Finding Big Talent for Small Business
10 Recruiting Tips for SMEs
Small businesses are the engine that drives our economy. Even still, since they are often without Human Resources departments, finding the right employees can be a time-consuming and frustrating endeavor, and one that’s not part of their core competencies. While it is easy for job postings from small businesses to get lost among the recruiting efforts of large companies and corporations, there are some things any company can do to up the odds of getting the top candidates.
- Let them know who you are
Most job seekers want to work for a business whose values they share, to know they’d be working together toward a greater good, so be clear as to what those values are. Also, it is important to communicate your brand mission and vision. Your mission statement is a good indicator of where you are today. An effective vision statement lets potential employees know where it is you want to go, what you want to be as a company in the future. It will let the prospective employee know if this is a company whose vision they can see themselves being invested in.
- Trust those who know
(your business AND the candidate)
Referrals from existing employees are one of the best ways to hire quality candidates. Being immersed in your company culture, current employees will have a good sense of who would fit best. Referrals can also save time as they are a good way to screen potential candidates before even interviewing them. If a trusted employee recommends a colleague or friend whose work they know well, it should give you a level of comfort, as opposed to hiring a stranger whose work ethic and potential fit are more of an unknown.
- Find your niche
While it is useful and important to use the big job boards like Monster, Indeed, LinkedIn, etc. you should do some research to find the smaller, niche job boards that cater specifically to your industry and the type of candidate you are looking for.
- Stay social
Your social networks are an excellent way to speak to prospective employees. The fact that they follow your networks shows they are already interested in your company, what you do and how you do it.
- Show them the way
Most people out there aren’t just looking for a job where they’ll do the same thing for the next thirty years. They’re looking for upward mobility. They’re looking for positions that offer a clear path for advancement. Be clear about what future possibilities the position offers. More money? More responsibilities? Management/skills training? etc.
- Fair (or better?) Compensation
While studies show that compensation is not top of most people’s lists when considering taking a new position, it is still important. Don’t try to lowball. Pay people what the market says they are worth, or a little more. When considering the entire compensation package, get the best benefits you can afford for your employees. Medical, dental, etc. These give the employee a feeling of security and rids them of anxiety that might interfere with their performance at work.
- Give them a piece of the pie
If you can afford it, consider implementing an employee profit sharing plan. Having some “skin in the game” has been shown to attract top performers, particularly if they see real potential for a small business to grow, and for them to grow with it.
- Stress lifestyle and flexibility
This is another area that many job seekers identify as more important than money. And if you, as a small business owner, can’t compete with larger companies on wages etc., here is an area where you can set yourself apart if you get creative. Things like flexible work hours and the ability to work remotely can be big incentives for some job seekers, so offer them if it is practical. Come up with affordable but meaningful perk ideas; make the office pet-friendly, sponsor gym memberships, offer free, healthy snacks at the office, give everyone a paid day off for their birthday, make Groundhog day on office holiday! Use your imagination. Small gestures can have big impacts and everyone today is looking for a fulfilling life/work balance.
- Put effort into your recruitment ads
Job boards are filled with thousands of ads. If you want to attract elite candidates, you need to make yours stand out. This takes a great deal of thought and effort – all of which is completely worth it in the end. The best job descriptions are specific and clear. They outline what the job entails and what they’re looking for in a candidate. Try to keep your job description succinct – studies show job seekers will spend, on average, only 30 seconds reading your ad, so make sure it is top heavy with the important information. Make sure you write reasonable job descriptions. Some companies ask for significantly too much or too little in their job descriptions. A company looking for an entry-level employee may ask for three to five years of experience in a role, which likely isn’t a reasonable request. Be fair about what you’re asking for, and make sure the qualifications you want are specifically addressed. Writing effective recruitment ads is a real skill, and there are lots of resources on the Internet to help you out.
- Hire slowly
Finding talented employees, the kind that have the qualifications you need, the kind that will fit in the culture of your company, doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to sort through resumes and to do your due diligence, particularly if you don’t have an HR department to help you out. You are in it for the long haul with your small business so you want the talent you hire to be on the same page. Your staff represents one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your business, and one of the most expensive. And hiring new employees is significantly more expensive than retaining the ones you have. So take the time to get it right.
Recruiting will always be a challenge for small businesses.There’s no perfect recruitment strategy, and the recruitment process will vary by business. But using these 10 tips will help you attract the best potential candidates on the job market. Being a small business doesn’t mean you can’t hire great talent, but it might mean you need to work a little harder at it.