Perhaps you have no trouble finding talented people when you need to fill a position. If so, you’re fortunate. Many small business owners have difficulty finding the right person to fill a key slot – especially in a technical field. Competing for staff with larger companies is also a major headache for many entrepreneurs. A combination of high tech and old fashioned relationship building seems to be a winning combination. Here are a few strategies to consider.
- Don’t ignore the obvious clout of LinkedIn – the online professional equivalent of a social media site, providing its 200 million members worldwide a platform where they can list their professional expertise, career accomplishments and accolades. LinkedIn invites its members to connect with colleagues and get answers through its sponsored forums. Because it is not just for job seekers, LinkedIn’s professional network gives potential employers access to individuals who might be candidates, if presented with the right opportunity. Small business owners should sign up for free membership and explore the opportunities LinkedIn offers to reach and connect with potential business partners, employees, mentors, etc. Many entrepreneurs have found LinkedIn alone gives them what they need to find new hires.
- Provide incentives for employees to use their own personal LinkedIn and social media networks to look for friends or former colleagues who would be a good fit for job openings. Turn your employees into active recruiters for your firm and reward them with a cash bonus when a successful hire (after a trial period) is made.
- Perhaps you might want to invest in the paid subscription-only services LinkedIn offers like Recruiter, which offers access to every LinkedIn profile plus more varied search functionality. Work with Us, another LinkedIn paid product, shows candidates your ad when a possible candidate views a listing for a similar job position. Other online services like Snagajob aim to fit applicants with the right slots in the right geographical location. There are also software programs like ClearFit for human resources professionals designed to help them identify and pinpoint the most promising online resumes.
- Some companies participate in user forums or online discussions to identify individuals who might prove to be useful recruits. Identifying so-called “passive” applicants – individuals who have posted their career information online but are not actively seeking new jobs – is a gray area. There are privacy issues to consider. Consider the ethics of gathering information during an online discussion forum with the intent of finding prospective job candidates without their knowledge or consent.
- Online recruiting will draw candidates to your website, so it’s vital that it conveys the image you want prospective employees to encounter. Every job candidate will want to check out your corporate culture via your website. Make sure yours conveys the impression you want it to give.
Don’t forget that no matter how sophisticated companies get in their approach to hiring, success still rests on old fashioned chemistry. Talk with candidates over the phone, meet with them over lunch, introduce them to your colleagues and trust your gut reaction. Just because someone should be right for your organization doesn’t mean they will be. Don’t jettison old fashioned networking either. Use all opportunities at trade show events, professional meetings and other forums to meet and get to know “up and comers” in your business sector.