5 Tips for Small Business Recruiting on a Budget

Jan 26, 2024
Applicant Tracking, Applicant Tracking Systems, Blog, HR and Recruiting Industry Information, Recruiting Best Practices

Quality employees can make or break a business of any size but are vital to the health and success of a small business. Whether you need to replace a worker who’s left or your business is expanding, hiring top talent takes energy, time, and company resources.

According to benchmark studies conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management, the average cost per hire is $4,683. Though that number might feel like it applies more to large corporations, consider that the median cost came in at $1,244. If your budget for recruiting feels small, here are five ways to help stretch it a little further.

1. Consider Hiring From Within

Small business owners and managers often have the advantage of personally getting to know the strengths and talents of their employees. As businesses grow and change, employees may want to take on new roles within the company but may not see a clear path for a changing job description. As you define the parameters of a new job in the company, consider looking around at the employees you already have. It may require some creativity to add or subtract responsibilities from an existing employee into a newly created job description, but it’s possible a perfect candidate or candidates are already a part of your team.

If your business is undertaking a multiple hire situation, something like an anonymous survey of employees may reveal current employees’ hidden career goals or talents. This information can provide clarity on both promoting from within and drafting a job posting.

2. Optimize Your Job Postings

Armed with data from your existing employees, current and future business plans, and immediate hiring needs, spend some time carefully crafting your job postings. You could involve current managers or department leaders to help describe specific duties and desired skills. Watch out for common buzzwords in both job titles and descriptions that could be interpreted more than one way. An applicant with extensive customer service experience, for example, may apply for a vaguely described “account manager” position, but in your business, that job requires bookkeeping experience. Be sure the posting includes detailed information about requirements for:

  • Qualifications
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Special requirements (such as atypical work hours or travel)

And include details for:

  • Flexible work arrangements (in-person or remote work possibilities)
  • Paid time off (such as company holidays, starting vacation time, and sick leave policies)
  • Salary range

An Indeed survey revealed that employers often felt the need to revise job postings because they received too many under-qualified candidates. It will save both yours and the applicants’ time if your posting is clear about non-negotiables.

3. Evaluate Where Your Budget Is Best Spent

Small business owners often carry the load of performing various tasks. Whether your business is just starting out or you’ve seen quick growth that outpaced the hours available in a day, it’s likely there are helpful tools that you may not have had time to research. A personal approach to identifying and crafting job descriptions may feel like a valuable use of your time. Once the applications and resumes start pouring in, however, delegation of some tasks might ease some of the additional load. That’s where an applicant tracking system (ATS) like ApplicantStack comes in.

We’ve all been there: sifting through a long email thread with multiple people to locate some nugget of information about an applicant. Or trying to remember where and how you saved a resume file on your hard drive, only to come up with an empty search box. From your first application to making offers, ApplicantStack organizes and sorts relevant information for all involved to evaluate. It makes for smooth collaboration and prevents dreaded errors that can cause your company to miss out on a perfect hire.

4. Hire Young Talent

Experience and education are hard and fast requirements in some sectors, but consider if your company has room to grow by hiring young people just entering the workforce.  These individuals may bring an level of enthusiasm and willingness to learn that benefits the team, and come in prepared for a starting salary commensurate with their position. Your company may consider mentorship as one of its core values to prepare new workers for a long and fulfilling careers. 

5. Re-Evaluate Your Public Brand

Ask yourself (or your marketing team) some probing questions about how potential candidates are introduced to your company. It’s common practice for a job candidate to start their research with the basics.

  • How do you present yourself publicly? 
  • If you have social media accounts, are they updated regularly with useful and informative posts? If you don’t post regularly, do they look neglected? Are they an important part of your business identity? 
  • Does your website accurately reflect the current course of your business? Are hours of operation, contact information, or staff pages updated? Does it function properly or are there broken links or pages?

In terms of cost, social media and website updates can take anything from company time to the investment in an agency rebrand. Low-cost solutions like courses from a social media coach or simple text and photo website updates might make a big difference in your public persona.

New hires in a small business represent exciting growth. Hopefully these five tips can help you recruit quality talent even on a budget. Success awaits with careful consideration of your internal resources and external tools like ApplicantStack. You’ll be organized and on the way to hiring the best workers for your company.

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