It’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur. I hope your company is expanding and you’re moving your organization to the next level.

As an entrepreneur myself, and through many years of working with and supporting entrepreneurs, I know that gaining and keeping your competitive advantage starts with hiring and retaining the right talent.

Small business owners are often so busy running the business that their focus is on getting someone in a seat just to get the job done.  While that may be sufficient in some cases, more often than not it can come back to haunt you.  

Before you rush into making a hiring decision, think carefully about your company’s interviewing and screening process because the cost of picking the wrong employee may be more than you think.

Recent CareerBuilder surveys1, 2 examined the true cost of bad hires for companies today.  Of those surveyed, 41 percent1 said a single bad hire had cost them at least $25,000 in the past year.  Twenty-seven percent2 said a bad hire had cost them more than $50,000.  That’s a lot of coin for a small business, or any business for that matter.  Aside from the financial impact, companies also noticed gaps in worker productivity, lost time due to recruiting and training, and negative impacts on both employee morale and client service.  When you are a 10-employee company, one unproductive or disruptive employee represents 10 percent of your workforce!  That can make it hard to be successful.

Employers frequently cite attracting and retaining top talent as a major business challenge, yet competing priorities can make it difficult to devote all the necessary time or resources to recruit the best talent.  

More than 40 percent of companies make the wrong hiring decision because they needed to fill the position quickly.1 Twenty-two percent said they had insufficient talent intelligence, and 9 percent never checked any references.

If you’re serious about hiring the right people, these can be easy fixes.  

There are several things that I found really paid off during my years as an entrepreneur and small business owner:

  • Leverage Technology to Work Smart, Not Hard 

There are a variety of online tools and resources that can help post jobs to multiple job boards/sites simultaneously and provide convenient scheduling, screening, and even video interview tools.  Small businesses can stand toe-to-toe in terms of visibility on the web, and these tools can save a tremendous amount of time while also expanding your applicant pool by exposing you to candidates you may not otherwise be able to reach.

  • Be Consistent and Define the Process

This is a critical first step.  All applicants should complete the same steps in the hiring process in order to be considered for an open position.  For instance, all applicants for a position may be required to answer pre-screening questions, and have a phone, video or in-person interview.  When posting your job advertisement, accurately describe the job, explain the selection process and outline the key skills and requirements.

  • Know What Success Looks Like

Define the qualifications candidates need by drafting detailed job descriptions and establishing the skills and abilities successful hires need to thrive in the position.

  • Know the Law

  Be mindful of federal, state and local nondiscrimination laws when engaging in the screening, selection and hiring process.

  • Go Beyond the Paper

 The traditional view of a candidate is their resume. Recent statistics reveal that 53 percent of resumes contain falsifications, and 78 percent are misleading3.  Go beyond the paper – you can use pre-screening questions during the application process to help assess whether an applicant has the minimum qualifications and knowledge required to perform the job.  When drafting pre-screening questions, employers should keep in mind that the questions should be job-related and tailored to the specific requirements of the position.  When you are reviewing the resume, consider the following questions:  Are the candidate's previous positions consistent with the requirements of your open position?  Is the resume thoughtful, well-organized, and free of typographical errors? 

  • Interview with Behavior and Situation Management in Mind

When conducting interviews, interviewers should ask targeted questions that elicit how the candidate has handled situations in the past that are similar to what they would experience on the job.  Provide managers or other key staff involved in the interview process with a guide or pre-scripted questions to ensure consistency so you get the information you need to make an effective decision.

  • Set up for Success

As you prepare to make a final decision, review the applicants’ qualifications based on the information you have and evaluate each candidate individually based on their job-related skills.  Once you have made your selection, extend an offer that’s contingent upon other important job-related pre-employment steps, such as a reference check, background check, or drug test.  You’re making an investment, so be sure to define an on-boarding process to ensure new hires are brought into the business with the information, tools and training they need to be successful.

With these tips, you can create a hiring process that is consistent across your organization and that’s simple to follow for you, your managers or other key members of your staff – this will help put you in better position to identify and choose the best employee for your company.

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About the Author(s)

Michael Pires

Michael helps drive innovation and ensures that ADP is delivering high quality, relevant solutions to small businesses across the United States.Upon joining ADP, Michael focused on integrating the HR411 product, the core payroll platform for ADP Small Business Services. | Facebook | @ADP | More from Michael

VP of HR Solution, ADP Small Business Services