Q: I'm ready to hire my first employee. Where can I find good candidates?
A: Now that you've decided it's time to hire your first employee, the first thing you must do is assess your relevant labor market. The size of your labor market depends on the job description of the position that you are seeking to fill. Various types of jobs will require different levels of commitment, skill and travel.
For example, if you are looking to hire an able-bodied person to work for your landscaping business, or an assistant to take calls and file papers in your office, then you probably won't perform a national search. You will likely be looking for someone within a 15-mile radius of your business. This way, an employee can easily commute to different job sites or your central office.
For these types of local positions, word-of-mouth could serve you well. It's often said to be the best form of free advertising, so make sure to tell your sphere of influence, or everyone you know, that you are seeking a qualified candidate for a particular position. Most job seekers find work through referrals from friends, so it makes sense that word-of mouth works just as well on the hiring side.
If you are a student, try passing out fliers to your peers or get permission from school administrators to post your fliers on community bulletin boards. If you have the money in your budget, you can place a classified ad in your local newspaper. These ads are often very reasonably priced and target people in specific geographic areas. But keep in mind that you will likely have to run an ad for several weeks before enough candidates take notice and apply for the position.
If you're bringing in enough revenue to hire a salaried employee, then your options differ. While you can still utilize word-of-mouth, you may be able to hire people from farther geographic regions for positions that require strong educational backgrounds or extensive industry experience. In this case, placing ads in larger regional publications or on Web sites such as Hotjobs.com or Monster.com can bring in a strong pool of applicants. These services, however, require a large outset of money in order to perform a quality search.
In any case, be sure to have a sound job description made up before you seek candidates. If you need assistance in creating a classified ad for candidates, check out How to Write a Job Ad.
Brian O'Rourke is the CEO and publisher of EnTrends, an online publication devoted to exploring how entrepreneurs work and live.