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How to Hire Great Employees for SMB

How to Hire great employees for SMBs?

At a cost of nearly $4,000 on average to fill an open position, U.S. companies are spending nearly three times the amount spent on training per employee,” said Karen O’Leonard, vice president, Benchmarking & Analytics Research, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

Recruitment is an exhaustive process; ask any talent acquisition executive, there is a lot of investment, both in the form of time and money, to hire. So, if you are spending so much money on recruitment, naturally you must ensure you get the industry’s best talent and retain that talent with you.

Larger and established businesses have several selling points, such as benefits and brand value that help them attract the best talent. However, when it comes to SMBs, they may not attract a huge talent pool as large businesses, but some defining characteristics may help you attract your industry’s best talent.

Here are a few small businesses recruiting strategies that you can use:

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1. Know your candidate persona

Before you start working on your sourcing channels, you must work on the candidate persona. Define what your ‘ideal candidate’ profile is. Candidate persona helps you create accurate job descriptions, measure the effectiveness of sourcing channels, and focus on the right talent that fits your culture. You need to conduct interviews of existing employees and, stakeholders to define characteristics of the persona. Some of the characteristics you need to define are job title, work experience, job-specific skills, communication skills, professional life goals, etc. You can create a candidate persona for each job-role that you post and keep refining it throughout the recruitment process.

2. Write an attractive job description

Once you know what persona you are looking for, you can write a detailed job description. You can use this JD to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Your JD should give an idea about the exact job responsibilities and skill-set, to attract the right candidates. Sit with your hiring manager to discuss the exact requirement and write a detailed JD. You may end up wasting your productive time if you don’t know what exactly your hiring manager is looking for.Create a brand story, which will make candidates want to be a part of the organization journey. Create a great picture detailing your office culture and what employee benefits you offer. You can provide work from home options or flexible work hours option as a part of employee benefits.

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As SMBs grow, you may need to hire more people to perform specific tasks. So, keep updating job descriptions as you grow with the changing needs of jobs. You can talk to your existing employees to understand responsibilities and omit tasks that are no longer necessary.

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3. Creative ways to attract employees

‘A majority of SMBs (84%) agree that finding enough candidates is their #1 hiring challenge’ – A report by LinkedIn (2019)

As an SMB recruiter, you should know how to attract the best employees while keeping your hiring costs low. This is a real struggle as you have to get quality candidates with limited resources. The most effective sourcing channels that work wonders for SMB’s are social media, referrals, company career pages, personal networks, and job boards.

  • Social Media

Social media has changed the way businesses recruit today. For SMB’s, it provides access to a larger pool of candidates and that too in an organic way. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are some of the most used platforms for social media recruiting. You can go for the more suitable one for your business and where your target candidates spend time. You need to maintain an online presence on selected social media sites to attract talent. Use your employee’s social media network to spread the word about open positions. You can even spend on social media ads if it fits into your budget. Paid advertisements will help you reach thousands of candidates within a quick time.

  • Referrals

Referrals are the most efficient way for SMBs in recruitment. You can reduce hiring time and costs by successfully implementing a referral program. Your referral program should be easy to use for both employees and hiring managers. Write clear rules that define which positions are open to referral programs, referral benefits, and how employees can apply for referral programs. You can keep both monetary and non-monetary incentives for the referrals. Keep slightly higher incentives for the hard-to-fill positions. You can create easily shareable messages so that employees can share it with their friends over social media platforms or emails as well.

It’s always great to measure the effectiveness of the referral programs to improve it for better results. The various parameters that you can measure are referral to hire ratio, cost of a referral program, and the number of employees engaged in the program.

  • Company career page

Your company career page is the place where you can make the first impression to your potential candidates. You have an excellent opportunity to showcase your culture, product offerings, and employee benefits to the candidates. Design a career page to reflect the company personality so that candidates would love to be a part of your organization. Adding testimonial videos of current employees will make a significant difference as it adds credibility. You can also make a section titled ‘why you should join us’, highlighting all the employees’ benefits. Show diversity in your workplace so that anyone who visits the career page will feel welcomed.

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4. Screen candidates to get the right fit

If you are using the right sources to get candidate applicants, you will get a flood of applications in your inbox. It consumes a lot of your hiring time to screen all of them manually. SMB recruiters wear multiple hats; hence, it’s impossible to go through each application and test them. With more and more digital tools entering in the recruitment process, it’s wise to go for automated tools. Technology can reduce the time taken to screen the candidates, costs, and improve hire quality. There are plenty of automated tools for application tracking (ATS), resume screening, skills assessment, and even for online interviewing. Automated tools help you to screen candidates faster and provide the right fit candidates.

5. Follow effective interview process

Following an effective interview process is an integral part of the hiring process. Once you shortlist qualified candidates, you need to schedule interviews with these candidates. Be prepared for interviews in advance: create a list of questions that you will be asking to each candidate, determine the number of rounds that would be done in a day, and others. Please keep the same questions for everyone, but be ready to ask random questions based on their responses.

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Observe the candidate and see if they are prepared for the role and will fit the organization’s culture. You can start by asking lighter questions so that candidates feel relaxed. Include open questions in the interview that promotes discussions and improves your engagement with the candidate. Keep notes for each candidate to go back and review whenever you want, or you even can share it with your hiring manager for further reference. Many recruitment tools offer an inbuilt feature for taking interview notes; make use of it.

You can also invite your teammates or hiring manager for the interview process. Having another observer will help you to see a candidate from a different perspective.

Make sure you are following all the legal guidelines to keep the interview unbiased. Avoid asking questions that will discriminate based on gender, race, color, religion, age and national origin, etc.

There is no room for a bad hire in SMB’s. It’s important for you to make sure you get the right candidate. Here are a few interview questions that will help you provide valuable insights about the candidate

  1. Why are you looking for a new position?
  2. Explain any conflict you had with your past team members, and how did you resolve it?
  3. Can you describe a situation where you were asked to perform a task out of your comfort zone and how you achieved it?
  4. How does your past work experience relate to this position?
  5. What would you consider your strengths and weaknesses are?
  6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

The best questions are those that reveal candidates’ personality and their skills at the job. Ask the right questions, and you would know who will make a great hire.


Expanding a team is an excellent sign for SMBs, it directly reflects your organization is doing well. There is no perfect strategy for hiring great employees, but following few techniques like referral hiring, social media, candidate screening, and interview, it will help attract the right talent. Hiring a great employee is hard, but if you are ready to take extra efforts and streamline your recruitment strategy, you will benefit in the long run.

Nishi More

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