Needles In a Haystack – Sourcing Strategies for Small Businesses

Danyel Frankel
March 26, 2024

Needles in Haystacks: Sourcing Strategies for Small Businesses

Finding the right candidates in today’s job market is challenging for most, but talent acquisition is particularly daunting for small businesses. Much like finding a needle in a haystack, the task of finding the right fit for your team is especially tough with a small workforce while competing with larger competitors. However, with the right strategies, smaller companies can attain top talent and grow a successful business.

Understanding the Challenge

Smaller companies face many hurdles. They do not have the deep pockets and large budgets the bigger conglomerates have at their disposal, making things such as recruiting marketing campaigns not possible. Budget constraints also limit access to technology solutions like sourcing tools and applicant tracking systems that make  it easier and more effective to find candidates. With a smaller workforce size, a dedicated recruitment professional is not usually available, making the process a shared responsibility.

Competing with big businesses for talent is another obstacle for the small scale enterprise. Larger companies often have brand recognition which makes them stand out above the rest.  They also elicit a feeling of stability with greater professional growth opportunities.  Larger companies have the means to provide competitive salaries and more attractive benefits packages. The advantages of the big business total rewards packages are difficult for small companies to overcome.

Overcoming the Challenge 

There are tools available to bridge the gap in resources for small businesses. Employee satisfaction is a driving factor when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent. Make your people your priority and invest your time and resources into them. In turn, they speak positively about your company  and its culture to their network and connections. Encourage the team to network and share their experiences through social media posts, blogs and word of mouth to bring attention to your company and its employment opportunitiesCorporate and social responsibility will contribute to enhancing your small company brand. Engaging in the community to make a positive impact makes you visible to local candidates. Volunteer events serve as a great way for your team to spend time  together out of the office and connect on common interests. Employee testimonials and community presence can give your company the voice it needs to reach viable candidates in your community.

Tailored Sourcing Strategies

Focusing on niche communities during the recruitment process helps identify like- minded professionals whose skill sets are aligned with your company’s needs. These groups are found in online platforms, talent networks and social media groups. Tailored messages to these niche groups increase the likelihood of achieving a response. It makes the connection authentic and engaging to those who receive them. Targeting a smaller niche audience  supports a “less is more” approach.   By avoiding the “spray and pray” method, you cut down on the time it takes to sift through applications that are not the right fit.

Employee referral rewards is a proven strategy to acquire top talent. They bring candidates they believe can do the job,  are culturally aligned with core values and will enjoy working at the company. Current members of your team can sell the core values and culture of your organization to potential candidates while feeling a sense of ownership simultaneously. A candidate vetted by an employee lends to cost-saving and an expedited timeline to hire. Other benefits of an employee referral are the increased likelihood of prolonged employment and an already established connection with your employee, who can provide support during onboarding.

Creating partnerships with similar businesses and organizations is beneficial when talent sourcing. Leveraging and maintaining a pipeline provides a starting point when you have open positions to fill. By collaborating with educational institutions to host internships, you add specialized future candidates to your network. Job fairs and networking events are also a great way to keep a pulse on local talent.

Embracing Creativity and Innovation

It is necessary for small businesses to think outside the box to attract and recruit strong talent. They need to explore alternative ways to maintain a bench to fill potential openings. Scheduling career fairs networking events, even when there is not a current need, helps get ahead of a staffing crunch.

When possible, a remote work option makes all the difference in sourcing talent. When there is not a travel constraint, the talent pool becomes larger. The option to work from home is a deal maker for those looking for a flexible schedule and the opportunity to make family a priority. It provides cost savings and a break from the stress from commuting.

Employee benefits make a significant  impact on your ability to attract talent over a competitor. While it is not all about the money, the salary needs to be competitive. More than ever, work-life balance is a  prevalent factor in choosing the right employer. People do not want to be distracted by their job during their time away from work. In addition a generous benefits package and flexible paid time off policy can be a deal maker. 

Standing Out in the Talent Market as a Small Business

While small businesses have challenges in sourcing talent, you stand out to the right candidate by being creative in your strategy. Where you may not have access to the same resources as your larger competitors, smaller organizations have tools at their disposal to attract talent.. Networking and leveraging personal relationships, building your  employer brand and offering an attractive work environment with stand-out benefits will help you find your needle in a haystack.

Implement Effective Recruiting with Red Clover

It is time to stop using the same recruiting strategy in your small business hoping for different results. Shift your focus to networking and creating a talent pool. Take an honest look at what more you can offer to make your organization more attractive to potential candidates. And if you want to partner with a resource with a proven process for recruiting for small businesses  contact us and one of our HR consultants at Red Clover will be happy to connect.

Photo by Saulo Mohana on Unsplash

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