Planning your efforts and focusing on what you really need throughout the hiring process will improve your chances of success. Here are some tips for hiring the right employee for your small business.
Understand the legal issues
The process of finding and hiring employees for your small business can result in legal problems. Educate yourself concerning what is and is not permitted. Consult an attorney experienced in employment law to be sure you are following the rules.
Develop a job description
Write a job description for the position clearly defining the duties and responsibilities required. Also include the traits, experience and skills needed. Be sure the experience and skills you list are really relevant to the job.
Focus your ad on skills and qualifications
Develop an ad for the position focusing on the skills and qualifications required. Be clear about what you are looking for in a successful candidate. Focus on what is critical to the position. You can get into more details during the interview.
Your ad should include what makes your company a desirable place to work. What truthful positive statements can you make that would attract the type of applicant you are seeking?
Let the job applicants know how you want them to respond to your ad, such as e-mailing a resume or going to your company website to fill out an application.
Use targeted ad placement
Just as your business advertising should be targeted toward the ideal customer, target your ad placement to the ideal job candidate. This will save you time and precious dollars.
There is an almost overwhelming number of ways to get your ad out there. So think carefully about whether you are likely to reach the right candidates on a local jobs website, a trade association web site, a college career center, a newspaper ad, social media websites or even a help wanted sign in your window, to name just a few possibilities.
Prepare for interviews
Plan ahead to ask relevant, open-ended questions that encourage the prospective employees to talk about themselves and how they handle different types of situations and problems.
Listen to the candidates and observe how they react. You already know their skills and qualifications based on the resume and job application. The interview gives you a chance to see if their goals, personality and attitudes are a good fit. Be prepared to talk about your business and to answer their questions.
Hire on attitude, train on skills
Generally speaking, if you can hire an employee with a great attitude that fits well with the culture and goals of your business, you can then train them to do the job and end up better off than if you focus only on skills.
Of course, in some cases, there are specific skills and certifications that candidates must already have in order to be hired.
Create and use an evaluation form
Put together a form listing the qualifications on which you will evaluat the job candidates, such as education, experience, achievements, communication skills, attitude, goals, etc. Have space to rate the candidates on these qualifications and leave room for your notes and comments
Check the references of the candidate to verify past employment and get valuable feedback from past employers. But understand that some employers have strict policies concerning what information they can discuss concerning former employees.
Conduct a background check
Once you have offered the position to a candidate and your offer has been accepted, conduct a background check. What to include in these background checks depends on the type of position you are filling.
Be sure to get the candidate’s permission in writing to do the checks. There are professional third party companies that can conduct the background checks for you.
These tips will give you a great head start toward hiring the right person for your business.
But they are not intended as legal advice, so please consult an attorney when hiring employees. And remember you must tailor your hiring process to your business and your needs.
Connie Edwards is a business consultant with the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center. Contact her at 912-651-3200.