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The 3 Biggest Small Business Hiring Challenges

Companies of all stripes and sizes have difficulties finding qualified, motivated employees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says, as of their latest data, that there are 6.7 million job openings in the U.S. right now – but only 6.4 million people to fill those gaps.

But small businesses have far more hiring challenges than their larger brethren, mostly related to their size. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome some of the biggest problems in bringing on new hires.

3 Small Business Hiring Challenges Solved!

1. Finding People: The first hurdle is the most obvious: You have to get your company in front of job seekers. And not just any job seekers – you need to reach people who are actually fit for the job and want to be there. Trying to find the best candidate in a group of qualified applicants is difficult enough; it’s so much more time-consuming to also have to filter out dozens of people who simply have no chance of making the cut.

Our first piece of advice? Be specific. Whether you’re listing your job on LinkedIn or Glassdoor, or putting an ad in the local paper, you want to be very clear about the requirements for application and responsibilities for the job are. It’s one thing to simply post that you’re looking for a web designer. It’s another to say you’re looking for a web designer who must be proficient in certain apps and software, and have at least five years of experience in the field. If you’re especially concerned with keeping out unqualified candidates, plainly state that people who don’t meet the requirements simply won’t be considered (and stick to that rule when screening applications).

Also, it helps to network. By becoming familiar with people who work in your industry and related fields, you might one day come across a person who does what you need – and knows the business well enough to adapt to your company.

2. Stacking Up Against the Competition: As a small company, chances are you will struggle to compete against bigger companies on a number of levels – salary, perks, prestige of the job and the resume-building power of a larger company.

So … what can you offer?

First off, you can try to the level the playing field by offering some of what the bigger companies do. For instance, while it might be difficult for your small business to offer a 401(k), several other types of retirement plans are a bit more accessible – and that will go a long way toward demonstrating that your business is established and cares about its employees’ futures.

You also can use your business’ size to your advantage. Some prospective employees relish the opportunity to wear multiple hates and spread their wings. And there are few better places to do that than a small business, where there are plenty of tasks and rarely ever enough man-hours to get them all done. In fact, small businesses have an advantage in that respect, as larger companies that have numerous workers for any given specific task are going to be much likelier to pigeonhole new employees.

You also have the ability to do a little resume-dressing of your own. If you’re making your first cybersecurity hire, for instance, there’s nothing stopping you from bestowing the title of “Executive Director of Cybersecurity” or “Chief Cybersecurity Officer” on your newest team member. It’s a small thing, but it could help tip the scales in your favor.

3. Inexperience: If your small business has precisely zero employees, chances are awfully high that – unless you were a manager in a previous job – you’ve never made a hire before. That’s OK. It just means that you don’t have experience with hiring, which comes with a boat load of potential problems, big and small.

For instance, you may never have posted a job on LinkedIn, which will take time to figure out and perfect. You probably have never evaluated potential personnel, either, and chances are that new-employee paperwork and tax forms aren’t in your background, either.

You can find a few tips on growing your small business team online, but if you think you’re more than a few pieces of advice away from being a skilled hirer, we suggest you tap into the collective brainpower at McManamon & Co.

We are a full-service accounting firm for small and mid-size businesses, and our general consulting services cover a wide range of disciplines, including providing advice on recruiting and evaluating new personnel.

Every hire should be a step forward for any company. But for small businesses with just a handful of employees, the successes (or mistakes) of any hire are magnified. Get it right. Call us at 440.892.9088 or contact us online to get a firm grasp on how to make the most of each new recruit.


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