Talent attraction tools for small businesses

The labor issues all business face are not new. In 2020 (just a few short months away!) we are set to be 18 million skilled worked short in the United States. Here in Wisconsin, almost 24% of the population is over 60 years old, leaving a huge percentage of job openings due to retirements each and every day. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate sits at just 3.5% with many communities here in Central Wisconsin sitting under 3%. This results in a struggle to find labor of any kind for the majority of the businesses in the state.

So what can you do to be different? How can you stick out of the pack? How can you increase the number of qualified applicants?

It might start with simply updating your job postings. A few things to consider:

  • Use a great title: Be creative but also logical. A unique job title can help you stick out from the dozens of other openings in your community with similar titles.
  • Write in the second person: Really try to put yourself in the applicant’s shoes. Write directly to the person you are trying to get to apply to help them feel like they already belong.
  • Keep statement short, but interesting: Use interesting statements such as ‘be the first impression for visitors’ versus ‘welcome visitors’. Here’s a great article with some examples.

Once you work so hard at crafting that awesome job posting, it’s important to remember that applicants will do a ton of digital research before applying. A few things to consider:

  • Social media: How much do you value your employees? How do you speak to customers? What do you post about on a regular basis?
  • Reviews: What can job applicants tell from your reviews about workplace culture, management, and overall atmosphere?
  • Personal LinkedIn and Facebook profiles: Applicants may check out the owner or a listed manager on their personal profiles to see who they are as people as that will most likely reflect who they are as a manager.
  • Website: Do you list on your site that you are hiring? What do you say about being an employee at the company? Do you let the applicant in on the secrets to your great company culture? Also, remember that the majority of people will be looking for and applying for jobs via their phone. How easy do you make it for them?

Okay, so we’ve worked on your job postings and your digital presence. Now to get people to see the job postings! A few sites you should consider being on:

  • Indeed: Here you can post jobs for free and appear in their general search. Users can also set up notifications for new job postings.
  • LinkedIn: On this platform, you only pay when candidates view your job post. You can set a budget and they’ll tell you how many you can reach.
  • Google for Jobs: You can post your job listing directly through Google’s search engine. It’s free and easy.
  • Handshake and Wisconsin Tech Connect: These two platforms are great for connecting with students on internships or jobs. Both are free.
  • Jobs Center of Wisconsin: Just create a login and you can post your jobs for free. Jobs posted on this site are distributed to many additional sites as well.
  • Jobs on Facebook: These are very easy to create and will notify people that follow your page that there is a new job posted.
  • Traditional marketing: These may include small, local newspapers, Chamber of Commerce postings, calling people in your network to see who they might know, open interviews, and employee referral programs.

Overall, the struggle to find employees is nothing new, nor is it going away anytime soon. The upcoming generations are not as large as the outgoing ones, so there are simply not as many people to work with. As employers, you need to figure out how to share your unique value proposition as an employer to help get you found and find you the talent you are looking for!

Melissa Meschke is the director of the SBDC at UW-Stevens Point.