Even the smallest business requires more than just an entrepreneurial leader to make it thrive and grow. Finding motivated, hands-on employees who jive with the company’s vision, and corporate culture, is a key element to ongoing success. But finding, interviewing and hiring the right people takes time and energy you probably don’t have to spare. Even without an HR department, or unending hours to spend on the search, the right employees are out there waiting for you to find them. All you need to know is where to look.

Network with existing contacts

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You may be looking for a store clerk, nurse or marketing manager. No matter what job you’re looking to fill, networking via simple word of mouth may be all it takes. Talk to other business owners and individuals whose judgment you trust. Let them know you are looking. Shoot out emails to professionals in your field. Ask them to reach out to their own circles on your behalf. Include a short, bulleted job description to make the task easier for them and don’t forget to follow up.

Create new contacts

Groups such as Meetup.com and Networking For Professionals run social mixers for business people looking to make connections. You might find your next printer, plumber or secretary there, and will have a good time in the process.

Saturate social media

Sites such as LinkedIn are geared toward making professional connections. You can post your job right on the site and also search for candidates who have posted resumes. You can also use Facebook and Twitter to get the word out about your search.

Infiltrate employment websites

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Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, The Ladders and Craig’s List, among others, are highly-trafficked websites geared toward making employer-employee connections. Also look for niche websites geared toward specific industries. For example, Contently.com is a resource featuring writers’ portfolios and Idealist.com is geared toward non-profit professionals. You can also use an online employment agency website to write your job description and do leg work for you, for a fee.

Post at college career centers

Students looking for part-time work or internships are often a perfect fit for your job description. Even high school students looking for summer work can make viable, dedicated employees—just remember that they may not be the best fit if you’re looking for someone long term.

Hold interviews

Now that you’ve found your candidates, you’re ready to interview.

  • Once you have identified 10-15 candidates whose resumes seem promising, schedule a short telephone conversation to determine if they pass your gut test.
  • If you like what you hear, schedule time to meet in person, preferably at your place of business.
  • Even if the first person you interview feels like the perfect fit, take the time to meet with at least three additional people so you have a wide range of choices, as well as a fall-back hire, if your first choice isn’t interested in the job.
  • Check your candidates out via social media, to further gage their character, professional connections and friends. Also get a list of references as well as the names and contact information of former employers, clients and colleagues.
  • If needed, bring back your potential candidates for a second interview. Use this face time to find out about their professional goals and prior achievements and to determine if their style will jive with yours. Be honest about the amount of overtime required and salary increases they can expect as well as any other nuances which might make or break their employment. Nothing is as expensive as investing in an employee who doesn’t work out.

Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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