Small Business Hiring Guide

27. Hiring Mistakes to Avoid as a Small Business Owner

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Hiring Mistakes to Avoid as a Small Business Owner

Jun 20, 2023 • 7 min read
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      Navigating the recruitment process can be a challenging task, particularly for small businesses. There are many common mistakes small business owners make during the hiring process that may end up costing considerable time and resources to correct in the future, and every hire counts in small business operations. 

      The following examples are mistakes you can avoid by leveraging technology, adopting best hiring practices, considering contract workers and investing in a productive hiring process.

      Hiring in a hurry.

      Many small business owners can’t predict whether a candidate will perform well on the job after just one interview, but they’re so eager to fill a position that they don’t take the time to revisit or refine the interview process. Oftentimes, business owners are not asking the right questions or getting any kind of second opinion. 

      Spend some time tailoring your interview questions to determine not just whether a candidate can do the job, but also whether they are a good fit for your company culture. And don’t hesitate to conduct a second round of interviews and bring in other employees to assist you in truly vetting the candidates.

      Dismissing the value of contract workers.

      There are many benefits to hiring freelance staff—they’re not subject to the same federal wage and hour regulations as your salaried employees and are often readily available to get work done. Small business owners have been historically reluctant to hire contractors due to legal compliance and security concerns, as well as employer-staff relationship fears.

      Others say freelancers are hard to monitor, but in many cases, freelancers work harder for their clients than traditional employees. Freelancers are highly skilled and can be affordable if you shop around, and having a small network of trusted contractors is valuable anytime you have extra work that needs to be turned around quickly.

      Overlooking technology in the hiring process.

      Being a small business owner may just be the definition of the word ‘busy’. And when you consider that it takes, on average, about 52 days to fill an open position, you can see the immense value in streamlining and expediting the recruiting and hiring process. That’s where technology comes in.

      Recruiting apps such as Google Hire (designed specifically for small businesses), LinkedIn Recruiter, JazzHR, and Zoho Recruit can help you identify and build a database of talent, build candidate relationships, share information, manage applicants, and schedule and track interviews.

      Refusing to delegate the task of recruiting.

      There’s a reason why larger firms have specialized human resources and hiring managers and teams. As a small business owner, you’ve probably dabbled in every aspect of running the business: payroll, marketing, applying for business loans, managing cash flow, and more. 

      The more time you put into hiring and managing employees, the less you’re able to focus on things that drive revenue to your business. Turning your hiring needs over to a recruiting and hiring specialist ensures that you not only bring on quality employees, but can also focus on developing products, setting up new partnerships, and bringing in new customers to grow your business.

      Not defining the role of the job.

      Undefined job roles when listing a new position can lead to serious hiring mistakes. Small business owners may inadvertently create ambiguity around responsibilities and expectations, leading to mismatched hires. An under-defined job role can attract a candidate ill-equipped to perform necessary tasks, causing productivity losses and unnecessary turnover.

      This is why it’s important to clearly delineate job roles, outlining key duties, skills required, and performance expectations. This clarity both simplifies your hiring process and ensures that candidates understand what’s expected, reducing the risk of misalignment. It’s a very important first step to finding the right person who can contribute effectively to your business growth.

      Not checking references.

      Overlooking references or skipping background checks is a risky hiring mistake. While candidates may appear qualified and impressive in interviews, reference checks offer a broader perspective on their past performance, reliability, and behavior. Similarly, background checks ensure candidates do not have undisclosed issues that could negatively impact your business.

      Even in a rush to fill positions, don’t shortcut this step. By investing time in verifying candidate information, you bolster your business’ security, stability, and long-term success.

      Overlooking internal candidates.

      Overlooking internal candidates is a commonly missed opportunity in the hiring process. Existing employees or contract workers may have the skills, experience, and cultural fit needed for open roles. They already understand your business values and operations, which would reduce their onboarding time. Additionally, promoting from within can boost morale and demonstrate a clear pathway for career progression. 

      Therefore, when a position opens, consider your current team members for potential promotion or role shift before looking externally. Implement a transparent internal application process to avoid missing out on hidden talent within your business. This strategy can often lead to more successful, cost-effective hiring outcomes.

      Neglecting training and onboarding.

      Finally, once you’ve hired a new employee, neglecting training and onboarding can undermine your new hire’s success. Without a structured onboarding process, new employees may struggle to understand their roles and expectations and the company’s culture. This can lead to early disengagement and poor performance. 

      Effective training and onboarding ensure new hires are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge, reducing the learning curve and boosting productivity. They also help integrate the new employee into your team, fostering collaboration and cohesion. Investing in a comprehensive onboarding program is an essential step to enhance employee retention and overall business success.

      When it comes to hiring top talent, it’s all about finding the best fit for your business without feeling rushed to hire the first person who semi-meets your criteria. It costs more to hire a new employee than it does to retain your existing ones, so if you hire right the first time, you’ll save time and money, while getting the best talent to help your business reach its full potential.

      About the author
      Sean Peek

      Sean Peek has written over 100 B2B-focused articles on various subjects including business technology, marketing and business finance. In addition to researching trends, reviewing products and writing articles that help small business owners, Sean runs a content marketing agency that creates high-quality editorial content for both B2B and B2C businesses.

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