6 Ways to Reach Hard-to-Find Candidates for Your Small Business

June 20, 2016 Pete Jansons

If you feel as if you’re not getting as many resumes for your job postings as you used to, it may not be your imagination. There’s increased competition for in-demand talent out there. The latest BLS employment report shows the unemployment rate to be a remarkably low 4.7 percent. Even counting those workers who’ve “fallen off,” these numbers are still low and reflect a tighter labor market.

What’s a small business employer in need of talent to do?

One thing is clear: The traditional “post and pray” method of putting out a job listing and waiting for applicants to come in is no longer sufficient.

Small businesses need to be more diligent than ever to capture in-demand candidates. This means expanding your recruiting efforts across multiple platforms, becoming more diligent in your sourcing strategy and applying data to your strategy. Here are a few ways to capture in-demand candidates in a tight labor market.

  1. Start at the beginning – with your job postings. You may already be advertising open positions, but are you paying attention to your job postings? Believe it or not, the way you structure your job postings can have an impact on your application rate. Check out this post about creating powerful job postings that drive more applications.
  2. Re-engage prior candidates. Chances are you have an ATS or internal resume database, but are you actually using it? In a recent CareerBuilder survey, nearly half (49 percent) of HR managers said they don’t re-engage prior candidates for new open positions. The majority of these managers said they only focus on current candidates, or that they don’t have time to target old applicants. Consider using an external resume database, where you can quickly and immediately search for the candidates you need – without waiting for them to come to you, thereby shortening your time-to-hire.
  3. Build your talent pipeline. Even if a candidate isn’t the right fit for a current position, the perfect role could open up for him or her down the line. Shorten your time to hire by building a talent pipeline from which you can easily source candidates in the future – on your very own turf! With a solution like CareerBuilder’s Talent Network, for instance, you can build your talent pipeline with quality candidates who are interested in your company. Candidates have the option to join your talent network in just a few quick and easy steps, enabling you to easily re-engage with them about future openings.
  4. Focus more on skills than job titles. Sometimes a candidate’s job title is less important than the skills he or she possesses. There are likely many candidates out there who might not have the job title or hold the role for which you’re hiring, but do have skills that could easily transfer to your open position. By tapping into these candidates, you’ll expand your pool of potential applicants, fill your positions more quickly, and get fresh candidates who bring a new perspective and set of experiences to your company.
  5. Pay attention to your employment brand. Having a strong employment brand has numerous benefits for your small business. Not only can having a strong employment brand lead to higher productivity, less turnover and a better bottom line overall, it can also help you reduce time and costs associated with hiring and recruiting. Why? Because when you have an employment brand that’s well-known and highly revered, current and former employees are more likely to refer your company as a great place to work, and candidates will be more likely to seek your company out – so you don’t have to go to them.
  6. Don’t ignore the data. Are you tracking your recruiting efforts so you know which methods are most effective? For example, are you tracking where applicants are coming from, and which of those applicants convert to hires? These are metrics you should be paying attention to so you can focus your recruitment marketing dollars there. It’s also important to be mindful of where the talent is located. A tool such as Supply & Demand, for example, can help you see which markets have the greatest supply of candidates for a particular position, and which markets have the lowest. You can then use that information to help you decide where your recruitment marketing dollars are best spent.


Find the right candidates for your business faster and with less hassle.

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