Small Business Team Building: How To Evaluate Experience When Hiring

Feb 28, 2018

Small Business Team Building

Building an effective small business team can be challenging if you cannot find talent to fill key positions and then do not have the proper hiring tools to evaluate candidates for these positions.

According to the latest employee recruiting and hiring statistics, 47 percent of surveyed small businesses said there were "few or no qualified candidates for the jobs they were trying to fill."

What typically happens in this situation is that small businesses make the mistake of hiring based on experience. The mentality is that experience will help bring stability to the organization or a particular role. However, not all experienced individuals are the right fit for your organization.

Consider this important perspective from Forbes on why hiring for experience might not be the right choice: Unfortunately, in a high-growth scenario, such hires often start off strong and then level off or fall behind… Leadership is then left struggling to understand why someone with so much 'experience' is underperforming.

Certainly, some experienced individuals could make a great addition to your team. So, how do you determine whether an experienced candidate is the right fit for your small business and company culture?

Understand Three Important Traits of a Small Business Team

Before you hire, take inventory of the following areas of small business team building. When these three areas are strong in your company, you can start the process of aligning potential candidates to your job openings.

1. Communication is Essential to Your Business

Because employees in a small business wear many different hats, communication is vital to your company's success. That starts with managers implementing communication processes and holding employees accountable for communicating effectively with each other.

Team members also need to be able to collaborate in smaller settings, then report progress back to each other. With all of the roles in your company connected, the right hand should always know what the left hand is doing to ensure that everyone is moving forward together.

When examining the job experience of a seasoned candidate, study their previous work settings. Do they have experience working in a smaller setting where they need to collaborate regularly with other team members? Or, are they accustomed to sitting isolated in an office for eight hours per day?

2. Are You Capable of Critical Conversations?

Team members in a small business setting need to be able to communicate openly with each other. Managers especially need to communicate expectations and evaluate performance with clarity.

These critical conversations are essential on a small team to keep the organization moving forward and staying focused on productivity goals tied to key performance indicators (KPIs).

When looking to hire an experienced individual, consider whether the candidate is accustomed to having critical conversations where situations are viewed from multiple angles to avoid status quo and groupthink.

3. Do Your Employees Hold Themselves Accountable for Performance?

There is not enough time in the day for a small business owner to micromanage employees. That is why it's imperative that small business team members have a natural drive to meet deadlines and goals. In a larger organization, it's less crucial because there are multiple people in the same role sharing the responsibility. In a small business, you do not have that luxury.

For example, consider a salesperson role that you would like to hire for. Hiring for one spot on a 30-person team in a larger organization is not as crucial as hiring for a one-person sales team in your small business. If you make the wrong salesperson hire in a small business setting, your team will feel it, creating a negative domino effect.

When examining experienced candidates, look at their work history. Are they comfortable pulling a considerable amount of weight in their role while holding themselves accountable for high performance? Or, are they accustomed to be one of many employees in the same role?

Use an Assessment to Measure the Thinking of Experienced Individuals

Once you complete an initial examination of experienced candidates to see if they fit your company culture, you need to measure each candidate's competencies that relate to communication, critical conversations, and accountability.

Measuring these individuals' thinking patterns will uncover their motivations, offering a reliable prediction of whether an individual will be successful in their role. After a candidate completes an assessment, you should look at the results to determine whether they have the desired scores in these areas:

  • Communication: A candidate who has clarity in self-awareness will have the self-confidence to communicate with teammates and managers in a way that builds up the team.
  • Critical Conversations: A candidate who has clarity in self-view will be able to handle critiques and be resilient when confronted.
  • Accountability: A candidate who has clarity in self-expectations will hold themselves accountable and have a strong work ethic to pull their weight.

Why is it Important to Measure Thinking?

By measuring the thinking patterns of experienced candidates, you can use scientific evidence to increase the reliability of your hiring decisions.

Implementing this approach in your hiring strategy will help you close the talent gap that nearly half of small businesses face, especially if there is a shortage of candidates for a particular role in your company.

How can ZERORISK HR support your small business? We offer the Clear Direction Team and Communication Development Program that measures the competencies of managers and direct reports to provide a recommendation for how to work best together. This leads to heightened employee accountability and communication, which is essential for current and prospective employees in your small business.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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