How to Find, Interview, and Hire Employees for a Small Business

Four Parts:Preparing to Hire Potential EmployeesFinding Employees to HireInterviewing Potential EmployeesDeciding to Hire an Employee

Having talented employees could make all the difference in regards to being a successful small business. As a small business owner, the hiring process may seem difficult and time consuming as most of the managerial duties falls on your shoulders. However, if you efficiently invest the right amount of time and effort into hiring employees, chances are you will find great employees that will help your small business grow.

Part 1
Preparing to Hire Potential Employees

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    Apply for an employer identification number (EIN). This identification number is needed for the IRS to collect all salary and tax information for your employees. Contact the IRS and request the form SS-4, or find the downloadable version here.
    • This step only applies if you have yet to hire any employees.
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    Create a method to keep track of all employee salary and tax records. A bookkeeper can help you follow state and federal laws regarding employee accounting, but you can also do this yourself if you have the time.
    • A good method of keeping employee salary and tax records is by using an online system (such as Paylocity). Using these types of systems makes the process automatic and allows you to access all employee salary and tax information if needed. In addition, it is good to keep a paper backup of all important files in case a problem arises with the service.
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    Be sure to give all new potential employees a W-4 Form to fill out. This form allows you to withhold tax from the employee and submit it to the government. In addition, you will need to submit a W-2 Form for each employee. If you have a bookkeeper hired, they will handle this.
    • Using an online system makes this process much easier as you can submit these forms directly to the payment and tax processes.
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    Make sure the employer is allowed to work. Be sure to have all employees fill out a I-9 Form to confirm their eligible working status regarding immigration and age laws. In addition, be sure to request all supplementary evidence listed on the form, such as an employee's driver's license, a U.S. passport, or an employee's green card.
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    Report new hires to your state as soon as possible using this helpful website.
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    Apply for worker's compensation insurance. All employers need this insurance before hiring employees, and some states have programs that you can join. In addition, several well known insurance companies offer worker's compensation insurance.

Part 2
Finding Employees to Hire

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    Make a concrete list of which positions you need filled. This list should be ranked in terms of importance to the business.
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    Write a job description for each position on the list. Be sure to make these descriptions include all responsibilities of the job as well as the business' goals and expectations from the employee.
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    Ask your current employees, or your personal networks to recommend their friends or family for positions. If someone you trust is willing to vouch for a potential employee, they should be a candidate to consider. Try not to allow your personal relationships affect who you choose to hire in the end, since that can cloud your judgement and make you choose your friend or family over a more worthy candidate.
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    Post job advertisements. Posting job advertisements on job search websites, the newspaper, or anywhere else is a good step in attracting a high quantity of potential employees. Also, post job advertisements in local posting areas. This includes Craigslist as well.

Part 3
Interviewing Potential Employees

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    Start by explaining your business' goals and customs. This will help your potential employee answer any questions you give them with the business' goals in mind. Also, this allows you and the potential employee to be on the same page mentally. After explaining your goals, ask the candidate how they can help the business achieve its goals.
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    Create and ask questions based on specific events your business has experienced. Ask the potential employee how they would handle the event. This will allow you to get a better feel for how the candidate will respond to common workplace problems and stresses.
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    Create and ask questions based on your potential employee's professional life. Ask them to explain a time when they handled an issue at work. Go on to ask how they handled disagreements between coworkers and even their past bosses.
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    List and address specific skills required for the job position. Choose a small number of specific and essential skills needed for the job position. Ask questions regarding these skills in terms of the potential employees value and competence.

Part 4
Deciding to Hire an Employee

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    Review employees based on their interview. If possible, record the interview (let the potential employee know about the recording beforehand). Listen to the recording without looking at the name of the employee. Try to be as unbiased as possible.
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    Call the references offered by the employee, as well as qualifications they listed. Professional references will tell you how the employee acts in a work setting, while personal references will tell you about the employee's personality. Also, be sure to verify that the employee did not lie during the interview. Ask to see their degree, or call a past job asking about how long they worked there.
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    Don't second guess yourself. If you feel as if an employee is a good or bad choice based on the interview, try not to second guess yourself. Usually your gut feeling about a person is right, so if you have exhausted all other options and still can't decide between two employees, go with your gut.


  • Sometimes offering a trial period can help you assess if an employee is good enough to keep.

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Categories: Work World