By Steve Czerniak and Dan Mistura, SCORE of Southeast Michigan

Finding good employees is hard and it’s getting harder. The economy increases the competition for top talent. 

As a growing start-up, you need a product or service to sell and equipment to operate your company. But the most important thing you need to grow your business is to hire good people. In this article, we will share some ideas to help you in your search 

To find the right people, you need to be able to describe how that looks and feels and how the person should behave. What are you going to post? Write down some specific ideas about the qualities you’d most like to see in your employees. Think about the skills, traits and background needed. Put a job description together (there are templates online or in the SCORE resource library). The job description will list the requirements. Build a clear picture of the objective of the job and what is really necessary to function in that job. Describe what you expect a day might look like. How will you work with them to do the job and grow?

Fundamentally, what you really must look for is someone who shares your values and has a winning personality.

Where to Find Them

Here are some suggestions for sources of candidates:

  • Put out word with your current employees that you are hiring. A benefit in doing this is that your people will feel that the company is doing well and growing. Ask your best employees for referrals and the names of people with whom they have worked. If you don’t want to call them at work, look up their home number on “People Search.”
  • Talk to local universities. Ask that your position be posted on their placement board. Reach out to professors who teach subjects that the candidates you seek would have taken. They may also know of someone who graduated.
  • Post the job on multiple job boards and social media to make sure that the open position reaches the most candidates possible. Include Facebook, LinkedIn, Indeed, Google for Jobs, Monster, Career Builder, Zip Recruiter, and App Better
  • In reviewing resumes, you can see the companies that the candidates have worked for and that use the kind of people you seek. Use that information to try to reach some possible candidates. Ask candidates you are interviewing how many other people are doing that same job where they work. Tell them you need several people with the same background and ask them for a list of names.
  • Sometimes a temporary help (or contract) firm can send a qualified person. You can see how they fit your job and then hire them. There is a fee but it can be worth it. 
  • Call candidates you did not hire in the past. Their experience may have improved. Also ask them for referrals. Always keep your eyes open.
  • When you meet someone, ask yourself if they could be a good addition to your firm.

A Personal Story from Dan:

I had a salesperson come to my building selling pictures for the office. I was impressed with her presentation and having the fortitude to go door-to-door carrying those pictures. I asked her to call me and I hired her.

Retail is a good source of candidates. The large stores have good training programs on customer service. When I’ve met someone with a great personality, I asked them if they would be interested in talking to me about a position. My sales pitch? We work 8:30 to 5:00, no weekends and holidays off. I have hired several employees from retail. I always felt that if I could find a person with a good attitude, it’s amazing how easy it is to train them to fill a position.

About the Authors

Steve Czerniak retired after a successful 37-year career as a leader and innovator. The last fifteen years were a series of opportunities that honed his skills as an internal consultant and “change agent.” In retirement, he is a volunteer consultant and a SCORE Subject Matter Expert for the Southeast Michigan chapter. His personal volunteer objective is to “derive personal satisfaction from helping others, and the organizations they operate, to develop and prosper.”

Dan Mistura is President of Personnel Consulting Group and a Volunteer Mentor with SCORE of Southeast Michigan. Dan helps clients to develop an idea, product or service to start a business or grow a company. He works with companies to find and hire the best employees. As part of his work, he will help the client company to develop a marketing program for seeking to fill a new position. 

Finding the Best People to Grow Your Startup