The Home-Court Advantage of Recruitment: Tips to Up your Small Business Hiring Game

Small businesses strive to rise above competition, big and small, but they oftentimes don’t have unlimited resources to do so. Hiring the right team makes all the difference. However, 42% of small businesses see hiring new employees as their biggest challenge. If you have a product or service you are passionate about and ready to pursue wholeheartedly, there is a way to ensure that it succeeds: hire people that feel the same way! In a 2017 survey, 45% of small businesses reported having few or no qualified applicants for their open positions. However, there is no shortage of talent, only a shortage of sourcing efforts. With the advancement of HR tech, social media, and remote work capabilities, your talent pool isn’t even limited to your business’s geographical location anymore! You can source internationally, but if that isn’t in the cards yet, there are still ways to up your hiring game. Use what you have, but enhance it. Here’s what I mean:

1—Take advantage of collaborative hiring when the team is small

Small teams are like small towns; everyone knows a bit about everyone. If you are all on the same page about the company’s values and goals, why not be on the same page with hiring? Adding to the team starts with consulting the existing team. This has several benefits:

  • Saves time
  • Reduces burnout of the HR manager that could result in hasty decision-making
  • Offers different perspectives
  • Increases diversity
  • Boosts employee referrals
  • These are generally top-quality hires
  • Referrals take less time to source and onboard
  • Culture fits are more likely to be referred

2—Use the right tools early on to avoid trying to fix things when it’s too late

Now that you’ve got the whole team on board to help out with the hiring process, you need to think about incorporating HR tech into your small business. This may seem daunting or too involved for SMBs, but there are options that are flexible to fit smaller business needs! A great place to start is by perusing Capterra’s list of the best ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems). Decide what features you need to streamline your hiring. Get a list together, and compare software side-by-side. Recruitee is my recommendation for an affordable, lean yet powerful system. The benefits from using the right tools are endless, but here are a few noteworthy perks:

  • Facilitates collaboration
  • Decisions are made quickly
  • Notifications alert you of make-or-break hiring opportunities
  • Sourcing extension offers an easy way for employees to suggest referrals
  • Ranking of candidates paints a clear picture of the best choice
  • Employer brand is boosted with a careers site builder, drawing in the right type of applicant
  • Automated processes save time, but can still be personalized to increase candidate engagement

3—Build talent pools early

The Applicant Tracking System that you choose should come with the option to build talent pools. Talent pools are a place to keep connections that you aren’t ready to hire at the moment but see as a great fit if the opportunity arises. Small and large companies, alike, sometimes get in the habit of only sourcing when there is an open position. However, there are so many advantages to reaching out early and saving contact info in your ATS:

  • Establishes connections
  • Outreach seems more personal and less cold/”spammy”
  • Enables you to reach out quickly
  • Hiring is fast-paced, so this helps you beat the competition
  • The best fits don’t have to be the ones that got away anymore

4—Sell your company’s values and vision

You get that you have to reach out to top talent in order to make a connection, but what if you don’t know what to offer them? It isn’t all about salary anymore. Top talent is interested in professional advancement and a meaningful addition to their career experience. Even if you can’t offer competitive salary and benefits, harness the things you love about your small business to sell a position to the right fit. Here’s what using unconventional offers can do for your hiring game:

  • Increases loyalty in hires when appealing to their values
  • Boosts positive views of your small business as an employer that cares about the people, not just the money
  • Saves money, in turn
  • Brings in top talent that really meshes with the vision for the future of your company

These tips are for the times when you think there is simply not often talent to go around. Look in places you wouldn’t normally think of, like employee networks and social media followers. Reach out early. Have a stellar careers site showcasing what you are all about. Build the right team, and the success will follow.

Author bio:

Perry Oostdam is the co-founder and CEO of Recruitee, a collaborative hiring platform for teams of all sizes. Recruitee helps optimize the entire hiring process, from candidate relationship management, employer branding, and job posting to candidate sourcing and applicant tracking. The company has offices and Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Poznań, Poland and works with companies around the world.


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