A major challenge facing small businesses in their early years is attracting talent. Because these start-up companies rely on so few employees, it is essential that each new hire be able to carry his or her weight and help grow the business.
Big businesses don’t have to search for talent; for companies like Starbucks and IBM finding the right person for the job is merely a matter of sifting through applications and selecting from several. But for small agencies who cannot yet boast brand recognition, the process can be more difficult. If you’re a start-up company, you can’t just sit back and wait, you have to actively seek out each new hire.
Here’s where to start:
1. Your Employees
When seeking a new hire, the best and first people to turn are your current employees. They know your business better than anyone and know what it takes to be successful there.
You can count on your employees for solid recommendations. They’re likely seeking to appease you and won’t want to be accountable for bringing on a bad hire. They’re also self interested. They will be working each day with whomever you bring on staff and will want this person to be friendly and capable.
If you’re looking to make your very first hire—and thus have no employees to ask—don’t worry; the next three sources work whether your next hire will be your first or their fiftieth.
2. Your Contacts
Spread the word you’re looking to hire. Tell everyone you know—friends, family, clients, and old classmates. Describe the position to them and see if anyone comes to their minds. Even if they can’t immediately produce a name, they’ll remember your conversation and may be able to make a future recommendation.
Personal contacts are a great source for referrals because they know you and, likely, your business. These are the people you talk to about your struggles and goals. They know what you need in a new hire and can recommend someone suited for the job.
3. The Internet
If no one you know personally has the perfect person for your position, broaden your search. There’s no better place to reach a large number of people quickly than the worldwide web.
Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn allow you to search specifically for the qualities you’re looking for in a hire. Here you can sift through individuals’ resumes and peruse their portfolios to get a feel for their personalities.
Yet while it’s great to have so many options, searching through them can be time consuming. To save resources, establish a filter system before you begin. Jot down a few “must-have” qualities for your new hire and narrow your search to reflect your specifications.
4. Area Universities
Nearly all credible universities have career placement offices designed to match students with employers. Contact those offices at colleges and universities in your area and ask them to advertise your position. In your conversation request information about upcoming career fairs at these schools which can be a great place to meet several prospective employees at once.
College and university media often advertise career opportunities free of charge. Reach out to campus newspaper and magazine editors to ask if you can place an ad, go to the school yourself to hang fliers and visit their website for information on how to advertise online.
Though university students are job-seeking and quite likely intelligent, they may seem more risky hires. Recent graduates usually have little professional work experience and can’t provide the references older individuals can often produce. If you believe you’ve found your next hire on a college campus, offer him or her a part-time internship while he or she is still in school. This limited time employment will allow you to see how this employee works in a professional setting and will also give him or her a feel for your business.
Curious about the advantages and disadvantages of each aforementioned source?—Check out this article from Entrepreneur.
If you’re a small business looking for a new hire to assist with accounting, consider outsourced accounting as an option. Our start-up accounting and CFO services experts can provide advice and expertise tailored to your industry.