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How to recruit staff for your business

Finding staff online

A illustration of three adults using social media
(Image: © Shutterstock/Veronika Yeroshenko)

Staffing is a dark and mysterious art. Anyone can recruit, but nurturing your team, inspiring them and managing them in order to get the best out of them is a rare skill set. Bringing staff into your business is about strong, compassionate leadership. It’s also about sympathetic and intelligent people management, and knowing how to build and keep a happy, productive team. 

There comes a point when every company must decide whether or not to expand. In this feature, we explore exactly what the best ways of staffing, managing and keeping a crack team of professionals involve. 

You buy goods online, you work online, you get your news online, so why not get new employees online as well? We look at some of the key places to advertise on the internet and offer basic advice on recruitment on the web – and the good news is that many of the places to advertise are free. 

The traditional way of attracting new talent to your business was through the local press; however, while that may still provide some good candidates, it won’t get you the best. It may not even get you in front of all the ideal candidates in your area. Ask yourself whether you ever read the local press. If you don’t, how do you expect to attract the right staff through a local advert? 

By using the internet, you widen your scope to be able to recruit candidates from all around the country and even the rest of the world, and it doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive either. 

One of the most effective places for recruiting is your own website. Your customers are a really good pool to recruit from – they already know your business and like your products, and the only cost involved is the time it takes to add a jobs section to your site. 

You can advertise your post for as long as you like, and put a lot of effort into making it look really attractive, something you won’t get the chance to do with other job sites. If your business also has its own Facebook page or LinkedIn group, you should also advertise the job position there, because many of your potential candidates may only ever view your Facebook and LinkedIn pages and never actually pay a visit to your main website.

LinkedIn Jobs Review Listing

(Image credit: LinkedIn)

LinkedIn is one of the largest business networks online and is a great place to find new staff for your business. There are several ways to recruit on LinkedIn. Firstly, you can go through the jobs part of the website and post a job online. Alternatively, you can use your own networks to widen your scope and find potential candidates by using other people’s contacts, and then approach your potential employees directly. 

Your network is the best place to begin raising awareness about your jobs – that’s where you’ll find your strongest referrals. Your connections might be interested in the job themselves, or they may know some good candidates. Use LinkedIn status updates to tell your network about open positions, and add a link to the post itself.

As well as your own pages, LinkedIn interest groups are a good place to advertise. Look at the professional groups that cater for your industry, as well as the groups that cater for the particular sector you’re interested in. For example, if you’re looking for a salesperson for your publishing business, look at both the sales groups and any publishing-related groups. 

Be careful that you don’t jump into every relevant group to put up a job advert. That will be viewed as spam and will do nothing for your business reputation, and it could even be enough to get you banned from some groups. So make sure that the group is appropriate, and that you follow any guidelines on recruiting on that group – most are happy to allow job adverts, but others only want jobs in certain parts of the group or on specific job boards. If in doubt, contact the group owner. 

A man in a business suit holding the Twitter logo

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Tero Vesalainen)

Twitter is a quick way to get your message out to all your followers and on to the wider world. Unfortunately, most jobs can’t be described in the 280 characters available on Twitter, so try to get as many details in as you can and add a short link through something such as Is.gd, Owly, or Bitly to the full job description on your site. 

To widen the scope of your job tweet, use appropriate hashtags. For example, the tweet “Wanted office temp for business in Leeds area £18k http://is.gd/TRBC1” will be more effective on Twitter if you add a few hashtags and change the wording slightly. “#recruiting office temp for business in #Oakland area $50k http://is.gd/TRBC1” has a much wider reach, so it’s worth experimenting with what you write. This last tweet will be seen by people following either of the words ‘recruiting’ or ‘Oakland’, and will get your advert out to a much wider audience. 

Typical hashtags for job listings include #jobs, #recruiting, #jobposting, but to narrow it down, use more specific hashtags, such as or #prjobs or #salesjobs. These are only really effective if your target is actually searching for them, but you can be sure people are. Don’t make the tweet too long because ideally, you’ll want people to retweet it to their friends, so try to make the whole ad no more than 120 characters, and don’t over-tag a single tweet. Twitter recommends using no more than two hashtags per tweet. 

Use a job site

Indeed logo with recruitment message

(Image credit: Indeed)

Sites such as Indeed or Total Jobs replace the traditional role of a job agency, or a national or local newspaper. You can post job opportunities as you would in a paper, or you can match your job requirements to CVs posted by people already looking for jobs. They also offer a whole raft of free tools that can help you decide what salary to offer for the role. Total Jobs, for example, has a jobs barometer service that enables you to see how popular a particular job sector is in a particular location. 

As well as the big national job boards, there are also numerous sites aimed at specific niches that are worth looking at – for example, you could use Dice for tech roles. Wherever you look, the job market is in a difficult place at the moment; be prepared to wade through a swathe of applications, many of which will be from candidates who don’t fit your company. It’s up to you to find the right person for the right job. Make your interview process fit your style and ambition! 

Use newsletters

If you produce an email newsletter or send regular emails to your customers, you’ve got the perfect outlet for people specifically interested in your brand or product. And maybe they’re the sort of people you’d like to work with. Next time you produce a newsletter, add in a link to the job. 

A prospective candidate may read your newsletters but might not have enough time to visit your website regularly. Make sure you use the language and style that your company traditionally employs, but remember that you’re in a non-formal environment; you could afford to make your job opening look exciting and fun, more so than you might in a standard job ad.