by Scott Wintrip, author of “High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant“
As a small business owner, you’re beyond busy — and that isn’t likely to change. One moment, you’re serving as a salesperson, trying to close that new piece of business. The next, you’re playing service rep and solving a buyer’s problem or doing executive tasks like running to the bank to sign loan documents. Add to these roles more selling, more service, and more managing. Suddenly, your best employee gives notice. Here’s an important question: As busy as you are, how will you find time to recruit, interview, hire, and train a replacement?
Small business owners are competing with one another for quality employees. The Internet leveled the playing field, and now your company and all others — big and small — are able to reach out to top talent. This is straining an already tapped out talent pool and has left many small business owners searching far and wide for talented and resourceful job candidates.
Small business owners have to find great talent quickly in order to perform at full capacity.
When you’re operating with a small crew, you have to find smart, resourceful talent capable of keeping up with the fast-paced dynamics that come along with a small company. Luckily, fitting hiring into your already busy day isn’t that complicated — it just requires a few easy adjustments.
Here are four steps you can take to make hiring for your small business more efficient than ever:
1. Leverage the most productive streams of talent.
Asking for referrals and networking with other business people has long been a highly effective way to locate talent. In fact, business owners who carve out time each week for networking and referral generation discover a secret: The labor pool isn’t as tapped out as they originally thought. They simply weren’t taking a disciplined approach to recruiting.
2. Actively share the talent you discover with other business owners.
Keep in mind that you’re not going to be able to hire every great candidate you meet. Sometimes talented candidates just aren’t the right fit for your company, and other times, all of your positions are filled. When this happens, be sure to share candidates with other business owners to help them solve their own hiring challenges; they will also be happy to reciprocate. Business owners who share talent in this manner with at least eight or more businesses report greater success in hiring faster and making better hires.
3. Conduct hands-on interviews.
The standard approach to hiring is to conduct interviews where candidates talk about work. Not only is this a huge drain on time, it’s also an inaccurate way to assess whether a candidate fits your job. That’s why many small business owners have turned to doing hands-on interviews.
In a hands-on interview, you experience the candidate doing sample work. If it’s for a sales role, the candidate joins you on a sales call. If you’re hiring for a customer service role, he can help solve a customer’s problem. By watching the candidate in action, you save time while also making a more accurate assessment of whether or not someone is a good fit.
4. Line up key people before you need them.
Some roles are more vital than others, and when these roles are left unfilled, they can harm your business. Plus the extra work usually falls on your already overflowing plate. Instead of waiting until an employee in an essential job quits or gives notice to start recruiting, do yourself a favor and recruit ahead of time. Dedicating 30 minutes to recruiting each week pays off by creating a pipeline of potential talent ready to be hired the moment that vital job becomes open.
Hiring cycles don’t always happen at the best time, but when they do, you must dive right in and locate talent that will keep your company thriving. If you’ve maintained viable contacts through networking and referral generation, you’ll be able to locate and hire exceptional talent faster than you might expect — even in an overtapped labor pool. Then you can get back to your regular tasks and help your company stay strong.
Scott Wintrip has changed how thousands of companies across the globe find and select employees, helping design and implement a process to hire top talent in less than an hour. Over the past 18 years, he built the Wintrip Consulting Group, a thriving global consultancy. He is the author of “High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant“.