The good news is that your business is growing, making it necessary for you to add to your team. But hiring can be one of the most difficult – and potentially costly – responsibilities of running a business.
Small businesses face challenges because every employee is key to ensuring your business continues to thrive, making it essential to pick the right people.
The same is true of the vendors you partner with. Choose wisely, because the right vendors can make your life easier and have a vested interest in helping your business succeed. Consider these tips when lining up the people and partners who can make a world of difference for your business.
First, think about what skills and experience you need most from an employee. Define the responsibilities this person will assume and how that will benefit your business. Being specific about your requirements will help you match potential candidates and their abilities to the position.
Top channels for job seekers include online job boards and professional social networks, so don’t overlook the power of actively posting. Popular job sites include Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Fairygodboss, CareerBuilder and Monster. Depending on the industry or employee that a business owner is looking for, community boards and newspaper classifieds may also attract the right talent. And remember: clearly communicating what you’re looking for is key to successfully attracting top candidates.
When people are seeking a job, it’s so often about who you know. The same holds true for hiring. It’s critical to hire people who are vetted and trusted by your network. Ask for referrals from advisers, colleagues, friends or professional organizations. Most won’t refer a bad apple to you because it only hurts their reputation. If the applicant doesn’t have a personal reference but does have a qualified resume, ask for their past employer references to gain insight into their personality and work ethic.
In a survey of talent acquisition leaders, 48 percent said their top quality hires come from employee referrals.1 So, sweeten the pot for existing employees by offering them a referral bonus. Again, most people won’t vouch for someone who isn’t solid. Additionally, they’ll often share information with the candidate about your business and working conditions, helping the person understand what to expect. That reduces the risk of them quitting soon after hire.
In these days of low unemployment, it’s important to offer benefits to your staff. Health care, vacation and sick time, a competitive wage and work/life balance options show candidates you’re the real deal and care about your staff, suggests The Balance Small Business.2 “You get what you pay for” holds true in hiring. Invest in your employees and they will invest in your business.
When it comes to lining up vendors, begin as you would when hiring. Spell out what product, material or service you seek, along with the criteria that suppliers must meet. These requirements might include quality assurance, lead times for delivery, and payment terms and conditions. It’s hard to land what you need if you don’t spell out those requirements first.
Develop a request for proposals or request for quotations and compile a list of potential candidates. Do that by reaching out to trade associations and professional groups. They might have lists of established vendors to consider. Get several bids to make sure you’re receiving competitive offers and read the fine print for hidden fees or costs.
Verify vendors by requesting samples or references from other customers. Ask about the quality of their work and the professionalism of their employees. Then check with the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List to make sure they have a strong track record. It’s also not a bad idea to search for the business online to uncover any major issues like lawsuits or recalls.
Whether you are interviewing a potential employee or vendor, similar guidelines apply. Standardize the questions so that you’re comparing apples to apples. Fundera, a resource for small businesses, suggests developing unconventional questions that delve into candidates’ skills, such as, “Explain something to me in 5 minutes that you know a lot about.” These types of questions break through rehearsed answers and allows candidates to demonstrate confidence – an important attribute for success.
With this dream team of new employees and vendors lined up, your business will be primed to continue thriving.
Ready for the next step in building your business? Learn why building a trusted brand is good for your business’ success. Did you know: Investing in your business’s talent management can give you a leg up in productivity and success? These checklists, infographics and articles will show you how.