Small business owner reviewing talent strategies

Talent Acquisition Strategies to Beat the Big Guys

Want to compete for top talent against much larger companies? Try these talent acquisition strategies.

talent acquisition

Job seekers have a lot of choices these days, and small companies may struggle to find the right talent — especially when they can't offer all the same perks as the major employers they're competing with.

But small businesses can make a compelling case for themselves if they play to their strengths. Try including these talent acquisition strategies to better compete with larger companies:

Focus Efforts on Employer Branding

While you're scrutinizing candidates, those potential candidates are looking right back at you. What kind of impression do you make? Most applicants will be scouring your website to find out if you're professional, organized and treat your employees well. You can convey that message through an "About Us" page on your site that includes a section describing your team and work culture. Include photos of your workplace and team in action. Discuss your values as a company so potential employees know that they'd be proud to work for you.

Candidates are also going to be looking for good reviews: You might encourage former employees to provide reviews on your LinkedIn page or on Glassdoor.com to describe your company's environment. Look at every aspect of your online presence and seek out ways to position yourself as a great place to work.

Create an Easier Hiring Process

You have high expectations for your employees, and many business owners convey that through their job description and application process. For example, you might think it's best to use a heavily detailed job description to try to attract the exact person you want. You also ask for a cover letter, work samples and references as part of the initial application package, reasoning that these requirements will weed out applicants that aren't highly motivated to work for you.

But these moves can do more harm than good. That lengthy job description may end up confusing more than clarifying, and your list of application requirements may discourage some great candidates.

Instead, write a clear job description with a bulleted list of the main requirements. Ask for a resume and perhaps a few work samples, but hold off on asking for more until after you've had a chance to speak to a candidate. They may become far more motivated after they have a chance to speak with you.

Additionally, take care to streamline the interview process. Avoid bringing the candidate in for several interviews unless such a move is necessary. In most cases, multiple interviews poses a huge inconvenience for the candidate. If they're weighing multiple opportunities, they might go with more efficient employer. Thoroughly prepare for your one or two in-person meetings, and you should learn all you need to know.

Be a Great Place to Work

You're trying to emphasize what a great opportunity you're offering candidates. It may be worthwhile to step back and ask: Are you doing all you can to back up that promise?

Have you created a strong workplace culture? A few simple perks, such as the ability to work remotely, can make your business more worker-friendly — what can you offer your employees? Do you offer opportunities for your team to grow professionally and tackle new challenges? Ask your current employees what types of things they'd like to see in their workplace, and consider changes you might make.

The best talent acquisition strategies must include making yourself a great place for employees to work, and taking care to get that message across. While you're scouting out potential new employees, make sure you think about how they might be viewing you.