Small businesses face four major challenges when hiring in a competitiveÂ talent market.
By Marta Chmielowicz
For any business, hiring the right people is critical.Â But for smaller businesses that have to competeÂ with enterprise companies, it can be particularlyÂ challenging to attract top talent from a limited talentÂ pool.
According to a recent LinkedIn report, How SmallÂ Businesses Attract and Hire Top Talent, smallÂ businesses fueled significant economic growth inÂ 2019, with 40 percent planning to hire full-time talentÂ and 25 percent planning to add part-time help. MostÂ of these hires came from referrals from current orÂ former employees (49 percent), external recruitersÂ (42 percent), colleges or trade schools (41 percent), orÂ referrals from personal networks (40 percent).
But while most talent comes from employee referrals,Â the hiring process remains a major drain on resourcesÂ for small businesses. Nine out of 10 small businessÂ owners say they are directly involved in the processÂ of searching for, vetting, and interviewing potentialÂ staffers, with 40 percent saying this can take up toÂ two months and cost between $3,000 and $5,000 perÂ hire.
Small businesses also face four significant recruitmentÂ challenges.
1. Finding candidates and building a pipeline ofÂ qualified talent. Eighty-four percent of smallÂ businesses struggle to find qualified talent, but usingÂ a mix of hiring sources can increase the volume ofÂ potential candidates. Besides relying on job boards,Â engaging with job seekers on social networks andÂ communicating culture through pictures, videos, andÂ employee testimonials can improve hiring outcomes.Â Employers should also consider tapping into currentÂ and former employees, colleagues, and even previousÂ candidates to increase referrals and reduce hiring timeÂ and costs.
2. Competing with better known companies for talent.Â Seventy-three percent of small businesses struggle toÂ compete with larger organizations for top candidates.Â To solve this problem, talent acquisition teams shouldÂ focus on brand storytelling and communicating theÂ benefits of working for a small company. HR leadersÂ should highlight current employee feedback inÂ candidate outreach, job posts, and interviews, andÂ humanize the brand by telling its story across socialÂ media channels.
3. Evaluating whether candidates will succeed inÂ the role. The majority of small business owners (75Â percent) struggle to choose best-fit candidates, butÂ an effective job posting and interviewing process canÂ help. Job posts should highlight the positionâs goalsÂ and most important responsibilities, conveying theÂ experience, technical skills, and soft skills necessaryÂ for success. Behavioral and situational style interviewÂ questions can then determine whether the candidateÂ is a good fit by revealing their working style, pastÂ successes and challenges, and their motivation toÂ learn and improve. Some examples of effectiveÂ interview questions include:
- Tell me about a time when you felt you led byÂ example. What did you do, and how did others react?
- Tell me how you would deal with an upset customerÂ from one of our least valuable accounts.
- Letâs say you had to juggle several projects fromÂ multiple managers at the same time. How would youÂ organize your time?
4. Having enough time to spend on the hiring process.Â Time to hire is a major struggle to small businesses,Â and 38 percent respond by leveraging onlineÂ platforms to speed up hiring. But that is seldomÂ enough to capture the attention of todayâs jobÂ seekers; organizations need to make sure that theyÂ personalize outreach and maintain a human touchÂ throughout the process.
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