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Tips for Small Businesses to Find the Staff They Want

Small business owners who compete with large companies need to be creative.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Small business owners who compete with large companies as well as each other for job candidates find they need to be creative to get the staffers they want. Some have given up on online job boards and develop their own strategies. Here's what they do:

  • Never stop recruiting. Many owners are always on the lookout for people who look like a good fit for their companies, not just when they have an opening or are expanding. Some find that chance encounters with sales people in stores, restaurants and other businesses can lead to good hires; they get a preview of a potential staffer's work ethic and abilities. Some owners have hired employees who work for clients or customers — they've already formed a good relationship.
  • Get to know a prospect well before making an offer. Brian Conyer, co-founder of Giblib, a company that creates instructional videos for doctors, reaches out to potential hires on LinkedIn and has email conversations with them, introducing them to his company and getting a sense of their talents and capabilities. When he has a sense that they're interested, he'll ask him hiring managers to start the interview process.
  • Look beyond the traditional workforce. Many veterans, senior citizens and people with disabilities want to work, and they have skills small businesses need. Finding these workers isn't difficult; a search of LinkedIn will yield many retired people and an online search will return listings for groups that help people with disabilities find work. State veterans affairs agencies help people who served in the military find jobs, and these offices are a good resource, according to Paul Dillon, a management consultant.
  • Work with community colleges. Owners who need staffers with certain skills may find that schools want to place their students in jobs where they can get training and experience.
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