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Hiring Mistakes to Avoid for Small Businesses

If a small business has poorly defined recruitment and hiring processes, it becomes difficult to attract and hire top talent in this competitive labour market. Making a bad hire can be disruptive and costly—particularly for small businesses where tight-knit teams work closely and employees must juggle many responsibilities. Hiring mistakes are exceedingly common. A survey by CareerBuilder revealed that 74% of hiring managers and HR professionals had hired the wrong person for a position.

Common hiring mistakes to avoid

The financial impact of hiring the wrong person can be astronomical. According to the CEO of London-based employer branding firm, Link Humans, “the cost of recruiting, hiring and onboarding a new employee can be as much as $240,000”. Common hiring mistakes include failure to properly interview and screen candidates, as well as inadequately assessing skills and qualifications in job descriptions and failing to account for cultural fit in your hiring decisions. Use these six hiring tips for small businesses to avoid making common hiring mistakes:

1. Ensure compliance with employment laws

The U.S., UK and Europe all have laws governing the recruitment and hiring of employees. These laws protect employees and job applicants from discrimination (based on age, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation), harassment, safety violations and other unfair labour practises. There are laws that govern what types of questions can be asked in interviews and what factors can be included in hiring decisions. It’s important to know the rules in every jurisdiction your company will hire employees (don’t forget to consider mobile employees working remotely).

2. Write better job descriptions

One of the top hiring mistakes to avoid is the creation of a job description that does not aptly and accurately portray the actual expectations of the position. Applicants try for the job that may not have the right skills or qualifications, because the job description was vaguely worded. HR should work with hiring managers to create a full list of responsibilities for each role and the skills and qualifications required to perform them. Before you write a detailed job description, rank the priority of each skill or qualification, then emphasise the most important ones.

3. Step up the quality of your interviews

A good interview leads to an honest exchange of information and a good sense of cultural fit between candidate and company. HR should make interview training part of the overall training provided to all people managers. Every serious candidate should be interviewed by multiple people in your organisation, including hiring managers, HR, and prospective teammates. To cast a wider geographic net for talent (and keep interview costs down), try conducting the first interview by video conference using a free or low-cost telemeeting service.

4. Screen your candidates properly

Always follow-up with candidates’ job references–no exceptions. 75% of HR managers surveyed have caught an outright lie on a resume. For the safety of employees and customers, run a criminal background check before new hires start work. Depending on your industry and the new employee’s role, a credit report could be wise. Some companies require social media checks, however the legality of this is in question in some jurisdictions, so proceed with caution.

5. Don’t ignore cultural fit

Your office culture can be an important recruiting tool to help you find the right candidates. But don’t try to force the fit between your culture and a highly-qualified candidate. Sometimes a very talented recruit may not be able to blend into your teams or be effective in your processes.

6. Be selective, but don’t wait for perfection

Perfect can be the enemy of productivity when you have a critical position to fill. While you should take pains to avoid making a costly hiring mistake, it’s possible to let good candidates get away because you are waiting for someone more perfect. Everyone has flaws. Find a candidate with great skills and ethics who fits your company’s culture, then make the hire!

Get help from experts to quickly improve your hiring process

Many small businesses do not have the budget or headcount for a large HR team. In this situation, HR generalists often try to manage every aspect of the workforce, including hiring. These hiring tips can provide a good start for improving your hiring process, but consider working with a specialised recruitment and hiring expert for valuable ideas and a different perspective. Talent management and hiring experts at Asure Software routinely help small businesses design fully compliant hiring practises using effective talent acquisition strategies.

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