Recruiting is a challenge for small businesses, particularly those that compete with enterprise for talent.
According to Inc., competing with bigger companies is one of the top four recruiting challenges a small business faces.
That challenge becomes even more daunting when seeking candidates for entry-level positions.
Due to the nature of these lower-level positions, plus the stigma of working for a small company, it can be difficult to attract the top candidates.
There are three main strategies your small business can use to attract entry-level talent:
- Build your brand online
- Tout the benefits of working for a smaller company
- Align your company’s strengths with the candidates’ interests
- Seek outside resources
Using these strategies to earn an advantage against larger competition and increase interest for your company’s entry-level positions.
1. Polish Your Digital Reputation
Job seekers mainly turn to online sources to learn about a company and its culture. To adapt to this behavior, you small business’s digital presence needs to be both updated and appealing.
The first place to start is your website. Your website is your calling card – candidates will associate their impressions of your website with the overall impression of your brand.
A website that is outdated, aesthetically flat, or nonresponsive produces a negative impression of your company and turns off job seekers.
Invest in professional assistance, such as a web design firm, if you don’t have the in-house resources to build your website.
You also need to ensure that your company maintains a strong social media presence. While LinkedIn is typically the main business social recruitment platform, candidates will also review Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube profiles to learn more about your company’s culture.
Post regularly about daily life company. Short, succinct videos are effective and provide insight about how a job seeker fits in with your team.
Finally, set up a company profile on job search sites such as Indeed and Glassdoor and encourage current and former employees to rate your company and share information about the employment experience.
The more content you have on these platforms, the more clarity you provide candidates about the employment experience at your company. Be sure to monitor the reviews to perform any reputation management if someone shares a negative experience.
2. Promote the Benefits of Working at a Small Business
There are a lot of misconceptions about working for a small business.
The comparison they face against large businesses and enterprises are tough to compete with. For example, large businesses simply have more resources for salary, mobility, and benefits.
Small businesses, though, generally measure higher for employee happiness.
Your small business should actively promote the benefits of working for a small company. While every workplace is different, some of the common small company benefits are:
- Collegial atmosphere: A tighter-knit team works in close proximity, which can foster a closer bond between employees.
- Collaboration: Smaller companies provide the ability to call a huddle with the entire team at any given time, making brainstorming and feedback easier.
- Diverse experience: Employees may have multiple different responsibilities in a small company, as opposed to being siloed into one role.
3. Play to Candidates’ Interests
Every generation has different preferences and expectations for their ideal workplaces. Millennials, for example, value freedom and relationships with colleagues. These preferences don’t directly translate to their immediate successors may not resonate with their immediate successors, Gen Y, who value opportunity for advancement.
There is, though, areas of common preference between the age groups that can help you mold your company culture to attract and retain new talent for entry-level positions.
A few areas of appeal in today’s workplace include:
- Flexibility/work-life balance
- Opportunity for advancement or recognition
- Mentoring/coaching (professional and personal)
Try to identify small perks and advantages of your company that make it unique for the particular group you are targeting for your entry-level roles. These can be small perks, but may make your company more attractive over larger firms.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Consult an Expert
Small businesses may also struggle to hire entry-level employees simply because they don’t have as many HR or recruiting resources as larger firms.
Larger companies often have presences on college campuses, which helps them attract young candidates before they even hit the market. They also often have software and other resources at their disposal that help them streamline their hiring processes.
If your small business is struggling to keep up with hiring in general, it may benefit from an outside expert. Recruiting agencies are helpful resources that have expertise targeting your ideal candidates.
Staffing firms, on the other hand, can help provide you with short-term or contractual employees for product pushes or to fill resources gaps.
Small Steps Pay Big Dividends
Competing with large companies for entry-level employees can seem daunting, but many large companies are rigid when it comes to attracting talent.
Your small business can take advantage of this by positioning yourself as an appealing alternative to enterprise culture.
Take risks and be creative building your digital brand, tout the benefits of a smaller workplace, research and play to candidate preferences, and review expert resources if needed.
Your efforts don’t have to be elaborate or expensive, but they can still have exemplary return on investment when it comes to recruiting and keeping entry-level talent.
Riley Panko is a Senior Content Writer at Clutch, a B2B research and reviews platform in Washington, D.C. She leads the team’s HR services research.