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Hiring New Employees: 8 Tips For Finding Diamonds in the Rough

Written by on April 26, 2022

As a small business owner, you know that finding the right team members is essential to your success. But with the current job market, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find qualified employees. That’s why we’ve put together this list of tips for finding diamonds in the rough! Follow these tips and you’ll be able to find the best employees for your small business, even in today’s competitive job market.

You’ve probably seen all the “help wanted” and “hiring now” signs posted in shops as well as online for a while now. The pandemic may be slowly fading into the past, but the worker shortage is very real: businesses all over the world are finding it difficult to find and retain workers to fill their needs.

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The U.S. employment-cost index recently released showed that during the last quarter of 2021, compensation costs for all civilian workers had its biggest increase in over 20 years, of 4% more. Everyone needs to compete somehow, including smaller businesses with leaner margins.

How can you protect your bottom line, keep compensation costs manageable, but attract qualified talent to your team?

Here are some of our best ideas.

Tip #1: Craft a Great Job Advertisement

Let’s start with the basic, surprisingly-easy-to-overlook tip: write the best pitch for your job vacancy. As the first step in filling your recruitment needs, putting your best foot forward is important.

A great job ad is one that provides the most clarity into the following questions:

  1. What are you looking for in a candidate?
  2. What can candidates expect from the job and your business?
  3. How can they get in touch with you if they are interested?

But more than just plainly saying what you need, make sure that your copy is inviting and reflects your brand values and personality. You want to make sure that you’re attracting the right candidates.

Avoid common clich├ęs such as “team player” or “hard worker”. These are qualities that almost everyone claims to have, and they don’t really say anything about what makes you or your business unique.

Use specific, concrete examples and numbers to demonstrate the impact that a great candidate can have on your business. This can help them visualise what you value and what they can bring to the table. For example: “In our last fiscal year, our top salesperson generated X% more revenue than our average performer.”

Make your job posting stand out with great formatting and visuals, which can help highlight the  key points of what you’re looking for and make your posting more visually appealing.

Tip #2:  Create an Appealing Employee Package

In order to attract top talent, you need to offer an employee package that is appealing. While this will vary from industry to industry, there are some universal benefits that you should take into consideration, like:

  • Competitive salary – make sure what you’re offering employees are in line with, or better than, industry standards.
  • Healthcare benefits – this is an especially important benefit to offer as it can be very expensive for employees to purchase health insurance on their own.
  • Flexible work hours – if your business can offer it, giving employees some flexibility when it comes to what hours they work can be a huge draw.
  • Retirement savings plans – everyone’s looking to the future, now more than ever. Helping your team feel secure about their future will help them rest easy knowing they’re cared for.
  • Paid vacation days – everyone needs some rest and recreation. Look into not just the amount of paid vacation days, but your policies around how and when they can take their days off.
  • Relaxed work atmosphere – these days, a great work atmosphere is am important part of what makes companies attractive places to work in for many people.

Stay up to date with what other businesses in your industry are offering their employees. As a smaller business, it might be difficult to compete head-to-head with businesses that have bigger margins. But knowing what your potential team members expect can help you build a better package that will be more attractive to them.

Tip #3: Build a Great Company Culture

As a smaller business, it’s easy to forget how important a defined company culture is. But this is the best time to consciously build a great environment for your team that will attract and retain like-minded individuals to work toward the same goals.

Your company culture should be aligned with your vision and message as a brand. With a healthy company culture, your team will work better together and have a clearer mindset of your business goals. This effect will trickle down to even new hires and aspiring employees.

A great company culture can help you not only retain awesome employees but hire new ones too.
A great company culture can help you not only retain awesome employees but hire new ones too.

Take a close look at how you’d like your company to work towards its goals and work with your current team to come up with how you’d like to move forward. Employees should have a say in building a workplace they’re invested in, so that this culture trickles down to all levels of your business.

Tip #4: Train Promising Candidates

One way to offset worker shortages is by being willing to train employees that might not have all the qualifications or experience you initially want. It’s often easier (and cheaper) to teach someone the ropes than it is to find and hire a more experienced person.

More experienced candidates may take less time to get up to speed, as well as provide valuable insight on better ways of doing things. But also consider that they may have more rigid ideas in how to get things done that might not fit with your company’s culture. A less experienced candidate will have less preconceived notions on how to do things and allow you to guide them properly.

When looking for promising candidates to train, it’s important to look at more than just their resume. Consider their character and whether they would be a good fit for your company’s culture. If you have the time, interview them thoroughly and do some reference checks.

It takes more effort to find and train diamonds in the rough, but it is often worth it in the end.

Tip #5: Highlight Your Small Business Perks

While your pockets might not be as deep as more established companies in your industry, there are distinct advantages a small business can offer potential employees.

Instead of trying to match a bigger company’s benefits package, get creative with the perks you can offer, as well as how you share this with possible new team members. 

Some ideas for small business employee perks could include:

  • A more relaxed dress code
  • Flexible job hours
  • The ability to work from home on occasion
  • A fun and friendly work environment
  • Employee discounts on products or services you offer
  • Profit sharing or bonuses based on company performance
  • Hands-on training and mentorship programs

But remember: always be honest and up-front about what you can and can’t provide! Not being honest about your company’s policies and perks when hiring new employees can have serious repercussions later on. It can also seriously tarnish your reputation  as a business owner.

Tip #6: Network with Educational Institutions

Building a relationship with an educational institution in your location is a great way to attract individuals with potential.

Universities, colleges, and training centres hold job fairs and similar events for their students, and your business can participate and meet potential candidates this way.

Job fairs and career centres are great places to find top talent.
Job fairs and career centres are great places to find top talent.

Their career centres and departments can also allow you to post job openings. You can also offer internships and co-op opportunities for their students.

This will give you a chance to train them in the specific skills that your business needs, while also providing them with much-needed experience in their field. It’s a win-win situation!

This is a great solution for small businesses with not a lot of financial capital but a lot of time to invest in their employees. With the right training and development, you can turn an intern into a full-time, qualified employee.

Tip #7: Be Active on Social Media

It might seem like a no-brainer, but being active on social media is not just about selling your wares and services. While it’s important, your company’s social media presence and personality can say a lot about who you are, not just as a small business but as an employer.

Your social media activity should show that your company is a great place to work. Share photos and stories of your team members in action, highlight employee achievements, showcase your company culture, and give potential candidates a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to work for you.

These days, everyone’s looking at how companies and brands engage with customers and manage their teams online. Expect your potential candidates to have looked up information about your business, including reading reviews from your current and past employees.

Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward by monitoring what’s being said about you online, and take the necessary steps to mitigate any negative sentiment. 

You can do this by responding to reviews – both good and bad – in a professional manner, highlighting the positive aspects of working for your company, and promising to do better if there are any issues (as well as following through that promise).

You can attract top talent to your small business by being transparent about how you are as an employer, and showing that  you’re willing to listen to and act on feedback.

Doing so will show that you’re committed to creating a positive and supportive work environment – something that potential employees will be looking for.

Tip #8: Re-Invest In Your Team

Another great way to find diamonds in the rough is by looking within your own company. Do you have any employees that are under-utilised, or could be doing more?

Talk to them about their goals and plans, and see if there are ways to help them reach the next level in their career. You might even find capable individuals who are interested in branching out to other departments–before they leave to change careers, you may be able to offer them something more in line with their interests.

This scenario is a great way to retain great team members. They’re already on board with your business goals and company culture, so you know you’ve got great potential. Help them achieve their own personal goals with helpful training, whether it’s something like a mini online accounting course or an in-depth training seminar for your business.

You might be surprised at how much potential your team has, and by investing in their development, you’ll reap the rewards in the form of a more engaged and productive workforce. This effect can waterfall down your company’s levels as well as attract new hires, knowing that your business truly cares for its own.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

In today’s job market, it’s more important than ever to make sure you are an attractive employer. The worker shortages are real, and impact all businesses regardless of size or location, so potential team members have a wider range of options to choose from.

By following these 8 tips, you can make sure that your business is doing everything it can to attract top talent. Not only that, but maintaining a great company culture and workplace is essential to keeping the great employees you already have.

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