How to Attract the Best Employees to Your Small Business

how to attract the best employees

What type of company culture and environment is most desirable for job seekers? Recent research by iCIMS polled more than 400 job seekers to find out what they look for when seeking a job. Here’s some of what they discovered about how to attract the best employees to your small business.

The study defined four main types of corporate culture: clan, adhocracy, hierarchy and market:

  • Almost 50 percent of job seekers prefer a clan culture, which is defined as a collaborative and team-oriented environment with a leader who is a facilitator, mentor and team builder, and which values communication, commitment and human development.
  • About 21 percent prefer a market culture, which is oriented to competition, has a leader who is a competitive, hard-driving producer, and which values profitability, market share and achieving goals.
  • Nineteen percent prefer an adhocracy, which is oriented toward creativity, with a leader who is an innovator, entrepreneur and visionary; and which values innovation, transformation and agility.
  • Finally, 11 percent prefer a hierarchy, which is oriented toward control; has a leader who is a coordinator, monitor and organizer; and which values efficiency, timeliness and consistency.

Got a Clan Culture?

Congratulations! Since this appeals to the greatest number of job candidates, be sure to emphasize the nurturing, collaborative aspects of your culture in every stage of your hiring process, from creating want ads to interviewing and onboarding new employees.

Don’t Have a Clan Culture?

Don’t panic. There are people who like other types of cultures, too. Case in point: thousands of people want to work for adhocracies like Google and Apple.  Whatever type of company culture you have, the key is to be honest about it. Highlight the positive aspects of your particular culture during recruiting, interviewing and onboarding. That way, you’ll attract people who are a good fit.

What Types of Managers Do Job Candidates Prefer?

Managers are a key factor in creating corporate culture:

  • Over 40 percent of those surveyed say they want to be managed by someone who is more like a coach or a mentor.
  • About 30 percent prefer managers who are hands-on.
  • About 12 percent prefer a democratic manager.
  • While “flat” organizations without middle managers are widely touted as trendy, fewer than 10 percent of job seekers prefer not to have a manager.

Just as with corporate cultures, not every job candidate likes the same type of manager. And, as with corporate cultures, the key to finding a good fit between candidates and their future managers is being open about what you’ve got. iCIMS suggests you:

  • Introduce managers early in the hiring process, such as having them participate in or conduct interviews.
  • Include your managers’ photos, a brief bio, and tips on their management style and expectations on your company’s website.
  • Put videos of your managers discussing their management philosophies on your website.

Good news for small businesses – the survey found that workers of all ages are slightly more interested in working for small employers.

In particular, workers aged 45 to 60 are substantially more likely to prefer small employers. About 70 percent of workers in this age group would rather work for small or very small companies.

That means there’s a big pool of experienced talent out there for you – if you know how to sell your company culture the right way.

Google Photo via Shutterstock


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

5 Reactions
  1. One thing that’s tough is that as your company grows, you’ll actually want employees who prefer different situations. You might want a predominantly clan culture, but having some adhocracy employees can be helpful as well. Managing that inside a single company can be extra difficult.

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