Every business owner has the never-ending challenge of doing things on a budget. If you worked for someone else, it would be easy to spend their money to get work done, but you don’t have that luxury. You consider it a good day if you find an extra $5 in your jeans pocket or a coupon for the office supplies store that isn’t expired.
When you’re on a budget, you’re being responsible. While the potential to earn money is limitless, your bank account tells you differently. But the problem is that you have more business needs than funds, especially when it comes to recruiting efforts.
In my dad’s employment agency, we constantly had to spend money on recruitment because that was what we did. We had our newspaper ads (that’s how people used to find jobs before job boards) and job fairs, but those things cost money. After a few years, even with paying clients, it was still expensive to market like this. So we had to get creative.
If you don’t know much about me, there is one thing you should know: I’m very thrifty. Anything that costs over $20 makes my mind automatically think: How can I do this in a less expensive way or Is there a more affordable alternative? If not, then I’ll buy it. You may think that seems like a waste, but I’ve saved a lot of money by being creative and have gotten really good results. Yes folks, it’s been deeply engrained in me to think in terms of money for everything.
The first thing you have to realize is that every cent is worth evaluating as long as it pays off. Comparison shopping for 3 hours on paperclips to save $0.02 is worth the effort. But, saving money on recruiting can mean a lot to your bottom line. Here are some ways that you can find great candidates for your company that cost you practically nothing.
$ Utilize your social media
Job boards are a good tool if you have the cash to pay for them. Instead of doing that, use what you have – your social media. When companies put open positions on Facebook, Twitter, and other places as a post in their feed, they can see good results. Your audience will tag people looking for work and will forward your posting. For free. You can also actively look for people by searching for hashtags like #needanewjob #lookingforwork #needajob. Another place you can actively search is on LinkedIn. There may be a fee to reach out to them, but you can search through your circles and may not have to pay anything.
Who doesn’t love a good referral? This is still a tried-and-true way to get some great candidates. The only cost is the incentive you may offer for employees that refer someone you end up hiring or a thank you gift. When you can have in-house recruiters that love their job enough to let their friends know about it, that is priceless.
$ The Good Ol’ “Help Wanted” Sign
One time, our employment needed a large amount of employees fast for a client but our candidate pool had run dry. We didn’t have time to wait for a want ad in the news paper, so we decided to make a banner and place it in our front window. Our office faced a busy street, so we were bound to get a few applicants out of it. By the end of the day, we had over 40 applicants and we only needed 15 employees. This can be a really good way to get quantity if you work in a high-turnover industry. It can also bring in quality candidates that like your shop and the products you offer. Either way, putting a sign on the window takes little time, effort and money.
$ Turn to Your Competitors
Stay with me for a second. You’re probably thinking this is a horrible idea, but I’ve seen it be effective for sales positions and it can work for other jobs as well. Let’s say you own a sandwich shop and need to hire someone that has a good attitude, works hard and could possibly work his or her way up to management. Chances are, you don’t just eat at our restaurant only, right? You probably visit many other restaurants throughout the week and remember the people that give you the best service. Why not see if he or she is interested in working with you? You may be able to provide the flexible schedule he or she has wanted, better pay, or something else of value. Slipping a business card in with a tip doesn’t hurt and it gives the potential candidate the choice to call or not.
$ College Boards
College boards are one of my favorite recruiting tools. Universities and colleges want to place their students with companies and usually offer job posting services for free. These are good for part-time help or entry-level positions. A lot of times, college “kids” aren’t just sitting around in their dorm rooms and partying; they’re starting their own business endeavors, but haven’t finished school yet. If you are looking for people that are eager to learn and have innovative ideas, try reaching out to local colleges.
This a good start for recruiting on a shoestring. What are some other ways you have found good candidates for your company with a tight budget? I’d like to hear from you!