Today’s hiring environment demands that companies of all sizes seize the opportunity to go beyond stale and increasingly less effective recruiting tactics. This is especially true for small businesses, who often find it difficult to compete with larger firms and their bounty of resources. But sometimes, a bit of creative effort in just the right places can ensure that you can compete with larger competitors for some of the best talent available. 

Here are eight simple tools and methods small businesses can employ to increase their chances of finding all-star employees:

1. Employee Referral Program

As a small business, you’ve most likely put in a great deal of effort into finding and hiring your current employees. Hopefully, you’ve grown to trust their judgement and experience, so why not involve them in your recruiting efforts? Chances are they know both like-minded and like-skilled individuals that may be persuaded to have a look at your business’ offering. Of course, the best way to get your employees involved in your recruiting program is to offer a referral program. 

But don’t just rely on financial compensation as an incentive for your employees to find talent for you, offer them the tools to do so. That, of course, includes providing them with the necessary written and visual materials to showcase your company in the right way.

2. Build a Company Sell Sheet

Following up on the first point, it’s important to give anyone involved in your recruiting and hiring efforts the right materials to distribute to potential candidates. Part of that material can include a one or two-page company sell sheet that enumerates the following:

  • Company facts
  • Why it’s a good place to work
  • Compensation benefits
  • Intangible benefits
  • A description of company culture
  • Quotes and testimonials from current employees

Ideally, this company sell sheet becomes a document you can print out on demand and offer as a downloadable PDF. 

3. Improve Job Listings

If there’s one thing that our sixteen years of recruiting experience tells us, it’s that the quality of your job listings is directly tied to the quality of candidates you will attract. The more thoughtful, detailed and creative your job listing is, the more likely it will attract the kind of A-list talent you’re looking to find. Not sure where to start? We recently wrote an entire blog post detailing how you can catch candidates’ attention with visual job postings or you can go more in-depth with our guide to writing job descriptions that get attention.

Another aspect of improving your job listing is making sure you post it on platforms other than just your own website. If you’re interested in finding top talent, it’s important to cast a wider net by posting your listing on some of the largest and most geographically relevant job aggregation platforms. 

4. Leverage Social Media

Larger companies often have layers of bureaucracy that prevent them from being creative and nimble with using their social media channels. This gating mechanism often extends to their inability to use those channels for effective recruitment. As a small business, your recruiting efforts can extend into using social media in various creative ways to develop an effective recruiting strategy that is both low-cost and highly successful. 

Social media can also be used as an alternative to email. Today’s hyper-connected workers are spending more time on messaging platforms than almost anywhere else. Messaging and texting platforms such as Facebook’s Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram and even private networks like Signal can be used as highly effective tools to start and continue a real-time conversation about all the advantages of working at your company. Here’s a good starting guide to get your small business in the habit of using texting and messaging platforms to improve the recruiting experience. 

5. Add Recruitment Videos

Another highly underused recruitment tool is video. And while you might think that it takes a great deal of effort to produce something highly polished and perfected, studies have shown that a more casual and informal approach to producing recruitment videos is often more relatable. All it takes is a bit of time, a smartphone, and a tripod to start producing recruitment videos that can quickly show off your company’s personality and culture. 

6. A Compelling Website

Given that websites have been around for almost thirty years, it might be surprising to know that many companies are still not using them to their full advantage when it comes to recruiting. But the good news is that, no matter how small your business may be, developing content for your website is relatively fast and highly effective at highlighting your company’s culture and worker benefits. But to stand out from your larger competitors, you might have to go above and beyond telling your company’s story. That means including items such as: 

7. Networking

Networking never goes out of style, especially when it comes to finding incredible talent willing to join your company. A good way to start the process is by joining professional organizations with access to a pool of qualified candidates in your industry. Often these organizations will hold industry events at which you can network to find valuable candidates. 

Networking also presents an opportunity to talk about your company in a more informal way such as by discussing the culture and opportunities beyond just the current role you’re looking to fill. Any connections you feel could be of high-value are important to keep in touch with whether it be through social media or meeting up for coffee or lunch. They may have candidates in mind for your organization or can provide valuable insights to help you along in your search.

8. Additional Incentives

Another advantage smaller businesses have over larger competitors is that they can quickly issue private shares to offer small portions of equity to highly sought-after candidates. There’s no reason why you can’t sweeten the deal and put your company ahead of competitor offers by granting a reasonable amount of equity. The added bonus is that the employee will also then be more invested in your company’s success. 

While this is more of a long-term strategy, today’s workforce is also increasingly interested in finding meaningful work as much as they are looking for fair and competitive compensation. That means that your small business must develop non-financial incentives as well to attract candidates. These incentives can include anything from superior company culture, a great office environment or flex-time to smaller intangibles such as regular staff awards and personal development opportunities.

Irrespective of your company’s size, our staffing firm specializes in finding the best talent to fit your needs. If you’re looking to expand your business with the addition of highly skilled employees, give us a call.

Alita Fabiano

Author Alita Fabiano

Specializing in strategic communications, digital accessibility, as well as diversity and inclusion, Alita Fabiano has a passion for championing a stronger workforce through inclusion. Alita’s insights have also been published in the Ottawa Business Journal and Canadian SME Magazine, as well as she has been invited to speak to several organizations about inclusivity and accessibility.

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