Tips for Small Businesses to Meet Today’s Recruiting Challenges

Written by Jessica Moser, Senior Vice President of Small Business Solutions at MetLife.

As they deal with low unemployment and rising wages, many small business owners are feeling the strain of attracting new employees, according to recent research from MetLife & the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That strain has serious ripple effects:

  •  Over half (55%) say they are investing time and money into training their current employees as a way to compensate for not finding new recruits.
  •  Over a third (37%) say they relied on help from family and friends to make up for staffing needs.
  •  Four out of five of those struggling to find talent say they work longer hours or take on more roles to compensate for their inability to find qualified candidates.
  •  Sixty one percent say they had to push their staff to work longer hours.

To search for candidates in 2018, small business owners primarily looked to their professional contacts and current employees for referrals, and relied on their own social network. Despite the poor recruiting results, two in three businesses say they will use the exact same strategy in 2019.

Some say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  If your small business is struggling to find qualified candidates, it might be time to ditch your old recruiting strategies for something new. For example, consider tapping into the power of online tools to get the word out that you’re looking for candidates. It gives you a platform to connect with current and future customers, as well as prospective employees.

And since so many of today’s job seekers are likely to be connected and online, you’ll more easily get in front of the people who are most likely to be looking. Some tips to get noticed by the right candidates:

  1.  Put your values up front. Social network sites are a good place to promote your company’s values, such as giving back in your community, or your sustainability efforts. Research shows that people are more likely to want to work for a company that shares their values, so post stories and pictures that illustrate yours in action.
  2.  Be mobile friendly. Many people use their phones more than a laptop or computer, so make sure your social posts are optimized for small screens — keep your posts short and make sure they look good on a mobile device. If you have a lot to share, you can always embed links to other sites.
  3.  Deputize your employees. Your employees can be “ambassadors” by sharing links to your job postings on their own social media pages, to help reach even more people.
  4.  Recruit online. Even if your firm cannot afford a professional recruiter, you may want to try recruiting tools such as Workable or Indeed, or use the job recruiting functions on LinkedIn. They come with a cost, but can match you better with potential hires that have the skills you seek, and also track the applicants from inquiry to interview, saving you steps.

One good hire can make all the difference to a small business’ success. In a time where it’s hard to fill open slots, and even find qualified applicants, a new approach could help unlock the code for you to find the hires that can keep your business moving forward.

Note: mention of any brand name is for illustrative purposes only, and does not constitute endorsement by me or my employer.