Hiring Employees for Small Business

While small business hiring is slowing, it’s still happening. The method for getting new hires may be shifting, thanks to social media, but small business owners still want the same thing: qualified employees who will stick around. Here’s your guide to hiring for your business.

Who to Hire

What employers look for is changing, and rightfully so. With budget cuts and a shrinking pool of available jobs, employees need to be able to take on more and bring their own ideas to the table. That’s why you should, says Jennifer Prosek, hire an army of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial-minded employees tend to be more proactive and willing to take on more responsibility, which can help in a small business’ success. MSN

Hiring an intern? Don’t grill them about their experience…since they likely have none. Instead, focus on their hobbies and interests. Asking what they hope to get out of this internship can help you craft the program, if you don’t have a set system in place, and it can be customized based on what your final pick is interested in learning. Your goal is to understand more about what kind of person this is, and what her dedication to the role will be, rather than what she already knows. Glass Door


While having free or cheap labor around to take care of small tasks sounds good to you, keep in mind that hiring an intern requires time and money on your part. You’re expected to provide job training for the college student or recent grad, so it’s up to you to develop an intern program that has structure and on-the-job training. The bonus? You’re training a future employee at a fraction of the cost. OPEN Forum

Not all internships are created equal, it seems. Many companies are booting out costly employees and replacing them with unpaid interns, at the detriment of their brand’s reputation. Slave labor indeed. But, as Small Business Trends’ Ivana Taylor points out in the comments, times have changed. Once upon a time, a college grad would be happy to get an internship period, paid or otherwise. Just play fair, and give your intern skills to walk away with. Tweak Your Biz

How to Hire

Did you know it can cost as much as $14,000 to replace a single employee? That’s why working with a recruiter might be beneficial for small businesses. Recruiters have a Rolodex of qualified candidates and know your market – maybe even better than you do. And since many professionals don’t actively look for jobs, recruiters may be able to entice them to change roles if they know what you’re looking for. Insperity

If you’re ready to hire, take time to do it right, otherwise you risk hiring the wrong person (a costly mistake). Outline what you want in an employee, as well as what his responsibilities will include, then carefully craft the job description. Get your interview panel together, including people who will work directly with the person you hire, and interview as many qualified candidates as you have. You’ll be working with this employee for the foreseeable future, so give gravity enough to the decision making process. Online Jobs Information

Posting a job in the newspaper is so passé. Social media’s where it’s at these days. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are proving to be more affordable recruiting tools than traditional methods, and can help employers target in on exactly who they’re looking for skillwise. Twitter provides employers a tool to list job openings that its followers can share with others, while Facebook helps recruit passive applicants, who might not otherwise apply for a given job. LinkedIn tends to be more professional in nature, though its users tend to skew 40+. Talent Management

Mistakes to Avoid

As an employer, you risk bumbling the hiring process right from the interview. Beware asking questions that don’t really help you understand a candidate’s skill level and work ethic, and don’t do all the talking. And while sure, there are less exciting components to working for you (like those 12 hour work weekends), don’t downplay them to try to win over the candidate. Be candid about the good and the bad, and you’ll be more likely to hire the right person…and keep her. US News Money

The last thing you want when starting a business is to violate employment laws. Bone up on what you’re responsible for, such as paying minimum wage or greater, paying for overtime, and not deferring wages, otherwise you could face hefty fines or worse. Make sure your agreements are airtight, and that, if you use a noncompete agreement, it’s enforceable. Computerworld

The Government’s Role

Will President Obama help the job situation? We’ll see next week when he announces his plan to increase employment in the US. He will likely extend a one-year payroll cut on taxes for workers and unemployment benefits, and many speculate that he hopes to create more jobs through public works. While Obama’s plan may not be quite as dramatic as his 2009 stimulus, here’s to hoping it does create more jobs now.

4 Reactions
  1. It would seem that some of the suggestions are common sense but we need to hear them from time to time in order to ensure that we are making proper decisions. In small business the employee can make or break the business.

  2. Interesting list… It reminded me of the difficulties in hiring for internet related roles (and determining ability/knowledge). I’ve found HubSpot’s D.A.R.C.S. standards pretty helpful as well.

  3. I am a firm believer that we are only as good as the people we hire. Certainly, great managers inspire and get the most out of their people. Many times jealous competitors will dismiss the company’s success with comments about how easy it would be if they had employees “like that”! It is clear that what makes a company great is the people they employ.

  4. Thank you for discussing the importance of hiring quality employees. With no job growth this month, it is more important than ever that we enact free enterprise policies. In doing so, job creation will be stimulated and the tips you offer in your article can be put into place. I work with the Campaign for Free Enterprise, a project of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and we believe the success of small business is crucial to job creation in our country. Your article emphasizes the importance of hiring employees with strong entrepreneurial spirits who are motivated to see their respective companies succeed. Innovative employees can help small businesses be successful in the long term, and small businesses should be looking for that kind of talent in the future to ensure their success. I will be sure to share your insights with our fan base.