Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Hiring for Small Businesses: 5 Best Practices to Follow

As a small business owner, you’ve seen your company grow from the ground up, from just an idea to the thriving enterprise it is today. But you know you couldn’t do it alone. Every small business owner receives support, which is why the hiring process is so important for companies like yours.

In this process, you have to recruit candidates who will be the best fit and contribute to continued prosperity in the future. And, as a smaller operation, you have concerns and challenges that larger businesses don’t face, such as a limited budget, less stability, and less name recognition. These are all unique challenges that small business owners face when searching for new employees. 

However, there are a few steps you can take before starting the process so that these challenges don’t trip you up. When planning your hiring strategy, be sure to: 

  1. Improve your approach to remote hiring. 
  2. Create a detailed and realistic job description. 
  3. Be more strategic with job postings.
  4. Get to know your prospective candidate pool. 
  5. Focus on the fit. 

At Revelation Pets, we’ve seen the difference effective hiring practices can make for small business owners, such as the pet care professionals we work with. Whether you’re following your dream of starting a dog grooming business, catering company, recruiting firm, or any other small business, these tips can set your hiring process up for success. Let’s get started. 

1. Improve your approach to remote hiring.

Whether you’re beginning to resume in-person operations or remaining fully remote for the foreseeable future, it’s worthwhile to consolidate your approach to virtual hiring.

Some businesses are resuming limited in-person operations. If your business’s doors are open to the public, it’s worth it to improve your virtual hiring strategy for both safety and accessibility reasons.

Virtual hiring offers a safer process for candidates and your staff by preventing a constant flow of people in and out of your business. Also, it opens your interview process to candidates who may have yet to move to your area. 

Alternatively, if you’re conducting all operations remotely now, having a solid virtual hiring process in place will provide a streamlined experience for candidates. Plus, if you decide to continue remote work, you’ll have a game plan for all future hiring endeavors. 

As you create your virtual hiring strategy, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose a comprehensive video interviewing platform. You’ll need a way to interview candidates remotely, and these days, a phone call won’t cut it. A dedicated video interviewing platform allows you to screen candidates with a one-way, selfie-style  interview, and choose top prospects to move forward with. Then, you can connect in a live video interview to carry out a real-time conversation where you can get to know your candidates, answer their questions, and assess them more thoroughly. You can even invite multiple staff members to join in or watch interview recordings to get their feedback and help make hiring decisions. 
  • Be prepared. Just because you’re interviewing candidates through your computer doesn’t mean you should treat the process any differently than an in-person meeting. Interviews are one of the best ways to get to know someone on a personal level and judge if they’re a good fit for your team. Be ready for every interview with a comprehensive list of questions, show up for the meeting on time, and try to avoid rescheduling. This keeps the process on track and helps you glean the most value from your conversations.
  • Maintain communication with prospects. Be sure to provide timely updates at every stage of the hiring process so candidates have clear expectations and timelines. No one likes to be left in the dark about their application status, and it’s better not to burn any bridges by giving a candidate a bad hiring experience. Stay in touch with candidates and update them on their status via email or phone calls. 

Virtual operations are a fact of life right now for most small businesses, and your hiring process will benefit from a strategic approach to remote hiring. You also want to make a good first impression with your virtual hiring since your interview process is the first time you’re meeting with prospective new employees.

2. Create a detailed and realistic job description. 

When you first start the process of hiring new employees, you need a way to entice people to apply in the first place. Since you own a small business, prospective employees might not be as familiar with your company and what you do. You’ll need a comprehensive, compelling job description that captures job-seeker attention and accurately conveys the characteristics of the position. 

Spark your creativity by referencing your business plan as you write the description. This is especially helpful if you’re just starting and your business plan is fresh in your mind. 

For example, pet care business owners that reference Revelation Pets’ dog daycare business plan tips undergo a thorough process to identify their company niche, target market, and overall business strategy. These are all examples of points to mention within your job description. Additionally, make sure your job description is:

  • Thorough: Include detailed descriptions of the job responsibilities, qualifications, and soft skills you’re looking for. Provide a brief overview of the history of your business and your company culture and values. Keep your writing concise, but include enough detail that applicants have a full understanding of the role. You want them to know exactly what they’re getting into so there are no surprises during the hiring process. 
  • Compelling: Your opening summary of the position should capture readers’ attention and provide a persuasive argument for why someone should apply for the position. Use three to four sentences to highlight the unique aspects of your business or the position itself. Also, avoid exaggerating — you want to make the expectations of the position clear. 
  • Straightforward: Be sure to use a professional tone and a direct writing style. Not all applicants will be familiar with the technical jargon of your industry, so keep your writing simple and straightforward. Use action verbs throughout to provide a better picture of the job specifics. For example, verbs like “facilitates” and “advises” provide a much more vivid description than using vague terms like “makes” or “helps.” 

Your job description is an opportunity to make a good first impression on potential new employees. It also lets them know exactly what you’re looking for so they can measure if they’re a good fit before they ever apply, streamlining the process from the get-go. 

3. Be more strategic with job postings.

Once you’ve finalized your job description, it’s time to send it out to the world. Your next task is to get it in front of top prospects who are not only most likely to be interested but who have qualifications that would make them the right fit for the role. 

You don’t want to send your listing out into the vast ocean of the internet and hope you get a bite. There are plenty of job seekers out there, and not all will be the right fit for your business. An influx of applications from the wrong applicants can slow down your hiring process overall.

Also, since you’re a small business and people might not be as knowledgeable about your activities, they may be more hesitant to apply because of this uncertainty. However, by getting strategic with your job postings, you’ll give yourself a better shot at attracting the prospective candidates you’re looking for. 

Since your hiring process is likely entirely or mostly virtual right now, that means your job postings should focus on the virtual realm, too. Get strategic with your job postings by putting your description on:

  • Your social media pages: Your customers turn to your social media for updates on your products and services, promotions, special events, and other notifications from your business. These platforms are the perfect channel to post your job description because your followers are already familiar with and supportive of your business. Some of your audience members likely have a stronger interest in working with you than the general public. 
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a major hub for both job-seekers and employers looking for qualified prospects. Because of the wide reach of the platform, it might feel like putting your job description on LinkedIn is just shouting into the void. But there are a few tactics to find top talent on this platform, such as sending follow-up messages to top prospects and building authentic relationships with candidates through personalized messaging. 
  • Niche job boards: In addition to your social media and LinkedIn efforts, you can refine your search even further by uploading your job posting to niche job boards related to your industry. For example, if you’re looking for a manager or veterinarian for your animal adoption center or rescue, you can send in your job posting to a specialized site like Animal Jobs Digest. This ensures your post gets in front of qualified candidates who are specifically searching for jobs in your industry. 

With these strategies, you can save yourself time and effort and avoid a fruitless search. As a small business owner, you’re busy running other aspects of your company, and you don’t have time to waste. Be sure to look into job boards tailored to your industry to make your search more deliberate, and ultimately, more successful. 

4. Get to know your prospective candidate pool.

As a self-employed small business owner, perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve looked for a job. Being a few years removed from the process, you may not be as familiar with current hiring trends. It’s important to understand the characteristics of the people you’re looking to hire so you can better respond to their desires and offer benefits that resonate with their interests and needs. 

The job market reflects generational shifts of the population at large, but there are growing trends towards appealing to all generations through a multigenerational perspective. Most notably, be aware of the following desires across generations:

  • Identify your purpose. The whole talent market values work-life balance, growth opportunities, and job security.
  • Promote your perks. Be these remote working, the close-knit culture, or even simply a proper pay rate, across generations these aspects are critical to attracting talent.
  • They value change. They respect companies that constantly seek growth and new opportunities. They never want to feel bored or stagnant at work. 

If you’re looking for even more insights into employee recruitment trends and myths, check out this resource to gain a better understanding of the current recruitment landscape. This page also provides plenty of tips for employee retention, such as responding to employee desires for professional development and fostering open communication. 

By taking employee motivations and desires into account, you will not only be able to hire the right people but also ensure that they’ll stick around longer. High employee retention is critical because you don’t want to constantly spend time and energy on multiple rounds of hiring. 

For assistance with this research process and an insider look into recruitment strategies, consider bringing on the help of a consultant. For example, an HR consulting firm like Astron Solutions that specializes in small businesses can help identify areas of your hiring process that can be improved for a better strategy. 

5. Focus on the fit.

A big buzzword in the hiring process is “culture.” As a small business owner, hiring for cultural fit is critical because you have a limited group of people with whom you interact daily. While everyone won’t always agree, you want to make sure people can have healthy, respectful conversations and get on board with company-wide decisions. 

Cultural fit is a somewhat vague concept that can encompass a lot of different aspects of a prospective employee, such as their personality, attitude, and general outlook. For a more strategic approach to determining if someone’s the right fit, ask interview questions such as: 

  • What are your passions? Typically, a few key values or guiding principles motivate small businesses and drive their purpose and mission. By inquiring about a prospect’s passions, you can determine if they have a powerful motivation that brings them fulfillment. This can ultimately make them a better candidate for the position if their passions align with your company values. 
  • What is your ideal work environment? Let the candidate describe what their preferred work environment looks like. You can determine if your business offers what they’re looking for and aligns with their expectations. 
  • What would your perfect day at work look like? This question also gets at the heart of candidates’ values. They might mention activities such as teamwork, great interaction with a customer, or completing a project as elements of their ideal workday. Through this, you can determine if their ambitions match what you have to offer. 

Overall, you want to make sure you’re bringing on people you mesh with and that adapt to your business’s environment well. Plus, if there’s ever a business emergency or crisis, you want to rest assured that you can rely on your employees to handle any obstacles or challenges. By asking these questions, you can make a better judgment of which candidates are the right fit for your small business. 

For small business owners like you, your company represents years of hard work and dedication to develop a dream into something that provides value for customers. To ensure your business continues to prosper into the future, be sure to refine your remote hiring strategy, be strategic about your promotion, and get to know your candidates on a deeper level. These best practices will ensure that your hiring process succeeds. 

About the Author

Hi, I’m Casey Dorman! I’m the Sales Manager at Gingr software. Originally from Indianapolis, I now live in Colorado with my wife and dog, Dexter. Our hobbies include hiking, skiing, and visiting local breweries.

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