How to Attract Talent to a Small Business

Big businesses seem to have all the advantages when it comes to attracting great talent. They can afford to offer larger benefits packages, instant brand recognition, and extensive infrastructure such as daycare, cafeterias, and even recreational sports teams.

How can a small business even begin to compete for the best talent available?

The advantages small businesses have over big businesses

Step number one is to recognize that there are advantages that small businesses can offer talent that larger companies can’t compete with.

For instance, the bureaucracy that employees have to deal with in big companies can be a real turn off. Smaller businesses can offer the chance for employees to establish closer working relationships between one another and most especially between staff and management.

In smaller companies, employees are often asked to take on larger roles. Due to the fewer staff members, each person may get the opportunity to take on a wider variety of duties and projects than at a big company. Big companies employ more people and as a result, it leads to more streamlined, specialized jobs. Highly motivated individuals may view the chance to stretch themselves as an opportunity to expand their talents with an outlook toward future career growth.

Small businesses foster the feeling of family and closeness. This type of caring atmosphere can make employees feel more connected and valuable to the company. In contrast, employees can often feel lost at a large company — as though they are simply another cog in the machine.

Small businesses are often very flexible. Top talent is more easily recognized and rewarded as a result. In fact, if a small business owner notices that an employee shows a particular aptitude or inclination toward a new area, it is easy to tailor their job description to suit their needs.

Making your case

Locating great talent can be the challenging part. But it’s only the beginning. Once you find the right person, you then somehow need to convince them that you are the right organization for them. If they are currently employed in a good position, you have your work cut out for you.

Hiring managers who lack the heavy resources of a large human resources department are faced with the difficult task of conveying their message to their prospects. They must simultaneously put forward an image of success and prosperity while emphasizing the positive aspects that small businesses offer over large companies.

Small businesses have to present a compelling case for why an individual might want to choose their company over another. A compelling case can mean different things depending on who you are looking to hire. An executive will likely want to be reassured that they’ll have equity in the company as a reward for taking the risk by leaving a secure position.

Middle management will want to be reassured that your business won’t disappear any time soon. They are looking for stability.

Entry level employees will need to know that your company can offer them ample opportunity for growth.

No matter what level the prospect is at, you will want to demonstrate how valuable they will be to your company and how their particular talents will enhance the success of your business.

Finding the perfect talent for your company

Many recruiting issues can be resolved through networking. You can be reasonably certain that if any of your contacts puts you in touch with a prospect, that they’ve already started pre-selling them on your company.

You might consider offering your current employees incentives to refer their contacts. Employees found this way are usually familiar with you company through their friends, which makes your job easier.

Another great resource to tap is online services like Gumtree. You can tailor a job posting that will appeal directly to your ideal candidate while making it clear to them the benefits that your small business offers them.

Marleen Clover of believes that great small business culture creates success. She’s interested in branding and building brand awareness online.


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