How to Become a Small Business Talent Magnet

We don't struggle with the job market, we define it.

How to Become a Small Business Talent Magnet

Become a magnet for talent even on a tight budget and a no-name brand. Maybe you can’toffer the free meals and company ski trips that Google can and you don’t have the deep pockets of Apple, But technology has leveled the recruitment playing field.  Combined with a little ingenuity and a good hiring system, small business can snag top talent just like the big guys.

Here are a few tips and recommendations about to hire talent on a tight budget and no-name brand:

Resumes are an imperfect reflection of the people they represent. Take some advice from Michael B. Junge, a recruiter for Google and author of Purple Squirrel: “on-paper perfection doesn’t always translate into a real world fit.”  That’s a real problem in today’s job market with outplacement firms and career coaches turning resumes from fact to fiction, from a bio into a small screenplay. Small business needs to leverage technology like online filter questions that weed out high-risk applicants quickly and uncover the high potential but amateur candidate before he or she gets lost in the pile of incoming resumes. Small business owners have the flexibility to respond and start conversations quickly – a significant advantage over large corporations whose ships often turn slowly.

Create a compelling story.  Fortunately you don’t need a lot of money or resources to tell an employment story that engages top talents.  Many Baby Boomers are looking for second careers in businesses where they can make a difference more than climb the ladder. And Millennials as a whole ask “what ladder” as they seek rewarding experiences.  That is not saying the talented workers of all ages aren’t looking for good pay and benefits.  But many seek a good lifestyle and rewarding company culture as a part of their compensation.  Stop offering jobs and start selling career experiences that fit individual needs.

Recruit applicants like you market customers.  Recruiting is now as much a function of marketing as it is HR.  Unless they have a marketing background or creative flair for writing, recruiters and HR professionals shouldn’t be allowed to write the copy for help wanted ads. A company needs to create an employment brand that engages and motivates job applicants to apply, the same way they get customers to shop and buy.  Posting the job description on your company website or third-party job party is like describing the history of cotton to engage customers to buy a shirt.

Hire competencies and potential, not experience and personality.  That latter comment might seem strange coming from me since I make a living selling pre-employment personality tests.  But I’ll be the first to admit that personality traits don’t always correlate with skills on the job. For example, if extroversion was a requirement for sales, then there would be no such thing as a successful salesperson who was introverted. I can assure you that’s not the case.  Likewise, introversion is not a guarantee success trait for a career in accounting.  Personality traits have to be put in context. And in this day and age, the context is competencies, especially those that described skills required for leadership, sales, customer service, and more. To competent or potentially competent workers with confidence, selection must be focused on the competencies required to perform the job.  Personality tests, however, are important in identifying innate talent as well as performance areas where employees might struggle without additional training or education.

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