How Do Small Business Owners Determine Which Applicants to Hire?

Many small business owners may now be looking at their financial situations and feel as though they are now in a better position to start hiring workers once again, after perhaps taking a large amount of time off from doing so as a result of difficulties experienced both during and following the recent recession. However, it’s also important for applicants and owners alike to know what makes for a successful interview.

Obviously when any business is hiring for a vacant or new position, its biggest concern will be whether an applicant has the skills, work experience, and the like to do the job in question, but many other factors may weigh into the decision as well, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder and Harris Interactive. For instance, 27 percent of respondents said that when dealing with two equally qualified candidates, they would choose to hire the one that had a better sense of humor, while 26 percent said they would weigh how involved in their communities the applicants are.

Another 22 percent said they would be more likely to hire the applicant who was better-dressed during the interview process, and slightly fewer owners or interviewers (21 percent) said they’d hire the person with whom they felt they had the most in common, the report said. Rounding out the list, some would choose the candidate who was in better shape (13 percent), the one who had a greater knowledge of pop culture or current events (8 percent), was more involved in social media (7 percent), or knew the most about sports (4 percent).

“When you’re looking for a job, the key is selling your personal brand. Employers are not only looking for people who are professionally qualified for the position, but also someone who is going to fit in at the office,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Once you get the job, however, the process doesn’t simply stop. Employers will continuously assess personality, performance and behavior when considering prospects for promotions. You want to treat your current job like an extended interview for the next job you want in the company.”

In other cases, certain behaviors in current employees (such as regular tardiness, taking credit for others’ work, dress, and so forth) may be reason enough for owners or superiors to deny them a promotion, the report said. Interestingly, though, 63 percent of employers also said that such promotions don’t always 

Is it time to shift priorities?
Of course, these qualities that can certainly have an impact on the workplace may not be ordered properly in terms of what may make one candidate better for a position than another. For example, the fact that only 7 percent of interviewers said they would favor a person with more social media experience shows that many may not be prioritizing what could be a potentially helpful skill for a company. With social media being so popular these days, and such a great way for companies to promote themselves at little to no cost, having more staffers who are acquainted with the best ways to use the platforms seems like it would be a better idea than hiring someone because they dress well, but nonetheless, more than triple the amount favored the latter quality in an applicant.

Another thing that owners might want to be aware of is the true cost of hiring, as it may sometimes be more expensive than they might have thought. For this reason, looking into more affordable small business insurance policies, including those for liability insurance, may help to give companies the added flexibility needed to complete the hiring process in the right way.