How to Find the Perfect Part-Timers for Your Small Business

Make sure you aren’t accidentally turning away terrific people.

About 26 million Americans have part-time jobs—maybe a few of them even happen to work for you. Finding the right person to hire, though, can be tricky sometimes. How can small business owners attract terrific part-timers?

kearnsThinking Bigger Business Media talked to Brian Kearns, the founder of HipHire. If anybody understands the power of part-timers, it’s Kearns. HipHire’s online platform matches jobseekers with local employers.

It all starts with the job postings, which should be as bias-free as possible, Kearns said. To get the best possible job applicants, business owners need to cast a wide net … and make sure they aren’t accidentally turning away people who would be perfect for their open positions.

TBBM: Why is it important for business owners to make their hiring process as bias-free as possible?

Small companies consistently report that hiring is one of the top three challenges they face. They are often frustrated with the quality and quantity of candidates who apply, and they need to start with what they’re asking for.

A bias-free hiring process gives companies the best candidates, as even unconscious job posting bias can cause you to alienate quality candidates.

When you take the bias (and negativity) out of a job posting, that post will appeal to a wider number of people and the quality of people applying will be higher.

The tonality of your ad can further tighten what you’re looking for, eliminating people that could be highly qualified. More positive-based questions start to shape a more positive company culture and shift the expectations of the candidate.

When a company isn’t constrained by finding the right people, it can grow and focus on what matters.

Is it possible to exhibit bias and not realize it? Could you give an example or two?

Potential bias can exist when you have an idea of who you want to hire. Until you see someone who closely resembles that ideal candidate, you’ll blame the people applying when the problem really begins with your posting.

Companies alienate groups of people by using heavily masculine words such as ninja, rock star or bulldog.

How can business owners avoid bias in their hiring process? Do you have some specific tips?

  • First of all, make a conscious effort—review your postings with a critical eye.
  • Use gender-neutral terms. Try “workforce” or “employees,” rather than “manpower.”
  • When possible, write in the plural and in the second person so you are speaking to everyone as equals and portraying the company as a team.
  • Eliminate negative words that are likely decreasing the number of candidates applying and increase the number of positive words to help drive up the number of applicants.

Some businesses will spend a great deal of time vetting applicants for full-time positions—but hire a part-timer as quickly as they would order a pizza. Why is it important for employers to take the hiring process for part-timers more seriously?

There are a lot of talented people who don’t want a full-time position, such as mothers with young children and older generations who still bring value to the business in increased productivity, a culture boost or teaching work ethics.

Part-time work can be the beginning of a career path as those people can eventually move to full-time. This also is a great way to vet workers.

Part-time workers often need training and support. Investing in good people ensures they will stay with your company longer, making your investment in them more worthwhile