Hiring employees, or even contractors for one-time jobs, can be a bit of a time sink for small business owners. Whether you're expanding your workforce to 2, 10, or 20 people, or just hiring a consultant to build your web site or implement a new marketing plan, small businesses don't have the luxury of a dedicated human resources department or recruiting managers, so owners generally have to take on those roles themselves. The process of finding and evaluating potential employees can be a real drain on your time and resources. Thankfully, there are a handful of web tools that can be used to help alleviate your hiring headaches.
There is certainly no shortage of qualified candidates for almost any job in today's economy, but reaching the right people can remain something of an issue. The traditional method of classified and job board advertising is still used, but it has shifted to the web. There are so many different job listing and niche job board sites, that figuring out which will send the best potential candidates is a trial and error process. You can use an application like JobScore to post to multiple job boards at once in order to save time. Or, if you want to figure out which job posting sites are most worth your time, you should start by creating a special landing page on your web site with instructions for applicants on how to apply for the specific open position. Then use a site like Bit.ly to create a unique forwarding URL for each job board on which you post your recruiting ad and keep track of which ads send you the most traffic. Ask applicants during the interview stage where they heard about your job and combine that data with the traffic information from your Bit.ly links to figure out which job boards are most worth your time (and money) in the future.
It's a good idea to give prospective employees as much information as possible about the open job, what your company believes in, what you're looking for in a new employee, and what sort of working conditions new employees can expect. By giving potential applicants details about what to expect and what you're looking for, you'll cut down on applications from people that are clearly not a fit for your company and just a waste of your time. The best way to impart that information is through a custom hiring hub for your business. Building such a hub doesn't necessarily mean you need to have an IT department. Services like StandoutJobs and SmartRecruiters, which is actually free, offer custom, branded recruiting pages and applicant tracking capabilities (the previously mentioned JobScore also offers custom hiring hubs). By utilizing these services you can give your small business a jobs page that imparts valuable information to prospective hires.
Also remember that many times the best employees come via recommendation. So be sure to put out a call to your peers to let them know that you're hiring. Post your job to Twitter and LinkedIn using custom Bit.ly links to track where referrals are coming from.
A single job listing on Craigslist can result in tens or even hundreds of applications. Sorting through that many resumes and cover letters can be an extremely time consuming chore, and that's time better spent focusing on other aspects of your business. Choosy is a web-based application that simplifies your hiring workflow by allowing you to sort through and view resumes online, reject applicants or schedule follow-up activities (such as interviews), and log all of your actions and notes surrounding each candidate. The Resumator is a similar web-based product that lets you track applicants, and will also suggest job boards to post to, and allow you to create a full, branded careers site (similar to StandoutJobs or SmartRecruiters).
Sometimes just a resume and cover letter isn't enough to go on to properly screen applicants. If you still find yourself buried under a pile of seemingly qualified applications, you can use VoiceScreener to create recorded phone interviews and get a better feel for the candidates you're considering by listening to them answer your question. InterviewStream offers a similar service for video interviews.
Once you've whittled down your list to a handful of top-tier candidates, it's time to actually set up phone or face-to-face interviews in order to find the candidate who will be the best fit at your small business, or will be able to best accomplish the job you need done. Use Tungle, which is a handy scheduling application that lets you specify when you're free and then asks the job applicant to pick a good time from among the free times you've suggested for a meeting, to set up interviews. The app then automatically confirms the meeting with both parties and syncs with popular calendar apps like Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook.