Two people wearing suits in an interviewHave you ever said, “When I win the lottery I will [fill in blank]” knowing full well that
the likelihood of that happening is depressingly slim? While a lottery win may be good for day dreaming, it is not a good strategy for retirement, any more than hiring employees through intuition is a good strategy for building a team that will drive your success.

People drive performance. Having the right people on your team is the key to success. In small business, that recruiting and hiring function is often left solely to you, the owner.  You must identify, interview, investigate and select the best match for your team.

Just a few short years ago the unemployment offices were crowded with talented, experienced, well-trained people who had lost their jobs in a failing economy. Those days are gone. Today one of the biggest challenges business owners face is finding a jewel in a pile of stones.

There is a slim pool of qualified candidates and enormous hurdles to compete in attracting them. Owners are now paying more and getting less for their money. Some of that is a result of the market. Some of it is a faulty recruiting process. What can you do to tip the scales in your favor in hiring the right team? Have the right recruiting process.

Here are 5 tips for recruiting that every small business owner address:

Tip #1: Be mindful of the need to have a process, but move it along.

Having a process ensures that you are consistent in your hiring practices. To find the best match, consistency is important. Every candidate must have equal treatment to be compared to others.

However, the right process takes time, and good candidates do not last long with today’s competition. That means the pace at which you identify candidates and move them through the process should be done as quickly as practical.

Tip #2: Fast, but not too fast

Once candidates are identified and selected for an interview, it is recommended that you be prepared to conduct a multiple interview process. This is a Systematic Interview, which is considered to be the most effective way to find the best match candidate.

It is conducted with clear statements of objectives, planned methods for obtaining information, and procedures for evaluating the information. You will be looking for consistency in their professionalism, attitude, and answers. You will also be gaining information on their skill set and self-discipline. Finally, you will be measuring their ability to fit into your culture.

Three (3) interviews are recommended, the first by phone, the second in person, and finally a follow-up to confirm your interest and theirs. If at the end of the third interview you are not sure the candidate is right for your business, consider including more interviewers or engage them in a working interview.

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Tip #3: Know what you are looking for

Before the recruiting process begins, you must be clear on the profile of the candidate that will best fill the need in your business. Take time to identify the job roles and responsibilities they will fill and the skills, abilities, the level of experience, personality, and style of the person that will fit best with your organization. Having a clear picture will help you to avoid making a decision based on intuition and help you to avoid hiring from desperation. 

Tip #4: Ask the right questions

Develop a list of questions that will help you to identify the characteristics you are looking for. Questions should be more than a request for a tale of their history. They should help you to uncover their motivation, career aspirations, the level of responsiveness, leadership qualities, work ethic, and more.

Some questions are generic to all positions, while others target a specific outcome. In case you do not know where to begin, visit our resource on the best interview questions for some samples.

Tip #5: Hire for congruence

Even after they have answered the questions just right, passed the inspection of your interview team, and scored high on background and experience, you have one more hurdle to cross: The best employees are those whose career goals are in sync with your values and vision.

Take your time. Hire slowly. Be sure you are setting yourself up for future success. The right team can be the difference between being wildly successful and barely succeeding.


Need some extra help in discovering qualified candidates or pinpointing exactly what your business needs to grow? Don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation. You’ll also love “Plan it! Do it! Love it!”, the small business owner’s one-stop resource for building the business of their dreams.