Talent is the cornerstone of success for any business. But hiring qualified, passionate employees is easier said than done. Great employees don’t grow on trees! Instead, it’s up to small business owners to define what they’re looking for in a good employee and create opportunities that attract and retain top talent to their company. 

If you’re looking for the best way to hire employees, you might be disappointed to learn that there’s no magic solution. The small business hiring process will differ for every company. That said, there are a few hiring tips that can help you accomplish the critical task of onboarding talent that will help your company grow stronger. 

Here’s a look at the best way to hire employees, starting with an understanding of what makes a good employee and a good employer. 

What makes a “good employee”?

Identifying a “good employee” is an important first step in the hiring process. Why? Because you need to set expectations. Evaluating your vision for a good employee will help you communicate what you’re looking for in prospective candidates. More importantly, it’ll help you narrow down the talent pool to those who can meet the challenge. Here are a few qualifiers to establish before you start hiring employees for your small business:

  • Skills and qualifications that are necessary for the job
  • Soft skills and traits that you value as a business owner
  • Experience and capabilities that are important for the job
  • Clearly defined job duties, expectations, and criteria

What makes a “good employer”?

Hiring isn’t a one-sided process. Small business owners also need to think about what they can do to attract top talent to their company. Why should employees come and work for you? Give excellent employees a reason to come aboard and stick around, and you’ll find that your business benefits tremendously from workers who are invested in its success. Here are a few important questions to ask as you strive to position yourself as a good employer:

  • Do you offer competitive pay and benefits packages?
  • Are there opportunities for career advancement or upskilling?
  • Do you put employees in a position to succeed?
  • Is your culture positive and welcoming—a place people want to work?

How to hire the best employees

Once you’ve defined your ideal candidate and positioned yourself as a good employer, it’s time to get out there and actually hire. As mentioned, how to hire good employees for small businesses will differ depending on the company. That said, there are a few tried and true strategies to consider. Here are some simple steps and basic tips to help make the process easier: 

  • Post in reputable places. Many small businesses will toss up a social media status about hiring and call it a day. Take it a step further. Use job posting services like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, or Simply Hired to post job listings or connect directly with candidates. These services usually pay for themselves by vetting candidates ahead of time, leaving you with a great selection of talent right from the start. 
  • Define the interview process. Don’t just have a phone call or a single in-person interview before choosing to hire a candidate. If you rush to fill a position, you risk bringing on someone who isn’t equipped for the job. Use an initial interview to get a feel for candidates; then, bring in your top prospects for a second interview that drills down deeper into their skills and abilities. 
  • Evaluate candidates against metrics. When interviewing, make sure you’re asking specific questions that relate to different aspects of what you’re looking for: soft skills, technical ability, experience, problem-solving, etc. Questions should give you more insight into who this person is and how they’re equipped to succeed in the position you’re looking to fill. 

The key to hiring good employees is to approach the process with purpose. Think of it like an investment in your small business: you want to make the best decision possible. When you do finally hire someone, make sure the excitement is mutual!

How to keep the best employees

Hiring good employees isn’t enough: you also need to retain them. In today’s job market, that’s often a more difficult challenge than finding and hiring qualified workers! Thankfully, there are a few simple steps small businesses can take to keep employees happy:

  • Encourage growth. Constantly challenge your best employees and put them in positions to succeed. If they feel stagnated, they’ll leave in pursuit of growth opportunities. Delegate responsibility and empower employees who prove themselves eager and capable of taking on more. Most importantly, make sure to compensate them accordingly!
  • Maintain good culture. Again, people want to work for a company that values them. Give your employees a reason to stick around by fostering a culture that they’re proud of. If they’re excited to come to work and happy with the job they’re doing, they don’t have any reason to look elsewhere.
  • Support them. Ask yourself (and your employees) what you can do to support their success. A business that takes clear steps to support its people and accommodate their needs is one that will succeed long-term. Support is a crucial ingredient in a healthy workplace and one of the keys for retaining talent. 

Keep in mind that these tips accompany other obvious best practices, such as delivering cost of living raises regularly and helping employees who are struggling, instead of looking for reasons to dismiss them. To keep the best employees, you need to show them that you value them.

People are what make businesses successful

When you think about the many factors that make a small business successful, it’s difficult to understate the importance of human capital. The people who support and run your business are absolutely instrumental in its success. That’s why hiring and retaining top talent is so important. 

While there is no single best way to hire employees, small businesses that take the time to do it right will find themselves succeeding thanks to their commitment to prospecting and cultivating a happy, qualified workforce. 

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