As a business leader, you know that the success or failure of your enterprise can hinge upon the talent you bring into your operations. They do more than just take care of the day-to-day functioning of the business. When you get the right people in the right positions, they have the potential to influence innovation and impact the trajectory of your efforts. This is why it is so important to put time and consideration into your hiring practices.
This isn’t always easy, of course. Particularly when you’re just starting out as a small business, you are often dealing with competing priorities, and it can be tempting to simply hire whoever has the highest qualifications or will accept a salary that meshes with your budget plans. Yet, this approach isn’t necessarily one that instills loyalty, improves retention, or encourages valuable engagement.
So, how can you best start hiring in a way that breeds success and is suitable for your small enterprise? Let’s review some strategies and tools that can make a positive impact now and for years to come.
You are unlikely to find the right person for your small business if you just dive headlong into the process. This tends to lead to rash decisions and a lack of consideration for the bigger picture. As such, you should approach your hiring process with some thorough preparation.
Areas for consideration should include:
Outline exactly what you expect the minimum technical requirements for the role to be. This doesn’t mean to say you should necessarily focus on qualifications — you’ll gain more by focusing on what they can do rather than what courses they’ve passed. Once you’ve cemented the minimum, consider what additional technical skills you’d like them to have which allow them to expand beyond the current role you’re recruiting and help the company grow. For instance, if you’re hiring an information technology (IT) team member, don’t just think about the immediate needs. Consider interest and skills in information systems management as well. This suggests an employee who can explore the bigger picture when working with and designing your systems, who understands how your digital technology can have a more holistic effect.
Contributing positively to your business doesn’t just rely upon a candidate’s ability to achieve the technical aspects. You need to be clear on the type of person that you want your ideal candidate to be. Consider the importance of clear and consistent communication not just for your business operations but also for the happiness of your existing team. Will it most benefit your company for your new hire to be self-driven, or do you need them to follow your specific instructions and schedule? Think about their background, too. A more diverse team provides you with perspectives on operations and your community that a monocultural workforce doesn’t. They also tend to be more innovative and creative. The more you’re able to understand what kind of impact you want your workers to make, the better able you are to reach out in the right places.
When you’ve already gained some insights into who you want to be a part of your organization, you must undertake some research. In the same way that you would build buyer personas to identify your demographic, it can be wise to learn more about your ideal candidates. Find out what job search websites people who fit your profile tend to visit. Moreover, seek to understand what actually attracts them to positions in your field. This way you can adjust your advertisements to the wording that they’re looking for. If you’re unable to do this yourself, using a recruitment intelligence tool or partnering with an agency you trust who may have access to artificial intelligence (AI) led software for analyzing candidate pools may be wise.
Don’t underestimate the power of social media, either. If you’ve already developed a following for your business online, particularly with locals, reach out to them. Use your channels to talk about what is important to you in your business, and the types of candidates you are looking for. This can be a more personal approach to the hiring process and can open up dialogues that result in more meaningful applications.
The interview process gives great insights into your candidates. Even when you’ve committed to good preparation and outreach, there’s only so much about a candidate that their resumes can tell you. As such, you need to design an interview process that within a relatively short space of time gives them genuine opportunities to shine and demonstrate their knowledge base, but also provides you with the data and insights that can help you make the right hiring decisions.
Build a framework of questions. It’s not a good idea to completely script the entire interview — this doesn’t give you space to have useful conversations or explore further areas of interest. As such, you should structure your interview framework around some relevant tough core questions that require more than a single-word answer and spark discussion. Asking about what they value most in the workplace or their preferred work environment gives you insights into their priorities and personal strengths while delving into their resume examines their professional approach.
Remember to go into the situation knowing what you want to find out most about your candidates. You already know where they’ve worked and what experiences they’ve had — the interview is a chance to fill in the gaps. Ask yourself what it is about each candidate that made their resume stand out, and what do you need to know about them to confirm they are right for your business. Don’t overlook their personality either. Your small business is important to you, and you want to work with this person for a long time to come — arrange assessments that help to measure their compatibility with you and your team.
Finding the right hire for your business tends not to be the result of an unstructured recruitment process. By solidifying your company’s needs, committing to targeted outreach, and designing a robust but agile interview you can identify and attract the people who can make an impact on your success.