One sign of a healthy business is the need to grow its employee base. When work demands exceed the work capacity, it can be a good feeling knowing that it’s time to hire people. The downside is the work required to find, hire and train the right employees.

The starting point is to find a recruiting firm with which to work, or hire a recruiter if the business plan forecasts the need to hire additional resources. A recruiter will help with creating an appropriate job description that represents what the company truly wants. Job descriptions are a roadmap for the future employee. The more specific and accurate the job description, the better quality applicant a company will receive.

A number of people will apply for any listed job. There will be many unqualified people applying for various reasons. The distilling down of the stack of job applications is a time-consuming process and is a good task to leave to a recruiter. They can come up with the top 10 percent of the job applications worth reviewing.

Whether a recruiting firm is engaged or an individual recruiter is hired, they will be able to recommend applicant tracking software to help keep the applicant information organized. There are several products available and the recruiter can recommend a good fit for the size of the company and its hiring goals. This also is of benefit to the hiring manager since they will have the applicant’s information at hand without relying on the shuffling of paper files from person to person within the company.

Once the stack of applicants has been narrowed down to a manageable subset, a pass through this new stack is necessary to determine who would be appropriate for an interview. Whether the process consists of a phone interview followed by an in-person interview, or just an in-person contact, this is an intense and time-intensive process for the hiring manager, recruiter, the applicant and any other staff that are required to participate.

It is important to have knowledgeable, and preferably experienced, interviewers available for the next step. What questions to ask and when, how to listen and what to listen for, and what questions are not to be asked are some of the skills of the expert interviewer. If possible, any staff that will take part in the interviewing process should be trained in proper interviewing techniques. If this is not possible, then a seasoned recruiter should be present during the interview and be allowed to drive the questioning. Poor interviewing technique can result in the wrong person being hired, or perhaps the right person being passed over.

Again, a recruiter and the use of applicant tracking software are valuable. A concise list of items to look for in an interview should be created, reviewed and revised before each interview. Sometimes applicants will have an impressive list of skills, yet they will rarely be used in the company. Other applicants may have a very narrow but focused skillset meaning they may be a good fit for the current need but require additional training for future requirements.

It’s helpful to maintain good communication with all of the applicants that come in for an interview. A personal call from the recruiter to the people that did not get hired is a good technique. If for any reason, the person actually hired does not work out, this list of applicants can be retrieved and alternates chosen. Should the company need to quickly hire additional resources, then this list may again be referred to as opposed to revisiting the entire process from beginning.

Finally, new hires must be integrated into their new role and the company itself (onboarding). Both the new employee and trainer have similar goals: the success of the new hire. What the trainer should keep in mind is that their role is to help the person to be successful in the first day or week of their tenure. Beyond that, the employee, the department, manager and peers all work together to mold how the person fits into the company. Recognizing that limited information is needed for a new employee to get started in their new career with a company takes the stress off of the trainer to teach them “everything they need to know.”

Hiring new people is an exciting step for a small business. It’s an indication of growth and potential success. By engaging the right resources and adequate planning, the task of recruiting, hiring and onboarding new people can be something to look forward to.