Success for businesses of all sizes relies heavily upon having happy customers. The majority (84 percent) of companies that improve their customer experience report an increase in revenue, according to Dimension Data’s 2017 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report. The best way to improve customer experience? Hire the right people to do the right job. 

The employees hired to work for a business are representatives of the brand. They help tell the company story and build the culture other people want to be hired into. When it comes to recruiting, here are some tips on how small businesses can start getting the right talent for their business.

Why entrepreneurs recruit employees 

Most entrepreneurs consider themselves jacks-of-all-trades. But in the small business world, there comes a time when the few employees hired can’t handle all the responsibilities necessary to keep the business moving at full capacity. For example, you may have experience in sales, but not know the entire sales process from selling to retention. Hiring someone with experience in both fields can help you reach your sales goals. 

Hiring is an opportunity to bring in a specialized expert to teach you new skills and amp up your existing skill sets. Another benefit to hiring employees is that it can offer business owners the opportunity to unplug, go out of the office, rest and reset—which can lead to increased productivity in the long run. 

Best hiring practices 

To get things started, employers usually create a job description, perform a job analysis to determine pay and responsibilities, post the job, sort through résumés, and give out skill assessments before deciding to extend an offer. Over the past few decades, we’ve seen this process shift to incorporate mostly digital elements. These include strategic recruiting, scouting passive candidates (those not actively looking for work), or using an online job board that uses keywords to help filter results. 

Trying your hand at recruiting, rather than tapping into an expert outside the organization? Here are five tips to get it right. 


Networking is a great way to promote your brand and share openings without using a ton of money. Referrals are often the best source for candidates because the person referring—generally a good contact—typically considers the referral a reflection of themselves. One of the best ways to request referrals from current employees is to establish a referral program, which provides a reward to the employee if an applicant they referred is hired. 

Use job boards

Many professionals are familiar with online job boards like Glassdoor, Indeed, or LinkedIn, but it might be difficult for your small business to compete in such broad job boards. Instead, try a niche job board like Snagajob, FlexJobs, or college job boards. Candidates are targeted based on interest and/or experience, providing employers more customization and the ability to stand out among fewer listings.

Offer unique benefits

Small business owners may have to compete for talent with larger companies that have more resources. To attract employees, try offering alternative benefits. For example, if you’re unable to offer competitive compensation or benefits, try offering other things like flexible scheduling, gym memberships, or continuing education opportunities through companies like MasterClass.

Invest in recruiting technology

Small business owners may consider putting money into applicant tracking software to help them scale and streamline recruiting and hiring. Human resource information systems (HRIS) like Vfficient, from VensureHR, allow employers to eliminate multiple technology platforms by combining all of the primary HR features into a single piece of software. For example, a user can manage the onboarding process, run payroll, and gain access to powerful reporting capabilities. 

Additionally, applicant tracking software automates job postings, manages applicant information, and simplifies communication between employers and candidates through auto-responder capabilities, reminders, and offer letter templates.

Get creative with job descriptions

It can be hard to stand out in an ocean of similar positions and companies in the same industry or niche. A well-written job description can improve your recruiting efforts.

Start by making sure that the job description is specific, clear, and realistic. For example, if you’re hiring for an entry-level position, requiring three to five years’ experience is not realistic. Avoid using vague, subjective phrases like “entrepreneurial spirit” or “rock star salesperson.” Business owners shouldn’t leave qualified candidates questioning whether they can complete the job duties or not. Also, it saves everyone time to include the pay rate. This leads to more interested candidates instead of the 50/50 chance of them leaving because they don’t know how much they are going to get paid and have a ton of other opportunities with it already listed.

Pros and cons of using a PEO for recruiting 

Working with a professional employer organization (PEO) allows business owners to delegate recruiting and hiring legwork so they can focus on business operations and other priorities. Here are the benefits and potential drawbacks of going this route. 


A PEO will manage business administration

One major plus of investing in a PEO relationship is that the PEO undertakes a majority of business administration tasks, including recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding new employees. This leaves business owners time to grow their bottom line and to focus on their current employees and tasks.

PEOs offer enhanced benefits options 

PEOs can offer expansive benefit options at a more affordable price for startups and small businesses simply due to the number of clients for whom the PEO offers benefits. This move affords smaller businesses the opportunity to take advantage of the buying power typically reserved for larger enterprises. 

Additionally, PEOs typically have ancillary benefits, like pet insurance, cybersecurity, and telehealth, and resources like learning management systems and free training opportunities. This can provide employees the chance to understand their options and make informed decisions regarding their benefits.


Less customer service personalization

PEOs typically have a large clientele and are unable to provide personalized customer service to each individual business. Business owners who are concerned about this might want to look for a PEO that offers fewer services or is more selective about which clients they engage, for a more personalized experience.

Limited service options

A common complaint with PEOs is the lack of customization. PEOs offer bundles such as a payroll-only bundle or an HR-only bundle that aren’t always optimal for certain businesses. Clients who work with this type of PEO would not be able to choose performance management and tax services individually. Customizing a PEO package that includes technology features can allow business leaders to choose among highly sought-after PEO benefits. 

As a business grows, so will the need for additional workers and support staff. This is not only a sign that the business is doing well, it is also a time to evaluate your current recruiting and hiring processes. 

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