There are people behind every company logo. Attracting and retaining quality talent is of utmost importance for any small business. Big businesses woo job candidates by offering a bevy of benefits, brand-name recognition and maybe even have a Starbucks in the lobby. How can small businesses compete for top talent?
The first step is realizing the advantages small businesses have over big businesses.
Advantages of working for a small business include:
Small businesses are typically less bureaucratic and have closer relationships between leadership and employees.
In many cases, employees typically have more breadth in their jobs than they usually do in big companies, where people tend to be more specialized.
Many small business owners and entrepreneurs treat their workforce as if they are an extension of their family.
Small businesses often offer more flexibility. They frequently tailor a job to deal with employees’ individual needs. For example, a small business might be more willing than a big company to allow an employee who wants to work from home on Fridays to telecommute that one day per week.
Publish the job listing
The first step before hiring a new employee is to write the job description. Think carefully about the purpose of the position to be filled. Be clear, accurate and focused on what the responsibilities for the new employee will be. Is there an internal candidate you would consider for the position or will you be looking outside of the company?
If looking for external candidates, consider publishing a job listing on popular job boards like Indeed.com or Monster.com in addition to your company website. What value does your company offer to its employees? Use the company page on job boards to promote the culture of your company and share employee benefit information. Make sure you point out opportunities for personal development and training. Any good advertising agency knows that a bad brief leads to a bad job – it’s the same with recruitment. If your advert or job listing lacks something, is inaccurate or lackluster - then it simply won’t attract high calibre candidates. A confident and ambitious candidate will find other opportunities if you don’t have anything to offer them besides a paycheck.
Refine the interview process
Let’s assume you’ve created and posted a superb job listing in the right place – one which attracts the right people who are motivated to apply based on what you’ve said regarding the open position. How will you decide which applicant is best for for the job? What questions will you ask during the interview?
Good candidates will come ready to the interview knowing what value their personality and skills bring to an organization. It is amazing how much companies spend on the time and effort it requires to find qualified candidates then blow it with poorly prepared interviews. I’ve seen it dozens of times; the manager forgets there’s an interview and runs around trying to find someone who’s not too busy to do it. Put your best people in front of the candidates you really want to hire. The perfect interviewer sells your company in everything they say and do. So, decide now who will conduct the interviews.
Interviews are not just a check off a list. Interviews help you identify the perfect candidate for the job who will make contributions that move your organization forward.
Put mission over money
Small businesses do not have the ability to pay the highest salaries. However that might not be so disadvantageous. Many modern workers, especially millennials, value purpose more than ever before. When times are bleak, the deeper someone’s alignment with your company’s mission and values, the more likely they stay on board and help you fight through. Format interview questions to find those with a ‘where do you need me’ mentality and less of a ‘that’s not my job’ mindset.
Although small businesses have some disadvantages like lack of brand recognition and ability to pay highly attractive salaries, you can still attract quality talent. It starts with realizing the hiring advantages you have as a small business, and effectively selling your company to potential candidates. Put plenty of time and care into the interview process, and keep in mind that purpose is more important than pay for more and more people in 2017 - and tailor the hiring process for your small business around that.
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