September 11th, 2017
Working as a cog in someone else’s wheel has its perks. Employees have an annual salary, insurance options and a retirement plan. The monthly paycheck hits direct deposit at the same time, every month. The benefits of having a full-time job with an established corporate company are extensive. Why would someone willingly leave their salaried position to start over again from the bottom?
It’s simple: they don’t settle. You made the decision to take your experience and apply it to small business ownership. Like you, there are highly-qualified individuals looking to join a business at the ground level to create something new.
As a small business owner, you have learned that the customary 9-to-5 doesn’t apply. At the start, the company was comprised of one employee: you. There were no sick days. Salaries were still on the horizon. As your business has picked up steam, you’ve realized that you can’t wear every hat.
Small business survival rates in their first year of business rose to 80 percent in 2016. Unfortunately, half of those businesses aren’t expected to survive more than five. How can you set up your business for success? You can serve your business and your bottom line by hiring high-performing employees. Here’s how:
Show the value of your business
Why should a job seeker apply to work for you? As a small business with a limited budget, you likely can’t compete with the salary benefits offered by other companies. This means that you’re asking job candidates to turn down a bigger paycheck. Ask yourself this: why would a job seeker turn down an annual salary of $75k for $50k? The answer lies in the non- fiscal offerings your business provides.
Do you provide your staff a weekly free lunch? Do you keep a stocked kitchen? Are employees given the option to work remotely? Are employees compensated for taking public transit? Is office culture collaborative? How quickly are employees promoted? How well are employees trained? By providing your staff with certain benefits, even if not monetary, you will still attract talent.
Define the role
How do you find and hire the right person? By providing a detailed job description. Before posting your hiring ad, you’ll need to make sure that you understand for which role you’re hiring.
To make sure that you understand the needs of the role you’re looking to fill, conduct a job analysis. A job analysis is a method by which a hiring manager gathers information about the skills, duties and responsibilities of a certain job. You can find this information in one of three ways:
-Analyze a current employee’s duties
-Research the role online
-Express what you desire of the role
Why is defining the job role necessary? You’ll want to make sure that you’re attracting the right candidates for the job. Consider the type of experience necessary for a digital media specialist. If applicants applying for the position don’t know the difference between a hashtag and an emoji, the job description is not filtering candidates. Before hitting ‘Apply,’ applicants should know exactly what type of role they are applying for. If the job description is vague, anyone and everyone will think they meet the roles’ expectations.
Develop a recruiting strategy
As a small business owner, you likely don’t have the budget yet to hire a recruiting team. What does this mean for you? Along with being owner and operator, you play recruiter as well. Recruiting qualified job seekers requires more work than posting want ads on Monster and Glassdoor. To garner the attention of skilled candidates, you need to know where to place your ads, at what frequency and for how long. If the same ad is posted on Glassdoor for a month, applicants will think it’s an old ad and will ignore it.
Refresh your ad every couple of weeks with new verbiage and use your business’s social media accounts to advertise the job opening. Tweeting about the open position and publishing a job profile on LinkedIn and other sites will draw more interest to your business.
Once the ad has been placed, you’re going to have applications flooding your inbox. Initially, this will seem like a dream come true. But, after reviewing a few resumes, the details will start to bleed together. If several applicants with similar work experiences are applying for the same role, how do you know who would be the best fit for the business?
This is where the pre-screening telephone call comes in. Instead of selecting 15 candidates to interview in office, set up an introductory phone call with each applicant. Schedule the call for 30 minutes and have your questions ready.
Make sure to start each interview with pleasantries. Ask the job candidate how they are or how their day is going. The more relaxed the interviewee is, the more honest their answers. After establishing a conversational tone, it’s time to ask questions.
A few questions to ask are:
-What excites you about this role?
-What is your favorite part about your most recent job?
-How would you describe your ideal office culture?
-What does a typical day in your current role look like?
-What are some professional challenges you have faced, and how did you work through them?
During the phone call, pay attention to their tone of voice and response times. Are they flustered by the questions? Are their responses short? Are they answering the questions with zeal? Can they summarize their work experience? Are they able to think on their feet?
If they sound pleasant over the phone and their responses are to your liking, it’s time to schedule an in-person interview.
How do you know if the experience a candidate has listed on their resume is accurate? The truth is, you don’t. You have to take the interviewee at face value. However, you can look more thoroughly into an applicant’s background by contacting their references or previous employers.
RecruitLoop suggests asking the applicant’s references the same types of questions you asked the applicant in the interview. For example, if you asked the candidate how they streamlined sales processes with their previous employer, ask the previous employer the same. “Aside from being qualified to do the job, all of our hiring teams place a lot of importance on culture fit within existing teams,” says CoverHound’s HR office manager, Sarah Patzschfield. “It’s important that the job candidate be able to bring something new to the table, such as energy, guidance and support.”
By cross-referencing the applicant’s experience with their former employers, you’ll get a more well-rounded view of the candidate as a whole. Did they initiate positive change at their last company? Were they a pleasure to work with? Remember, someone might be better on paper than they are IRL.
You have made sacrifices to own your small business. Don’t sacrifice talented employees. Stay tuned for our second installment of this 2-part series: How to Retain Talent for Small Business.