Hire Smarter, Not Harder

Thad Price Headshot
Photo Courtesy of Thad Price
For small-to-medium sized businesses, thinking outside the box can be key to winning top talent from larger corporations with deeper pockets.

From potential candidates “ghosting,” to facing competitors with more money to throw around, the current job market can feel more daunting than ever for smaller organizations. But hiring isn’t pay to play; unique benefits—the sort smaller organizations can offer—are sometimes the most attractive for job seekers.

According to Thad Price, CEO of job advertising platform Talroo, the power is in the thought process: “The key here is not to outspend but to outsmart.”

What are the five most common hurdles that small-to-medium sized businesses face when hiring—and what can they do to overcome these challenges?

Smaller firms often find themselves in a David versus Goliath scenario, competing with larger corporations with deeper pockets and, sometimes, more robust recruiting tools to help facilitate faster connection with top talent. The key here is not to outspend but to outsmart by highlighting unique aspects like company culture, flexibility and growth prospects that big companies might lack. Believe it or not, “impact” can sometimes be the biggest benefit that can typically be undersold in an interview.

For small to medium-sized businesses, time is a luxury, especially when juggling recruitment with other business operations. Streamlining the hiring process through automation and AI assisted tools can free up precious time, allowing these businesses to focus on what truly matters—connecting with the right candidates.

When standard benefits aren’t standing out, thinking outside the box becomes essential. Smaller enterprises can stand out by crafting unique benefits and a compelling workplace culture, which in turn can attract candidates looking for more than just a paycheck.

Small businesses should think of recruitment in the same way they consider consumer marketing. Job postings should not only describe the role but also sell the company and its culture, much like a marketing pitch to potential customers. This approach can help attract candidates who are a good fit for the business’s ethos and values.

Small businesses often fly under the radar in the crowded job market. By actively promoting their mission, values and success stories, they can carve out a distinct employer brand that resonates with potential candidates, turning their size into an advantage by offering a more personal and engaging work environment.

Ghosting! It’s a huge problem when it comes to potential job candidates vanishing. What’s the fix?

To tackle candidate ghosting, firstly, it’s crucial for employers to lead by example and prevent “employer ghosting.” It’s about initiating a dialogue that’s both consistent and meaningful, setting the tone from the start.

Using technology and AI, businesses can automate responses and follow-ups, ensuring candidates are regularly updated and engaged. This method turns the tables, fostering a transparent hiring environment where candidates feel acknowledged and are less inclined to disappear.

How can small and medium-sized businesses gain access to the exact same AI hiring tools that large enterprise companies use without blowing their budget?

Small businesses shouldn’t see AI hiring tools as out of reach—affordable, scalable solutions are increasingly available. The trick is to find AI platforms with flexible pricing, tailor-made for the unique challenges of smaller enterprises. Small businesses should stay informed about market offerings through industry blogs and social networks, ensuring they tap into the best AI resources to attract top talent and drive their growth.

Research shows that the average cost to hire just one worker is $670. What are the best ways to bring down hiring costs, while simultaneously improving the quality of your job candidates?

Tackling the $670 average hiring cost starts with retaining your staff, which is far more cost-effective than acquiring new talent. Creating a company culture that aligns with the types of employees you want to attract and retain can significantly reduce turnover. Offering competitive compensation, benefits and opportunities for professional development can make current employees more likely to stay, decreasing the need for frequent hiring.

On the hiring front, refining the recruitment process to make it more efficient can lower costs. This includes improving job descriptions, utilizing applicant tracking systems to streamline the hiring workflow and enhancing communication with candidates to keep them engaged.

Speed to contact is vastly underestimated as a way to drive down recruitment marketing costs. Direct hiring through effective social media strategies and employee referrals can cut out expensive recruitment agencies. Additionally, investing in recruitment software that automates and optimizes various stages of the hiring process can lead to substantial savings, enabling businesses to allocate resources more effectively and improve the quality of their hires.

How do you write the perfect job description for your open position, while properly approaching new pay transparency laws?

Crafting the right job description is about selling your company as much as the transparency you provide about the role. Highlight what makes your workplace special, from culture to benefits, alongside clear job duties and salary range, like “$50,000–$70,000 per year.”

Be straightforward about how experience and skills affect pay. This approach not only meets legal requirements for pay transparency but also builds trust with candidates. It helps attract those aligned with both the job and your company’s values, making the hiring process smoother and enhancing your reputation as a transparent and attractive employer. At the end of the day, go back to your grade school English years and think “interest the reader.”

When you see a sudden spike in staff turnover, what should you analyze first?

Addressing a surge in staff turnover starts by understanding the root causes. It’s important to look at whether the turnover is voluntary or not, if it’s happening in specific departments or under certain managers, and whether it affects new or long-term employees. Also, consider if there are times of the year when more employees leave, which might suggest seasonal trends.

Using feedback from employees, results from satisfaction surveys and exit interview data can help pinpoint common issues, whether they’re related to management, career growth or the overall work environment. Identifying these issues, along with understanding any seasonal patterns, can guide targeted actions to improve areas like management training, career development and company culture.

Get the StrategicCHRO360 Briefing

Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CHROs in every industry