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When to Hire in Your Small Business

Follow this guide to know when to hire a full time employee for your small business.

Just about every business starts with an individual or two to take care of the operation. There's no need for employees right away because you and/or a partner are able to handle the workload without getting behind.

One day, you notice that there's a steady increase in demand for your goods or services and it's getting more difficult to keep up with the orders and delivery. This is your sign that it's time to hire employees to work for your small business.

Growing your small business is an exciting time. You're offering something people want, are willing to pay for, and prefer to work with your company.

In order to satisfy your customers from the time they make the order to the time the product or goods are delivered, you need to have labor in the form of employees.

Each individual you bring on as an employee is someone who can increase the amount of work that can be started and completed in a timely manner.

It's an undeniable fact that adding an employee to a small business is an expense. You may feel uncertain about your ability to compensate for the addition to the payroll.

However, if you don't take the step of hiring an employee, your business won't be able to keep up with demand and you'll stunt the growth of your business.

Employees pay for themselves within a brief period of time after their hiring while helping you improve the profitability of the business. The following is a look at how to hire employees for small businesses and why.

5 signs you're ready to bring on a new hire

Sometimes it's not easy to know when to hire in your small business, and you might resist putting out a "help wanted" ad because of that uncertainty. You'll know that it's time to hire employees when you notice one or more of the following five signs.

1. There’s been an increase in workload

An increase in sales directly translates to more work for you, a partner, and anyone else that's been helping out. It's the best kind of problem to have for a small business. It's also a sign that you need to hire employees to get the work turned over and out the door.

This isn't the time to be asking yourself when to hire in your small business; rather, it's the time to write up a job description that relates to the position you need to fill and look for a suitable candidate.

2. You’ve been growing

All of your efforts to grow your business have paid off in the form of increased sales, but fulfillment is putting a strain on you and your current staff. When you can confidently say that the growth is permanent, it's time to look into hiring new people to maintain a steady pace of order taking and delivery.

Expect to keep the new company hires for the long-term as you'll need seasoned staff to handle further growth and help train new employees as needed.

3. Your employees have been working overtime

Overtime helps your business keep up with an increase in business, but it's not good for the long term and your bottom line.

You're risking burnout of your workforce, and the extra cost of overtime eats into your profitability. When it looks like an upswing in sales is permanent, it's time to hire more people to handle the workload.

It's undeniable that adding another person to the payroll is an increased expense, but the tradeoff comes in the form of satisfied customers and a workforce that's productive and proactive.

It's true that new staff require training, something that can cause delays in productivity in the short term. In the long term, the new employee becomes one of the team and learns how to provide support to others while performing their duties.

4. You need someone with a unique skill set

One of the reasons why a business grows is because it's entering into producing a good or service that's related to its core operation.

You and your staff may not have enough in the way of skills to produce the new offering with any degree of regularity. That means you need someone with a unique skill set to get the work done right.

There's always the option to send a current employee to school and have them train in the skill set, but this involves time and expense you may not be able to spare.

It's more convenient and sensible to hire a new employee that's got education and experience in the area of need. If you're not sure of how to identify a candidate with the right skill set, consider working with recruiters to help you save time and effort on finding a qualified individual.

5. You’re launching new products or services

A new product or service launch can result in a surge of business and quickly overwhelm your employees' ability to keep pace.

The question here is do you hire temporary or permanent employees to compensate for the demand? Hiring temporary employees or outsourcing helps you scale up with increases and drops in demand.

Also, there's nothing that says you can't hire a temporary employee for a permanent position if the demand stays high and they've proven themselves as a good employee.

Tips for picking the right candidate during the hiring process

The applicants that respond to your advertisement that you're hiring new employees are going to come from diverse backgrounds.

You'll have to spend time sifting through the resumes and figuring out who's going to add value to your organization, fit within the company culture, and deliver on their promise of performance.

Working with recruiters is one way to find employees that have the skills and mindset to become a productive part of your business. The following hiring tips help you identify individuals that are most likely to meet your employee criteria and easily become one of the team.

Define the role

It's important to define the role that you're seeking to fill in order to attract an appropriate candidate.

You may not be able to find someone who can fit all of your requirements, but you're more likely to attract someone who can perform most of the listed duties and be trained in the areas they're lacking skills.

Check if they have the skills that you need

Ask the candidate for proof of their work or a portfolio that illustrates the kind of work they're capable of. You can always put a promising candidate through a test to find out if they have the skills you're looking for, and if so, to what degree.

This lets you judge how well the candidate fits within your business and their competency to do the work you need to be done.

See if they’re a culture fit

You're going to have to work alongside the person you hire for the foreseeable future, and you need to make sure that their overall attitude and views align with the company culture or have the right mindset to do the type of work you've hired them to do.

It's not a hard and fast requirement, but you want to be able to get along with your employee while maintaining the work relationship.

Optimize your recruiting strategy

Focus your hiring efforts by putting your help wanted ad in industry websites and publications. This helps you directly reach the people with the skills you're seeking to hire. You'll also save time and effort on finding qualified individuals to come work for you.

If you're not sure where to start or how to attract qualified individuals to come work for you, look into a recruiter who's familiar with your industry.

A recruiter does all the work to identify and vet potential candidates on your behalf and only sends you those who are most likely to be a good fit for the job.

Ask the right questions

Asking the right questions consists of being direct and honest with the employee. You want to get a feel for their ability to do the work you need them for, and you want to give them an idea of what it's like to work for you.

Ask qualified candidates about their previous experience, do they have the skills or aptitude for the work, what they think they'll bring to the role, and how they feel about working in your shared industry.

Bring on the right new hires for your business

It's not always easy to figure out how to hire employees for your small business, but it's something you need to do in order to grow. These tips are designed to help guide you through the steps that are involved with hiring someone that's a fit for your small business.

At Mailchimp, we can help you find the right employee through targeted email marketing campaigns and a resource library with ideas that help you design a hiring strategy. Check out our Mailchimp recruiting blogs and related resources to learn how we handle the search for new hires and what we look for in a potential candidate.

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