Tips For Increasing Recruiting Success for Your Small Biz

small business hiring
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Liz Strikwerda

Content strategist and corporate blogger (2000+ posts). Her work has been featured on G2's Learning Hub, Human Resources Today, Better Buys and over 500 business websites. She plays bluegrass mandolin and enjoys sailing her catamaran and hiking in the red rock wilderness of southern Utah. Connect with me on LinkedIn

Employers may be ready to write off the tight 2021 labor market as a pandemic-era anomaly, but they shouldn’t. Instead, 2021 should be a template for what to expect in 2022. (Glassdoor)

Rather than casting a wide net to search for applicants and hoping qualified candidates surface, relationships and referrals offer an opportunity for targeted candidate selection that today’s employers need in order to hire successfully. (Forbes)

Employment brand is the biggest predictor of hiring great people. And recruiting is the most important thing you do. If you don’t get the right people into the company, it doesn’t matter how well your management team can operate. So I think 2022 will be a big year of talking about culture, trust, human-centered leadership, and your employment brand. (Josh Bersin)

How to beat the big brands and big budgets for top talent in a tight labor market.

Does your small business need to hire in 2023? Recruiting success requires a multi-pronged approach. In this article, we discuss four actionable tips to start using right now:

  1. Adopt recruitment marketing
  2. Use texting to engage with candidates
  3. Upgrade your hiring technology
  4. Upskill existing employees

Why will small businesses need to be more strategic?

In our recent small business survey, respondents listed hiring and onboarding as their top concerns. Certainly, there are multiple factors affecting small businesses. First off, the labor market is not easing up. In some industries, hiring may be even more difficult than last year.

The unemployment rate is rapidly declining and may dip below 3.5% by the end of 2022, which would be one of the lowest rates in recorded history. Omicron may drive a second wave of baby boomers to retire early, further reducing the supply of labor. (CNN )

Secondly, job seekers are prioritizing company culture and values. Communicating these effectively requires a new approach. Thirdly, small businesses need to attract, screen and extend an offer more quickly than ever before.

small business hiring

McDonald’s sign in Tigard, Oregon

The good news about small business hiring? Small employers can use the same techniques as the big guns–and there is affordable software to help.

Let’s discuss how to beat the big brands and big budgets for top talent in a tight labor market.

1. Adopt Recruitment Marketing

Small businesses can tap the expertise of their marketing teams to jump start a recruitment marketing program. For example, marketing pros can help craft job descriptions, social media posts, and other communications.

Recruitment marketing is what happens when hiring teams use marketing strategies and tactics to attract, recruit and retain talent. It is a candidate-centric, comprehensive approach with an emphasis on company culture. (How Human Resources Can Lean Into Recruitment Marketing, Trish Stromberg)

Note, however, that if the brand portrayed in your marketing doesn’t match reality, you will have trouble attracting applicants. Even worse, new hires that accept an offer based on inaccurate branding will figure it out quickly and be more likely to leave soon after hire. (Trish Stromberg’s article discusses this in more detail.)

Employment brand is the biggest predictor of hiring great people. And recruiting is the most important thing you do. If you don’t get the right people into the company, it doesn’t matter how well your management team can operate. 2022 will be a big year of talking about culture, trust, human-centered leadership, and your employment brand. (Predictions for 2022: Everything is About to Change, Josh Bersin)

Your Employer Brand and Employee Referrals

small business hiring

Chocolate factory employees. Photo by Walter Otto on Unsplash.

Your employer brand plays a starring role in employee referral programs. If it’s authentic and well-communicated, your employees will internalize it. When it’s internalized, they will be more likely to share it naturally with potential referrals.

If you haven’t put time and effort into an employee referral program, you are missing out. Employee referrals are golden because they:

  • Are less expensive to hire
  • Become productive more quickly (shorter onboarding time)
  • Are more effective
  • Stay with your company longer

In addition, an employee who refers a new hire will also stay longer at your company as well!

2. Engage Candidates With Texting

Small businesses need to communicate with candidates where they are–on their mobile devices. Texting with candidates is crucial for the candidate experience as well as improved productivity, reduced ghosting, and higher success to fill rate. Texting helps both applicants and recruiters. Plus, it can help you reach job seekers and passive candidates that may not otherwise engage.

Why is texting better than email and voice calling?

Some benefits are obvious, others may surprise you:

  • Many people won’t answer their phone if the number isn’t in their contacts
  • A candidate can read and answer texts while they are at work and in other situations where they couldn’t take a call
  • A candidate can communicate about the job from their phone without being logged into a job board or their laptop

ATS with texting makes it easy to send and manage texts with multiple candidates. The system stores a record of the conversations so everyone on the hiring team knows what’s going on. Recruiters can text links to screening questionnaires and interview scheduling calendars. Texting is especially helpful during the interview process. Candidates who make it to this stage are the cream of the crop and you don’t want to lose them to a faster competitor. If you shorten the interview evaluation process, you are less likely to have candidates drop out or receive an offer from another company.

If you are interested in recruitment texting, visit WorkforceHub Applicant Tracking.

3. Upgrade Hiring Technology

Outdated systems and manual tasks will stymie all stages of your process. An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a must-have for 2022 small business hiring. An ATS allows you to manage all candidates in one database, regardless of the source. You can set up workflows and move candidates through stages in a straightforward dashboard. Keyword search is also a huge timesaver. For example, you could search for both “CNA” and “Pittsburgh” in a database that contains hundreds of resumes. The ATS would pull up a list of applicants in a matter of seconds. Modern hiring software simplifies job posting as well. Instead of logging into each job board account, you can post to multiple job boards from your ATS with a couple clicks.

To learn more about small business hiring technology, download our free hiring guide: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Exemplary Recruiting and Hiring.

Photo by Scott Blake on Unsplash

Construction workers in Pleasant Hill, California. Photo by Scott Blake on Unsplash.

Automate candidate scoring and hiring team collaboration

The company that can present an offer the quickest has their pick of the top candidates. But you can’t sacrifice screening for speed, or you may end up with a poor fit new hire. Recruiting success requires screening technology tailored to small business hiring teams.

An applicant tracking system with screening and filtering tools not only saves time. It improves screening and reduces bias. Hiring teams can create questionnaires and interview scorecards based on the job description. The application questionnaire filters out unqualified candidates right when they apply. In effect, the software isolates the candidates you want to engage with. And once you create the questionnaire, the system handles the rest. Later on, during the interview phase, candidate scorecards help you evaluate candidates systematically and more objectively.

Most companies are in dire need of more candidates, which requires them to cast a wider net. To do this successfully, you have to have an automated technology platform to effectively reach five times or even 10 times more candidates. Then there’s the situation where there is an abundance of candidates for a position and now companies are tasked with looking for the needle in the haystack. With automated technology, companies can more efficiently and more quickly qualify the best candidates for the available positions. Anything a recruiter is doing more than five times a day can and should be automated. (Anil Dharni, CEO Sense, in SHRM)

In addition to automated screening, ATS have checklists and task reminders to keep all hiring team members on track. Cloud-based ATS with mobile access ensures remote teams are just as effective as those onsite.

5. Upskill Existing Employees

small business hiring

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.

Upskilling will also be critical in 2022, not only to keep jobs filled but to ensure your workforce can meet business needs. According to a 2021 Gartner report, skills are becoming obsolete faster than ever before. “What’s needed is a dynamic approach to reskilling and redeploying talent in which all impacted stakeholders work together to sense shifting skill needs and find ways to develop skill at the time of need.” (Gartner)

Consider other benefits of a proactive and comprehensive reskilling program:

  1. It is often easier to fill lower-skilled positions, so train and promote employees to positions that are harder to hire for
  2. An upskilling program improves your employer brand which will help attract candidates who want to progress in their careers (the type of employees you want to hire!)
  3. Offering additional training will improve retention for old and new employees alike

As a small business, you can pivot recruiting tactics more easily than a larger organization with layers of bureaucracy. Use this to your advantage as you incorporate these suggestions.

In conclusion

The future belongs to organizations that can continually adapt to a volatile and uncertain business landscape. Although you may have adjusted your hiring practices several times since March 2020, the talent marketplace isn’t loosening up. However, the tips discussed here have proven successful for many small employers and should work for your business as well.

On behalf of the entire Swipeclock team, I wish you recruiting success!



Simplify HR management today.

Simplify HR management today.

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