How to Find, Interview, Hire, & Onboard Employees

Congratulations! You’re ready to hire employees.

But that’s easier said than done. How do you find the best people? And once you’ve found them, how do you convince them to come work for you?

These are exhausting questions, especially when you need relief now. In this post, I’ll discuss how to find, interview, hire, & onboard employees at a small business or startup.

Step 1. Find Employees

You want the best people, but how to find them? Many of the best people already have jobs they’re happy with, and it can be difficult to find people with the skills you need. Here are a few tips:

Start by asking connections.

Before paying big money to disseminate a job listing, ask around. Some of your friends and acquaintances might know someone who’s perfect for the job, or they might surprise you and be interested themselves. Use LinkedIn, Twitter, and in person events to figure out if there’s someone out there that you already know. It’s always better to hire someone who’s been vouched for.

Write a good, accurate job description.

An accurate job description will help you find the people you want, so you need to craft it very carefully. Don’t be afraid to infuse the description with personality– you want to attract a candidate who will appreciate you and your company as you are.

The description should include:

  • Official job title
  • Overall purpose of the job
  • Summary of the job
  • List of tasks and responsibilities
  • Description of the role within the greater company
  • Information about benefits and company culture

Get a recruitment tool.

Recruitment software can help you keep your ducks in a row as the resumes come pouring in. I recommend Jobvite, which is a way to manage open jobs, track data, and keep everything orderly. Jobvite also has a huge audience, getting your postings more visibility. The tool also has a user-friendly dashboard where you can link anything (like Tweets and emails) to keep things centralized.

Look to job posting sites.

Job posting sites function as mini search engines, and they can get you in front of large audiences. Some sites are really expensive so try to go for the medium-priced ones that will reach as large an audience as possible for the money. Use industry specific sites– for example, a small tech company could use sites like VentureFizz (Boston area tech), StackOverflow, and ziprecruiter.

Go to them.

One of the biggest challenges is that the best employees are often employed elsewhere. They’re relatively happy, and they’re not looking for new jobs. Services like Poachable will connect you with workers who are open to leaving their current jobs for great opportunities. LinkedIn InMail services can be of use, as well as recruitment firms. The best way to find these people is through networking and existing connections, so get your fingers going and start writing emails.

Step 2. Interview Employees

Ah, now for the interview. If you don’t get an accurate reading of a candidate at this time, you could set yourself for disaster. Interviews are a good way to get to know who you’re hiring.

Key tip: Any trepidations you have during the interview will present themselves when the candidate is in the office. For example, if you think they’re smart, but not that clear about talking things through, that will be true when they’re working for you. You’ll have to decide if you can work with those challenges or not.

Start with a phone screen.

Don’t invite every person with a decent resume into the office. Start with a phone screen to see if they are a decent fit culture-wise and with their skill set. If possible, have an admin do initial phone screenings, and then do a second phone screen yourself. Phone screens can take a lot longer than you think, so budget your time carefully.

Invite candidates in for a tour and an interview.

Once people have passed the phone screen, invite them in for an office tour and an interview. Have them meet with a bunch of people from the team they’d be joining. Go slow. Let the candidate stick around the office for hours at a time, talking to as many people as possible. You want to make sure you’re making a good decision, and it’s as much about whether you’re a good fit for them as it is vice versa.

Ask good questions.

During the phone screen and in-person interview, ask good questions that get at the heart of the matter.

  • What was a challenge you encountered at your current job and how did you overcome it?
  • What do you envision for your career in ten years?
  • What was your favorite project you’ve worked on in your last job, and why?
  • Why do you want to work at this company?

The best answers come when you get specific, so ask how someone would react to certain scenarios. For example:

  • If a customer complained about our interface, what would you do with that feedback?
  • What is one project you’d want to get started on right away?
  • If you were tasked with improving our blog, what is the first thing you’d do? What would your strategy be?

Don’t be afraid to ask for assets.

If you’re hiring a writer, it makes sense to give them an assignment. If you’re hiring a key developer, it makes sense to ask them to do a short contract project before bringing them on. Many jobs require certain skills, and it’s appropriate for you to test these skills before making an offer.

Step 3. Hire Employees

Congrats– you’ve found people you want to hire. Now you have to think about salary, benefits, and how to present your offer.

When it comes to compensation, it’s a lot about offering candidates a fair salary and not lowballing them, but knowing what you can offer financially and leveraging whatever culture and benefits you have. Many small businesses can’t offer the same salaries as Amazon, which is fine. These companies can sell things they do have, such as flexibility and other special perks.

Make sure to contact referrals and do background checks. Sometimes people are good salespeople, but not so great at actually getting things done.

Key tip: Don’t trust your gut when choosing a hire. More than 40 percent of resumes include inflated information. Get background checks and be sure to call referrals.

Step 4. Onboard Employees

It’s not over once you’ve hired someone. In order to make employees happy, you’re going to have to effectively introduce them to your business. Here’s how to do that:

Create a unified process.

The first day of a new job is extremely stressful, but you can do a lot to combat your new hire’s anxiety. Have a unified process so every new hire goes through the same thing. Make your process formal by writing down each step. Consider technology, benefits, forms, and introducing your new team member to the rest of the clan. Even things like team lunches should be included in this plan. A unified process ensures that no one is forgotten or neglected during this tender time.

Write a handbook.

A handbook can help unify your onboarding process, and get new employees up to speed without your constant attention. Employees can use the handbook to get answers to questions they’re afraid to ask. The handbook should include:

  • Company policies
  • Benefits information
  • Company mission statement
  • Local hot spots such as shopping centers and restaurants
  • FAQs from staff and employees
  • A “Who’s who”

Stay organized.

Make sure you are super organized for a new hire’s first day. It’s a huge turn off to start a job and feel like the company just doesn’t have it together. The first day is a chance for you to make an impression, and you need to do it right. Organization will help a lot.

Make sure they’re not alone.

Nothing is worse than coming to a new job and feeling lonely and confused. Don’t let this happen to your new hire! Make sure to designate some people to help guide your new hire along, and schedule a lunch or welcome event for the entire team. The first day will dictate your new employee’s experience at your company, so be deliberate!

Get the help you need

Finding, hiring, and onboarding new employees is challenging, but it’s do-able. Please share your challenges in hiring in the comments– we want to know!

How to Find, Interview, Hire, & Onboard Employees