6 Small Business Recruiting Tips from ‘Hiring Hacks’

June 5, 2013

Attracting and retaining top talent is critical to a small company’s growth and success, yet recruiting is just one of many hats worn by small business leaders.  So how do you find quality talent when it’s a part-time job?

To help answer this question, we teamed up with RecruitLoop in San Francisco last week to discuss ‘hiring hacks’: efficient and effective recruiting tactics for small companies without an in-house recruiting manager.  We were joined by a panel of seasoned professionals from a range of backgrounds:

Hiring hacks

Here ‘s a selection of top tips from our panel:

  1. Follow the Rule of 100: Recruiting is about the ‘candidate funnel’.  One panelist proposed the following ratio:  to get one hire, you have to touch 100 people.  You can achieve a candidate touch through email, InMail, calls, and face-to-face meetings - but however you do it, you must scale your outreach.
  2. Leave the Office: Get out of the building, tell your story, and network.  For example, your next hire could be in the crowd at an after-work meetup event – and if you’re a named speaker at the event, they’ll notice you.
  3. Leverage Your Employees: It’s well known that referrals are a great way to hire.  So how can you activate your team?  Incentives can help, but as one panelist put it, “If they believe in your mission and understand how important hiring is, your team will help.“  You can also frame the question differently:  rather than asking “Who can you refer for this role?”, ask “Who did you work with at your last company who was great?”
  4. Research Your Role: When hiring for an unfamiliar role, make sure you calibrate.  If you’re hiring a Head of Sales for the first time, consider meeting with well-respected sales leaders to identify what ‘good’ looks like.
  5. Build a Relationship: The candidate experience is critical – especially when competing against bigger companies.  As a small company, you can create an advantage by being personal, transparent and flexible.  Candidates can sometimes feel ‘lost’ in the recruiting processes of a big company, which can play in your favor.
  6. Sell the Role’s Difficulty: The best candidates for smaller growth companies are those who are driven and love a challenge.  One panelist offered this counter-intuitive advice:  “Tell them how the role will be difficult, and gauge their reaction… the right person will be energized when they hear that.”

Each panelist shared a wealth of insight, all of which centered on a single theme: building a talented team isn’t just a single task or one-time effort, but a skill that business leaders must develop and practice over time.  By integrating the above tips into your routine, you’ll be one step closer to finding top talent and driving continued growth and success.

Want more tips on how small companies can successfully compete with larger organizations for top talent? Listen to our recent webinar with Lou Adler.