Hiring good employees for small businesses is particularly challenging. Independently owned and operated companies face a unique set of problems when it comes to hiring, that larger firms often don’t have. Here are some of the challenges I find when it’s time to hire a new employee and how to address them.
Presenting compensation. Small businesses compete with large organizations for top talent and can’t offer the same level of compensation that larger companies may be able to offer. To be attractive to potential candidates, find out the industry standard for the position. You may not be able to pay top-dollar but you can offer a fair wage. Also, be sure to mention the many advantages of working for a small company, such as flexible hours, the ability to do more and have a larger impact on the business (big fish in a small pond), less rigid policies and procedures, and the ability to stand out as an individual.
Too few resumes. You may find that you’re not getting enough qualified candidates. Don’t simply post the position online. Let people know that you are looking. Spread the word among your business associates. Ask your employees for referrals. When your workplace is short-handed, they bear the brunt of it, so they are likely willing to help. Leverage social media to search for people you’d like to recruit or for organizations you can recruit from.
Too many unqualified candidates applying. Don’t waste your time with dozens of resumes of unqualified applicants. Make sure that your job description is clear. Describe the successful person in the job, not just the job itself. Be as specific as possible.
Don’t have time to go through the hiring process. When I am short on staff, I absolutely have to make hiring a priority. But it is difficult to find the time because my highest priority is always my customers. I highly recommend retaining someone to help. There are lots of good HR consultants around who can help with this process. It’s an important investment and you want to make sure it is done right.
Keeping employees is even more critical. When a small business loses an employee, it has a noticeable impact on operations. Retain employees by making sure they are well trained. Be sure to give them feedback, positive and negative, but do it in a constructive manner. If they deserve it, give them more responsibility. And most importantly, make them feel appreciated.