How to Hire a High-Class Employee on a Low-Class Budget

For small businesses, hires are crucial. The cost of one bad hire is far more detrimental to a smaller company than a Fortune 100 company.

how to hire talent on a small budget

Because we don’t have the budget that the large corporations do, we can’t afford to throw that investment in recruiting and hiring out the window for a bad hire. But we CAN hire great talent — top notch performers that seem like they would find a larger company and a bigger budget more attractive.

So how do you do that? Here’s seven ways you can hire big talent on a small budget:

1. Focus on culture.

We’ve all heard of (or experienced) life in a stale, corporate office setting where bureaucracy and red tape abound. Small businesses have an opportunity to show off their company culture in ways large companies often can’t.

Share pictures and updates from office activities on your website and on social media accounts. Pics from staff potlucks, company outings, or just hanging round the office are all a chance to show off your personality. Write intriguing, non-traditional, staff bios. Get staff pictures up on the site so everyone — especially job seekers — can see the people behind your company. Those that resonate with your culture and values will make better performers and more satisfied employees. They can’t resonate with something they can’t see. Don’t be shy. Show them who you are, and how you are. Others would call this building your “employment brand.”

2. Highlight flexibility and work-life balance.

I’m sure this isn’t your first time hearing it — but great talent is drawn to companies that promote a work-life balance. Offer flexible hours — some people work better 3pm-10pm, and others do better 7am-3pm. Options to work remotely/from home part-time, or all of the week, are super attractive to great candidates. If it is possible for them to work remotely — make it an option. And promote it.

3. Show them their value in the company.

In a small business, everyone plays a pivotal role in making the organization run efficiently. Communicate — specifically — the value your employees bring to the team. Show them how they contribute to the success of the business. Generally speaking, the more good employees can see the impact of their work, the harder they will work for you. Communicating how your company’s work environment recognizes and rewards employees for a job well-done will draw the candidates that are truly passionate about doing great work — and seeing it through.

4. Feature company perks.

“Casual Fridays” is not really a perk anymore. But if you offer free dinner for working late at the office, or honor happy hour at 4pm on Fridays, promote it! Show it off on your Careers page and in your job ad.

5. Show them what the future holds — professionally and financially.

The talent you want working for you wants to know what growth would look like — financially and career-wise — because they’re in it for the longer-haul. Communicate if you have a bonus plan, offer company stock, etc. Show them what promotions would look like in the company, and where they could be in 5 years, etc.

6. Show them how they’ll learn and grow.

Great employees want to keep growing. They don’t want to do the same thing forever. They want to gain more responsibility and build their skills. Offer training and development plans, or pay X dollars a year towards training and development. Typically we tell business owners to allot a training and development budget equivalent to 1.5% of an employee’s salary.

7. Write a stellar job ad.

This is where all of these points above come together — communicate them in your job ad! Many small businesses get this all wrong — they post the job description in the job ad and nothing else. WRONG. The ad should advertise the job, not merely list the responsibilities. That will never attract the candidates you’re looking for!

What tips would you add to this list?

Photo credit: andreasdantz

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Devan Perine

Devan Perine works with small business owners on their marketing and multimedia efforts. She's passionate about helping businesses build their presence online, and giving Gen Y a voice in the workplace. When she's not working, she loves to make a mess in the kitchen, and play with her band around Chicago. She loves to chat! Give her a shout on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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