Hiring for Your Small Business: 4 Tips to Find a Great Team

Your small business or nonprofit organization is your passion, so it’s no surprise that you want to hire caring, hard-working, and smart team members. However, if you have limited hiring resources, you might be wondering how to attract fantastic talent to help grow your business. 

Well, look no further — we’re here to help! Whether you own an indie bookstore, run a dance studio, or manage a start-up nonprofit, we have the hiring tips you should use when looking for new team members. 

Putting more effort into hiring from the beginning can save a lot of time and money later on. In fact, did you know that high employee turnover lowers overall morale, decreases productivity, and costs your business money? All of these challenges can be avoided by designing an effective hiring process. So, when hiring for your small business, you should: 

Remember — the hiring process goes beyond the job posting and the interview. You also need to consider questions related to onboarding, retention, and employee well-being. Giving attention to each of these categories will help you increase employee engagement and satisfaction, which makes for more effective employees. 

Hiring for your small business doesn’t have to be a headache. With the right preparation and evaluation method, you can find the perfect team members to help move your business forward. Let’s get started!

1. Write a great job description. 

Imagine you’re on the hunt for job opportunities. You’re well-experienced and are excited to start working for a passion-driven company. Like many other prospective employees, you’re scouring the internet for job descriptions to catch your attention. You’re looking for a company that aligns with your values, offers growth opportunities, and is transparent about its operations. 

Okay, now back to being an employer. This candidate seems like a great fit, right? Well, this person will be looking for a position with a job description that reflects their values. Although employers hold the power to offer a position, qualified employees must first feel like they’d enjoy working at your company. 

To attract the best candidates, you need to write a great job description. Your job description will likely be the first touchpoint that potential candidates have with your organization, and it tells candidates a lot about your organization’s brand and what you stand for. 

Here are a few tips you can use to knock your job description out of the park and connect with the right people: 

  • Show off your personality: As we’ll discuss later, it’s important to find good character matches in your employees. For this reason, it’s highly recommended to show off your company’s brand in your job description to attract like-minded people. For example, you might include your organization’s mission and vision or highlight a few ways you strive to build a fun, engaging workplace culture. 
  • Set expectations now: Will you want your employees to manage your digital marketing campaign? Manage the front desk? Teach classes without much training? Whatever your new employees will be doing, set your expectations in the job description. You’ll weed out candidates who aren’t truly interested in the role.
  • Advertise your position online: 90% of recent job-seekers researched and applied for positions online, meaning that advertising online is essential. Don’t be afraid to share your position across multiple marketing channels, including social media, job boards, search engines, and your own site. 

Overall, be as clear as possible in your job description. Candidates want to know what they’re getting into, so be transparent about your values, expectations, compensation, growth opportunities, and other aspects of your business. 

2. Evaluate experience and character.

While every small business wants to hire experienced candidates, previous experience isn’t the only indicator of success. 

For example, going back to our dance studio example from the beginning, let’s say you’re trying to start your own studio and are looking for teachers. You receive two applicants: one from a young dancer without much teaching experience and the other from a seasoned dancer who has been teaching for the past two decades. 

You might think the hiring choice would be a no-brainer, but let’s take a closer look. You bring both in for an interview. The young dancer is very excited to be there, talks openly about her passion for dance and building connections with others, and asks you several questions about your teaching career and what brought you to start the studio. Conversely, the experienced teacher gives you short, curt answers, seems bored, and doesn’t ask you any questions. Now, the right choice may not seem so obvious.

For this reason, you should evaluate a candidate’s experience and character in your interview. Just as an experienced candidate may not be excited about a position, an excited one might lack the necessary knowledge to complete the job. Ideally, you’ll find a candidate who has the right balance of experience and passion. 

One way you can assess a candidate’s potential for success is by asking about their hobbies outside of work. For instance, do they write books? Do photography? Enjoy hiking? Think about how other skills they use — like perseverance, attention to detail, or drive — translate to their personality and work ethic. You may even find some hobbies you have in common!

Use the interview as a chance to see if you click with the candidate. If your personalities work well together and they have the right amount of experience, you may have found the candidate you’re looking for.

3. Create a clear onboarding experience. 

After you hire your ideal candidate, you’ll likely be eager to put them to work. However, just because your new employee signed their job offer doesn’t mean that the hiring process is over yet. 

In addition to creating a great hiring experience, you also need to onboard your new employees effectively. Organized and detailed onboarding is essential to set your employees up for long-term success with your company. 

Here are a few tips for creating a great onboarding experience: 

  • Encourage questions: New employees might feel too intimidated to ask questions, but getting their questions answered is the only way to make sure everyone is on the same page. Encourage questions as a key part of your business culture. You could also ask your new hires, “What questions do you have?” rather than “Do you have any questions?” The former demonstrates that you expect them to have questions, which can make new hires feel more comfortable.
  • Host a tech session: Most small businesses rely on some sort of tech stack, and it’s worth hosting a dedicated tech session to walk through everything your new employees need to know. For example, if you run a dog daycare and use a certain type of software to check in new pets, use your onboarding sessions as an opportunity to show new employees how to work within your system. This way, when a new customer comes in, they’ll know exactly what to do.
  • Share your business plan: Your business plan gives a bird’s eye view of your long-term goals and company culture, which would be helpful for new hires to be familiar with. For example, if you run a dance studio, consider sharing your dance studio business plan, which might include helpful insights into your teaching philosophy that they can incorporate into their own style.

A clear onboarding experience ensures that new employees feel prepared to take on the job while also creating an environment where they aren’t afraid to ask questions. Ideally, by the end of onboarding, your employees will be self-sufficient enough to carry out their daily tasks, but still know they can come to you if needed. 

4. Focus on employee retention right away.

After onboarding, the main aspects of hiring are over, but you should never stop looking for ways to improve. This is where employee retention comes in. Hanging on to great employees requires frequently evaluating ways that you can improve their experience at your company.

Here’s how you can improve employee retention: 

  • Check in regularly: Regular mentoring is an essential part of an employee’s experience. Even when onboarding is complete, regularly check in with your employees and ask them how you can improve their experience.
  • Prioritize work-life balance: Work-life balance is more important than ever. Prioritizing work-life balance is better for employees and your company overall, as it can increase job satisfaction and productivity. For instance, if your company relies on great customer service, you need happy employees who will deliver the best experience possible. If your employees are overworked or feel like they don’t have enough time to themselves, they won’t have the best attitude when interacting with customers.
  • Offer growth opportunities: According to Astron Solutions’ guide to employee recruitment and retention, providing ample opportunities for career development is one of the most effective ways to increase employee retention. Ask your employees what skills they’d like to develop and see if there are ways that you can help them. Employees will appreciate your investment in their long-term growth.

Employee retention is a continuous process that requires a dedicated strategy. By checking in with your employees regularly, giving them a chance to have a life outside of work, and investing in their career growth, you can create an environment in which employees feel fulfilled. 

Great team members not only push your organization forward, but they can also create a positive work environment that you enjoy participating in every day. Investing extra time into your hiring, onboarding, and retention strategies will only help your business grow.