Unless your business is truly a one-man (or one-woman!) shop, chances are, you’ll have to hire people to support you. And in many cases, those that you hire will be the ones that interact the most with your customers. So, how do you make sure your employees will represent you and what your business stands for? Read on for insight and advice on how to hire the right people for the job.

See the Hiring & Staffing Guide for the comprehensive approach to this topic. The Culture Guide can also support this topic.


Before you start the hiring process, you need to have a sense of who you’re looking for and how they would fit into your company culture. Also, what jobs do you need them to perform?

Where to find the right people

Most job-seekers begin their search online, so this is a good place for you to start, as well! There are so many new avenues for advertising your business and finding the right person for the job: online job search engines, university career centers, and other online professional networks. But, before you start, it’s important to consider where your target employee might be looking for work.

For example, have you had success hiring recent college graduates with marketing degrees? If so, attending college or university career fairs might be the best bet for you. Or, you could take it one step further and contact the marketing department at your local college or university to see if you can post a job listing within a specific list serve or community board.

Don’t forget to utilize your social media channels to advertise your opening(s)!

For tips on creating great job descriptions, check out this post from TLNT: The Business of HR.

The Screening Process

Now that you’ve (hopefully) got a pool of qualified candidates to interview, you need to decide what you’re going to ask them.

A recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine reported that “[interview] candidates care so much about how they are treated in the hiring process that a study conducted by Career Builder found ’68% of job candidates said they would accept a lower salary if the employer created a great impression through the hiring process.’”

What better way to create a fun and memorable hiring process than to ask some interesting (and quirky) interview questions? It all comes back to company culture. Do you want your future employee to share your quirky sense of humor? How will you assess their problem-solving skills? Think about questions that could give you the answers you need to hear. For some inspiration, check out our article on The Importance of the Interview Questions.

It’s often helpful to have several people on your team meet with the candidate (either with you or separately) so that you can have multiple opinions on whether they would be a good fit for the job description AND your company culture. Successful companies like Zappos and Southwest Airlines follow the mantra of “hire for personality, train for skill,” and it usually works to their advantage. Someone who is willing to learn, can work within a team (or individually, depending on your company) and is adaptable and flexible will often be a greater asset to your team than someone who has the resume to do the job.

How to Stand Out From Your Competition

Chances are, your dream candidate is probably entertaining (or researching) opportunities at other companies. So, how do you stand out from your competition, if you’re basically offering the same type of position?

1. Pay more than the market rate for your employees.  Make sure you know what the going rates are for the positions you’re hiring for. You don’t have to pay an outrageously higher amount than your competition, but you do need to make sure you’re not at the very lowest end of the scale unless there are some serious perks and opportunities for advancement within the company.

2. Speaking of perks, get creative! Most companies are able to offer their full-time employees the basic benefits. But, as we discussed in this article, not all perks are created equal! Find out what’s important to your current employees, and see if you can incorporate those benefits into your company culture.

3. Offer profit sharing. By offering shares or profit sharing for employees that have done particularly well, or have been an integral part of a successful advancement of the company, you will create more buy-in and engagement from your existing employees. And, it’s likely that  prospective employees will want to own a piece “of the pie” as well!

4. Promote your company culture and brand. What do your employees love most about working for your company? The flexible work environment? The open-door and collaborative nature of your work? Or is it the spontaneous off-site team-building activities? Whatever it is, make sure it is very clear to prospective employees! Include your company culture as part of your website, marketing collateral and social media efforts. This will help you stand out from other companies offering the same salaries, benefits, and perks.

5. Showcase opportunities for growth. Talented people like to be challenged, and like to know that there isn’t a glass ceiling on their growth within a company. When appropriate, during the interview process, share stories of employees that have made their own path within the company, or set up a time for a prospective employee to shadow someone who started where they once were.

These tips and tricks should get you off on the right foot with your new employees!