Congratulations—you’ve launched your own small business and it’s a huge success. Maybe too huge; you find yourself growing at a healthy but unsustainable rate and demand for your products or services is starting to outstrip demand. Where do you turn to find new and talent employees for your small business? It used to be that small businesses would just put a sign in the window, but things have changed radically in the past two decades. So let’s look at both the old-fashioned and the new innovative ways to recruit workers to see what works best for you.
1. Put a sign in the window. Well, we implied that this was old-fashioned, and it is, but the truth is is that it works. By literally asking for help, you are likely to attract people who like and frequent your business anyway. That means you’re starting out with someone who already has an emotional investment in the success of your business. It also demonstrates to your neighborhood and the larger community around you that you’re dedicated to the health of your town and you’re demonstrating it by hiring locally. Keep in mind you can also perform this recruitment trick digitally by putting a note on your website’s front page or listing the opportunities you have in a digital newsletter.
2. Run an advertisement in the newspaper. This has advantages and disadvantages. First, who knows if your town even has a newspaper anymore? Secondly, a small text advertisement in a newspaper has very little visibility in our fast-paced modern world. However, if you’re interested in recruiting local talent, it’s worth putting an advertisement in a smaller community newspaper especially if you’re interested in part-time employees who might appreciate “mom hours.”
3. Advertise on Craigslist. There are definitely some risks here. You’ll get high visibility by advertising on Craigslist or other free online services but there’s also definitely a risk of having lots of weird people come visit you.
4. Advertise on Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, LinkedIn, other gigantic career site, etc. The fact of the matter is is that you’re a small business. These sites are also so large that your advertisement can quickly get away from you and suddenly you’re getting resumes from exotic locales and offers to pick up your inheritance from some obscure nation. Let’s try a few better ideas first.
5. Advertise on niche job boards. This is a better idea. It might seem counterintuitive, but smaller career sites offer a more interesting and diverse range of candidates who are often better qualified. For example, every nonprofit job in the city of Denver generally ends up on one of two boards: the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s job board or Regis University’s nonprofit job bank. Because professionals who want to work in this area monitor these boards closely, you might just end up with a better candidate whose entrepreneurial nature would fit in well with a small business.
6. Network with your friends, family and colleagues. This is another excellent approach. Sometimes the best matches for your small business will come from direct referrals. This has a couple of advantages. Candidates you find through your connections are already pre-screened in a way, because if you trust your friends and colleagues, they are unlikely to recommend someone who is untrustworthy. There’s also a better chance that they’re more appropriate for the job than the random applicants who come through advertisements or job boards.
7. Work with university recruiting sites. Hey, everybody has to start somewhere. Connect with your local university or community college to see if they have recruiting events, job boards, or other ways to connect graduating students with their first jobs. You might end up with a bright young employee who can be groomed to function the way you would like them to in your small business.