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The Top Ways Small Businesses Recruit Employees

Small Business • May 9, 2014 at 12:00 PM • Written by: Christina Merhar

Who you hire is key to the success of your company. This is true for mom-and-pop shops, start-ups, and small businesses... as well as Fortune 500 companies. But finding and hiring the right employee can be tough. Small businesses with limited time and resources need to make each new hire count.

When it comes to hiring, small businesses may think they’re at a disadvantage compared with larger companies, but they’re not. Small business owners may already have the best source of prospective candidates: existing employees. According to a 2013 hiring survey by CareerXroads, nearly a quarter of new employees come from employee referrals.

Here are the top ways small businesses recruit and hire employees.

Employee Referrals

Employee referrals make up 24.5%, nearly a quarter of recruits. Many small employers offer cash or other incentives to encourage employees to participate. 

Career Website Page

Nearly another quarter (23.4%) of recruits hear about the job through the small business's career website page. Make sure your business has a career website page where you list (or link to) open positions and describe your company's mission and culture. 

Online Job Boards

According to the hiring survey, 18% of candidates are referred by an online job board. Small businesses can use free job boards such as Craigslist.com and/or job board aggregator sites such as SimplyHired.com and Indeed.com. Small businesses can also post paid job descriptions to general boards such as Monster.com, CarreerBuilder.com, and GlassDoor.com, and to local or regional job boards and newspapers.

Colleges & Interns

College candidates (recruits from college or within 0-2 years of graduation) represent 5% of recruits. Companies, including small businesses, have long relied on university recruiting programs to fill entry-level positions and gain access to workers with up-to-date skills. Plus, small businesses and startups offer recent college grads something that many large companies cannot -- opportunity for fast growth and entrepreneurship. Internships are another way to get fresh talent in the door.

Social Media

While social media is still a small percentage of how candidates say they heard about a job (3%), it is a growing strategy for small businesses. As more job seekers use social media and mobile devices to look for work, small businesses are using social media as a low-cost way to recruit, source, and interview candidates. See these Small Biz Tips for Social Media Recruiting.

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Christina Merhar