumes directly to you. We can also announce job openings through your social media. Let us know if you need some additional help getting the word out about how great it is to work for YOU!