For small business owners, finding and hiring good employees can feel like an insurmountable task. After all, your business’s success depends directly on your employees’ success. There’s nothing more disheartening than going through the tedious hiring process only to end up with an employee that slacks off or quits after just a few months.

Fortunately, hiring good employees for your business doesn’t have to be complicated. These 5 tried-and-true tips will help you attract and hire top talent, no matter which industry you’re in.

1. Be clear, direct, and specific in the job description.
You can’t expect to find the right employee for the job if your job description doesn’t paint an accurate picture of the position. You’ll absolutely want to list required skills and experience as well as give an idea of what day-to-day tasks might look like. It’s also important to be transparent and honest about any challenges you expect the employee to face within the position.

If you require an employee who is willing to grow with the company – someone who can wear many hats, work independently to solve problems, and be comfortable with frequent change – be upfront about that in the job description. This will weed out any candidates that can’t roll with the punches and offer the skills you need. Watch for my future post about “positional contracts” and how this new twist on the traditional job description can add amazing clarity and buy-in from your future superstar.

2. Ask the right questions.
When you’ve found a candidate you’re interested in interviewing, it’s crucial to plan out and ask the right questions at the right times. It’s often a good idea to consider more than one round of interviews. The types of questions you ask should also shift as you move a candidate from the first interview to the second.

When hiring good employees, the first interview is all about getting to know the candidate. What is their background? How do they see their world? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What value will they add as an employee? If you like what you see and hear, invite them back for a second interview to ask some more hard-hitting, in-depth questions.

This ensures that you don’t waste time asking overly specific questions with the wrong candidates in the first interview. Additionally, a future 2nd interview gives you the opportunity to really get to know your candidate and what makes them tick.

3. Use behavioral assessments to learn more about candidates.
You can learn a lot about job candidates through resumes and interviews, but you likely can’t learn everything you need to know to determine if they’re the best choice for the position. Behavioral surveys are a great tool for hiring good employees. You can help you learn more about your candidates’ soft skills, such as:

  • Empathy and emotional intelligence
  • Communication and interpersonal styles & skills
  • Critical thinking skills and thought processes
  • Ability to cope with pressure and stress
  • Motivation (i.e. What drives them?)
  • Honesty and morals
  • Organization skills and attention to detail

4. Always check with references.
Dr. Phil said it best: “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” Ask all job candidates to include a handful of references. Give those references a call to ask for some insightful information about the candidate. Many employers skip this step , yet it can yield important insights.

Ask references to confirm some basic details, like a description of the candidate’s past job responsibilities, but don’t forget to dig deeper. Ask questions to learn more about the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses from the reference’s point of view. How valued was the candidate among their previous team members? Specifically, ask their references to allow you help them develop the candidate’s skills. If you do this in a helpful positive way, they will be much more open to tell you where the developmental opportunities lie.

It should be easy to determine whether the reference is speaking about your candidate in a generally favorable or unfavorable way. This will lead to an easier decision on your part when it comes to hiring good employees.

5. Don’t forget about new-hire orientation and training.
Many businesses approach hiring with the mindset that once they’ve signed on a new employee, the hiring process is over. Not even close!

Take advantage of the fact that your new hire is excited for their position and eager to please. Provide them with plenty of on-the-job training and learning opportunities. After all, even the best new hires can flop and fail if you don’t provide them with the tools and training they need to succeed in your company.

Attracting and hiring good employees for your business doesn’t need to be stressful. By following these 5 tips, you’ll have a great team behind you in no time.

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