Standing out from the crowd is hard enough. How can you compete as a small business in a world full of established titans? Having a solid team to give you a competitive edge is a good place to start.
Whether you’re a single person operation looking to hire your first employee or you’re looking to hire your tenth employee, it never gets easier. Competing against companies with the budget for online job postings, strategic recruitment tactics, and powerful personal brands can be difficult. Luckily, there are a few tricks you can use to outsmart your competitors and hire the best for your team.
How to attract top tier talent to your small business
The job market is becoming increasingly candidate-favored, which means the global talent pool is shrinking. Attracting the best employees to your growing business isn’t getting any easier. If you’re worried about how to set yourself apart from the crowd, you’re in the right place. Here are four easy and relatively cheap ways you can expand your talent pool.
1. Diversify your recruitment channels
The first step in recruiting top talent is getting on their radar. Unless your company is already known to a candidate, they aren’t going to your website looking for open positions. It’s your job to attract them via other channels and bring them to you!
Creating a recruiting marketing strategy, attending college career fairs, and even targeting remote workers are all great places to start. Think about the qualities that would cause you to become interested in a company. Is it a friendly social media presence? Maybe you’d be more likely to pay attention to someone you met at a networking event? Use those thoughts to reverse engineer your recruitment strategy.
When you expand the different channels you’re recruiting from, you’re more likely to find interested candidates. Cast a wide net to start using your recruitment marketing platform and then as you begin to find which channels work best for your business, tailor your strategy to hit those channels.
2. Emphasize growth opportunities
There are pros and cons of working for a small business. You might not be able to offer as competitive a salary as established businesses, but you can offer growth opportunities.
A study from LinkedIn showed that 94% of employees would stay at their current company longer if they were offered significant growth opportunities. As a small business, there are more opportunities for employees to wear several hats as they gain experience at the company. Use this to your advantage. Highlight the growth and learning opportunities available to employees at your business from the very beginning.
There are a couple ways you can do this: job listings, social media, your website, and even in your interviews. When a candidate mentions their interest in learning new skills, be sure to tell them about the many different projects or teams they can work with. This is a selling point unique to small businesses. Own it!
3. Lean into employee referrals
As a small business, it can seem difficult to compete with large, established companies when there is a limited number of qualified candidates. That’s why many companies have turned to employee referral programs to increase their talent pool.
Studies show that 29% of new hires were referred by another employee. These employees are more likely to know what candidates are needed for a role, how to get in contact with them, and whether or not they’d be a good culture fit.
Creating an employee referral program is ideal for any small business that might not have a formalized HR department or recruiter on staff. You can even implement an employee referral tool to simplify the process. Make active recruiting an expectation of all of your employees and you’ll see the results.
4. Take risks on unconventional candidates
One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make when recruiting is being picky. It’s important to remember that while they might not be the ideal job candidate, you’re not the traditional employer. When you receive an application from someone who might not fit the mold, take a step back and set aside your unconscious bias.
Maybe the guy with 30 years of experience who applied for an entry-level role is looking to start fresh in a second career. Or maybe the mother who has been out of work for a few years was raising her children and is ready to get back into the workforce.
Unconventional candidates are a goldmine. They often get the door slammed in their face by larger, more established companies. Candidates with unusual experience bring unique qualities to your company. They’re also more likely to take on extra work or new projects in the hopes of gaining experience. It’s a mutually beneficial experience all around!
5. Automate with software
All of these different strategies can be daunting to manage by yourself. Luckily, recruitment automation software makes it easier than ever to handle the administrative tasks associated with hiring. These programs are designed to help you build talent pools for open roles, track candidate progress, streamline recruiting, and more.
The great thing about recruitment automation is that these programs are designed to grow with your business. As you begin adding more job openings, they can handle the bandwidth. You can use these software solutions no matter what your business size.
Ready to recruit?
Being a small business is not a disadvantage in the world of recruiting. You’re only limited by your own savvy and creativity. Think outside the box, try new things, and don’t be afraid to fail. By implementing the suggestions we’ve introduced above, you’ll be well on your way to creating your dream team!
This guest post was written by Lauren Pope of G2.
Lauren is a Senior Content Specialist at G2 with five years of content marketing experience. You can find her work featured on CNBC, Hubspot, Yahoo Finance, and on the G2 Learning Hub. In her free time, Lauren enjoys watching true crime shows, and spending time in the Chicago karaoke scene.