The Small Business Recruiting Advantage: The Power of Being Flexible

The art of finding and hiring the right person for the right role is a tricky one indeed. Especially after the COVID 19 pandemic. According to this article on, it is getting to the point where most businesses are giving up on hiring. What they didn’t mention, though, was the small business recruiting advantage.

You read that right. As a small business, you have an advantage when it comes to recruiting and hiring new talent. There are countless blog posts and articles that address the importance of hiring for culture fit, but they tend to skip out on offering practical, cost-effective advice. It can be easy to look at the large companies with deep pockets and think you have no chance.

The truth is you have a leg up on them. All you have to do is stop doing the same thing you have always done. Stop the insanity of repeating your actions and hoping for a different result and try something new.

As a small business, you can be more flexible and take more risks when it comes to making changes to your business. You have more room to adjust and experiment with your processes in a way that large companies can’t. This gives you the advantage when it comes to hiring the right people.


It makes it easier for you to fix your recruiting process without having to spend a lot of money. Being small means you are more nimble and more adaptable. That means you can make changes more easily to move away from an ill-conceived, outdated recruiting process.

Here are some steps you can take to do that today, without spending a dime.

The description

This may sound counterintuitive, so I wanted to clarify. Everywhere your candidates look, they see job descriptions. If you are merely doing the same thing, your posting could get lost in a sea of others just like it. This doesn’t help anyone.

Instead, post an ad for why your ideal candidate should come work for your company. Post a culture statement as well as the job requirements. Highlight what makes your company unique. Potential candidates can put their skills to use just about anywhere, so why should they work for you?

If you aren’t sure what to put, ask your current employees what it is like to work for you. Listen to their word choice and how they express their feelings about their workplace. The small business recruiting advantage here is that you have a closer relationship with your employees. They are more likely to talk to you because they know you. There are also fewer approvals needed for you to make this change to your process.

Not only will this help you more accurately represent your company culture, but it could also help you discover some areas to improve in. Then your company will be even more desirable to potential candidates, increasing your talent pool.

The pitch

A lot of bigger companies use catchy slogans and phrases that sound like pickup lines to get the attention of potential candidates. Please don’t do that. It may be tempting to follow them, but it is not as effective as you may think. The pitch is where you convince people of why they should work for you.

Show them the benefits (both tangible and not) of working for your company. Will they be happy? Will they be supported and have room to grow? Are they going to be well compensated for their work? Highlight the emotional benefits and rewards that your employees mentioned they get from their jobs. And don’t be afraid to vary this based on the team or department of the position. Let people know what they are getting into and why they want it.

PRO TIP: While you’re giving up the sales pitch, it’s still necessary to market your company. Include your value proposition(s) on your career page, in your job ads, on Facebook, and on LinkedIn, (and anywhere else your business has a presence.) Talk about it in your initial phone calls with potential candidates and demonstrate it during your interviews.

Red sign with white words saying: For Hire, showing that a small business is recruiting
Photo by: Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

The application

The application is an important step of the process, of course. That doesn’t mean they should have to fill it out twice. If they are applying through LinkedIn or Indeed or any of the other places where they can upload their resume, then you don’t need them to give it to you a second time.

Candidates find it very frustrating when they connect those accounts and then are made to go and fill out everything manually. It is not very respectful of their time and can cause some to move on to an application that is easier to fill out. By decreasing the hoops they need to jump through, you are increasing your potential talent pool.

There are legal reasons to have a legitimate application, but they can always be filled out after you have met the person. This means less paperwork for you to keep track of, which saves everyone time.

Disclaimer: If you need to meet OFCCP or similar guidelines, please consult an attorney!

Pro Tip: Apply to your own job postings at least once a year. Feel the experience of what it’s like to be on the other side so that you can find opportunities to improve the process.

The prospects

Again, you need to respect your candidate’s time. These are people with jobs or other time commitments. They may not have the ability to drop everything and spend hours going through each step of your process. Some companies see this as a good way to make their candidates prove themselves. The only thing it proves, though, is that you don’t value their time.

That is not what you want their first impression to be.  You want them to feel like you value them as people, not just for what they can offer your company. You want that relationship to start out positive.

Follow the golden rule – treat your applicants the way that you would want to be treated.

The employees

Like is drawn to like. Your ideal candidate is going to want to work with people who share their motivations and interests. They’re inspired by greatness and want to surround themselves with it. Also, they will want to know who they are working with.

So, invite your high-performing employees to take part in the selection process. This gives your candidates the chance to get to know the people they will be working with. It also gives your employees a chance to share their personal experiences when it comes to working for you. Plus, it lets you see how they would get along if you chose to hire that candidate.

It’s much better to find out someone will hate their job BEFORE you hire them.

The feedback

Don’t skip the feedback and don’t save it for the end. Give your candidates timely and honest feedback at each step of the process. Candidates’ number one complaint about the job search process is that they never hear back from prospective employers. Even if they aren’t a good fit for your company, it still pays to give them some feedback.

These are real people with real friends. If they have an unpleasant experience interviewing with your company, those friends will know about it. Negative news can travel very fast and even if it doesn’t, that’s still a negative impression that you cannot do anything about. A little extra effort to make sure every applicant has a great experience can go a long way. That positive sentiment will spread beyond them and can prove helpful in the future.

This is one example of the small business recruiting advantage. There are countless other ways that you can leverage your size to help build your ideal team.

What other recruiting tips do you have for the entrepreneurial marketplace? Are there things that have worked for you that I didn’t mention? Sharing is caring! Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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