How to Hire: An OPEN Forum Guide

It’s difficult to get excited about the hiring process and hard to be confident in your choices. This guide eases the hiring pain.
Editor, Editors
June 16, 2011

Open Forum presents a guide for small business owners on how to hire employees. This guide eases the hiring pain. Endless resumes, awkward interviews, hires gone wrong…it’s difficult to get excited about the hiring process, and even harder to be confident in your choices if you’ve had the displeasure of dealing with a disaster employee. But fret not—OPEN Forum experts are here to teach you how to hire. We'll help make hiring painless and ensure that you end up with top talent.

Take Your Time

“Not being adequately prepared to bring an employee aboard can lead to problems, which will create a high turnover rate. And a high turnover rate is money out of your pocket—to the tune of about 15 percent of the person’s first-year salary,” explains Mike Michalowicz. Make sure to plan precisely what you need out of the position you’re looking to hire, set realistic expectations and take time choosing a candidate that fits the bill—all part of preparing to hire your first employee.

Convey What You Want

“As the demand for highly specialized digital talent increases in coming years, it will be even more important for companies to convey their wants, needs and culture through their websites and other digital touch points—job descriptions are no exception,” writes Erica Swallow. To ensure you end up with the right fit, make sure to focus on the specific details of the position, make sure to publicize the perks and be as transparent as possible. This is how you write a standout job description.

It’s About More Than Asking Questions

“Interviews are a mainstay of the hiring process. They provide a way to get to know an applicant, but they don't say much about how well the candidate will perform, nor how he or she will fit in with you and the rest of the team,” says Thursday Bram. Shake things up by assigning the prospective employee a trial project, or even challenging them to a game of chess. Taking an interviewee out of their element will help show their true colors.

Focus On The…Negative

When you start a business, it’s difficult to know what to look for in a good hire. “I learned the hard way that the last thing you want to do is hire people who aren’t 100 percent sure that they want to work for you or 100 percent clear on what they’re getting themselves into,” says Ben Lerer, CEO of Thrillist. To make sure potential hires are as invested as you are, try to convince them not to take the job, explaining how much work and pressure goes along with the position. Those who are still interested are the ones who will be successful.

Get The Most Bang For Your Buck

Companies are slowly beginning to lift their hiring freezes, but that may not work to the advantage of small businesses since larger corporations will be able to lure employees with high salaries. “Instead of trying to beat large employers at their own game, small companies can stand out by offering innovative benefits and perks that suit their workers’ individual needs,” suggests Judith Aquino. Consider offering flexible hours, giving employees stakes in your company, and providing extra vacation days (which actually increases productivity).

Maintaining Your Authority

Hiring older employees can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be, says Danielle and Jodie Snyder, the founders of DANNIJO.  “Age is really irrelevant. So many entrepreneurs are so young and I think it’s just a matter of confidence and knowing that you know your business,” says Danielle. “You just need to know that you’re the boss and be able to communicate with them effectively.” Watch more of the sisters' advice in this msnbc Your Business video.