Owning a small business means that you wear a lot of hats — from the CEO to the marketing manager, and from the bookkeeper to the sales force.
Finding time to wear the human resources hat can be challenging, but it is one of the most critical priorities in growing your small business. Adding the right talent to your team is especially important when those one or two new employees will make up a significant percentage of your staff. Finding great people — the ones who fit with your culture, who share your vision, who can make immediate and lasting contributions — can be very difficult, but it is the most important thing that you can do to ensure success.
Here are four ways that small business owners can better source and hire truly great people:
Make time to hire
Many small businesses don’t have a formal human resources department — or even one dedicated HR professional who is available to manage their recruiting and hiring. As painful as it may be, the most important factor in hiring great people is devoting time to the process. Schedule it into your day just like you would a client meeting or a business transaction.
For example: The first week after posting a job advertisement, take 30 minutes each morning to download and compile resumes and cover letters; at the end of each day, review them and put aside potential interviewees for follow-up. Then, at the end of the week, review your selections and short-list a group of candidates to phone screen.
For those candidates who pass the phone screen, take an hour at the end of the day to e-mail and invite them to a face-to-face job interview. It’s important to meet potential employees in person, but understand that interviews can vary in length depending on the position you’re trying to fill; plan accordingly for high-level candidates who may require a longer interview. If you have quite a few candidates for an open position and need to save time, consider using a free video chat program like Skype to conduct a remote interview.
Additionally, as a small business, you might have the unique opportunity to introduce job candidates to a majority of your other staff members. The first impression a candidate makes on your staff serves as a barometer for his or her ability to fit with your corporate culture. Factor in the availability of the rest of your staff to get the most out of your time with the candidate when he or she comes in to interview.
Fish for candidates
The secret to successful recruiting is all about networking — and maintaining an active network. It’s a tall order for a small business owner with so many other responsibilities, so it’s important to leverage every resource available to you.
But don’t limit yourself to active job seekers. Take a moment to think, even if you’re not hiring for a specific position right now, who are three people you know that you’d hire in a heartbeat, regardless of their current availability? What is it about these people and their skills that are so valuable? Now ask your colleagues, family members, friends, business suppliers and partners the same question.