Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media & SmallBizDaily.com
Does your small business need to hire? If so, you need to plan how you’ll get around three of the biggest minefields for small employers. According to a recent study, small business owners’ top challenges with hiring are a lack of qualified candidates, new hires not living up to expectations, and too much employee turnover. Here’s how to tackle these problems and make sure your new hires work out.
How to find the best job candidates
It’s a job seeker’s market right now, and for small businesses that can’t offer the same perks and benefits as larger companies (like employee cafeterias or on-site daycare), getting the best of the best may seem a lost cause. Wrong! To attract better job candidates, try these tips.
1. Start hiring now
According to the job search site, Career Sidekick, June, July, and August are the worst times to look for jobs. Most companies aren’t hiring because too many people are on vacation. Differentiate your business by actively seeking job candidates during the summer months, and you’ll get more applicants. Looking for entry-level workers? Although most colleges get out in May or early June, there are still some graduates who are just beginning the job search.
2. Don’t be a perfectionist
During the aftermath of the Great Recession, many companies got very picky about who they hired. Employers wanted workers who had the exact skills, experience, and characteristics they wanted to fill a particular slot. In today’s job market, employers have to ease up on their demands. Plus, trying to find a candidate who fits a cookie-cutter mold is a recipe for disappointment.
Instead of rejecting a candidate who has four (not five) years of experience, try interviewing people who are “close enough” to what you want. In decades of experience as a manager, I’ve learned that attitude and aptitude are always more important than experience and expertise.
How to make sure new employees work out
Finding employees who fit your organization is key to successful hiring—and that takes time. Unfortunately, as a busy small business owner, you need everything done yesterday, including hiring that new employee. Combined with the fact that most of us hate interviewing job candidates, it’s easy to rush through the hiring process. Instead, take the time to do the following:
1. Schedule meet-and-greets
Arrange meetings between candidates and the people they’ll be working with, such as supervisors and team members, as a second interview. You’ll get a second opinion, and your employees will be more likely to work well with someone they had a say in hiring.
2. Test the candidate on key job skills
When I worked at a magazine, we asked candidates for writing jobs to write a short article and those applying for editing jobs to edit an article. Testing is a good way to sort out if someone has what it takes.
3. Check references
According to one survey, 38% of managers have dropped a candidate after finding out they lied on their resume. Candidates most commonly fudged the truth on job experience, job duties, education, and dates of employment. Contact references and verify facts such as dates of employment, job title, and job duties. If the position warrants it, you might consider a background check on candidates.
Bringing new employees on board in a positive way is key to helping the new hire be successful, so be ready for their first day on the job. There’s nothing worse than showing up to work excited for your first day…only to find that nobody remembered you were coming. Set up the new employee’s workstation, uniform, and other tools needed to do the job. Then have tax forms, employee agreements, and other documents ready to read and sign.
Additionally, the new employee’s supervisor should be available to show them the ropes, like how to track time and turn in their timesheets. Provide ongoing training during the new employee’s first few weeks, with frequent feedback to make sure they’re learning their role. As the employee becomes more confident, you can step back a bit, but you check in with them every week or so to see if they have any problems or questions.
Finally, don’t forget to welcome them. Gallup polls find, consistently, that having friends at work leads to better performance. Introduce new employees to your staff on their first day and pair them up with a “buddy” who can answer workplace culture questions and make them feel at home. Taking them out to lunch with the team is also a nice gesture on the first day.
The real secret to hiring employees who fit in? Make your company a place where people want to work, and you’ll never have a problem finding workers.
Rieva Lesonsky is the CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for free TrendCast reports.