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Smart SMB Talent Strategies For A Narrowing Talent Pool

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You may have already heard the news — the world of talent acquisition and talent management is changing as a result of COVID-19. As a small to medium-size business (SMB), you may be experiencing a suddenly broader talent pool than ever before.

We’re hearing from our clients from across industries that their ideal candidates are simply not applying to their traditional wide-net recruiting tactics. Without a recruiter on staff, it is nearly impossible to source candidates and utilizing an outside recruitment agency is incredibly expensive.

Sound bleak? It will take hard work and ingenuity, but there are some solutions out there for DIY recruitment. Let’s explore!

Get More From Your Referral Program

Referral programs have long been a successful recruitment tactic. But they matter so much more in our current climate because it’s a program built on trust. Your best candidate might be someone who is currently employed. In a time of uncertain economic stability, people are hesitant to leave their current companies, but can potentially be swayed away by a trusted friend.

If you have an established referral program in place, but it’s not making the traction you need in widening your talent pool, consider upping the reward. Offer higher incentives for harder-to-find positions or for repeat referrers. Referral programs need to stay fresh in order to stay effective.

Encourage Employees To Share Job Postings On Social

Using social media as a recruitment channel used to feel uncomfortable, gimmicky or even risky for some businesses. However, social is the best way for you to reach passive candidates and showcase your brand. Above all, candidates want to see posts from real-life employees in order to figure out if it’s a company worth their application.

Companies spend a lot of time and money beefing up their social presence and formalizing their employee brand. While that is absolutely important to compete in today’s oversaturated social media world, grassroots employee-led social campaigns are extremely effective in attracting the right candidate.

Expand Your Geographical Reach

If you have shifted to a remote workforce, consider expanding your talent pool by hiring in another geographical area. Hiring your first out-of-state employee can take you out of your comfort zone as a business leader. There are a lot of things to keep track of in order to be compliant, like wage and hour laws, taxes, posting requirements and worker’s comp, just to name a few.

However, the ability to hire remote talent will continue to provide you with a competitive advantage, despite some of the new admin work you’ll need to bust through.

Promote From Within

For many businesses, 2020 was a behemoth that caused incredible financial ambiguity and you may still be trying to figure out what 2021 and beyond holds from a profitability perspective. But chances are, many of your employees have found themselves working harder than ever before, and potentially with fewer resources.

If you have job vacancies, don’t overlook your current high performers who have likely been grinding away and helping keep your business afloat. Before you hit the open market when a highly coveted position becomes available at your company, be sure you’re having authentic conversations with the staff who have been supporting your business over the last year.

Our hope is that 2021 sees jobs opening back up and more people getting back to work than ever before. However, attracting and managing talent in a forever-changing world means that companies will need to display an investment in people in order to stay competitive.

Rather than considering the pandemic as a roadblock to hiring and keeping top talent, see it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make big changes that will benefit your business. When you position your company in a more human way, you’ll be better positioned to pass your competitors when it comes to talent recruitment.

Jessica Young is an HR Business Partner at EmPower HR who loves serving up fresh referral program strategy and guiding leaders through their first remote hire.