Last Updated: January 21, 2013 2

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Attracting Talented Employees

Found In: Employment

When you are a small company with limited resources, it is never easy to attract the key people needed to push your business over the hump and onto the next growth phase. While being small has its advantages, one clear disadvantage is when small companies try to compete with larger ones for similar talent. It can truly be frustrating. As a small business owner, more often than not, you are simply not able to offer the same level of compensation, benefits, and perks when compared to your larger competition. However, do you necessarily need to do this? Are you pursuing the right candidates? You need to look for those prospects who would rather be a big fish in a small pond. There are plenty of potential candidates who are simply tired of working in big companies. They would love the opportunity to work and grow in a smaller enterprise. The problem is finding these candidates. Perhaps you already have, and simply lead them astray by portraying an image you simply can’t live up to as a small employer.

Be straightforward about what you can offer.

Never try and convince or mislead yourself, or your potential hire, that your company can directly compete with your larger competition. Starting off on the wrong foot will never work. If you mislead a potential hire about your company, they will begin a new job search within months of finding out you were dishonest. If you are truly convinced you can compete with the larger employers, make sure to do your homework. More often than not, it simply isn’t possible to compete with the level of compensation or benefits. However, there are plenty of high quality potential hires that are simply tired of the political games that come with working in large corporations. They are looking for something new and invigorating. You have the opportunity to provide that, but if you try and mislead your prospect you are guaranteed to fail. Instead, sit down and take the time to write down all the benefits of working in your company. Number one on your list should be the entrepreneurial spirit of your enterprise. To help you get started, here are some things that should be on your list.

  • The opportunity to pursue your entrepreneurial spirit.
  • The opportunity to grow something from its inception.
  • The flexibility to pursue your own methods and initiatives.
  • Not being bound by corporate red tape and a bunch of procedures.
  • Not just being a number, but a valued partner.
  • The ability to have the president’s attention when you need it.
  • To be a more important player and assume a larger role.
  • To enjoy the family atmosphere that only a small company can provide.
  • No more political games. At this company you speak your mind without fear of reprisal.
  • The opportunity to be recognized for your own ideas and initiatives. Nobody will be able to take credit away from you.

There are a number of other items that could go on this list. These ten should give you an idea of how to start. There are numerous reasons why people would enjoy working in a small company as opposed to a big one. Take the time to exhaust every possible reason you can think of. The list above may not include your company’s best qualities, so take the time to make the list a good one. It should be the list you use to establish your company’s greatest attributes.

You aren’t just looking for anyone. You are looking for someone like yourself.

After you have your list, you are most likely to find that the qualities you like about your company are the same ones you should be looking for in your candidate. In the end, you are looking for someone who has that sense of adventure and is willing to work hard to get the desired results. There are a number of people who are simply tired of the political games, backstabbing, and lost credit for ideas, that seem to go hand in hand when working for a big company. Your company needs someone who wants to be a part of something special and new. You are looking for those candidates that want to grow an enterprise from its initial stages. You are offering a very special opportunity.

Promote your small company as a unique group of entrepreneurial thinkers.

Now that you have identified all the criteria you are looking for in your employees, make sure to promote these qualities as essential to working in your company. Rather than stating that you are a small enterprise, state that you like to think of your company as a group of highly educated, well trained, experienced entrepreneurs who all have certain specialties your company needs. You need special people that have the entrepreneurial spirit. Everyone one of your current employees have made the decision to pursue something special. They have opted for the challenge and excitement that only comes from working in your company. If this prospect has those qualities, then perhaps they might be ideal for the job.

Get past trying to position your company as something it simply isn’t. Move past this approach. When you spend your time trying to convince your prospect that your company is something it simply isn’t, it becomes rather obvious that you are not only trying to convince them, but yourself as well. Turn this approach around. Make it look like you are in search of someone who has the essential qualities to be a part of something new. Take the time to come up with that list. When you try to deceive a prospect because you really need them, it eventually leads to failure. Instead, be upfront and honest about what you are offering. Your prospect will find this approach refreshing and will likely appreciate the offer to join your team.