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Hiring the Right Person for your Small Business

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Hiring the Right PersonMost of us small business owners dread anything to do with HR – and hiring the right person is at the top of that list.  Yet hiring the right person for your business is one of the most important HR tasks you will be in charge of.  And … if you do it wrong – UGH – it could cost you so much lost time and revenue.

One of our biggest challenges in hiring the right person as a Small Business Owner

It is hard to match the benefits and incentives of the medium to large business or corporation, whom you are competing with for the same employee base.  So how do you find and attract the right person who will choose you over the potential signing bonus or freebies offered by the “big guys”?

First, you need to focus on getting the attention of the people who WANT to work for a small business – after all, we have our perks too!  Think outside of the box – depending on your company – what can you offer?  Flexible hours? Discounts on your product? Work at home option? And remember, working in a small company can be very rewarding for the right person.  You are looking for someone who believes that what you are doing is important and will meet or exceed their goals because they enjoy what they are doing.

How does a Small Business Owner find the right person to hire? 

One way to work on hiring the right person is to create a non-traditional and compelling ad – to attract THE person you are looking for and weed out the others.  The larger businesses tend to post the mundane, “corporate” job description, dull and boring.  This is your opportunity to stand out!  Explain WHAT the position is.  Figure out what makes the job and your business different.  Don’t just advertise for an IT guy or Admin – make it stand out by showing what the job entails and your personality.  Maybe even make it fun (if that is your culture).

For example, if you are trying to hire a personal assistant – advertise you are looking for Agent 99 (yes that does show my age! 😊).  But if this example isn’t you, you do need to write an interesting advertisement of some sort.  Come up with a flashy or fun job title, something that will stand out – not your typical corporate title (administrative assistant).  But don’t make it too far off base that the right person doesn’t see it.  This will grab the qualified candidates who would be a better fit for your business and your values.  There are programs you can subscribe to or examples you can “borrow” online to help you craft the job posting to grab their attention with something compelling.

Think about who would fit into your company culture and what KIND of person would be a good fit.  If everyone wears shorts & flip-flops, you don’t want a stiff suit & tie person.  Who would mesh well with your existing employees – and you?  Write your ad to THAT person.

 Play the limitations of medium and large businesses to your advantage

Larger, corporate positions have set rules for work schedules, vacation, benefits, etc.  You can offer a more flexible alternative, attracting those who like this.  Use this to your advantage.

Larger, corporate positions have people set in their place, following the corporate rules.  You can offer the opportunity for someone to help you build your business, either from start-up or to just grow it to the next level.  Put in the job description that new hires will help set the vision and have an impact on the business.  This will attract the type of people that get excited by this and scare off those who are not a good fit.

Now, how do I get it in front of the right people?

Look for people who have been in small businesses.  Set up and maintain a network of passionate entrepreneurs and their friends, family, etc.  Network with other Small Business Owners.  Seek out Small Business programs in local colleges.  They will understand you are not looking just to fill the position, but to fill it with the RIGHT person…someone with a Small Business attitude.  This is a good place to start – your network.

Some job sites can be quite expensive to post to.  Other options – post to your website, your Facebook page, Twitter, all your social media.  Make sure you add an image to attract more attention.  Share with your social and professional networks.  And Craigslist can be a good and inexpensive resource also (just make sure you have them reply to a specific email address and know you’ll have to weed out some junk).  Some local colleges will let you post positions also – if that is your target employee.  Another option is, which does have a free version.

Another Tip for Hiring the Right Person:

I put in my ads something that the applicant has to respond to so that I know they actually read the ad and are interested in the position – not just sending their resume to say they applied.  I’ve asked questions pertaining to the position and stated they need to be answered in order for the application to be considered.  I’ve also used a personality test link – asked them to take the test and include their results.  There are many ways to make sure the person who is answering your ad actually read it.

That being said, in this job climate, you consider yourself lucky to get someone to respond, let alone actually show up for the interview.  It’s all about finding the person that wants to work for you.


Next  … the job application review.


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