Hiring the Right Employees for Your Small Business

Master the art of hiring the perfect fit for your small business with our expert guide, tailored to help you build a stellar team.

Excellent 4.8 out of 5 stars 16,151 reviews

When you get to the point of adding people to your team, it’s important to find the right fit. After all, hiring takes time, and time is money. Training takes time, and it can be expensive to onboard new teammates. The inherent stress of being a manager needs no unnecessary additions, which is why you want to make sure your candidates really are the right fit before expending time and energy to make them a part of your company. 

This article will provide insights into hiring methods that increase the odds of your small business taking on great employees who will enhance its culture, morale, and productivity.

Why the Right Employees Matter

Put simply: People matter. The right people will support you as a small business owner and your company’s vision and mission. Good employees often make the difference between a successful enterprise and a challenged one. 

Research shows that the key to any startup making it past that crucial first five-year mark is the generation of new clients. When you think about hiring employees, think of how this new hire can use their special qualities to attract new customers.

Few things will drive your small business success more effectively than a solid company culture. Hiring people who align with and support your company’s stated goals drives much more than everyone’s mood throughout the workday. Low employee engagement is estimated to cost companies between $450 and $500 billion each year. Other critical statistics demonstrate the necessity of hiring smart; it’s important to jump into your search for the right people knowing that they will affect everything from your revenue stream to your reputation. The best employees are always those who feel recognized and rewarded not just in pay but also in company connectivity.

7 Steps to Hiring the Right Employee for Your Small Business

So, how do you find the right employee? The perfect employee is going to be different for everyone and the ideal profile will evolve as your company evolves, but there are overall steps you can take to find a good match. Here, we’ll take a look at the seven steps for hiring the right employee and what each entails:

  1. Define your company’s mission and values
  2. Define the job well
  3. Use social media
  4. Prescreen applicants with phone interviews
  5. Plan your interview questions
  6. Keep interviews interesting
  7. Perform background checks and consult references

1. Define your company’s mission and values

Defining your company’s mission statement and values will save you a great deal of time in the search for the right employees. These basic tenets of your small business should appear on your company website and in all job postings, be embedded into advertising, and be provided in writing to recruiters. 

Your mission statement and values are also the guiding principles for everything you do in your company, and hiring is the first step to everything else. Consider that anyone you hire is going to have an impact on your business’s personal branding and that employee retention contributes mightily to any company’s success. For these and many other reasons, try to include your company mission and values in the interview process to make sure people are a good fit for your team culture from the start.

2. Define the job well

A clear, concise job description will give potential teammates a good idea of their role if hired. This open clarity serves your employee hunt in two significant ways: It allows applicants to self-eliminate or helps them know which aspects of their past employment to emphasize, and it positions your company’s culture as organized around a common ideal. If the job descriptions you send out into the hiring market are too vague, you’ll get applicants who might be close but not perfect for what you need — and little is more frustrating than a near-miss in hiring! 

Your company’s job descriptions should include not just the daily duties associated with the role in question but also how this role will be expected to engage with other company members. You always want to look for partners who complement your business style.

 Outline whether the position is mostly communicative, creative, front-facing, back-end oriented, or any other details that will give job seekers a sense of what the job looks like. The more detail you can provide and the more simplistically you can offer it, the greater the job description can become a tool for weeding the field of potential interviews.

3. Use social media

Promote the job! If you want to attract good co-workers, post the job where people can see it. It’s also good to post about your company and culture on your social media pages. Media has influenced career choices since long before Facebook and Twitter. Use that digital engagement to your company’s advantage and give people an insight into your culture. This will not only attract people who fit well into your work environment but also the shares and comments generated by the open position function as secondary advertising for your small business.

4. Prescreen applicants with phone interviews

Some job applicants look great on paper but don’t translate as well in the real world. Others may have the technical skill sets your position calls for but none of the charisma or people skills that align with what you want for the role. 

Hiring decisions should never be made without talking directly to a potential employee. The last thing you want as a team leader is to inadvertently increase anxiety in the workplace by bringing on someone who just doesn’t have the soft skills befitting your open role’s demands.

Be upfront and get on the phone with applicants to make sure they’re worth taking through your interview process. Ask them about their salary expectations and mention any physical demands, time requirements, or other qualifying factors that you deem important to the job being executed well. If they don’t fit the bill on some of the basics of the position, you don’t need to waste time by taking them any further through the recruitment process.

5. Plan your interview questions

When it comes down to meeting potential candidates, don’t hesitate to get creative and ask fun questions! Think outside the box. Take your interview style in an unpredictable and nontraditional direction. It’ll put both you and the interviewee at greater ease, thereby allowing more truth to show through on both ends. 

Rather than sticking to the timeless job interview classics like, “Why do you want to work with us?” or “Tell me about your biggest work failure,” mix things up with questions that get at the marrow of the person, not their work facade. Beginning with humor is often wise, as what people will laugh at tells you much about what they value. 

For example, you might start by asking a prospective employee to tell you a joke. This will give you insight into their humor and tell you how well or poorly that joke would be received among the other team members. Other examples of outside-the-box interview questions that could reveal more about a person’s true compass might be:

  • “In five years, your name is going to appear in a newspaper headline. What do you suppose that headline will say?”
  • “How would you spend $1 million if investing it was off the table?”
  • “Describe the color green to someone who is blind.” 

In a smaller business or consultancy, some entrepreneurs may not want to hire anyone perceived as too corporate. Questions like those listed above help qualified candidates showcase creativity, spontaneity, and the unique inner workings of their minds. They help you, as the hiring manager, quickly see into aspects of the interviewee’s personality that most interest you from the standpoint of the job in question.

6. Keep interviews interesting

Every bit as important to a successful, honest interview is the venue. Meet people for lunch or coffee, have them shadow a current employee, or play a game. Playfulness doesn’t have to compromise professionalism. Conducting interviews in a more relaxed, natural way will help you see how someone behaves beyond the desk. This makes the experience more authentic for everyone and helps you cull candidates who might be too stiff to mesh well with the kind of atmosphere you want your small business to generate.

7. Perform background checks and consult references

Even if you love a job candidate from the start, do your homework! Due diligence helps you separate people who do a great job of presenting well on the first days but then turn into other creatures once the new wears off. Ascertain whether any boomeranging or rehiring on their resume took place for the wrong reasons.

Consult LinkedIn, do a standard Google search, implement professional background checks where necessary or relevant, and make sure to call former employers. You want to speak to people they have worked closely with to get a more accurate picture of who candidates are at work over the long term.

Keep your business growing and let ZenBusiness help

Finding new employees is exciting, and growing in the human resources department is always a big milestone for small businesses. Hiring the right people is mostly a matter of strategizing and being as honest as you are diligent in outlining what your company needs. 

As a small business owner, you already wear many hats, and you don’t want the hiring process to be any more difficult or time-consuming than it has to be. Whether you need help forming a website that will draw the best candidates to join your team or want to connect to resources to help you run your business, ZenBusiness has something for you. 

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

zenbusiness logo

Written by Team ZenBusiness

Create Your LLC