5 recruitment ideas to learn from big businesses

As a small business owner, I know it can sometimes be daunting to try and go up against the big boys, especially when it comes to hiring the right people.

Their slick HR teams, big budgets and endless employee benefits might seem out of your company's reach. But there are a few lessons we can learn from big businesses when it comes to recruiting our next team member.


1. Target the 'passive candidates'

If you're looking to bring someone new in, look through your contacts - online and off - and see if anyone fits the bill. I often use LinkedIn to spot the movers and shakers in my industry.

These 'passive candidates' might not be looking for a new role but if you present the opportunity correctly, you could persuade them to join your company with a personal and focused offer - before other companies snap them up.

2. Work on your brand

In my experience, people are now looking for companies that they actually want to work for, not just ones that pay well.

Especially among young Millennials, feeling proud of your employer is key for staff retention. But I've found it can also be used as a way to persuade people to join your firm.

As a small company, highlight the benefits of working for you versus a larger firm - such as being more agile, having a bigger say in the direction of the company, and the benefits of being in at the start.

You should also highlight any work you do with the local community, to make your company greener, or for charity.

3. Use referral rewards

Word of mouth - especially in the age of social media - can be a powerful recruitment tool, which is why referral reward schemes are so popular among big businesses.

These give current employees a reward for recommending someone for the new role. But only if their candidate gets the job.

I know it might seem costly, but it'll pay off if it gets the right people in the door.

4. Group hiring

This is a technique being used by a lot of big businesses, but the irony is that I feel it's much better suited to smaller, more intimate teams.

It works by bringing in a few candidates to work with your team for a day. Part of the process can also involve allowing your team to have the final say on which of the candidates is hired.

What you do on the day is up to you - you could give candidates a set task to complete with the help of your team, allow employees to do one-to-one interviews with candidates, or simply give them a taste of office life, moving from desk to desk.

5. Screen your candidates

Big businesses often use algorithms and specialist HR employees to filter out poor resumes. From there, the HR team phones a few candidates and organizes initial interviews. The best of these will go on for an interview with the head of HR or whoever their team leader might be.

I know most small businesses don't have the time or resources to go through all these stages, but it's definitely worth selecting a long list of candidates that you can screen via a simple phone call.

You can learn a lot about a person in a quick chat that you can't from their resume. It'll also help create a more focused list of candidates to interview in person.

Are there any other recruitment methods that have worked well for you?