According to a recent Reuters report, “The U.S. economy has decisively turned the corner with small business confidence hitting its highest level in more than 6-1/2 years in May  and the number of jobs available rising to pre-recession levels in April.”
“Small businesses were also very upbeat about prospects over the next six months. There were increases in both the share of business owners planning to create new jobs and those who believed this was a good time to expand.” If you are planning to add new jobs to your roster and put expansion plans into full gear this year, take a moment to review hiring best practices. Here are five quick hiring tips to help you grow your team with confidence.
Skills and talent are important, but you must also take into account whether candidates are passionate about working for you. Did they research your company beforehand? Are they enthusiastic during the interview? Do they illustrate talents and passion with stories of previous experience? It’s answers to these types of questions that can help evaluate whether or not potential employees really want to work for your company, or are simply looking for a job.
Institute a “day in the life” program.
Consider creating a program where potential hires come in and shadow one of your employees for a day. This familiarizes candidates with your day-to-day operations, plus it gives you an idea of how they function with your existing staff. If you’re hiring freelancers or virtual employees, schedule a Skype meeting with a current staff member to discuss duties and responsibilities.
Search social media.
When using social media to find candidates, LinkedIn should be your first stop. After that, check any potential hires for inappropriate Facebook postings, as well as negative or offensive tweets. Be sure that you do not factor any protected class information into your hiring decisions (gender, race, religion, age, disability, origin or pregnancy).
Interview like a pro.
Whether in person or over the Internet, make sure you get the interview right. Show up on time, be positive, and diligently address any red flags you may have found on a resume. There are good and bad answers to any issues — interruptions in work history, for example — so make sure you ask all the right questions and let candidates respond accordingly.
Consider hiring older employees.
Older workers can bring a certain level of experience to your organization that younger bucks just don’t have. Plus, if they work out, they can help mentor younger team members. They also tend to give better attention to detail and are typically more organized.
Now that we’ve talked a bit about best practices for hiring, let’s discuss pay. If you’re not willing to loosen up the purse strings a bit when a stellar candidate comes along, you may not improve your team’s quality by much. If you’re not familiar with average pay rates for the position you’re hiring, research and compare average salaries at Salary.com and PayScale to ensure you offer fair compensation. Hiring the right people for your small business is important, but paying them appropriately can keep them around for a long time.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Andrew Schrage is co-owner of the MoneyCrashers.com Personal Finance website. The site strives to educate readers on a wide variety of topics, including how to budget for retirement, tips to increase your income, and the best small business credit cards. Schrage hopes to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives as they work to gain and maintain financial freedom. Connect with @moneycrashers on Twitter.
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