Man with money raining down on himThe average cost of hiring and training a new employee is $4,000, according to the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Despite that cost, you need to hire new employees in order to grow your business, scale up, and lead the life you want to live. Still, $4,000 is a lot of money and time-cost for a small business.

But you only have only two options: don’t invest in your company’s future with quality talent and forever stay stagnant; or use time and resources to find the perfect candidate who will thrust your business to new heights.

Cost per hire is high, but cost of turnover, lost potential, and your own work-life balance is significantly higher.

It’s a challenge to find the right person. Not only is it costly and time-consuming, but it’s also a frightening process. A lot of small business owners are afraid to even start the hiring process because they have fear: fear of losing control, not finding anyone good enough, not attracting any candidates at all, and even a fear that hiring could mean plateauing rather than growing.

But these fears sacrifice growth for security. And even “security” isn’t secure in today’s ever-changing marketplace. In fact, the only thing that is secure is a strong team of top-talent who will innovate and grow in accordance with industry changes.

Who you bring on board is absolutely essential for your company’s success. Here are the top four techniques that small business owners use to hire quality, lasting talent.


  1. Think about yourself.

That’s right, take a moment to be a little selfish. Whether you’re moving from a one-person show to a two-person company or you’re hiring your 500th employee, you need to think about how that new hire will play a role in your business. This is more than just culture fit or even position fit. This is about finding the candidate that will fill in the gaps that you—and any current staff members you have—lack.

What are your skills? What are your weaknesses? What needs are you not meeting in your business? What parts of the business need regular attention?

Then, think about what positions you should and should not hire for. For example, you could outsource content to a freelance writer if writing copy isn’t your strong suit. You can trust an experienced writer to get you the results you want, and it won’t change the quality of your growth.

As another example, you may be a great salesperson. You might not necessarily need another sales person to fill in the gaps. Nevertheless, even if you’re great at sales, this might be an area you would hire someone if your sales have been plateauing despite your strengths.

Take an honest look at yourself and how your proficiencies are impacting your business.

Which skills do you have? What skills can you grow in order to push your company forward? Which skillsets would it not be worthwhile to spend time acquiring? After answering these questions, you can then figure out which capabilities would be best met by a new hire.


  1. Define the nature of the position.

Don’t define the position. Define the nature of the position. Rather than simply describing necessary black and white aptitudes in a job description, think more about fit. How will your job description’s language attract the best candidates?

If you focus on describing the culture of the company and nature of the job, you’ll always save time and money. You won’t need to weed through hundreds of resumes of half-interested candidates. Only those truly interested in the described environment will apply. This attracts the right types of candidates; the right types of candidates mean the right hires; the right hires mean higher rates of retention, engagement, and productivity.

A job description should have an emphasis on the desired personality traits of the candidate as opposed to proficiencies. It’s a lot easier to teach someone how to use Excel or balance the books than it is to get them to fit in with the comic-book or coffee-loving culture. For example, if you have a company that has a mission of sustainability—don’t you want someone who recycles and has an ethical mindset?

The best way to define the nature of the position is by creating a clear and concise description of a “day in the life” of this role.

Here are some examples of potential “want” proficiencies:

  • You’ll do paperwork at your desk from 8am until 10am. You should be diligent and efficient. The rest of the day you’ll spend in our “Innovation Lab.”
  • You’ll spend most of your days researching ways to boost our social media strategy. You’ll do so by talking to our target audience out on the streets of the city.
  • You’ll get up to go for a walk every day at 3pm with your team.
  • You’ll never leave your desk. (Don’t assume that saying something like this is bad. If it’s a true part of the culture or position, include it in the job description. Some people want to sit at a desk, and being upfront will help you find the right person for that environment.)


  1. Recruit where the talent is.

Don’t post on all the open or free job boards just to get your “for hire” ad out there. You’ll get an influx of candidates and a plethora of wrong candidates… and the right candidate will likely get lost in the shuffle.

Instead, go where your talent is. Where do your ideal candidates hang out—both online and in person? The saying goes, “Fish where the fish are.” But we take it one step further: “Fish where the fish you want to catch are.” You cast a line looking for cod, but you could come up with tuna. Still a good fish, but it’s not the one you need for your famous fish and chips.

Examples of places to find your employees:

  • Online communities on social media, websites, forums, etc.
  • Industry-specific job boards
  • LinkedIn groups and recruiting pools
  • Local associations and organizations
  • Conferences
  • Meetups
  • Competitors’ employees (fish where the talented fish already swim)
  • Alumni networks
  • Post flyers in relevant community centers
  • Hand out business cards to people you meet (network)
  • Recruiting agencies
  • School or virtual job fairs

Put a “Careers” page on your website. Even if you’re only hiring one person, you’ll attract candidates who are already looking at your website and familiar with your brand.

The best solution for finding talent is a company like Forge.

Joining the Forge community immediately puts you in contact with local, quality talent relevant to your job opening. The shared labor pool is designed and programmed specifically to find nearby talent whose profiles match up with your hiring needs. Forget taking a shot in the dark in the hopes of sinking the right candidate, in your local area, with the exact qualifications, traits, and desires that match your “job description.” Forge does the filtering and recruiting, so you can focus on your getting your ideal candidate onboard. Learn more about Forge hiring and retention here.


  1. Interview appropriately.

So far, you’ve attracted the right sorts of candidates, but now you need to hire the perfect one. How?

Focus on two key points: passion and future.

Skills and talents can usually be trained and developed. What’s more important to uncover in an interview is if:

  • this individual will like working for you (which minimizes turnover).
  • they’ll be a hard-worker (which boosts profits).
  • they’ll enjoy the work (which increases engagement).

Passion demonstrates their level of commitment and their work ethic.

You can measure passion in a variety of ways. Are they enthusiastic? Did they research the company or position before the interview? Did they have questions at the end of the meeting? Do they show passion from previous jobs with stories to share? Ultimately, it all boils down to: can you feel their energy radiating when they talk about their passion or work?

Additionally, never hire or not hire based on resume alone. The past is a predictor for the future, but it should not be held as a hard-and-fast standard in it of itself. It’s more important to look at their past to determine if they would be a right fit for your culture moving forward. Will they innovate and take your company beyond where it is now? Will they look outside their “job description” with new and exciting ideas?

Do they talk about their future with your company with passion?

Do you want several candidates with great passion and innovation? With Forge, you can hire them all! Forge creates a pool of quality workers with different scheduling needs. This means you always have top talent available—each with something new and unique they can bring to the table.


The True Cost of Hiring

If you don’t hire the right candidate, three things could (and will) happen:

  1. You will end up with an unhappy, unproductive worker.
  2. The candidate will leave, and you’ll be forced to spend even more time and money to find a replacement. (Another $4,000 down the drain.)
  3. Or you’ll keep that one unhappy, unproductive employee and then have to hire two more employees to make up for the lack of fit.

You want a lean business. The least number of employees at the highest gain creates sustainable cash flow. If you take the time to look for and recruit the right candidate, your cost-per-hire will be well worth the investment.

By the way, one good hire leads to more. If you find one quality candidate that fits your culture, they will likely invite you into a strong network of like minds for future hires and business connections. Get your recruits to recruit.

Use Forge to help you find the perfect pool of talent. You’ll find a number of unique, quality candidates—all of whom you can keep on payroll without extending your budget. Get more info about simplified hiring and retention here.

P.S. Don’t forget about onboarding! Training is an important part of the hiring process and it’s crucial to long-term retention. Learn more about retaining talent here.