​10 Ideas for Small Businesses That Want to Attract Top Talent

6 Min Read

It’s difficult to compete with tech giants like Google when it comes to recruiting top talent. As a small business, what’s one tactic you’ve found successful when attracting highly qualified potential hires?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Think Laterally

We think laterally by asking what skills are valuable to our clients. I don’t let myself become blinded by passionate people who want to make a splash and have the ideas to effect meaningful change by focusing only on impressive, yet safe, resumes. We hire, for example, dropouts who are Mensa members. One of my rock star employees has zero formal business education and was a theater major. – Robert J Choi, RJC & Company Transformation Engineers

2. Invest More Time Screening

Tech giants like Google regularly pass up amazing talent simply because they do not have the appropriate degree or work experience. Rather than looking at degrees, we choose to look at soft skills. We schedule interviews with the candidates that would normally be screened out by Google. We have found many hidden gems this way and can only hope these tech giants continue doing a poor job screening. – Mike A. Podesto, Find My Profession

3. Don’t Underestimate Room to Grow

Highlight the areas that your company outperforms larger corporations. Often, this is in the form of growth opportunities. At giant corporations, candidates get pigeonholed into specific roles without an opportunity to grow and learn like they would have at a smaller company. When candidates understand they should be thinking about their long-term career, tech giants often have very little to offer. – Arian Radmand, TurnGram

4. Hire Locally

We always focus on hiring fresh, college graduates from local universities and provide them with full training and the potential to grow. It is very easy to compete with Google; our process is simple, faster and focused on the growth. Students want to work in a local, small company rather than a Silicon Valley-based, large enterprise. – Piyush Jain, SIMpalm

5. Elucidate Vision and Expectations

I always focus on being able to give a candidate insight into the vision of my company and also give them expectations into growth opportunities at our organization. If it is a good match, I have found out that top talent appreciates that level of transparency. Obviously, working on a creative and scalable vision of your company, as well as a growth potential for your staff, is important if you want to attract this level of talent. – Michael Hsu, DeepSky

6. Get the Owners and Executives Involved

We hire people away from big agencies, often competing with bigger salaries, because of the personalized approach they get at our company. People get a chance to talk to and interact with the founders on a day-to-day basis. This personalized mentorship is often more valuable to an employee than a free lunch. – Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)

7. Offer a Remote Schedule

Because we are a small team, I let my employees work remotely two days a week. This seems to be very attractive to candidates that I interview and hire which gives us a competitive edge. – Kristin Marquet, Creative Development Agency, LLC

8. Turn to Your Employee Network

Once you know a position might become available, spread word about it to your employees so they may tap into their networks of peers and friends. Professional networking has grown by leaps and bounds in recent times, which means your employees are connected to scores of potential candidates; especially those that use a custom executive level resume builder. Keep a reward system for referrals, as this gives your employees an incentive to go scouting. – Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns

9. Find the Untapped Talent

When you go to gas station, restaurant, staff outing, golf, movie or any place, always be looking for top performers. I find it is better to bring new people in rather than find people with a ton of experience. Teach them the right way from the beginning. My top staff members came from outreach when I am out and about. – Tommy Mello, A1 Garage Door Repair

10. Try Low-Cost Perks

We’re able to hire top talent by giving employees the option to work from anywhere in the world. It’s no secret that Silicon Valley’s cost of living is extremely high, which is why many developers are choosing to live in less expensive places and work from home. Top talent will receive top pay anywhere and if you can get a Silicon Valley salary living in the midwest, you’ve hacked the system. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

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Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs.