3 min read

7 Highly Effective Hiring Ideas for Small Businesses

It can cost thousands of dollars to replace employees who leave. Hiring the wrong people can be even more costly. You need these ideas today.
7 Highly Effective Hiring Ideas for Small Businesses

Hiring is the biggest of concern for most small business owners, managers and operators. Just having the people you need to operate your business is a huge challenge in itself. On top of this, labor is usually the largest cost item for most small businesses.

So hiring is important, right.

To help navigate this challenge, here are 7 highly effective hiring ideas you probably haven’t heard about before, and almost certainly aren’t currently using. Putting them into practice can lower turnover, increase performance and improve your profit.

Idea #1: Let applicants opt-in

Attach a cover sheet to your application form that explains why you are in business and sets your expectations for staff. Issue a challenge to the applicant to weed out the non-believers: "If this sounds like the place for you, fill out the application. If not, please check somewhere else."

The benefit: This challenge will eliminate 10 to 15% of job applicants before you ever see them, likely the ones that won’t work out too!

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Idea #2: Make applicants schedule interviews

Have an online form for applicants to schedule their own interviews on dates and at times that you have established. This creates your first ability to see if the applicant shows up at a time they personally selected.

The benefit: If applicants don’t have the initiative to schedule their own interview or are late to the interview, you’ll learn a lot. The bonus is that it saves you a lot of time going back and forth scheduling interviews.

Idea #3: Cut to the chase

Spend your time with the applicants you want to hire rather than those you do not. Politely cut off an interview if you have a sense this is not the right person for the position. Provide kind and constructive feedback and move on with other activities.

The benefit: This is a time saver for both business owners and job seekers, you can both move on to other activities.

Idea #4: Use real-work role playing

Don’t just ask questions, actually test your applicants aptitude for important tasks required for the role. Do it early in an interview to save time. For example, a coffee shop owner could:

  • Ask a barista to make a coffee.
  • Have a food prep applicant to prepare ingredients.
  • Role play customer interactions.

The benefit: Actions speak louder than words and you’ll immediately get a sense for whether they can actually do the job.

Idea #5: Ask better interview questions

Have the applicant provide information for you, not the other way around. Ask open-ended questions rather than questions that can be answered with a “Yes” or “No”. Inquire about the applicant's goals and motivations. For example:

  • "If you could do anything in the world for work, and there was nothing holding you back, what would you do?"

This type of question gets to the person's motivation and aspiration.

The benefit: You will find it much more effective to hire people that are already motivated, rather than motivating someone without drive.

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Idea #6: Clearly define expectations

Define the specific expectations you have of each applicant as they join your team. The training program and role expectations should be crystal clear. This means you will have to play at a different level, but so will everyone on your team.

The benefit: The effective owner, manager and operator is a coach and a mentor. Walk your talk and the team will too.

Idea #7: Scout the competition

It’s fair play to pouch staff from competition. Keep an eye out every time you visit a local business. Identify top performing staff and approach them with a better offer. You’ll know what you’re getting, and strengthen your position in the market.

The benefit: Finding good employees is tough, why take a risk by hiring unknown quantities? You can mop up the best employees for your business who will best serve your business and your business.

Key Takeaway

No matter how hard business owners try, every business will have some level of employee turnover, and there will be some applicants that squeak through that probably shouldn’t.

However, by implementing the right hiring ideas, some businesses can reduce annual employee turnover to under 20% and even into the low single digits.

Before you go...

We all know that small business is about doing the little things right.

The little optimisations, the high-impact tweaks and the 1% gains you can make to your business to make it a little better, a little more profitable and even a little bit more pleasant to run.

I have interviewed 500+ business owners, surveyed thousands more, and I am always probing for their best tips, tricks and hacks to improve their business. There are three that stand out above the rest and I want to share them with you.

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