How to find staff without spending a fortune in time and money

Sylvia Pennington

There’s precious little room in the team for leaners if you’re a small business owner or an entrepreneur at the helm of a startup that’s operating close to the ground.

Every new hire has the potential to have a major impact on your business and it’s likely you’ll want rookie recruits to start pulling their weight pronto.

But how can you find the best people without outlaying a fortune on professional recruiters or spending hours wading through resumes and interviewing candidates who don’t have what it takes?

Begin your hunt on home ground, human resources specialist Therese Ravell, director of Impact HR Consulting, suggests.

“We all want people who share our passion to be working with us, so if there are places where you attract clients, there may also be talent to be found there,” she says.

“If you sell wet suits to surfies, try some fliers around the beaches or ask your customers to refer people for a small discount next time they are in. If you run a garden design company, speak to your local nurseries; they may have a bulletin board or be prepared to put your details out and about.

We all want people who share our passion to be working with us, so if there are places where you attract clients, there may also be talent to be found there.

“You won’t get huge numbers of applications but they will be passionate people.”

And if you’re after a pool of part-timers, nearby schools may yield a rich seam of parents looking for hours with a local employer.

“Once you have a mum or dad or two employed, they are great at referring others to you,” Ravell says.

“If you’re a good employer, before you know it you’ll have a list of pre-screened people who are available to fill in when someone is sick or on holidays.”

For employers who opt to cast the net further and advertise their opening on social media or one of the major job sites, being specific about the qualifications and experience required may deter many unsuitable applicants.

Don’t be coy about what you’re offering – provide details of hours, flexibility or otherwise, and remuneration upfront.

Don’t be coy about what you’re offering – provide details of hours, flexibility (or otherwise) and remuneration upfront, Human Resources Dynamics consultant Phoebe Kitto advises.

“This will attract or eliminate people,” she says.

Once you’ve weeded out the entirely unsuitables, a group interview can be a quick way to get the measure of the maybes, clock the way they interact in a crowd and decide who’s worthy of a call-back.

“Anyone can have a good resume – a group interview allows you to see more people behind the resume in a short amount of time,” Kitto says.

“Then hold more in-depth interviews with top candidates.”

Sylvia Pennington

Sylvia Pennington is a Brisbane-based freelance journalist who writes about small business, information technology and personal finance.

Image: Fredrick Rubensson, Flickr Creative Commons license

PARTNER CONTENT
Five start-up success stories you need to know about

It’s often hard to pin down the magic ingredient that separates one startup success from another failed venture. Find out how you can make the most of the odds.

×