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21.06.2022 Hiring process

Hiring employees for a small business without an HR department

Hiring employees for a small business without an HR department

When scaling a small business or a startup, hiring employees is one of the most critical moves you will need to make. However, how is this done if you don’t already have an HR team?

Well, the good news is that it is entirely possible! Hiring employees for small businesses and startups without an HR department can be tricky, but it will be necessary for the early stages of your business. Lucky for you, there are plenty of people out there who have done it already and can help give you some pointers. Our CEO, Tim Ruffner, is one of these people:

“Hiring without an HR team has its challenges, but it is entirely possible if you make the right moves The single most important thing to do is to get started as soon as possible. It’s worth remembering, you can learn a lot about the process while doing it, and from talking to candidates even if they don’t look like a perfect fit at first glance.”

To help you utilise this advice and get started, below, you’ll find tips on the most simple yet effective ways to begin scaling your start-up or small business before you’ve hired an HR team.

Decide who hires employees when there isn’t an HR department

Of course, this is the first step to beginning the hiring process. In most cases, senior management will be the lead on hiring decisions. However, this will depend on how many employees already exist within your company and whether this is the first hire for the department the role will sit under. 

Here are some points to consider when deciding who will lead the hiring process when you don’t have an HR department:

  • Do you have team members with hiring experience already? If so, involving these team members may help to keep the process smooth.
  • Are there team members with experience in the department you’re hiring for within the company? If so, these members may be able to help decide on the skills and abilities you’re looking for in candidates.
  • Will your senior management team have time to respond to and interview candidates? 

If none of the above team members are options within your business, it may be worth considering outsourcing the process.

Do you need help making that decision? Then check out our article: Should I hire a recruiter?

Let your team help with hiring team members

Firstly, just because you don’t have an HR team to assist with hiring employees, that doesn’t mean it has to be a solo mission. One of the best moves you can make in this situation is to reach out to your existing team members for help.

For example, you may find that members of your team already have friends or acquaintances looking for work relating to the role you are hiring for. An employee referral will save a lot of time and money in the searching process for a hire, as well as take away a lot of unknown aspects found in hiring, such as personality type and work experience. 

In other cases, you may find that a team member has experience leading interviews, or creating onboarding processes from a previous role. This will help you put the first building blocks of a recruitment process in place, ensuring a smoother process for your new employees.

Moreover, if you already have a team member or two within the department you are hiring for, they’ll likely know what skills and qualities to look for in a new team member. Therefore, they can assist you when writing job descriptions, creating lists of resources that will be needed for the new hire, and performing interviews.

Tim Ruffner, our CEO here at JOIN, commented on using this method when hiring for new team members when scaling our business.

“In the early days of JOIN when hiring for departments that I’m not too familiar with, I always made sure to run my decisions past existing team members. For example, hiring for a developer would’ve been tricky without any development experience myself, but thanks to the knowledge of my existing team members I was able to get the opinions of individuals active in the industry.”

He also mentioned how this can help to overcome some common recruiting hurdles smaller businesses might face:

“Bringing my team into the hiring decisions also helped speed up the process. After all, recruiting is a team sport! At JOIN, we understand the importance of communicating with talent quickly and efficiently. Before having an HR team I would be handling most hiring decisions myself, which along with other responsibilities, delayed the process massively. Allowing my team members to get involved with vetting and communicating with candidates meant we could bring new talent on board much more quickly.”

What also helped Tim considerably was searching the internet for template job descriptions for the roles he was hiring for. Seeing how this helped Tim was one of the reasons we started building an extensive library of job descriptions here at JOIN, to help small business owners create great job ads more efficiently.

Find inspiration for your job descriptions

Our job description template library contains example job descriptions for 100+ job roles

Try them free now

Post accurate job advertisements

In most cases, small businesses and start-ups will make their initial contact with candidates through a job advertisement. Since your potential applicants likely won’t know much about your business before applying, giving them an accurate overview of your company is more important than ever. This will minimise questions that candidates may have.

Including honest, detailed descriptions of your company culture and expectations from your candidates, as well as what you can offer them, is essential. This helps candidates to screen themselves before applying. Some points that can be helpful for small businesses to include are:

  • Working hours
  • Team size
  • Working language
  • Remote/in-person balance
  • Project examples

Want to write a great job advertisement?

Get started with tips and tricks from our helpful guide.

Read our guide

Use suitable job sites

One of the biggest problems for small businesses hiring employees is the lack of time. No having an HR team to overview CVs and applications will greatly hinder speed, so that’s why you want to ensure the applications you receive are as relevant as possible.

While huge job boards such as Indeed or LinkedIn will mean you get the highest number of applications possible, one thing to also consider is how helpful utilising niche job boards can be.

Using niche job boards, such as Dribbble or Berlin Start Up Jobs, will mean that the candidates you find are already narrowed down for you. Therefore, less time is needed for screening. You can choose these boards based on location, industry, or business size. In short, you can fully tailor the hiring process to your needs.

Tim used this knowledge when hiring:

“For roles we needed to hire quickly in order to move forward with important projects, such as designers, we had to find qualified candidates as quickly as possible. Posting advertisements to sites like Berlin Start Up Jobs meant that we quickly disqualified candidates who weren’t looking to work in a start-up or to work from Berlin. This took these typical HR screening questions out of the hiring process and meant things moved more quickly.”

Use the right hiring tools

Without an HR team, you may not have someone within the business with expertise on crafting a job ad, finding job boards, vetting applications, or the other hiring process admin we’ve mentioned above. Luckily, there are tools to help with this.

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS)like JOIN 😏is an excellent solution when hiring employees as a small business. Not only does it give you a template to base your job advertisement around, but it will recommend job boards for you based on your role and location. With JOIN, you can also multipost your job ad to these boards with one click. 

In short, this can help you to save time when recruiting and hiring a new employee.

Hire better, faster, and smarter

With automated & optimised workflows

Sign up – it’s free

Consider making an HR hire

Of course, at some point when expanding your business, it may be time to consider hiring an HR person. 

As well as helping to streamline your hiring process, an HR hire will future-proof your business. More people-related questions, concerns, and processes will arise as your team expands. HR employees are the perfect people to solve such problems and to develop strategies in terms of hiring, retention, and overall employee happiness.

Of course, hiring an HR Manager or other HR role without an HR team is a little trickier, but there are resources out there that can help. Check out our example HR job descriptions and interview questions as a starting point!

Grow your business with the right people

Following the tips shared above, you can easily improve your hiring efforts, even without a dedicated HR department.

When making your first hires as a small business, why not start as you mean to go on? These top articles will help you further step up your game:

Easily post your job ads to 10+ job boards

Find your next hire - for free!

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