Hiring the best talent can be daunting for small businesses in North Carolina. Finding the right individual with the skill set and personality to fit your company culture would be best. But how do you go about doing that? This blog post will outline some of the best interview strategies for small businesses. 

We’ll cover everything from how to assess their soft skills to how to study their microexpressions! Keep reading to learn more!

The Interview Process

The job interview process does not begin with the job interview. It starts with your ads to entice the talent to send in resumes. By putting your best foot forward, your applicant pool will be better quality, with more individuals to select from. 

Bringing in the best talent requires considering what you have to offer as an employee. Millennials already represent a third of the global workforce, with Gen Z predicted to reach 27% by 2025.

And according to CNBC, they are looking for the following:

  • Good work/life balance
  • Learning and development opportunities
  • A high salary or financial benefits
  • Positive workplace culture (e.g., employees feel valued, have a sense of belonging, etc.)
  • Opportunities to progress /grow in my career/take on a leadership role
  • Derive a sense of meaning from my work
  • Flexible working model (e.g., can work remotely, on location, or a combination)

Remember that you may be considering a potential employee, but they are also considering you as a potential employer!

Write the Best Job Search Ads to Bring in the Talent

To find the best fit for your organization, you need to consider what potential employees look for in a new job offer ad before posting one.

Job seekers want to feel like they have a chance of success before they apply. They want to know that your company is a good fit for them and that they will be able to work in an environment that supports their core values.

You can start with a tool like ZipRecruiter. Once you post your job position, it gets sent to 100+ job sites with one click. ZipRecruiter’s matching technology finds the right candidates, then invites them to apply for your position. 

As candidates apply, you can manage and rate them in ZipRecruiter’s all-in-one dashboard. And ZipRecruiter helps you write your ad with customizable templates that make it easy to pen the job description!

What to Look For in a Resume

Once the resumes start pouring in, how can you determine which applicants to call in for interviews? If you have too many resumes to look through, start culling them out by putting the ones with nicely done cover letters and well-designed resumes in your first pile to consider. These candidates took the time to give a good impression.

First, call in the ones whose resumes are well-organized and list the skills or training you find most important. However, remember to consider their soft skills. Even if a potential candidate has all the proper training and credentials for the position, they can be wrong for it! 

If a candidate can’t work well with others, they can cause struggles for everyone at your company!

You’re looking for someone who can work well when another individual is being difficult. You’re looking for a person who keeps trying to work hard even without constant praise, the one who keeps on keeping on even when they are unsure how to proceed.

Look for the one who thinks for themselves and finds solutions to problems before making their problems everyone else’s.

Soft skills like empathy, friendliness, being a team player, creativity, and resilience can make all the difference in whether the time and energy you invest in an employee bring dividends for your company or not.

Interview Strategies for Small Businesses

One of the most crucial aspects of interviewing is not jumping at the first candidate who is okay. Instead, take your time and sleep on your thoughts before giving a job offer. 

You’ll likely think of something they said or did that you want further clarification on. You can always send a quick email or make a quick call to ask about something you forgot to touch on or need more information about. 

And you may not notice something that strikes you wrong about the individual until the next day. Taking your time helps you make the best choices.

Before the Interview

When a candidate comes in, give a firm handshake and make eye contact. Dress appropriately for your position and prepare a room for your time together.

Also, do your preparation in advance. An important component of your preparation is to research your potential employee. Start by taking notes about what you find out about them online. 

Review some social media sites and consider using other tools, such as BeenVerified, to get the background story.

Start the Interview By Setting the Candidate At Ease

Go ahead and project confidence to let them know you’re not worried and that they don’t need to be either.

You want to help set the candidate at ease before jumping into the meat of your questions. The last thing you need is to interview someone who feels too nervous about letting their true colors shine through. 

You want to get to know this applicant deeply, and you only have 15 minutes to do it!

The easiest way to calm someone is by listening to what they say, making a bit of small talk conversation, and keeping a positive vibe. Show continued interest throughout the interview.

For example, ask about something interesting they shared in their cover letter or resume. If they worked at Taco Bell as a teenager, that is pretty fascinating small talk!

Also, consider asking how their morning was so far or whether they had trouble finding your building. If they ran late, assure them you’re not worried about that and that everyone runs late sometimes.

You might encourage someone before starting the interview by letting them know what you appreciated about their cover letter and resume.

Interview success starts with setting a candidate at ease. A calm and relaxed candidate allows you to dig deep and get honest answers.

Choosing Your Interview Questions

Start an interview with common questions about important points such as training or education. Then go deeper and focus in by asking what they learned in their classes or training that they believe is crucial to their future job success.

Check out Indeed’s blog, “22 Interview Questions for a Small Business Owner,” to find good questions for the meat of the interview. However, when using questions from a website, know that your candidates are likely prepared for most of the common interview questions from prospective employers.

To really dig deep, ask common questions, but throw in some thought-provoking ones to find out how your candidate thinks on their feet.

If you ask, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” expect a planned answer. Ask, “Where do you see yourself in the near future?” and maybe get an unrehearsed answer.

Or take a common question a step further by asking questions about their answer. Ask the “why” questions or ask them to describe something more in-depth to you. These deeper questions mean listening to what the candidate says and then asking the natural questions that flow from their answer.

General questions can only take you so far. Listening and asking thought-provoking questions helps you discover what makes the person tick.

How to Talk About Your Company in the Interview

When describing your company, talk about its successes and how it has helped its employees grow and develop. Be sure to mention the work environment, the company’s culture, and how its values support its employees. A good description will help candidates see if they would be a good fit for your organization.

When discussing the available position, consider what the candidates are looking for in a job. If the position offers flex time or work from home, let the candidate know. Share about all the perks and benefits.

Consider ahead of time what sets you above the competition in someone’s job search process. Potential candidates are coming to a job interview to suss you out just as much as you are sussing them out!

Body Language and Micro-Expressions

Interviewing someone well put together with good posture and confidence is easy. However, it’s crucial to note that candidates will also be reading your body language.

If you are playing with your hair, looking down, or generally seem uninterested, candidates will pick up on that. Be sure to keep good eye contact and remain engaged throughout the interview.

Take note of micro-expressions. These small changes in facial expressions can clue you into the feelings someone may be trying to hide. According to Forbes, “researchers have found that facial expressions can provide accurate information about a person’s current emotional state, even when that person is trying to conceal those emotions.”

Watch for furrowed brows, which may indicate anger or frustration. Also, be aware of closed-off body language, such as crossed arms or legs, which can signify someone is feeling defensive.

By being aware of both your own body language and the interviewee’s, you can create a more successful interview experience for both parties.

Thank You Note

After the interview, be sure to send a thank you note to the candidate. This is a polite gesture that can leave a good impression and make them more likely to accept an offer, should you choose to extend one.

A handwritten note is always best, but if time is of the essence, an email will suffice. Be sure to personalize the note and mention something specific from your conversation to show that you were paying attention.

Sending a thank you note is one small way to set your company apart in the interview process and make a good impression on top candidates.

Use these tips to improve your interview process and hire the best talent for your small business. With a little preparation, you can find the right employees to help your business grow and succeed.

Interviewing Techniques: Tying it All Together

When it comes to interviewing, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The best approach is to tailor your questions and interview style to fit both the position and the candidate.

By using a combination of common interview questions, deeper probing questions, and body language cues, you can get a well-rounded picture of a candidate and their potential fit for your company.

Don’t forget to sell your company during the interview and end on a positive note with a “Thank you for coming in.” With these tips in mind, you can streamline your interview process and make better hiring decisions for your small company.

We Can Help

At Hopler, Wilms, and Hanna, we know how crucial it is to bring in and keep valuable employees. And when it comes time to hire your best bet, talk with us about your negotiations. Our experienced business attorneys can help also help with writing and finalizing employee contracts. With our help, draw up the best agreements with your potential employees and protect our business in the long run.

Schedule a consultation today for whatever business legal needs you have. We can work through mergers and acquisitions, handle negotiations, contract disputes, unemployment law, employee handbook creation, and more. We even offer a “just like in-house counsel” service if you need someone to act as your business’ go-to attorney.

Contact us today to get started moving forward and helping your business thrive in our growing North Carolina business scene!

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