Do You Know How to Hire Talent?

While many small businesses have found themselves having to freeze new-hires or even let people go given the turbulent economy, others have been fortunate enough to bring on new employees.

Stop, however, and look at your hiring processes. Are they really where they need to be?

For too many companies, there are cracks in the armor when it comes to hiring the right employees.

As a small business owner, do you follow a formal process when it comes to bringing on new talent or have you been winging it for some time now?

In the event it is the latter, here are some tips to help smooth out the process:

  • What is the proposed duration of this employee? – Businesses need to decide if they will be seeking a long-term employee or just need a temporary fix. If hiring for the long-term, factor in things like higher salaries and benefits. If you just need workers for a few weeks or months, working through a temp agency is oftentimes the best solution. Temp agencies allow you to avoid the interview and hiring process, but keep in mind that that can sometimes be a bad thing;
  • How many interviews should I do with the same individual? – For many companies, the interview process is one and done, while others who like a candidate will bring them in for two or more interviews. Determine how important the position being advertised for is and go from there. That is not to say that you should not care about the quality work of an administrative assistant as opposed to a CEO, but obviously the CEO is going to be coming in with more credentials and expectations;
  • How much emphasis should I put towards gaps on a resume? – For some businesses looking to hire, seeing non-working gaps on someone’s resume signal red flags. While some of these breaks between jobs can be easily explained away, do not hesitate to ask candidates why they have a year or more between jobs. Whether it was a layoff, a break to go back to school, taking care of a loved one or raising a family, most employers will understand. Still, don’t leave this to fate if you’re wondering why someone has not worked for several years;
  • Can you spot a red flag? – Oftentimes an interview will come and go so quickly that you or your HR person or whoever was conducting the process misses something. Be sure to check out if the candidate appears confident, has good communication skills and seems energetic about the position. Body language can go a long way in determining if you may be hiring the right or wrong individual;
  • Quiz the individual about your company – While a candidate is not likely to know every intricate detail about your small business, they should know some of the basics by having done some research. Do you really want someone potentially working for your company that doesn’t know anything about you other than your company name and address? Job candidates should take the time prior to the interview to research the company’s Web site and see how they can best assist you in the proposed position;
  • Be prepared just like the candidate hopefully is – There is nothing more embarrassing for the company and the employee conducting the job interview than not being prepared. Just as you want the candidate to bring their ‘A’ game; you too need to be ready. Have a list of questions compiled regarding the candidate, how they see themselves helping the company, where they see themselves in a few years etc. Just as an ill-prepared candidate can lose out on a job possibility, you being unprepared for the interview can lead to a well-qualified prospective candidate taking a pass on your job offer.

Hiring the right people for your small business is in a way like finding the right seats on the bus for all the students.

In this case, you are looking to hire the best fit for the open position, something that too many companies are not very talented at.

Dave Thomas, who covers among other items starting a small business and business proposals, writes extensively for, an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.


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