Small Business Hiring: Where do I Start?

Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and their success is vital for economic growth and prosperity. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, about half of small businesses survive five years or longer and only one-third survive 10 years or longer.* With these unsettling numbers, it is important that you take the necessary steps to keep your small business operating successfully. One important strategy that is often overlooked is hiring a diverse workforce. Hiring employees who don’t look, think or act like you could make your business more competitive. Follow these six tips to ensure you hire people who are the right fit for your business:


1. Know what you’re looking for.

Before the hiring process, evaluate the professional relationships in your life. What characteristics do you respect in coworkers? Make a list of qualities that work well for the role. Having clear expectations can help reduce confusion in the hiring process.


2. Find an employee who can wear many hats.

Let’s face it, as a small business, you are different. Candidates may have specializations in extremely specific roles. For you, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of having someone with a specific set of skills versus a wide range of experience.


3. Determine your team players.

Ask candidates about their professional goals and previous coworkers. Do they talk about them in a positive way? Another way to determine if someone is a team player is by asking about previous accomplishments. Listen for the “we” statements. Team players will talk about how they worked together to achieve goals and many non-team players will stick with mostly “I” statements.


4. Have a presence in the community.

The best way to attract employees who share your passion is for them to see you in the community. Anyone can tweet or post on social media about how great they are (which does help) but it truly means something when you establish relationships with people in real life.


5. Ask relevant questions and LISTEN.

It can be easy for you and the interviewee to talk in circles. Take responsibility and be prepared for questions and potential responses you are looking for. Here are a few examples of questions to determine an authentic candidate:

  • How did you learn about the position?
  • What was your favorite aspects of your previous (or current) job?
  • What did you like least?
  • What characteristics do you look for in an employer?


6. Protect your employees.

Your employees are your company’s most valuable assets; make sure you are both protected if there is an emergency or sticky situation. You can do this through background checks, proper training, and being prepared with workers’ compensation and employment practices liability insurance coverages.


Have more questions? Let us know, we are happy to assist you. Good luck and congratulations as you take this step for your small business!



*Statistic based on a report from the U.S. Small Business Administration published in the August 2018 newsletter.

Filed under Small Business
Amy Gehlhar, PHR

Amy Gehlhar, PHR

Human Resources Business Partner

Amy Gehlhar is a Human Resources Business Partner at GuideOne, providing business unit support to the Claims, Corporate Services, Finance, GC3, Information Technology and Legal departments.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Augustana University, holds her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) designation and has pursued excellence throughout her career in the areas of Talent Acquisition, Employee Relations and Workforce Planning. She aims to empower organizations to achieve their goals and enjoys working through complex situations with others to find the solutions they need. When not at work, Amy loves spending time with her family and close friends, quiet afternoons at home and going on new adventures.

© 2022 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.