7 Small Business Recruiting Strategies That Work

We've compiled a list of small business recruiting strategies for finding top talent and hiring the best candidates for the job.

small business recruiter meeting with a job candidate at a coffee shop

Finding great talent can be one of the biggest challenges a company faces. One of the reasons for this being that "great talent" is an ambiguous term. Something we'll dive into at a later date...

Another reason being that employers aren't proactive and strategic in their recruitment processes. Do not let underutilization of the following small business recruiting strategies leave you with detached workers, impartial work, unfilled positions, overworked individuals and high employee turnover.


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Get Clear on Who You Are

Finding talent means selling candidates on how awesome your company is just as much as it means them selling themselves as a good candidate for your company. Figure out what makes your company culture so great with specific examples and why it works for you.

Exceptional company culture is particularly important for millennials and Gen Z - often one of the first questions asked by candidates in the interview process and during their research into the company. Reflect on what qualities encompass your company culture and use specific examples/stories of those qualities in action.

If this reflection into your small business work environment yields a company culture you are not proud of, then it is time to clean it up. Create an environment free of toxicity and domineering attitudes, make the work meaningful and mission-oriented and ditch office politics.


Write a Compelling Job Description

The best job descriptions go beyond the listing of employee requirements and responsibilities. They tell a story about your company and offer the candidate a glimpse into what their future could look like there. According to Betterteam's Guide to Finding Employees, these are the rules to follow when writing a job description:

  • Avoid the overuse of use jargon, buzzwords and cliche. Write realistically.
  • Give a detailed summary of the key responsibilities employees should expect on the job. If there is an uneven distribution of responsibilities, you should make it clear which are the important ones.
  • Use a clear, unambiguous job title.
  • Specify the salary or salary range. High-quality candidates typically know exactly what they want, so stating the figures will help attract them.
  • Use between 700 and 1,200 words.
  • Talk about your company goals and strategic mission. This tells the candidate that there are plans for growth with a bright future.

Related Reading: Small Business Blogs: What Small Business Owners Should Be Reading

One rule I would like to add to the list is to avoid a required number of years. You never know the top talent you could be turning away simply because they are one year short on experience, especially when it comes to posted entry-level jobs.

Mark Moyer of Compass Point Advisors says, "As a career coach who has been an executive recruiter for 25-plus years, it baffles me how companies often use lower-level employees to filter out potential top performers based on pre-determined criteria. A bad hire (who matches those criteria) can cost a company enormous loss of revenue and time."


Target Niche Job Boards

General job boards like LinkedIn, Indeed and Craigslist are a great place to start due to high traffic and zero usage fees. Their downfall is that you will get an abundance of candidates that you will have to filter through, with a majority of them being ill-fitted for the position.

Underqualified, overqualified, located in another state, located in another country and all looking for an immediate answer to their application. In conclusion, we get frustrated employers and frustrated candidates.

Targeting niche job boards will gather candidates with credentials that more closely align with the job description - saving time and energy. Niche job boards can be industry-specific, location-specific and position-specific.


Source: Commonswiki - Alexius Horatius 

Go to Schools

I strongly believe that this is one of the best strategies on this list. Teaming up with local universities has a plethora of benefits including:

  • A community of students that are learning current market trends and business practices.
  • Students that have an eagerness to learn and are in the early stages of the post-graduation job search.
  • Saves your organization money with recent graduates less expensive to hire.
  • A broader connection to an alumni network ranging in professional experiences and skillsets.
  • Allows you to connect and support your local community.


To do this, you can attend campus career fairs, be a guest speaker for classes and club meetings and post job positions on the university's job board, newsletter and campus magazine or newspaper.

Related Reading: Distance Learning: Helpful Tips For Success

Leverage Existing Employees

Look no further for qualified candidates than the talented individuals you already hired. Not only do you already know their strengths, skillset and experience, but current employees also know how the organization operates meaning they wouldn't need as much training as a new hire.

Reimagining roles for current employees also goes a long way in building company culture and helping with employee retention - two things that attract future talent to a workplace. 

Leveraging existing employees also means leveraging their professional and personal network. Employee referrals eliminate the initial screening process used for applicants from the general public because that is something that has already been done by the employee. It also brings down hiring costs of time and money.


sticky note with lightbulb pinned to a recruiter's bulletin board

Recruit for "Learnability"

Kristy McCann of GoCoach says, "A company's biggest challenge is to believe there is a war on talent. It’s not talent until it is developed. Investing in training, coaching and continuous feedback is how you hone talent. Too much time and money are being thrown away on constant talent acquisition. By investing in them and investing in you, it leads to strong talent who are happy and empowered when everyone learns and wins."

Recruiting for learnability also allows you to diversify the knowledge, experiences, skillset and backgrounds of your talent pool. Veterans, immigrants, ex-convicts and people that fall on the autism spectrum won't be automatically disqualified for not meeting a pre-determined strict set of criteria.

Skills and knowledge can be taught. Attitude cannot.


Build a Candidate Database & Talent Community

What happens when you have a great candidate for the wrong role? You let them go? Absolutely not.

Rather than throw that resume away and sever the connection, hold on to that quality application for a possible future position need. A job candidate base and talent community saves and stores resumes from strong applicants that are passionate about working for your business. So when the next job opportunity comes around, rather than posting on miscellaneous job boards, you can pull from a network of people that have the motivation, the want and the talent to work for you.

From job board targeting to writing the perfect job description, recruiting strategies for a small business all boil down to presenting job candidates with an authentic version of what you're most passionate about — the work you do each day!


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