SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 17: Career counselor Alex Francois reviews a document with information about finding jobs at the Western Addition Neighborhood Access Point on April 17, 2014 in San Francisco, California. The number of people filing for unemployment edged up this past week but still remains near a seven-year low. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Finding the best people to work in your small business is not an easy task. Looking at a resume and a few questions are the most common ways of finding that special person. But there is much more to the prospecting of finding a great employee. As a personnel manager for a ten-store retail chain in San Diego I learned a lot about how to hire people. Here are some tips that might be helpful the next time you sit down with a potential new hire.

What Is It You Really Need?

Usually businesses have specific needs and that means you need to consider two types of people. One would be to look for candidates already experienced in the areas you are hiring for. Second, you look for ambitious people who can be quickly trained to do the job.

Both have advantages. The experienced person might have some good ideas they picked up at their former employment that can improve your procedures. The down side is they might try to make your company like their old company and be resistant to your way of doing things.

The inexperienced person can be trained to run things exactly like you would like them done. Over time, as they gain experience, they too can suggest possible improvements that they see. In addition, they will keep your payroll costs lower while they are being trained. And there may be government subsidies to help pay them. Check with your local job service.

Look For Referrals

Successful hard working people rarely hang around with bums. Get referrals from current employees, friends, relatives and people you know and respect. It’s dangerous to hire family members but it can work in some cases.

Everywhere I went I had an employment app in my pocket. If I found a good employee in a business I was in I would give them my app and tell them if they were not happy there to come and see me. Many did. People want to work where their abilities are appreciated.

Make Sure You Can Pay Your Employees

Many business owners hire too soon. They look more at the need to keep caught up with orders or work and don’t analyze the total cost of an employee. Overtime, when needed, can kill a bottom line quicker than anything. Controlling payroll costs is critical to business success.

Check with your local job service for help with the prevailing wage for your business or industry. They can give you a good idea of the costs for things like healthcare, overtime, workman’s comp, OSHA, and current wage and hour laws.

Ten Words You Should Always Ask Before Hiring Anyone

Before I offered a job to anyone there are ten words I always said to them that drives home whether or not they should accept that job. Those ten words are, “If you don’t like to sweat; don’t take the job.” I’m not talking about a physically demanding job. I’m talking about are you willing to put in the time and effort for fair compensation and perform the duties I’m going to ask of you? Those ten words have been very effective in demonstrating what they are looking for. Are they a worker or a coaster?

Some Final Thoughts

Make sure you have an employee handbook and have them sign that they have read it. Most won’t bother to read it. The handbook will spell out vacation policies, overtime, and termination procedures.

Without it you may have a tough time in court for things like discrimination and wrongful termination. Your local job service can give you free help in developing a handbook that meets all legal requirements.

Good employees are out there and if you can find them they are worth their weight in gold. Good hunting.