8 steps to help your small business recruit qualified candidates
Recruiting for a small business can have a big impact.
When your team is smaller, every hire is important — and the wrong hire can keep your entire business from growing. You may not have a corporate-sized budget or brand recognition, or even a recruiting team with HR processes to streamline hiring. But as a small business, you can be more nimble, responsive, and personalized in your approach.
Here are steps you can take now to start engaging qualified candidates that will help your small business flourish.
of small and medium businesses are challenged by competing with larger companies for talent.
Small businesses spend an average of $1,600 a year on hiring.
Make a hiring plan with the team.
Know the budget you’ll need. LinkedIn found that the average small business spends around $1,600 a year on hiring.
Interview past and present teammates to build out exact qualifications for this role. Understanding the role as thoroughly as possible will help you make better candidate matches.
Map out your hiring timeline with milestones. Almost half of small businesses take about a month to make a hire.
Sync with teammates about their individual responsibilities to streamline the hiring process. Everyone on your team should wear a recruiter hat (see Step 5).
Ask screening questions sooner.
You need to screen out unqualified candidates even as you post the job. Required questions about availability, tool expertise, and language proficiency can help the right candidates make the short list faster. We recommend a minimum of two to three screening questions.
You don’t have time to manually reply to every single candidate — especially those who don’t qualify — but you should use an automated solution to deliver prompt, professional responses when an application is received or dismissed.
When researching and interviewing candidates, determine if they have the top five soft skills that are especially critical on a smaller team.
Did you know?
A LinkedIn study found that around 70% of phone screenings uncover missing basic applicant qualifications.¹
1 “LinkedIn’s AI generates candidate screening questions from job postings,” VentureBeat, May 2020.
Show off what makes your company unique.
Small businesses offer something that large corporations struggle with — a more unique, intimate culture. Your company’s employer brand should attract candidates who feel like large corporations are impersonal and indifferent.
Humanize your team with a company page. Showcase your achievements, reinforce your unique company vision, post expert tips, and ask questions that engage your ideal candidates. LinkedIn Pages are free, and followers are 81% more likely to reply to InMail outreach. Not a branding expert? Here’s how to make a great LinkedIn Page and build a bigger following.
Create a personalized career site, not only to post jobs but also to connect with candidates who want an authentic view of daily life at your company. Your career site should surface the right job postings for the right visitors based on their individual professional experiences.
Be transparent about career growth at your company.
You may not offer the same compensation as larger companies, but you can offer a tailored career growth path. Small businesses attract ambitious candidates who are eager for new experiences and skill sets — and who would rather rise quickly on a small team than wait years to advance at a larger business.
Emphasize how open and accessible your leadership is. Small business candidates appreciate an environment where every voice is heard regardless of rank, and where every individual has an opportunity to make a significant impact on the company every day.
Did you know?
Almost 9 out of 10 small business owners report being directly involved in the process of searching for, vetting, and interviewing potential staffers.
Turn everyone on your team into a recruiter.
Encourage employees to share your company content on their personal and professional social media networks. This further humanizes your company as well as increases exposure.
Get leadership on board. Articles, videos, and original content from leadership can offer unique insights that engage more passionate and dedicated candidates.
Have teammates add links to your company and career pages on their LinkedIn profiles. This shows enthusiasm and unity to candidates who research their potential teammates before applying.
Create job posts that make your culture shine.
As a small business, you can be more authentic in your recruitment. Write friendly job posts that emphasize the company culture and strong growth path that you established in the previous steps.
While you want your job post to stand out, you should also be clear and descriptive so qualified candidates can understand the opportunity. Try customizing one of these templates to create an effective job post.
Check out more tips for writing effective job posts that attract strong candidates.
It takes most candidates only 14 seconds to decide whether to keep reading your job post or move on.
Be conscious about where (and how) you post open roles.
Because they don’t have the budget to compete with large companies, hiring teams at small businesses feel compelled to rely solely on word of mouth or their existing network to source talent. However, job posting sites can add life to your candidate pool — especially sites that offer candidate matching and screening capabilities.
Post to a site with cost-per-action options that stay within budget, targeting and screening capabilities that save time, and a user-friendly candidate management system.
Reach out in a powerful but
Got a strong candidate on your radar? Use the right channel for your initial outreach to ensure a quick connection. A compelling InMail message has a 300% greater response rate than a regular email, so you can engage with serious candidates faster.
If you’re sending paid InMail messages, you’ll get credit back when a candidate rejects your message, stretching your budget further.
Use candidate profile details, discussion history, and engagement data to keep the conversation personalized, interesting, and moving forward.
Small teams can still attract big talent.
You may have a humble budget and only a handful of people on your team, but you can still find solutions to turn talented, eager candidates into the new hires that carry your company forward. Check out how LinkedIn can help you share your opportunities with the right audience — regardless of your budget size.