Make a list of these talented people and compile their contact information. Are any looking to find a new position, change industries or know of anyone else who would be a good fit for your company? Mine your personal and professional relationships when looking for new employees; you need to find great people that fit in with your small business’s culture and are passionate at what they do. Don’t wait for candidates to come to you.
Try before you buy
For small businesses with limited resources, employing contract workers can be a cost-effective way of searching for ideal employees. Working with contractors allows you to staff up when you need it — whether you’re introducing a new product or entering your busy season — and then immediately downsize when you’re finished. Even better, it’s easy to convert a contractor to full-time employee if both you and the contractor feel that there’s a mutual fit.
If you can’t afford to hire contract workers, or just have an assignment or two to complete, consider project-based hiring sites like oDesk or Elance where the talent places bids on your project. You can review their credentials and choose a contractor whose bid and experience best match your budget.
While you may be desperate to fill that IT programmer or outside sales slot and have a decent — but not impressive — candidate, resist the temptation to believe that someone in the position beats having no one. As a small business owner this is the time to be the most careful about whom you hire. And, in the long run, you’ll lose more in productivity and morale by hiring and firing workers than you will by waiting to make an offer to the right candidate.
Apple’s Steve Jobs once famously said, “My number one job here at Apple is to make sure that the top 100 people are A+ players . . . everything else will take care of itself. If the top 50 people are right, it just cascades down throughout the whole organization.”
The truth is that “A-players” bring in other “A-players,” and in keeping your standards high you are showing that your business refuses to settle. Taking the time to determine the type of people you want to hire, and looking for them in strategic places, quickly identifying mismatches and developing interim and contract staffing strategies as needed, can help you hire the best to ensure your company’s ongoing success.
Remember: A company can only grow as fast as it can hire great people. Your success as a business depends upon your commitment to the hiring process. The benefits of finding great people who fit with your company culture, share your vision and make an immediate and lasting impact cannot be understated.
Carolyn Hughes is vice president of people at SimplyHired.com.