There’s no question: small businesses are big business these days. According to Forbes , small businesses have generated more than 65% of the net new jobs since 1995 — and more than half of today’s working population (120 million people) work in a small business. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that firms with 1-49 employees have contributed the most to job growth recently — about 40% of the total. Pretty amazing.

But hiring the right team doesn’t happen overnight, and there’s not a magical small business hiring guide. Putting qualified, trustworthy people in place takes patience and strategy — and smaller companies especially must take care with the process. Below are ten small business hiring tips to make sure you find and retain the best talent for your growing business.

 

Sure, experience and job skills are the basis on which you hire, but it’s just as important to find people with the proper mindset. Even the most experienced person will fail to prosper without the right attitude and communication skills. After all, you can train for skills, but you’ll never be able to teach traits like optimism and empathy. You might want to take a page from a Wharton professor’s book and hire originals .

 

BONUS TIP: Read resumes in reverse.

Don’t focus exclusively on experience.  Always remember to pay attention to  the extracurricular section often found at the end of a CV; diverse interests and multicultural experiences often signify innovative thinkers.

 

Sometimes, what made a top producer successful at his previous company doesn’t work at your company.”

 

Hiring the right staff involves getting to know people and building a network long term. So what happens when you stumble upon the ideal employee — smart, confident, and a true go-getter — but you don’t have a headcount? Keep the contact info on file until the budget opens up… or create a position that meets your needs and the candidate’s experience and goals.

 

BONUS TIP: Also keep an eye in.

Be sure to let your current employees know when an opening is posted. Invite your team to share the opening with friends and via social media; no need to prolong the process if there’s already a gem within your network.

 

Every meeting you have with a customer, vendor, or peer acts as an interview. What does their demeanor tell you? How do they speak of their jobs and colleagues? These interactions — when they’re relaxed and not interview-nervous — offer tremendous insight and are better than any small business hiring guide. Is this person someone you’d like to recruit? (On the flip side, these conversations also act as an ad for your company, so consider what you have on display, too.)

 

BONUS TIP: Bypass conventionality.

Try a unique event (a hiring happy hour perhaps?) or unorthodox questions. Asking a candidate, “How would you improve this interview process?” showcases original thinking and may even provide viable ideas.

 

Sometimes, what made a top producer successful at his previous company doesn’t work at your company.”

Alexis Chapman, Director of Customer Operations, One Kings Lane
 

Leaders often gravitate toward like-minded folks, but a vanilla workforce isn’t going to catapult your company to greatness. It’s important to have diverse backgrounds, experiences, and opinions on your team; studies show that having a diverse workplace actually helps your business (Harvard says it drives innovation , and MIT says it can help your bottom line ). You may butt heads here and there, but the end products will be stronger for it.

 

 

BONUS TIP: Don’t overlook retention.

According to Glassdoor , 67% of job seekers say a diverse workforce is important to them. So keep in mind that hiring a diverse workforce is paramount, but retaining that diversity is also key.

 
Run your company right — not just by offering a solid product or service, but also by creating a strong culture — and you’ll attract and retain the talent you need. Growing businesses often cannot compete with enterprise salaries, but here’s an important small business hiring tip: offer other attractive benefits. Extra vacation days, negotiable hours, and a childcare policy are just a few way to add appeal. Build culture through unique events like philanthropy, a gift exchange, or company Olympics.
 

BONUS TIP: Offer flexibility.

No one wants to be chained to a desk. Our mobile world gives employees the ability to work from anywhere (including home). As long as your team can meet its goals and collaborate when needed, flexibility is a huge selling point.

 

It’s essential for us to have the right support team. We sell one-of-a-kind items that need to be backed by white glove service.”

Alexis Chapman, Director of Customer Operations, One Kings Lane
 
 
 
 

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Create more meaningful and lasting customer relationships with the world’s #1 CRM for small biz.

 

See how small businesses use Salesforce to sell, service, market, and connect everything to grow.

 

What’s the secret to finding, winning, and keeping customers? Customer relationship management.

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