Ask any small business owner to name one of the most challenging things about running their business, and most will answer “finding top talent.” In smaller markets, the talent pool is limited, simply due to the size of the population: there are only so many people in the community with the job skills your business needs. But even larger companies in major markets struggle with finding – and then retaining – top talent. Here are a few actionable strategies you can take to source the best talent in your area, without breaking the bank.
Turn to your current employees. If you have one or two “superstars,” consider asking them if they have a friend or know someone who can perform at the same level they do. You can also offer a “signing bonus” to employees who refer a job candidate – with the bonus payable after the new hire has completed a 30- to 90-day probation period.
Make Your Job Board Posting Stand Out
There are several online job boards that make it easy for applicants and hiring managers to connect. Make sure that your placement on job boards is easy for potential candidates to find and that your online screening or application process is simple and user-friendly. Many candidates abandon job applications because they take too long or the online application itself is too complicated.
Engage in Social Media
If you don’t have a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account for your small business, you’re missing out – not just on a large chunk of customers, but also on potential job applicants. Some businesses will post a brief job description with a link directly to their website, making it easy for an interested candidate to apply. In addition, by including job postings in your social media channels, you’ll give potential employees a chance to get to know your brand better.
Network in Person
In today’s online world, don’t undervalue the importance of personal networking. For businesses looking to hire experienced salespeople or middle-to-upper management positions, business networking events, including your town’s Chamber of Commerce after-hours events or trade shows, give you the chance to meet top talent in person. You’ll have the chance to seek out those who may be looking for a career or company change, or you may meet people who know someone who is just the right fit for your position.
Broadcast Your Company Culture
Part of your social media presence should include behind-the-scenes glimpses of what it’s like to work at your small business. You can include your brand’s story as well as insight into how you create your niche product or some useful tips about your service. This allows potential employees to envision how it would be to work for you and attracts those job candidates whose values and passions align with yours.
You can also consider showcasing some of your top performers in action. Seeing employees singled out for public, visible praise leads to high morale within the company. It also shows job seekers that you, as the business owner, appreciate hard work and talent.
Communicate with All Applicants
If you’re utilizing multiple outlets to seek employees, you may end up in the enviable position of having too much talent for the one or two positions your small business needs to fill. Other times, you may have an applicant who is talented, but not the best fit for the position you’re to hiring for. Circumstances change, however, and the needs of your company may look different weeks or months down the line.
It’s important to reach out and thank every candidate for applying. This can easily be done via automated email. However, once you’ve reached the interview stage, especially for positions that have multiple rounds of interviews, business etiquette dictates that you communicate more personally with the applicant to let them know that the position has been filled. For truly great candidates, include a personal note that invites them to keep in touch, or lets them know that you’d like to keep their resume on file for a position that better fits their experience. Not only will this give you a few “back-ups” in case something changes with your current staff, but it also creates a better impression of your company as a whole.
Wrapping It Up
Many of these strategies will seem familiar to small business owners – they are similar to the marketing that you already do to engage with your customers. There’s not much difference between a customer who loves your brand and an employee who’s a brand ambassador. Let your communications show that you are positive and have a great company culture, and the best talent will flock to you.