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Small Business, Big Problems: Tips for Sourcing Talent as a Small Business

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How can your small business compete for top talent? Maybe you’re a lean startup operating on a shoestring. That doesn’t mean you can’t attract impactful players to your team.

If the fight for talent was a boxing match, smaller businesses and larger companies aren’t in the same weight class. There’s no competition.

So getting innovative about how you stand out in the minds of prospects is the key. As the digital frontier becomes more competitive by the minute, any advantage helps.

Smaller teams are scrappier

Your weaknesses as a small business owner don’t have to be a disadvantage. The future of your business depends on attracting the best candidates.

But recruitment and retention actually start by sourcing talent differently. Not by going toe-to-toe on salary, compensation, or benefits packages.

Career fairs can give an unfair advantage to the big guys. You’ll need to go where talent is having conversations with each other, not where big brands are sucking the air from the room.

70% of the global workforce is passive talent

Top talent is passively job-hunting all over the world and web. Though not actively looking for a gig, they’re always keeping an eye out for better things.

Speaking to them is not hard, and listening to their hopes and fears is even easier. They’re hanging out in online groups, chats, forums, and Slack channels sharing their frustrations and tips on how to get ahead.

Not only that but they’re having conversations in your community on channels you use every day. And both passive and active job hunters share a common trait.

They have FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to their peers and the competition. If their friends work for an inspiring startup that shares an incredible culture … they’re bound to want in.

Create a culture of inclusion and innovation

You can start a conversation with prospective talent by simply reaching out to see what they’re up to and nurturing a relationship. No strings attached means you can easily gather intel.

You’ll win friends and influence people by going off-script and avoiding buzzwords and bullet-points. Eventually sharing why your business culture and mission stand out is how so many startups succeed early on.

Setting out to build a culture that resonates with prospective employees should be a rung in your talent acquisition strategy. And it’s one of the most important reasons top talent will choose to work with you.

93% of employees mention company culture in their online job reviews

But how do you sell culture the old fashioned way? By establishing substance over style.

By differentiating your small business or agency from the soul-crushing ethos of big corporations. Only then can you can appeal to the hearts and minds of your new hires.

And by creating a unique culture, brand, and mission that feels like a “velvet rope” experience, you’ll have them lining up to get on the list.

The power of social media, the human touch, and referrals

In this era of digital disruption, reputation management is critical. Branding your small business to emphasize culture on all channels boosts your time-to-hire and quality-of-hire.

And emphasizing the unique human touch of a small business to prospects is important. By showing that working for you will be a rewarding experience for growth and opportunity that isn’t mired in bureaucracy.

Setting up a referral program can give your hiring a shot in the arm too. Referrals most often come from your current employees. Colleagues recommending colleagues.

We’re big believers in the power of community and building teams based on word-of-mouth talent networks. You can attract some incredible people that way, we see it every day.

Non-traditional compensation packages are the new normal

The future of work is flexible. By selling your culture, and needed job flexibility, small businesses can win top talent.

As your business grows you can incentivize the experience by rewarding employees for referrals that make it past the critical six-month rubicon.

And by offering new hires equity, a chance to be a part of a unique brand, and more growth opportunities, you can stand out from the big guys.

Every job opening is an opportunity – Feedback FTW

With every job opening comes great responsibility. Even with the standout job applicants, you don’t hire, you can nurture long-term relationships that can lead to future hires.

“Talents are 4x more likely to consider a company for a future opportunity when a company offers feedback.” — SHRM Customized Benchmarking Report

By nurturing future talent at every juncture you’re giving your small business or agency a great shot at delivering that one-of-a-kind work/life experience.

We love helping to empower small businesses with the talent sourcing to staff smarter. We’ve been sourcing a talent network of over 13,000 top tech professionals for over a decade.

There’s nothing more rewarding than helping inspiring brands build incredible teams. The future depends on it.

If you’re looking for help with your talent sourcing strategy drop us a line! Esteemed is dedicated to vetting and delivering quality tech talent when and where you need it.

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