3 Ways Small Businesses Can Compete in Hiring

While working for a small business has its natural appeal, you need to have a hiring strategy to compete with large employers for key talent.



How do you ensure your small business stays productive with the right staff in the right roles when there are 7.6 million job openings (January 2019) in the U.S. all waiting to be filled?

The National Federation of Independent Businesses recently reported that 88% of business owners found few or no qualified applicants to fill open positions. It’s no surprise that staffing challenges have a powerful impact on small businesses when they enter the hiring market with the following deficits:

  • Salary and hiring budgets have limited flexibility.
  • Benefits plans are costlier per employee, compared to corporate giants.
  • Limited resources rule out employer branding.
  • Employee turnover is higher than industry average.
  • There are more growth-related regulation changes than ever to catch businesses off guard.
  • Inadequate support staff disable employers from keeping pace with other staffing growth.

If you’re worried you’ll never find the perfect candidates to join your team, know that stats aren’t everything. Working for a small business or a startup is desirable, but your business needs to impress right out of the gate and have a solid hiring strategy to back it up. Start with the following tips:

Hiring Tip #1: Pay according to your market.

While you may be willing to give everything in order to get the very best talent for your team, do your research to find out if it’s absolutely necessary. The following enable you to offer a lower-than-U.S.-average salary for the position:

  • You’re geographically located somewhere in between the high salaries of East Coast and West Coast metro areas, which skew national averages
  • Your industry is less competitive than tech, healthcare and other high-competition industries
  • Your company or location offers quality-of-life factors, which sweeten the deal for job candidates

Hiring Tip #2: Ensure your applicant tracking system fits your goals.

It may sound silly to think your online application system will make a difference, but it does. Applicant tracking contributes to your professional employer brand from the start and speeds up the process to prevent losing great candidates to other opportunities. It also ekes out candidates with greater potential to succeed.

Hiring Tip #3: Use a contractor for specific projects.

We’re not suggesting you replace your staff with contractors but recommend you consider a contractor for specific tasks. In other words, it’s okay to outsource, whether it be a small task like a database cleanup project or an administrative function such as Human Resources. Be sure, however, that the work you’re having a contractor perform and your working relationship with the contractor meet all legal requirements before proceeding.

These are just a few tips for staying competitive, staffed and in-budget as a small business. You can access more in Competitive Hiring, a Guidebook for Small Business, a free guide from Stratus.hr.

Need more help with your hiring strategy? Learn how to hire (and keep) the best employees on a small budget with our free eBook, Competitive Hiring, A Guide For Small Businesses.

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