5 Recruiting Ideas to Grow Your Small Business

by Karen McCandless | Updated Aug. 5, 2022 - First published on May 18, 2022

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that pay us a commission. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
A small business owner wearing a mask and hanging an Open sign on the front door of her shop.

Image source: Getty Images

It’s a crowded market, and competition is fierce. That’s why it's important to keep up with the latest recruiting ideas so you can attract and retain the top talent.

I once joined a Facebook group full of recruiting professionals to get some information for an article. One recruiter was complaining that they were having trouble getting through to candidates for a developer position on the phone.

I suggested other methods of communication, such as sending a relevant LinkedIn message, and explained that many people don’t want to answer cold calls these days. That didn’t go down well and they continued to struggle with finding candidates.

A few years ago, contacting candidates on the phone might have been the best way to get through to them, but these days it’s different. Here are some recruiting tips that will help you find candidates and grow your small business in 2020.

Why is it important to keep up with recruiting trends?

Recruitment used to be a numbers game. Recruiters used the spray-and-pray technique where they would contact as many people as possible in the hopes that they’d eventually find some good candidates.

But this approach was time consuming. They had to comb through piles of resumes and try to keep on top of communication with all applicants. The candidate experience suffered and they often weren’t able to hire their first choices.

The industry has evolved considerably since then, but if you stick with the old recruiting methods, you’ll get the same results, and you’ll continually lose out on the best candidates.

What to consider before implementing new recruiting strategies

There is no one-size-fits-all recruitment strategy. You need to find out what works for your business. But you’re not going in blind -- you already have data at hand that can help inform your decisions. Here is what you should review and consider before creating a new recruitment plan.

Past successes and failures

Unless you’re a brand new company, you will have recruited in the past. Before you create a new recruitment plan, look at what you (or other recruiters) have done in the past.

Review which channels have delivered the best results, which positions have been easiest to fill, and how long it’s taken to hire for different roles.

Your budget and priorities

If you have a limited budget for recruiting employees then you need to be sure you can optimize every cent. Instead of completely overhauling your hiring strategy, make small changes and see what works.

Take a look at your staffing plan so you can understand which roles you’ll have to recruit for in the upcoming year, and tailor your strategy to suit these needs.

Set goals before you start and track each of these metrics over time so you can understand where to double down and which channels or strategies you should abandon.

5 recruiting ideas to grow your small business

You likely already have recruiting methods that work for your business, and we’re not suggesting you throw those away. Instead, think of adding new techniques to make your hiring process even more effective.

Here are some creative recruiting ideas employers can use to help attract the best applicants and provide the best candidate experience.

1. Show that you move with the times

2020 -- who saw that coming? When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, companies had to move quickly to adapt to the new normal. For some, that unfortunately meant furloughing staff.

For others, that meant a company-wide work-from-home policy. While it’s been a tough adjustment for everyone, some companies have handled the move terribly, and some have shone.

Businesses that can move quickly, be flexible, and think outside the box are always going to find it easier in these kinds of uncertain conditions. And showing that you are that kind of company is a great way to showcase your company’s strengths and attract passive candidates.

You just need the employer brand to showcase these qualities, which we’ll discuss below.

2. Differentiate your brand and hiring process

Once upon a time, LinkedIn was full of companies that showcased their fun sides with pictures of after-work margaritas, foosball tables, and hikes.

They practically screamed, "We’re fun and cool!" But in the end, these companies all seemed the same. What actually made any of these companies different? And did potential candidates and existing employees even like or want these perks?

If you want to stand out in the crowded hiring market and appeal to potential candidates, you need to be different, whether it’s through your social media accounts, your careers portal, or the way you ask applicants to apply. And by being different, we mean remaining in a way that's true to your values.

You could follow McDonald’s example and ask people to apply via Snapchat. Or if you’re a fully remote company, you could showcase your employees’ home office spaces. Or you could showcase how your company is making a difference to people’s lives.

An image of a McDonald’s Snapchat recruitment campaign.

McDonald’s invited candidates to apply via Snapchat. Image source: Author

3. Customize your hiring process

Candidate experience is everything; you cannot afford to annoy your applicants if you want to hire the best people. Consider these stats:

  • 72% of job seekers report sharing their negative candidate experiences online.
  • 55% of job seekers report avoiding certain companies after reading negative online reviews.

If you want to enhance your candidate experience, you need to customize the hiring process for each open position. If you’re using HR and recruitment software it’s not hard to do.

With Breezy HR, you can set up a new candidate pipeline for each open role and save these as templates. You can also automate the next best actions for each of your pipeline stages.

This means that you never leave candidates in the dark about what is happening with their application, and the hiring process moves much more quickly through the pipeline.

A screenshot of assigning the next best actions to pipeline stages.

Breezy HR automates the next actions for each stage of the candidate pipeline. Image source: Author

4. Use social media and online forums

The best social media recruiting strategies borrow heavily from marketing. You need a buyer persona (in this case, an ideal candidate persona). You need to know which channels your ideal candidates use most, and you need to know what kind of language and imagery you should use in your job ad.

Even the layout of the application form and the questions you ask should be targeted.

Some applicant tracking systems (ATS) include functionality that can help. Zoho Recruit can help you create targeted social media campaigns based on location and audience.

With the Facebook Job Postings functionality, candidates can apply to a job without leaving Facebook. With the LinkedIn functionality, candidates can apply on LinkedIn or through your careers portal.

A LinkedIn job posting with different options for applying for the role.

Zoho Recruit’s LinkedIn integration makes it easier for candidates to apply to your jobs. Image source: Author

5. Let your applicant tracking system to do the hard work

Manually sourcing candidates is a headache, but luckily, an applicant tracking system (ATS) can take care of the heavy lifting. Most ATSs post to job boards for you, but many have much more targeted and advanced talent acquisition capabilities.

Workable’s artificial intelligence (AI) functionality can find high-quality candidates who are right for the job much more quickly than if you tried to do it manually.

Its AI-powered Auto-Suggest feature searches public online profiles to find candidates who match the skills and requirements you have specified in your job description.

It then helps you create highly targeted campaigns on channels such as Facebook to make these people aware of the job and encourage them to apply.

Workable’s AI feature describing how to create targeted recruitment campaigns.

Workable’s AI functionality helps you find and target relevant candidates. Image source: Author

Track and optimize

When implementing a new recruiting strategy, be sure you have goals and understand which metrics to track so you will know what success looks like. What works depends both on putting the effort in and on the unique needs of your business.

And stay up to date with what is happening in the recruitment industry so you can identify new recruiting ideas that will help you hire the best candidates.

About the Author