This article was updated on July 2, 2018.
When you have to hire a new employee, you may panic and think, "We're just a small business! Attracting the right talent is easy for the big players, but not for us." Sure, today's biggest tech and research companies have prospective employees lined up around the block, but that doesn't mean your small business can't attract the best workers possible. Here's how to do it.
Identify the Skills You Need
We have lots of ideas about things we want in an ideal employee, but sometimes those skills may not be necessary for some positions. Because new employees are evaluated based on an interview, people who aren't sparkling conversationalists are sometimes rejected for jobs that have very little to do with having conversations. But a back-of-the-house staff member doesn't need to be a conversationalist, he needs to show up on time, work hard and follow all health and safety guidelines. Do you need a CPA to do your day-to-day bookkeeping? Probably not. If you look for workers whose skills exceed what the position actually requires, you'll find it's not only difficult to find employees, but the people you hire won't want to stay in a job that doesn't fit their skills.
Offer Competitive Pay and Benefits
Compensation is usually the first thing people think about when they look for a job, so your pay has to be competitive. If your pay scale is too low, you may not attract the right applicants. Small businesses often find it difficult to compete with the unique benefits that larger companies offer, but that doesn't mean you can't offer an attractive benefits package. Work with HR or insurance consultants to shop for an affordable plan design that you can make available to your employees through payroll deductions.
If offering traditional health insurance benefits is truly outside your budget, consider an alternative that may still be attractive: Guarantee that your employees can take time off for doctors' appointments for themselves, their children or their aging parents. You won't have to spend extra money for this benefit, but your employees will appreciate the flexibility.
Fix Problems From the Top Down
Many managers complain about their employees, but are they aware of things they may be doing wrong? Attracting the right talent is easier when you are the right boss. If you find yourself screaming at your staff, requiring that people request time off months in advance or writing people up when they have the flu, you're going to struggle to keep good people on board. If you seem to have a constant stream of bad employees, a self-evaluation may be in order. Solicit honest, anonymous feedback from your team. There may be issues with your management style that you can change. Hiring a business coach, attending seminars or reading management training books might be a big step in becoming the type of manager that great employees want to work for.
These simple changes may expand your pool of applicants and help you attract the best talent for your business.