Mistakes Have Been Made: Hiring at Startups and Small Businesses


When it comes to hiring in the small business world, there are a lot of things you have to pay attention to. From crafting the perfect job description and attracting the right candidates to running job interviews and negotiating salary and benefits, there are a lot of steps to follow. Making mistakes in the hiring process can be costly for your small business, leading to wasted time, money, and lost productivity. Here are 6 mistakes small business owners make when hiring employees and steps you can take you avoid them to maximize your business’s success.

Miscalculating the Number of Employees that You Need

Before you even begin the hiring process, it’s important that you carefully consider what your business’s needs are, which tasks you’ll need new employees to carry out, and how many people it will take to do the job.

Accurately calculating the number of employees that you need is an especially important part of the hiring process for small business owners who are hiring for seasonal positions or looking for part-time help from multiple people. Taking the time to honestly and accurately calculate how many employees you need to hire can help you save time, money, and resources while ensuring that your business is operating efficiently.

Failing to Establish a Budget

Neglecting to create a hiring budget is one of the most common and costliest mistakes small businesses make during the hiring process. The costs associated with the hiring process can add up quickly, so it’s important to determine how much money you can afford to allocate to hiring new employees.

On average, small business owners spend $1,600 a year on hiring, although hiring and training costs can quickly add up to more than $4,000 per employee. It’s critical that when hiring for small business employees, you think about how much time and money you’re willing to spend to find the right candidate.

Consider the monetary costs associated with advertising the position and conducting drug screens and background checks, and estimate the time spent writing and posting the job description, reviewing applications, and interviewing candidates. By establishing a reasonable budget and adhering to it, you’ll help ensure that you invest enough time and money in the hiring process while using your resources efficiently.

Not Setting a Hiring Process Timeline

Like setting a budget, establishing a timeline for the hiring process is critical when hiring small business employees. Dragging out the hiring process for too long can be a drain on resources, plus you risk losing your most qualified candidates to other employers who move more quickly.

When creating your small business hiring process, establish key milestones in the hiring process, such as writing the job description, posting it online, closing the posting, reviewing applications, interviewing candidates, making an offer, and onboarding the new employee.

Once you establish your hiring milestones, write down target dates for achieving each one. This will help you stay on track with the hiring process and ensure that you have the position filled in a reasonable amount of time.

Forgetting to Advertise the Position Correctly

Posting “help wanted” signs and hoping for the best is one of the biggest small business mistakes owners make. While in-store signs are one way to notify people that you’re hiring, it’s important that you take advantage of the many ways available to advertise your open positions.

Consider putting the posting on your website and social media channels to attract people who are already interested in or loyal to your business. Job posting boards and websites like LinkedIn and Indeed can help more people see the position. Advertising the position in the places that your most qualified candidates are most likely to see it can help you attract applicants in a timely manner. Of course, if you’re using the HireBeat hiring hub, you can set your job to post on hundreds of sites and upgrade to have their AI programmatically advertise the position for you.

Failing To Write an Accurate, Detailed Job Description

Writing a job description that’s incomplete and lacks detail is one of the most common hiring mistakes employers make. A job description that doesn’t match what you need or leaves out key information can lead to unclear expectations and might deter people from applying.

By carefully considering the job requirements and taking the time to craft a well-written, clear job description, you’ll be able to attract people who are both interested in and qualified for the position. Investing the time in this important step of the hiring process can also help ensure that only the most qualified candidates apply for the job, so you’ll save time and resources later when reviewing resumes and interviewing applicants.

Lacking A Clear Understanding of The Applicant’s Goals

When hiring employees for small business needs, it’s important that you consider what you want to get out of your relationship with the employee and whether an applicant’s goals align with your long-term needs. Are you wanting to hire candidates who will be loyal to your business and work with you for many years? Are you hiring people with the goal of developing them into managers or senior employees? If so, you’ll want to make sure they see the opportunity as a career rather than a temporary job.

This may be less of an issue if you’re hiring part-time, entry level, or seasonal help, but it’s still a good idea to understand a potential employee’s ambitions so you’re on the same page. Asking questions like “Where do you see yourself in three to five years?” can help you get a clear picture of the applicant’s goals.

For Small Businesses, Hiring is a Work in Progress

It’s not unusual for employers to make these small business mistakes when hiring, but they can lead to lost time, wasted money, and missed opportunities. Treat your hiring process as a learning opportunity — what hiring mistakes have you made in the past? Consider how you can make the process better in the future. When it comes to avoiding hiring mistakes, paying attention to these potential missteps can help you attract, recruit, and retain the right person for the job while making the best use of your business’s resources.


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