More and more small businesses are popping up due to the economic downturn. People are realizing that they need to become more reliant on themselves to be gainfully employed. As these startup businesses increase, there will be some challenges that must be considered.
One of many challenges will possibly be in hiring a strong and stable group of employees. The reality is that you will probably not be able to compete with larger employers that offer higher salaries; benefit packages; stock options; flexible work-weeks, etc. For a while, folks are going to try to hold out for these positions and may very well turn you down.
So, what do you do? What can you offer?
Here’s an example of a struggle you could face . . .you know that you need a front line person that can be an office receptionist; do payroll; do your business accounting; as well as being a customer sales-person and an office administrator. You need the person to be dependable, have a certain level of maturity, have excellent computer and math skills – you want 3 – 5 years solid business experience – but – and this is a big but – you can only pay them slightly more than minimum wage and you can’t offer any benefits.
What? You’re kidding me? They aren’t busting down your door to get in?
Here is a possible solution to think about.
If you are passionate about what you do and you can find folks who share your passion, you may find that money isn’t what motivates them entirely; however, you need to be realistic about whom you can and will attract.
You may be able to find someone willing to grow with your company but that means you need to sell the company image, your hopes and dreams and help create the desire for people to want to work there. You may need to seriously consider someone who has the ability and attitude to do the work but that may possibly need some training. There are many pluses to this route. You get to train the individual to be who you need them to be. You get energy and you get a willingness to learn.
For the small business owner, it is imperative that you hire the right fit! Skills are absolutely essential, to a degree, but perhaps not to the level you initially believed.
I recently worked with a client with exactly this problem. At first, the client didn’t want to give up on getting the skills he wanted. He was adamant that he could get the job filled. After reviewing almost 100 applications, we had it narrowed down to the top 5. Of those 5, 3 turned down the job immediately because of the salary. One did not pass the aptitude test and the last one backed out on the day of the interview stating that after thinking about the commute and the salary, she was going to decline the interview.
We went back over the resumes we had collected overall and there were a number of folks I thought could work well but alas, they did not have the ‘required skills’.
I asked the client to explain what his ideal candidate would look like if the skills could be taught. In doing so, I helped him realize that the ideal person would have his passion and drive for the business itself.
In the end, we found someone who is probably going to be a perfect fit! Did she have everything he initially wanted – no – but was she willing to learn? Did she have enough skills that we could build on them? Did she believe as he did, that the business was a good one and there was some excitement about building the business? Absolutely!
So, as a small business owner, consider someone that may be in your price range and has the right attitude. Basic skills may really be what you need and can realistically afford. Letting someone grow with your business has its benefits as well.
Related to Hiring for the Small Employer:
- Surviving an Economic Downturn: Creative Alternatives to Layoffs
- How to Identify What Motivates Your Employees
- The Importance of Corporate Culture and Fit to Employee Success