5 Strategies Every Small Business Can Use to Recruit Great Talent

March 29, 2018

What attracted Abby Hamilton to LiveIntent wasn’t a big brand name or outlandish perks. It was something much more simple: a video.

“They do something weekly called ‘LiveIntentionals,’ Abby says of the New York-based, 160-person technology company. “They [post] quirky videos about what’s happening in the business, what’s happening in the industry, and just make it fun.”

The videos are simple and don’t require a big budget. But, they showed Abby what LiveIntent cares about and what their culture is like. Now, Abby is LiveIntent’s VP of People Development--working to find and recruit the best talent possible, while competing with bigger companies that have bigger budget.

In the latest episode of Talent on Tap, Abby sat down with Brendan Browne, LinkedIn’s VP of Global Talent Acquisition, to share how they are continuing to use things like video content and other clever strategies to attract candidates and hire like a big business (on a much smaller budget).

Here are Abby’s five tips to help you make the most of your recruiting budget, whatever your company’s size.

1. Be scrappy in order to build your brand

While you may not have a big budget, just about everyone has a phone in their pocket. And, it can be a powerful tool for capturing content that you can use to build your company’s brand.

Abby’s team keeps things fresh by posting weekly videos as well as blogs on the LiveIntent blog so there’s always something new and engaging waiting for candidates. Here’s an example of one of the fun videos LiveIntent posts, giving some handy tips and providing a glimpse into what they're all about:

You can also get creative about how you showcase your people. “We do something called ‘Meet a LiveIntenter,’ where we ask the same set of questions to different employees,” says Abby. “It really gives you a peek into the people who are here and the culture we’re building.” The posts also which reveal why an employees chose the company, why they love their job, and more.

Candidates want to know what it’s like to work at your company, so show them. Ask a recent hire to share their experiences in a blog, or film a quick video showcasing the culture around the office.

2. Use data to narrow your candidate search and save time

With limited time and resources, small businesses need to be as efficient as possible during the recruiting process, says Abby. Fortunately, data can help any company hone in the most qualified candidates faster.

“[LinkedIn] spotlights are an amazing tool,” Abby says. “We’re able to dig in and look at people who are more likely to respond, people who have applied to us in the past, and really start there to drill down on those types of candidates.”

Using LinkedIn Recruiter spotlights, LiveIntent saw a dramatic spike in its responses. “Almost one out of every two messages that we send out is not only read, but replied to,” says Abby. “All because of the insights and data that are at our fingertips today.”

In addition, there are a number of free and paid ways you can build you brand on LinkedIn and attract more qualified candidates, saving you time sourcing.

3. Tell a great story about your company (and be consistent)

Everyone wants to do meaningful work. But when it comes to communicating why your company matters, if different people say different things, candidates can get mixed messages.

“At LiveIntent, there’s a big focus on playbooks on the sales side of the business,” says Abby. “On the recruitment side, we capitalize on those stories to make sure we’re telling the same stories. So no matter who a candidate talks to in the business, we’re all speaking the same language.”

Work with other teams at your company to make sure you’re all on the same page. When your whole company is telling the same story about why someone would want to work with you, it’s easier for candidates to understand and believe in what you do—and want to be a part of it. You can also work on your personal storytelling skills in order to better connect with candidates.

4. Get everyone to recruit

Everybody can help with recruiting and tapping into the genuine enthusiasm and credibility of the people who already work at your company is one of the most powerful and cost-effective things you can do as a recruiter. And, it doesn’t take much to get people involved.

“We did something we called a ‘ninja hunt,’ where we ordered pizza [and] invited engineers into a 90-minute session,” explains Abby. “We had them go through their LinkedIn network, and [send] a pre-drafted message [to potential candidates].”

It worked. The recruiting team tracked the responses and ended up with four onsite interviews. But more importantly, they helped engineers see themselves as talent scouts. In Abby’s words, “It was easy, fun, and all for the price of a few pizzas.”

5. Leverage your executives in the hiring process

The top leaders at any company are among its most convincing and compelling recruiters. And when you work at a small company, they’re often right down the hall.

Make an effort to get your leaders in a room with your candidates, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Often, that’s all that’s needed to make a powerful impression—and help convince your candidate that your company is the right next step in their career.

In attention, when your executives are close by, you’ve also got speed on your side.

“I can have an offer proposed, approved, and extended maybe in as short as 20 minutes,” Abby says. “And I know when I worked at a big business it wasn’t always like that. So to use that to our advantage, move quickly, and get things done.”

Recruiting for a small company has its advantages: you can move quickly, communicate creatively, and foster an all-hands-on-deck attitude that would be impossible at a larger company. You don’t have to have a big name and budget to recruit great people.

* Photo by Sherman Yang on Unsplash

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