Small Business Hiring Best Practices

Searching for job candidates and hiring are time-intensive processes. Here are some small business hiring best practices to help get you started.

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Finding the perfect employee can be challenging, and the best practices for hiring aren’t always clear. This simple guide will help your next interview go off without a hitch.

What Kind of Questions Can we ask in an Interview?

Use your time wisely. Avoid questions about their experience, qualifications, and education– all that information is (or, at least, should be) in their resume. Instead, take the time to asses how well they’d fit in at your company. Questions like “why are you the right person for the position?” and “when do you feel that you do your best work?” are good places to start. Skip the typical “what’s your biggest weakness?” and ask them to outline the steps they took to overcome a recent challenge. This will give you an insight into their ability to adapt, plan, and follow through.

Remember that not all questions are fair game, and asking the wrong questions can land you in court. It’s illegal to ask for personal details like age, race, marital status, disability status, pregnancy status, and sexual orientation, as that can easily lead to either biased or unbiased discrimination. It also leaves opportunity for the hiring manager to choose an applicant based on “culture fit,” which is risky for a number of reasons; read more here about hiring for diversity here. Play it safe and keep your questions job-related. If you’re worried that a question might be a little too personal, don’t bother to ask.

If you’re concerned about how a candidate’s personal life might affect their job performance, you can get answers in creative ways. Instead of asking about their family life, ask if they’re able to work overtime and weekends as needed. Instead of asking about their living situation, ask if transportation will be a problem. The more general you can be, the better.

When Should We Conduct a Background Check?

The best practices for hiring aren’t always cut and dry. Realistically, you can conduct a background check at any time in the hiring process. Some companies get it out of the way before the interview, while others wait until after they’ve made a candidate an offer. The best time, though, is after the interview and before you make an offer. This way, you’ll only check candidates with the potential to move forward and won’t have to rescind your offer later on. It’s more efficient for you and easier for the applicant.

How Should I Inform a Candidate that They Have not Been Selected for a Position?

It isn’t fun to be the bearer of bad news. Don’t let your discomfort get the best of you, though– the best practices for hiring are all about personability. It’s important to let the candidate know that you’re moving on in your search. If possible, it’s always better to give them a call rather than an email, particularly if you think you might want to work with this candidate again in the future. Make sure it’s personalized, genuine, and honest.

Be direct. Try to avoid ambiguous language like “we’ve decided to take things in another direction” or “we’re looking at other options.” Make it clear that they haven’t been selected so that they can move on in their job hunt; this way it is fair to both parties.

The candidate may ask you why they weren’t chosen. Let them know! Tell them where they fell short and why you won’t be making an offer. More often than not, they’ll appreciate your honesty and will use the feedback to set themselves up for success in future interviews.

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