After all, large corporates offer prospective employees prestige, industry-leading salaries and attractive company benefits – how are you supposed to convince people to choose to work for you over a FTSE 100 firm?
As a small business owner, it’s particularly important for you to get your hands on the top employees. If you’re going to grow and compete with more established businesses, you really need to be at the top of your game.
Even though we’re a grad recruitment firm, we’ve seen a lot of tricks of the trade of the wider market – and we’ll share some of them with you here.
Research your competition
Virtually all business decisions you make involve researching your competition – your hiring process should be no different.
Scour jobs boards and search for large companies who are offering similar roles to yours. Put yourself in a job seeker’s shoes. What are they looking for? Read your competitors’ job descriptions. Take a look at the recruitment sections of their websites and think about how you can improve on them.
Invest in PR
One of the first things a job hunter will do when they spot a potential opportunity is Google the company – you need to ensure that they find something that’s going to pique their interest.
PR is key – not only for attracting new business but also for attracting new employees. Pitch articles and ideas to journalists, offer to write guest blogs, enter industry competitions. Do everything you can to get other people talking about you online.
Cast a wide net
One way of ensuring you find high quality applicants is to get more applications (and more top talent by proxy). Make sure you’re on all available channels to advertise your vacancy – post on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, use jobs boards and recruitment agencies, and email your database.
On top of this, make sure it’s obvious you’re hiring from your website – so that people who land on your home page (and so are engaging with your brand already) know that you’re on the lookout.
Pre-empt negative perceptions
Think about the reasons why people may not want to work for a small business. Try to nip these worries in the bud. If you think prospective employees will worry about a lack of job security – show off about your recent growth and your healthy turnover.
If you’ve had feedback from previous interviewees that they were worried about the lack of structured progression, make a concerted effort to show prospective employees exactly where they can expect to be in six months, a year’s and two years’ time.
Show off your company culture
Big businesses, perhaps with the exception of the likes of Google and Bloomberg, often struggle to craft an appealing company culture – they can be perceived as corporate, old-fashioned and even a little stuffy. As a small business, use this to your advantage.
Don’t underestimate the allure of a quirky and unique company culture, particularly to those who’ve been working at a large corporate for the last few years. Be loud and proud about anything that makes your company an interesting place to work – perhaps you offer unique perks, have a really close-knit, sociable team or a cool office?
Whatever makes you different – ensure it’s something you talk about not only throughout your recruitment marketing but during the interview process too.
Think like the crème de la crème
High performing employees tend to be ambitious, competitive, excited by the prospect of progression and thrive off learning new skills.
With this in mind, offer things that you know are going to appeal to this demographic – i.e. ambitious targets, the ability to progress quickly if they perform well and plenty of training.
Keep your eyes peeled
As a fast-growing small company, keep your eyes peeled for great employees. Even if you’ve filled all of your current positions, you’ll likely have another in a couple of months and the last thing you want is to have to start your search from scratch. Make a note of interesting people who you meet and make a concerted effort to keep them engaged with your business.
Get your staff involved
Make your search for the best employees a company-wide pursuit. Offer generous compensation for staff referrals. Your top performers will likely know other talented individuals who may already have an understanding and interest in your company. And they’ll know who will fit well in the team.
Cary Curtis is founder and MD of graduate recruitment agency, Give A Grad A Go.