As small business optimism continues to improve, many companies are reviewing their growth plans for the future. Of course, growth often means hiring, and although small businesses may still be cautious about increasing their workforce, they are generally optimistic about the health of their businesses.
In May, the Small Business Optimism Index from the National Federation of Independent Businesses rose 1.4 points to a post-recession high of 96.6. So then, it makes good sense that small businesses are choosing to hire — and the timing’s right, too. With college graduation season just behind us, there is a growing pool of potential employees, especially future entrepreneurially-inclined people looking for opportunities to work for smaller companies — and companies are eager to hire them. According to a study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers plan to hire 8.6 percent more graduates from the class of 2014 than they did from the class of 2013.
Yet, the hiring process is not easy for any company, and small businesses face a unique set of challenges. This is because there are issues specific to small businesses that dictate the type of employees needed to help grow the business.
After all, the best business strategy in the world doesn’t mean anything without the right people to execute it; the right mix of skill sets and personalities is crucial to the success of any small business. That’s why it’s incredibly important to carefully think about every hire you make and to be sure you have all your bases covered so that each employee is playing the right role within your company.
Here are five tips for finding the right employees for your small business:
- Take your time. Small businesses may feel as though they don’t have the luxury of taking weeks or even months to fill a position because there are few—or even no—people who can do that particular job; however, it’s a mistake to rush the hiring process. An employee’s skills and cultural fit are exponentially more important in a small business, so make the hiring process a thorough one. It will be well worth it in the long run.
- Make it a group effort. Many small businesses have an almost family feel, often with several long-term employees having very personal stakes in the company. Capitalize on this and involve these employees in the hiring process. Even if they won’t be managing or working directly with the new hire, have them interview candidates to get a sense of personality and culture fit. In a company with few employees, there’s no room for error because one bad egg can ruin everyone’s work experience.
- Be social (online). Traditional methods of finding applicants for a position — headhunters and advertisements — can be costly for smaller companies, but the best thing about social media is that it’s free. If you have a Facebook page or Twitter handle for your company, use them to post job vacancies. The upside is that those who see your posts are already following your company, so they will have some background knowledge. LinkedIn is also a good option for finding prospective employees. Use your networks and do general searches of titles, companies, or skills to find prospects.