A recent USA Today article reported that the jobless rate in the U.S. sank to 4.6 percent, making it difficult for small businesses to find qualified workers. In fact, 46 percent of small-business owners surveyed last month said they found few or no qualified applicants. This is one of the highest percentages in more than five years, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.

To aid small businesses with their hiring hurdles, business counselors recommend taking seven steps towards better hiring:

1. Write a job description - Doing so will force owners/managers to review the jobs within their business to determine if they need to be redefined. This will also help determine salary ranges, help formulate interview questions and evaluate job performance.

2. Gauge the market - Evaluate what your competition is paying in wages and benefits, as well as what types of positions they are hiring for. Use this information to evaluate, and possibly improve, what you are offering prospective employees.

3. Outsourcing - Small businesses often have needs that do not require a full-time employee. If this is happening in your business, it might be time to consider outsourcing. According to the article, tasks such as tech work and accounting are often farmed out to companies specializing in helping small businesses.

4. Spread the word - Sometimes it is all about who you know. Publicize your open position to family, friends, business associates, and most importantly, employees. Experts believe that this is possibly the best way to find quality employees.

5. Plan the interviews - When comparing applicants, it is important to make sure that you ask the same questions to each person. To ensure that this happens, write down your questions prior to the interview. Also be sure to word your questions in a way that they provide you with the information you need, but don't break any laws.

6. 'Sell' your company - This is important when you are competing with large corporations who are also hiring. Small-business owners should tout the virtues of working with them. For example, emphasize job security, personal attention, health benefits, flexible hours, one-on-one training, etc. Often times, smaller businesses can offer more to their employees in these areas.

7. Check resumes and references - Applicants often embellish on their resumes, but it is important to decipher what is real and what is a flat out lie. Do your research on employees who are being seriously considered for the position.

For additional details, including "3 Tactics that May Boost Revenue," click here.