As a small business owner, making hiring decisions may be the hardest and most important thing you do. The people who represent your company can be the difference between success and failure.
At a company that only has a few employees, it's harder to hide mistakes than it is at a bigger operation. That makes each hiring decision very important, and while that can be scary, there are some steps you can take to ensure you make good decisions.
If you're hiring for a small business, you face multiple challenges. You'll want to go slow to make sure you hire only the best people, but you'll also want to move quickly to get a needed position filled. You have to cast a wide net while also being careful with your choices.
1. Be skeptical of friends
It's tempting as a small business owner to hire people you know. That makes sense when those people are well-qualified for the job. If they are not, remember that you're not running a charity. You need employees who can advance your business, and your friends may not fit that description. You also may run into conflicts of interest when you have friends that work for you, leading to less than optimal business outcomes and/or damaged relationships.
2. Be flexible
In the current job market, which has hit record levels of low unemployment, finding the right person to fill your open job may be a challenge. As a small business owner, however, you have something that many larger companies can't offer: You can be very flexible with employees.
That may mean allowing someone to work unconventional hours or letting someone perform some of their job from home. Use your ability to be flexible as a way to attract workers who might otherwise overlook your company. But, be reasonable and remember that what you do for one employee may set a precedent for other workers.
[Related: Candidate Engagement at Every Stage]
3. Use your network
Finding candidates for open jobs is not easy. To make sure you get the people you need make sure you leverage your network. Use social media to share your job openings and be vocal with colleagues about what you are looking for.
4. Share the upside
As the owner of a small business, it's tempting to keep all of the upside for yourself. That makes sense because you are the one putting yourself on the line in order to build your own company.
To attract top-tier employees, however, you may want to use equity or profit sharing to give potential hires a reason to accept the job. If the person you hire has a share of the company's upside that may not only make it easier for him or her to take the job, it may also lead to better job performance.
There's no magic path to guarantee you make a perfect hire. What you can do is make sure you put in all the work you possibly can. That means you should do thorough interviews and check references. Don't hire someone just to fill an opening. Look long and hard to find the right person who can help your company meet its business goals.
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