If your small business is like most, it’s just a matter of time before you’ll need to hire additional people to work for you. That means you’re probably doing something right. But like most major decisions tied to expansion, this challenge can end well (i.e. greater productivity, enabling greater profitability and growth), or not so well.
Depending on the industry you’re in and the job you’re hiring for, you may be competing with other companies that have more resources than your business. But that fact alone may actually work in your favor. Consider these strategies for finding and attracting the right candidate(s) quickly and efficiently:
• First, develop a job description. List routine and occasional duties you expect the candidate to perform. Be specific and realistic with job responsibilities and any requirements you think should apply. If you don’t require a college education, don’t limit your candidate pool to college grads.
• Find out the going rate in your area. If there’s a local business school, check to see if they have updated compensation studies. Or check with your local Chamber of Commerce. You can also log on to recruitment websites to gain insights, such as Payscale.com, Salary.com and Indeed.com. Once you have a compensation range, plan on matching the median figure. If that’s not feasible, adjust the job description.
• Start networking. As with other kinds of advertising, word-of-mouth is powerful—and inexpensive. Put the word out among friends and associates whose judgment you can trust. If someone is willing to recommend a candidate, chances are good that person has been vetted to some extent. If you already employ people, offer an incentive for referrals. Share the job description. Remember to tap into your professional groups and organizations. They may provide job boards or encourage discussions of job openings.
• Be a cheerleader: People applying for work with a small company are often attuned to growth opportunities—in a way that differs from large corporate job candidates. So when interviewing candidates, don’t hesitate to talk up any successes achieved, milestones reached and the growth potential of your business.
• Lifestyle and workplace culture matter: Don’t hesitate to talk about the vibe in your place of business. If you let employees bring their pets to work, or have offsite gatherings, training sessions, recreation events or group meals, mention them. They all support the idea that your company is a great place to work.
• Emphasize the benefits: Small businesses are more nimble than corporate behemoths. Leverage this fact strategically. If you offer flexible hours, work-from-home options, profit sharing, child-care and other work-related perks, make sure job candidates know about them.
• Create an employee incentive program, if applicable. When employees exceed your expectations, be prepared to reward them—either with cash bonuses or other perks like time off or more convenient parking. The fact that you offer performance-based incentives says a lot about you and your business, and it helps you attract and retain quality candidates.
• Bone up on interviewing and hiring no-nos. Employment law is filled with examples of well-meaning employers getting sued for asking the wrong questions. Make sure you know what’s allowed and what’s not. Steer clear of questions that can be misinterpreted as discriminatory. For guidance, consult these best practices from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
With your enthusiasm for your business, and a little help from your friends and associates, you’ll be talking with great job candidates in no time.