Hiring a well-qualified candidate for the job is critical – especially for small businesses “on the grow.” Start-ups and small companies need flexibility and a variety of skills in the people they hire, and they should also make sure the person is a good match for their company culture.

Here are some simple tips to land the most effective candidate for the job.

 1. Create a complete job description.

In today’s economy, you may discover that you have 200 applications for a single job – complete with cover letters, résumés, copies of accreditations, and lots of other information. Before posting an opening, develop a complete job description. Provide the following information:

  • range of skills required of the prospective hire
  • a run-down of typical workplace activities
  • educational requirements
  • accreditations, licenses, certifications and other “approvals” from institutions or government licensing agencies
  • special tasks required of the new team member
  • level of experience, i.e., entry-level job, 15 years real-world experience, etc.
  • personal characteristics, i.e., willing to learn, team player, flexible schedule, etc.

Developing a complete job description should help you receive applications from more highly-qualified candidates, not applications from job seekers who send out résumés to every company with a job opening. It will also help you quickly disqualify applications from people who don’t fit the description.

2. Follow the leader.

Look at what larger competitors do in their recruiting. Then, do the same things. Look on industry-specific job boards. See what kinds of job descriptions competitors are using. Advertise locally, if that’s what the “big boys” do. If it works for more established competitors, chances are, it’ll work for your small business.

3. Keep your eyes open.

Small business owners should always be recruiting. You may meet the perfect candidate at a social gathering, strike up an instant rapport, and find your newest employee over dessert. Always be on the lookout for talent.

4. Put your best foot forward.

There are lots of very talented prospects who want to work at a small business. A great candidate may be more interested in opportunities to advance, or to make an impact on the company’s bottom line, than taking a slot at a large competitor with entrenched procedures, and little opportunity to grow with the company.

Small businesses may be better able than larger firms to customize benefits to fit the employee’s wish list.  Offer flex-time, telecommuting, a company car, or other benefits that larger competitors don’t, won’t, or can’t, offer.

5. Forget “the most for the least” hiring mentality.

Many small business owners hire over-qualified candidates for rock-bottom salaries because these professionals need any job in a choppy economy.

Recruiting and hiring are time-consuming, and therefore, expensive. A highly-qualified candidate who accepts a low-ball salary is likely to leave your business as soon as a better job comes along.

Keep salary, benefits, and perks in line with the talent and experience of the candidate. It’s easier to keep a valued employee in place than it is to find a replacement.

6. Contact placement services at local universities or vocational schools. Recent graduates are looking for entry-level positions, and grads with real-world experience still use the alma mater’s placement services.  Let the placement service do the heavy lifting for you to deliver a list of prime candidates for your small business team.

Finding the right person for the job is especially difficult for small businesses ready to move to the next level, but by planning ahead and being constantly on the lookout for prospects, you’ll increase your chances of developing an outstanding team to help you grow and succeed.

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.