No matter how great the idea behind your small business, how great your product or service, how solid your business plan, or how amazing your branding/marketing — your business will not thrive without solid employees to help you carry out your dream. If you’re new to owning a small business, you may be unsure of where to begin or how to hire the type of people you can count on. Fear not. Start here.
Utilize quality referrals
Your first resource for finding great employees should be people you trust. Referrals are the number one way for smart small business owners to hire. You should reach out to people with whom you have a solid relationship and whom you trust. This could be former employers, coworkers, or other business owners in your area.
Once you get the ball rolling on hiring, you can also consider referrals from your own employees — but be careful. You must weed out the truly solid candidates from the “I’m just trying to get my buddy a job” suggestions. One way to ensure your employees give you quality referrals is to institute an incentive program that offers rewards if referrals lead to a hire.
You shouldn’t ignore social media
Gone are the days of posting classified job ads and waiting. While online job board sites like Indeed are a good tool for increasing the number of your applicants, the smartest small business owners know to leverage social media for hiring purposes. You must go beyond simply posting job openings from your business social accounts. Participating in social media conversations and posting interesting content can organically bring you better applicants.
Don’t forget: You can use social media as a sort of “secondary resume” or background check as well. While sites like LinkedIn will show you the professional side of a potential employee, sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram might help you avoid a bad hire if you do your research right.
Few things are more important than the interview
Looking at a piece of paper or an online profile only tells you so much. You really learn more about people when you sit down with them, face to face. If you’re a novice interviewer (or just a bit rusty), check out some job interview resources. Learning what type of questions to ask, how to ask them, and other forms of interview etiquette is vital. Above all, remember this: be relaxed. Make small talk. Being conversational is how you really find out if a potential employee will mesh with you and your business culture.
Give “trial periods” a try
Sometimes you truly have no idea how a person is going to take to a specific job role — and neither do they. Conditional employment may sound a little strange, but short-term trial periods (like 90 days) can help you make a better determination about a new hire’s future at your company.
If you have a quality business model and know how to treat employees like they are part of the family, you won’t have any problems finding enough applicants. That’s why it’s important not to settle just because you’re sick of the hiring process or feel like you need the help right away. Be a little bit picky (within reason, of course).
If you’re still totally lost, try a thorough small business hiring guide like this one from Monster. Remember, it helps to get it right the first time, as the process of firing and rehiring can put a strain on you (personally and professionally) and prevents you from focusing on growing your business in its early days. A handful of great employees can really make a whole business. That’s why you should devote the time and effort this process deserves.