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3 of America’s Best Small Companies Share Their Hidden Secrets

Being small does not mean that you can not be powerful.

The list of Forbes’ best small businesses in the US takes small, high performing businesses into consideration and ranks them according to the criteria of Bo Burlingham Small Giants. The list celebrates unique owners who focus on “size rather than growth” and give priority to financial and non-financial issues, such as creating great work and excellent customer service.

In addition to these guiding principles, there is another key element that makes these companies great: employees. Without hiring the right people, these organizations would not have made the cut.

This surprised us how these admired small businesses recruit the best talents that grow?

So we talked to three of this year’s winners: Radio Flyer, the favorite childhood toy maker with only 100 employees, Balsam Brands, a Christmas and Christmas tree decorator with more than 120 employees around the world. Bi-Rite Market. Food group with more than 300 employees.

These companies were willing to share their recruitment strategies and to explain how talented people contributed to their success. Whether your small business feels like it’s growing or growing, consider these cost-effective approaches to recruiting highly skilled talent.

Rent first for Culture Fit or your business will suffer

A single lease can make or break a small business, so cultural accommodation is extremely important. When these companies hire top talent, they use their mission statements to find and identify candidates that fit the corporate culture.

For almost 100 years, Radio Flyer’s mission has been to bring a smile to children of all ages and create warm memories that will last a lifetime. When Amy Bastuga became Vice President of Human Resources, she used the company’s history, mission and values ​​to define her employer brand. “The integration of our cultural foundations into our recruitment criteria has helped us to find candidates who respect our values ​​and believe in our mission,” she says.

The Bi-Rite market focuses on one mission: to create a community through food. They focus on building meaningful relationships not only with their customers, but also with the relationships between their employees, their suppliers and the wider community. For them, a good candidate will serve their DNA and help Bi-Rite Market create that sense of community with exemplary levels of passion, care, integrity and humility. CEO Sam Mogannam remembers losing almost one of his most valuable employees when a sick employee of the company became a problem: “It was a crucial learning lesson and if anyone did not fit the culture, it could hurt the business. ”

Develop an interview process that challenges candidates

In terms of interviews, these companies bring candidates to assess their skills and culture.

Radio Flyer’s on-site interviews include two well-designed tasks to assess work ethics and cultural skills. The first is a writing exercise in which the candidate shares three successes and one mistake in his personal and professional life. The second is a homework assignment where candidates ask 15 questions they wish to ask about the company.

The bi-rite market puts the candidates in store to judge the culture. For two days, the hiring team monitors the candidate and supports the staff. They even use a little stress to see how he reacts. If the candidate shows modesty, superior service and the desire to work hard, then he has found a good fit.

Let the CEOs interview as many candidates as possible

One might think that the entrepreneur would be too busy to manage the recruitment process. But these CEOs do not look up, they get involved.

When Sam took over the family business in 1998, he interviewed each candidate. When the bi-rites market doubled six years ago, he was less involved. Today, with more than 300 employees, he is always conducting interviews with leading candidates and helping to review references. What is his interview question? “I ask people about their mistakes and how they handled the mistakes,” he says.

Robert Pasin sees himself not only as “Chief Wagon Officer” of Radio Flyer, but also as “Chief Recruitment Officer”. He is so focused on the business that he selects the right people and hires them to interview each candidate to see if it’s a good long-term match.

Write after each interview to reach the candidates

Evaluating the candidate after the interview is as important as the interview itself: these companies invest time and energy to get feedback from everyone involved in the hiring process.

After each interview, the Balsam Brands recruitment team discusses observations and interviews with the candidate. This includes anyone who has interacted with the candidate, from junior team member to CEO Thomas “Mac” Harman. “The debriefing is really effective,” says Claire Magat, vice president of People Initiatives & Strategic Projects. “They help us discover prejudices and ensure that every voice is heard when we make a hiring decision.”

At Radio Flyer, the selection team gets together to learn from each other during interviews. They also evaluate the candidate to determine how he or she will perform in the company. The evaluation sheet allowed the company to interview faster and better coordinate talent.

Do not be afraid to leave the roles open

It may seem paradoxical, but keeping an empty office actually helps these businesses grow and develop properly.

Radio Flyer is extremely committed to realizing their vision, so they want to hire the right people who fit their culture, live their values ​​and believe in their mission. If they can not find this person immediately, they will leave the application open. “I’m convinced that an open position is better than a bad match,” says Amy. “The discipline of knowing when to hire and not hire will ultimately help us grow.”

Balsam Brands has the same philosophy. The talent acquisition team is so focused on culture and skills that it wants to leave an open position and develop it based on the needs of the business rather than hiring the wrong person. “Although we can not wait to fill a role, we never recruit in despair, we take our time,” says Claire.

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