For small businesses, adding new team members is a big deal. Whether you’re hiring for a brand new position, or replacing an employee who’s leaving, the importance of choosing the right person can’t be overstated.

Hiring employees is an expensive and time-consuming process, and if you put the wrong person in the wrong position, you’ll essentially double, triple, quadruple (you see where I’m going with this?) your costs when you have to start the process again. Even worse, without a well-defined hiring strategy and vetting process, you could end up hiring someone who actually damages your brand and your business. 

Here are some hiring guidelines you can put into practice to give you the best chance of hiring the right person every time.

Choose Attitude Over Experience

Many times, companies hope to find a new hire that’s an exact skill match for the position. In general, that’s a much more expensive person to hire, and can also cause friction when trying to integrate that person into the team. Another option that’s especially great for small businesses is to hire an entry-level candidate who is eager to learn and grow within the position. You’ll be able to offer a lower salary to account for the lack of experience, and train them in exactly the skills and methods you want them to use in the position. The employee will receive valuable training and experience, as well as an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to grow with the company.

Take Your Time

When you decide to hire someone to fill a new position, or if someone is leaving the company, the urgency to fill the open spot can be very high, and it might be tempting to hire the first person who seems to check all the boxes, just to get someone in the role. This is a mistake. Be sure to take your time and interview enough candidates to find someone who is a good fit for both the position itself and your company as a whole. If you hire too quickly and choose someone who isn’t a good fit, it will cost you far more in the long run.

Use The Team

Though you should definitely meet with candidates one-on-one, expanding the hiring process to include other team members is a great way to see how potential new hires will fit in. You can introduce them to existing employees on a tour of your offices, or do a group-style interview where team members get the opportunity to ask questions and engage with the interviewees. Whatever style you choose, understanding how potential new hires interact with others is a critical component in hiring the right person. With this method, you’ll not only get to see how the candidate interacts with others, but you’ll also have the opportunity to get feedback on what the rest of the team thinks of any potential candidates. Giving more team members a voice in the hiring process makes them more invested in that person’s success when they’re hired.

Change It Up

The one-on-one interview has become commonplace enough that many candidates have practiced and perfected interviewing, so it’s almost more like a performance than a true conversation. If you want to get past that layer of polish, changing up the interview format is a great way to accomplish that. One way to accomplish that is to do an interview over lunch. Eating at a restaurant is a great way to see how a person interacts with others in a more natural setting. You can also do the interview as part of a tour of the facility, rather than a standard sit down meeting in a conference room. Changing up the traditional interview structure will give you a much better understanding of the real person and how they’ll interact with the rest of the team on a day-to-day basis.

Do Your Research

Even in today’s smartphone-centric, online world, many companies fail to do a basic online search that can reveal a lot about potential employees. What does the candidate choose to share with the world on their social media accounts? Is it fairly benign or are there things that could end up embarrassing your company? Sometimes, you’ll even find information about criminal activity or other major red flags with a simple search. Remember, your clients can easily Google your employees as well, so it’s important to understand how a potential candidate might reflect on your company online.

Whether your company is mostly back to business-as-usual, or your team is working remotely as a result of the pandemic, hiring the right person to fill an opening is critical to the success of any small business. The right employee can add exceptional value to your team, while the wrong one can cause problems that ripple throughout the organization. Follow these tips and you’ll have a much better chance of choosing the right person for the job every time.

What’s your favorite tip for hiring the best person for your small business? What’s the worst hiring decision you’ve ever made? Let us know in the comments below.