Filling Job Openings: 7 Creative Hiring Methods Small Businesses Use

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Hiring and retaining talent continues to be a struggle for many small businesses. As mandates surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continue to ease across the United States, 49% of small businesses actively hiring say it’s hard to find candidates with the necessary skills. According to a poll on the state of the workforce released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife, 42% of small businesses struggle to compete for talent with larger businesses in the area.

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Related: 5 Job Factors That Are More Important Than Compensation

One strategy small businesses are utilizing in the war for talent is creativity. Thinking outside the box with hiring efforts can lead to finding and recruiting talent for your organization. Consider using one of these unique techniques for filling job openings.

Write Inclusive Job Postings

When was the last time you reviewed how your job postings looked and sounded? Ouriel Lemmel, CEO and founder of WinIt, recommends writing and sharing inclusive job postings. 

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“Make sure the phrasing and the words you use in your job postings don’t exclude whole sections of the candidate population,” Lemmel said. “In the modern workplace, you should be looking for the best talent, which means not excluding women, ethnic minorities, or older workers.”

Lemmel also said to widen the candidate pool and keep it as large as possible.

“You will be giving your company a leg up by showing that you are inclusive and working towards creating a more diverse workforce,” Lemmel said.

Read More: 24 Companies That Let You Work From Anywhere

Remove Requirements 

Piggybacking off the idea of writing inclusive job descriptions, it may be wise to remove certain requirements — or review if these requirements are properly written.

For example, a social media job posting that requires more than 10 years of TikTok experience would be incorrect. Savvy candidates know TikTok was first released in 2016. It would be impossible for any applicant to have that amount of experience! Consider reviewing certain job requirements per listing that may not need to be emphasized to attract a wider pool of applicants. 

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Advertise on Unconventional Channels

Some businesses have found success with advertising open positions outside of traditional job boards.

Leanna Serras, chief customer officer of FragranceX, said one creative strategy that has helped the business hire and attract great candidates is advertising on unconventional channels. 

“We wanted to avoid the traditional route of promoting job opportunities on job boards. Instead, we decided to stream our job openings on Spotify,” Serras said.

Advertising via commercial, Serras said, has helped generate more engagement and increase brand awareness among its target audience. It also gave the business a cool and exciting edge with listeners!

Partner With a Community Event

William Cannon, founder of Signaturely, said he usually partners with a community event to creatively fill job openings.

“I check out the calendar of events of the community in order to have an opportunity to broadcast the job hiring in the crowd where there are possible applicants that will be interested,” Cannon said.

Depending on where your small business is located, these community events may range from market fairs to town festivals. No event? No problem! Host a hiring event (in-person or virtual) and spread the word or see if your business is eligible to participate in a local university’s career expo. 

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Related: Received a Raise? Here Are 5 Ways To Make That Extra Income Work For You

Promote the Employer Brand

Jen L’Estrange is the founder and managing director of Red Clover, an outsource HR firm for small and medium-sized businesses. L’Estrange said even though many small businesses struggle to compete with larger companies in terms of bigger salaries and lavish perks, the best companies to work for play up the advantages of working in a small organization when communicating their employer brand.

Small businesses are welcome to draw attention to generous vacation time, flexible work practices and home office setup budgets in their overall offer. However, it’s the job opportunity itself that is more important than terms and conditions.

“Small organizations can offer development opportunities and access to senior leadership in a way that big businesses cannot,” L’Estrange said. “We see small businesses successfully attract and retain great talent because of the job, not necessarily because of the compensation.”

Recruit Via Social Media

Who is your target candidate? Lemmel said to think about who they are and how your small business can reach them on the social media platforms they frequent the most.

“Most younger job seekers use some kind of social media platform when they are looking for a job, so you may be losing out on large segments of potential hires if you don’t adapt,” Lemmel said.

Recruiting through social media also gives small businesses an opportunity to show off their company culture and values. Use your existing social media platforms to give potential hires a peek into what life working at the business is like. Create and share videos and photo galleries that offer a fun, engaging look behind the scenes.

Speed Up Hiring

As your business considers hiring strategies that can attract a wide pool of talent, don’t forget to get creative with the candidate experience during the interview process.

L’Estrange said small businesses are at an advantage when hiring talent. Most small businesses have a shorter recruiting process. This allows the business to move candidates through the pipeline faster and make hiring decisions more efficiently than larger organizations.

“In this talent market, slow response time or process inertia can result in the candidate dropping out or accepting another offer,” L’Estrange said. “The small businesses that take advantage of their agility see the most success in their hiring efforts.”

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About the Author

Heather Taylor is a senior finance writer for GOBankingRates. She is also the head writer and brand mascot enthusiast for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She has been published on HelloGiggles, Business Insider, The Story Exchange, Brit + Co, Thrive Global, and more media outlets. 

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