Hiring Employees for Small Businesses
At a certain point, it becomes time to move from the basement to the big(ger) time. The process of selecting and screening new employees can be daunting, but it also gives you a chance to shape the direction of your enterprise. This guide will help you through some of the process of expanding your business.
Employees or contractors?
For many small businesses, employing part or full time staff may be unnecessarily complicated. Outsourcing work to contractors can make your life as a business owner simpler and cheaper. Contractors perform duties for you using their own tools, generally their own office, on their own schedule, and at the same time as working for other companies. Employees generally work in your office, with tools your provide, and on a schedule you set. If the job you need filled can be performed by a contractor, it will be easier to classify them as such. Be careful, however, that you don’t treat them as an employee while reporting them as a contractor—you can face stiff fines if you’re caught.
Where do I find these people?
If you put a job listing up on a generalized website like Craigslist, you will be inundated by hopefuls that have likely not read the job description closely and may not be particularly qualified or choosy about where they work. Other listing sites are industry-specific and may charge a small fee to host your want ad, but you are likely to get higher quality applicants. Before using any online tool, though, think local—are there any loyal customers that love your business and could be a part of it? Does anyone in your social circle have a friend that they can personally recommend and vouch for? Small businesses rely on close relationships between staff and managers, so it’s important to find people that are committed.
How do I choose between applicants?
Evaluating applicants’ diverse strengths and weaknesses to see who is stronger candidate overall is often harder than it sounds. Many managers and business owners go into interviews overconfidently, assuming that it will be easy to ask questions that will allow them to accurately judge potential employees’ value to their company. Write down a series of relevant questions that will entice the applicant to describe more about themselves and their work history in a way that is meaningful to you selecting someone. Avoid softball yes/no questions that require little thought or explanation to answer.
How do I say no to someone?
If you have legitimate reasons for not selecting someone (and be careful here—most countries have laws against employment discrimination on the basis of age, gender, race, religion, and other personal details here), it is best to be polite and direct when you call someone back with the bad news or send a rejection letter. Simply state that you are sorry but have selected another applicant for the position. If they ask why, give them direct but polite and helpful critiques of what they could do different to have better luck with their other interviews.
Whenever you’re hiring employees, think of the long term. Give them a clear idea in the job posting and interview what you expect down the road, rather than just initially what role you hope they will fill. With luck, you will find the perfect match for your new business, and you’ll be on your way to real success.