Whether you’re running multiple stores or you just need help out in your office, part-time employees can be a great way to grow your team. You’ll have the help you need without committing to a 40-hour-a-week employee who shows up Monday through Friday and stays all day. You’ll also have access to those workers who can’t work full-time due to being in school, working a full-time job, or caring for a family while a spouse works full-time.
Finding part-time workers who will be reliable can be challenging for business owners, though. Part-time employees can tend to be flakier than salaried employees, since the latter often have family members and mortgages relying on their salaries. Before you start looking for a part-time employee to round off your team, here are a few tips that can help.
Ask for Referrals
Friends and industry contacts can often be a great resource for finding part-time workers. A friend’s child or neighbor may be looking for just the type of job you’re offering. If you already have part-time employees, you can also ask if they have any friends who might be looking for work. Many younger people are eager to work alongside their friends and would be happy to refer a few good workers.
Be careful when using referrals, though. You may paint yourself into a corner by hiring a colleague or friend’s child, only to find the person isn’t up to par. Then you’ll be put in the position of offending someone by letting that worker go. Before you bring the person onto your staff, consider what will happen if the employee doesn’t work out.
Many hiring managers make the mistake of going wide in their posting efforts. The idea is that by posting the job opening everywhere, supervisors will have a large pool of candidates from which to choose. But by doing this, they quickly find that they have a large pool of unqualified candidates. Instead of posting your opening everywhere, consider where your ideal candidate will likely spend time. What websites would that person choose in searching job postings? Would that person be likely to go to a career counseling center or enlist the help of a recruiter? Many part-time workers look for jobs through FlexJobs, which specializes in jobs with flexible hours.
In some cases, you don’t need an on-site worker at all. You can outsource the task to a remote worker, who will only get paid for completed work. This will save you money in insurance costs and you won’t have to worry about paying taxes on the monies paid and putting the person on the schedule each week. If the position requires someone be on site, consider elements of your business that can be outsourced, such as packaging and shipping items or keying orders in. You will be able to save money by hiring fewer on-site employees and still have tasks completed productively.
Run Background Checks
Before you hire an employee, you should at least contact that person’s references and do a basic Internet search to see what information you can learn. If the employee will be dealing with company property or handling money, you should also run a drug test and a criminal background check. These extra steps can keep you from hiring someone who will bring harm to your business through increasing your liability risk, stealing your property, or damaging your relationship.
Your interview process should not be a breeze. Use behavioral interview techniques, asking questions like, “Describe a time when you had to work under pressure. How did you handle it?” The answers to these types of questions are often much more telling than merely asking about a person’s background. If you have other team members, bring them into the interview process to ensure your candidate of choice will be a good fit for your organization.
You shouldn’t wait until your business is shorthanded to begin your search for an employee. You should always be on the lookout for someone who would be a good fit for your company and take that person’s contact information. If someone shows an interest in working for you, let that person know you don’t have an opening right now but you will keep his resume on file in case you ever do. Don’t be afraid to lure people away from other businesses, either. If you’re in line at your favorite coffee shop and you see a worker who shows initiative and personality, ask that person to interview for your open position. You’ll likely find many of the best workers are already employed elsewhere.
Don’t Rule Out Teenagers
Managing minors can be difficult, especially with laws in place restricting the times they can work. But teenagers can have an enthusiasm and eagerness to work that you won’t find in an adult. Additionally, teens often don’t mind the lower pay that comes from a part-time job. If you’re consistently turning teens away, rethink whether you might be missing out on great workers. Granted, issues like reliable transportation and daytime availability can make those workers a no-go, but there’s no reason to set a hard-and-fast rule that you won’t ever hire an underage worker.
Competitive pay is one of the best ways to attract and keep top-quality part-time employees. If you’re only willing to pay minimum wage, potential workers will choose a job that pays slightly higher. You’re also competing with jobs where employees work for tips, which pay a much higher hourly wage than the minimum. Let your employees know from the beginning that you’ll regularly review their performance and up their pay accordingly and follow through on that promise. If you reward your employees with competitive compensation, you won’t have to worry about searching for new workers.
If you’re interested in hiring part-time employees, you can enjoy more success by planning your approach in advance. By posting the opening in the right places and actively searching for the right fit, you’ll be much more likely to fill the position with an employee who will be part of your staff for a long time.