I have often said that the ideal employee for a small business is very different than the one suited to a large organization. In a smaller company, it is generally all hands on deck. That is because in a small company, employees may walk into something new and different every day. They need to be comfortable with uncertainty and actually get a rush out of the unexpected things that may happen every day. When the timing is right to hire how do you develop a great posting and recruit?
Here are a few ideas to help you find the right employees for your small business.
Go beyond the traditional posting
There is no doubt that the competition is stiff when it comes to recruiting. Try to recruit new employees the same way you would new customers. Share your company story and highlight “wow” facts. Share videos about your products and services. If you have the budget, create a recruitment video using testimonials from current employees. They are your best ambassadors.
Most people focus on listing the job skills when recruiting employees for a business, but I think you need to go further as a small business. In fact, I don’t just look for specific skills. I think you can teach skills. I believe you can’t teach the kinds of things that really make an individual successful and that can help your business. In your posting, describe other qualities that you value. For example, we value creativity and motivation. Problem-solving is also key. Some individuals want you to tell them what to do and how to do it. If you want employees who can problem-solve and think on their own listing that can attract those who love a challenge.
Try to highlight those things that make your workplace unique and then look for individuals who are “all in” on the environment and the job.
Use your network
Once you have the posting drafted, how do you find the right person and offer the right salary? Recruitment sites like Indeed and Zip Recruiter work for some but may not always be the best option. I’ve tried wading through piles of resumes and conducting marathon interviews. For me, it was time-consuming and fruitless. If you are in a niche industry finding a staff company with that specific expertise can be effective.
Some of my best hires have come from extremely targeted efforts. When I needed a project manager for my small business, I did not place ads. I wrote one but then used my connections on LinkedIn to spread the word. I was very clear with my contacts. I asked them to only send me individuals that met the requirements AND that they believed with be a good fit for our company culture. Because these people knew us or had worked with us, they got it and really did a great job of thinking about potential employees. We were able to find the right fit in a matter of a few weeks and made an offer.
Our last two hires were strictly word of mouth. We were fortunate to find a graphic designer because I put out the word at a networking event in our building. In fact, we had two great referrals. By asking our employees to reach out to friends and industry contacts we were able to hire a videographer/editor from a TV station. Think about it. No expense. No ads. No wading through countless resumes of people who did not even meet the basic requirements. Now, it doesn’t always work. But when it does, it makes hiring easy. You do need to have a good network, but you can also leverage the networks of others you trust.
Additionally, use your connections with your college alumni association, non-profits with which you work and any other groups. Everyone has a host of connections that can benefit you when looking for quality people. I have not talked much about using social media or recruitment events. These are strategies that have not worked for my company. However, they can be effective. Here you might want to consider getting professional advice on how to create and launch a campaign.
Consider hiring interns
Internships at start-ups can be beneficial for both students and businesses. Internships are an excellent way for students to get real-life experience in the industry. They are also helpful for you as an employer as it can be a trial period to see I an individual is a good fit for your company. If they are, the onboarding to a full-time employee can also be shorter than if you were to hire an employee from elsewhere.
Some words of advice
Finding the right person for your small business might take some time. So, don’t wait until you are overwhelmed to hire. Sometimes you run across a potential right person for your organization when you aren’t even looking. It’s tempting to dismiss a job seeker when you don’t have an opening. You might want to create a position when you find that talented person. I have done that on several occasions and have been rewarded with long-term employees.