Landing top talent is a big win for any small business and doing so is not an accident. Competition over talented candidates is fiercer now than it has been in years. Industries that experience peak business seasons are often required to hire multiple employees within a short period of time, which can create a significant strain on time and resources. Listed below are a few tips to leverage when filling those open positions.
Create an employee atmosphere that people want to work in and share your brand story. Have an environment that offers continual learning opportunities and provide details on how your business culture supports employee growth and advancement. If your business is a smaller business, promote that as a competitive edge and explain how being smaller sets your business apart from others. You generally get what you pay for, so offer a competitive compensation package. Keep in mind that compensation is more than just an appropriate wage—it also means offering value-adding perks like flexible work hours, casual dress code, or the ability to work from home. Share your brand story on social media, so prospective candidates have a good idea what it would be like to work for your business.
Recruiting is a never-ending process. Create and maintain a list of potential candidates, even if you don’t have any current openings. It’s a good strategy to have a backup person in mind for every key position. It's great if the backup person already works for your organization, but that means you would need to fill that position as well. It’s important to keep your potential candidates engaged. Connect with them periodically through email, text, or over the phone. This shows you are personally vested in them and keeps them excited about the potential opportunity. Don’t be afraid to recruit and hire employees from a competitor. These situations can be delicate, but if handled properly, can result in the addition of an experienced person to your team.
Use your current employees as your best recruiting tool. Your employees understand your business and care about its success. They also know what skills are needed and will be motivated to refer qualified candidates to join the team. To encourage this practice, it is very helpful to offer some type of referral incentive. Referral incentives are generally less expensive than traditional recruiting options and often result in higher quality candidates who fit your business atmosphere. They can also function as a great retention tool for your current team of employees.
Leverage technology in your recruiting program. Have a career page on your website to promote your employee development programs and communicate any current openings. Use social media to create a buzz surrounding your hiring needs and advertise your great-place-to-work atmosphere. Job boards should also be a part of your recruiting strategy. Several paid and unpaid options exist, so pick the ones that best fit your business needs. If you choose to use a job board, post any job openings on Sunday or Monday. That way it stays in the current week search results longer, allowing you more potential views. Streamline your application process as much as possible. Offering convenient options, like a mobile application, can be helpful and will increase the likelihood of candidates completing the entire process.
A great recruiting program won't do you any good if the candidates you hire end up leaving shortly after starting. It is important to keep in mind that retention starts with the recruiting and hiring process. Although you want to share all the great things about your business and the position, make sure you are also realistic. When describing the job, be specific and don’t oversell the job function for the opening.