Do You Need to Hire This Year? Where Will You Find New Employees?

Are you planning to hire new staff in 2011? After two years of slashing staffs to the bone, many small businesses may feel it’s finally time to staff up so they can take advantage of the recovery.

But do you know where to find those workers?

Do You Need to Hire This Year?

The world of hiring has changed, and the Wall Street Journal recently took a look at how companies are planning to hire in the coming months. Here’s some of what they found:

  • Companies are planning to rely less on general online job boards (such as
  • Businesses will rely more on social networking sites like LinkedIn.
  • Companies are focusing on headhunting, networking and even (gasp) poaching qualified candidates from their competition.

The Journal cites a December survey by consultancy The Corporate Executive Board Co. that found 24 percent of companies expect to decrease the use of third-party employment websites and job boards in the next 12 months. At the same time, the survey found, almost 80 percent of companies surveyed will rely more heavily on alternative methods such as Facebook, LinkedIn and referrals from employees.

Even if you aren’t already hiring, other companies are. Labor Department figures show job openings increased by 32 percent between November 2009 and November 2010. And the Corporate Executive Board survey reports that between December 2009 and December 2010, the number of applications for each job opening increased by 17 percent.

With more job openings out there, your small business will face increased competition from big companies when you do take steps to hire. So what to do? The Corporate Executive Board survey was focused on larger companies, but there are still some valuable takeaways for small businesses.

First, get back to basics. I think it’s ironic that big companies are turning to some of the time-honored tactics small companies have always used to find employees. Getting referrals from current workers, using your network of contacts to seek candidates, and even looking to your competitors as sources of job applicants are all strategies that work well for small businesses.

Second, take advantage of the ability that social networking and the Web have given us to supercharge our employee-search tactics. In the past, you would have had to actually get on the phone with 50 or 100 contacts to put the word out that you’re looking for a new marketing director, now you can let people know about it with the click of a mouse.

Third, focus on quality, not quantity. Putting the word out to a few select people you truly trust gives you better results than posting a job opening on Facebook (although the latter still beats a general job board listing for delivering relevant candidates). You’ll save time by not wading through piles of applications—and find the perfect employee far faster.


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.

10 Reactions
  1. LinkedIn is a great place to look and a great place to be found. I’ve been contacted on LinkedIn about two positions this month alone.

  2. I think point #3 is well taken. In an employer market where there are an abundance of candidates, you need to have a focused effort to attract qualified candidates. You can’t just post many jobs because you get so many applicants it makes it makes the sorting process difficult and time consuming. Having a hiring plan with focus using your network will go a long way to make sure you get your quality hire.

  3. Very timely and well written article, but don’t forget the “on-boarding”! I have found too many companies spend large dollars hiring the right person and then don’t get them settled quickly-putting them at risk for turnover. Small business can have truly unique cultures which sometimes can be tough to fit into for the new employee.

  4. Lakshmi - Virtual assistant


    Very impressive article. I think all the 3 points are really good and the last one i feel i really important. Rather having many number of employees and get no profit it is best to stick with quality people and achieve the target.


  5. This is a timely article, as I am currently in the hiring process. I kept my search to within the forums that I am a member of. I also knew they would have the skills I require. This kept the number of respondents low, but with high quality. It saved a huge amount of time and energy.

  6. Danielle - Administrative Consultant

    Rieva’s points are articulated very well and the timeliness of the topic is spot-on.

    Because many small businesses are still in the early stages of recovery, I’d like to point out that not all small businesses need “employees” to be productive.

    Outsourcing to other, well-qualified solo and small businesses is also a viable option. The financial burden of a traditional employee is – and always has been – a difficult balancing act. Outsourcing is growing in popularity among small business owners because it offers more flexibility, freedom and a more efficient workflow.

    Bottom line – outsourcing keeps expenses down, focuses on specific goals and allows for 100% productivity.

  7. This is valuable and very true information. As someone in the business of hiring people, the companies that I speak with have almost completely forgotten about that one thing called Monster. Most,if not all, corporate recruiters are spending their entire recruiting efforts on Linkedin. Some poaching is happening but frankly most inhouse corporate recruiters are actually scared to pick up the phone and make something happen. Attributed to lack of internal coaching and training.
    Thanks for the post.