If you’re a small business owner who wants to know how to hire employees, look no further. Maybe you have had some bad luck with past hires or maybe you are about to hire your first employee. Either way, this article is for you and we recommend bookmarking it so that you have easy access to our great, free hiring resources.
We will cover the entire hiring process from recruiting through the end of an employee’s tenure with you:
Let’s get started with the most intimidating part of how to hire employees – recruitment.
A lot of business owners dread the recruiting process because it takes a lot of time. We’re here to help you recruit faster and more efficiently, but we do want to emphasize how important the pre-recruitment phase is.
Creating a clear and concise job description for your open role, as well as an accurate job title, will save you a lot of time by attracting the right applicants to your role when you are finally ready to post your job online. Indeed offers a job title creator to ensure you get the most out of your listings.
Here’s a list of the top job posting sites and our buyer’s guide on where to advertise a job. As you can see, we recommend Indeed as a great place to post for small businesses. You also might want to think about sponsoring your post on Indeed in order to drive more traffic to it and quickly. If you are on a budget, you also can make the most of your free posting or your own careers website by checking out this article on how to get the most out of your Indeed postings. Get started on Indeed here with a free $50 credit to post your job.
And don’t just stop with posting your job on a job board as your only way for how to hire employees. We also have several other creative ideas for recruiting talent, as well as a bunch of recruitment strategies to get the candidate ball rolling.
If you have a business like a retail store or restaurant, you might get a lot of walk-in candidates who are looking for work, versus using a job posting. If so, you’ll want to instead have an accurate and clear employment application form to help you sift through the candidates.
If you are a well-established business and have been in the recruiting game for awhile, you might consider an all-in-one solution for your recruiting needs with Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) or Recruitment Software. An ATS lets you post jobs on multiple job boards, track high volumes of candidates, and track interview scheduling–all with a reasonable price tag. Recruitment software takes things a step further (and has a higher price tag)–most of these systems can also onboard your employees, post your role in more sophisticated ways, and let you build a candidate pipeline. If you’re ready for an ATS, we highly recommend Breezy HR.
We happen to also have two specific guides for popular roles that many small businesses recruit for:
- Administrative Assistant – The full guide to recruiting one, including a job description and interview questions
- Sales Coordinator – The full how-to on everything for hiring a Sales Coordinator from job description to interviewing and compensation
Once you are set for how you will find your candidates, you’ve got to talk to them, which brings us to our next stage: interviewing.
To recap, here are all the recruiting resources we linked in this section:
- How to write job description
- How to write an accurate job title
- Free employment application form
- Where to post your job online
- How to get the most out of your Indeed job posting
- Several other creative ideas to find employees
- Several recruitment strategies
- Best Applicant Tracking Software (ATS)
- Best recruitment software
- Administrative Assistant specific recruitment resources
- Sales Coordinator specific recruitment resources
Once qualified candidates begin applying for your open role(s), you need a process to get the candidates down your recruitment pipeline (from phone screening to interviewing to an offer or rejection) and whittle the good candidates from the bad ones. An ATS like Breezy HR or recruitment software can help a lot with this and keep you organized.
You also need to set up some time to interview them. We highly recommend phone screening any candidates before you bring them in for an in-person interview. Our phone screening guide has a free 5 minute phone screen template, a free 30 minute phone screen template, and over 50 questions you can ask candidates during a phone screen.
The biggest reason for doing phone screening is that, usually, in a 5-30 minute phone call, you will be able to tell a good candidate from a bad one. Get rid of the bad candidates with phone screens, and then use the in-person interview to hone in on the perfect candidate.
Once you have your top 3-5 candidates after the phone screens, you will then want to bring them in for in-person interviews. If you have never done in-person interviews before, you’ll definitely want to read up on how to give one.
Don’t get nervous if you’ve never done an interview before. We have sample questions for every kind of interview you can imagine. And if you are really nervous, we highly recommend giving a structured interview which makes things easier because it will hold you to the same questions for each candidate. This lets you compare candidates apples-to-apples, as well as keeps you from going off topic into weird places like politics.
Fit Small Business likes to do structured interviews ourselves, and we tend to use a lot of behavioral interview questions. What are those? Well, we have a great how-to guide on behavioral interviewing (with a free 10 question template) as well as our top 37 behavioral interview questions in a list post.
We also have a job rejection letter sample to inform candidates if they aren’t the right fit after talking to them on the phone screen or the in-person interview.
Now, after doing some interviews, let’s say you have found that uber-special candidate, and you are ready to hire them–awesome! The next step is to onboard your new employee.
To recap, here are all the interviewing resources we linked in this section:
- Everything about phone screening (with 2 free phone screen templates)
- A guide on how to interview someone
- 120 interview questions over 17 categories
- Structured interview guide & free template
- How-to guide on behavioral interviewing
- Top 37 behavioral interview questions
- Job rejection letter sample
- Why structured is better when it comes to interviews
The first step in onboarding a new employee is to provide them an official offer letter (template included). The offer letter is like a cover letter – high level, not too much detail, but the basic gist of everything including compensation.
Once they have verbally accepted the offer, you may want to have them sign an employment agreement/contract, depending on what industry you are in and the type of role. If this is for a salaried or management role, an employment agreement is fairly typical, but not so much for, say, a retail associate. That’s because the employment agreement usually details things like paid time off, benefits, and other things that hourly roles typically don’t provide. Depending on your business and the role your new hire has, you also might want to consider a confidentiality agreement when you officially start your new employee.
Now that your ace new hire has signed on the dotted line, you’ll want to get all your ducks in a row by collecting paperwork from them. Check out our handy new hire checklist for guidance on what paperwork you’ll need to get.
To sum it up, here’s a list of the employee onboarding resources we linked in this section:
- An official offer letter how-to and template
- An official employment agreement and template
- Information on confidentiality agreements
- A handy new hire checklist
- New Hire Onboarding Guide
It’s My First Employee- Help Me!
If this new employee is also your first employee, first off–congratulations! BEFORE your new hire’s first day, you need to figure out how you’re going to pay them, register them with the state, and more. We walk through everything in our how to do payroll article that’s geared towards first time employers.
Doing payroll manually is a pain, so we recommend getting software to make it easier on you. Payroll software is really affordable for the small business owner. You will want to check into our guide to finding the right payroll solution, and our payroll software buyer’s guide.
Some other things you will want to consider if it’s your first employee:
- Sample Employee Handbook
- Guide to Paid Time Off (and the policies around PTO)
- Providing Employee Benefits
Now that you have the right people on the bus, you want to keep them there. After all that effort you put in for how to hire employees, you certainly don’t want them to leave. Next, we’ll guide you to some great resources on employee retention.
Employee retention, which is the fancy HR way of saying keeping your employees yours and not having them quit on you, is a hot topic right now. Not only is recruiting expensive, but it’s also time-consuming. You really don’t want to start this whole process over because someone quit, do you? We didn’t think so.
So, how do you keep employees happy? Check out some pro tips about how to recognize their achievements, and sing their praises when appropriate.
Implementing a performance management system at your company, or purchasing a performance management software system, can be a great solution for you. Not only will it retain and engage your employees, but it also provides evidence and support if you need to go the other way and fire someone.
Here is a summary of our employee retention resources:
- Plenty of ideas for how to recognize employees
- How to implement a performance management system
- A guide on the top performance management software systems
Though we always hope to make the best hiring decisions, sometimes things simply do not work out. Be it for performance or behavior, sometimes you just have to fire someone. There is a right way for how to fire someone (and make sure that you are legally compliant).
If the situation was really unfortunate or perhaps up for interpretation, you might be wondering if you need to provide a severance package. Read up more on severance pay and severance agreements in our handy how-to article. Regardless of whether or not you provide severance, having an official termination letter is a good idea for having a documented piece of closure for the professional relationship.
Even when you fire someone, you might consider having an exit interview once tempers have cooled. If someone voluntarily leaves your business, we definitely recommend having an exit interview in order to learn more about how to improve your business.
To sum it up, here are all of the resources you might need if you need to let go of an employee:
- The guide on how to fire someone
- Severance pay and severance agreements (with a free severance agreement template)
- A guide on official termination letters and a free template
- How and when to give exit interviews
The Bottom Line
So, there you have it. A full guide of resources on how to hire employees that takes you from recruiting all the way through an employee’s time with you. Bookmark this page so that any time throughout the employee lifecycle you can come here and find what you need.