Attract Top Talent to your Small Company with your Employer Branding Message
No matter the size, every company has a unique story to tell. Use it to create a compelling employer branding message that will draw talent in.
By: Catherine Conlan
As a small business, you put out fires and conquer challenges every day. And hiring the best talent is no exception. After all, it’s tough to compete against big-name employers who have name recognition—not to mention bigger budgets.
Hold on there! That line of thinking ignores the big advantages that small companies have in attracting talent. Don’t assume that high-caliber candidates won’t consider working for a smaller firm.
After all, half of U.S. employees work at small businesses, and it’s often because they want to be part of a smaller shop where they can make their personal mark, says Will Staney, founder and principal consultant at Proactive Talent Strategies, a recruitment strategy consulting company in Austin, Texas.
“As a small business, you can get in front of candidates the same way large companies can,” Staney says.
Business owner Joni Doolin agrees. “We are a small business, but we are attracting world-class talent from much larger companies because of culture, our team, our pretty amazing benefits and workplace practices,” says Doolin, CEO and founder of TDn2K, a Dallas-based benchmarking company for the restaurant industry. “More and more candidates are trading off the traditional corporate ladder for a ‘home.’”
Your company can generate that sort of success by creating a compelling case to candidates with an employer branding message that brings to life your company's unique story of home. Start with these three strategies.
Tell the Story Behind your Employer Brand
The biggest issue in competing with larger companies isn’t trying to lure candidates away from them, but the simple fact that awareness of their brand is strong.
That doesn’t mean that your company’s brand can’t stand out —your firm’s small size actually means you can be more nimble than the big guys. “In fact, you can attract candidates in a lot of creative ways large companies can’t because their brand is so rigid,” says Staney.
How can you strengthen your employer brand? Think about that idea of creating a “home” for potential employees. Every home is unique—and every home has a story. What’s your organization’s story? The key is to tell it in a variety of ways to reach more people, recommends Staney. Try a few of the following strategies and keep track of the response:
- Publish blog posts on sites such as medium.com that attract a wide audience
- Submit your story to online sites such as Entrepreneur
- Apply to join organizations such as the Young Entrepreneurs Council
- Speak at local industry and business events
- Mentor others in your industry circles to establish yourself as a thought leader
All or even a few of these steps will enable you to highlight your company culture , mission, and vision to a larger audience—and attract the interest of people who might be interested in working for you.
Tout your Company’s Unique Benefits
Virgin CEO Richard Branson believes in the power of lists to achieve important goals. Take his cue and make a list of the things that make your company special. What are the top reasons people should want to work with you?
“People apply for jobs, but stay for culture,” says Jodie Shaw, chief marketing officer at The Alternative Board, a peer advisory board service that helps provide advice to small businesses. Fortunately “culture” doesn’t have to come at a big cost. Big companies may be able to outspend you on fancy cafeterias and onsite day care, but small companies can also offer flexible schedules and opportunities for growth.
At Advanced Graphic Engraving, a printing and engraving company based in Broussard, Louisiana, co-owner Allison Bonin says the company highlights its family-friendly culture. Everyone can leave early one day a week to take their kids to extra-curricular activities so they don’t miss out on family time. The company also has a special space for kids to hang out after school complete with a popcorn machine and video games.
Target your Recruiting Efforts
Big companies have long had the ability to distribute their job openings to a wide audience. Smaller firms, meanwhile, have had to manage their hiring budget more strategically. Fortunately, times have changed. Today, your Monster Job Ad is automatically distributed to 500+ job and news sites and across Monster’s network sites.
As you write your job description, think about the person you’re looking to attract. Create a profile of the types of candidates who would be the ideal fit for you, both in the open role and in the company as a whole, says Christina Boudreaux, owner and senior talent consultant at Talent Made Simple, an HR consulting firm in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Be sure to include details that give your ad a taste of your company’s culture.
Your candidate profile could include a rough outline of the skills, education and experience that a person would need to succeed in the position, as well as the personality traits that would help them fit in your culture.
Job boards such as Monster make it easy to distribute your job across social media as well. With a Monster Social Job Ad you can reach the right people with precision targeting. As your promote your job through your own social channels, use hashtags such as #hiring, #nowhiring or #joblisting as well as tags common in your industry to target people who looking for jobs at companies like yours.
Apply this same mindset to your offline thinking too. Where would the people who are likely to succeed at your company likely to congregate? If you’re looking for specific skills, consider advertising at colleges that specialize in that skill to nab new graduates. You may want to join local industry groups to find people who are interested in the kind of work you do.
Overall, choose to adopt a mindset of reaching out to your talent pool rather than waiting for the perfect candidates to come to you. And keep at it. “Just like with recruiting in more established companies,” Boudreaux says, “there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.”
As you promote your company to potential job candidates, you can take pride in your company and the people who work there. It’s time to share that story with the world!
Get started now by posting a Monster Job Ad and receive up to 20 recommended resumes from Monster’s extensive resume database.