How small businesses can attract top-notch candidates

hiring2 When you’re at the helm of a growing small business, you’ll find you need to start bringing on people who can give you fresh perspectives and take some of the load off your shoulders relatively soon. The reason is clear: One of the biggest assets you have when branding your business is being able to sell potential customers on your team’s expertise.

But you don’t want to hire just anyone. Small businesses often have very tight budgets, and that means everyone they hire must be able to pull not only their own weight, but that of several employees at once.

Finding the best possible employees to fill out your business is always tough, but it gets even harder when you’re running a small business that has to compete with larger businesses for the same finite pool of top talent.

As a small business owner, you’re probably aware that your chances of simply outspending your bigger competitors to attract the best available candidates is probably slim-to-none.

But don’t worry, there are other ways to get the attention of top performers. Here are some ways you can attract cream of the crop without getting in a bidding war for them.

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In a recent article, LinkedIn columnist Raj Sheth wrote that if you want to get the attention of the best candidates, you need to go above and beyond in writing your job descriptions. You could have the best position available, but if you don’t describe it well enough, you’ll never be able to entice the best candidates to get in touch with you.

Get laser-focused on exactly what the required skill set, personality/cultural traits and necessary experience are. When writing your job description, omit ambiguous words like “several,” or “occasional,” and dig deep into the specifics of what this person can expect to do on the job.

Show them exactly how things will get done. Don’t just write something like “Manage lead generation.” Instead, you could make it something like “Use Marketo to track and manage leads and generate monthly reports.”

You may balk at the idea of being so exact in the language you use in writing your job descriptions because it could dissuade some potential candidates from reaching out, but this is actually what you want. You’re not looking for quantity of candidates, you’re looking for the right ones.

As a side note, make sure your website – and job descriptions and particular – are formatted for mobile. Careerealism explained that 72 percent of job seekers use their mobile devices to look for jobs, but only 20 percent of companies have a mobile-optimized career page. Don’t miss out on a potential home run because your website wasn’t up to snuff.

hiring3Emphasize the wide scope of duty
Working for a small business can be exhilarating because everyone gets to wear multiple hats. On the other hand, enterprise-level companies often pigeonhole their employees into a very specific role in a massive bureaucracy. Thus, everyone takes on a narrow role, which can feel stifling for some very ambitious people.

Entrepreneur pointed out that as a small business owner, you can exploit this weakness in your larger competitors when attracting top performers. Sell them on the fact that they won’t be stuck doing just one or two things and, instead, will get to wield considerable influence over many different parts of the business.

Get visual to show off your business
Go beyond the traditional text-only Careers page by adding visual aids like video and pictures. These can be a fun and interactive way to engage with potential candidates while helping you stand out from the majority of mundane career pages.

Don’t just tell people that your small business is a great place to work, show them. Diverse Staffing wrote that it’s as simple as filming some interviews with your existing employees and letting them share what the day-to-day is like at your company. Additionally, you can use pictures to show candidates the kind of environment they’ll be working in.

These visuals give potential candidates a much more complete picture of what it’s like to work with you, which is essential when you’re trying to attract the perfect person for the job.

Offer equity or profit-sharing
If you can’t give a candidate a paycheck that rivals your competitors, offer them an equity stake in your growing business or a compensation plan that offers bonuses for helping the company reach its potential.

This is another advantage that big businesses can’t match. A small business or startup on the upswing has the benefit of being able to offer equity or an incentive-based profit sharing program that’s on par or even more generous than what a larger, established company whose equity pie has already been divided can give.

What are some creative ways you’ve used to attract top candidates to your small business?