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5 Smart Ways Entrepreneurs Can Spot Promising Potential Hires

Looking for your next great hire? Use these tips to find the right person.
5 Smart Ways Entrepreneurs Can Spot Promising Potential Hires
Image credit: J.A. Bracchi | Getty Images

You'll often hear others complain about how much money they make -- how their income is not enough to pay for their expenses.

Most of the time, they are not wrong. That is why many people work multiple jobs to try to make ends meet. Worse still, the number of people looking for jobs -- some of them with really good skill sets -- far outnumber the number of job positions available.

However, this does not mean that anyone with a skill set is a good fit for your business. As a business owner, you want to hire the right people -- employees with industry-compatible skill sets who can help your team advance and adapt. The long-term success of your company will be decided by the potential of the people you hire.

Getting the right people cannot always be solved by searching out people on job boards (not that this is bad) and offering them too much money to refuse. I have outlined a few unconventional ways of searching out the right talent for your business that go beyond posting an opening online and hoping for the best.

Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader

1. Realize that all your employees constitute a human resources (HR) team

You should already have a dedicated HR team, but to increase the reach and effectiveness of your hiring project, you should consider incentivizing all your current employees to pitch in on the search for new hires. You could give them a bonus for recommending a good prospect who gets hired and lasts for a given amount of time -- say six months to a year.

Make sure to let them have creative freedom over their hiring strategy: It doesn't matter whether your employees use word-of-mouth promotion or social media. The important thing is that you have an avalanche of people with a vested interest in bringing in some real, meaningful talent..

If you are feeling adventurous and more creative than usual, you could also bring your customers in on the act and extend the same referral incentive to them. However, you should only trust your most loyal customers with this -- those who know how your business works and appreciates their alliance with your company. 

2. Invest in a paid internship program

This is a powerful way to preview the best talent before they are even out of school. Create a paid internship program that focuses on some of the brightest and most intelligent seniors or grad students looking for jobs within your industry. 

To create the best paid internship program, you have to study why these people look for jobs while in school. Once you can understand what makes them tick, you can create something that fits their work persona. Then, when they graduate, you can pluck the most talented of those interns right off the stage, diploma still in hand.

Related: How to Start a Business With (Almost) No Money

3. Increase hiring search specificity via relevant local chapters and associations

The more industry-focused your search for talent is, the likelier you'll be to find just the right person. Almost every industry has its own unions, chapters and organizations. These bodies usually have a fixed annual meeting schedule that they keep to rather religiously.

Sniff out the relevant ones that apply an accreditation or certification process. This tells you that they are a professional body and therefore a good hunting ground for potential employees who have the requisite skills for the job.

4. Look within your company

I am sure that we have all heard, in some form or another, the mantra: "Your answer lies within yourself." Well, in a business context, the answer sometimes lies within your company. This is why it is necessary to be consistent in carrying out occasional employee performance appraisals.

You will sometimes find that the talent you have been looking to hire has been in your company the whole time.

Related: 11 Habits of Truly Happy People 

5. Target your competitor’s employees

You already know that your competitors' best employees have the talent, industry knowledge and experience, work ethic and aptitude you need in an employee. That is what makes them such prime candidates to target.

However, you have to be patient when going this route, since they are passive candidates. Seek them out on LinkedIn, via email or phone, but be polite and respectful. If they turn you down, do not force it. Let them be, but remain visible and ready to pounce if they choose to leave their current employer.