The ability to attract top talent takes more than just a posting on a job board, a newspaper ad or a sign in a storefront window. Many small businesses must compete with larger companies for talented recruits, without the luxury of internal recruiters or head-hunters to conduct searches and interview candidates.

However, there are some cost-effective ways for small-business owners to compete. For example, here are some areas to focus on:

  • Entice candidates by making it easy to apply (think mobile).
  • Recruit the best for your unique business.
  • Introduce other team members into the interview process.
  • Interview with a goal in mind.
  • Make great offers and hire people who complement your business.

Here are some other areas to focus on to help your small business be a recruiting contender.

Try New Technology

You may not have a huge software budget, but there are affordable recruiting software options that are designed for small businesses. The appropriate technology can help you vet candidates, become better organized and expedite the hiring process so you don’t lose good candidates by being too slow. Moving away from relying on an email inbox or Excel spreadsheet helps you stay current and nimble in your hiring practices.

Recruiting software can definitely help level the playing field and allow your business to compete with larger companies.

Show Your Agility

Since you’re not a large conglomerate, you should have greater flexibility in your attempts to hire top talent. For example, your pitch to candidates should emphasize the availability of flexible hours, direct access to management, remote work, opportunities for advancement, continuous learning opportunities, community involvement and even the flexibility of paid time off. These elements help you show an openness to being flexible and accommodating.

Offering remote work also highlights your business’ embrace of innovation. The advantages to both employees and employer from remote work are endless.

Another option that many small businesses overlook is altering their hiring strategies. Visit colleges in your area to get to know the guidance counselors and ask them to pass along your information to promising young graduates. Social media can be very useful as well; it’s a great tool to leverage employment options that benefit you and the community as a whole.

Look for New Talent Entering the Workforce

As Liz Frazier writes at Forbes, “22% of recruiters surveyed have already invested in new recruitment advertising techniques like Snapchat, and text message-based recruiting. When it comes to the actual job postings, 65% of college seniors agree that the majority of the search results from job boards they’ve used are irrelevant or not a good fit for them.”

One of the most significant issues with small businesses is failing to plan for long-term opportunities that pertain to their employees. As members of Generation Z move into the workforce, the employment market must shift with the times.

Another highly important factor to remember: members of Gen Z are the first true “digital natives” in society. They grew up with all the latest innovations, including smartphones, the internet, social media and mobile real-time connections, so their expectation is to have a digital relationship with any potential employer.

Expand Your Thinking

Look beyond the potential of the people you interview. In addition to them having the right skill sets, think about how they will complement your business. Broaden your thinking to include people who are a “culture-add” in addition to being a culture fit.

Being a culture-add means bringing something different to the position, whether it’s a new design, a new experience, a new vision, a new approach, an innovative strategy or just a fresh perspective. An employee who is a culture-add accentuates what already exists in your workplace culture and also brings a different dimension that is sorely needed.

As a small-business owner, the competition is fierce when it comes to hiring top talent, but with some diligence, there’s no reason you can’t level the playing field and compete with larger companies.

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