As a small business owner you want to seek out the best and brightest employees, but how do you compete with big business? Here are a few tips that will give your business the competitive edge in recruiting and hiring.
They have name recognition. It's time for you to get the word out. Sign up for career fairs in your area. Contact the local unemployment office or workforce center; many offices have career fairs at least once a month. Reach out to the local colleges and universities. Some college career fairs are free of charge, but you will most likely have to pay a fee to recruit at University fairs.

They have proven recruiting sources. There are multiple online job boards; some are fee based while others are not. You can utilize social media platforms for recruiting, including the many online career groups. These are normally specific to a city/state or a profession. You can also post on local college alumni boards.

They have an applicant tracking system. As resumes and/or applications start to come in you're going to need a place to store and search through all of the information. This is the start of your applicant pipeline. You can either purchase or develop an applicant tracking system (ATS). When you're starting out it might be beneficial to go with a more cost effective option, such as building an Excel spreadsheet or utilizing a low-cost online option. Depending upon the number of employees you intend to recruit you may also want to seek out a few quotes from some of the more expensive providers.

They have a pipeline of qualified candidates. Now it's time for you to develop your own pipeline. You have most likely been networking for business leads so reach out to some of these same contacts and let them know you're hiring. College and university career centers are also great places to connect with current students and recent graduates.

They have on-boarding procedures in place. Legal compliance in recruiting, interviewing, and hiring is very important. If you don't have an HR background you may want to work with an HR consultant or a lawyer to ensure that your policies and procedures are developed correctly. This will give you the framework for all future on-boarding.

Highlight what your company does best! What makes your small business unique?

Small businesses have a distinct advantage because often times their structure is flatter. This means there are less levels of management and employees are able to have a larger influence on the company. Applicants want to know that they are applying to a company that offers them an engaging work environment.

Utilizing these tips will help your small business gain a competitive recruitment advantage!

Jeniffer Betts, PHR