This post was written by Katie Taylor, Vice President – Marketing & Executive Projects at Main Street Launch.
As your business grows, it becomes impossible to do it all yourself. Hiring can be daunting, but having a simple plan and process can make it easier. In this post we share a few of our best practices for hiring.
Look for candidates in a few places
Knowing where to find the right candidate for the role you’re hiring can be challenging because there are so many job boards. You can start by searching for similar roles and seeing where they are posted. Localwise is a good local job board serving the Bay Area. For office roles, we have had success using Indeed. If you don’t find the right candidates in the first place you post, consider switching after a week or so. Circulating open jobs through your network is also a great way to get referrals from people you know and trust.
Ask for a cover letter & resume
A resume is a great snapshot of someone’s work experience, but you may not want to judge a book by its cover. Some great candidates don’t have flashy resumes but may be passionate about the work and willing to learn. We ask for a cover letter to see if the candidates are able to prepare one and follow directions in the job posting. In particular, if the job you’re hiring for requires writing, this is a great way to see what writing skills each candidate may have.
Prepare questions in advance
It’s important to know that the person you’re going to hire has the skills need to do the job, but hiring someone who aligns with your company’s values is just as important. When preparing questions for the candidates, find questions that give you a sense of that person’s motivations and goals, as well as their past experience. At Main Street Launch, “Tell us why you want to work at Main Street Launch”, and “What about this role made you decide to apply for it” are helpful and revealing questions for an interview or phone screen.
Talk to the candidates by phone
A simple way to narrow down the candidate field if you get a lot of applications is to talk to candidates by phone briefly. If the role requires the person to answer phones at your business or make calls, a phone screen also gives you a sense of how that person is on the phone. A quick 10-15 minutes is a great way to get a brief introduction about candidates, answer their questions, and determine the applicants best suited to come in to interview in person.
Interview candidates in person
When possible, meeting candidates in person (or by video) is a great way to see what it will be like to work with that person. Having more specific questions about the duties of the position or the culture of the company are helpful for in-person interviews.
Work with a human resources professional
Having an expert advisor to help you hire your first (or next!) employee can help you feel confident you’re doing all you can to make the best possible hires. There are free or low-cost resources available to help you get started. For human resources support, your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Pacific Community Ventures offer expert advisors to work with small business owners on their specific needs. For legal questions around hiring or employees, Start Small Think Big and Legal Services for Entrepreneurs offer pro-bono legal advice from lawyers specifically to work with small businesses.
If you’re not yet ready to hire, but you need help now, consider a virtual personal assistant. Our client Freedom Makers connects military spouses with small businesses who need part-time support. Click here to learn more about their services.
For more resources or for questions about hiring resources, contact us anytime for referrals: firstname.lastname@example.org.