According to an Indeed survey, 56% of small businesses find recruiting a challenge. It’s hard to compete with big enterprises and their generous benefits packages plus a name people know.
“Oh, You work for Apple. Wow. What’s it like?” Vs. “Oh, you work for a small cell phone repair shop I’ve never heard of. Mmm. Okay.”
But all jokes aside, you have a lot going for you when you sell yourself. Here are 8 small business recruitment strategies that help you do just that.
1. Get Referrals from Employees
As a small business, you’re already a tighter-knit family than some big faceless corporation. Those companies may try to sell an employee culture with a hometown feel, but yours comes naturally.
One of the best ways to hire high-quality employees is through employees you already trust. Smart, ethical, caring, safety-oriented, hard-working people tend to know other people like them.
On top of that, when you have people who already know each other working together, you’re building a more stable business.
If an employee recommends someone, interview them like anyone else and don’t turn a blind eye to red flags because someone recommended them. But do consider them to have something going for them that others may not if all else is equal.
One way to get more employee referrals is to start an employee referral program. And don’t be stingy. Remember: they just saved you money on recruiting, so $500, $1000, or more is worth it in some instances.
Make the pay-out contingent on the new hire working there so many months before payout to ward off people who sadly might game the system. But chances are if you hired them, they’re one of the good ones.
2. Get Referrals from Your Peers
This might mean letting your LinkedIn connections know you’re hiring and asking for recommendations. Or you may be a member of the Chamber of Commerce of a local industry group. Sometimes good employees leave a company for one reason or another. Their former employer would hire them again in a heartbeat if they had an opening. But if they don’t, they may recommend them to you.
3. Getting the Word Out on Social Media
If you have a social media following, then many of your followers are likely local. And they already love your company because they follow you. So don’t forget to notify them of an open position. If you outsource social media through a company that offers social media management services in Miami or elsewhere, you can also ask them to create and share your job posting on your profile.
4. Post Local
You can post local jobs on LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, etc. But you may have more luck with local job boards like those associated with area universities, community colleges, or organizations.
5. Post Niche
Also, post niche in your industry. If you’re a law firm, look for legal hiring sites, etc. This way, you’re reaching people who have a clear interest in a specific industry and are more likely to have the industry experience you’re looking for.
6. Keep Your Applications Short
Some job sites like Indeed will let you require a person to answer several questions you’ve uploaded before they can apply. This seems like a good way to save time and weed out unqualified people. But in reality, the people you really want won’t waste their time answering a bunch of questions. Smart job seekers will weigh the time invested in one application vs. getting a callback.
Back to our earlier example, if you were Apple, their desire to work for you might convince them to spend 45-60 minutes on one application. But as a small business, they may not know you, so you don’t have that particular advantage.
Really think about it and be concise if you add application questions that require some time to answer.
7. Do Temp-to-Hire Contracts
While some freelancers are career independent contractors who want to keep it that way, others will be willing to work on a temp-to-hire contract. This way, you get to try before you buy, so to speak. And you’ll also get to see what this person is really capable of since they have to prove themselves to get the job.
8. Work with Independent Contractors
You can also work with independent contractors (A.K.A. freelancers) on a temporary basis. These relationships can be mutually beneficial because you’re bringing someone in who is usually self-motivated, professional, goal-oriented, and able to work independently. Seriously, people who work for themselves for any length of time have to be, or they don’t eat.
Because neither of you feels locked into the arrangement, you choose to work together. That’s empowering on both sides. If it’s working great, keep it going. If not, you part ways. No hard feelings.
Now, keep in mind that if a position is integral to your business model, the IRS will not agree that this is an independent contractor. And some states are stricter than others, so do your research. But this can be a great way for small businesses to get good people into their empty positions fast.