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Hiring Tips for Small Business
July 21, 2014

When it comes time to hire new employees for your business, there are a lot of factors to consider – experience, job history, salary requirements, communication abilities and more. You want to make sure you’re getting the best candidate, but how do you find (and retain) your dream employee? Amidst the muddle of sites like Craigslist and Monster, and the giant stack of resumes crossing your desk, it can be difficult to weed out the candidates you genuinely want at your company. Here are some tips to help you hire an outstanding employee.

Use your social media effectively

People seeking employment are going to be on popular job sites constantly, applying for any and everything they consider themselves qualified for (and even some they don’t). However, people who are already following your business on social media are more likely to be the candidates you want: familiar with your company’s mission, knowledgeable about your business practices, and interested in your goals. So while you shouldn’t neglect posting your job listing on sites like Craigslist, you should also make sure to tweet it and post it to Facebook and LinkedIn in order to draw in passionate candidates. This especially goes for social media jobs, or jobs where you’re looking for a young, tech-savvy college grad.

Make the most of employee referrals

Some employers don’t utilize employee referrals because they’re worried about conflicts of interest or potential hiring biases. But employee referrals can be extremely helpful. Your employees likely already know what the position requires, and therefore should be able to recommend someone effective. They’ll want to work with someone cooperative and motivating, and the candidate will already have a solid knowledge of your business through the connection. Offer referral bonuses or other incentives to your employees to get the most out of this method.

“Audition” your potential employees, rather than interviewing them

Every candidate will have likely done their research on your company, and rehearsed answers to your expected questions. Everyone will be able to talk about their communication abilities, willingness to be a team player, and problem-solving capabilities. But can they show you these skills?

Rather than merely talking about these critical skills, have your candidates demonstrate them. For example, if there’s a project your team has been struggling with, hand the necessary information over to your candidate for an hour and see what she can come up with. Or give her a client complaint and ask her to resolve the situation while you observe.

Bring up this audition idea early in the interview process, as it can immediately tell you more about the candidate. If she is doubtful or hesitant, it might be a big red flag. If she is eager and confident about the chance to show her skills, she’s worth your consideration.

Thoroughly check the candidate’s references and background

So you think you’ve found the candidate. He has an impressive resume, he passed the audition, and he seems to suit the company culture. Before you give him a “you’re hired” call, cross check his references and run a background check. A national search might seem excessive, but people do move states and change their name, so it often can be beneficial to you.

While former employers are fairly restricted in what they can tell you about the employee, you can legally ask “Is this employee eligible for rehire?” That question will let you know about any major issues, and allow you to feel secure in your hiring decision.