How Small Businesses Can Build In-House Recruiting

Business.com / Hiring / Last Modified: August 4, 2017
Photo credit: nitsawan katerattanakul/Shutterstock

The best recruiters have a lot of skills. Most critically, they have the drive, attributes and communication skills of top salespeople. Learn how you can build your very own high-performing recruiting function, attract top talent and pay fewer outside recruiter fees.

As a recruiter, I get asked by a lot of small business owners about how to find the best talent. Small business owners tend to spend more money than they should on recruiters like me. Little do they know that they can build their own in-house recruiting program using people who are already on their payrolls. It might sound like a massive project, but it is more manageable than most people realize. Yes, it does take some work upfront, but in the long run, recruiting from within saves money and allows business owners to get fantastic talent.

Go outside of your HR department

When it comes to recruiting, the job should not be done by the human resources department. It may seem like a natural connection to have HR search for talent, but that isn't what HR is good at doing. Unless you are looking for a new HR staff, your HR should not be involved in recruiting employees in other departments. Your top recruiters are your salespeople. They know the strategy of selling your business, and they know how to judge people; otherwise, they would not be in your sales department.

Get your sales force to recruit

Involving your sales department in recruiting takes a few basic steps. Most importantly, the people you deem recruiters will need to know all the departments within the company. So, they should attend department meetings to understand the goals and initiatives for each. There, they can learn about the positions that are needed and what they entail. They should learn the strategies of those departments so they have the knowledge to help them sell the company, department and positions to potential recruits.

Along with the details about the departments, recruiters need to know about hiring laws and policies. They should have a working knowledge of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Affirmative Action policies to avoid issues with discrimination. They should also have a good understanding of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Recruiters do not need to know anything about the Family and Medical Leave Act, health insurance or vacation policies, as those are the realm of the HR department.

When resources are tight

If your company is like many other small businesses, then you might have tight resources, which will limit the recruiting you do. If this is the case, then I recommend having your recruiters focus solely on the most strategic positions. Those are the positions that create income, like operational sales, marketing or technical positions. Administrative and human resources positions do not generate income and can wait until financial resources become available.

Recruiters, like me, work unconventional hours. I am available to my clients during the day, in the evenings and on the weekends. This is because talented candidates are often working during the workday, but busy looking for work at night and on the weekends. Top talent will be networking in person and online, so I have to make myself available at all hours of the day and night.

So, if you do decide to enlist your salespeople in recruiting, then they should be properly compensated for their work. They should be given time away from their typical sales work to focus on recruiting. To determine if they are using their time effectively, in-house recruiters should be given quotas, activity metrics, and variable compensation that rewards them when their successful hires stay with the company, especially if those hires become positive additions to the company.

Keys to success

The top talent will want to know the details about job opportunities, and they will not be interested in working for companies that cannot provide that information. Good recruiters can build relationships with potential candidates. Therefore, salespeople are the best at recruiting.

I do recommend providing training to new recruiters, but in case that is not an option, I want to share a few keys to success:

  1. Know your audience. If you are looking for technical talent, they want to get their hands on the exciting stuff. They don't want to work for the B-team; it is A-team only for them. Be sure you can sell to them. Be sure that your tech department keeps recruiters up to date when anything changes so you can share the latest advancements with potential new hires.
  2. Speak the language. The departments need to give the recruiters all the inside terminology as well as screening questions. Recruiters are representing your company. If they do not know what is going on and the inside language, then there is no way they will be able to recruit the best talent.
  3. Write exciting job descriptions. It may seem like recruiting would be an easy task; you just write a quick job description and people apply. This might be true if you want to hire just anyone, but you want the top talent. This means that your job descriptions need to attract the best, so the language needs to be specific to the job to attract recruits who would recognize the language. Focus on the outcomes of the job, not the benefits or the traits of the ideal candidate.
  4. Look for people who are already employed. Of course, people who are looking for jobs will apply to yours, but the best talent may already be working. As your sales force gets out and about, they should keep their eyes peeled. This is the biggest reason why your sales staff makes good recruiters – they are out there selling your company already.

When you make the decision to recruit from the inside, you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. Your employees know your business better than any outside recruiter, and they will be able to find talent that fits with the personality of your existing staff.

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