By: Brett Farmiloe

Running a small business can be immensely rewarding yet incredibly draining, especially when it comes to recruiting. You want to hire the best candidate for your business, but it’s seldom as simple as it sounds. With such a competitive market, it’s important to think critically about how to approach hiring. Proper planning will ensure that you recruit and retain high-value candidates.

1. Company culture isn’t cliche

It's all about having a positive company culture and employee morale. Providing a genuinely positive work environment and truly valuing employees will ensure high productivity and happy customers. There's nothing worse for a company than unhappy or unfilled employees. Talk with your employees frequently to determine what is important to them (in addition to a paycheck). Maybe it’s the ability to work remotely or have flexible hours. Maybe it’s having more oversight or more responsibilities. Maybe they just want their voice to be heard. The employer-employee relationship has to be viewed as a win-win in order for a company to thrive. - Rob Price, Gatekeeper Press

2. DON’T settle

In this market, recruiting the right talent is extremely difficult, especially when you are competing with large companies with huge recruiting and advertising budgets. As difficult and time-consuming as it can be, waiting for the perfect fit for your needs and culture is worth it. If you aren't finding the right fit, consider your salary range may be too low. Salaries have increased over the past few years so you may need to be competitive and skimp elsewhere. Going this route may even cost you more in the short term, but constantly replacing incorrect hires is extremely cost consuming and very expensive. Hire right the first time and you won't regret it! - Ryan Nouis, TruPath

3. Patience is key

It is very important to be patient and not hire the first few candidates who respond to an ad if they are not a good fit.  Take good notes, check references carefully but quickly, and write out candidate evaluations of factors you are looking for on a scale of 1 to 10.  Also, it helps a great deal to have a second person sit in on interviews and help evaluate candidates.  Have your “second” also evaluate candidates in writing as well when the Interview is done.  Both of you should discuss each candidate while it is fresh. Make your best hire! - Eric Blumenthal, The Print Authority

4. Know who you want to attract

The biggest challenge for small businesses is attracting the right person but also knowing who they’re trying to attract. I think first and foremost, knowing the type of person you need for that spot is crucial so you know how to target that person. Obviously they need to fit in with the culture of the business-- you can’t just hire someone that’s not going to fit. When you’re hiring, you’re hiring someone to be part of the culture. The biggest tip: hire slow, fire fast. We spend way to much time trying to figure out if this person is going to be the right person, or trying to change somebody into being somebody that they’re not. So if you know who you want, you wait and try to hire the right person rather than saying, “Okay we need this person now, let’s hire them!” because you’re going to end up firing a lot of people and you’re going to waste a lot of time, energy, and resources, versus hiring the right person the first time. Know who you need to hire. Hire the right person that’s going to fit the culture. - Dr. Kyle Collins, Begin Within

5. Fulfill the three “wants”

I believe there are three strong "wants" that someone measures when it comes to deciding to work at a company. 1). Work in a role that has the potential to grow 2). Believe in the work they're doing - to really feel like they're making an impact 3). Get paid fairly. I know what you’re thinking, but even as a small business in ANY industry, it is still possible to hit on all three. For number one, think about ways the position can take on more responsibility in the future. The path doesn’t have to be forged, but there needs to be a path. For number two, establish a mission statement for your company, if you don’t have one. In the job description, share in what way this role is crucial to the big picture and the company mission. For number three, small business budgets can be lower than larger corporations. To make up for budget constraints, you can offer non-monetary benefits in the form of perks, like extra vacation days, etc. - Abby Zufelt, Markitors

6. What makes your company unique?

In a crowded marketplace, there are a few things that you can do to make your company stand out. Specifically, I think it is important to clearly define and state what makes your firm unique and a special place to work. For example, at AVANA, our core businesses are commercial lending and asset management. However, there is more to the story. In everything AVANA does, we focus on the WHY behind the deal and also on our mission, which is to create jobs for Americans and to further clean energy for Main Street. This message and rationale for what we do is an attraction to many of our candidates and helps us stand out from the pack. - Sundip Patel, Avana Capital

7. Be clear about compensation

I am starting to see more compensation transparency and expect this trend to continue. For example, many job candidates demand to know the compensation range for the position they are seeking, and companies are becoming more willing to share this information. Seeing the compensation range can entice employees who might otherwise not have been seriously considering making a move. - Michael Mason, Greenberg Traurig

8. Monkey see, monkey do

I think talent begets talent. Just as parents model behavior to their children (speaking as a psychologist), and then the children mirror in their behavior, so management get back from their staff what they project onto them in terms of their enthusiasm, passion, and kindness. I recall a true incident, somewhat recently, where a regional manager wanted to motivate his staff to increase numbers, literally took the phone off his desk and threw it against the wall while yelling for more productivity.  Did threat and fear increase performance in this instance? No, people got out their resumes and started looking for other opportunities for work. The manager got back the opposite result of what he was looking for in the first place. Culture, climate, and morale are the best recruiting and retention strategies. - Bruce Christopher, Bruce Christopher Seminars

9. Get yourself some utility players​

In baseball, a utility player is defined as someone who can competently play several positions on the field. These are the people who can wear many hats and fill multiple roles (at once or over time). When your company is starting out, it is crucial to have people like this on your staff to fill multiple roles that will evolve in ways you cannot predict. These team members will give you flexibility as you grow, and it gives them the ability to grow in different ways for their own professional development. This is especially important for your first hire in a new country as that person often ends up being the unofficial leader of that office, and should be able to handle a variety of administrative and management related issues as well as their primary role. - Debbie Millin, Globalization Partners 

10. Create the ideal place to work

Think in terms of creating a compelling employee value proposition that will be appealing to the workforce you’re trying to attract. Instead of focusing on finding the right person to fill a seat, focus on being known as a place where people will want to work. In each industry there’s an employer of choice. If you are the employer of choice, talent will come to you. - Mark Allen, Mark Allen Consulting

About the author

 Brett Farmiloe is the Founder & CEO of a digital marketing company voted a Best Place To Work every year of being in business. He is the author of a book devoted to employee satisfaction, and oversees all internal investments into workplace wellness at his company in Old Town Scottsdale. 




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