Business growth is incredibly exciting—but it also comes with its own share of growing pains. From ramping up your purchase orders and keeping the shelves stocked, to maintaining the same excellency in customer service that patrons have come to expect, it can be hard to keep track of the many moving pieces, especially as a small business owner.
That’s when the need to hire on additional assistance starts to become increasingly obvious. But no matter how much work you might feel like you’re drowning in, never rush a hiring decision. Doing so could land you in a world of trouble ranging from lost accounts to legal lawsuits.
Need a little guidance? Then keep reading for some must-know advice on the best practices for hiring new employees; these tips will bolster your small business’ shot at success so you can continue expanding with greater profitability.
1. Identify your exact needs
The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who obsess over all details, no matter how small. If you’re starting to feel the pressure of running your first startup company all by yourself, you might have the knee-jerk impulse to hire help as fast as possible—but be sure you consider all options beforehand.
For example, do you actually need an employee on the payroll, which would then subject you to payroll taxes and a number of responsibilities? Or, can you hire an independent contractor to perform a one-off job, such as setting up the e-commerce platform for your new digital storefront?
If you decide hiring an employee is the route you need to take, then you’ll need to determine how many hours per week do you need assistance. Will they be part-time or full-time? And in what role?
Establishing these parameters will help narrow your focus and may save you from expensive labor costs in the long run.
2. Try to recruit from within
Before you go advertising the position on classifieds and job posting sites, first try to recruit within your inner circle. Maybe you’ve already hired a few staff who know somebody just right for the job, or your contacts on LinkedIn might have a lead on a great candidate.
They’re not fool proof, but personally recommendations can be far more trustworthy than references from strangers or past employers.
3. Write a clear, compelling job description
Time is a rare commodity for small business owners, so do yourself a favor by making the application process as efficient as possible. One way you can do this is by brushing up on your business writing skills to craft an attractive job description that lures candidates toward your company and away from competitors.
Describe what a day in the life looks like, but also let your company culture shine by mentioning perks of the job, such as a flexible schedule or the ability to work from home.
It’s also important to be very specific when it comes to the minimum job criteria in terms of education, skills, and experience. This will prevent unqualified candidates from filling your inbox with resumes, and it will reduce employee turnover by letting applicants know exactly what’s expected of them—saving you the hassle of repeating the hiring process sooner than necessary.
4. Conduct pre-employment screening on every new hire
Once you have a good batch of applicants, remember that you can’t blindly trust the information they provide. Run a background check to ensure there’s no criminal history concealed in their past, otherwise you might end up hiring an employee who gets into a physical altercation with a customer.
Some roles may require advanced skills; for example, you might need to conduct a credit check for employment if you’re filling a position that involves sensitive financials. You can also ask them to perform a skill assessment test, or require proof of certifications that demonstrate aptitude for your line of work.
5. Create a hiring policy and employee manual
Finally, take the previous tips and use them to create a concrete hiring policy to protect against potential lawsuits. By stating that you’re an equal opportunity employer, you can avoid discriminatory claims regarding gender bias and unfair treatment.
Subject all applicants to the same policy and provide new team members with an employee manual that clearly delineates your expectations. You’ll streamline your on-boarding experience so you new staff can get to work as soon as possible—and you can take some of the weight off your shoulders sooner rather than later.