“Most small business owners are not particularly sophisticated business people. That’s not a criticism; they’re passionate about cutting hair or cooking food, and that’s why they got in the business, not because they have an MBA.” – Entrepreneur Andrew Mason.
Hiring is not the core competency of a small business owner, but it can be the difference between growing the business and going out of business. In fact, my grandfather had to close his donut shop in large part because he hired a cashier who stole from the register. This fear of hiring a liability is not unique to my family.
In a country where there are nearly 28 million small businesses, 64% of owners have said they are afraid they can’t attract the right prospects. This challenge is not entirely unique to small business owners, but it can feel especially intimidating if you don’t have the leverage of a big brand and big benefits behind you.
The good news is that with some effort and the right technology, any small business can overcome this hiring hurdle as well as a few other common SMB hiring obstacles:
- Not Attracting the Right Candidates
For small businesses, each hire is super important and equally risky. If you’re a three-person company, hiring a fourth person represents 25% of your workforce. If that person doesn’t work out, not only is 25% of your workforce counterproductive, but it can also have detrimental effects on the existing team.
There are two ways to reduce this risk:
- (1) scale your volume of qualified applicants
- (2) capture the interest of people who are passionate about your company
Without a healthy volume of applicants, you are sacrificing the ability to choose. You’ll increase your odds of making a quality hire if you’re choosing from multiple quality candidates. To ensure a volume of candidates, consider plugging into a resume database search. It’ll allow you to filter by your key criteria and contact many people able to grow your business.
To capture the interest of people who are already passionate about what you do, create a simple platform for your employer brand. This means creating a website or page on your existing site devoted to advertising your open roles and communicating what it’s like to work at your organization. Make sure to apply to a job on your own website to make sure the process is as simple as possible – a long application process is a huge turn-off for jobseekers.
- Wasting Time on Remedial Hiring Tasks
A small business owner must choose how to spend their time wisely, and when it comes to the hiring arc (writing a job posting, driving interest in the position, selecting the right candidates to interview, conducting job interviews, evaluating candidates, and negotiating with candidates to make a hiring decision), it’s in your best interest to cut out time-consuming steps – such as copy and pasting job postings to different job boards, confirming that job applications are received, and notifying all relevant candidates of your hiring decision.
One way you can do this is by automating the tedious steps of the process. More specifically, when you want to get the word out about your job opening, you can post it to hundreds of job boards and niche media sites in just a single click of the button. This isn’t groundbreaking; it’s common sense. Hiring software, like MightyRecruiter, makes this task super simple and also automates other parts of the hiring process, like messaging and managing applicants.
- Paradox of Candidate Choice
If you cast a wide net when you promote and advertise your job opening, you’ll have many candidates to choose from. But who will you hire? First off, which of the applicants do you decide to interview? The problem’s like the paradox of choice in the grocery store. More different brands of ketchup on the counter do not imply that you will come home with the best ketchup. Small business owners should come up with criteria to prioritize the shortlist of candidates who are worth meeting.
What level of qualification defines a quality candidate? What skills or traits would be nice to have but are not required? What type of experience is preferred? Again, there are tools out there, like vector space matching technology, that can help automate the shortlisting of candidates based on criteria that make sense for your business needs.
Firsthand, my small business has experienced growth and setbacks as a result of the people I’ve decided to work with. That’s what hiring is about: deciding who to work with. Be smart and systematic about how you decide who will help grow your small business.