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The secret to small business success is sustained growth. But expanding your business means hiring new employees which presents both amazing opportunities and challenges for owners and managers of companies of all sizes.

Getting to the point where you can hire additional manpower is a major win – congrats! – and as a business owner, the outcome should be that you personally have more time to grow the company, which of course translates to direct revenue.

The biggest asset any company has is its people and that’s what makes recruiting so important, so here are some tips I’ve learned along the way that can help ensure a happy hiring experience.

1. Be crystal clear what you’re looking for

To help clarify what it is you want your new employee to do, write down what success will look like for this role along with all of the tasks you wish the person to take over. This will help to guide the actual job description.

Often the first person a company employs is someone to do the books, but before you take this step, think about what sort of accounting system you’re using. If it’s not a cloud accounting system, I strongly recommend you check them out. The built-in automation and anytime, anywhere access could save your business 1-5 hours per week through automation and reduced data entry.

2. Recruit the person, not just the skills

When it comes to small business, particularly in startup environments, there is the chance things will go wrong. So it’s essential to have optimistic problem solvers on board who are not only going to contribute great technical skills, but remain focused, creative and motivated when the company is faced with a setback.

Many people can feel within the first five minutes of an interview whether or not the candidate is a good fit, so follow your gut. Remember that a potential recruit wouldn’t get an interview if they didn’t have the skills, so the interview needs to be about testing your rapport and finding out how they think about things, not just what they say.

If a candidate you’re considering lacks the personal skills and winning attitude to help drive successful companies, keep on looking – don’t ever settle for second best.

3. Harness the power of your networks

LinkedIn has become a trusted recruiting tool for employers of all shapes and sizes. Post a job, share through your networks and use recruiting tools to expand your candidate search.

The value of LinkedIn depends on the number and quality of your connections, so if you’re going down this route, make sure you keep building your contacts over time.

Word of mouth is also still one of the best ways to find potential candidates, so utilise the power of your own network and spread the word that you’re looking to recruit.

4. Consider starting with a short-term contract

Start your new employee off with a four to six week contract so you can evaluate a potential hire’s skills. This strategy also helps determine the impact of the position to ensure it’s beneficial to the company.

Alternatively, if you believe this is the right person, delight them with an offer for the job on the spot. It will blow them away and ensure a positive, memorable moment is instilled.

Finally, if it isn’t meant to be, still try to ensure that your parting of ways is framed in a positive way. Word of mouth is now as important in recruitment as it is in marketing.

5. Hold an “intention intervention”

Various experts stress the importance of understanding why a potential new hire truly wants the role in the first place. Are they truly passionate about your opportunity, or is this an in-between job for someone who needs work or has aspirations somewhere else? To best ensure a good fit, small-business owners must gauge each candidate’s personal or professional intentions and how they align with your vision and values.


Brad PetersonAbout the Author:

Brad Paterson is vice president & managing director of Intuit Asia Pacific, responsible for building Intuit’s presence, driving growth and overseeing operations in the Asia Pacific region.

In his role, he leads a fast-growing, dynamic team to deliver disruptive business management solutions to small businesses, accountants and bookkeepers, and provide best-in-class support to customers.

Follow him on Twitter: @ozdane

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