March 17, 2022
Not every business has the budget or the brand recognition of Netflix or Google. These companies are well-known to job seekers, but what about small and mid-sized companies, or larger companies that aren’t in the public eye? In today’s hyper-competitive hiring market, the growth of these companies depends on them being able to find and attract top talent. So how can the underdogs compete with the hiring heavyweights in the battle for talent?
To help small businesses better compete for top talent, we asked HR professionals and business owners this question for their best advice. From employee advocacy to paid internships for recent grads, there are ways to help your business land top talent, no matter the size.
Mentoring typically attracts the best and the brightest talent. And by leveraging the strengths of our seasoned employees, we can provide mentoring and coaching to new and future professionals. Doing so enables leadership and teams to discover the skills and motivations of possible prospective employees even before the hiring process. Additionally, by promoting our mentorship program that fosters career development, our business is seen as a Best Place to Work.
Shaunak Amin, SnackMagic
The big struggle for smaller companies is brand awareness. They could be offering the same benefits and compensation as the bigger organizations, but the candidate doesn’t know they exist. So the first step is extending your outreach beyond job posts and sharing with your network. By sourcing candidates who may not be actively looking for work and reaching out to them, you’ll increase brand awareness and spark curiosity in your company and what it offers.
Andres Blank, Fetcher
Does size matter? Large organizations are often better distinguishable than smaller companies. Their reputations proceed them and give them a significant edge, but it’s not always about the money. If you cannot compete by your size, be like David, who used his smartness to defeat Goliath.
Instead of investing money in fancy employer branding campaigns, smaller companies can focus on the wellbeing and satisfaction of their workers. It boosts employee advocacy and attracts new talents as well as EB actions.
The employees who feel cared for by their employer spread the word to their networks, which positively impacts the company’s reputation. Taking care of employees is not only about benefits such as development programs, health insurance, or others; it’s about having a wholesome relationship with a manager, a team, and a company. There is no better strategy for small and medium businesses than employee advocacy.
Ewelina Melon, Tidio
Currently, an underestimated tip for hiring is to consider internal candidates. These candidates can significantly cut down the costs of recruitment while offering some guarantees regarding familiarity with processes and company culture. The pandemic has caused the current job market to have more demand than supply in most jobs, so it’s important to use your own employees as potential position fillers. A small business or start-up has virtually no chances to compete with larger organizations that make use of talent hunters, so it’s important to use all weapons in the recruitment arsenal.
Natalia Brzezinska, PhotoAiD
Think of how you can make your organization stand apart from larger organizations in terms of your employee policies. For example, if your company offers unlimited PTO and you notice that larger companies within the same industry as your company do not appear to have any information online about their PTO policies, you should definitely promote your unlimited PTO policy to showcase how your company is different. Even if the larger companies have bigger reputations, you can still find ways to make your company appear more unique in positive ways.
Matt Miller, Embroker
Learn how to level up recruiting for your business through automated sourcing and outreach.
Larger companies naturally have more resources at their disposal, and that often includes a larger budget for payroll and employee benefits. They also have the name recognition that will attract candidates looking for a “stepping stone” job to bolster their resume. I’ve found the most success with focusing on the work environment, an area where a smaller company can compete with the big names. This starts by giving your current employees and future hires as much agency and control over their work environment and work process as you can.
The goal is to attract candidates looking for a company where they can grow their career and find long-term employee/employer loyalty and support. For these candidates, working for a smaller company can be an advantage in and of itself because they want to avoid the more sterilized “corporate” feel of larger companies, and playing into that is a great way to attract talent as a smaller company.
Jon Hill, The Energists
I compete with larger organizations for talent by offering paid internship opportunities to graduates and hiring those who complete the program and show competency. Larger organizations often ignore fresh graduates due to their relative lack of experience, missing out on the abundance of talent graduates can possess. The internship acts as a probation period that informs me if I should hire or release the individual after the internship. Paying them works in my favor as they feel part and parcel of the company and that their efforts are acknowledged. Some graduates can be almost as efficient as experienced employees. Since they seek full-time roles, they are highly motivated and do not often discriminate against smaller organizations.
John Tian, Mobitrix
It’s important to have a great process in place for finding and obtaining talent. With the right system to efficiently go through the process of filling a position, it’s easier and faster for you and any candidates. It may take some trial and error and can (and should) be refined by getting feedback from current employees. We’ve learned from this to add steps to our process for following through with candidates and to be more personable to make the hiring experience more enjoyable.
Mike Orchard, College Athlete Advantage
As the head of a medium-sized and steadily growing recruiting firm, my business is not time-sensitive to the extent that I should mandate 9-to-5 attendance at the office for all employees. Considering the popularity of flexibility as a job perk among professionals today, I have set up a streamlined system for my business operations that leverages the latest tech and virtual collaborative tools to enable smooth workflow regardless of where team members are.
Whenever I post a job advertisement, I make sure to include information about the flexibility that the position offers. I believe this is a great way of getting the attention of qualified applicants who have schedule or location constraints and prefer to work at their convenience.
Anjela Mangrum, Mangrum Career Solutions
Since our team works with candidates in their job search on a regular basis, we’ve come to know that a pain point can be having a dedicated person in the organization to connect with during the hiring and recruiting processes. If your candidate needs anything throughout the process, it’s important they have a person or team to support them. With that in mind, having a team that is fully dedicated to potential talent can keep them engaged and excited to work for you.
Roman Olshansky, On Time Talent Solutions
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Check out Fetcher’s other blog posts for more talent acquisition tips and insights into recruiting trends.
At Fetcher, our mission is to introduce companies to the people who will help them change the world. Our full-service, recruiting automation platform automates those repetitive, top-of-funnel tasks, so you can focus more on candidate engagement & team collaboration. Simplify Sourcing. Optimize Outreach. Hire Top Talent. Learn more at fetcher.ai.
Recruiting Life, Recruiting Strategies