Liz Taurasi @LizTaurasi

Where to Find Ready-to-Hire Candidates for Your Small Business

You know developing a hiring pipeline is key to the success of your business. But do you know where to find the right candidates?

For small businesses running lean operations, having an open position can pose a serious problem. That’s why developing a pool of employees to choose from is key to long-term success.

“A lot of small business owners don't think about a pipeline,” says Paige Oliver-Windsor of Elevate Content, description here. “They think there is no time. The more successful ones do, because they need to be able to pivot quickly when a need arises.”

That need could be a negative – like someone leaving – or a positive, like needing to add headcount to meet the needs of an eager client. Either way, not having a pool of potential candidates to choose from can put your small business at a disadvantage.

“Finding quality employees is major challenge for us as a small business, and as the economy improves, so does the challenge,” says Carmon Cunningham, owner of The Cleaner Spot in Wilmington, MA.

When you’re in the care industry, the success of your business depends on word-of-mouth referrals and your ability to reliably meet client demand. That’s all the more reason you don’t want to be starting from scratch when the time comes to hire a housekeeper, senior care provider, tutor or nanny to round out your team.  

Diane Myer, who runs Atlanta, GA-based iCre8t Results says she is always identifying who could be her next potential next hire. “I’m constantly meeting those people and letting them know I’m always getting work let you know when I have enough and will put you on a retainer,” she says.

But where do you find those candidates? We talked to several small business owners to gather this handy list of places small business owners can turn to find those candidates:

  1. Associations and Professional Networks
    Many local business networking groups, like the Chamber of Commerce or local industry associations are filled with small business owners, branch managers and professional service providers. While their resumes probably won’t fit your job descriptions, remember that local lawyers, accountants and other professionals often hire interns who could be looking to earn some extra cash as a care provider. Don’t overlook the opportunity to tap into these professional networks by reaching out to those members to see if they have anyone they would recommend.
  2. Social Media
    Using social media is a great way to recruit for your hiring pipeline. Whether you are using LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, social media is an inexpensive way to get eyeballs on your open positions. And if you want to spend a little money, you can use Facebook or Twitter ads to target individuals within a certain distance to your location or a certain age group looking for candidates. Whether you use social media proactively to seek job applicants and new business or more passively, remember your built-in following, is a great place to start. Your followers already know about your business and are more likely to be interested in, or know someone who may be interested in, a potential open position.

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  3. Use Your Personal Networks
    When you’re looking to hire help, your best first step is also the most obvious: Tap into your personal networks -- from your friends to your neighbors and employees. They may just have the right person looking to get a job at your business or can get you a great referral. You should also never rule out your customer base. Customers frequent a business because they like the business, their experience and the employees. They could be your next hire.
  4. Get Referrals from LinkedIn Referrals
    LinkedIn is a human capital powerhouse. You can search for people in your network who are connected to the types of candidate you are looking for. Through your connections you can find potential candidates and ask for a referral introduction to that person from one of your network connections, a great way to get someone to call you back when making a cold call.

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  5. Work with Local Colleges and Universities
    Take advantage of colleges in the area by either partnering up with them or participating in their Career Day programs. You may also want to be involved in any on campus job fairs, and/or sponsoring a student who may be participating in a program related to the field you are hiring in, as well. Try to get in front of these students as much as you can. Not only will they be looking for jobs come graduation, but students can be a great source for seasonal and part-time help.
  6. On-Demand Talent Networks
    LinkedIn isn’t the only on-demand talent forum job-seekers use online. Don’t overlook traditional and industry-specific job boards, like, where you can review profiles, qualifications, reviews and references. The more you can educate yourself up front about a candidate, the more informed you’ll be as you enter the interview process. 
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