UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

KCSourceLink connects KC entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

MOSourceLink connects Missouri entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center
A man and a woman shake hands - How to Hire the Right Candidate for Your Kansas City Small Business

Learn How to Find and Hire the Right Candidate for Your Kansas City Business


Hiring the right employee for a position at your small business can be tough. But you’re not alone.

Did you know Kansas City startups like yours create over 16,000 jobs on average a year? That’s a lot of jobs … and small-business owners like you are trying to match many of those positions with the right kind of worker.

And this is important because if you don’t hire the right person, you’ll pay for it later—literally. It costs thousands of dollars to replace workers: That includes everything tied to off-boarding the worker, the hiring process, onboarding a new employee and lost productivity during that whole process.

So here with a few hiring tips and tricks is talent acquisition expert Doug Burris, who has over 25 years of experience with finding top talent, one of his duties as president at Growth Acceleration Services.

And you might catch Doug and other experts who donate their time to supporting entrepreneurs at the Enterprise Center of Johnson County. ECJC provides capital to entrepreneurs through multiple vehicles and offers education and mentoring through programs (like StartupGrow: Building Smart and Intentional Teams) that dive deeply into growth areas entrepreneurs struggle with (because chances are, if you’ve got a business hurdle, many other KC entrepreneurs are likely dealing with the same thing … like how to hire.) Explore a few of the educational programs ECJC offers.

So read on, my friend, and find out how to attract the right talent because if done right, you can hire a valuable employee who cares about your business as much as you do. Plus, you’ll save yourself the headaches that come with hiring someone who’s not a good fit for your small business.

> > > Rather talk than read? Give us here at KCSourceLink a call at 816-235-6500, and we’ll outline your custom set of next steps for free.

Cast Your Line, Begin the Hunt

1. First things first. Know what you want in an applicant. Are you looking for a marketing professional who has experience with growing an audience on Facebook and Twitter? Do you want a sales pro who knows the ins and outs of the tech industry? Are you seeking someone with coding experience in a particular area?

Knowing the specifics of what you’re after will help you shape your job posting and help you keep in mind the kind of worker you want for that job. It sounds like a no-brainer, but when you’re running a small business (aka a superhero who does everything), this might escape your gaze.

In that same vein, Doug says it’s important that you can tell applicants what they’ll be doing. Big thing: Workers want to feel satisfaction from what they do everyday; they want to learn something useful for their careers and be offered opportunities for development. So keep in mind when you hire an employee that you’re not just hiring a body ... you’re hiring a living, breathing human being who wants to know how you and your workplace will help him or her grow professionally.

2. Once you know what the job is and what type of applicant you’re seeking, consider how the posting might appeal to the market you’re after. Doug says you might achieve that with certain words, titles or a mission statement that speaks to the specifics of the job and the company. You might also run the posting by someone in your network first to make sure your words achieve the effect you’re after.

Stay connected to KC entrepreneurship

Get entrepreneurial insights, inspiration and events delivered right to your inbox. 

3. Now, try posting the opening on some top job sites, like Indeed, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder, Monster, Craigslist and LinkedIn. Different job sites attract different kinds of applicants, so it’s a good idea to do your research and see if your industry or target market tends to reside on one site more than another.

And that short list of top job sites is by no means comprehensive. Many niche job sites aim to appeal to specific industries or skills, so there might be other places online that tend to attract the type of candidate you want.

You might also try something a little creative.

4. You can also use your social networks and real networks to get the word out about a job. Doug says you should to be able to describe your company and the position to a third party (maybe that’s your spouse, siblings, friend) because if you can’t tell them, you’ll probably have a tough time conveying that information to a candidate. That difficulty also might be a sign your posting is too broad and that you need to focus it.

5. If you decide to use a headhunter, Doug says you should be able to describe the top three qualifications you’re looking for. (Yep, top three. Not top 10 because one person is unlikely to be a perfect match for that many qualifications.) He says this will help the recruiter hone in on applicants who might align better with what you’re seeking; otherwise, headhunters might refer candidates who might not be the best match because those recruiters couldn’t differentiate your lower-priority qualifications from your top ones.

Now, you’re ready to start formulating questions for your phone interviews and then your in-person interviews. But know that some questions are better than others. See which can reveal a candidate’s true potential.

> > > Hungry for more advice about hiring or interviewing … or something else? Call us at 816-235-6500 or drop us a line here, and tell us about what your business needs. We’ll craft your very own personal action plan (that’s your custom guide to the resources in Kansas City) that will connect you (for free) with the right help, right when you need it.

Doug Burris of Growth Acceleration Services has decades of experience in the talent acquisition space throughout the Midwest and has worked with small startups to multinational corporations. His passion of identifying ideal talent for early-stage companies stems from his experience and collaboration with Daniel O’Reilly at Netchemia and from supporting a variety of growth-oriented companies in Kansas City. Doug has a vast knowledge and a network of talent, ranging from software development to sales and marketing to business operations.


Get Your Personal Action Plan

Ready to get your thing started? Tell us about yourself, your business and your challenge and we'll develop your Personal Action Plan, your customized checklist of what to do and who to meet to move your business forward.

How can we help you?

Our team helps grow entrepreneurship in Kansas City every day.

Connect with us!

Get insights, inspiration and events to help you start, grow and accelerate KC businesses.

Subscribe