8 Ways to Attract the Right Talent to Your Small Business
Cue the pump-up music – something old school, like “Eye of the Tiger” – because this struggle is nothing new. And yet, the challenge has never been so intense.
When it comes to finding talented people who fit your business’s culture, the competition is fierce. Of course, competing for quality employees has always been challenging for small businesses that might not be able to offer all of the incentives that a larger corporation can. But in 2019, the talent pool for sought-after employees is shallower than ever. And that makes an already challenging endeavor even harder to wade through.
One of the main reasons quality job applicants are in such high demand is the strong economy. Companies are increasing hires, rather than making layoffs.
“A historically low unemployment rate is making it harder and harder for growing companies to find and hire top talent,” says Clint Sporhase of First National Bank Omaha.
But that doesn’t mean smaller, growing businesses can’t compete with larger companies. Growing businesses can offer perks like paid leave, reimbursement for phone or car, more affordable health insurance, etc., but often bigger businesses can provide more of them. Nevertheless, there are still ways in which a small business can hire that coveted employee.
Below, we’ve outlined eight ways to make sure your small business has the most qualified and talented employees it possibly can:
- Share your business’s vision. When you’re discussing your business’s culture, it’s important to stress your mission and values with the candidate. Knowing that they have already committed to that vision will go a long way in keeping that person committed to your business for the long haul.
- Highlight the advantages. Be sure to toot your business’s horn and emphasize the rewards of working at a small business – specifically your small business. Some examples: There is usually less bureaucracy in a small business; there is a closer relationship between managers and employees; many small companies have a family-like atmosphere; and there is more flexibility and more opportunity to grow within small businesses.
- Always be looking. Even if you’re not hiring, keep an eye out for talented prospects as if you are If the situation arises and you need to replace an outgoing employee or add a new one to your staff, knowing who is available at any given time will put you in a position to act fast.
- Be careful when hiring a person who is eager to accept a lower salary. If the potential employee is willing to do the job for less, there may be a reason. And getting cheap labor now may come back to bite you later if you find out the person you hired isn’t as qualified as they made it seem. Now you have to take time to find a replacement. Time is money. Hiring cheap could actually cost your business more in the long run.
- Hire when the opportunity presents itself. When you’re always on the lookout for talented prospects, you might find that it makes sense to make a hire when you find a person who fits ideally with your business’s culture and vision. If you find someone who is a perfect fit, consider hiring them before someone else does. If you’re always on the lookout, you will be in a better position to make that hire. Additionally, some experts suggest over-hiring. For example, if you have a role that needs two people to function, consider having three people in that role. You will be better suited to perform business as usual should one of them unexpectedly leave.
- Communicate with the candidate early in the process. Begin with talks via email or phone. How does the potential employee express themselves? How fast do they get back to you? Continue that conversation in person. By the time you get to the end of the hiring process you’ve created a personal connection with that candidate. Furthermore, you’ll know if he or she is going to be a good fit with the culture at your business.
- Be competitive with salaries. Money talks, so do some research and find out what the going rate is for the position you’re trying to fill. If you can beat that amount, do so. If not, it’s important for small businesses to stress the things your business can do that larger businesses might not be able to offer, such as a better chance to move up in the business; perhaps a profit-sharing program, or even ownership in the business; benefits like more sick leave and personal days.
- Trust your gut. Sure, that job candidate’s resume might suggest they have the right qualities and desired traits you seek for your business. But just because someone has the right qualities on paper doesn’t mean they have the right behaviors. As the business owner, you want to make sure they mesh well with your core beliefs. So be sure to do your due diligence when it comes to the interview process, and if your gut is telling you something isn’t quite right, consider listening to it.