Tips • April 5, 2021
Top Hiring Tips for Small Business Owners
Who you hire makes a huge impact on company culture, reputation, and ultimately, success. That’s why it’s vital you hire the right people.
This is especially true for a small business – because it takes great people to build great organizations!
These tips will help you find the right people to take your company from strength to strength - whether you’re building from the ground up, or growing your team as you continue to scale.
Tips for Your First Hires (Teams of Less Than 25)
#1: Know Who You Want To Be
Before you start the hiring process, think about where (and what) you want the company to be “when it grows up”. Then, start looking for people who can help you get there. Think of the following two buckets:
Product: If you’re building a product, what type of talent will you need to build it successfully? Answering this will help you identify the skills and experiences you absolutely need in your earliest hires.
Culture: You also need to identify what you stand for and what you aspire to be. Start by articulating your company’s core values. Once this framework is in place, it’s easier to identify applicants who not only have the skillset you desire, but also match the culture you’re looking to build.
Remember, you can teach skills, but it’s very difficult to change attitude or temperament.
#2: Job Postings Are Sales Pitches Too!
When advertising a role, try to avoid the “one size fits all” template where you simply list the desired work experience and daily responsibilities.
When you’re an up-and-coming small business, a lot of people may not know about your company just yet. Your job listings are a great opportunity to change that.
Focus on what makes you unique. Talk about your values and goals. Use language that shows your personality. When you properly showcase the uniqueness of your open positions and your company culture, you attract individuals who are both qualified and motivated!
#3: Create A Positive Experience - With All Candidates.
Not every person you interview will be the right fit for the role. But the way you treat them will have a lasting impact on each applicant and on your reputation as an employer.
Did a candidate show real potential, but you ended up going in a different direction? Here’s an opportunity for you to leave that door slightly open - you want them to be willing to explore other opportunities with you in the future.
If a candidate is not a good fit, then treat them in such a way that they leave you as a brand advocate and with learnings for their own journey.
Whether it’s a hard ‘no’ or a ‘not at this time’, it’s important to lead with kindness and develop goodwill with each candidate. It really is a small world and you never know which connection can have a lasting impact on you or vice versa.
#4: Hire for Potential, Not (Just) Track Record
The best way to unlock an employee’s full potential is to marry their skills and their passions. So, if a candidate’s past success has caught your eye, don’t base your decision solely on that.
If their experience, interests, and goals align with the direction you’re looking to take your company, then you likely won’t find a better synergy.
Identifying that particular blend of potential and skill set relies as much on experience as it does intuition. A few things to keep in mind are your company's team dynamic and culture, the expertise of any existing team members, and of course, the capability gap that you’re trying to fill.
Truly Tip: Communication skills, teamwork, creativity and adaptability are easy to overlook when interviewing multiple people - but these are just as important as the practical skills required for a role.
Hiring Tips for Scaling Startups (Teams of 25 & Growing)
#1: Optimize Your Reviewing Process
When hiring, there’s no need to settle. The time and cost of high turnover surpasses that of establishing an effective screening and selection process.
Whether you get 10 applicants or 100, ensure all resumes are reviewed before jumping into things. Remember, somewhere among all of those resumes is your next superstar team member. If you’re struggling to manage volume, speak with an HR consultant, or check out some resume scanning software to help optimize the process..
Plus, the more resumes you get, the bigger your pool of potential future employees becomes. Someone who narrowly missed out on one position could be the perfect fir for another. Even if they are not a good fit for the position you’re currently interviewing for, they could be perfect for a role you’ll be hiring for somewhere in the future.
#2: Maximize Your Interviews
Just like the person you’re interviewing, you should prepare for the interview too.
Obviously, every candidate and interview will be different, but you should map out some key topics to ensure you identify the best fit. The questions you ask during the interview process should help identify whether a prospective employee has that blend of passion, potential and experience needed to be effective in the role.
Be open and honest about the organization, the role, and what’s expected of the person who fills it. If a new hire finds that things are not as advertised, you may end up hiring for the same role again in a few weeks - that’s a lot of valuable time wasted.
#3: Include Existing Team in Process
This is a very important, yet often overlooked part of building a winning team.
Nobody knows the ins and outs of your company’s culture better than your current employees. That's why some team members should be involved in the hiring process.
After you’ve done an initial interview with a strong candidate, arrange for some existing team members to conduct a ‘culture fit’ interview.
This allows both the candidate and your team to see if they would fit well together. It’s also a great way to jumpstart the team on building rapport with a potential new hire.
Truly Tip: When getting employees involved in the hiring process, give them time to consider candidates alone and then as a group. This will help avoid selection bias.
#4: Have a Structured Onboarding Process
An incoming employee's onboarding experience is directly linked to how long it takes for them to get up-to-speed - they’ll be keen to do so as quickly as possible.
It's essential that you give this some thought before their start date. One simple thing you can do in advance is to have all the key tools, technologies and equipment set-up and ready to go when they arrive.
You should also involve your team when appropriate. Having different departments show the new hire the ropes at different times means no one department has their entire schedule blown up. Plus, your new employee will get to meet and engage with more of their team.
Truly Tip: New employees will have lots of questions, such as how to use the printer, when they get paid, where’s good for lunch…. Consider putting together a welcome pack that addresses these frequently asked questions.
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