How Small Businesses Can Attract Top Talent


In 1995, after a Labor Day weekend spent coding, Pierre Omidyar launched AuctionWeb. In July of the following year, Omidyar hired his first full-time president (and employee), Jeffrey Skoll. Skoll developed AuctionWeb’s business plan and pioneered its initial public offering. We now know AuctionWeb as eBay.

Recruiting the right talent can take a startup to the next level.

Skoll championed AuctionWeb because he understood that Omidyar had created something brilliant. Both men believed in the potential of what they were doing, and it paid off in a multi-billion-dollar company.

“Startups have huge potential for growth. Take ownership of that asset when attracting talent,” says Aram Lulla, general manager of human resources practice at Lucas Group.

Here are three tactics your small business can use to attract the top talent you need to succeed.

Leverage Your Greatest Asset: Passion

Larger companies have referral programs for attracting top talent, but as a small business, you probably won’t. But don’t worry — you have something better, Lulla says — passion. Startups have a huge advantage over many larger companies because your people are really excited to be there.

If they’re passionate about what your small business represents, then your employee population will become your best recruiting tool. “Your employees are at your startup because they believe in it,” Lulla says. “Because they are so passionate, they are going to be able to sell the organization in ways that you probably haven’t even considered.”

This is a free recruiting tool and truly the best way to get potential talent excited about your startup’s mission.

Bring Employee Passion to Life Through Social Media

Don’t discount social media. It gives you free access to thousands of people through your business’ and your employees’ accounts. “Something as simple and inexpensive as a brief video clip or panorama of your office space says a lot about your company culture,” Lulla says. “Quick hits like this, that are shareable on LinkedIn or other platforms, will get people’s attention.”

If your employees are excited about what they do, encourage them to share that enthusiasm (and your company’s posts) with their friends and connections. Hashtags and taglines are also great for creating brand awareness. “It sounds cliched, but posing questions like, ‘Feel like just a number at your organization?’ and offering an alternative can get people thinking,” Lulla says.

Always Be Recruiting

Being a trendy new startup doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still use traditional methods for recruiting. In fact, the more methods you use, the better your chances of scoring top talent. “Utilize traditional job postings — you might find your next CEO that way,” Lulla says.

Additionally, attend recruiting and networking events as often as possible. “There will be costs to attending events, but your ROI could be huge,” he says. “If there are any industry events near you, you should be there.”

Finally, partnering with a recruiting firm can make a huge difference. Recruiting firms can offer connections and insight that you can’t get from any other means. You never know when you’re going to meet the person who will take your business to the next level, but taking advantage of all your resources can expedite your success.

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