Recruiting Tips & Tricks: Colorado SCORE Presentation

Jul 30, 2019

*Presented at Colorado Springs, CO SCORE meeting on July 12, 2019


I'm obsessed with Richard Branson. Anything that comes out of that man's mouth is like gospel to me. I aspire to be a Richard Branson, well a female/ American, Richard Branson one day. I believe that his people philosophy is really where it's at. And I think that this quote right here says it all: “A company is people... employees want to know... am I being listened to or am I a cog in the wheel? People really need to feel wanted". -Richard Branson

To start off on the right path of having sound employee practices, let's look at some recruiting tips and tricks. This blog is going to look at how to prepare and attract the right candidates and to evaluate those candidates. But first, let's look at the mistakes small businesses often make when it comes to recruiting. I'm sure all of you guys have seen these mistakes.

Small Business Recruiting Mistakes
1: Lack of Planning
First and foremost, small businesses lack planning for their recruiting efforts. We have had so many clients come in and say "Oh my gosh, I didn't realize how much it was going to cost to hire this person". Oftentimes small business owners only calculate the cost of wages as and the hard cost of hiring. But there's a lot more that goes into the cost of hiring a new employee. Business owners need to calculate equipment, taxes, insurance, unemployment, and the list goes on and on and on. Employers have to be prepared for these additional expenses.

Employers also have to assess what is the employee going to do. How are they going to benefit your business? Most small businesses say, well, I think I need someone at the front desk, but they don't know what the heck they're going to do all day. And then you flush a ton of money down the toilet because the employee has nothing to do but answer the phone and greet visitors.

2: Rushing
Unfortunately, small business employers need someone right now, so they throw a warm body into a seat out. We saw this a couple of months ago with a client that we were working with. They threw a warm body into a seat and guess what, this person didn't last long.

Rushing through any hiring effort will jeopardize the long term viability of any new employee. We often see that small businesses are so rushed to meet the demands of the business, they lose focus of finding the right person... even if that means that they take some extra time to find the right person.

3: Looking for "Plug & Play"
Often small business leaders don't want to train, or don' have the time to train. They don't want to (or can't) develop new employees. They don't want to (or can't) spend any time with them. They just throw them into the ocean and let them sink or swim.

4: Hiring Friends & Family
This is the biggest issue we see with our clients hiring efforts- hiring friends and family. Employers need to create an employer/ employee relationship. This is virtually impossible with friends and family. As an employer, you may think- I know this person, they would never take advantage of me and will do a great job. Unfortunately, this just is not the case. Whether it is intentional or unintentional, hiring friends and family pose a huge risk to your business and your personal relationship.

Four Steps to a Good Hire

1: Planning & Research
Here at HR Branches, we believe that this is the most important part of any hiring efforts. First and foremost, a needs analysis need to be conducted to determine the gaps in business operations and to fill them with a new employee. Most people think that they need something over here. When they start digging deeper, they actually need something over there. It is a good idea to talk to other people who work within your business to get an idea of their workload and needs. Also, talk to an advisor or a mentor to help you get that third party perspective and/ or ideas. Take a deep look at what your true daily activities are and how those needs need to be met.

A market analysis should also be completed. Look at competitors and see what they're doing. See what they're paying, what they're advertising. Employers can easily go to and see the jobs that they are hiring for and what tasks they are looking to fill. This will spark some really good ideas for what tasks should be filled or assigned. Then, go to and see what other employers in the area are paying for like positions. Large corporations pay thousands of dollars for compensation studies, but it's not worth it for a small business.
In addition to wages, the additional cost of hiring a new employee needs to be considered. Do they need a desk, office space, computer, software, tools? What are the taxes, benefit premiums, unemployment, workers compensation?

HR Branches members have access to a cost analysis calculator to make planning easier for small businesses!  Become a member TODAY!

Once you take a look at the needs and the cost of hiring on a new employee, create a job description. It is especially helpful to have a written job description that identifies the primary tasks of a new role. This will help you to identify the skillset that you are looking for and how to hold that new employee accountable to goals and expectations.

2: Strategically Advertise
Indeed and Linkedin are fine, but they're quite expensive. Most small businesses can't afford three or four job listings out there for five hundred to a thousand dollars. It's expensive. So strategically advertise. Where are your ideal employees hanging out? Figure out where an ideal employee is hanging out and advertised there. Some good ideas are social media, professional associations, employee referrals, etc.

HR Branches members have access to many more strategic advertising ideas!  Become a member TODAY!

3: Skills and Behaviors
It is important to have at least two, if not three conversations/ interviews with a candidate that is being seriously considered to hire. During thises interviews, use behavioral-based interviewing. For those of you who don't know what behavioral interviewing is, it's like this. "Tell me about a time when..." Ask them to tell you what story about what they've done in the past because past behaviors are indicative of future behaviors.

But you don't stop there at that first question. Always take it to the fourth level question. That's when you're going to get your truth. So it goes something like this. Question 1- "Tell me about a time when..." Question 2- "What steps did you take to accomplish this?" Question 3: "What was the hardest step?" Question 4: "Tell tell me, how would you overcome that obstacle?" Each question is a building block for the next. This is when the interviewer will see the reality of a candidate's true behaviors.

Whatever you do, try to avoid yes or no questions.

HR Branches members have access to hundreds of behavioral-based interview questions to help them with this step.  Become a member TODAY!

4: Making a Fair Offer
Then when you make an offer, don't to cheat these people. Don't try and lowball a skilled candidate. Give them the value that they deserve. Create excitement and enthusiasm when you call to offer this position. Tell them why you chose them and why you look forward to working with them.

Also, be prepared for negotiations. We believe that a person who negotiates is going add additional value to any business. If a prospective employee is going to look out for themselves, it is more likely that they will look out for their employer as well.

HR Branches members have access to sample offer letters.  Become a member TODAY!

The state of Colorado in a massive employment shortage right now. 72.8% of all employers today are having problems hiring and retaining employees. Every one of the small businesses that we work with is having a hard time finding and retaining good employees. If you take your time to prepare and thoroughly assess candidates, the likeliness of retaining employees from the start will be quite difficult. The last thing any employer wants to do is have to hire for a position that they just filled.

"Great employees like a four-leaf clover. Hard to find and lucky to have." - Tammy Cohen

It takes time to find good employees, but when employers invest the right time, energy, and efforts employers see greater overall business success.


Disclaimer: HR Branches provides general information about Human Resources. Please note that the information provided, while reliable, is not legal advice. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make sure your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your location and circumstances. The purpose of this information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance on general HR matters.

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