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Small Business Recruiting Strategies That Actually Work

Hiring is likely the single most important thing you’ll ever do as a business owner.

How do you hire employees that are going to work hard and be a great fit for your company?

We’re sharing the ins and outs of the current hiring strategy that is working for us, plus a few trade secrets from fellow small business owners.

Here goes!


Our employee recruitment strategy that actually works:

Part of the reason we’ve been able to grow the business so fast is by hiring exceptional people to join our team.

Good employees stay longer, they help train others, impress clients and help bring your business to another level.

You get it. It’s important to hire good people. Here's how we do this:

1. Put your best foot forward as the small business doing the recruiting:

Hiring is not only about getting to know the candidate, it’s also about them getting to know you.

If a candidate is not also researching you and your company to see if it’s the right fit for them, they are likely not serious about the role. All potential candidates should research your company before applying.

One way for potential candidates to learn more about your business is by building your company’s reputation through online reviews.  

cell phone showing a recent review

2. Applicant tracking software that works for small business recruiting:

We use applicant tracking software that posts open jobs to multiple free job boards. It’s easy to use, saves dozens of hours per hire, and it’s effective.

(We’ve chosen Breezy HR, and it works very well for us.)

3. Part of recruiting the right people for your small business is asking the right questions:

Our hiring questions help us understand three things about the candidate:

First, their goals and motivations. For example: “If money wasn’t a question, how would you spend the rest of your life?”

Second, if they're a culture fit. For example: "Discuss a time when your integrity was challenged, how did you handle it?"

Third, their abilities. For example: “What was the most difficult work problem you ever faced and how did you address the problem?"

4. Up your recruitment game by using video interviews:

A resume won’t tell you if a candidate is a good fit for your team.

Videos are a great way to see how a person communicates and to get a good feel for their personality.

It also takes less time than going through multiple in-person interview rounds.

We do require resume submissions, however, we place more value on the videos.

5. One of the best hiring tips for any small business is to to act quick:

If an applicant appears to be a great fit, don’t wait. Follow-up with your applicants and communicate with them promptly.

6. And when it comes to small business recruiting, never (as in never, ever) hire unless you're 100% sure:

We never hire unless we 100% must have this person as part of our team. Never.

There’s candidates that might be good, they could even be great, but we will not hire them if we’re not convinced.

It’s always worth it to make the effort to hire A-team players.

*This video* also walks through our current recruitment strategy in more detail. Skip ahead to the 4:00 mark.*

This approach works for us as a growing tech company.

To add to this, here are some insights from entrepreneurs in the service industry who have been hustling to grow their teams, just like you.

Employee recruitment strategy tips from fellow service industry pros:

Go in knowing that recruiting the right person for your small business can take some time

“I know good employees, in the long-term, are going to get me referrals and repeat customers and that’s way more valuable than hiring a warm body or hiring out of desperation in the short-term. Be patient and wait for the right person; it works.”
~Bobby Walker, TRT Pressure Washing & Window Cleaning.

When you are ready to start hiring, make sure the application process is set up for candidates to demonstrate the qualities you're looking for:

“We’re trying detailed recruiting ads this year, where applicants have to jump through some hoops. This demonstrates that they’re willing to work, and pay attention to detail before even starting the job.
It creates a minimum barrier to entry; they have to be able to at least prove they can take direction.”
~Michael Parker, Master Pro Service Inc.

Employer branding is part of an effective recruitment strategy:

(But...what on Earth is "employer branding"??)

This is asking the question “what do job seekers want?” and being able to answer this question with your distinct reputation as an employer.

We encourage you to think outside the money.

“We want to provide a work-life balance for our plumbers. It’s not always about offering them tons of money, that doesn’t necessarily create that quality of life all the time. Sometimes it’s about having some free time to spend with your family.
A big goal of mine is to be able to offer in-house daycare. Having it in-house where our employees can see their kids throughout the day...That’s a big goal of mine as an employer.”
~Autumn Schellhase, Go Pro Plumbing
“I have things in place to make sure that my team is cared for. In Florida it’s super hot in the sun, it’s humid. When we go out and install units, I put up tents and big fans. Water and ice, I pay for it.
People think it’s a difficult physical job, but it can be a lot better depending on who you’re working for. I try to advertise that when we’re hiring”
~ James Cayton, Service Plus AC & Heating

Sometimes (and only sometimes, as this won’t apply to all employers) it’s worth getting creative with your employee recruitment strategy:

“We started an at-work development program, where we take on at-risk youth for a 3 month internship... Besides giving back to our city, one of the key benefits of this is every so often we get someone who catches the bigger vision, they believe in what we’re doing and see a future here.”
~Scott Baermann, Urban Street Window Works

From employer branding, to video interviews and at-work development programs - there are lots of ways to hire the right people for your business; we hope you picked up a new recruitment strategy or two to add yo your list.

Good luck growing your team and keep hustlin'.

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