5 Ways Small Businesses Can Find and Retain Top Talent

April 11, 2013

1:00 pm

Being a startup company, you need people who are not only efficient in their work but also stay with you for the long haul. They should help foster and build a corporate culture for your success. Finding the right people is always hard. Below are the fundamentals to help you get started in the right direction and get results.

Mission networking, not just headhunting 

Networking is the easiest and by far the best method to get the right talent onboard. Networking enables you to bring in the people who fit the company’s culture. Make sure your current employees believe in your company’s mission and are firm believers in the company’s culture. If they do, then half of your battle is won. They will act as your ambassadors and advertisements. They will bring their friends and relatives. Groupon grew effectively from 21 to 100 using this employee referral strategy.

Advertise a lower salary 

Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger, believes that companies can get the best talent by advertising a job vacancy with low pay. In a blog post, he explains, “We advertise lower wages for entry-level positions because the worst candidates focus on money the most. Believe it or not, advertising lower-than-market wages actually helped us yield better candidates. Higher advertised wages resulted in [a] much higher level of noise from candidates who really didn’t care about the job. (FYI: Advertised pay and actual pay are two different things.)”

This strategy is rapidly growing among many entrepreneurs, and statistics say this can sieve out 70 percent of the bad candidates.

Look for go-getters

As a startup entrepreneur, you may not have time or funds to train and spoon-feed new recruits. So look for doers who are proactive and can shoulder responsibility without much mentorship. During the interview process, make sure you dig into the candidate’s profile to find out how up-to-date he is on his skills. For example, if you are hiring developers, don’t just look at their coding capabilities and knowledge. Look how they can independently launch new versions with better and innovated ideas. And if they fare well, you’ve made the right choice.

Furthermore, while hiring new people, avoid any bias. Instead, opt for people who are versatile or at least have the potential to be versatile. For example, take the case of GateGuru. They once brought in a guy who developed lots of technical apps for websites but never did anything on mobile. But his interest in mobile programming introduced him to the GateGuru team, and he has proved himself capable. GateGuru CEO Dan Gellert is happy with his decision. He mentions in an interview, “I’ve never seen anybody as focused on learning mobile like he was. If you’re willing to take that chance on somebody, it differentiates you and you’ll be locked in long-term with an extraordinary developer that other companies wouldn’t give a chance to.”

Be innovative in your recruitment style

Job boards and newspaper ads are passé. Put on your thinking caps and spread the word of recruitment with style. For example, try developing a challenging technical contest and spread it over social media. If it is compelling, you will get a lot of people who are hands-on to join you via the contest. You will then have the option to pull out the best talent.

You can also check out your local market to get the right talent. Spend some good time with your local professionals in different events over breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and you may be surprised to see that you’ve got the gem you have been looking for.

Always be recruiting

This is one of the most common sayings among entrepreneurs. And, yes, it is absolutely true. You should always be in recruitment mode so that you are never short of prospective candidates. As there should be a steady flow of cash in your business account, there should be a steady flow of CVs in your recruitment portal. It is then that you can decide quickly whom to hire, when an emergency position becomes open. Reserve 10 percent of your weekend time in meeting various people to keep them interested in your business.

Guest author Debarati Mukherjee is an accomplished blogger, journalist, communicator, having over five years of media writing experience. She has written on diverse subjects ranging from entrepreneurship and small businesses to human rights, beauty, fashion and fitness. There are more than 100 articles credited to her name. Presently she is working as a Communications Specialist with Idyllic Software, a Ruby on Rails Services company which aims to help startups grow up in business. You can follow her at Twitter or LinkedIn or write to her: debarati@idyllic-software.com.

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