When it comes to running a small business, hiring is a lot different than at bigger companies. Often the business owner must do the hiring themselves or the single recruiter has to do more with less. Hiring takes time. You have to write the job description, get it posted online, review resumes, and interview people. But there are some tips and tricks to make your hiring efforts more efficient. Technology can help. So can training. I asked around and got some perspective from others running small businesses. Here’s what they said:
“Existing staff referred great people. I got my first hire and treated him really well. We decided together what he was going to get out of working with me, and we put a program in place for him to get that. In his case, he wanted to learn more about our industry so that when he moved back across the country he could start his own business. He found the next person and as my staff grew, the pool of people looking for new people grew. Once you are known as a good employer, you attract great staff. I also partnered with schools and job creation programs as a work placement which enabled me to try people out before I hired them.”
Submitted by Frances Schagen, Business Owners Success Club
“As the owner of several websites, I’m constantly hiring writers, editors, and designers. A few keys to more efficiently hiring – use paid job boards. In your job listings include a special instruction to see who is paying attention. Maybe it’s to respond with a special subject line. Or answer a random question. Something so you can filter out those who don’t pay attention to the details in the beginning.”
Submitted by Eric Brantner, founder of Scribblrs.com
“I tend to hire more staff during the holiday periods as that is when we’re considerably busier and we need more support. But rather than trying to manage the hiring process myself, I’d much rather outsource it to an HR company. There is a huge amount of work involved in hiring new staff, especially if you’re having to read applications, meet candidates, and conduct interviews yourself. If I was trying to manage all of this work myself, I would undoubtedly be forced to close the business and would lose valuable time that I should be spending dealing with customers and generating sales for my business. Ultimately, the price that I pay to outsource the hiring to an HR company is comparable to the money that I would lose if I was forced to hire staff myself.”
Submitted by Max Robinson, Ace Work Gear
“Pay top job candidates to shadow you or one of your employees for 1-2 days. You’ll get the opportunity to see if candidates have the skills you’re looking for and if they fit with your culture. This hiring hack significantly decreases the chances of making a bad hire, which is costly on a number of levels. Also, train employees how to conduct great interviews. You shouldn’t expect someone from marketing or finance to sit with a job candidate and conduct a terrific interview. They won’t have the skills, so train them.”
Submitted by: Lori Dernavich, Growth Stage Leadership Advisor
“ipply has been a huge time saver for me as a small business owner. Having all the candidates consolidated into one place and their contact info easily accessible has made it very easy to get in touch with candidates I would like to interview without having to print out resumes or dig through a bunch of different emails. I love the prescreening questions because ipply does the first round for you automatically, so you have the most qualified applicants highlighted and can more quickly find your best candidates to interview.”
Submitted by: Allison Muggli, Pets Domain ATX
“When we are in a hurry and need someone quickly I use a recruiting firm, and when we have time and the resources internally we use online job boards. It’s about 50/50 on the success of both options for us. Sometimes the recruiter hits a homerun and sometimes we hit a homerun.”
Submitted by Ben Walker, Founder & CEO of Transcription Outsourcing, LLC
“I own a business based in Los Angeles and we conduct interviews on a regular basis. One of our best interview tips is to have the interviewee come to the office at least twice before hiring. It is wise to do an initial interview with one set of people (interviewers) in the room and then on the 2nd visit, change the group and re-engage with additional questions. With two visits, you are able to learn a lot more. What things remained consistent, where did inconsistencies arise? Certainly, many candidates can be eliminated after the first round, but if it is between a few candidates, bring them back a 2nd or 3rd time and change the group with which the candidate is interviewing. It is also wise to change the setting. For key positions requiring even more analysis, it’s wise to meet in the office, but then over lunch or coffee. Try to evaluate the potential hire under multiple situations so that you can gain a real perspective on how the new hire would work within your organization.”
Submitted by Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation.com
Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin can also help you amplify your job openings. Post your jobs to them and target your existing followers. On Facebook, you can even take advantage of local job search groups to let them know you are hiring. To find those groups just search for your city’s name and the word jobs or hiring.
Whether you are an owner who does it all or a recruiting team of one, these hiring hacks can help you grow your staff. Got more suggestions? Feel free to leave a comment and tell us how you hack hiring in your business.
Considered the 'mad scientist of online recruiting' by his peers, Chris is an entrepreneur and former corporate recruiter based in Connecticut. When not writing you might find him bass fishing from his kayak on the lakes & rivers of New England.