We’ve written a fair amount about the hiring process already on this blog, from what to look for when reviewing resumes to how to write a hiring ad in the first place, but have so far neglected to touch on an interesting part of hiring which is what to call the position for which you have an opening. This may seem insignificant, but in reality it makes a lot of difference in terms of what kinds of resumes you are going to get in response to your posting. While in most cases defining an open position is clear cut, for specialized roles it can be difficult to think of descriptive terms. When creating a hiring ad for a position that needs to be filled which doesn’t fall into a single specific, well known job title, business owners must think strategically about what to put in their advertisement in order to ensure they get a response from qualified people. For jobs that involve a technical ability that

The NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index, a widely referenced barometer of economic recovery and health of the small business sector experienced a dip in six of the ten indicators included in the index, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. The indicators that did improve were both related to job creation, with an increase in both new jobs and open positions. Earlier this year, hiring was reported as slow within the small business sector, mostly due to cash flow concerns and fear of economic uncertainty. It is the same fear of unstable economic development that has business owner confidence down currently, however, the addition of jobs to the economy that is paired with this decrease serves as a reminder that business owners are still reporting their confidence as much higher than recession levels. A cautious approach to expansion is paired with optimism. Businesses want to grow, but at the same time are wary of overextending their resources with the memory of events including the Government Shutdown that took

Hiring is tough for small business owners. For one thing, it takes a long time to process the large number of applications that almost any well written job posting will get. Another problem is that a resume alone doesn’t tell the whole story behind a candidate’s qualifications, but, unless it is for a very specialized position, calling in every single applicant to interview may not be possible. What should you look for as positive indicators on a resume? It will of course vary depending on the resumes you are looking at, but here are a few guidelines that may be able to provide some additional clarity to small business owners in doubt. A concise and well organized layout. One issue that is common in resume writing is the tendency to want to put too much information on a single sheet of paper. A full paragraph for each piece of job experience can become tedious to read over and over, making bullet points, clean sentences and a

Hiring is a big and time consuming process in any type of company. In a small business setting, where each employee is counted on to contribute so much, hiring becomes even more important to get right the first time as turnover combined with the costs associated with finding and on-boarding talent can quickly drain company resources. While a large part of getting the right employees will come down to how effectively business owners are able to vet the resumes they get and how they can gauge the potential of an employee during the interview process, the hiring process starts with the ad that they put out announcing the open position. Making the ad as specific and intriguing as possible will allow business owners to attract the top level of talent suited to their job opening. Be specific about the responsibilities of the position, and include mandatory proficiency.  Including the specific details of the position that you are offering is essential in order to make sure that the

As a small business grows, staying in direct contact with employees can become more difficult on a day to day basis, necessitating strong mangers to be put in place in order to unite different departments and report to the owner of the small business. Along with a larger managerial infrastructure comes more standardized processes of evaluation, including annual or bi-annual formal evaluations that are a fixture of corporate life. While evaluations are usually dreaded on the part of employees, they can be beneficial if handled with competent managers in place who are focused on meeting business goals and not on the idea of exercising power of employees in an arbitrary fashion. Be willing to answer employee questions. As a small business owner, you realize that your employees work for you, but you may not actively think about the fact that by steering the course of the organization that they work for you are responsible to them as well. Asking questions is generally a good sign among

Managing employees is not an easy feat, especially within the often hectic environment of a growing small business. However, it is precisely in this type of environment that the engagement levels of employees have the biggest overall impact on productivity, since with fewer staff and many different things that still need to be done, whether or not an employee can be counted on to get things done and stay accountable will have a disproportionate impact on the productivity of their peers and ultimately the entire organization. For this reason, cultivating employee engagement should be a high priority for business owners, with attention paid to the positive and negative effects of encouragement on each member of staff. Give feedback. This is an often stated staple of management technique, however in a small business context where communications are generally quite fluid and occur regularly regardless, business owners may not feel that there is a need to give feedback within the thick of business operations. However, this discounts the

Management is one of the most important and versatile skills that small business owners need to cultivate in order to keep things moving in the right direction in all aspects of their business. Among the many benefits of positive management technique is the ability to inspire others with the message and branding of your business, allowing them to take the reach that you would otherwise have and stretch it out over a much larger base of viewers. Ensure that employees understand where they fit in to the larger picture of your business. Unhappy employees are often employees who simply don’t understand what they should be doing. This can also lead to employee disputes that break the morale of everyone involved and put a mental strain on even those who are not part of the spat. Make the time to check in with your managers on a regular basis, but remember that micro-management is not a solution either. Instead, small business owners should aim for a happy

School is out for the Summer for many College students across the country, and a large number of them are either currently interning or searching for an internship to gain valuable skills and experience they can take back to school with them in the Fall. There are many benefits to having an internship program, for both business owners and for the interns themselves, so if your business is looking for some extra help with entry level tasks, it can be a good idea to take advantage of the flood of college age talent returning home over the Summer looking for something productive to do. Should you choose to bring on some interns, as a courtesy to them (and to ensure that you can get some new ones next year) here are a few things that you should take care of in order to make everyone’s experience a positive one. Make sure they understand the compensation you are offering. Interns are able to either work for a

The wide potential reach of content that is put up on social media can be something of a double edged sword for small business owners. On the one hand, it can trumpet their success far beyond what was possible before the advent of the internet age, but on the other it creates many more opportunities for negative attention in the form of bad reviews, posts that have unintended consequences and also employees misrepresenting their brand. It is the latter issue that has many business owners worried enough to check on their employees social media accounts, or even screen using social media before making a hiring decision. Depending on the type of position that the employee would be occupying, there are different levels of what constitutes appropriate behavior, but in general business owners should take steps to prevent inappropriate social media activity provided that it reflects poorly on their brand. Having a social media policy in place that is clearly understood and fairly defined can help

In the course of running a small business, you are extremely lucky if you never have a bad employee experience. That being said, bad employees are a lot of the time good employees with bad habits, and throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, may not be the best answer for every infraction. Knowing what classic signs of bad behavior are is important, but it’s also important to be able to differentiate between an unfixable problem and something arising from a lack of coaching. Here are three simple suggestions that you can use to check up on an employee with an issue and diagnose what the appropriate action should be for dealing with them. Ensure they have the resources they need to be productive. A lot of the time employees who appear to be slacking are just not sure what they are supposed to be doing, or lack a tool that can enable them to be efficient. It may be that they are

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