Hiring new employees can be an emotional experience for a business owner. In the early stages of a company, a founder will generally fulfill multiple roles ranging from sales to payroll. The hands-on mentality of many owners makes it difficult for them to step back and delegate responsibilities to new hires. As a business enters into its growth stage, it becomes increasingly important to build a team around the owner in order to scale and grow the business. The following provides five tips for hiring in start-ups and small businesses:
1. Invest Time in Finding Talent
Sourcing quality job candidates is crucial for a company’s success. Although job boards such as Monster and CareerBuilder are helpful in identifying and screening a large pool of candidates, these massive platforms do not necessarily identify the best quality. Entrepreneurs should leverage their network to obtain references from people they trust and respect, as well as incentive employees to refer well-qualified job candidates. LinkedIn is also a powerful tool to recruit talent as it allows one to browse the profiles of qualified professionals within an area and post jobs.
2. Dig into the Real Answers in an Interview
Before an interview, it is important to list out the skills a candidate will need to be successful in a particular position. During the interview, the manager should ask a lot of follow-up questions to get passed “prepared answers”. Recommended questions when probing on past experience include: i) what were you hired for, ii) what did you accomplish, iii) what were some low points, iv) what would your former boss say are areas for improvement, and v) why did you leave?
3. Thoroughly Check References
Before hiring, a manager should check several references including previous bosses and colleagues. If someone does not return a call, try to follow-up or leave a voicemail clarifying that a reference is required to complete the hiring process. When checking references, managers should avoid asking leading questions and not be afraid to ask the tough questions.
4. Setup Recordkeeping Systems and Ensure Labor Compliance
Although it is a time consuming and tedious process, employees can present material legal liabilities if not documented and treated according to labor laws. At a minimum, companies must obtain an employer identification number (EIN), set up records for withholding taxes, register with state new hire reporting program and obtain workers’ compensation insurance. Being a good employer does not stop with fulfilling various tax and reporting obligations. Maintaining a healthy and fair workplace, providing benefits and keeping employees informed about a company’s policies are key to a business’ success.
5. Beware of Overselling the Role
Be completely transparent about the responsibilities of a job role. The last thing a manager wants is a new hire quitting after a week because she/he did not know what the job entailed. Encourage the job candidate to speak with all the people she/he would work with. The goal is to hire someone that will enjoy the job. The more transparency, the more likely the hired candidate will stay on.
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