Best Practices for Attracting Highly Qualified Candidates

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Asking the right questions is key. Here is a look at what you can and can’t say during job interviews.

This guide reviews small business hiring practices to help you not only find your perfect match, but get them on your team.

When it comes to small business hiring, it’s in everyone’s best interest to find the right person for the job the first time. It isn’t rocket science.

There’s a lot at stake when filling open positions. But when you invest your time and resources to find the best candidate, you reduce unnecessary hiring costs, increase productivity, and foster the company culture you want.

Despite the endless moving parts and pressures involved in finding the right person for the right job, the process doesn’t have to be rocket science either.

In this guide we’ll discuss small business hiring practices to help connect you to your ideal candidate.

Sell the Job

Job seekers aren’t the only ones who should be thinking about their first impressions.

For many candidates, the first time they encounter your job opening is when they’re searching by job title.

Make sure your job title is clear and accurate. Don’t be afraid to peek at what your competitors are using in their job titles, as these search results will also form the basis for your candidate’s hunt.

Once you’ve caught a candidate’s attention with your job title, make sure your job description reflects the true nature of the position. Avoid cluttering your posting with keywords - be concise, but alluring.

Don’t just use any old job template. Gather a team of people highly familiar with the requirements and responsibilities unique to the role to develop an accurate and specific description as possible.

With an accurate job description you’re more likely to attract people who are legitimately qualified and suited for the job. Lazy job descriptions will overcrowd your application submissions with under-qualified candidates, which will waste resources to weed out.

In addition to being accurate, PROOFREAD! Regardless of whether or not the person viewing your job description is interested in your job opening, typos and improper grammar reflect poorly on your company and give an impression of incompetence.

Lastly, be mindful of subconscious diction bias that could dissuade stellar candidates from applying. These biases include gendered language, culturally biased language, and unnecessary jargon.

Sell the Company

Your company’s authentic personality should shine through in everything from job listings to social media posts. Consider everything as PR.

Who are you? Why would someone want to work for you? Would you want to work for you?

This personality needs to be consistent to feel genuine, but when done right can be instrumental in driving organic interest in your company. After all, 75% of candidates research a company’s reputation before applying for an opening, and a strong brand reduces turnover by 28% and cost per hire by 50%.

Invest in workplace perks that reflect the values you stand for, which will in turn attract recruits with the same desired values. Walk the talk! Show commitment to these values and care for the little things.

Reflect on the kind of employer that you yourself would want to work for, and contrast these qualities with the current reality.

Make sure your company’s personality, values, and perks are communicated in your job opening and later on in interviews!

Use the Right Tools

There are many recruiting platforms at your disposal to connect you with your ideal candidate. The trick is knowing which ones they’re on.

Posting your job openings on every platform possible is not only a waste of time and resources in and of itself, but will lead to more work for your team in the long run trying to sift through the overflow.

Not to mention, in the time it takes your candidate to find your listing they’ve already been sought out and snached up by someone else. You end up with a recruit that is not a fit...translating into increased onboarding costs, reduced retention, and reduced productivity, among other metrics.

Leave out the guesswork and develop an intentional strategy in finding your ideal candidates.

Consider these points when you evaluate which recruiting tools are best for your listing:

  1. Know Your Budget

    Will you be utilizing free options, or are you willing to pay for targeted job advertising? Determine your recruiting budget. If your job listing is for a highly specialized position, you could benefit from targeted advertising and niche job boards as opposed to platforms with gargantuan candidate pools such as LinkedIn or Indeed.

  2. Know Your Base

    Where can you find your ideal candidates? Analyze what media they’re consuming, what social media platforms they spend time on, and where competitors are posting similar listings. Where they are, you go!

  3. Know Your Numbers

    Analyze key performance indicators to understand how your previous and current job listings have fared. In addition to traditional indicators, consider tracking insights into your hiring outcomes. Consider metrics such as qualified candidates per hire and source of hire to see if your listings are reaching the right candidates, and adapt your strategy accordingly.

Once you have reflected on the kind of candidate you need to kill the job, decide on how you want to bridge that gap and get them on your team.

Tap Into Your Networks

Your pool of potential candidates does not only consist of your stack of applications. Think beyond job websites and consider these strategies to find quality candidates.

  1. Current Employees

    Current employees are one of your best sources of referrals. They have the insider scoop on your company and what you stand for. Internal referrals are essentially pre-vetted and are more likely to fit right into your workplace culture.

    Offer incentives such as gift cards or bonuses for internal referrals to engage your current employees in the search so they are actively looking and not letting great candidates slip through the cracks.

    Communicate job openings to current employees regularly, and encourage them to share the information with their friends and colleagues. This is one way to target not only pre-vetted recruits, but passive job seekers.

  2. Past Applicants and Employees

    Maybe you have a great applicant from a previous job opening that was neck and neck with the final hire but did not receive an offer. You also might have a former employee that left on good terms that would be interested in a new opportunity.

    In both of these cases, you already know that they would be a great fit and could save you time in the hiring process. In the case of former employees, you’ll even save time in onboarding as they are already familiar with your company.

    If you plan on reaching out to past applicants or former employees, be sure to personalize your message and express enthusiasm.

  3. Passive Job Seekers

    Passive job seekers are those who are not actively looking for a new job, but would accept an offer to another job if it seemed like a better opportunity. The harsh reality is that top talent gets snatched up by competitors in less than 10 days! This means not only do you need to have your recruiting strategy down to a science, but you have to be lucky.

    The good news is 85% of the workforce would change jobs if something better came along. Just as you would target an active job seeker, go where these candidates go - know which job sites and social media channels they frequent, and go to networking events they’re likely to attend. You can even consider contacting them directly.

  4. Talent Hotspots

    Sometimes it helps to go straight to the source. College recruiting events, skills workshops, and networking events are all opportunities to bump elbows with top talent that are eager to show off their chops. At the very least, you’ll be able to develop a master list of contacts for future reference that can either be a perfect match for a future vacancy or refer colleagues in your direction.

Keep this contact list in-the-know on updates and progress at your company, as well as vacancies.

Make it Easy

Don’t discourage great candidates with a complicated application process. Make it simple to find, and intuitive to fill out. The longer it takes an applicant to fill out the application, the higher the chances of them getting an offer from the competition.

Your website should be user friendly and have a section devoted to career opportunities that not only informs visitors of job openings, but reinforces your company’s personality and values. Consider everything your company touches as PR - make it good!

Concluding Thoughts

When you take the effort to carefully find and match the right applicant to the right job, you not only save resources during the hire itself but save yourself unnecessary costs in the long-run related to lost productivity and poor retention.

But remember job seekers are not the only ones who should be concerned with putting their best face forward. Know that everything your company does is a reflection of your values and character as an organization - to attract the kind of candidates you want, you have to be the kind of employer they want.

When it comes to your small business recruiting practices, leave the guessing to dice. Utilize validated key performance indicators to evaluate your strategies and refine your process. It may take some trial and error, but it is worth it.

Maximize your chances of finding your ideal candidate with the help of Hiring Team. We’ve helped small businesses find the talent they need by reaching out to passive candidates, coaching you through the hiring process, providing you with tools and templates, and more.


Karyn Moyer

Karyn Moyer

Karyn Moyer is the Marketing Manager at AgHires. Karyn enjoys learning and discovering new ways to help clients to reach their goals. Hiring Team takes the guesswork and frustration out of the hiring process. Your on-demand Hiring Team will cut down your time spent hiring up to 70%.