The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Business

July 6, 2013

Help available when you know where to look

— During the past 15 years, nearly two-thirds of new jobs have been generated by small businesses. Yours may be one of them. That’s good news for your local economy; for your customers whose expectations for quality service are higher than ever; and for you, as you focus your energies on other priorities.

If you’re considering adding to this trend by expanding your workforce, you want to be sure the people you hire are both qualified and committed to doing a good job. That said, it’s easy to go into the hiring process with the best of intentions, and end up with results that fail to meet anyone’s expectations.

So before you display the “Help Wanted” sign, literally and figuratively, give some thought to both your hiring goals and strategy for achieving them.

• Do you really need additional help? It’s great that your business is on a growth track, but is adding staff cost-effective? Reformulating processes or rearranging current employee responsibilities may be all that’s necessary, at least for the short term, as long as it doesn’t overburden your current workers.

• Assess alternatives. If your needs don’t match up with a new full-time position, creating one or more part-time positions may meet your needs and provide added flexibilities. Temp agencies also can help with short-term needs, with the added advantage doing the screening work for you. Independent contractors and outsourcing may also be the answer.

• Define the job and what it takes to do it. Carefully consider the job’s direct and associated responsibilities and incorporate them into a written job description. Be careful with general titles such as administrative assistant or sales clerk, as they have different meanings to different people. Be reasonable about your expectations. Too stringent, and you limit your available talent pool; too low and you may be deluged with unqualified applicants.

• Compensation counts. Even when jobs are scarce, people still expect a fair wage for a fair day’s work. State and local chambers of commerce, employment bureaus, and professional associations can help you determine appropriate wages and benefits. Also study comparable jobs to determine prevailing wage rates.

• Attract attention. Promoting a job opening is no different from promoting your business; you must go to where the potential candidates are. Options include advertising in your local newspaper, websites such as Craigslist, or with signs in your store, around the neighborhood, or at nearby high schools and colleges. For jobs requiring specialized skills, consider utilizing trade magazines, industry-specific job banks and employment agencies. Also talk up the job opening among friends, neighbors, suppliers’ customers and current employees.

SCORE is a nonprofit organization formed to help small businesses. To learn more about the Cambria-Somerset chapter of SCORE, call 536-5107, visit www.alleghanies.score chapter.org or email score575@atlanticbb.net.

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