For small businesses, hiring can be a daunting task. That's because new team members help shape company culture and can positively or negatively impact productivity and group morale. Often, a single bad recruit can have long-lasting consequences.

Of course, the way an employee affects the work dynamic is only one part of the equation. According to the Work Institute's 2018 Retention Report, 40 percent of new hires leave their jobs within the first 12 months. In a smaller organization, that turnover can be disruptive. Considering the fact that a new recruit may take a few months to learn the position, such a short retention time can impede profitability and growth.

At my company Amerisleep, we exercise caution when interviewing applicants and extending job offers. While it may be tempting to make a quick hire to fill an urgent vacancy in our human resources, we understand that any impulsive decisions may simply be short-term solutions that cost us more long-term. As we've scaled our business, one thing we've learned is that by revamping your hiring process, you can minimize employee turnover.

Below are four tips for improving how you hire to ensure you're able to find candidates you can effectively engage, nurture, and retain.

1. Be genuine in your job description.

The job description for each of your open positions should include as much about the responsibilities and work environment as possible.

Any inaccuracies may change the way applicants present themselves. That's because job seekers will try to make their resume fit the position and highlight positive attributes. It's only natural that they want to be offered the job as much as you want to fill it. The consequence here is that a great candidate on paper might not be the right fit after all.

2. Consult with each department manager.

Budget time for your recruiters to speak with each department manager about the open roles they want to fill for their teams. Have them investigate which key qualities are needed for the position and possible flaws to avoid.

This will facilitate a more effective screening process so any red flags can be identified earlier.

3. Employ aptitude and assessment tests to inform choices.

Since past performance isn't always an indicator of future success, you can utilize pre-employment testing to provide you a more complete picture of an applicant's abilities. This helps you determine how well they're able to apply their skills in your particular work environment.

You can also use tests that will give you insight into the candidate's aptitude, intelligence and personality traits.

4. Evaluate your own offerings honestly.

If you're experiencing high turnover, you'll want to investigate what's been a point of friction or frustration among previous employees. When you diagnose the problem, then you can devise a solution that will help create a more engaging workplace for incoming team members.

Gather regular feedback from your current staff too. Create open lines of communication between employees at all levels and your leadership team. For sensitive topics, make it easy for anyone to share their ideas privately or to submit anonymous suggestions. Employees who feel reluctant and unable to voice their concerns are more likely to seek career growth elsewhere.

Hiring can be a time-consuming part of running a business. However, the investment leading up to the job offer can pay off exponentially when you're able to recruit a team member who'll be committed to making a meaningful impact on your organization for years to come.

Published on: Feb 28, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.