Many small businesses start out as one-person operations with the owner doing pretty much everything. That may work for a while, but as the business grows — and isn’t that your goal? — you will probably need to bring on extra hands. Friends and relatives may be able to help out at first, but sooner or later you will need to hire personnel.
What’s the best way to find qualified employees? I see a lot of websites where job seekers can post resumes, but I’m not sure they are legit. Can you give me some advice on how to select good candidates and screen applicants?
Absolutely. Many business owners struggle with the often-dreaded task of hiring staff. Thankfully, many resources and organizations, including the Florida SBDC Network, are available to help you navigate this process.
Before you place your first “help wanted” ad or go looking for job candidates online, take time to develop a job description that outlines the key responsibilities of the position you want to fill. Not only will a written job description help you screen applicants, it can be used as the basis for interviewing job candidates and, later, for evaluating their job performance.
To find good candidates, start with people you know. Ask your employees and business associates for suggestions. Other sources include: reputable online job placement tools such as LinkedIn, Indeed and CareerSource Florida’s Employ Florida Marketplace; industry association websites; specialty job boards; and staffing agencies.
Phone interviews are a good way to screen applicants for cultural fit and overall attitude. Probe for qualities that are not necessarily spelled out in the resume, but are specific to the job you want to fill, such as strengths and weaknesses, leadership skills and work style. Invite candidates who perform well over the phone to a face-to-face meeting with you and one or more relevant employees, such as a potential supervisor and/or personnel director.
Keep in mind throughout the hiring process that finding “the perfect candidate” is unlikely. So to screen candidates most effectively, evaluate each against your list of “must haves,” “would like to have” and “can live without,” keeping in mind, that your goal is to find a candidate who brings the skill set you desire and a temperament that fits your organization. And consider taking advantage of DISC, a behavior assessment tool offered by the Florida SBDC Network that assesses behavior across four dimensions and helps take the guesswork out of hiring.
Answer provided by Lisa Reineck
Consultant, Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida
Make a Match
Looking for employees? Visit the Employ Florida Marketplace to find job candidates or to post a job opening. Also available at www.employflorida.com:
the latest job market trends and labor market information from CareerSource Florida.
In the early stages of small business ownership, entrepreneurs often try to function as jacks-of-all-trades. For example, in addition to working on cars, the owner of a small auto repair shop might typically greet customers, answer the phone, pay the bills, order the parts, place the ads, etc. That’s a heavy load, and when it becomes too burdensome, it’s time to consider turning over one or more of those responsibilities to someone else.
I am a relatively new business owner and use the QuickBooks accounting software system by Intuit. Do I also need the services of a bookkeeper or a Certified Public Accountant?
QuickBooks is a useful and inexpensive record keeping vehicle for small businesses, and I’m glad to know that you feel confident using it. But as your business grows, you may want to consider seeking the services of an outside financial consultant. The time you free up to oversee more productive income-producing activities as a result will be worth the expense. A competent accountant or bookkeeper can easily grow to become a trusted advisor and a key to your future business success.
Before selecting a financial consultant, make a list of the services you believe you will require. These may include tax preparation, financial statements, balance sheets, payroll services and general bookkeeping. Then determine whether a bookkeeper or an accountant — or a combination of the two — would best serve your needs.
Bookkeepers are typically hired in-house as full- or part-time employees to oversee basic record keeping, payroll and tax reporting; their fees are generally lower than those of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). CPAs generally work as independent contractors or as associates of an accounting firm to prepare financial statements and tax returns based on your in-house records. Whichever you choose, it is incumbent on you to keep tabs on your finances and to be aware of changes in the tax code that affect your business.
Answer provided by Gray Poehler
Business Consultant, SCORE, Naples Chapter