For a lot of small business owners, hiring that first employee is a huge step. On the positive side, it usually means that you’re encountering demand you can’t fulfill on your own and that you’ve engaged an opportune marketplace. On the riskier side, however, hiring an employee can be a significant financial commitment – and one that is, more often than not, botched. But entrepreneurs, you’re now in luck! There’s an option beyond wasting your time or outsourcing your hiring.

Hiring your first employee

The reason that small business hiring often goes awry is that most entrepreneurs simply aren’t equipped with the skills and know-how to hire appropriately. Usually, they come to the table with some other expertise that allows them to develop an entire business around fulfilling a unique need. Yet regardless of its mundane reputation, human resource is a vast field of which there are a lot of moving parts to keep track of and of which expertise is required for success. Your business may not be ready yet, but some companies are using a pre-employment assessment system to find candidates that will fit in a team the most effective and be the most productive too!

What’s more, the detriment caused by this lack of HR knowledge is compounded because of the impact that a new hire will have on a small business. As opposed to when Wal-Mart hires 1,000 new cashiers, when a small business advances from a party of one to a party of two, there’s significant weight placed on that new hire. In other words, their mere existence as a part of your business will make a difference.

Consequently, when a small business is extended to hire a first employee and that employee turns out to be the wrong candidate, the consequences can be damning. It can even be the difference between surviving and succumbing to the overwhelming statistical failure of small businesses.

This whole reality prompts many small business owners to outsource their hiring to hiring agencies – which is, of course, a viable solution. However, with the advancement of technology, small businesses now have another solution at their disposal; one that offers them greater transparency and allows for actual performance prediction. In fact, it leverages the hiring data of those big companies, like Walmart, to hire the right candidate for whatever the position. “What is this wondrous solution,” you ask? The answer is clear: automated candidate assessments.

Automated candidate assessments utilize behavioral science, a division of industrial/organization psychology, to determine job-relevant attributes that define the difference between weak and top performers for a given position. Imagine if, as a small business owner, you were able to filter candidates and be thrown red or green flags as to whether or not they made sense to continue through the process? With validated automated assessments, like personality tests and automated reference checking, you get exactly that!

For instance, with automated reference checking software, you needn’t worry about randomly calling a list of reference providers to ask them a series of unstructured questions you read about on Google. Instead, you simply ask the candidate to provide reference provider contact information into the web-based system and within 48 hours you’re provided a thorough outline of the candidate from the reference providers perspective. The questionnaire the reference receives is comprised of validated, job-relevant competency questions, all of which can be answered at the reference provider’s earliest convenience. And just like that, voila! Having such a clear window into a candidate’s history is like tapping into a goldmine of information about how a candidate will likely perform in the future. If you'd like to carry out additional checks you could always do a background check, this isn't as difficult as it sounds and can be done by yourself using an automated background checker such as SAP background check integration, by using this you are making sure that there are no hidden surprises from the person you are looking to employ.

Although it may sound like a lot of science and tech mumbo jumbo, the reality is that these sorts of hiring tools are changing the game for everyone: big and small business alike. The ability to
predict performance allows us all a lot of advantages. Not only can we hire more efficiently, but we can do so with dramatically less risk. In other words, we can find the best candidate to help us fill our niche and better our chances at success.

About the Author: Greg Moran is the President and CEO of, an Employee Selection and Automated Reference Checking technology suite as well as a respected author on Human Capital Management with published works including Hire, Fire & The Walking Dead and Building the Talent Edge. Greg can be found blogging at or on twitter @CEOofChequed.