Optimize your small business hiring strategy with these four tips.
This year’s hiring cycle has been quite a challenge, leaving small businesses understaffed and stretched thin. If you want to maximize your business potential, you’ll need to optimize your hiring as well.
Your ideal candidates are out there. In order to attract the right workers and build a strong workforce, it’s important to assess your current hiring strategy and identify areas for improvement. Here are some small business hiring tips to set you up for success in 2023.
1. Define your expectations
Whether you’re posting job descriptions on LinkedIn, Indeed, or elsewhere, you’ll need to be specific to limit your candidate pool to qualified individuals. Be clear about the position title, who the job reports to, and the amount of work per week that is expected. Express if you are searching for a long-term employee or a seasonal position.
Job seekers are likely applying to several positions a day, and most may not want to read a full page about the position at your company. This can lead to applications from unqualified applicants or those who cannot commit to your needs. Break down some of the key information at the top or bottom of your description, such as:
- Salary or wages. Be clear about the hourly rate or the salary for the position. If you have a budget range, include it.
- Depth of experience. Explain whether this is an entry-level position or if more experience is expected. You can describe how intense the workflow may be as well, as some workers are not as attuned to fast-paced work environments.
- Team communication. Many roles require teamwork and collaboration, but some people prefer to work individually. Be sure you explain who the job reports to and if they will need to work on a team.
- Skills required. List some basic skills or qualifications required for the job. If you will only accept applicants with a college degree, state that. For other jobs, like a dance teacher role, list the years of experience you expect the applicant to have.
- Schedule. Include the hours per day or week you expect for the job. If you are open to part-time and full-time employees, this can help you open up your applicant pool.
The more specific you are in your job description, the stronger your applicant pool will be. Although there will be some unqualified applicants, overall you can streamline the process for candidates if you create bulleted lists with the most important information. When hiring for the upcoming year, be sure you include any hard deadlines for the start date or if it’s flexible.
2. Leverage your network
The best way to grow your small business’s customer base is through word of mouth. The same goes for hiring! Reach out to your friends, family, and fellow entrepreneurs to see if they know of anyone qualified to fill your business’s open role.
The small business community is supportive and can be a great resource to leverage for hiring. If your business’s industry has a community of its own like dance studios, artists, or music schools, all the better! Even if your fellow industry professionals don’t know anyone personally, they can share your job posting on their social media platforms or send it to contacts who may have more information.
After creating your job posting, be sure you upload it to the appropriate platform and create your business’ profile. Don’t limit yourself to just one! After posting on job sites, repackage the information so it can easily be shared on social media by your network. You can even add the job description to your business newsletter or to posters in your storefront for your network to share with friends. Then, the customers familiar with your business can share the posting to their networks as well.
While using your network is a simple way to spread the word about the open position, be sure to verify the experience of applicants. When it comes to hiring friends or family, you’ll always want to ensure you’re hiring a quality employee. This may include checking their professional references and running employment and education background checks.
3. Offer training opportunities
In this hiring cycle, many individuals are looking for new experiences and opportunities to learn new skills. You can set your business and your job posting apart if you’re willing to include training in your position.
Prospective candidates should have some knowledge of your craft or business area, but your new employee will also likely learn on the job. Be clear whether the open position has potential for advancement or any extra training. For instance, perhaps you’re hiring a cashier to work at your plant shop, and this individual will also have the opportunity to work directly with the owner on purchasing and taking care of plants. Highlight additional learning opportunities like this that are compelling to applicants.
In this job market, it’s important to offer incentives to applicants, as their standards are increasingly more difficult to satisfy. If a candidate may not be ready for the position now, but you see potential in the future, let them know some things they can work on. This will help you build bridges with possible candidates to engage in the future.
4. Simplify the application process
It can be difficult to weed through applicants when you’re hiring, but it’s also time-consuming for individuals to apply. To encourage more qualified candidates to apply, be sure you’ve streamlined your process. Otherwise, you may miss out on otherwise qualified candidates. However, don’t remove too many barriers, or you may receive applications sent in on a whim. The key is to find balance between what’s absolutely necessary in your process and what could be cut out or at least trimmed down for a more seamless process.
Here are some items to consider requiring in your application:
- Resume or portfolio to demonstrate their experience and qualifications.
- Basic contact information like their name, phone number, and email address.
- A question asking if the applicant has a reference contact.
- A question asking for start date availability.
With these required materials and questions, you’ll be setting appropriate expectations to be able to assess candidates and find the best fit for the role. Be sure to make it clear which materials and questions in your application are required for the individual to be considered for the position.
Small business hiring in 2023
Looking for new employees to start in 2023 shouldn’t begin in December. You’ll want to get ahead of the holiday season and start creating application materials now, so you’ll have quality applicants for the new year.
With these four tips, you can optimize your hiring process to set your small business up for success in the new year. While the labor market is competitive and it can be hard to staff your business—implementing these strategies can set you apart from your competition to attract and retain the top talent you need to be successful next year and into the future.