The marketplace for talented employees is highly competitive. How can you hire the right person without the shiny (and expensive) perks dangled by larger employers? Play to your small business strengths. You've got a lot more to offer talented potential employees than mere money. In fact, your newish business may offer the rocket ride that a superstar recruit seeks.
It's surprising how often the in-demand, accomplished, educated, write-their-own-cheque job hunters will choose to work for a small business over a big one. After all, a big employer offers everything an employee would ever want: job stability, competitive income, benefits, advancement opportunities, education bursaries, escalating vacation time and plenty of other employees to hide behind when things go wrong.
So, if they can work anywhere they choose, and demand as much money as they want, why would a stellar recruit choose to work for your messy startup?
You don't offer job security. Heck, you're not even sure you'll get a paycheque next month—and you're the business owner.
Your office is, well, casual. The desks are from IKEA. The fake plants are a little dusty. The communal printer needs a kick now and then. One employee leaves his bicycle in the hall. Another brings her golden retriever to work every Friday.
Employee salaries are third-world. Workload is unpredictable, full of midnight-oil burning moments involving aspirin and take-out food.
Despite these seemingly negative features, your small business has more to offer the right employee than any big corporation.
Many potential recruits may be attracted to your company mission, culture, promotional opportunities, business network, location, working hours, benefits package or organizational chart. The secret is to communicate these features as benefits.
Load up responsibilities
Large companies tend to be compartmentalized, preventing eager superstars from tasting the action of career-advancing projects. As a small business, your organization is likely more flat-lined and less hierarchal. That's attractive to employees who crave participation in projects that are both important and exciting.
Pile on more work than you'd expect any reasonable job candidate to accept. Present a few Big Hairy Audacious Goals to lure in top talent. Give them a wild ride assignment, like opening up a foreign market or getting a new product off the ground. Promise long hours, stress, challenge and excitement. The right person will step up.
No one will notice that Employee of the Month award hanging in a big business cubicle. Play up your ability to shout the accomplishments of your employees to future employers, made possible by your robust professional network and personal pledge to talk up performers.