Hiring the best employees is important to any business, but for small business owners it may be even more critical.  In a small business, each employee tends to play a larger role and is vital to helping the business grow.  But hiring can be a cumbersome and unpredictable process, with no guarantees of success.

Studies that measure the cost of making a bad hiring decision put the cost at anywhere from $25,000 to $300,000 when considering retraining costs, employee morale issues, damaged client relationships and lost sales.  These impacts can be deadly for small businesses.

Finding the best employees for your business doesn’t have to feel like a shot in the dark.  It starts with making a commitment to use a proven, repeatable process that will give you a far better chance of hiring the best new employee.  Here are 6 straightforward steps to follow:

1.  Attract a Large Pool of Candidates.  Start by writing a job posting that will attract the attention of your ideal candidates.  By default, that means do not use the job description as the basis for the job posting. It is not inspiring, motivating, uplifting or encouraging.

Market your company and the future potential you are offering.  Your goal is to attract job seekers to your “unique opportunity”.  Focus mainly on the attitudes and behaviors that you want, need and expect, not the skill requirements, certifications and limitations.

Share it everywhere - on multiple job boards, social media, to your customers and among your business networks.  Do not screen out, but rather, invite in!  

2.  Implement Multiple Levels of Screening.  Adopt the mindset that if someone wants this position, they are going to have to work for it.  Apply the concept that “the harder it is to get in, the harder it will be to leave”. 

There are many auto-apply features build into job search websites.  Combat these by implementing multiple levels of screening. Examples of multiple levels of screening include:

  • Asking standard qualifying questions to those who initially apply
  • Setting up a job hotline inviting selected candidates to call in
  • Using a group interview to screen multiple good candidates in a single setting
  • Having qualified finalists take a validated individual assessment test

3.  Involve Other Employees in the Process.  This can be a game-changers for small business owners.  There are multiple wins for doing this.

  1. Better hiring decision.  You may overlook an issue or fault with a candidate that others would recognize immediately.
  2. Current employees will better understand the benefits of working your business.  This will give them a sense of pride and personal ownership in your business success.
  3. Involved employees will feel more invested in the success of the person you hire.  They will work harder to help them be successful rather than undermining their success.
  4. Your goal of building a “winning team” will be accelerated by their involvement.

4.  Learn the Preferences and Behaviors of Your Top Candidates.  Make the investment to have all of your finalists complete an individual assessment.  Do not rely on your ability to identify strengths, weaknesses and preferences. 

Use a very comprehensive assessment tool that will allow you to truly understand how your top candidates are wired so you can select the individual who is best “wired” to be successful in your open position.

5.  Spend Your Time ONLY with the Best Candidates.  If you spend individual time with multiple candidates before this point in your hiring process, you are wasting your valuable time.

By doing steps 2 and 3 well, your 1-2-1 interview time can be much more productive.  You’ve already given the company pitch, they already know about the position and they have met several of your current employees.  You can now focus on each candidate’s skills, experiences, desires, and aspirations.

6.  Make the First 90 Days of Employment Matter.  You’ve found a great employee, but your work is far from over!  The first 90 days of employment for your new employee is critical to their ultimate success in the position.

Make this first 90 days as their “prove yourself” period.  Be clear that your expectations are they must give you their best effort, follow all company rules and procedures without exception, learn their position responsibilities thoroughly and prove to everyone on your team that they deserve to be there.

Set the bar high during the first 90 days!  This will motivate your new employee to get up to speed quickly and make a difference right away.  Their performance during these early days will solidify their value to you, your customers and your other team members.

Don’t Shortcut the Process

Once you’ve got the process down, you can repeat it whenever you have a position to fill.  It will give you a significantly higher chance of hiring success – so you can focus on growing your business with a GREAT team around you!