Recruiting for Small Businesses

By Tyler Raymie

Recruiting isn’t an issue that is often associated with small business owners. Often, owners will simply hire the first candidates they interview to fill an opening, so they can get back to running the business. However, for many customers, your employees will make or break their experience. When this is considered, it becomes apparent that finding quality employees is vital to the success of any growing company. With that in mind, let’s take a brief, high-level look at some of the major questions associated with recruiting.

What type of people am I looking for? Obviously, the necessary skills of employees will vary by what kind of job you have open. However, there are certain character traits that are common among great employees in any industry. Three common examples are:

  1. According to a 2012 Forbes article by Alan Hall, this is always “the first factor to consider.” It is essential for employees to possess “the necessary skills, experiences, and education” to provide first-rate job performance.
  2. I like this one, because many other factors play into it, such as reliability, accountability, and work ethic. An employee who is committed to a business feels that they have a personal investment in the business, and will put forth a greater effort to see it succeed. You want employees who aren’t afraid of commitment, and that are looking for more than just a paycheck.
  3. This is another one that implies other qualities, such as creativity, teamwork, and a willingness to learn. An adaptable employee can thrive in a wide variety of situations, and so can be incredibly valuable for a small business owner who has a multitude of varying tasks to complete.

There are other qualities that are important to look for, but these three are among the most common from CEO’s and business owners.

What tools are available for recruiting? Two big ones for small business owners are your local Chamber of Commerce and social media, such as Facebook. Chamber members will usually receive free access to job boards, allowing you to reach a wide selection of candidates. Social media websites such as Facebook, as well professional sites like LinkedIn, allow you to transmit your job opening through your personal and professional network. They also allow you to reach out to your friends, family, and business contacts. This, too, allows you to reach wide variety of candidates, many of them a potential fit for your opening. Print ads in your local newspaper are another option. While you may not be able to reach as many potential candidates, this is still a viable and effective option for reaching out.

How do I recruit the right kind of candidates? The way you present the job opening can go a long way in attracting the right kind of candidates. The staff at Entrepreneur Media suggest that you complete a “job analysis” before writing your ad. This analysis should cover “The physical/mental tasks involved,” “How the job will be done,” “The reason the job exists,” and “The qualifications needed.”  Next, you should write a job description. According to Entrepreneur, “This is basically an outline of how the job fits into the company.” Focus on the position’s responsibilities and goals, as well as “whom that person will report to,” and “how the job relates to other positions in the company.” Once you have these, you can use them to write an ad that will attract the right kind of candidates. Entrepreneur suggests that to write a “targeted ad for your business, look at your job specifications and pull out the top four or five skills that are most essential to the job.” Make sure the requirements are educational and experience-related, as these are the hardest for the candidate to fake.

There is no single, definitive method for recruiting employees. A lot of it depends on the type of business you run, as well as the type of position you need to fill. However, these methods are suitable guidelines that can be applied across industries and settings. It may not seem like a priority, but your employees will define the experience of many of your customers. Hiring the right ones can be the first, most vital step in effective marketing.


Special thanks to: Amy Dutton, Haylee Weaver


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