The competitive hiring advantages of small businesses
of small businesses struggle to stand out against better-known companies.
Beat the competition with savviness
For any business, hiring the right people is critical. But for smaller businesses, it can be particularly challenging to attract top talent when enterprise companies are competing for the same pool.
Here’s the silver lining: small business hiring can offer serious competitive advantages – if you know how to leverage them. You have tons of perks to offer that candidates won’t find anywhere else. Here are a few ways to put your advantages to work.
Advantage #1: Bigger individual impact
Show off how much their contribution will matter
While being part of a large company can be exciting, it’s hard to look at a business outcome and say, “Yes, I did that.” At small companies, employees can easily identify their personal impact. This is a point of pride for many and a significant advantage you can tout when talking to prospective candidates.
If your small business has a strong mission, use it to entice employees, no matter what you do. Company missions that go beyond selling a product or service resonate with candidates and give employees a sense of pride in their work.
• Emphasize your company’s mission throughout the hiring process. Mention any charitable benefits you offer, which could include paid time off for volunteering, a sponsored run, or a silent auction.
• Give candidates a clear picture of what they can personally accomplish at every stage of the hiring process. Make it clear that they will be a valued team member driving meaningful change.
Advantage #2: Compensation isn't everything
There are other benefits only you can offer
It’s no surprise that compensation ranks highest on the list of priorities for employees. This can be worrying when you’re a small organization that doesn’t have the same resources as a multinational brand.
The good news: while pay and benefits do matter, they matter significantly less to small business employees than they do to enterprise staff. Sixty-six percent of enterprise employees ranked pay and benefits a top driver, compared to 59% of small business employees.
• Remind candidates that they can fit the job around their life, not the other way around. If you can’t boast a flashy compensation package, focus on other value-adds. Flexible work hours, commuter benefits, and learning stipends can be a big draw.
• List perks in your job descriptions, and emphasize them during the offer stage. When the conversation turns to money, be honest about what you can deliver in areas outside of pay.
Advantage #3: Good management counts
Highlight opportunities for growth
Larger companies can offer a level of job security and a clear career trajectory that can be tough for smaller organizations to match. Luckily, small business employees tend to value those things less and for them, great management is key.
A smaller organization gives everyone a chance to be heard. It also allows employees to step into leadership roles more easily. They’ll have more opportunities to prove themselves, making them more engaged in their work.
• Let candidates know they can build their career at your company, with the support of strong management and ample professional development opportunities.
• During the interview stage, give candidates a chance to discuss the role with the hiring manager. It adds a personable touch and will let candidates know you’re invested in their success. For higher response rates, ask the hiring manager to send an InMail too.
Advantage #4: Unique company culture
You have room to excite and experiment
When it comes to company culture, small businesses have a leg up on the competition. While big companies can often feel stiff or hierarchical, small businesses have room to experiment and create a one-of-a-kind environment.
Team-building activities like a book club or bowling league are easier to organize with smaller teams and offer more opportunities to build meaningful connections. These experiences can be as enticing to candidates as corporate retreats.
Small businesses also tend to have a more hands-on, do-it-yourself culture. This can appeal to candidates who are self-motivated and eager to learn across skill sets.
• To build a relatable, human employer brand, showcase your culture everywhere – on social media, on your careers page, and through office tours during the interview stage.
• Share pictures and videos often to show what life at your company is really like.