5 hiring tips for small businesses

While large businesses can absorb new individuals without losing a beat, small businesses need to take a little more time with each decision.

Hiring decisions at a small business are very important – each person you bring in has the potential to radically affect your company's culture. While large businesses can absorb new individuals without losing a beat, small businesses need to take a little more time with each decision.

Here are a few tips to help you streamline your hiring process:

1. Return to your business plan

Your original business plan is filled with useful information that can help you make hiring decisions in the first years of your business. As the U.S. Small Business Administration reported, a solid business plan should include a competitive analysis of the marketplace. Use this to your advantage.

Your prospective hires operate in this marketplace, interacting with your competitors on a regular basis. If you want to lure candidates away from the competition, you need to understand the market landscape. What are average wages like in your industry? What kind of responsibilities should each position have? Use this data to inform your hiring process.

2. Write an accurate job description

Once you understand what you need from a new position and how that role fits into the market, you can write your job description. You can use this description in job listings as well as in your company handbook.

A job description should be detailed and accurate. Bankrate warned against overselling the job - don't pull any punches when it comes to listing responsibilities because you want to make the position seem more attractive. If you oversell and underdeliver, hires will leave faster than you can amend the job description.

Building a new team? Consider a holding a group interview.

3. Use a recruiter

Running a small business is no easy task. If your day is already filled with to-dos intended to keep the company running smoothly, you may want to outsource some of your hiring needs to an experienced recruiter.

"When a small business is selecting a search firm they should realize that the firm is representing their company and selling their brand to the market," says Bryan Mulhern, Regional Director for Beacon Hill's Financial Division in Philadelphia. "Typically, the best strategy is to select one or two search firms that they treat as a partner and allow them to gain intimate knowledge of the culture and environment of the company. Make sure that any Search Firm you consider using has a thorough process to assess not only the skillsets of a candidate but also their cultural fit. The most successful hires for small companies are candidates that are willing to roll up their sleeves and who can operate with limited structure, and not every candidate has that mentality. It is the Search Firms' job to identify those characteristics."

A recruiter can take care of most of the heavy lifting that comes with hiring new employees. This frees up your time so you can focus on keeping the company moving forward. The time you invest in finding new hires can be spent more wisely because you'll only need to interview the cream of the crop.

4. Plan for your interviews

Interviews might be a little less nerve-wracking when you're on the other side of the table, but you'll still need to do some preparation. Before you sit down with a prospective hire, outline some key questions you'd like to ask.

You should have a complete understanding of the position's requirements before speaking to a candidate. Appearing knowledgeable and confident will put candidates at ease and get them excited about your company.

If you're building a new team, consider holding a group interview, recommended Salesforce Researcher Heike Young in Entrepreneur Magazine. This will give you some idea of how candidates will work together.

5. Know the job climate

Rushing to hire someone purely due to business needs could cost you serious money. According to Zane Benefits, it typically costs between six and nine months of a position's salary to hire a new candidate. If you make a decision too hastily, you risk hiring a bad fit who'll quickly be whisked out the door, thus leaving you exactly where you started. And high employee turnover rate could quickly cause your business to falter.

However, you also want to be cognizant of the market climate. Dragging your feet on a candidate who checks virtually every box might mean you'll lose them and end up back at square one. Remember – if you're finding a lot of admirable qualities in a candidate, so too are your competitors (especially in a tight hiring market). If you find that you are taking a while to hire someone because you simply don't have the resources, this may also be a great opportunity to employ a recruiting agency. Recruiters will be knowledgeable about market climate, and can set expectations for you on if there truly are better fish in the sea.

"When hiring, small businesses tend to be more selective because one person could make a huge impact," notes Mia Eckstein, Business Development Manager of Beacon Hill's Technologies Division in Washington, D.C. "As a result, if the company is utilizing a staffing agency, it is overly important to give the agency continuous and detailed feedback on candidates they provide. This will help the agency tailor their search and narrow down what the company is really looking for. Constant and thorough feedback will shorten the recruitment period and allow the agency to find the most qualified candidate."

If you're feeling overwhelmed about hiring new staff for your small business, reach out to a recruiter for help. While a recruiter finds the best candidates for the job, you can focus on making your business great.

This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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