Recruiting Strategies for Small Businesses

  •  08/29/2019
  • By Andrea Collatz
  •  Applicant , Employer , How-to articles

Small business recruitment is a tough job. Not only are you playing the part of a human resource representative, but you are also making important hiring decisions for your small business, as well as keeping up with other important tasks.  

While larger corporations may be able to absorb the damage of making the wrong hire, at a small business it’s vital that each employee you hire is the right fit from the start. According to a survey conducted by Wells Fargo, 16% of small business owners said that hiring qualified staff was their biggest challenge in owning a small business. Finding the right employee begins with recruiting the right applicants and ends with conducting a thorough pre-employment screening to help confirm that you are making the right hire.

Although the recruitment and hiring process can seem time-consuming and daunting to complete, it is time well-spent when doing all that you can to build out a high-functioning team that can help grow your business. Continue reading for the best small business recruiting strategies and tips on attracting the best candidates for your open position right off the bat.

Become Known as a Great Employer

While this may not be a surprise, it’s important to note that your company’s reputation matters quite a bit, especially when trying to attract great employees. Ultimately, your company’s reputation can persuade or dissuade a candidate from applying. Around 72 percent of recruiting leaders believe that employer branding has a significant impact on the ability to attract and hire great talent.

72% of recruiting leaders believe employer branding has a significant impact on ability to hire great talent

When a company has a good reputation and strong branding, great prospects tend to seek them out for employment. Those are exactly the type of candidates most small businesses want: those who are proactive and passionate about working for a company they admire and share similar personal morals and ethics with.

While large corporations typically get a leg up in developing a reputation based on size alone, it can be harder for small businesses to become known. Some easy ways to increase a small business profile and build a strong reputation is to beget involved in your community (parades, charity events, sponsorships, etc.) and join your local Chamber of Commerce.

According to one survey, “if… a small business is a member of its local chamber, the business enjoys a 44% increase in consumer favorability rating, a 51% increase in consumer awareness” as well as “a 57% increase in its local reputation.” It also allows you to shape your own business’ reputation, rather than leaving it at the mercy of your employees.

Small business benefits of joining local chambers of commerce

Becoming an “employer of choice” isn’t complicated, but it does require a bit of planning and research.

Consider these steps:

  • Define the type of person you want to recruit. While particular job skills will be unique to each position, there are surely similarities in work ethic, culture, and other similar traits across your ideal employees.
  • Next, identify perks and benefits that appeal to that type of candidate. Be sure you are aware of what your competition is doing too – the last thing you want is to be far behind in the game.
  • Offer challenging work. Make sure the position offers opportunity for growth and advancement, or risk losing a talented employee to a more challenging (but rewarding) position elsewhere.
  • Recognize employees. When your team does great work, commend them, both as a group and individually.

Here are a few examples of how to position your small business in terms of its offerings when seeking job candidates.

  • Flexible work hours: If you’re interested in responsible self-starters, consider flexible work hours to attract employees who are seeking autonomy in the workplace.
  • Health club memberships: To appeal to employees who value soundness of mind and body, offer a small gym within your building or to pay for a portion of a health club membership to your employees.

Using Online Job Postings Effectively

Job-posting websites can attract a wealth of valuable candidates, but also bring in a deluge of unqualified ones.

There are a number of things you can do to help you attract the right candidate across the job site of your choosing, and using online job postings effectively is one of the best small business recruiting tactics.

  • Test different job titles to see which garner the most clicks and the most qualified applicants, keeping in the mind the description and rank of the open position (junior, senior, VP, etc.)
  • Keep an active and healthy company profile on sites like Indeed and LinkedIn to give candidates a better idea of the company beyond the job listing. Implementing a social media marketing plan tailored to company culture can help to keep your business’ social media channels fresh and relevant at all times.
  • Streamline your application within chosen platforms to make it easier for qualified candidates to apply quickly and on the spot.

Each job site has its own tips and tricks. Read on for our top tips for our favorite job-posting sites to attract qualified, desirable applicants.

Tips for Posting Jobs on Indeed

Indeed is one of the top posting sites, attracting more than 200 million visitors each month. It’s free to post your job listing on Indeed, and the following tips from FitSmallBusiness may help you maximize exposure:

Screenshot of Indeed app

  • Start your listing with a bolded, attractive job title
  • Include your company name and location (city and state)
  • Create a landing page for each individual job posting that gives a thorough description of your business, job description, and necessary qualifications
  • Write SEO-friendly content—but be sure not to “keyword stuff”
  • Include clear instructions for submission. If hyperlinks are being used, be sure that your link points to the correct landing page

Pro Tip: While these tips may help you increase views on your free job listing, you may also elect to advertise your post, paying per click in order to gain more views.

Tips for Posting Jobs on Monster

Thousands of jobs are posted on Monster.com each day, so the question becomes: how do I make my job stand out?

Screen shot of Monster app

Monster offers job enhancements to increase your listing’s visibility such as:

  • Enhanced job ads, which distribute your listing to hundreds of sites in Monster’s network
  • Value plans for small and mid-sized businesses who recruit for a handful of jobs monthly
  • Premium job ads, which allow you to use precise targeting to reach a more qualified pool of candidates

Job bolding, simply bolding your listing to make it stand our visually  

Tips for Posting Jobs on CareerBuilder

CareerBuilder offers a service unlike any other through its Talent Discovery platform. It’s an intelligent recruitment platform that gives you everything you need to recruit the best candidates out there. It includes real-time labor market data, documented records for future reference, search and match functions for connecting with talent, and drag-and-drop creation for recruitment emails. The talent you’re seeking is out there, and Talent Discovery will help you find it.

Tips for Posting on Industry-Specific Job Boards

No matter your industry, chances are there’s an industry-specific job board for you. The most important thing to remember when posting on an industry-specific board is to ensure you’re posting on the right one. Sounds simple, but it can tough. Many industry-specific job boards are incredibly niche, and it’s vital that you get your job in front of the right audience. Most job boards offer an “about” section for the industry they are associated with.

To make your job posting stand out on an industry-specific job board, consider:

  • Highlighting your company culture. What makes your business different from others in your industry? Why should a qualified candidate choose to work for your company over another in the same niche?
  • Using the right keywords. To help attract desirable candidates, make sure your keywords align with the job position. For example, using “manager” instead of “supervisor” can make a big difference. According to Proven.com, almost 90% of job seekers look for manager positions over supervisor roles.

Use Social Media to Recruit

Social media is an integral component of small business recruitment efforts, as many job seekers utilize social networks as a job searching tool. According to a 2015 iCIMS survey, 57 percent of job seekers indicated they utilized social media at least once a month to learn more about potential employers.

When job seekers visit your Facebook or Twitter feed, they may be researching your company and using the information posted there to learn more about you. Some may actively peruse the feeds of companies they’re interested in working for; if a job listing comes available, they may use social media to be notified of it.

That’s why it’s vital that social networks are a facet of your recruiting strategy. Active company profiles on social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are a must, as well as regular postings of open jobs across these channels. Learn more about creating a social media plan for your business with this helpful article from LinkedIn.

Computer screen showing social media platforms

Social media channels have massive network sizes, which could welcome immediate exposure. It’s also a good idea to participate in social conversations as a company to help increase brand awareness, engagement, and reach. Explore more niche social networks, too, for optimal awareness. Sites like GitHub and Quora are geared towards professionally-minded people looking to network and connect.

Pursue Candidates on LinkedIn

Perhaps the most effective social network for employers and prospective employees is LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s network of 500+ million professionals is ripe with talented and qualified candidates. It may pay to build and maintain an active company LinkedIn profile, with regular posts about both company and industry news. Encourage your employees to connect with your company’s LinkedIn page and engage with company posts. Prospective candidates will undoubtedly turn to LinkedIn while doing research on your company, and a relevant profile can help to convey an active and lively business.

The most unique thing about LinkedIn is that it isn’t just a social network—it’s also a job posting site. LinkedIn has an incredibly active jobs section, which blends seamlessly with your company page. It also allows you to reach out directly to qualified candidates through InMail. Some employers opt to target passive candidates by searching through a competitor’s roster of employees and start a conversation with qualified options. Whether you are recruiting yourself or have outsourced the task to an internal headhunter, LinkedIn is a quick and easy way to start pooling talent.

Hire a Headhunter

Time is a limited resource, and as a small business owner, you have more things to do than hours in the day. Recruiting employees for a small business can be a laborious process, and finding good candidates takes serious dedication and effort. That’s why some business owners and hiring managers opt to outsource much of their small business recruiting effort by enlisting a headhunter to pursue talent for them. While some business owners consider this option as a last resort, it does provide benefits. Not only does it save time, but it also puts your search into the hands of someone who has knowledge and expertise that you probably don’t.

Contract-to-Hire

Some employers may utilize contract-to-hire relationships to help mitigate the risks that could come with  hiring a new employee. Contract-to-hire is an agreement between an employer and employee that sets a certain period of time that the employee will work for the employer, and it can be an effective small business recruitment strategy. At the end of the set period of time, the employer can decide if he or she will permanently hire on or dismiss the contractor. This tends to be a more quick and cost-effective way to fill an open position. The contract-to-hire method can give a small business a lot of flexibility because it gives employers the option to turn a highly desirable contractor into a permanent hire while also enabling the small business to terminate the contract if the person isn’t a good fit.

Conclusion

Expanding your team is an exciting step for small businesses, as it probably means that the business is doing well and new projects are in the horizon -- which means more hands on deck. Whether you utilize a job board, social media, or a head-hunter to recruit your next super star employee, it’s vital that you do a thorough employment screening on your potential new hire to help ensure that they are a good fit.

A thorough pre-employment screening process can provide insight into who your new employee may be — not just who they claim to be. With ShareAble for Hires, a certified pre-employment screening service, you will gain access to your applicant’s background criminal, credit, and Identity Verification reports. ShareAble for Hires reports are delivered to your inbox within minutes so you can quickly and confidently hire today and get back to the grindstone.

Keep in mind, it’s important to screen all serious candidates before extending an offer of employment so that you can be confident in your newest team member and the future of your small business. With ShareAble for Hires there are no sign-up, monthly or annual, or hidden fees. Simply screen your candidates as you go!

Are you ready to pre-employment screen in minutes? Create a ShareAble for Hires account now!

Senior Marketing Analyst, TransUnion ShareAble

Andrea Collatz

She focuses on topics that empower small business owners through data, insights and industry best practices.

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