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6 things to know about employing staff for your small business

Although not every small business owner will get to this point, many will at some time need to seek out additional staff members.However, you will want to consider the costs of doing so and then make sure you go about the process correctly so that you are successful in adding value to your team.Here are six things you should know about employing staff for your small business.

1. Timing
There may come a time in the lifetime of your business that you may need more manpower in order to complete all the necessary tasks of business.It can be very difficult for some business owners to make the decision to take on staff, especially if you have been doing everything yourself and you don't want to part with the capital it would take to hire someone one.However, if the timing is right, you should be able to increase production and cash-flow enough to make it worth your while.Here are some things to consider that might help you decide if the time is right to increase your staff.
- You are overworked.
- Your staff is overworked
- Tasks require specific skills or expertise.
- You have sales backlogged
- Customer service is lacking in responsiveness

2. Costs
Identify all the costs involved in hiring staff to be sure that you can really afford the expense.Costs will include not only a competitive salary, but you should also budget in an additional 15-20% to cover workers' compensation insurance, payroll taxes, payroll-tax deductions and benefits, if applicable.Other costs you should consider are the cost of help-wanted advertising, equipment such as telephone, computer, Internet access and office furniture or supplies that the employee will need to do perform their duties.

3. Define parameters
Define what the actual job is that you are hiring for.Be specific about the job duties, the skill set that will be needed, personality attributes that would be helpful to the position, years of required experience or education, and any other information that would identity the ideal candidate. Next, determine the number of hours that will be required to perform the job duties in order to determine if you need a full-time employee, part-time, temp, or even an independent contractor to perform the required duties.Next you will need to set a competitive salary.Your goal should be to attract and retain the best-qualified employee for the job, not the cheapest.

4. Recruit Staff
There are many different ways that you can find eligible employees.Here is a list of some ideas.
- Word of mouth among friend, family and business associates
- Word of mouth at local business, chamber of commerce, or industry get-togethers
- Place an ad in the newspaper, trade publication, periodical or internet (there are local and national job databases).Describe the position, key qualifications and any other relevant information that would attract qualified candidates.

5. Conduct Interviews
Most candidates will provide you with a resume which will paint the best picture possible of what that person has accomplished and what they can offer you and your company.Realize though, that most of these will be exaggerated, so if you end up with a lot of prospects, you might consider a brief initial phone interview to screen out unqualified candidates.However, whether interviewing by phone or in person, the following suggestions will help to ensure a smooth and productive interview process.

- Confine your questions to topics that relate to the job.Avoid asking any questions that would be considered illegal or inappropriate (such as your potential employee's race, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or child-bearing plans).
- Be organized and consistent.Try having a list of 10-12 questions that you use with each candidate that draw out information concerning the candidate's skills, abilities, and past work experiences.
- Take notes that you can later refer to in order to remember individual candidates when it's time to make your decision.
- Be professional and upfront about the nature of your business, the job duties, the workplace atmosphere, your management style and any other factors that will help you and the candidate decide if they would be a good fit.
- Listen well and pay attention in order to get a feel for their personality and work attitude in addition to their skills set.
- Ask the candidate if they have any questions for you before ending the interview
- Check references
- Treat candidates with respect

6. Retain Employee
Now that you've taken the time and trouble to hire a qualified employee who can add value to your business and help your venture to succeed, your goal should now be to retain that employee.Take the time to nurture them and communicate your expectations so that you do not have to repeat this process in the near future.

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