10 Innovative Talent Acquisition Strategies For Small Businesses


Small businesses often have to compete against bigger companies who can offer candidates better benefits and higher compensation. This means that small businesses have to innovate in order to compete. Whether it’s company culture, diversity, or purpose, it’s imperative to find something that sets you apart from the corporations. 

Ten small business HR professionals share innovative talent acquisition strategies they’ve employed to attract great people.

Additional Stock in the Company for Referrals

We're pretty basic with our talent acquisition, LinkedIn and job boards. We do have an internal referral program for our employees, which is for additional stock in the company when the referral hits 90 days.

Kay Transtrum, Qwick


Focusing Your Outbound Attention on Candidates

Innovation is one of our core beliefs at our staffing firm. How do we practice what we believe? We have built an outbound call center that is solely dedicated to reaching out to candidates. That’s unlike any other HR temp agency since most have their call centers reaching out to employers and soliciting new business. By focusing our outbound attention on candidates, we are able to innovate on the “human” element behind every candidate. 

Michael Bratta, Interim HR


Covert Discovery With Candidates

Too many companies and recruiters begin a candidate search with the job details. A covert talent acquisition strategy withholds that information to prioritize the long-term and discourage each side from bending the truth. The only way to execute a covert approach is by seeking to uncover the reasons behind existing career dissatisfaction and what a better opportunity may look like. If the candidate’s version of their ideal next step isn’t aligned with a role, then we don’t move them forward no matter how solid they look on the resume. True impact is achieved when the energy of a candidate and the purpose of the business align. A covert approach enables that match to materialize. 

Max Hansen, Y Scouts


Compensation Comes in Many Shapes and Sizes

We work closely with small businesses that struggle to compete with larger, more established companies every day. Big or small, every organization has its pros and cons. We work to uncover what is most important to our hiring clients and pair them with candidates who seek the same opportunity, environment, and culture. It’s our belief that compensation comes in many shapes and sizes.    

Jon Schneider, Recruiterie



Find Your Ten Reasons

One of the best recruitment tools I have seen is a Top Ten Reasons Why____Should Work at ___. The ten reasons have to be researched and directly relate to the talents/strengths of the individual and be aligned with the part they can play in building, growing and advancing the mission of the company. Creating cultures that foster this mindset will draw far more candidates than those offering cash, perks and other benefits.

Mark E Christensen, A Few Trusted Resource


Ditch the Middle Man

A smaller team can mean fewer middle-people. You're often able to get more meaningful work done in a shorter amount of time in a supportive small team than you are in a large hierarchical organization.

Megan Trombino, Fair Folk 


The Experience Is Everything

Smaller companies will always win when it comes to the experience they give people. In a larger organization, you have a lane and you stick to it. Smaller companies throw you into the deep end. Talent will get to work on projects they could only dream of in larger organizations. And if the talent decides to choose money over experience then the small company doesn't want them anyway. Save your budget for leadership roles where experience really matters. For the scrappy positions, you want someone hungry to learn.

Meagan DeMenna, Validity


Focus on Family

As a small business, we might not be able to complete with the compensation packages offered by our larger competitors. What we can offer is a job people WANT to do, in a company people WANT to work for. We’ve invested heavily in creating a culture that emphasizes the “family” in family-owned business, and our tagline, “It’s FUN to feel good!”

We offer a really fun, supportive environment where employees feel cared for and that they’re part of something important (they are). We’re all here to promote good health and help our customers feel good. That’s a mission everyone at our company gets behind, and we work towards that goal together. 

Patrick Sullivan Jr., Jigsaw Health


Highlight Company Culture

Two words: company culture. Yes, people value benefits and higher salaries - but they also value working for a company that cares about them! By creating a culture where employees feel important and recognized, you can beat out bigger companies & attract great people.

I work for a boutique agency and one thing that really sold me was their extended vacation policy. They allow us to take up to 20 days off a year and encourage us to have a healthy work-life balance. With this perk, I have never missed a best friend's wedding, a concert, or anything else that really matters to me. I can't say the same for friends working at bigger companies!

Nikitha Lokareddy, Markitors


Ensure Shift Flexibility

Shift flexibility is probably the most important perk a cash-strapped company can offer. Don't be stingy approving time off, allow people to work remotely, allow people to work 1 shift per week if that's what they want. Let them go across the street to the coffee shop for a few hours mid-day if that's where they brainstorm better.

Chryssa Rich, Primary Health Medical Group



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