smb-tech-trendsAttracting top talent is a challenge for any company, and it’s particularly critical for small businesses. A study we recently conducted indicated that 42 percent of small business owners plan to hire additional staff over the next 12 months.

If you wondering why you’re not getting the right candidates to apply for the jobs you’ve advertised for your small business, the problem may be the ad itself. Some ads are so vague; it’s not clear what the job requirements are. They sound more like a wish list on the part of the company. While word of mouth is effective in reaching candidates (54 percent of the respondents in our survey said they relied on word of mouth for recruitment), you will want to post an ad on your site or on some other online or offline job board with all the relevant details for candidates to review.

Your ad should clearly describe the tasks involved. By the same token, being a small business your needs will evolve; and so you need team members who can grow in the job. Even though you have specific requirements for any current job opening, your ad ideally should speak to the type of work ethic, professionalism, work style and team spirit your small business requires of anyone coming on board.

Your ad also serves as an introduction to your company and a way to promote your brand. You want to make the right impression on candidates as well as anyone who might see your ad and be in a position to do business with your company. When you are developing your ad, use the language and messaging about your company that you include in your other on and offline materials. Describe your philosophy and convey your work environment and how it reflects today’s business trends.

Include these key features in your recruitment ad

Young business team negotiatingHere are tips from Monster on recruiting and hiring in “Five Essentials for Every Job Description.” The more specific you are about the person you need, the better able you will be to screen applicants you get:

Job description:  Make the title descriptive and use terms that your small business does. If you are looking for a Southeast field marketing specialist say so. Also conform to your company’s titles to differentiate proficiency levels. If you use junior or assistant or associate in your titles, include them in your ads.  When you describe the position, start with a summary followed by the list of key responsibilities.

Experience: Think about what background and experience your small business needs in a new recruit. If industry knowledge, professional certification, or a certain educational level is required, make it clear,

Skills:  Consider the duties of the individual and determine what skills they need to accomplish them. Monster also recommends you think about hard versus soft skills – that is what a candidate knows and how they apply that knowledge. That may require asking candidates to describe their accomplishments and how they met goals in the past.

Style: Some people are team players; others are individual contributors. You need to find people who fit with your culture. You can find out about someone’s style by asking them to talk about how they worked in previous positions.

Temperament: Someone may have all the right skills and experience but their personality doesn’t meld with the rest of your small business team. Think about the personal qualities you want in a hire – sense of humor, easy going, compassionate.  You don’t need to include these in your ad, but be prepared to gauge them as you interview your candidates.

It takes time to recruit and hire the right people. The right ad can help with your screening so you can come up with a short list of good prospects.