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7 Tips for Finding and Hiring the Right Employee; The First Time (from the experts at SCORE)

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7 Tips for Finding and Hiring the Right Employee; The First Time (from the experts at SCORE)

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: August 12, 2010

Hiring the right employee, the first time, is probably one of the hardest parts of running a small business.

And nothing is more costly than getting it wrong.

Sometimes hiring mistakes are unavoidable, but with preparation, a firm understanding of your needs, and a targeted search, you can often find exactly the right candidate for your needs.

A great source of hiring advice can be found in the form of SCORE*. SCORE has been offering free advice to business owners for more than 35 years and in addition to partnering business owners directly with professional mentors*, also offers a wealth of online resources to help small businesses be successful.

Here are some of SCOR;s top tips for navigating the hiring process and finding and retaining the right talent.

1) Create a Rounded Job Description


Create a job description that clearly defines the duties of the position, as well as the skill and experiences required to fulfill these responsibilities. And because you are competing with other employers with potentially deeper pockets, make sure your job description is attractive to motivated candidates who are looking for more than perhaps just a big pay check.

Explain how the position has the potential for challenge and growth, your commitment to an appropriate work/life balance, and other benefits over and above salary.

2) Determine your Compensation Package


Determining prevailing wage rates can help you form a sense of how to structure your compensation plan. Take a look at comparable positions in local job listings for clues and talk to local organizations such as your chamber of commerce, Small Business Development Center, or employment bureaus for advice on salary and benefits. Some benefits are required by law, some not. Check out this Employee Benefit Guide from Business.gov for information on what benefits are required and what are not.

3) Set a Realistic Timetable for your Search


Do-t feel pressured to make a quick hire because of an upcoming initiative or a pending project. If you need help sooner rather than later, spread the work load out among existing employees, or consider hiring a temp or independent contractor to help out until you find the right hire.

4) Advertise Your Job


Spreading the word is always best done in a targeted fashion, and the same goes for finding and attracting the right candidates. Putting an ad in the paper may attract a deluge of candidates, but i-s certain that most will be unqualified. Try to narrow and focus your search. This might be as simple as putting a'help wante' sign in your store front window, but if your position is specialized, advertise your listing with targeted channels such as trade publications and online job boards that allow you to narrow your search criteria.

Networking is also a great way to find talent. Get the word out via your professional society, trade association, LinkedIn network, or via partners, present employees, customers and friends.

5) The Selection Process


Because you already have a defined sense of what you are looking for, selecting candidates for interview should't be too difficult. Keep your pool of interview candidate small, no more than 4-5 is a good number. Be consistent in your preparation, questions and interviewing across all candidates.

Ask broad, open questions. Let candidates tell you what they think is important for you to know about the'it can be very revealing! Then follow up with detailed questions.

Judge applicants on skills and characteristics valuable to success, not on doing the same job elsewhere.

You will also need to be aware of Equal Opportunity Laws and Prohibited Employment Practices' including what information you what ca't ask candidates during the interview process.

6) Follow-Up


To help you with your hiring decision, i's always a good practice to invite your shortlist of candidates back for a second interview and, if possible, have someone else in your business conduct an informal peer interview.

Do check references. Many larger companies do't and it can help you avoid a dangerous mistake. If the position involves access to sensitive data, finances, etc. you may wish to consider doing a full background check. Remember, you don't have unlimited rights to dig into an employee's background, so read up on what you can and can't do when conducting a pre-employment background check.


7) You've got a New Hire - Now What?


There is a lot involved in on-boarding a new hire. Here are some additional resources from Business.gov that can help you handle your employer obligations and grow and retain your team talent!

Related Articles

Sources

*Note: Hyperlink directs reader to non-government Web site.

About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

Those tips were cool. Especially number 3. Sometimes, people get into trouble setting realistic goals for their business. Sometimes it is really hard to determine how realistic and how would those goals help the business grow.
Though this is good advice, Caron, as with most things in business, trial and error are the best teachers. Recently on an NYT blog I follow, one of the commenters made a valid point, I thought. He said (in paraphrase) 'We hiring managers often fall prey to the illusion that we can know how an employee will work out, all from pre-hiring planning and interviewing. This illusion is dangerous.' I have found this to be true. I've done a bit of hiring for our business over the years. I have about a 33% success rate. However, with each hire that didn't work out, I learned better what to look for and how to structure the hiring process. One of the keys I've learned is to not just focus on desired skill sets. This is easy; anyone can do that. Any good HR person can find a resume that meets the job duties. The hard part is finding an employee who fits in with the culture, who embraces it, and who will have a stakeholder mentality.
Though this is good advice, Caron, as with most things in business, trial and error are the best teachers. Recently on an NYT blog I follow, one of the commenters made a valid point, I thought. He said (in paraphrase) 'We hiring managers often fall prey to the illusion that we can know how an employee will work out, all from pre-hiring planning and interviewing. This illusion is dangerous.' I have found this to be true. I've done a bit of hiring for our business over the years. I have about a 33% success rate. However, with each hire that didn't work out, I learned better what to look for and how to structure the hiring process. One of the keys I've learned is to not just focus on desired skill sets. This is easy; anyone can do that. Any good HR person can find a resume that meets the job duties. The hard part is finding an employee who fits in with the culture, who embraces it, and who will have a stakeholder mentality.
This is a great article - as someone who works at a search firm, I get a lot of calls from employers who need assistance in hiring someone but have not yet taken the time to create a job description or decide on a compensation package.  It is going to be very hard to sell anyone on a job that is not clearly defined.
This is a great article - as someone who works at a search firm, I get a lot of calls from employers who need assistance in hiring someone but have not yet taken the time to create a job description or decide on a compensation package.  It is going to be very hard to sell anyone on a job that is not clearly defined.

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