Grow your business – and your hiring practices, too

Once you’ve been managing your small business for a few years and you’ve enjoyed a period of steady growth, you may begin to feel a thirst to move on to bigger and better things. You begin to crave a wider reach, more customers and ultimately more profit.

The ascent from small business to large enterprise is by no means an overnight change, but you can take calculated steps toward growing your business and reaching new heights. One important step in this process is changing your hiring process.

When you run a small boutique, recruiting and hiring new workers is a simple matter. You can put a sign in the window or an ad on Craigslist to say you’re hiring, collect a few resumes, conduct a few interviews and before you know it, you’ve made a hire. By accumulating employees one at a time, you can slowly and steadily build a workforce.

Past a certain point, however, “one at a time” is no longer enough. Once your business grows from a mom-and-pop shop to a larger corporation, you need more advanced hiring practices to bring in qualified candidates quickly and efficiently.

Entrepreneur Magazine explained that far too many leaders of mid-sized companies fail to grasp this concept quickly enough, and it ends up hurting them in the long run. The magazine profiled Ryan Holmes, a young businessman who founded a company to market HootSuite, a social media management tool for businesses. His Vancouver-based enterprise had just 30 employees in the early days, but within three years his workforce grew tenfold. Once he had 300 people under his roof, he knew he had to change his ways.

“The primary challenge of the past few years was our insatiable appetite for more talent,” Holmes told the magazine. “We always need more engineers, more salespeople, more marketers – and it becomes a relentless pursuit that you spend all of your time on. When you’re a 30-person firm, there’s no rules. Everybody is just hustling. When you have 300 people, you need systems in place.”

Enacting systems to employ more people, more quickly can be a challenging endeavor. Here are a few tips on making it work.

Shift responsibilities to hiring managers
Holmes’ thesis is simple: If you’re not a small startup anymore, then why are you still hiring like one? In order to become a bigger company, you have to think bigger in recruiting, and the primary difference is this: At a small business, the CEO can be fully invested in recruiting and hiring, because openings are few and far between. At a large corporation, top executives don’t have time for that, so they shift responsibilities to hiring managers instead. This is a very important step in the process. By hiring more personnel in the specific field of recruiting, you can strengthen your hiring process and free up more time for yourself and other top executives to focus on more important tasks.

Recruit harder
Putting up that “Now Hiring” sign in the window worked well when you had three employees and were looking for a fourth. With a big company, though, you have to be more aggressive. Use as many social media sites as possible to maintain an active presence in the professional world. Recruit at top universities that are brimming with young talent. Don’t wait for applicants to come to you anymore – go out there and actively seek out people who can help your business.

Incorporate more technology
Social media sites are just one way to become more tech-savvy in the recruiting realm. Be creative and look for more. Here’s one idea: By using video conferencing software, you can interview more people in a face-to-face manner, all without wasting time or money on unnecessary travel. Think outside the box and find ways to use more technological solutions in recruiting for your company.

Improve the interview process
In order to ensure that you have the best candidates possible, you want to make your interviews as insightful as possible. Make sure you’re asking the right questions so that you can truly assess the qualifications of each applicant and determine specifically how they would fit into your office. Make sure you have the right people in the room to interview each candidate, too.

Be competitive
The key to job recruiting is to track down better talent than your competitors – after all, the best way to get ahead is with the best people. Make sure you’re recruiting better than your rivals. Do some sleuthing to figure out what they’re doing wrong – recruiting ineffectively, choosing the wrong people, offering insufficient salaries – and make sure you outdo them. Sometimes it takes a cutthroat mentality to get ahead in business.


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