Six Tips for Attracting the Best Candidates as a Small to Medium Size Business

With the unemployment rate hovering around 4.3 percent, there’s no mistaking we are in a job-seeker’s market. The most qualified job applicants have their pick of companies—a fact that makes it challenging for employers to nab the best talent. If you’re a small to medium size business (SMB), you may find yourself scrambling to compete against bigger and better-known employers. It’s especially tough in this noisy digital environment where there are numerous options for posting jobs that vie for the job-seeker’s attention.

What can an SMB do to attract job applicants who are the cream of the employment crop? Use these six powerful, proven tips to put yourself in contention.

  1. Think Like a Marketer

SMB employers should approach talent recruitment as if they are marketing a product. The product, in this case, is your company. Just as you have a specific branding message for your products and services, you also should develop a specific branding message for yourself as an employer.

The old marketing adage of “sell the sizzle, not just the steak” is a good guideline for attracting top talent. Start by writing compelling job descriptions that not only define the position, but also communicate your company’s culture and its values. As an SMB marketer, you don’t have the financial resources of large employers, but you can still effectively use low-cost options like social media and online videos to communicate your brand’s message.

  1. Emphasize Your Size as an Asset, Not a Liability

Never, ever apologize for the size of your company. In fact, LinkedIn data shows that professionals are more likely to leave large companies for smaller ones rather than the other way around. These professionals cite the opportunity to do more challenging work and the ability to make a bigger impact as the reasons for making the switch.

The Wall Street Journal takes it a step further, identifying several other SMB selling points, including the tendency for smaller companies to be less bureaucratic and more flexible than their larger counterparts. Another point in the SMB employer’s favor comes from the Indeed Hiring Lab, which reports that interest in flexible work arrangements has surged by 58 percent in the previous three calendar years.

Small companies can ride this trend by developing a vibrant atmosphere that celebrates a culture of innovation that drives growth and success.

  1. Post to a Job Board That Offers Full Visibility

There are myriad job advertising networks available to employers, and as fintech company Kabbage points out, it’s important you put your job postings on the right platforms to reach the best candidates. For many SMB employers, the most desirable platforms are those that allow them to stretch their recruitment dollars. This can be accomplished by advertising on pay-per-click sites instead of those charging an upfront fee.

The first job advertising network to launch a pay-per-click network was Indeed, and in the ensuing 11 years, this model has proven effective in ensuring employers get the job leads for which they are paying.

  1. Know Your Criteria—and Stick to It

Just because the job market is tight doesn’t mean you should loosen your hiring standards. For example, if a job requires several years of experience, don’t broaden your search to include newbies just so you can attract more applicants.

Defining your criteria when writing your job descriptions is a good first step, but make sure you follow through in the interview process by emphasizing what it will take for your potential candidates to be a success in the job. Stick to your criteria but also stress to job candidates that they will have a certain amount of autonomy in fulfilling their duties. That is an effective way of attracting talented employees who, when given the latitude, can improve your company and help it grow.

  1. Lean on Powerful Tools to Screen Top Candidates

The latest Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) will help ensure that you are interviewing candidates based on real information and not a “gut feeling.” Not only does an ATS add efficiency to the recruitment process, it also can improve the quality of your hiring by using pre-identified standards for identifying and selecting the best candidates for your job openings.

  1. Company Culture is Key

When culture is a priority you attract the right talent and retain them. offers a complimentary report, Three Strategies for Building a Successful Company Culture, which helps SMBs learn how to show their company culture to new recruits and use culture to make an impact with new employees. Download this today and learn more valuable tips on how culture plays a role in attracting the right talent.

Using these tips to their maximum advantage, a SMB employer will stack up well against bigger employers. Market your company effectively, put the right processes in place, and you’ll be able to attract the best applicants even in this tight market.

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