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Updated Mar 18, 2024

How to Hire and Staff for Your Business

It can be tough to know when and how to hire a new employee. Follow these tips and tricks to simplify the process.

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Chad Brooks, Managing Editor & Expert on Business Ownership
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Properly staffing your business can be challenging, and the workforce trends over the past few years have complicated the staffing process even more for small businesses. However, understanding when and how to hire employees the right way can make a big difference in the success and retention of your workforce. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you thrive.

9 steps for staffing your business

Here are nine actionable steps for getting the most out of your hiring process, from the employee hunt to the onboarding and training stage.

1. Establish the need for a new hire.

The first step in the hiring process is establishing a legitimate need for a new worker. Can you effectively shift around employee responsibilities or rely on technology to fill the gap? If not, it may be time to hire someone new.  

Once you’ve determined a need for extra help in the office and assessed what each role in your company will look like going forward, you’ll need to decide whether that new worker needs to be temporary or permanent.

“If the increase in workload for your company is project-specific or more short-term, consider outsourcing those duties to a staffing company or consulting firm that specializes in those activities,” Stephen Carter, CEO and partner of Sterling Staffing Solutions, told us.

FYIDid you know
If you intend to hire a permanent employee, you'll need to establish whether they must work in an office, remotely or in a hybrid arrangement. This will play into who you can hire since employers seeking to fill a remote role often have the luxury of expanding their search outside their city or state.

2. Create an effective job description.

After establishing the type of worker you need to hire, you’ll need to create an effective job description. A job description is often the first experience a job seeker has with your company, so you want to ensure it reflects well on your organization and accurately describes the type of employee you seek. The information in the job description can impact the quality and quantity of applicants you receive, so clearly communicate the requirements, responsibilities and skills needed for the job. The job description should also give the applicant an idea of your company’s culture, benefits and unique features.

Write the job description to reflect the culture of your business and the need for the job. For example, a job description for a bank seeking a new financial advisor will likely sound much different than one for a quirky retailer seeking a retail associate.

3. Post the job listing on multiple outlets.

One of the easier parts of the hiring process is posting your job listing. Since you’ve already outlined the work required for each role in your company, you’ll need only a few minutes for each job listing you create. Be sure the job listing includes an accurate job description that clearly states what you’re looking for in an employee. You don’t want to spend time reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates who lack a clear understanding of the role you want to fill.

It can be beneficial to post your job listing on multiple outlets. You’ll likely post it on popular job boards like Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster and ZipRecruiter, but you should also consider using social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. Some industries have specialized job platforms you can use as well.

TipBottom line
Ask your current employees for possible leads. Referred candidates typically are of higher quality, stay longer and perform better.

4. Conduct consistent phone screen interviews.

After posting your job listing and receiving numerous applications, you’ll want to choose several to interview by phone. Don’t just pick one or two, even if one or two candidates stand out from the crowd. It’s worth identifying at least a handful of options in case your top choices don’t pan out. Once you have your list of interview-worthy candidates, set aside at least half an hour for each interview. Keeping these interviews as consistent as possible is important to simplify the comparison process. Ask a uniform set of questions, and give candidates the same amount of time and attention in each interview.

In a phone screen interview, you should ask “get to know you” questions and questions that gauge the applicant’s interest in the company and position. Ask about their skills and experience, but in this round of interviews, you’re mostly just assessing whether they can perform the standard requirements of the job effectively. In their responses, you’re also evaluating their soft skills and how they’d fit within your organization.

“Understanding your organization’s culture is key,” Carter said. “Bringing on an employee who is a high performer but has very limited social skills into an organization that has a close-knit environment could be a disaster.”

5. Interview again and screen your best candidates.

Your phone screen interviews will help you narrow down your top choices. Set aside another hour for a second interview (ideally by video call or in person) with the candidates you want to move forward in the process. You should conduct these formal interviews with your best candidates. Be sure to gather comprehensive interview questions that dig deeper than the phone screen interview.

Once you’ve identified a candidate you want to extend an offer to, consider conducting a background check using a background check service. This will ensure there are no red flags before you bring the worker onto your team.

6. Make an offer as soon as possible — but expect negotiations.

When you’ve found the candidate you think is the best fit and conducted the appropriate background and reference checks, make an offer of employment to the candidate, including all of the salary and benefit information they’ll need to review. While some applicants might jump at the offer, be prepared for a bit of negotiation. Candidates may ask for some time to consider the offer. They then may come back and ask for more money or additional benefits. Ideally, you will come to a fair and equitable agreement for your business and the candidate.

If you have some hard numbers you aren’t willing to go past and negotiations reach that point, you may have to move on to another candidate. With all of this in mind, this step of the hiring process could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days.

7. Begin a legally compliant onboarding process.

When your new employee accepts your employment offer and comes on board, they’ll need to fill out the appropriate new-hire tax forms. Be sure to report their hiring to the government to maintain legal compliance. You should also onboard these hires onto your HR software or platform. A great onboarding process will also include a formal orientation. [If you don’t have HR software yet, see our picks for the best HR software]

“A formal orientation should include a clear description of the company’s purpose, goals, mission, vision; the organizational chart and description of other roles and responsibilities for their co-workers; and a clear job description for that employee’s role,” Carter said. “The orientation should also include an introduction to current staffers, a safety presentation, etc.”

Carter recommends taking these other steps as well:

  • Set realistic goals upfront.
  • Conduct slow and deliberate training so the new employee is not overwhelmed.
  • Arrange a face-to-face meeting with upper management.
Did You Know?Did you know
Onboarding and orientation are different processes. Understanding the purpose of each one will help you develop effective strategies for both.

8. Ensure your new employee has all the tools they need.

Giving your new hire all the tools they need to do their job can be a long-term project, but each part should take just minutes. For example, if you need to order a work laptop for a new employee, you can purchase one in moments online. Once the staffer begins and other job necessities become apparent, you can set aside a few minutes to complete these as well.

Ideally, however, you’ll take into account all of the responsibilities your new hire will have on their plate in advance and make sure they have all of the tools they need from the start. You don’t want to slow down their work because they’re waiting on a piece of equipment or access to some new software.

9. Train your new hire — and do it right.

Carter stressed the importance of proper and thorough training. No two companies need the same amount of time or take the same steps to train a new hire, so estimating how long new-employee orientation, proper co-worker introductions and other important onboarding steps will take can be difficult. You definitely don’t want to shortchange your business or your new employees here. Investing quality training time upfront should pay off in the long run. What matters most is that you take ample time and care to show your new employees all they need to know.

How to know when it’s time to hire

When small businesses launch, one employee is often responsible for tasks that would normally fall to many workers. As your business grows, this imbalance in responsibility can reduce not only your efficiency and productivity but also the quality of your company’s products and services. 

This becomes a problem when you start noticing: 

When you see these indicators, it may be time to hire additional staff members. 

It could take a few weeks to become apparent whether these trends are permanent troubles or temporary woes, so be sure you are taking enough time to assess your company’s needs critically.

FYIDid you know
An organizational chart can help identify the holes in your staffing. It should list every role your business needs to run efficiently and all the responsibilities each position entails.

The importance of making the right hire

The quality of your employees can have a major impact on your organization’s success, so it’s important you hire the right people. Each employee should be not only a good fit for their role but also a good cultural fit for your business. 

Here are six primary reasons why it’s important to make the right hire:

  1. Money. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, one bad hire can cost your company 30 percent of that employee’s first-year earnings, while other HR agencies report that cost to be much higher.
  2. Hiring resources. Hiring the wrong employee costs you the time and resources spent on recruiting, onboarding and training.
  3. Time. An unproductive or low-performing employee means more time and money spent by others on completing projects correctly. 
  4. Morale. One toxic employee can ruin your company’s morale. Other workers may become frustrated if they consistently need to pick up the slack for the bad hire.
  5. Clients and reputation. The ill-suited hire can cost you clients and customers and even tarnish your company’s reputation. 
  6. Litigation. If a sour employer-employee relationship escalates far enough, it may even end in litigation.

Conversely, the right hire can help you optimize and streamline business processes, increase sales, build client relationships, engage and retain customers, boost company morale, and strengthen your company’s reputation. All your company has to gain and lose makes hiring quality candidates essential to a business’s success.

Skye Schooley and Max Freedman contributed to this article. The source interview was conducted for a previous version of this article.

author image
Chad Brooks, Managing Editor & Expert on Business Ownership
Chad Brooks is the author of "How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business," drawing from over a decade of experience to mentor aspiring entrepreneurs in launching, scaling, and sustaining profitable ventures. With a focused dedication to entrepreneurship, he shares his passion for equipping small business owners with effective communication tools, such as unified communications systems, video conferencing solutions and conference call services. A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Brooks has become a respected figure in the business landscape. His insightful contributions have been featured in publications like Huffington Post, CNBC, Fox Business, and Laptop Mag. Continuously staying abreast of evolving trends, Brooks collaborates closely with B2B firms, offering strategic counsel to navigate the dynamic terrain of modern business technology in an increasingly digital era.
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