Hands down, the topic I get asked about the most from small business leaders is recruiting. How to recruit top talent? Where to find top talent? How to afford top talent? What to do to promote the business and build a brand? How to compete with larger competitors? It is top of mind for any startup or business in growth mode and seemingly a constant struggle.
I don’t report to have all the answers. In fact, anyone who does is lying. There is no silver bullet in recruiting. None. Not one. Zero.
What works for one may not work for another. Some brands can get away with things other brands wouldn’t dream of. Some can pay less because they are a pathway to Google. Others can pay more because they are Google. You get the picture. Nearly every business struggles with recruiting in some form or fashion. Even the big ones.
While there is no one size fits all solution to effective recruiting strategies, there is one truth, having a strategy is better than not. And most companies are missing that boat. Going through the recruitment planning process is essential for small businesses to be able to succeed in finding the talent they need. Most go through no process however, dive right in and hope for the best.
And by diving right in I mean they post their job descriptions on a major job board and pray the one who walks on water applies and wants less money than they are offering.
You laugh because it’s true.
I’m guilty and I know you are too. Unless I’ve been called in specifically to help in recruitment planning, it’s hard to get a company to change their ideas about job postings. If something has worked for them in the past, they are going to keep doing it. Apparently, even if it’s not working for them they are going to keep doing it because they bought a $10,000 package and darn it they are going to use it.
I believe as time goes on, the competitive nature of small business hiring is only going to get worse. Merry Christmas to all. I think that getting people to apply at all to a brand they have never heard of is going to become increasingly difficult. Let me correct that, getting the right people to apply is going to become increasingly difficult. Even the most creative recruitment strategies are going to go bust if the right people aren’t attracted to them.
Like moths to a flame, that job ad may be the burning light your recruiting needs.
I often listen to my clients as they are talking to a candidate for the first time to hear what they share. In highly competitive markets some of them have honed quite a sales pitch. It’s impressive really. They give such a speech that the candidate can’t wait to join. Usually these are candidates who have been sourced by some recruiter or another and the manager knows they have to do their best sales job to land them. Then I wonder what would happen if that same sales pitch was turned into the job ad. If the boring lines about job duties was removed and the vision for the company, team and this roles future was shared. Would a job posting had worked if it was more of a sales pitch on the company rather than one long to do list.
I think it’s something worth playing around with. I know that one common complaint I hear from small business HR practitioners, typically HR Department’s of One, is that they don’t have time to explore sourcing strategies in recruitment. They think they don’t have the time to search for candidates, make contact and hope they are interested. So they have to rely on job postings to get the job done. I’ve rebuted that here, but for the sake of this post I’m going to pretend it’s true.
If you don’t have time to source or explore different recruitment strategies outside of posting jobs on job boards, then why not at least get creative with that job ad to see if maybe, just maybe, something different will work better?
Of course, you want to keep it on brand. I have had my fair share of conversations with leaders who appreciate how I jazzed up a job ad, but didn’t feel like it represented them well. And you’ll want to monitor to see if the quality of candidates does change, either for the better or worse. If better, great. If worse, time to adjust again.
Sometimes it can be as simple as adding more about the company or highlighting certain aspects of the job that usually aren’t on a job description. Maybe it’s highlighting some of the perks of the company that are different than medical, dental and paid vacation. Maybe it’s the raw honesty of saying that you don’t have a lot to offer, but the chance to get in on the ground floor and build something amazing.
In my six years in business, I’ve met more people than you can imagine who would jump at that opportunity.
So maybe if your current job posting is getting you nowhere and you don’t have time for a total recruitment plan revamp, simply take a look at your job postings and see if they could be holding you back. Try to switch them up, make them stand out from others. Tell a story that shows candidates why applying to your job is worth their time. Give them the same sales pitch that makes candidates want to work for you when they get in the door. Often it’s the simplest changes that make the biggest differences.