How to Choose the Right Employees for Your Small Business
It takes a whole colony of bees to keep the hive alive, and they all perform different functions. Nurse bees tend to the eggs, guard bees protect the hive, worker bees collect the pollen and so on. Although we humans have adopted our own methods for populating businesses with workers, the same basic concept is at play here - we need people, human capital, to keep the cogs of the corporate machine ever turning.
Not everyone is suitable for the kind of work that your small business does, however, and for that reason, the bee analogy fits better if we pretend each hive has a different job to do and the bees have to apply for positions.
Whichever way you slice it, hiring shouldn't be difficult. In fact, with a few easy tips, you'll know exactly who should be guarding your honey comb of a company:
- Test prospective employees to see if they're right for the job. It might sound archaic or even a little excessive to test employees as part of the hiring process, but it's actually a good way to show them what they're getting themselves into. After all, the reason behind the process is relatively plain - most employees who apply will have impeccable résumés, and it can be challenging to weed people out based on the face-to-face. With a test, however, the employer can see how well the interviewee can handle pressure and at the same time, the potential new hire will have a chance to decide whether he or she is a good fit.
- Rather than hoping they come to you, try going to them. If you're looking for someone specific, but you don't think the most recent batch of applicants is really it, it might mean that you're going about the employee search all wrong. If it's a niche market you're aiming for, try narrowing your search down to specific places. Public job fairs and ads in the paper are a good first step for seeing who's out there, but if you'd prefer individuals with a little more expertise, aim for conferences or trade shows. There are bound to be more people buzzing around those venues who match your expectations.
- Try to be proactive. Fishing for potential hires and testing to make sure everyone's up to snuff is simple fare compared to this next tip - remain proactive and competitive. That doesn't mean you should hire and fire on a whim, either. Despite the economy, businesses that are hiring for excellence up front should remain as competitive as possible with their flexible scheduling and benefit offers. If you spend a weekend at a conference full of people who are a perfect fit for your growing business but are disappointed by the lackluster interest from prospective hires, it could mean that you're lacking in the extra perks category.
- Keep hiring. Seriously, keep going. When it feels like you've already reached your maximum number of staff members, try not to convince yourself that it's time to board up the doors. The hiring process should feel continual. Even if you do not have any new positions open, there's always room on your shelf for more applications. Having a nice cushion of backup employees will help make it easier for you to make bold decisions regarding the payroll.
- If it isn't working out, cut your losses. In keeping with the suggestion above, it's important to know when to let someone go. Continuous training is one thing, but if you feel like you're draining resources into an employee who just isn't getting it, there's a good chance he or she feels the same way. The hiring process is never really over in the quest for success, so make sure you're knowing when it's time to change things up.