Most small business owners are not human resources professionals. Many small business owners usually hire someone they know, a relative, or a friend of a friend, but in many instances these individuals may not make the best employees. They might take advantage of a personal relationship or over-step the boundaries of the employer/employee relationship. Or, maybe the small business owner is not willing or able to place these bounds since a personal relationship exists. However, business is business and you need the best person for the job.
Once you have identified that you need help, the first thing to do is to outline the job and job description. Make a list of what you want this person to actually do. This will help you to then create a snapshot of what this person might look like in regards to skills, education, and background. This information will also help you to define a wage/salary for this person. If the job is highly skilled, you will need to look for someone with education and will need to pay a higher wage. If the position is performing general office duties, perhaps education is not that important and this position will be at a lower wage.
Next, you need to advertise this position. You can use personnel and staffing agencies. For a fee, they will pre-screen applicants for you. Before you go this route, clarify exactly what screening process they have. One agency may give applicants a skills test - determining their skill level with various office programs - however, a very good candidate may be overlooked because of this screening measure. The right person can be taught computer programs. You can also use online services or check with your state, county, or city - many government agencies offer free listing services to potential employers.
Once you have started receiving applications, screen each resume. You can use a grading system - A, B, C - and sort by qualifications. The most qualified will be A's, etc. Once you have a pile, start calling and conduct a short telephone interview of your "A" candidates. Ask some basic questions to help you further narrow your candidates. You might ask why this person wants to work for you, what their background is, and give them a brief description of the position.
Try to schedule interviews over a short time period - dedicate 2-3 days for interviews. This will help you to get them done quickly, and you will remember each candidate better. Once the interview is scheduled, create a list of questions. You can find interview questions online and you can also create some of your own. Be sure to keep the interview at 30 minutes or less. If you really like the person, the interview might go on a little longer. Keep it professional - do not get personal. There are some questions you cannot ask by law. Schedule final interviews for the next week and call back in your top 2-3 choices. You might get more into job specifics during this final interview. If you feel very strongly about an applicant, make them an offer. However, if you aren't sure, take a day or two and then call the candidates. For the candidates you did not choose, please have the courtesy to call them and thank them for their time and perhaps explain why you did not choose them. If there is an area they need to work on, let them know so that they can improve and get the next job they are seeking.
Best of luck when you are hiring! Remember that you can use human resource professionals to help you if you are unsure about the hiring process. Many staffing agencies and personnel services will give you assistance.