Recruiting Basics for Entrepreneurs or How to Duct Tape Your Hiring Process

You started your own business because you love your trade. If you find yourself falling out of love with it because you’re too caught up in the busy-ness of doing business, it’s time to hire some help. Here are some recruiting basics to get you started.

What are some indicators you might need to make your first hire? Are you:

  • Working long hours but not getting much done?
  • Overwhelmed with tasks you really don’t enjoy (i.e.- making copies, doing data entry, managing finances, etc.)?
  • Stuck pushing paper when you should really be focused on finding new customers?

Taking the step from solo-preneur to solo-employer is a big one. If you’re like many entrepreneurs, you’ve never done recruiting and hiring yourself. Here are 10 steps to guide you through this process.

Step 1 – Create a solid job description. What roles and responsibilities do you want your new team member to take off your plate? Make a comprehensive bulleted list of what you need accomplished in a day/week/month.

Step 2 – Prepare a tracking system. You don’t need an elaborate CRM. A simple spreadsheet will do, but you’ll want to use some type of tracking mechanism to record applicants and your communication stream with them.

Step 3 – Draft a job ad. Using the bulleted list you just created, draft a comprehensive job description that provides some basic information such as a brief explanation of your company, the advantages of working for you, specifics about the role, any qualifications applicants should possess and an expected compensation. Make your message compelling. Think like a marketer. You’re marketing your position to job seekers.

Step 4 – Post your ad on job boards. Spread a wide net to help you locate the right candidates. Applicants use websites like Indeed, Ziprecruiter, Careerbuilder, Monster, Craigslist and others to find their next gig. The trick for you is standing out from the  crowd, so review that compelling job ad you just created. Would you want to work for you?

Step 5 – Screen candidates. There are plenty of  casual job seekers (aka: ‘thumbstoppers’) who apply for every new job they see listed whether or not they happen to be qualified. You can use a variety of techniques to separate them from highly qualified candidates. Screening questions related specifically to necessary job qualifications are effective. Having an assessment like DISC as part of your hiring process can provide a couple of screens for you. Since candidates will be asked to spend 15 minutes taking an assessment, it can identify serious job seekers willing to invest the time. Plus, you have the added benefit of ensuring your applicant measures up to the benchmark scores for the position.

Step 6 – See them in action. Whether you’re hiring for the entry level or the top office, you’ll want to know how your potential new hires handle a live conversation. Grab the phone and their resume, get them on the line and ask 2 simple questions: 1. “Tell me a little bit about your background?” and 2. “What special skills do you have that would make you the best hire?” This short conversation will weed out those without good grammar and diction. You could also arrange for them to send you a brief video answering those 2 questions.

Step 7 – Conduct an insightful interview. You want your interviews to be comfortable and conversational, however, consistency is important. Before your first interview, prepare a list of open-ended questions you will want to ask all candidates. As you’re building that list of questions, think for a minute about the qualities you believe make you successful. It might not be your education or great resume. Question them on soft skills in addition to hard skills. Be sure to get through the entire list before you veer off onto tangents with your interviewees. Probe for  specific strengths and weaknesses you may find on their resumes or behavioral assessments.

Step 8 – Share status updates. If you and your company want to earn respect from candidates, let all applicants know where they stand. Whatever step they may be in your hiring process when they don’t make the cut, keep them informed by sending a professional rejection letter. Just a few lines go a long way to helping you a secure a good reputation with job seekers.

Step 9 – Formalize your offers. When you’ve narrowed your selection to the top candidate(s), use formal offer letters to seal the deal. Getting agreements from both sides in writing mitigates misunderstanding and leads to longer term hires. You’ve invested valuable time in locating your new team members. A confirmation of the offer solidifies expectations on both sides.

Step 10 – Organize a system. Document your hiring process so when you need to hire again, you’re not starting from scratch. When you tell promising candidates, “I’ll keep your resume on file for a more suitable position,” mean it. When recruiting you’ll come across those who might be a future fit. File them and go there first when you’re hiring for your next position. Always be on the lookout for talent. Your next awesome team members could be waiting tables at your favorite restaurant or running the check out line at a local retailer while going to school. Talent shows. If you look for it, you’ll find it.

Use these 10 Steps to create a motivated team dedicated to helping you achieve your long-term vision. Happy hiring!