It’s no wonder why a lack of qualified workers is one of your most significant challenges to the growth and survival of your business. And it doesn’t help that small businesses have a unique set of issues when it comes to hiring, including having lower brand recognition than your larger peers and not being able to offer competitive salaries.
1. Cast A Wide Net
Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you have to advertise for positions strictly locally. Some people may want to move for the job, while others — depending on the position — could stay put and work remotely. Remember, you’re trying to set up your business for success, and that means you’ll need qualified staff.
At the get-go, set clear expectations of the job’s role and responsibilities. Lay out what skills and experience you’re looking for, what the candidate needs to apply, along with duties and opportunities for that position.
2. Do Your Homework on Applicants
How much do you really know about the applicants? Did the applicant provide a list of references? Don’t just stop there! Ask references if there is anyone else who might be able to speak about the candidate. Try out background checks to search for things such as employment, criminal and driving histories. And be sure to check out their social media accounts for any inappropriate posts.
3. Whittle Down the Candidates
Use all the information you’ve gathered during the “homework” phase to find patterns in the applicant’s behavior and actions. From there, consider what qualities are most important to you and your small business. Would he or she fit into that mold? And don’t be afraid to hit up the ends of the spectrum: you could bring in promising new college graduates at a lower rate, or you could have an experienced hand help show other employees the ropes.
4. Test Out Candidates’ Behavior and Actions During the Interview
Interviews shouldn’t be short and sweet. They’re a chance to really get to know the candidate. Have applicants meet your other employees, and see how they mesh with your current staff. Ask the employees what they thought.
Spend a day with them. As one entrepreneur learned, someone can put on a facade for a while, but he or she won’t for the whole day.
Another — Chris Hillenmeyer, vice president of Stephen Hillenmeyer Landscape Services in Lexington, Ky. — says he takes out prospects to lunch and discreetly tells the waiter to mess up their order. He uses it as a way to learn how the job candidate deals with adversity. On a similar note, ask questions that will tell you about the problems applicants faced and how they overcame them.
5. Provide Other Incentives
As a small business, you may not be able to compete with larger corporations in terms of salary. But you can still offer so much more, such as flexibility or work-from-home options.