Definitive Steps to Create the Optimal Small Business Growth Team



How to interview, train, access the right talent

  1. PRESCREENING: Prescreening saves you time by weeding out unqualified candidates. Prescreen candidates by asking for their resumes (if relevant) and/or having them fill out a job application. You can find job application forms online or develop your own. Make sure the form you use meets Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines. You can also prescreen with a phone interview in which you ask basic questions to weed out unqualified candidates.
  2. TESTS: Depending on the position, you may want to conduct tests relevant to your business. Requiring candidates to pass this test before you schedule an interview saves time by weeding out unqualified candidates.
  3. INTERVIEW: If you are hiring remote workers, independent contractors or candidates outside your local area, you can interview by phone or videoconference using a free service such as Skype. Otherwise, the interview portion of the process is generally conducted in person.

Follow these steps for a successful interview:

  • Know what you can (and can’t) ask. EEOC guidelines prohibit asking anything not directly relevant to the job. This includes questions about age, race or national origin; disabilities or health issues; and marital status. Know what rules apply in your state.
  • Be prepared. Creating a list of questions and areas to cover, including background, training, past job experience and education, ensures that you ask each applicant the same things.
  • Use job description/Employee evaluation forms. These will help you formulate questions and ensure that you cover all relevant areas of job duties and performance.
  • Ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are those that cannot be answered with a “yes” or a “no”, such as “Tell me more about your last job.” Ask for specific examples of instances in which the employee handled difficult situations, dealt with problems or did work similar to the position you’re seeking to fill.
  • Observe. First impressions matter. In addition to what the person says, note his or her eye contact, friendliness, general demeanor and attitude.
  • Let the candidate ask questions. As the candidate if he or she has any questions. Does the person ask solely about benefits, salary and vacation time? Or does he or she ask questions that show curiosity about your business?
  • Protect yourself. Know what issues you can and can’t consider in hiring someone. In general, the hiring decision must be made solely on abilities related to the job. It cannot be based on unrelated issues such as age, sex, disability or race.


REFERENCES: Always ask for and check references. In some instances, employers have been held liable if an employee they hired later committed crimes they would have learned about by checking references. If a position is a sensitive one, such as a security guard or someone who will have access to your business’ financial records, consider paying for a background check; if the employee will handle money, consider running a credit check. Contact schools to verify degrees and other educational achievements.

Also, check LinkedIn, which is a helpful tool in providing a fuller picture of a candidate’s capabilities versus simply a resume, job application, or brief personal introduction. It can also be effectively used for screening and verifying capabilities, credentials, and skills prior to contacting candidates. You can view a candidate’s endorsements, recommendations, education, prior work experience, and interests within LinkedIn.

LEGAL ISSUES: A candidate may sue your business because she or he was not hired. To protect yourself, keep all records pertaining to the job application, interview and hiring process for at least six months after you fill a position. For the person you hire, you must keep their application for at least three years; it is a good idea to keep it permanently.

This series ongoing series  handbook prepared by Marjorie Weber was prepared will also be part of the Miami Bayside Foundation to qualify small business owners for the Miami Bayside Foundation loan program.

Related articles:

Small Business Start Up Part 1: Small Business Start Ups Making It Legal

Hiring Better Fitting Employees

3 Considerations Before Hiring a New Employee

Hiring Emotionally Intelligent Employees

Marj Weber
Marj Weber
Marjorie Weber has been educating entrepreneurs and guiding them in their search for capital for the past 20 years: combining financial literacy workshops with one-on-one mentoring. Marj is currently President of Primed 2 Grow Inc. a company that provides access to capital for both existing and start up enterprises. She has provided term loans and working capital to hundreds of small business in South Florida. She was Chair of SCORE Miami Dade from 2010 to 2014 and served as a financial advisor for SBDC/FIU from 2014 to 2017. She also served as an advisor to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program and the SBA Emerging Leaders Program and provides training for Veterans seeking an entrepreneurial path upon retirement from the service. She has facilitated workshops under the auspices of Miami Bayside Foundation, Little Haiti Cultural Center and several local banks. She commenced her career as a real estate investment banker in New York.

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