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What to Avoid When Hiring For Your Small Business

Hiring the right team members for your small business can be one of the most important actions you take as a small business owner. Being confident in your hiring ability comes from the understanding what human resources you need as well as the procedures you have in place at work. These procedures may include workflow expectations, interpersonal skills, and the on boarding process including training and development. Avoiding the following four items will enhance the chances of hiring the best person for the job.

Rush Into the Hiring Process

When you begin hiring employees, it is best that you have taken care of all of the legal requirements first. Employers that rush into the hiring process can find themselves in legal or tax jeopardy very quickly by not taking the necessary steps. Though it may slow down the process a bit, it may be in your best interest to participate in a training and development program that focuses on employment. In the event this is not an option, the Small Business Administration provides some steps that may be necessary in your state. In addition to these steps, having a checklist of items that need to be done with each hire will help you keep on task and help insure that all employees receive the same information.

Incomplete Job Description

Before accepting applications or advertising a position, it is best to have a complete, detailed job description for applicants to review prior to submitting the application. This is fair to the applicant, but it also aids you as the hiring representative. Being clear on your expectations for the position allows you to review resumes and applications with the correct mindset. If the individual will be part of a team, it may be a good idea to talk with the other team members to get a feel for the actual environment and what skills will be needed.

Future employees need to know what might be expected of them if employed. By having a clearly thought out description, you put them in the best place to understand this. When hiring talent, it is important to show them that they will be working in an organized, professional environment. In the event the applicant has other offers of employment, this environment may attract the highest quality employee.

Trusting Your First Impression

Many times, we meet people and have an instant rapport with them. There may be an openness in the conversation or a familiarity with the same things that brings on the rapport. Regardless of this feeling, it is vital for small business owners or hiring managers to get beyond the first impression and continue with the evaluation to choose the most qualified individual for the position. Applicants come into the interview putting their best foot forward. If this is not backed up by adequate education and training, you put yourself in a precarious situation.

Not Checking References

Not checking references is an big mistake in hiring for your small business. Regardless of the first impression or the great resume, confirming the details submitted by the applicant increases the likelihood that they are as great as they seem to be. The Society of Human Resource Managers recommends that you use a standard form and questions for the reference check.

Reference check questions should be open-ended. They should solicit responses that tell you about the employee in relation to the job duties they will perform for your small business. You may inquire about the employee’s former job duties, the employee’s communication styles or if the employee is eligible for rehire. No matter the list that you use, it is important to keep the conversation on the job duties and to take care not to use any discriminatory language.

Expect Employees to Know Everything

Regardless of the work experience or education that the new employee has, it is unrealistic to expect your new employee to know your operation from day one. In most all situations, it is important to provide training and development for new employees. This can take the form of written guidance or person-to-person training. The important thing is to help the new employee become acclimated to the job as soon as possible. Included in this acclimation is the culture of the organization.


With employment laws and regulations as they are, establishing appropriate procedures and following them can protect the business from lawsuits and accusations of wrongdoing. Additionally, these procedures can aid in being sure that the best applicant is hired for the position.