The hiring process refers to the steps you take to successfully recruit a new employee. In this article, we will provide you with a simple step guide and tips for your end-to-end small business hiring process.
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Small Business Hiring Process
A robust hiring process will help to attract, recruit and retain the most suitable candidates for your small business. And let’s face it, the stronger your team, the more likely you will be to grow your business.
Let’s take you through a typical small business hiring process. We’ll include all of the steps, but of course, you may decide you can skip some of these to streamline your process.
Step 1: Define the Role
There are three key steps to confirming the need and clarifying the nature of a new role. Let’s discuss each in turn.
Confirm the need
You’d be amazed how many small business owners start hiring a new role without first discussing the need with the rest of their team. This is especially important if your new hire is going to work as part of a team. Ignoring the need to do, could make your team less willing to welcome and accept your new hire.
It could also be the case that you are just going through an exceptionally busy period or that someone in your team is not pulling their weight. Whatever the case, it’s worth taking the time to confirm the need and the nature of the need and whether it is temporary or permanent.
We also recommend you confirm that you can afford to take on-board a new role. The acid test is that you can pay their salary and benefits for the first six months without having to rely on any uplift in revenue their role is expected to generate.
Create a simple action plan
For a small business hiring process you don’t need a complex plan, but you do need to decide:
- Who is going to be involved in the hiring process?
- Which steps in the hiring process are we going to follow?
- When does the new hire need to be in place by?
- What budget are we going to allocate to hiring this role?
It’s worth noting that it takes around two months to run a complete hiring process and hire a new team member. You also need to consider how much notice they have to give to their current employee once they have accepted your role. Botton line – the earlier you start the better, which will avoid hiring the wrong candidate because you felt under time pressure to make a costly bad decision.
Write a job description
Now it’s time to write the job description. A good job description needs to accurately describe the following:
- Job Title
- Salary and Benefits
- Overview of Responsibilities
- Skills and Experience Required
- Your business profile
For a more detailed guide on this step, we recommend checking out Indeed’s job description writing guide and examples.
Step 2: Advertise the Role
Today, there are lots of ways you can go about hiring a new role. It makes sense to consider all the bases so that you can review the widest pool of relevant candidates.
The first place to advertise the role is on your own website. Why? Because this costs you nothing and allows you to promote the role via social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
If you run a professional or business service business, you may also want to consider advertising new roles on LinkedIn. This is cost-effective and can help to speed-up the screening process as you will be able to screen via each candidates LinkedIn profile.
However, if you are looking for the widest pool of candidates that are actively in the market looking to find their next role then job boards are still the best place to find them. We recommend Indeed because it’s popular coast-to-coast with candidates from most sectors.Visit Indeed
Step 3: Applicant Screening
If you receive a large number of applications, it’s important to have a screening stage. This will allow you to eliminate the majority of applications because they will not all fulfil the criteria you have set.
First Skim of Applications
These days, there are many ways to do this, but the simple method is to match the key criteria of your job description against the CVs you receive. This tends to focus on whether the candidate has the skills and experience that you have asked for.
If you are using Indeed, they have a simple yes, no and maybe system to make it easy for you to complete first wave screening in less time.
Tip: If you have a low number of candidates responding you may need to reconsider your job description or compromise on your requirements. If you have a high response rate, be harsh and only shortlist candidates meeting all of your criteria.
At this stage, we would start be taking a look at each candidates social media profile. If we find anything inappropriate, we eliminate them before the screening interview takes place.
A great second stage to this is to complete 10-minute screening interviews. We like to do these via Skype or Zoom to get a better sense of the candidate before calling them in to interview.
Here is a list of the typical questions you could consider asking:
- Why did you apply to us?
- What is your current salary and benefits package?
- What kind of work culture do you like to work in?
- If we offer you this job, when can you start?
- Why are you looking for a change?
Step 4: Interviewing Candidates
This is a critical stage of the small business hiring process. And as we mentioned at the start, you may want to skip some of steps. This is particularly true of the steps in this interviewing stage. Take a look at each step and think about which need to be covered for the role you are hiring.
It’s also important to remember that any candidate worth their weight will view the interview process as a two-way selection process.
Tip: Prepare all of your questions for each interview stage and make sure that all candidates are asked the same questions.
Tip: Decide your interview success criteria before you start interviewing. This will help you to stay objective.
Tip: If you are the owner of a small business, sit in on every interview as getting each hire right is crucial to your success.
Video or Phone Interview
A phone interview is a great alternative to a face-to-face interview when long travel distances are involved. I would recommend a video call via a platform like Skype or Zoom over a phone call. This is because you also get the opportunity to assess your candidates body language too.
Unless your candidates are very local, this will be a more efficient way to reduce the number of candidates before conducting in-person interviews. And of course, for remote jobs, the whole interview process may be conducted via video or phone.
In the first in-person interview, it’s normal for the person who is going to line manage the new role to interview each applicant one-to-one. The interviews purpose is to gain deeper understanding of the candidates relevant skills and experience.
And it’s great opportunity to get a sense of attitudes and motivations. In particular, a sense of what this candidate might be like to work with on a day-to-day basis.
It’s also an opportunity for the candidate to ask more questions about the company, the work culture and the nature of the work.
For some jobs it makes sense to ask people to complete a job test. For instance, if you are going to hire a software engineer, it makes sense to ask them to write some code. Or if you are going to hire a content marketer, it makes sense to ask them to write a test post for your website.
Lot’s of people can put up a good front in an interview, but this is a great way to see if they what it takes to get the job done in practice.
Second Face-to-Face Interview
A second in-person interview tends to be in greater depth and often involves meeting other team members that the new role will be expected to work with. If a candidate has reached this stage, it is likely that you would be prepared to hire them, now your decision has become based in selecting the best candidate available to you.
For certain roles like professional services, consulting or sales, it makes sense to have a final interview with your preferred candidate to discuss salary, benefits and working conditions.
This often ends with going out for coffee, lunch or dinner to see how good there social skills are in a more informal setting.
Step 6: Making a Job Offer
Once the interview process is complete, you need to compare the final candidates responses and how well they each match your criteria for a successful applicant.
If you have two equally strong candidates, it may well be the case that you choose based on less objective criteria, like how well you sense they will gel with the rest of your team.
Typically a job offer takes the form of a letter attached to an email to help speed things up. This letter should cover the job title, the salary and benefits offer, the job description and and other key information agreed during the interview process.
Tip: Be prepared for a strong candidate to initiate negotiations. This could be in relation to salary, benefits or work-life balance considerations.
Step 5: Reference Checks
It still shocks me to learn how many bad hires are the result of reference checks not being taken. Unfortunately, there are candidates out there who lie very convincingly. So you need to take reference checks to confirm they are for real.
We recommend you speak to their last two employers. It’s important to speak with them and ask for an informal, open and honest assessment of the candidate. This is because some employers are cautious of speaking their mind in writing to avoid any risk of legal action arising.
Step 7: Onboarding
The final stage of the small business hiring process is to make sure your new hire hits the ground running. This will typically involve:
- Completing the necessary joining paperwork
- Setting up their workspace
- Meeting the rest of the team
- Agreeing an induction programme
- Organising any required training
The better, your onboarding stage, the faster your new hire will start to add value and pull their weight.
The Juice Press
In this article we have provided you with a concise overview of the end-to-end small business hiring process. We suggest that you customise this process to suit your business. This may involve removing some of the steps to streamline the process.
Another key aspect of the hiring process is to cast your net far and wide to reach the largest pool of relevant candidates. We recommend Indeed to recruit new employees from a job board because the are the most popular job board for candidates.Visit Indeed