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The Small Business Hiring Challenge

You want to make a hire — but you can’t find the right candidate. Alas, you’re not alone. When it comes to small business hiring, more than 80 percent of entrepreneurs say they have few or no qualified applicants for open positions, according to a May 2015 report from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Moreover, 13% of respondents say the lousy labor pool is their greatest business challenge.

Hmmm… Should we blame colleges and high schools for creating a bad labor pool? Or is it time to hold business owners responsible for poor recruiting and hiring processes? I suspect it’s a little of both.

Midsize and large companies, of course, have full-time HR departments to promote open positions, recruit and screen candidates, and then forward the best candidates to the hiring managers.

Small companies certainly aren’t that fortunate. They typically don’t employ recruiters. And they often lack formalized processes for recruiting, screening, hiring, onboarding and mentoring new staff members.

Try the SWAN Approach

Some pundits recommend a SWAN hiring method for small businesses. It stands for…

1. Smart: If a candidate asks a lot of questions and demonstrates a passion for your business, they’re typically smart.

2. Work Hard: Candidates should have a track record of hard work.

3. Ambitious: Candidates should be excited about the current opportunity — before looking ahead for future opportunities.

4. Nice: Find folks who are positive, easy to get along with and supportive of others.

And let me add another acronym to the mix. In the sales world, folks focus on the ABC acronym — always be closing. But in the hiring world, focus on ABI — always be interviewing. Even when you don’t have open positions make sure you’re networking and spotting potential candidates before you need them.

Great candidates are out there. If you’re willing to work hard to find the right ones.

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