Every small business owner looks forward to the day when their company really takes off. Scaling your business is an exciting time, but the growing pains can also be stressful. One of the most significant growing pains is often hiring. The decision of when and how to hire can be scary, because often it's completely foreign territory.
As an entrepreneur, you’re familiar with pulling long hours and juggling multiple job responsibilities in order to get your business up and running. But how do you know when you need to bring on extra help? Timing is critical. The best strategy you can have is to take action quickly. There will be a point at which deadlines will fall behind simply because there isn’t enough manpower to support the work. The best approach to recruiting is always urgency.
There are many recruiting strategies to consider when your business is scaling. Recruiting can be expensive at times, but it doesn’t always need to have a monetary obligation attached to it. Here are some great options to consider when hiring:
ContractorsBringing on contractors (or 1099’s) is a great way to hire extra help if you’re unsure of how long you will need it. As your business is rapidly growing, there can be some uncertainty around how long the pace will continue at that rate. Contractors are great to hire on a project-by-project basis. You can easily find contractors using sites like Upwork to narrow your results, depending on the type of work you need completed. There are some legal implications to consider when hiring contractors, so make sure you follow IRS guidelines.
Third Party Recruitment AgenciesThere are a multitude of companies to choose from if you want to consider using a third party recruitment agency to assist with building out your team. There are also key advantages to using their services for hiring. Third party agencies will have more knowledge of the industry, and many firms specialize in certain markets. They come with pre-existing knowledge of where the talent is, how to find them quickly and current salary trends. Agencies sometimes will come equipped with their own network of candidates to pull from at any moment. This allows you to not be solely reliant upon inbound applicants who apply directly to your company. This also can help speed up your time to hire. If speed is a top priority in hiring, using a third party recruiting agency may be your best option.
Interns/College HiresNever underestimate the value of a great intern! Intern talent tends to be easily attainable. Wherever your company is headquartered, there’s bound to be a nearby university with students who either want an internship to gain experience or actually need an internship for joint course credit. Universities have free job boards where you can effortlessly post available internships at your company. You can also decide if your internships will be paid or unpaid. Over time, if you build out a successful internship program, your best interns will want to continue working at your company post-graduation. This is a great way to convert intern talent to full-time, post-college hires. The intern-to-full-time hire model works well for small companies and equally for some of the largest fortune 500 companies.
Employee ReferralsEmployee referrals are generally the best quality of candidates because great people tend to want to work with other great people. You can count on your employees to refer awesome candidates with whom they feel passionate about potentially working in the future, whether it be old coworker or someone from their network. Always consider capturing your employees’ networks by gaining employee referrals. One of the best ways to incentivize employee referrals is to create a strong employee referral program. There are many ways to design a successful employee program, so you might want to consider polling your employees to see what type of incentives they would like (ex: money, gift cards, gifts, etc.).
Networking/MeetupsOne of the prime ways to build your company brand is to network in your community. The more people who know about you, the better your opportunity to receive inbound applications. A great deal of small business owners attend industry specific meetups on a regular basis or join networking groups around town to find potential talent. Networking widens the breadth of your reach as a small business, and will eventually pull more candidates into your hiring funnel.
Targeted Job PostingsAnother insightful way to drive applications is to improve your job postings from a keyword search standpoint. This means making your postings extra targeted toward the type of applicant you’re looking for. You can start the process by thinking of what someone would search for who was looking for a position similar to yours, and then tailor your posting from there. The more targeted the keywords you include in your posting are, the better the quality of applicants will be.
Social MediaAnother way to find talent is by using social media outlets like LinkedIn. LinkedIn is full of active job seekers. You can easily leverage your own network of connections on LinkedIn to find people who may be a fit for your company. Facebook also tends to have many grassroots job seeker groups where you can post about open positions at your company for free. It’s also very important that your company have a company page presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Twitter. This will help build your company brand and, in turn, yield more applicants over time.
More Things to ConsiderBefore you start hiring, it’s vital that you evaluate your current team of employees. There may be some people that deserve a promotion to a higher level position and/or management role. Promoting and hiring from within is a great mark of a successful company. It’s also a bit simpler to find entry-level talent than senior level or management talent.
Another critical component to consider is your company brand. Evaluate what your company brand looks like in its current state, and work on building your brand every day. Branding is a continued effort, but extremely important when you want to increase your inbound applicant traffic.
The next vital component is company culture. You want to create a fantastic culture that makes people want to work at your company. Company culture definitely builds over time, but it’s always a good idea to regularly poll your employees to get a better idea of what they like and dislike about working at your company.
Finally, the most crucial and easily overlooked component is employee retention and turnover. It’s extremely expensive to replace employees who leave your company. Valuable employees who leave can cost your company thousands of dollars when you consider the loss of knowledge and experience during the time of finding and training new talent. Look at ways you can help retain your employees such as company perks or awesome benefits.
Do you have valuable experience with hiring new folks? Feel free to share any tips in the comments below!