Natalie gives us her thoughts about recruiting for SMBs.

Recruiting tips for Canadian SMB owners

In February, the economy added 336,600 new jobs (2/3 being part-time jobs) and the jobless rate fell to 5.5%, reaching pre-pandemic levels. Employment in Canada is gaining momentum and with your business quickly regaining traction due to Covid-19 restrictions being lifted, things are looking promising! But there’s one problem. You need to hire new staff to take on this new-found influx of customers seeking your products or services. With other small business owners in your shoes, you may find yourself with a lot of competition to deal with when recruiting new employees. In this blog, Natalie Bowmer and Julie Chalifour, two HR experts from Journey Capital, share their thoughts and tips about how your small business can make the most out of the upcoming spring hiring season.

How can I Provide Candidates with an Enjoyable Recruiting Experience?

Always be open and honest in your communication with candidates, as they may become future employees. Candidates are good at sensing if you are who you say you are, this alone can make them choose your business over another. From the very start, share as much information as you can about the role and be transparent about your business’s outlook and future opportunities. As a small business owner, you will most likely be working with these people directly if they’re hired, so you need to establish a healthy working relationship from the beginning. In addition, be relatable and share what you love about your small business, or what inspired you to start it. Even if they aren’t selected, make sure to communicate with them throughout the entire process, and wraps things up quickly. Remember, transparency and an open line of communication are key.

How do I find that Perfect Candidate?

The first step is identifying who is it you’re trying to attract to the role. In most cases, you shouldn’t place too much importance on sheer talent or experience. In fact, one of the most important things to consider is matching your business culture to a potential candidate. How well do you think they will relate with yourself and other employees? Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re a direct reflection of your business’s culture. So be yourself throughout the entire process and let your business culture shine through. As a small business owner, you may have a network of people that you can call upon for referrals. Don’t be afraid to reach out to this network or even your own employees for help in recruiting. What better way to find great candidates? It’s also a bonus if you can offer you employees a reward if their referral gets hired. They will be more motivated to seek out qualified candidates for you, saving you more time to work on your business.

How do I Make a Final Decision?

A final decision often boils down to if the criteria for a role has been met. Candidates can be evaluated based on specific criteria which helps determine the best candidate for a role. Be sure to identify these criteria ahead of time and know them by heart. If you’re unable to make a final decision, don’t let your emotions get in the way. Rely on these criteria and decide from there. Although you should be quick about making a final decision, allow yourself to take the time you need. This is true for both parties involved. Candidates like taking their time since they might be applying for several positions. There’s a middle ground that can be achieved where both sides have enough time to reach a well-founded decision. I suggest setting clear expectations with the candidate and setting up a deadline for a hiring decision. This will allow both sides to carefully consider their intentions and to communicate efficiently. Once you’ve reached a final decision, you shouldn’t cut off ties with the candidates who didn’t get the position. Keep an open line of communication with them and be empathetic. Who knows, even if they are not selected this time, they may be considered in the future for a different role or be able to send a referral your way.

What are the top Recruiting Values to Live by?

We cannot stress this enough. Whether a candidate is selected or not, follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. Put yourself in your candidates’ shoes and reflect on how you would want to be treated during the recruiting process. These are individuals who want to represent your business. Would you leave a customer waiting? Your job isn’t finished once the candidate has been hired, it’s important to continually support and challenge them throughout their journey. You want your business and employees to grow and succeed collectively. Be friendly and open, show empathy and always be respectful. If you treat them right from start to finish, they are more likely to speak positively about your business to others. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool, use it to your advantage.

What’s Next?

Recruiting the right people for the right job is no easy task. There are several factors that come into play such as the job market outlook, the state of the economy, your type of business, and many more. One common theme to take away from this blog; if you can be transparent, respectful, and timely with your potential candidates, you will be ahead of most of the competition and better prepared to attract top-tier talent during this upcoming spring.