As unemployment hits record lows, it might seem hard to find talent that hasn’t already been scooped up by another company. And when you’re a small business, the game is even tougher when you consider your competition, the challenge of offering great benefits, and finding candidates with the right experience.
So how do small businesses set themselves apart in such a competitive environment and attract great talent? Here are a few tips on how small businesses can hire great people.
1. Keep culture top of mind
Prioritizing retention means looking at every potential hire through the lens of culture. Employees who align with your company’s culture and values are going to be more loyal and stick around for the long haul. According to a study by QuickBooks Payroll, the first employee a company hires is likely its most loyal. Three out of 4 first hires are still with their companies today, which could be attributed to the feeling of personal fulfillment that comes along with being early in a company’s success. Make each employee feel as special as your first by ensuring they’re a good culture fit.
2. Post job listings wherever you have a strong presence
To get applicants in the door, leverage your existing social media accounts and the platforms where you have the most active following. Showcasing your culture and celebrating wins in a public setting can draw attention to why your business is a stand-up company and desirable workplace. If you already have employees, share the job opening on social media, and incentivize your team to recommend candidates using bonuses or other rewards for a quality hire.
3. Leverage the best small-business recruitment techniques
When you’ve done everything you can to attract applicants with what you already have, use your favorite recruitment tool to attract your dream applicants. In that same QuickBooks Payroll survey, employers said their top tool was LinkedIn. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn account for your small business or if your profile needs to be updated, set it up with your company’s logo, photos, values, and mission. And don’t hesitate to get personal. Candidates will be attracted to a workplace that is run by interesting people.
When you create a “We’re hiring!” post, don’t be shy with the description of your company. Be honest about the culture, expand on the benefits of working with you, and start looking for candidates right away. Reach out to individuals via LinkedIn’s “InMail” service to start conversations with experienced professionals who are looking for new opportunities.
4. Refine your application and interview processes
The application process is a reflection of your internal processes. Depending on the type of employees you’re looking for, keep in mind the way they apply for the job says a lot about what it would be like to work for you.
If you need tech-savvy folks, keep your application user-friendly, so a worthy applicant isn’t turned off by a paper application or an online application system that’s stuck in the past. The more open-ended your application questions can be, the better, as they can help you learn about someone’s communication style early on.
As with any business relationship, remember to be prompt and polite in your correspondence. Don’t think you’ve found your dream applicant? That’s ok. Politely let them know (as soon as possible) that you cannot hire them at this time. Stringing someone along can leave a bad taste and could reflect poorly on your business in the future. If you invite someone for an interview, let them know what to expect, and be on time, especially since they’ll likely be nervous to meet you.
It may not be the easiest time to hire, but small businesses can be proactive in building the team they want from the ground up.