4 Tips on Finding Staff for Your Small Businesses

A tight job market can make it hard for companies of any size to find new employees but if you’re a small business, the search can be even rougher.  As a small business owner, you likely don’t have a recruitment staff or hiring firm nor can you compete with big employer salaries.

If your small business is looking to hire an employee, but have had difficulty finding someone qualified, you’re not alone. 

In a survey of small businesses by the National Federation for Independent Business, 26 percent reported finding qualified workers as their No. 1 problem, a stat the NFIB called a 46-year record high. 

“The demand for workers has not faded and remains at record levels,” stated the NFIB in its Small Business Economic Trends for July 2019. “Sixty-three percent reported hiring or trying to hire (up 5 points), but 56 percent (89 percent of those hiring or trying to hire) reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.” 

So, what can you do? Consider these 4 tips for finding and attracting qualified staff to work at your small business.

Look for the right candidates

If you’re just starting out and hiring employees, your best fit could be someone who’s used to smaller environments.

Ideal candidates are people who can operate with a great deal of autonomy and doesn’t require hand-holding, advises “How to Hire Your First Employees,” a guide published by The Wall Street Journal.

“It might be tempting to hire candidates with big-business credentials, but they’re often not a good fit,” the article says. “In a big company, there are rules, regulations and processes to do everything. In a small company, there often are no set jobs and everyone may do a bit of everything.”

Network, and beyond

Be sure to let people in your own network know you’re looking to hire someone – your best bet for finding employees usually is networking, says The Wall Street Journal guide article. Ask around for referrals from friends and business colleagues, as well as your accountant, attorney or members of any organizations you belong to.

“If one of your advisers or colleagues recommends somebody, they’ve done some of your employee screening work already,” notes the how-to guide article. “Start-ups typically find their first 10 or 15 employees this way.”

Also, keep an eye on popular blogs and websites in your industry, and your local newspaper or trade publications – anywhere your potential candidates might be. Post your job opening in here, if possible.

Take a look at community colleges. Depending on your need and business type, reach out to a nearby community college to find potential hires.

On the other side of the spectrum, consider looking outside the traditional candidate pool – for veterans, people with disabilities or older workers who are looking for job opportunities. Resources include online communities and groups that work with these populations, including a local or state Veterans Affairs agency.

Promote your workplace culture

As a small business, you might be competing for workers who are considering jobs at bigger companies. To stay competitive when recruiting, talk up your small business culture, anything you might offer that a big employer wouldn’t – like more creative freedom or worker flexibility.

If your type of business allows it, you might be able to offer employees the opportunity to work remotely, flexible hours and/or a more casual dress policy. 

Step up social media activity

Take advantage of social media platforms to widen your search and promote more interest in your small business.

Share your job posting as well as any content that highlights your company, offering potential hires a peek into what sets your business apart, from quality services and products to your workplace culture.  

In addition to the business network LinkedIn, post on the more generalized channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – you’ll get more people spreading the word on their networks, leading to more potential referrals for the job.