Now Hiring: Small Businesses

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job interview U.S. small business owners say they plan to add nearly 3.8 million jobs this year, and only two percent foresee layoffs in 2011, according to the latest Small Business Success Index. More than a quarter (28 percent) of small business owners say they expect to hire at least two people for new positions this year, in an effort to expand their businesses.

However, 69 percent of small business owners expect no change in their staffing level, according to the survey released by the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and partner Network Solutions LLC.

But the projected amount of small business hiring could still make a big difference. Though less than a third of small business owners plan to hire, the jobs they add could reduce the U.S. unemployment rate by 2.4 percentage points, taking it from the current 8.9 to 6.5.

"Small businesses are the economic engine of the United States," said Janet Wagner, director of the Center for Excellence in Service. "As they begin to hire again, owners need to focus on finding the right people to help grow their businesses. They need employees who understand customers' needs and can provide the level of service that is so critical to the success of small enterprises."

So what qualities do you need to get one of these jobs? According to owners, employees best suited for a small business environment are those that have experience working in other small businesses, have a flexible mindset, and a broad skill set.

A positive attitude would definitely help as well. The Small Business Success Index also measures business owners' overall optimism, which is currently rated at only a 'C-'. Those surveyed report difficulty in accessing capital and challenges in marketing and innovation. So if you can help with any of that, you'll have a definite advantage.


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