Hiring is one of the most nerve-wracking decisions you’ll make when running your business. You can return that undersized conference table you’ve bought, but a bad hire can leave lasting damage. According to a recent survey by Fast Company, a bad hire has cost 25 percent of companies surveyed more than $50,000.
Staffing missteps are magnified in small businesses, where you may need to rely upon a new hire from the very first day. Fortunately, experts are ready with strategies for hiring the right person for your growing company.
Consider Outsourcing the Staffing Process
A small management team with little time to screen candidates could easily rush into bad hiring decisions, but a staffing agency can safeguard against that. “The agency does the recruiting. They test the candidates that sign up for their services, and they do thorough background checks,” writes entrepreneur Ivan Widjaya in Small Business Trends.
Finding staff on your own also has its benefits. For one thing, you don’t have to pay agency fees. If you’re already networking to increase your business’s profile in your community, you may be able to recruit through word of mouth at the same time. Michelle St. John is the president of IBS Inc., a small family-owned business that distributes high-quality products for use in maintenance and repair operations, and she learns about promising employees at chamber of commerce meetings. “Chances are good that one business owner knows other business owners, and potential employees, so getting involved in the community is a great resource,” she told CBS Seattle.
Don’t forget social media in your networking efforts. LinkedIn is an obvious place to look, but you can also learn from Twitter and Facebook who’s looking for work within your circle of acquaintances.
Target Your Search
While you want people to apply for your opening, you also don’t want to tie up your staff by wading through hundreds of unqualified applicants. The first step to narrowing down the pool is to send your message to a subset of the general public. If you post a job listing online, consider a site limited to your industry, advises the Wall Street Journal. You can narrow the applicant pool further by listing skills or experience you want to see in your job candidates. Be specific: Ask for expertise in “workers’ compensation,” rather than just “benefits,” advises Monster.com.
Make the Most of the Interview
The more relaxed the applicant is, the more you’ll learn, writes Lisette Howlett, managing consultant/director of MLH Global HR Consulting in the UK. Don’t make the interview feel like an interrogation, but the conversation shouldn’t be casual, either. You should have a good idea of what you’re going to ask before you sit down. “Analyse the role that you are filling and identify those key skills, capabilities, competencies, [and] past achievements which will lead to success in the role and identify questions that will enable you to evaluate each candidate against these,” Howlett advises.
Determine the Right Compensation
You’ve finally found the perfect person to join your company, so you’re home free, right? Not quite. You still need to agree on a salary that will close the deal without using too much of your limited resources. Before you make an offer, research the market by studying online ads for similar jobs, asking around in your network, and consulting online databases like those available at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Close the Deal
It’s time to present your offer to the candidate. A common approach is to have a salary range in mind, so that if the prospect rejects your offer, you have room to offer a little more. If the applicant demands more than the top of your range, you might decide to go higher. A Robert Half guide recommends considering this move if the job has been particularly hard to fill. But avoid going too far, the firm warns, because you risk spreading poor morale among your staff if they discover that the new hire is being paid more than others.
By treating the hiring process with the care it deserves, you can go beyond just avoiding a bad hire. You might even discover a star who moves your business forward in ways you never anticipated. Just think, where would Apple be now if they never hired Jony Ive, designer of the iMac and the iPhone?