Hiring on a limited budget? 9 ways to attract top talent

Getting to the point where you can hire new employees is exciting. It means you’re succeeding—or at the very least growing—and that you need to increase your manpower to continue that success. You want to bring on experienced, highly skilled employees to help you take your business to the next level, but what do you do when you simply can’t afford the caliber of employee you want to hire?

Tons of surveys and studies all point to one simple fact: money is not a top motivator for most people. While there will always be job candidates who refuse to budge on salary, there are many others who need more than just a paycheck to feel satisfied with their jobs. You can attract those top job candidates by using these nine strategies.

1. Stroke the Candidates’ Egos

At their current jobs, they may feel like just another cog in the machine. They may even feel underappreciated. Talk to them about how they’ll make immediate and critical contributions to your business. Tell them that you need their skills and expertise, and describe how you would put their talent to use. Feeling truly needed and respected can be a huge motivator, especially for employees who feel taken for granted by current employers.

2. Sell Your Vision

People want to do something meaningful with their time. If you have big ambitions for your company, share those with the candidates. Tell them how you want to change your industry, community or even the world with your products and services. Your excitement can be contagious, and it just might motivate them to join you on your journey.

3. Let Them Experience Your Culture

Chances are you have outstanding people working for you already, so be sure to introduce your current employees to potential hires. Offer the people you interview a chance to sit down with happy employees, let candidates wander around your office, invite them to team events, and give them a real taste of what it’s like to work with you. People who have grown tired of the office politics, bureaucratic nonsense and rigidness of their current workplace may find your work environment refreshing.

4. Focus on the Potential

Many people love the idea of getting in on the ground floor of a promising venture. Talk about the rapid growth you’ve seen, and share projections for further growth and expansion. If a job candidate accepts your offer now, the payoff could be immense in a few short years, when the person is a manager, executive or even partner in your business. Talk about what the two of you can accomplish together and where you could end up in one year, five years, ten years and beyond.

5. Point Out Professional Growth Opportunities

At larger companies, job roles can be narrowly defined, limiting people’s chances to learn new skills. In startups, with few people on staff, everyone is a jack-of-all-trades and is involved in every facet of the organization. That can be extremely enticing to an experienced employee who is feeling burned out or who wants a change. Tell them what knowledge and skills they will gain by working for you.

6. Tout Flexibility

Many successful people are looking for ways to better balance their professional and personal lives. In fact, 80% of employees want a flexible work arrangement, including the option to occasionally telecommute. If you can offer flexible work hours or let employees work from home, you can appeal to a growing number of people who will take less money for a better work-life balance.

7. Don’t Skimp on Benefits

Benefits, which include health insurance, retirement plans, paid time-off and even the occasional perk—such as tickets to a sports event or concert—often compensate for a lower salary. Let people know everything you can offer them, from larger items like family health insurance plans, to smaller ones like free parking.

8. Offer Stock Options

When you can’t offer a high salary, pad the compensation packet with healthy stock options. You essentially make employees owners of the company. As the business grows and revenues increase, so do employees’ wallets, which is a great way to motivate them to continue to drive growth.

9. Hire Freelancers or Consultants

If all else fails, and you simply can’t afford to hire the kind of talent you want on a full-time basis, consider working with professional freelancers or consultants. They can offer you serious expertise, and you can agree to rates and time commitments that work for both of you and fit into your budget.

Most successful startups have gone through growing pains, where labor was scarce and revenue almost non-existent. What they did possess, however, was a vision and an opportunity. If your vision is big enough, use it to show candidates that, no matter what the salary may be, the opportunity to work with you, your team and your company is a no-brainer.


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