So, you’ve decided to get more hands on deck, but not sure how to hire the right person for the job?
Growing businesses often require growing teams, and you’ll want to build yours with careful consideration.
Today, I’m going to talk about the hiring process checklist that will get the job done, and also how to build your ideal team.
The Simple Hiring Process Checklist for Small Business
1. Perfect the Job Description
2. Plan Your Interview Process and Questions
3. Compare and Contrast
4. Onboard Like a Pro
When recruiters talk about a hiring process checklist for a specific role, they often focus on experience and value.
Of course, these are very important as you build your online empire. However, it’s important to remember that from the very beginning of the interview process, you are building a relationship with your next team member.
Small businesses need strong, dedicated teams. As an entrepreneur aiming to scale your business, a high turnover rate could seriously derail your long term plans.
This hiring process checklist for how to hire the right person to grow your business (and your team) will outline the steps you need to follow to find the perfect candidate, and ensure that they’re set up for success in their new role.
1. Perfect the Job Description
Searching for a new team member is exciting. Whether you’re considering a short-term hire, outsourcing, finding a freelancer, or looking into how to hire the right person for a full-time position, it’s important to carve out and define the role in question.
Identify the day-to-day responsibilities of this role, and long term goals. You’ll also want to clarify what type of background and experience you expect a strong candidate to have.
It’s also important to show them a glimpse of what working at your company is like. Give candidates a window into how your team works, how your business is growing, and what kind of benefits a new team member can expect.
Your ideal candidate is likely to be highly skilled and experienced, so it’s important to make your business stand out and capture their attention. Talk about your team, and how you all work together.
Don’t feel like you need to be overly formal. A little bit of well-placed warmth and humor is likely to make candidates more comfortable applying. At the same time, quadruple check spelling, grammar, and formatting- mistakes here can quickly turn off potential applicants.
2. Plan Your Interview Process and Questions
Think about the first steps of any hiring process. You’ll want to learn more about the candidates, but also respect their time, and your own.
Since you might be doing multiple rounds of interviews, don’t get hung up on trying to include too many questions- instead build natural conversation and remember that you can send follow up questions and tasks later on.
Remember, just as you are looking at different candidates, applicants are looking at different job opportunities. Be sure to follow up promptly, and always invite them to ask questions.
You’re representing your company, and it’s essential to make a good first impression.
While it’s great to get a broad sense of a candidate’s experience, don’t be afraid to get specific. If you need someone who has experience with certain software or a super niche skill like grant writing, have them talk about their experience in detail.
Interviews are not notorious for being fun, but that doesn’t mean you can’t lighten the mood as you master your hiring process checklist.
Try to get a sense of who candidates are as people, what their lives are like, their personalities. You know that hiring the right person has as much to do with personality as it does with proficiency in Excel.
Hopefully, you will be working together for a long time, so it’s important to get a deeper sense of who candidates are as people, not just employees.
These days, a brief phone or video call interview is becoming the gold standard as the initial step of an interview process.
This allows you to screen a high volume of candidates in a shorter amount of time as you master how to hire the right person. Keep things brief and casual, with a few simple questions to give you some insights into a candidate’s expertise and aspirations. This approach has become increasingly common because it allows hiring managers to save precious time.
For the next round, you have a few choices. You could plan a longer phone or video chat meeting if the position is remote.
You could have the candidate come to your workspace, or meet you somewhere for coffee. Some actually suggest interviewing in neutral, public spaces, where you’re likely to get a better sense of candidates’ personalities.
As you tackle your hiring process checklist, breaking out the standard interview format like this helps to make candidates more relaxed and open.
Depending on how many candidates make it to the second round, you could even have a few colleagues join you and get their take on the candidates, so that you complete your hiring process checklist as a team.
It’s one thing to hear someone talk about how well they work, but it’s another to see it in action. That’s why you’ll want to give assignments to candidates to gauge their skill levels and learn about how they work.
For example, when I interviewed for Selz, one of my assignments was to create my own online store, which was super fun and relevant to the position I was applying for.
However, this practice can backfire if you get too specific in your pursuit of how to hire the right person.
Some employers will ask candidates to show work samples pertaining to a current project or client, which raises a red flag for many applicants. Candidates may feel at risk or exploited if prospective employers use this “sample” of work. Better to avoid this gray area altogether.
Vetting is a crucial component in choosing the right candidate.
It’s never been easier to check a person’s background and references than it is today. Following up on references is an essential part of any hiring process checklist.
This part of the hiring process can feel tedious, but it’s actually a wonderful opportunity. After all, you have a chance to hear from the candidate’s former colleagues and gain valuable insight.
You already know that your team is your most valuable resource, and who better to help tackle your hiring process checklist?
It’s always useful to get another perspective when you want to hire the right person, and your team will have insights as to how candidates will fit in with existing employees.
3. Compare and Contrast
At this point, you hopefully have a few compelling candidates. Perhaps one applicant’s experience sets them apart from the rest, or a handful of hopeful team members are shining bright.
How do your candidates’ different work histories align with the day-to-day responsibilities of the role?
If they don’t have hands-on experience with a particular aspect, ascertain if they have the interest and capability to learn on the job.
You may not have a candidate who ticks every box on your checklist, but that’s okay. To hire the right person, you need to be strategic about how many skills you can impart to them. All skills are teachable, but often to differing degrees.
For example, you can teach software like Photoshop in the office, but you will need to develop and nourish an eye for design over time. Reflect on which candidates have real potential to handle the role’s functions as well as a student mentality.
Who can excel and exceed expectations in the role?
Every once in a while, you may want to consider a less experienced, but more highly motivated candidate. But how can you identify this trait?
Look for a history of accomplishments. Consider how far a candidate has gone to educate themselves about the ins and outs of your company and industry. Examine how successful they have been at learning new skills in the past.
Who is going to be a good long-term fit for this team?
Sometimes, you’ll meet with a candidate who is less experienced but just seems like a great fit.
Maybe they have an instant rapport with your team, or they’re passionate and knowledgeable about your industry. There are a lot of things you can teach a new hire, and as you reflect on how to hire the right person, remember that you also want someone who can shape the role, and help your business grow long-term.
Likewise, a candidate may be highly qualified on paper, but not the right fit for your company at this time.
While it can feel awkward to raise these questions, especially to your team, it’s important. You’re not just working through your hiring process checklist for the next few months, you need to hire the right person for years to come.
4. Make an Offer
While you may feel like your hiring process has come to an end, it’s only just beginning. Successful completion of your hiring process checklist includes getting your new hire excited about joining your team.
Chances are you’ve already carved out a reasonable budget for this role. Now, it’s time to negotiate. Don’t assume that your dream candidate will accept your first offer right away. Many skilled, experienced candidates will argue for a higher salary and benefits.
Many up-and-coming businesses can’t offer the same salary or benefits packages that big corporations can, and that’s okay. After dealing with how to hire the right person for the role, you’ve chosen someone who is (hopefully) comfortable with the scale of your operation.
More and more startups are getting creative about the benefits they offer. From student loan repayment support to subsidized gym memberships to fun office amenities, you need a benefits program that sets you apart from other employers.
Check out the best employee benefits and perks to get some inspiration. If you haven’t already explored social entrepreneurship, you may be surprised to learn that many employers offer charitable benefits.
Working with nonprofit organizations and charities of your employees’ choice is a way to help them support causes they feel passionate about while doing some good.
Be flexible, but also stand your ground as you negotiate with your newest team member.
5. Onboard Like a Pro
Starting a new job isn’t easy. In fact, no matter how much optimism your new hire brings, it’s guaranteed to be at least a moderately stressful transition for them.
You may feel that once the paperwork is done, it’s smooth sailing, but the hard work is just beginning. You may have conquered your hiring process checklist, but now you need to set your new hire up for success.
High turnover can devastate your company, but you can prevent this by setting clear expectations and providing thorough training.
It can be very helpful for your new hire to have a specific person as their touchpoint. You want to develop strong bonds right away. Make sure that your newest team member knows that they always have someone to turn to for support. This also helps to establish a clear chain of command.
Ensure that training is well planned and executed, in detail. Again, respect their time. Don’t leave them hanging while they’re on the clock, waiting for direction.
Your whole team should make a point to be as friendly and helpful during the onboarding process.
It’s hard for new hires to learn new names and faces on top of all the actual job training. Plan a fun team building activity off-site. A nice lunch or happy hour is a great way for your new hire to get to know their teammates in a more relaxed environment.
They’ll likely have a lot of questions as they get started, and relationships with the rest of the team will make those easier to ask and improve their overall learning experience.
Now that you know how to hire the right person for your growing business, you’re ready to go find them.
Once your new hire becomes fully integrated into your team, they will help shape the future of your company. That’s why it’s important to find the best fit possible for the role.
As your team grows, your business will be capable of so much more. From new partnerships to new markets, having the right people in your corner means you can make it to the big leagues.
So, go ahead. Take your time. Be picky. Find yourself an all-star.