The Challenges of Small-Business Recruiting + How to Overcome Them

The agility of small business is a great differentiator and advantage versus their larger business counterparts. Despite shifts in business winds, the small business owner can adjust their sails with ease and minimal bureaucracy.

Conversely, a small business faces unique disadvantages that are part and parcel to their more limited resources than say, a Fortune 500 office with thousands of employees dispersed across hundreds of offices. For example, if one person is out sick, or worse, unexpectedly resigns, then it’s more likely that a large organization has staffing that can help take up the slack, at least for a while.

For a smaller business with more limited staffing resources, however, the unplanned absence of a team member may be more jarring. It’s likely that each person has a crucial role in their niche area: whether it be sales, marketing, service, administration, finance, operations, etc.

Operational and Revenue Slowdowns Caused by Small Business Hiring Disruptions

In addition to the operational and revenue-producing impact wrought by employee loss, small businesses often are ill equipped to jump into the hiring waters. This perfect storm of disruption further is exacerbated if the employee loss occurs during the company’s busy season. Not only is their leadership already stretched trying to cover for the missing talent, but now they are expected to seek out, sift through and interview candidates while handling an increase in customer demand.

So, what are some solutions that may help small businesses shore up their defenses or, better yet, go on the offense to get ahead of the recruiting and hiring game?

I offer the following four tips, including action steps and benefits:

1. Be the company that people want to work for, attracting culture-fit, like-minded candidates

How to do this: Treat your people well, crafting a culture so attractive and desirable it exudes through employees’ conversational pores. As such, you will convert team members into advocates, from the window washer to the customer service rep all the way to the chief executive officer. These employee advocates become part-time recruiters, drawing like-minded, culture-fit people into your fold.

Benefits: As a result, culture-aligned candidates begin reaching out to you for employment, in advance of your need to hire. They ‘self-source,’ if you will, upon hearing the glowing testimony of their friend, family member or networking contact.

And, the importance of culture-fit should not be discounted. According to AZCentral (part of the USA Today Network), “Someone with loads of talent might negatively affect your work culture if he doesn’t have the attitude and personal qualities to blend well with other employees.”

Creating a talent pipeline of interested, culture-fit candidates, therefore, will shorten the time to source and hire, as well as increase the odds of successful immersion into the company culture.

Pro Tip: Within Lever, hiring managers and employees can seamlessly source and drop referred talent into a recruiting system to nurture and track hiring success. Nurture Workflows also allow for seamless and customizable touchpoints to build relationships with potential candidates over time. By tapping into Lever’s recruiting solution, you can maintain connection with this pre-sourced pool of candidates, warming them up for the next-level conversation at the time of need.

2. Always be sourcing.

How to do this: Make it appealing and easy for prospective candidates to engage with your hiring decision makers. Create compelling About Us and Careers pages on your website that not only list current opportunities, but also articulate the value of working for your organization.

Lever’s “Delight Your Candidates” feature automatically creates careers pages for small and midsize businesses, which you can link to your website. In the following example, Fictiv provides a simple-to-navigate such page. Here’s a snapshot:


You can easily scroll down their page to see current openings. They also include a search function to pare down results by city, team and work type.

In addition, construct a brand presence on Glassdoor that encourages reviews, creates transparency into your company’s environment and overall, exudes positivity and vigor. Duplicate your company and careers pages on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, ensuring lively and contemporary content and images.

Benefits: Visually and articulately inviting online conversations with top talent encourages people to reach out to you for pre-interview communications ahead of hiring needs.

3. Encourage social networking conversations touting company events, product launches, service offerings and so forth that reveal your culture-in-action and your company on a growth path.

How to do this: Equip your employees with the public relations tools to promote your organization’s value. This may be in the form of an internal press release, revealing a new product offering or a popular service. Or, craft emails with prepared tweets, LinkedIn posts or Instagram content. Employees may slightly customize, then cut and paste your content into their social networking channels.

Identify your savvy employees that you know use social media well. Further, you can partner with your employees to brainstorm new content as well as company-related hashtags, encouraging a creative, fun experience.

If you don’t have a dedicated person, you may consider contracting an independent social media strategist to collaborate on meaningful posts. @SusanHenselArt is one such resource. An award-winning artist, Susan leverages her unique creative talent as an Instagram and social networking strategist, tailoring distinctive solutions for start-ups and small businesses.

Or, deploy a technology platform like Everyone Social that provides employees tools to engage across an array of digital channels. According to the company’s Executive Chairman + Co-founder, Eric Roach’s LinkedIn profile, their software tools help companies “mobilize their employees into a distributed marketing force of brand advocates.”

Benefits: Feeding your internal employee network with topical and invigorating product, service and company marketing fuel helps them market your value externally. It also reinforces your value to current employees, supporting retention initiatives.

4. Automate your manual hiring processes.

How to do this: It may seem that recruiting technologies are designed primarily for larger, enterprise companies who hire hundreds or even thousands of people each year. While it’s true that some recruiting systems are cost-prohibitive and unwieldy for smaller organizations, there are other options.

Agile, integrated applications and software systems such as Lever’s recruiting software platform, enables small businesses access to growth-driving recruiting tools. These systems simplify everything from sourcing to scheduling interviews to background checks to generating offers, and much more.

Benefits: Rather than reinventing the wheel each time you must add talent to your team, you will have a reliable, repeatable system at your fingertips. By modernizing your hiring process, you reduce effort while speeding up and multiplying outcomes.

Pro Tip: Lever provides a quick-view repository where you can organically create and store individual-candidate profiles. This includes real-time updates and tracking of email and interview conversations and feedback, as well as links to their social networking sites. Moreover, a simple candidate search bar enables a list of position-specific qualified candidates with just a couple of keyboard clicks.


Lauded by a client as “the new generation of hiring technology,” Lever has worked hard to ensure your recruiting software integrates seamlessly across important information so you can hire faster. Their platform provides a transparent view of your candidates from sourced all the way to hired.

Having recently received the highest scores for momentum and customer satisfaction out of 39 solution providers included in G2’s Momentum Report for Applicant Tracking Systems, Lever focuses on quality versus hype. Acting as a partner who understands your needs, Lever sets your organization up for recruiting success. They are committed to innovation in the recruiting space, and to their customers. Read more about their mission to tackle the most strategic challenge that small companies face: how to recruit, hire and retain top talent in their eBook, “Recruiting for Growth With the Momentum Leader.”