4 Biggest Fails in Recruitment of Small Businesses (with Solutions!)

Small businesses generally don’t have unlimited resources and time to waste on recruitment mistakes. Hiring costs an average of $4,169. It should also be mentioned that replacing someone costs even more: an average of 6 to 9 months of that employee’s salary! For a manager making $40,000 a year, that’s $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses.

Bad hires are avoidable money pits. The CEO of Zappos estimated about $100 million in initial company losses due to wrong fits. How do you avoid this? Below are the worst things you can do for your small business recruitment and solutions to prevent them.

Hiring mistakes - funny cartoon

1. Hiring purely based on skill set

Your first instinct may be to hire the “superstar” candidate that has confidence and a stellar resume. However, avoiding a toxic worker provides more benefit than finding and retaining a superstar! An overconfident personality can be easily misconstrued as positive, but may very well lead to hiring someone with skills but no culture fit. A toxic employee can hinder the productivity of your business. No company needs this, especially small businesses!

Solution: Define the ideal hire beforehand, focusing on skill set and values/goals/personality, simultaneously! Use a survey to screen for make-or-break answers early on in the application process. Constantly optimize the hiring process in order to hire the best fit for your company, even as your hiring needs change and grow.

2. “Posting and praying”

This method may only work if your small business has scaled into an internationally recognized brand, and even then, it’s not the best method. Slapping a job posting up on a job board (or even several job boards) and waiting for applicants to roll in just isn’t going to work. There is no guarantee that your post will be viewed by the right candidates and no option to track who views the job posting. You want to track the efficacy of your sources in order to use your budget and resources wisely in the future.

Solution: Continue to post on relevant job boards, but reach out to passive candidates, as well. Make sure that your employer brand properly showcases what you stand for as an employer, as well as what you can offer candidates professionally. Social media is a tremendous place to boost job ads, targeting certain demographics and tracking who is interacting with your ad.

3. Using old, clunky systems

Organization is synonymous with sanity in the hiring process. Small businesses may fall into the trap of thinking that there are only a few options for talent management out there. Keeping candidate information in an unsafe or disorganized place can cause you to miss out on the right hire. There is also the misconception that it costs a lot to purchase hiring software and that only large corporations benefit from doing so. Furthermore, the candidate experience may be thwarted by using clunky systems. A long hiring process with redundant procedures can scare good candidates away.

Solution: Explore your options for a modernized, user-friendly ATS (Applicant Tracking System). Outline your budget, hiring needs, and preferred features before your search. Capterra’s list of the best ATS is a great place to compare systems side by side to get the most affordable, secure, and easy-to-use system for your small business.

Making hiring mistakes
photo credit: Mark Lee / Flickr

4. Hiring quickly leads to firing quickly

Even when using the right streamlining software, small businesses can make the mistake of putting too much pressure on the HR department during the hiring process. Deadlines approaching and an empty chair to fill can lead hiring personnel to make hasty decisions. Rushed processes are normally not the most efficient, and it’s no different when making a new hire. The HR team may experience burnout and make hiring decisions that lead to quick firing decisions. High turnover rate then negatively impacts employer brand.

Solution: Collaborate! Hiring as a team has several benefits: different perspectives, increased employee morale, hires that are better fits, less bias, and less burnout from putting pressure on just the HR personnel. Build rapport all year round and keep potential candidates in talent pools for quick outreach later. This way, you won’t be pressured to find quality talent in a short amount of time, because you will have a resource to tap from.

Practical Application for your Small Business

This may seem like daunting information to take in and process, but once you get started, it’s worth it to craft your recruitment strategy! In order to avoid major, destructive hiring behaviors, ensure that your small business does the following: hire for skills and cultural fit, target passive and active candidates, find the right software to streamline areas of the process, and work together to hire the best candidates for your team.

Remember that your small business needs to establish employer brand, working from the inside out. Foster a work environment that talent will want to join, and everything else will fall into place.