How to Find the Right Employee for Your Small Business


Small business owners are often hard-working and well-meaning, with little time to themselves. But what about when there isn’t enough time? Delegations are often a painful lesson for seasoned managers and business owners alike. If you have a business that requires employees, you likely understand how vital good people are. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to find the right person for the job. Employees are the lifeblood of a company. The hiring process can sometimes take effort, patience, and most of all, skillful discernment.

Smart Practices of Hiring

When hiring an employee for a small business, there is a lot of required data that needs to be processed. You may ask yourself how to know whether or not you are hiring the right person for the job or wonder what kind of person would be the best match for the tasks required. For this reason, there are a few things to be mindful of, so that you can avoid hiring the wrong person. The first rule of thumb is to always consider that a new hire is as valuable as any other asset. Be as considerate of this investment as any other that you would make and you’re already ahead of the game.

What to Do When Hiring a New Employee

Always follow this process for hiring new employees. These steps are here for a reason and will help you find the best fit for your company.

Be Prepared for Anything!

The hiring process can be a crazy minefield. You may go through several no-shows. Schedule an interview for 10 o’clock only to have the person show up at 9:30 when you are just getting in or out of another meeting. Then, on top of that, you may wind up having to listen to some outlandish, boring, or blatantly untrue stories.

However, don’t let these unlikely candidates throw you off your game. More importantly, don’t let them distract you from the task at hand. It is easy to get discouraged and in turn, to let the discouragement filter through to your interviews. Alternatively, keep in mind that not everyone interviews well.

Speaking of Being Prepared

Prepare an outline and know what you’re planning on talking about. The Harvard Business Review states that one of the most significant ways to turn off a great potential candidate is by not being prepared. No one wants to sit around while you shuffle through papers and try to determine the next question. If you want a qualified new hire, then you need to be ready to snatch them up when you find them. Be punctual and have a clear outline of the job description available.

Be Smart and Look the Part

While preparation is essential, it is always a good idea to have the right look. Even if you are just as nervous as your interviewee, don’t show your fear. Eye contact and body posture are just as important for the interviewer as it is for the one being interviewed. Allow for direct eye contact, lean forward to show interest and act business casual. You want to get to know the potential new hire and allow them to be at ease. This will enable you to get the most out of your interviews and be able to dig through to find the diamond in the rough.

It Is Okay to Be Nervous

You may be nervous, but your interviewee likely is as well. Don’t fault anyone for being nervous. Instead, use your position to put the person at ease. While you want to be on the lookout for a person that divulges too much personal information or someone that talks bad about their previous employers, try to forgive obvious nervous habits.

Give Real World Challenges

Real world challenges provide an opportunity for the candidate to show what they can do. Some people, when interviewed, will have a lot of talks but the best way to find out if they can do the job is to immerse them in it when possible. Allow for time so that you can let the person you are hiring see the job. Set aside time to take calls or go over inventory. Use time wisely as a means to see whether or not they will be a good fit and enjoy it.

What to Avoid When Hiring

Part of what to avoid when interviewing is easy. There are some no-brainers to avoid. Then there are the gray areas. Knowing what to avoid when interviewing can be just as important as knowing what to do. Avoiding some hiring pitfalls can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Don’t Ask Things That You Shouldn’t

Most people understand not to ask questions that they are not legally allowed to. Doing so will put them in a potentially precarious situation. For this reason, most people know that they can’t ask specific ages or comment on race and gender. However, there are loopholes to these questions. If a job requires a specific age, then it is okay to ask if the person is at least that age. This may be the case if the person would be serving alcohol. Then the server would have to at least be 21 years old in some states. Be clear on the legalities before venturing into these kinds of questions.

Skip Asking If You Can Call and Check References

It is a good practice to call and check references as well as previous employment. This is where you can make sure that the person’s history is accurate. Believe it or not, some people just want a job so they aren’t always completely forthcoming. A good hire should come with a few good references. Ask for references on your application. If you only take resumes, then ask for references and make it clear that you will be checking them.

Actually, CALL References!

While it is smart to have references to call and to make your potential new hire think that you are going to call them, it is on you to actually call them. Avoid making the mistake of offering the job before calling and checking the backgrounds of any new hire. Call previous employers, verify education, and check up on those references that were given with the resume or application.

Don’t Let the Interview Get Away From You

Sometimes people will have a relaxed demeanor, and talking to them will be easy. That being said, the interview should always be on task. The tone and beat of the interview is your call. Be sure to be on point with questions and know how to reign the conversation back in. This will show that you mean business and set the stage for how future employees should interact with you.

Hire Away

Once you are ready to interview and you know what questions to ask, what kind of person you want working for you and the kinds of real work experiences to put your interviewees through, the next step is hiring. Take your time and be discerning, but don’t take too long. Go through all of the steps and make sure you check their background. Once you have a person that meets your initial checks and their background checks out, then get ready to hire. The only way to see if your hire will work out is by working with them. So, take the plunge and get back to work!