[Q&A] How to Make the Right Hiring Decisions for Your Small Business

When you’re part of a small business or organization, every member of your team counts.

You’ve probably already made some important hiring decisions, and have seen how critical hiring the right people can be to your business’s success. Hopefully you’ve avoided some of the common hiring pitfalls that can cost your business time and money.

As Head of Talent Acquisition for Constant Contact, Marcus Tgettis understands the importance of making good hiring decisions.

We asked him a few questions to learn more about how businesses can find the right candidate, overcome obstacles, and keep great employees engaged long-term.

Read his advice to ensure your next hire becomes an asset to your business or organization:

What are some of the most important qualities we look for in candidates at Constant Contact?

At Constant Contact, we look for candidates that are collaborative, motivated, smart, and passionate.  Collaborative in the sense that they are flexible and able to work well within and across different teams. We hire smart people with domain-expertise who are motivated and driven to succeed.

Most importantly, we hire candidates that are mission driven and passionate about serving our customers and making a difference for small businesses around the world.

How can small businesses determine which qualities they should be looking for?

As a general rule of thumb, I think it’s critical to understand why candidates want the job and if they can work within your environment. These are two critical factors that determine if your hire will be successful.

However, I also think it’s really important to pick 1 or 2 qualities unique to your business to look for in candidates.

What are some of the biggest obstacles to finding the right person for a role?

We are early adopters on the cutting edge of technology when it comes to building our easy-to-use products. For technology hiring as an example, some of the programming languages we use such as Ruby on Rails or Puppet are just starting to be taught at the collegiate level so there are very few people that have the domain expertise needed.

It’s a major supply and demand issue and part of why you see so much emphasis on global STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math) initiatives at the K-12 level.  This is one reason why we started our own Software Engineering Development Program to hire and train new college grads on the technologies we are using.

There can be a great pay off for businesses that are willing to train new hires and develop their skills. Even if a candidate doesn’t have expertise in every single area you’re looking for, if they’re motivated to learn and a good fit otherwise, they can still be a great hire. By providing them with training and strengthening their skillset, they’re more likely to be loyal and invested in your business.

What are some of the biggest hiring mistakes you’ve seen businesses make?

I have seen businesses and hiring managers get blinded by smarts and fooled by resumes time and time again. It’s easy to fall in love with a highly educated and brilliant candidate, but if that person doesn’t fit your culture or work well within a team, then what good is that?

A resume is nothing but an embellished list of accomplishments. Yes, the resume is often the ticket in the door but there needs to be some deep probing and due diligence done to learn more about all those accomplishments and fancy bullets that are on a resume.

Do your preparation ahead of time. Map out a list of interview questions, based on the experiences listed on the candidate’s  resume. Use this as an opportunity to learn more about the work that they’ve done, and how those experiences could be applied to your position.

What are some of the best ways SMBs can find the right employees for their business?

Referrals are key. Just like you rely on the recommendations of your existing customers to help you reach new customers, you should also rely on your current employees to help you find your next great hire.

These referrals can happen face-to-face, but you can also leverage the power of social media.

More than 50 percent of all job seekers are actively on social media and about 90 percent of employers are using at least Linkedin, Facebook, or Twitter to recruit candidates.

Furthermore, 4 in 10 job seekers find their “best or favorite” job through personal connections.  You can read more about tools and best ways to hire in my previous post.

How does Constant Contact find its best employees?

Historically, more than 40 percent of all our hires come from employee referrals. We have a strong culture and value our employee’s referrals. We invest heavily in that and make it fun, simple, and easy for our employees to refer talent.

Our program is social media enabled too so we encourage our employees to leverage their social networks to find great talent. We also have an amazing team of recruiters that work hand in hand with our leaders and hiring managers to find and bring Constant Contact the very best talent in the marketplace.

How can you show applicants that your business is a great place to work?

Recruiting really is marketing. A lot of the tools you’re using to build customer relationships and show off your business, can be used to recruit new employees.

Email newsletters showcasing your work environment or featuring your “employee of the month” are good ideas. You can post updates, and share photos and videos that highlight your business’s culture and give people an inside look at what it’s like to work for your business. If you host events to bring people into your store or office, you can use those activities as a way to meet potential employees face-to-face and let people know that you’re hiring.

If you have a website, that’s another great place to advertise your jobs and show off your business as a great place to work.

If you hire someone that doesn’t seem to fit in with your team, what can you do to address this problem?

I think the first step in preventing this is creating a great new employee onboarding experience. Many businesses invest a lot of time, energy, and money into the recruiting process but fail to properly onboard their new employees. That’s a recipe for disaster.

A new employee onboarding program will ensure that new hires become more productive faster and you will also start seeing any warning signs for those who might not fit in with the team, earlier.  It’s important to address any issues with your new hire early, so honest coaching and feedback is critical from the outset of the hire.

What your favorite part of your job?

There are two things that I love about my job and there is nothing I would rather be doing in the world.

The first thing is that through recruiting and hiring, I am working with colleagues and teammates to help build a company together, bringing in and grooming talent for a company that is making a real difference on Main Street helping small businesses. We have more than doubled the size of Constant Contact in the last couple years.

The second thing is that we are creating jobs and we are hiring people, and jobs change people’s lives and that makes a difference. That’s very powerful.

Have any more questions for Marcus? Ask away in the comment section!

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