Hiring for Small Businesses – Tips for Finding the Right Person

Business people waiting for job interview
Written By: Carisa Peters

How Adding the Right Team Member to Your Small Business Can Make You Laugh or Cry

I started interviewing 24 years ago at the inexperienced age of 20, and I did my best to hide the fact that I was probably more nervous than they were! I had no formal training. Since I taught myself, I made mistakes and learned over time how to navigate the hiring process, a vital part of the Human Resources world.

Since that time, I believe that I have seen the best and the worst. I have many stories that include laughter and yes, I have many that contain tears! In my opinion, hiring the best candidate is something that you really don’t figure out the secret recipe to and rely on that process to work for you over a long period of time. I have recognized that I have needed to routinely adjust my hiring process over the years. This can be the result of many factors, but I’ll share four that I have recognized.

What I’ve Learned

As an employer, you yourself change in what you want from the employer-employee relationship. Long ago, when we had 3 locations, I was mostly focused on getting enough candidates to come in and do a job well enough, and I was willing to accept things not being as good as I would have liked about the relationship. Over time as we became more specialized and focused, I began to take my time to seek out the right person to fit within our team in hopes to extend the relationship for a longer duration of time so that we could both grow together and have mutual satisfaction.

The Impact of Technology

Technology obviously impacts the way we communicate and therefore you may need to alter your process to include new ways of communication with candidates. Back in the 1990’s, I would place an ad in the newspaper and I would then prepare myself to interact with oftentimes up to 80 applicants to ultimately fill one single position! It was such a long process to review each application and then eliminate and determine the candidates I would conduct formal interviews with. Today I haven’t really needed to do any advertising other than a simple post on social media. I have noticed a consistent network of people that follow our company and look for positions to become available. I feel so much better about this because I believe those who are interested really want to be here.

Candidate Mountains and Valleys

I’ve noticed ups and downs in the quality of candidates I have interacted with. Sometimes I wonder, what is happening to the world around me, but other times I feel like we are going to be ok after all. So, what I’ve learned from this is patience. Sometimes the best candidates just aren’t there for you when you need it and you’ll need to have a backup plan in place to be able to patiently wait until you can work from a better selection of candidates. One option we have utilized is cross training. Often times you have existing team members who are willing to help out and take on some additional tasks if they understand that you are working hard to add a contributor to the team who can make their life easier.

Experience Takes Time

Over time, as I’ve gained more experience, I really thought that I had the ability to have a “gut feeling” that would guide me to the perfect candidate. This worked well for me often; however, as the world around us has become more complex, I had to find the best person to join the team. I felt like my gut wasn’t enough anymore, and I needed more insight into those individuals I was speaking with to really find the right one. I made myself commit to utilizing technology and always conducting a personality profile.

A report that shares the overall personality traits of individuals as well as outlining what strengths and weaknesses they may have in correlation to the position you are seeking to fill. This has proved to be a game changer for me in my quest to find the right individuals that fit with our company, our management style, and our mission. There are many that you can utilize, but lately, I have been working with a consultant that offers the Harrison Assessments. 

The Big Picture

In summary, whether you’re the small business owner that is personally responsible for adding the right individuals to your team, or you have an individual trained and responsible for this segment of the business, be sure to understand how you are going about finding the right candidates. Review the hiring process and make sure it has been updated to include new opportunities available to you such as assessments. You cannot overlook the lasting effects of the wrong hire. It affects so many areas such as productivity, financial, employee morale and reputation just to name a few. Check out this link to 35 Hiring Tips from the Pros. I liked the variety of suggestions and found that it gave me new ideas to think about with my own hiring process. Best of luck to you with your hiring process and I wish you much more laughter than tears!