It's easy for big companies to attract talent with brand names, effective marketing strategies and employee benefits. There comes a challenge for small businesses when they search for new hires. However, these businesses can draw in job seekers with unique features, high values and a positive business culture. While recruiting, small businesses need to know what makes them stand out from the rest.
1. Make "small" appeal to candidates.
It's important to know what makes your business unique from a bigger company when trying to search for or bring in candidates. In his article "How Small Business Recruitment Strategies Differ From Those of Big Businesses" on SmartSearch, Sam Ajam discusses the difficulty of small businesses when it comes to branding.
"You have to do a bit more to make your brand visible to attract talent. The good news is the internet levels the playing field," Ajam wrote. "While you may not have the budget to pay for radio spots and TV ads, you can afford a pay-per-click campaign on Google. Of course, there are methods you can also use for your digital brand building strategy, such as social media marketing and blog writing." [Interested in the best recruiting software for your small business? Check out our best picks.]
You also want to highlight any perks your business offers employees, such as reward packages or flexible scheduling. Instead of working a daily nine to five, employees may be able to work from home or discuss a different set of hours that works best with their schedules.
The Wall Street Journal's How-To Guide for Small Businesses explains that smaller businesses tend to have "closer relationships between leadership and employees." Additionally, they offer more flexible, specialized and diverse jobs with high growth possibilities.
2. Be honest about who they will be working for.
Each business should determine their core values. These, along with the business' culture, are important to draw attention to when recruiting new hires. Core values and culture statements allow candidates to see what makes your business stand out from the rest. You may include the products you make or sell, your clientele, your goals for the business, and the atmosphere in the office.
3. Write out a clear job description.
It's important that the entire hiring team and the applicants are on the same page when it comes to expectations of the job listed. The hiring team should determine who it is they are looking for, what skills they want the candidate to possess, what they expect of the candidate if hired, and how they will transition into the position once hired. This way, applicants will know exactly what will happen before, during and after the hiring process. The team should also determine whether this position is temporary or full-time. Honesty about a job's duration will help to bring in the ideal candidate.
4. Maintain communication with applicants.
Answering emails or calls in a timely manner will build respect. AGCareers.com suggests acknowledging applicants with an automated email message. The purpose is making sure each applicant is acknowledged and respected throughout the entire process. Recruiting expert Matthew Liptak lists a few tips for maintaining communication.
"Do not leave them hanging, wondering the status of their candidacy," Liptak explained. "Be sure to have follow-up and follow-through with the candidate process."
It's important that applicants are kept up-to-date on their status. If they have not been chosen as a candidate they should be notified in a gentle, but professional way.
5. Be both professional and respectful.
First impressions set the tone for the rest of the process. It's crucial that you show up to the interview on time, you are organized, and that you have reviewed the candidate's application beforehand. They spent a lot of time and effort completing it and submitting all required materials. You can make candidates feel comfortable during the interview when referencing them by name and mentioning a few things from their resume or application.
Candidates may have chosen to keep their job search and application private from their current employer, so it is important to keep and respect candidates' confidentiality. Refrain from talking outside of the hiring team about the candidate or their interview process. AGCareers.com explains the importance of maintaining confidentiality. An employer who finds their employee searching for another job may change their attitude toward them, especially if the job search is unsuccessful.
6. Match the hiring process with the job.
Allowing the candidates to tour the office will help them become familiar with the space in which they may be asked to work in. Having candidates participate in interviews with current employees will allow them to get to know their future coworkers. Lastly, asking candidates to complete tasks applicable to the actual job will allow employers to test their skills and find the ideal employee. It will also allow candidates to get a feel for the job and see if it is the right fit for them.
Rajpreet Heir, former social media manager at RIVS, describes an interview she had with the company.
"I've never been asked to take an automated written interview, so RIVS really caught my attention," she wrote. "I told several friends about how nice it was that a company finally matched an interview with the actual job. For my position, I would be writing a lot and they had me write a sample blog entry about HR tech."
Candidates should feel comfortable in the workplace, with the other employees, and completing the work required for the position they are applying for. Along with matching the hiring process to the job, the Wall Street Journal How-to-Guide for Small Businesses recommends employers show candidates how their skills will contribute to helping the business succeed. Candidates want to know, not just what your business is about, but how they can of value there.
Throughout the entire process, from listing open positions to hiring a new employee, it's important that you stay professional, explain how your business stands out and make the applicants feel appreciated.