Make Me a Match: How Improving Your Hiring Process Can Bring in Better Employees

When you have a small team, every hire you make can have a big impact on your business.
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To attract quality employees, make sure your hiring process is top-notch. (Photo: Pressmaster/Shutterstock)

With everything else on your plate as a small business owner, the hiring process can be a real challenge. Looking for good workers takes time and money away from other critical things that you need to get done. At the same time, if your hiring process isn’t well thought out, your business will suffer.

“As a small company or startup, it’s likely that resources are limited,” said Lauren Roberts, director of talent acquisition at The Muse, an online career guidance resource. “It’s time to get creative and invest wisely.”

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“When you have a team of fewer than 25 employees, every single hire has the potential to change and shape your work environment, what you stand for as a company and how you get work done.” -Lauren Roberts (Photo: Lauren Roberts)

Roberts shared a few tips with NCR Silver that will improve your small business’s hiring process and help you attract better employees.

Set a vision for the kind of culture you want

Before bringing on a new employee, it’s essential to take into account how every individual impacts your company culture, said Roberts.

“When you have a team of fewer than 25 employees, every single hire has the potential to change and shape your work environment, what you stand for as a company and how you get work done.”

She advised business owners assess their company values early on and set a vision for the kind of culture they want for their company.

“Once you have these values defined, you can incorporate them into a structured interview process,” she said. “This is going to impact who joins your team in the future as values alignment is becoming more and more important in today’s talent market.”

The best way to define your culture is to find out from your current employees about what they love most about your company’s values, she said. Then use that feedback to create an authentic and compelling brand story that resonates with your ideal candidate.

Related: How to Create a Culture of Kindness in Your Small Business

Get help with recruiting

As a small business owner, you likely handle most HR responsibilities yourself — but when it comes to finding and hiring quality employees, you’ll probably want some extra help.

When you’re getting started, it can be worth the investment to hire a dedicated recruiter, said Roberts. Even if it’s just a temporary or part-time role, that person be an evangelist for your brand, sourcing qualified candidates and helping you build an effective hiring process. After your business is up and running smoothly, your managers can (and should) participate heavily in the recruiting process.

“It might seem like a stretch with all the other things they have to accomplish, but prioritizing hiring is going to help them get the talent they need to hit their goals faster,” she advised. “They can help review applications, take on some phone screens, attend recruiting events or email the passive candidates you want to engage.”

Related: Turn Your Employees into Your Best Evangelists

Play to your strengths

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To compete with larger businesses, create a personalized environment for potential new hires where they can feel comfortable. (Photo: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock)

Because you’re competing with larger companies for top talent, make sure your small business stands out by focusing on creating a personal connection with candidates.

“The main difference between recruiting at a large company versus a small business is volume,” Roberts explained. While it may be easier for larger businesses to get applicants for a job opening, it’s harder for them to create the “personalized, human experience” that’s so integral to a small business atmosphere.

“At The Muse, our founders take the time to meet with nearly every candidate who makes it to final interview stages, and this has made a lasting impression on candidates who have told us it was unique and really made them feel valued,” she said.

Related: Interview Cheat Sheet: 5 Essential Questions You Must Ask Job Candidates

Create a positive experience with your brand

“The impact of creating a positive candidate experience is huge and should not be ignored,” said Roberts. Not only does it affect how a candidate personally views your business, but it can also impact how potential customers see your brand.

“When you deliver a bad [hiring] experience, people share that information with others, often through social media, which negatively impacts your employer brand,” she explained. “Furthermore, these experiences can impact retention and revenue when customers stop doing business with your company. Make sure you’re creating an experience that makes people feel valued and think well of your company — regardless of whether they get the job.”

Related: Hiring Employees: When to Hire for Personality Over Skill

Remember — you’re being interviewed too

Hiring new employees is very different than 15 or 20 years ago. Instead of being just a one-sided candidate evaluation, your potential employees are now scrutinizing you and your business as well.

“The power dynamics have shifted,” said Roberts. “Candidates are more aware of their options, and they want to work in a place where they can be their whole selves and see their own values reflected in the company culture.”

Your hiring process gives candidates that first real-world experience of your brand’s values and a glimpse of what it might be like to work for your company. By taking a candidate-centric approach, you’re more likely to attract and retain the kind of talent your company needs to be successful.

Related: Three Keys to Retaining Your Best Employees

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