Last month saw the observance of Small Business Week, celebrating the role that small businesses play by employing almost 60 percent of the country’s workforce and writing 44 percent of the country’s paychecks. And that's all very well and good.
But even as entrepreneurs and small businesses provide innovative products and services to keep our country moving forward, their most important contribution may arguably be one of their most difficult tasks: jobs.
In fact, small businesses compete with much larger companies for talent and for the sourcing and hiring of the best candidates. And that can be a major challenge.
Yet entrepreneurs who succeed at landing top hires don’t just contribute much-needed jobs to the economy; they build stronger, more successful businesses and are themselves often more critical to those companies' overall success than they would be at larger companies.
Most small companies don’t need to hire as many workers as their larger counterparts, which means they usually don’t have an in-house recruiting team. But in this age of technology, they can take advantage of many of the same tools, techniques and resources that larger organizations use to attract and land highly sought-after candidates. Four of the most valuable tools for attracting and recruiting the best hires include:
1. Social media
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media networks are completely democratic: Any company of any size can have a professional presence there. So, even if your company is small, you should have an active social media presence.
A social media strategy can be simple, based on a certain number of posts per week, with basic goals such as communicating your employer brand, offering an inside look at what it’s like to work at your company and sharing employment needs. While social media can be a great avenue to advertise job postings, your presence there should be more about building relationships with potential employees over a long period of time.
Don’t feel like you have to be everywhere all at once; in general, you should be active on the networks where your target audience will be. Hourly workers may be more active on Facebook and Twitter, while professional types are more likely to have a presence on LinkedIn. Join groups on Facebook and LinkedIn for workers in your industry or people in your community, and build relationships by asking and responding to questions and posting relevant links.
2. Workplace transparency sites
Candidates are hungry for information: They want to know where the jobs are and what it is like to work at the companies hiring. They’re turning to whatever sources they can, to find out if the company hiring is the right fit for them. One of the most well-known sites championing workplace transparency is Glassdoor, which offers a platform for current and past employees to post their own unedited reviews of companies and their work experiences, along with salary reports and other information.
There’s no other place where they can find the latest jobs alongside such detailed information about the companies they’re considering.
But hiring companies are not excluded from the conversation; in fact, being active on such sites can help you build your employer brand and make it easier to recruit. For example, WeddingWire, an online wedding-vendor search site, has 260 employees and often has to compete with notable tech companies for talent. Recently, the company made six new engineering hires within six months.
Recruiter Kelsey McCleary says its Enhanced Profile on Glassdoor drove the firm’s hiring success; Kelsey McCleary was able to help job seekers better understand the company’s culture and discover open and relevant WeddingWire jobs.
3. Your own careers site
On your own site, you should provide all the information a candidate might want to know about your company and what it’s like to work there. Remember, it’s one of many destinations a job seeker will visit during a job search process. So, beyond current job postings, provide a regularly updated blog about employees and your workplace; incorporate videos featuring current employees and interesting projects or perks; and add detailed information about benefits, work locations and working conditions.
Also, if your site is not mobile-ready, make that a priority. Last year, 75 percent of job candidates said they planned to search for jobs via mobile devices, according to a recent survey. That's why making your application process mobile can get your company ahead of the curve: According to the iMomentous Mobile Readiness Report, only 17 percent of Fortune 500 companies offer mobile applications.
4. Strategic job postings
As a small business, you don’t have the time or resources to waste on job boards that generate stacks and stacks of unusable resumes. You need quality, not quantity, and you need it fast. Consider services that offer single job postings on strategic sites where you know candidates are researching you.
Make sure you find a solution that also offers you sophisticated analytics so you can monitor how your job postings are performing. Do your research and compare a few services to see which ones work best for your organization.
Small businesses are fueling our economy, but they must be able to locate and land top hires in order to continue succeeding and building a stronger future. By accessing many of the same tools large companies use, those top candidates are within their reach.