How to Hire a Stellar Staff for Your Small Business

Amazing hires are rare. To get even one or two employees that you know you can count on—who really go above and beyond on a daily basis and genuinely care about the business—is considered lucky to many small business owners. Was it just pure luck that you found a few employees with a strong work ethic or were your other hires the result of glossing over the details?

During peak seasons in particular, it’s easy to get into the mindset where you’ll take anyone as long as they are a warm body. Failing to properly ramp up your hiring often leads to a scramble to help meet increased business, but getting hired up in a rush probably hasn’t panned out so well.

As a small business, hiring the right people is vital to your success as the cost of losing customers due to poor service is too great. You can train someone on hard skills, like how to use your POS or stock the shelves, but soft skills like taking initiative, customer service, and interpersonal communication are more challenging to teach. In order to make the most of every hire, here are a few things to keep in mind to get the stellar staff that you need to run your business optimally.

Write An Accurate Job Description

Writing a job description can feel like an exercise in tedium. You might find that you’re so close to the daily responsibilities that you’re not entirely sure what it is that you want or need. But taking the time to draft out the ideal traits of your next hire could save you money, time, and a lot of headaches in the long run. According to a survey by Careerbuilder, 42% of companies reported that a bad hire cost them at least $25,000 in the past year.

  • Entrepreneur recommends using the “job analysis” (job duties) to write a job description. Explain how the job relates to your overall business and the importance or need for that role. Don’t forget those soft skills, like initiative or communication skills mentioned earlier.
  • Looking to attract Millennials for your position? Culture is a big one. Make sure that you emphasize what makes your business unique and how the position fits within your mission.
  • Keep it short—most people won’t read anything over a couple of paragraphs. Potential hires may be searching on mobile devices and won’t scroll through long posts.
  • If you get stuck, check out the U.S. Small Business Administration’s guide to writing a job description.
  • Once written, posting on websites like, Indeed, or Careerbuilder will be essential to helping you attract quality talent.

You’ll Need A Solid Interview and Selection Strategy

Once you have a job description that is tailored to your true business needs, you should have a plan for how you’ll select and interview candidates. Convenient hires are tempting, but being strategic about your hires will pay off in the long run. While you don’t really know how a new-hire will perform until you see them in action, there are definitely things you can do to properly suss a candidate out.

  • Experience and excellence aren’t always related, especially when it comes to those soft skills. Instead, look for someone who can tell you about an experience receiving good service, being engaged with as a customer, or even recognizing something in your store that they saw needed to be addressed on the way in.
  • Have a list of predetermined questions that you require all interviewees to answer. Structured interview guides make the process of evaluating candidates more efficient for you or your manager(s) because they save time and they help managers make smarter, fairer decisions.
  • Structured interviews may decrease the casual rapport developed during the interview process, but it helps you to avoid making snap decisions. As a result, hiring managers tend to spend a few extra minutes mulling over their impression rather than making a decision within the first 15 minutes of the interview.
  • Put down your phone! You aren’t the only one shopping here. Your candidates are looking for an ideal job as much as you are looking for the ideal person. Failing to give them the deserved attention may send the signal that their presence is inconsequential, setting you up for issues down the road.
  • This is the moment for you to answer all of their questions and to give them a feel for the environment that they’ll be working in. If at all possible, don’t hold interviews on the floor of your store or restaurant because it can be highly distracting for both parties.

Willingness to put some time into setting up standards for your hiring process will decrease overall hiring anxiety. Being prepared enables you to be on the lookout for the right talent all of the time. Waiting until you’re under extreme pressure to hire someone may only cost your business more in the long run. Though it sounds like the opposite would be true, incurring a bit of cost in hiring proactively will prevent you from making an even more expensive bad hire.

New to running your own business? Find more tips on setting yourself up for success here.