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With an uncertain economy still prevailing, small businesses learned several things in 2011, including an understanding of what works for them and how to adapt to the circumstances. Still, questions loom: Will the economy pick up? If so, should businesses begin building a full-time staff or is a seasonal team of employees the better way to go?
Whatever choice a company decides to make this year, with budgets continuing to be lean, employers are hoping to learn from their own hiring miscalculations and establish new recruiting practices in 2012. Below are six small-business tips for successful hiring this year:
1. Look Back to Go Forward -- Take a look at your past procedures and practices as they relate to recruiting. Know what worked and what didn't -- understand why. If you can't fix a process, throw it out. Developing a strategy based on tried and true techniques, as well as using those that are new but helpful (like social networking) is the best approach.
2. Hire for Attitude, Train for Skills -- A resume will give you information on a person's experiences and background so you can learn what skills they have. Companies have the ability to train for certain skills and do it all the time. Software changes and protocols change, but you can't change a person's attitude about life and his or her approach to work. Hire people whose attitude fits your company culture. If need be, you can train them to acquire the skills your company needs. New hires should have the ability to learn, but the willingness to do so is crucial.
3. Past Performance Does Predict Future Behavior -- When interviewing and doing background checks, knowing how someone performed or behaved in the past is a strong indicator of what they are likely to do in the future, so questions should be based on behaviors. Unclear answers from former employers should not be accepted. Ask more questions until you feel comfortable that you know how the potential employee is likely to act in a given situation. Develop a recruiting strategy based on finding out who people are and not just what they can do.
4. Become the Employer of Choice -- This is the No. 1 recruiting strategy. If an employer is the employer of choice, everyone wants to work for them and no one wants to leave. You can control your recruiting budget because word-of-mouth is your best advertising. Resumes come to you rather than you having to pay to get them from ads, online search engines, etc.
5. Put Them in the Book -- It's important to keep a reference guide, as this is a recruiter's best tool. It should have information about everyone in your organization including people who work for you; people who don't, but you wish they did; an employee's likes and dislikes; what a current employee wants in their next job; who's moving up or out; and who took a job where and why. A good reference guide is a record of what's happening inside your company and at your competitors. It is a little black book that gives the recruiter an edge over their competitors.
6. "Hire Hard, Manage Easy" -- This is a quote from Alan Davis, and it says it all. If you spend your time and energy on recruiting, interviewing and hiring the best, then managing them is a breeze.
Johnny Laurent is general manager for Sage Employer Solutions, a provider of human resources software solutions designed to help small to medium businesses excel at employee management.
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent the views of Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner.