If you're the owner or manager of a small business, the prospect of bringing new employees into the fold can be both exciting and anxiety-inducing. On the one hand, it's extremely exciting to have the budget and resources to bring new team members into the fold. On the other, your small business is your baby and your livelihood—so you can't afford hiring mistakes that affect your success and productivity.
Consider these six hiring tips as you write job descriptions, conduct interviews, and train your new employees.
1. First things first: meet state and federal regulations.
The rules are different when you start hiring employees. Get started with these hiring steps from the Small Business Administration. You may also want to network with fellow owners of growing small businesses to share advice on the most helpful accountants, background check providers, and so on.
2. Let your brand's personality shine in the job description.
If you're not yet a well-known brand and you're trying to attract the best talent, you must stand out to potential applicants with a wealth of job opportunities at their fingertips. One way to do this is by crafting a job description that showcases what's unique and especially exciting about your company. Whether you explain how you're disrupting an industry or share examples of recent media coverage, your job description has to be memorable for applicants who are scrolling through endless job options.
3. Building a new team from scratch? Consider a group interview.
For example, if you're building a new sales team from the ground up, you'll want a manager, senior-level salespeople, and junior employees. You may consider bringing in those who'll need to frequently collaborate for a group interview, gauging how well they work together and relate to each other.
4. Be honest about the role's challenges in the interview.
Small businesses have different challenges and opportunities from a large corporation. Be transparent with potential job candidates (without giving away proprietary details, of course) about the hurdles you believe will impact them most in that role. These challenges could be a small or nonexistent advertising budget if you're hiring a marketing manager, or the fact that your website and logo need total rebrands if you're hiring a designer. The best employees—the ones you really want to hire—will welcome challenges and look forward to finding solutions.
5. Save the best training knowledge for next time.
Make your life easier and the next round of training faster: save training materials. This can include tax documents to sign, an introductory slide deck about your company's history, templates that all new employees need on their computers, job descriptions, and beyond, all saved on a USB drive or a single "new hire" folder. A few months after your new employees have settled in, ask them what information helped prepare them most, and build on that for your next round of hiring.
6. Think long and hard about the culture you want to cultivate.
Especially at a small business, every employee has a huge impact on culture. One person's creativity, negative attitude, efficiency, or indifference can ripple across the organization. Even though you may be in a time-crunch to get offer letters signed quickly and crush 2015 goals, do take time to truly ponder the type of workplace you want to manage and the values most important to you. Prioritize those qualities in the people you hire.
Small business owners have enough on their plates without regretting an offer letter. Remember to listen to both your gut and your logic when hiring a new employee—and always choose employees with whom you'll genuinely enjoy working.