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Recruiting Challenges and Opportunities for Small Businesses in the Cleared Community

Posted by Ashley Jones
small businesses

Recruiting in the cleared community can be a daunting task for small businesses, as job seekers often make assumptions based on company size and recognition. Many candidates may assume that small businesses have lower compensation and benefits, and fewer opportunities for growth. It’s crucial to proactively address assumptions like these and inform job seekers about the advantages and opportunities your small business offers.

By proactively providing clear and compelling information, you can dispel misconceptions and attract qualified candidates who may have overlooked your company based on assumptions alone.

Tell Your Story Everywhere

In the competitive world of cleared recruiting, it’s essential for small businesses to tell their story everywhere. With limited resources and a smaller recruiting department, it becomes even more crucial to build and maintain a pipeline of qualified candidates.

Even if you hit the next threshold in revenue or the size of your workforce and become a mid-size employer, job seekers won’t suddenly know who you are overnight. In fact, as you grow and increase your number of openings, the challenge of filling those positions grows too. So whether you’re a small or mid-size employer, it’s important to share information about your company whenever and wherever you can, including on your website, social media platforms, and in your job postings.

Recruiters in small businesses often wear many hats and struggle with ‘stop and go’ recruiting. Whether you have an opening to fill at the moment or not, get out there and share your company’s story. We often tell job seekers to network even when they’re not looking for a job. Similarly, build your pipeline continually so you don’t lose momentum.

Tell your company’s story anytime you’re in front of prospective candidates. This includes on your website (in particular your careers page), anywhere you post your job openings, social media platforms, at Cleared Job Fairs, or any conferences or professional gatherings you attend.

When it comes to social media in particular, it’s important not to limit your presence solely to job postings. To build a larger audience and engage with potential candidates, you need to share engaging content consistently. This can include updates about exciting projects, employee spotlights, community initiatives, or industry insights.

By providing valuable and engaging content, you’ll create a larger following, which expands your reach and increases the likelihood of attracting qualified candidates when you do have job openings to post. Actively telling your story will help you create brand recognition, establish credibility, and build trust with potential candidates.

Highlight How Efficient Your Hiring Process Is

One advantage that small businesses have over larger corporations is streamlined internal communication. This efficiency can be a significant selling point in the recruitment process.

Clearly communicate the speed at which candidates can engage with program managers or decision-makers. Whether you’re talking with a candidate, leaving a voicemail, email, or a text, let them know upfront how quickly they can get in front of somebody to talk specifics. Share something like, “I can get you talking to the program manager quickly, so you can decide if this is a good fit for you.”

If you’re a subcontractor, that might mean every hire has to get approval by the prime. While you can’t control the pace of those outside your organization, make sure you streamline everything you do have control over. You’re competing for the candidate’s time and attention, and offering an efficient path towards next steps gives you a competitive edge in the cleared community.

Share Your Wins and Emphasize Stability

Small businesses often face the perception that they lack stability compared to larger companies. To overcome this concern, it’s essential to share your wins and emphasize the stability your company offers.

If you’re hiring because of new growth or you’ve won some new contracts, say so. Candidates want to work with winners. You need to sell stability. Nobody wants to make a leap and then be out of work because the company went under.

Tell people, whether it’s in conversation, on your website or in a job posting, how long you’ve been around, how many contracts you’re on, if you’re the prime or sub, and how long your employees have been with the team. If you can point to people and say they’ve been here 10 or 15 years, that demonstrates that employees find value in your company and choose to stay long-term.

So be sure to share your wins, especially in job postings when candidates are making assumptions about you and quick decisions on their level of interest. A lot of times you’ll see “we’re a veteran-owned small business” or a “woman-owned small business,” but the company doesn’t convey they’re a stable small business. Make it clear that you’re winning work and continuing to grow.

Talk About Career Growth Opportunities

Another concern job seekers have about small businesses is a lack of opportunity for career advancement. Can they stay for a long time and move up the ladder? Will there be a new contract when theirs ends?

Remember those long-term employees who’ve been with the company the longest? Leverage their stories to show candidates what’s possible. Do their LinkedIn profiles show career progression or promotions within your company?

When people hear about an opportunity with you, they’re going to do their research to see if it’s worth their time to have a conversation. If they can see on LinkedIn for instance that your VP of Operations was previously a program manager, project manager, or an individual contributor, that’s huge. So consider offering help with building out the LinkedIn profiles of your existing employees. You can provide header images and tips to help your employees look polished and professional online to enhance your employer brand and help attract new talent.

Include Info About Compensation and Benefits

Small businesses often face the assumption that they offer lower compensation and fewer benefits compared to larger corporations. And that’s not necessarily true. To attract top talent, it’s crucial to provide comprehensive information about your compensation and benefits packages.

Job seekers may not be familiar with the typical benefits offered in the cleared community. So spell out the details and highlight any unique or above-average offerings. For example, people coming out of the military don’t necessarily know what benefits are typical in the civilian community. They might see your benefits and think they’re not so good, but later realize they were normal. You might say something like, “These benefits are pretty typical, but here’s some things that are really exciting about our benefits. The average contractor has 10 days a PTO when you start, but we offer 20 days starting out.”

So be sure to clearly communicate the benefits that set you apart from the industry average. When candidates understand the full extent of your offerings, they can make an informed decision and be more inclined to consider your small business as a desirable employer.

Leverage Your Team Culture and Personalize Your Outreach

Highlight your team culture and the sense of family or camaraderie within your organization. This can be a refreshing change for candidates who are seeking a more personal and supportive work environment. Share stories of employee experiences and successes to showcase the positive atmosphere and tight-knit community within your company.

When reaching out to potential candidates, take the time to personalize your communication. Address specific qualifications, experiences, or shared backgrounds that make them a good fit for your company. Mention existing employees who have similar backgrounds or career paths, and offer opportunities for candidates to connect with them. This personalized approach demonstrates genuine interest and establishes a connection with candidates.

We’ve seen this personal touch leveraged successfully at our Cleared Job Fairs. Our Best Recruiter program allows job seekers to vote for the companies that provided the best recruiting experience. Even in a room of larger sized companies we’ve seen small businesses recognized multiple times as Best Recruiters because they were able to convey a family feel and establish a personal connection.

While you may not have a large talent acquisition team at your disposal to fill a job fair booth with a dozen recruiters, that’s okay. In fact, it can be a plus to job seekers to instead have the opportunity to meet with existing employees like a hiring manager, program manager, or even an owner. Removing the layers of bureaucracy and having access to senior management is a selling point to many job seekers. So if that’s a part of your culture, make sure that’s part of the story you tell job seekers, whether you’re at a Cleared Job Fair or reaching out for the first time to get someone excited about the opportunity you can offer them.

By leveraging your strengths, showcasing your unique qualities, and implementing some of these tips, you can attract top talent and build a strong team that contributes to the success and growth of your small business. So, embrace these opportunities and go out there to find the perfect candidates who will help your company thrive!

This entry was posted on Monday, July 17, 2023 7:24 pm

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