Hiring the right people for your small business is very important for your growth and success. But hiring can also be a difficult and time-consuming process, especially if you don’t have a lot of resources, brand awareness, or HR expertise. How can you overcome these challenges and attract qualified candidates who can help your small business thrive? That’s why you need well-defined and effective small business recruitment strategies. This article has been prepared to show you the most effective small business recruitment strategies to navigate around the rather cumbersome recruitment process to the stage where you have a desirable workforce who are passionate about growing your company.
1. Ensure you have a solid hiring plan
Do you know that it costs about $4,000 to hire an employee? And as a business that is just starting up, this might be expensive. That is why the first thing you need to do is to ensure that you have a hiring goal or plan in mind. If you don’t get this right, your small business recruitment plan might have failed before it even got started. To get started on your hiring plan, you need to take note of the following:
- What are your business goals and how do they relate to your hiring needs? You need to align your hiring plan with your strategic objectives and identify the roles and skills that will help you achieve them.
- What is your budget and timeline for hiring? You should estimate how much you can afford to spend on salaries, benefits, recruitment costs, and training. You should also set realistic deadlines for filling each position and plan for any contingencies. Statistics show that it took half of small businesses take about a month to make a hire. 
- Who is your target audience and how will you reach them? You also define the characteristics of your ideal candidates, such as their qualifications, experience, values, and motivations. You also need to decide on the best methods to attract and engage them. Will you be using online platforms or industry-specific job sites?
- How will you evaluate and select candidates? You should design a fair and consistent process to assess candidates’ fit for the role and the company. Will you conduct interviews yourself or outsource to a recruitment company?
- How will you onboard and retain new hires? You should prepare a comprehensive and engaging orientation program to welcome new employees and help them integrate into the team and the culture. You should also provide ongoing feedback, support, and development opportunities to keep them motivated and productive.
An effective hiring plan will not only help you attract the most qualified candidate, but it will also help you build upon your recruitment strategy.
2. Showcase your employer's branding
As a small business that is just starting up, a lot of people might not recognize your brand. So when you share your job post, they might not trust you. One way to get them to start trusting you is by building your employer branding. Statistics show that 75% of active job seekers are more likely to apply for a company that actively controls its employer brand.  As a small business, you offer a culture that is more personal and caring than large corporations meaning showing that you value them as individuals and not just numbers. If you do it right your small business will be able to cut your cost per hire by up to 50%. 
Some of the most effective ways to build and communicate your employer brand as a small business include:
- Creating a career page: A career page is a dedicated section on your website that showcases your company brand and testimonials. According to Robert Cialdini principles of persuasion state that people will look to the actions and behaviors of others to determine their own especially when they are uncertain. People are moved by what other people say and when they see these testimonials on your career page it will go a long way in persuading them. This page is something you can build and customize using recruitment software in seconds. You can take a look at these career page examples for your inspiration.
- Use social media: The advantage of using social media for your small business recruitment is the fact that it is cost-effective and can reach a lot of potential candidates. Social media platforms like LinkedIn are good platforms that can help you elevate your employer branding(4). You can use Facebook's advanced targeting technology to run job ads for specific individuals who might be interested in your position. What’s more, there are dedicated forums and pages where you can find specific candidates. The technique behind using social media is consistency. Don’t only use these platforms to post job ads, use them to create something valuable to your followers. As you post, many people begin to like and follow you and gradually you will start working your way up the brand ladder.
- Use employee advocacy: Employee advocacy is another cost-effective small business recruitment strategy that you can leverage to attract qualified candidates. One way to do this is by providing your employees with incentives, guidelines, and tools to help them spread the word about your job post and business. For example, you can use bonuses, gift cards, discounts, or non-monetary, e.g., badges, points, leaderboards, certificates, and shout-outs to encourage them.
3. Know where and how to find potential employees
As a small business, you often deal with limited resources and low brand awareness making it hard to find good employees. This might lead to a bad hire putting the business in jeopardy. So, how can you make your business stand out and draw in the best talent despite this low access to resources? Here are some tips to get you started.
- Job boards: Job boards are websites that allow you to post your job ads and browse through the resumes of candidates. Most of these websites already have a large database and built a lot of trust over the years. This means you don't have to worry about things like reputation and visibility as this has been covered by these websites. What is even more amazing is the fact that you don't have to manually post your jobs on these websites. An ATS software can help you cover that by posting to multiple job boards all in one click of a button saving you a lot of time and resources. An ATS such as Manatal has native integrations with many of these job boards, allowing you to post to them from a single platform easily.
- Referrals: One advantage of referrals is the fact that it is one of the most effective sources of hiring as they tend to have higher retention rates, lower costs, and faster hiring times. You can ask your network to refer candidates who match your job requirements and offer them incentives or rewards for successful hires.
- Networking: Professional networks, events, and conferences are great channels for expanding networking and sourcing channels. These events can help you interact with potential candidates, ask relevant questions, and develop a good rapport with the candidates.
Here is a list of some events or conferences that take place every year:
- HR Technology Conference & Expo: This is a four-day event that showcases the most innovative and cutting-edge technology solutions for HR and talent acquisition.
- Sourcing Summit Europe: A three-day event that brings together over 400 sourcing experts, practitioners, and enthusiasts from across Europe and beyond.
- World HRD Congress: This is a two-day event that celebrates the achievements and contributions of HR professionals and leaders in the global arena.
- Engage Sydney: A one-day event that focuses on how to leverage your employees’ networks to amplify your brand reach and reputation.
4. Highlight compensation packages
A Glassdoor survey found that benefits like health insurance, paid time off, and flexible schedules matter more than pay raises for 4 in 5 Employees.  As a small company, you might not be able to offer large benefits like big companies, however, other packages can attract candidates to your company. One added strategy to enhance your small business recruitment will be to offer fast and customized career growth for ambitious candidates who seek new skills and experiences. Data confirms that about 76% of employees are looking for opportunities to expand their careers. 
Here are other benefits that you can highlight as a small business:
- Company-sponsored retirement plan or pension
- Leave early on Fridays
- Parental leave
- Workplace flexibility
- Unlimited vacation
- Recognition or a sense of purpose
- Exceptional company culture
- Wellness programs
5. Create a Strong Candidate Experience
Candidate experience is the perception and impression that candidates have of your small business during the hiring process. It involves every touchpoint they have with you from the moment they discover your job opening until they accept or reject your offer. A positive candidate experience can help you attract more applicants, improve your conversion rates, and increase your acceptance rates while a negative one can damage your employer's brand and customer loyalty.
Here is how to manage your candidate's experience the right way:
- Communicating clearly and frequently: You need to keep candidates informed and engaged throughout the hiring process. Communicate with them about the status of their application, and the next steps in the process using their preferred channel.
- Respect your candidates’ time and preferences: You should schedule interviews at convenient times and locations for them, or offer them alternative options such as video or phone interviews. You should also avoid rescheduling or canceling interviews at the last minute or making them wait too long for a decision.
- Provide feedback to your candidates: Regardless of how an interview went, candidates like to receive feedback on how they did. Statistics show that 52% of candidates who were given job-related feedback by the end of the day they interviewed said they were more likely to increase their relationship with the company.  Not only does feedback give your candidates an idea about what went well and how they can improve, but also prepares them for their next interview.
A positive candidate experience not only enhances your brand but also gives your business a competitive advantage in securing top candidates.
6. Write a Winning Job Description
A winning job description is your opportunity to showcase your company and attract top talent. A lot of small businesses get it wrong simply by writing unclear job descriptions that lack details about the daily tasks, or exaggerate everything. Research shows that It takes most candidates only 14 seconds to decide whether to keep reading your job post or move on.  This means that your job posts need to be captivating and highlight your company culture and the growth opportunities you offer. Additionally, content optimization tactics such as SEO for recruiters can get your job post even more attention from search engines.
Be clear and descriptive about the role and the qualifications you are looking for. Use language that reflects your values and personality, and that matches the type of candidates you want. For example, if you want analytical people, use facts and figures and a straightforward tone. If you want creative people, use a conversational tone and emphasize fun and innovation. Your language can help you filter candidates before you interview them. Try customizing one of these templates to create an effective job post.
Using Tech and Software to Punch Above Your Weight
At its best, using tech for your recruitment process can help you:
- Hire faster and better: Good software can help you compete with large companies in recruiting the best talents. Some of these software are affordable and come with premium features. If you use the right software, you can streamline and optimize your hiring process by reducing manual tasks, improving collaboration, enhancing quality, and increasing efficiency. The good news is that there are numerous Applicant Tracking Systems for small businesses that can help you manage all aspects of your hiring process from sourcing to hiring in one platform. ATS like Manatal even make it easier by allowing you to create job openings, post them on multiple channels, screen resumes using an AI-powered scoring system, schedule interviews using calendar integration, evaluate candidates using scorecards, and hire the best candidates for your business.
- Grow smarter and stronger: Leveraging technology can also help you measure and improve your recruitment performance by collecting, analyzing, and acting on data and insights. Most ATS can be used to create custom reports using filters and fields of your choice such as job openings, candidates, interviews, and feedback, and export them in various formats like PDF, Excel, and CSV.
In a nutshell, your recruitment strategy can be enhanced if you leverage the right tool and software which will help you attract more applicants and hire faster and better.
Implementing effective recruiting strategies is non-negotiable for a small business looking to attract and retain top talent. Leveraging technology, social media, and professional networks can greatly enhance your small business's recruitment efforts, allowing you to reach a wider pool of qualified candidates. With a well-executed recruiting strategy in place, you can increase your chances of finding the right individuals who will contribute to the growth and success of your organization.