Half of small business owners are reluctant to hire for fear of making a bad hire. Here’s why you don’t have to feel that way.

By Andy Roe, SurePayroll

Fear is a terrible thing. It’s often the most pervasive factor that keeps us from seizing opportunities. Small business owners are typically more fearless than the next person, however data from a recent survey we did at SurePayroll found that 50 percent of them are reluctant to hire because they are fearful of making a bad hire.

It’s understandable. Putting a new person on the payroll is a big deal when you’re like our customers, and your business consists of typically between one and 10 employees. You could be doubling your staff. But when you’re ready to hire, you should be able to do so without fear. And you certainly shouldn’t hold back on expanding your business because of it.

The good news is there are a lot of effective ways to overcome your fear of making a bad hire. With the right preparation, you can be ready to bring on a valuable asset to your team whenever the circumstances call for it. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Hiring Tactics
According to our survey, small business owners are most frequently taking the following steps to ensure they don’t make a bad hire:

  • Conducting multiple interviews (72 percent)
  • Calling references (68 percent)
  • Background checks (46 percent)

Less frequently they’re doing the following:

  • Giving prospective hires “test assignments” (40 percent)
  • Using a pre-employment screening service (38 percent)

All of these are excellent tactics, and if you want to go the extra mile a pre-employment screening service might be a worthwhile step. It allows you to dig deeper with behavioral assessments and drug screenings if you think they’re necessary.

Checking Social Profiles
Nowadays, job candidates have more than just a resume and a cover letter. They also have a public profile of their work experience, connections and recommendations on LinkedIn, and possibly more on Twitter and Facebook. Our survey data tells us that 52 percent of small business owners use LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook when checking into a job candidate. This is up from just 37 percent a year ago.

You don’t want to base your entire evaluation on a social media profile that may not even be up to date, but it’s another tool that’s available to alleviate the fear of making a bad hire.

There are no guarantees, but if you add all the pieces together, and everything checks out, you should be able to move forward with confidence. It’s a better alternative than letting a growing part of your business languish, because you’re lagging behind on recruiting the right person to join your team.

After the Hire
Bringing someone on board is really only the first step in the process of making a good hire. How you acclimate and train the new person will make a big difference in their eventual success or failure.

That’s why it’s encouraging to see, based on our data, that 77 percent of small businesses have multi-day training in place for new hires.

Unfortunately, only half are having the new person meet with the staff. Meeting with everyone early and often gives the new hire a broader sense of how the company works and will enable them to work well with the team moving forward. Less than 20 percent are taking new hires to a welcome lunch. Again, you want the doors of communication to be as wide open as possible.

The quicker a new hire becomes comfortable and feels like part of the team, the quicker they will increase productivity, streamline processes and generate new ideas. This is what you hired them for, after all, right?

Andy Roe is the General Manager of SurePayroll, Inc., a Paychex Company. SurePayroll is the trusted provider of easy online payroll services to small businesses nationwide. SurePayroll compiles data from small businesses nationwide, and exclusively reflects the trends affecting the nation’s “micro businesses” — those with1-10 employees. You can follow Andy on Twitter @AndrewSRoe.