What are the best practices for small business that may do infrequent recruiting -- and may not have the reputation and recognition of the big players?

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If I understand your question correctly, you want to know how to "sell" a small company to a prospective candidate, is that it? I have worked with small companies (30 employees or less) and large companies (hundreds of thousands of employees) and the big companies with the name recognition and reputation are not always the best fit for all job seekers. Doing a great job in recruiting really entails being a great matchmaker, I believe. People that feel "lost" in a big company or folks that want to feel that their individual contributions really make a big difference, may not be happy with the big player.

There is a particular profile of person that would be happiest and fit in best in a large company and the type of individual that fits in best in small firms... interviewing thoroughly, not just for skills, experience, education, etc... but temperament, a job seeker's job search criteria, passions, interests, career goals, etc... will help you to know if you will make a good long term fit.

That's one piece of the puzzle. Another is to learn as much as you can about the hiring organization, large or small, and know what their selling points are and then focus on those when selling the job. Maybe the smaller company offers better and faster career growth opportunities, or more flexible work schedules, or a better work/life balance, or whatever.

Different strokes for different folks... so I believe the key focus is making a good match... finding the "best fit" and then going from there.

I hope that helps.

Diva
That "fit" is really key -- I totally agree with you. My questions was somewhat more around what practrices can a small company take on to attract candidates -- when they seldom do the recruting -- perhaps spme DIY strategies they might try? Any experiences with that?
Okay, here is something that may help. If you were to break down your Large and small businesses into a what I call a middle class category - the medium size businesses - then take it a bit further to small, meaning very small, to small/medium not yet large enough to go into a medium size category - but definietly on their way, then a medium to medium/large - then to large - this might make the candidate feel a little more at ease. No one likes to think they are going to a small company that could go under. Plus, the most difficult - yea you would get the title, but no monies, and let's face it - why would you want to struggle with the fact you are going to a small business with less talent. So these are areas that need to be addressed and maybe help in identifying those businesses that actually could be appealing to candidates.
OK, I see. Well, going back to what I mentioned earlier, one important thing to remember is that a small company offers a job seeker some things that a large company is unable to offer. So focusing on the positive side of that is good. After all, as I mentioned, some people do NOT want a big company environment. I've come across many candidates over the years that PREFER a small company environment and have placed them in small companies and they are still working there and still happy! So a small company needs to only play up the positive sides of working within a smaller environment and what that offers.

Also, in interviewing people, it is always a good idea to learn what is most important to them in their job search and doing a study of what job seekers are looking for may help also. However, in the long run, what I've learned is that most people want similar things... stability, meaningful compensation for their work, an opportunity to be recognized for their contributions, and a sense that what they are doing actually matters. These things can be feasible in a small company as much as a large company.

Employee benefits are something that some large companies can do better because they have more money to throw at benefits. However, I've seen large companies cut benefits and I've seen small companies that have employee benefits that are comparable or BETTER than large organizational offers. So perhaps if you are working with a small company that needs to beef up their benefits, they can get creative with benefits that cost less but have a big bang for the money.

Let me know if this helps!
I just wanted to add a quick comment that "there are NO guarantees in life" -- so a large company does NOT necessarily offer more stabiliy or have less of a chance of going under. Many large companies have been downsizing by the thousands after all.

I have worked with as many small companies as large organizations and one of my clients is a small company (less than 40 employees) that has been in business successfully for over 30 years and offers a very stable work environment.

There are a number of keys to a successful business -- and one of them is properly identifying a market. If a small company has done that, and has done it successfully, by offering a solution (product or service) that meets the market's needs -- the company will be successful and one does not have to worry about it going under. A small company can sometimes do process innovation more effectively than a large one as it is easier to be flexible and make appropriate changes to stay ahead of the curve in a smaller company that is not buried in mounds of red tape and resistance.

Start ups and small companies can be the large companies of tomorrow... they don't start out large after all.
Your comments are very helpful -- especially since I need to get on the horn tomorrow and recruit for a company of 20 employees!
Hi Patti,

I'm glad this was helpful to you. Best of luck with the small company you are recruiting for... let me know if I can help you further.

Diva
Kathie, I spoke at a conference of retail franchisers a while back on this very subject -- they have to keep fully staffed, but the average franchisee only recruits once or twice a year due to unusually low turnover. Great problem to have, btw -- but infrequent hiring puts a lot of pressure on speed to hire when you need it.

We looked at interim strategies they could use not to hire, but to keep the earlier pipeline active at specfic stages of the process. In the world of this franchise group, it meant building three distinct groups of prospects: new contacts (walk-ins, referrals), those who could pass an initial math test, and a "hot list" of candidates who also had "people skills." They determined that these groups had a ratio of 24:12:3 -- meaning that they understood it took 24 new contacts to find 12 that could pass the math test, to result in 3 that had also great customer service skills.

They then divided up responsibility for managing each of those groups appropriately: the front line employees were given incentives to work on finding new contacts and referrals primarily through contact with their constant flow of customers; the assistant managers helped, and kept an eye on the math test group; the manager thought of ways to keep the hotlist candidates engaged and interested in the possibility of working for the company, and essentially built good relationships with them so that when a hire was needed -- it was ready and waiting.

This may not fit your model exactly, but it was a solution that worked well for this group. I also have something called "30 Tips for Meeting High Performance Employees" that I'm happy to share with you as well -- let me know if you would like a copy.

Happy recruiting!
I've found the companies that have a well promoted internal referral program can have success in finding quality new employees. Candidates from this source tend to be pre-qualified on both sides, and often are well matched to the culture of the company, because of the connection to the existing employee.

Make sure you hand out the "rewards" in view of the whole company, and make a big deal out of the ceremony... the more powerful the "thanks", the more excited the employees will be to refer.

Michael
I would love to see this! Thanks. I am looking for resources to share with some small businesses here -- would you give me permission to share your tips ( citing it as your work, of course) ?
Here you go! As an fyi, the target group for this information was retail employers in the financial services industry. Thank you for agreeing to cite me as the author.

All the best to you, and let me know if I can help further.
Attachments:
Claudia, could I post your 30 Tips pdf on our website? We are a a not-for-profit in Ontario, Canada, and we have created a webportal for local small businesses to extend helpful material -- and your pdf is fabulous. ....kathie

Here is a link to the CFCC website http://www.cfcchelps.ca/

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