The key to running any successful business is having good staff behind you and it is imperative to get the recruitment process right. If you are a small business, you may have never hired before and the thought of recruitment may seem a little daunting; you might not know where to start. It may be even more challenging if you are a one-man (or woman) band and you don’t have any previous knowledge of recruiting staff. This guide is designed to help you through the process, so you know exactly what steps to take and how to deal with any challenges along the way. Recruitment is never the simplest task, but if you get it right, it can really help your business to grow.

Understanding your needs

The first step of the recruitment process is to understand exactly what you need. How will the new person fit into your business and what will they do on a day to day basis to help your business grow? As a small business or a start up, there are usually key areas which take up a lot of time, such as administration or marketing, and it may be useful to recruit someone to help ease the pressure. It is important to have a job description ready before you start recruiting, including day to day tasks, salary and benefits. It may take a bit of time to create a job description, but if you do this, it will make recruitment a lot easier and more successful.

Create advert

In addition to the job description, you will also need an advert. The advert can just be derived from the job description, but written in a short, snappy and compelling way to attract candidates. Your advert should state what the job entails, without going into as much detail as you would with the job description, the salary, and any benefits. It is important to talk a little about the company and the culture, as these are all factors which combine to determine whether someone will apply or not.

Advertise job

It is now time to think about where you want to advertise your job. As a start up or small business, you will probably be on a tight budget, so you may want to choose from free resources or those which don’t cost too much. It is a good idea to use at least two advertising methods. You may want to advertise on a job board, such as Indeed, where you can advertise for free or spend a small amount to get a sponsored add and boost your vacancy. It is worthwhile using social media to find candidates too and this can also be free, or you might want to spend a little on advertising. LinkedIn is a great social media tool for sourcing candidates as it’s a professional network. You may also want to consider using social media to do your own headhunting to reach passive candidates as well as active if you have the time. Your advert should have a clear closing date stated on it.

Screening candidates

You should try to screen candidates one or two days after the closing date, so you don’t leave them waiting too long for a response. Candidates should be screened against the criteria of the job description and those who tick the most boxes can be invited to interview. There is no need to interview any more than about five candidates, but you can really interview as little as two. Ideally, the interview will be conducted by two people, but small businesses may only have the option of one person. The main points to remember about the interview is that it should be an open conversation, so avoid ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions and you should give the candidate plenty of opportunity to ask their own questions. The questions should not be personal or discriminatory in any way and you should be clear about the process after the interview, including when they can expect to hear back.

Job offer

You should aim to make an offer to your chosen candidate within a few days of the interview. A contract should be drawn up, stating the terms and conditions of the offer, including the start date, probation period etc. The contract is legally binding, so get this looked over by a legal person or if you have no experience in this area, enlist the help of someone to create it too.