Tips for Hiring the Right Talent for Your Small Business

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As your company grows, so too will your need to bring on a team to scale your business. Hiring is a huge investment and costly to get wrong. Before you make your next hire, here are three hiring tips from SCORE CEO and former VP of Marketing and Communications Bridget Weston. You’ll learn what key steps to take throughout the hiring process and how to leverage your network and mentors, so you make the best hiring decision for your business.

At some point along the way, small business owners realize that they can’t do it all themselves and still do it all well. Running a company is a huge undertaking and the larger and faster your company grows, the more you’re going to need to rely on a trusted set of employees to continue to produce a quality product or service.

Hiring, however, introduces an entirely new variable to running a business and is a big change when you’re used to running a company of one. Hiring the right talent comes down to honestly assessing the skills and talents your business needs most, being diligent and having patience in your search. 

Hiring the right person is a challenge for everyone. There’s a lot at stake

In its latest estimate, the U.S. Department of Labor is cited as reporting the estimated cost of a bad hire is about 30-percent of an employee’s annual compensation. Needless to say, most small businesses can’t afford to make the wrong hiring decision. 

Making smart hiring decisions is less of a science than an art. SCORE CEO and former V.P of Marketing and Communications, Bridget Weston, recommends that small business owners focus on refining the three primary areas of their hiring process to find the best candidates. She offers her advice on how to clarify the role, find qualified applicants and choose the best employee:

Clarify the Role

Make the position you’re hiring crystal clear to potential applicants so you can attract qualified candidates and avoid having to weed through irrelevant resumes. Write a detailed job description that identifies responsibilities and required skills and expertise. The more accurate your description, the more effective you’ll be at attracting the right talent right off the bat.

Find Qualified Applicants

Half of the battle of hiring the best talent is finding the best talent. Posting a job description to a job board is a good start, but to find great talent, do some work to put the opportunity into the right hands. Leverage your network of professionals and ask who they may know who could be a good fit. Use social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn, and do some homework to uncover other potential candidates. More and more people are finding jobs via social media and it’s now a hiring pool that employers can’t ignore.

Choose the Best Employee

The key here is to take your time. Choosing the best employee is a process and requires that you do your due diligence. Review resumes and speak to top candidates. It may take two or three rounds of interviews to get a solid understanding of which candidates are best for the job. When you’re interviewing, don’t undervalue the softer attributes that aren’t as easy to identify on a resume, like cultural fit and the candidate’s ability to communicate clearly with clients or customers. Finally, check references. References can help you learn more about how the candidate performed in past roles and whether they’d make a good fit within your organization.

Before you take these steps or bring any candidates in for an interview, read the SCORE article, “Are Your Small Business Hiring Practices Discriminatory,” to make sure you’re conducting interviews legally.

Also, read the SCORE article, “After they Say ‘Yes’: The 5 Legal Steps You Must Take Every Time Your Hire,” to understand what legal steps to take after a candidate accepts an offer. 

Rely on insight from trusted mentors and colleagues before you make a hiring decision.

Even if you’re a sole proprietor, don’t make hiring decisions in a vacuum. Consult trusted industry partners or mentors as you go through the hiring process and get additional insight to round out your thinking.

One of the best resources to help you hire the right talent is with the guidance of a SCORE mentor. Your SCORE mentor will become familiar with your business and help you through your hiring from start to finish so you hire the best talent for your business. Contact a SCORE mentor today.

Yusef Muhammad
Southwest Regional Vice President, SCORE

Since 1964, SCORE “Mentors to America’s Small Business” has helped more than 11 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 10,000 volunteer business mentors in over 250 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses. For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800-634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit 
SCORE at www.score.org.

Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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