Knowing where to look for employees is one of the biggest struggles we hear from small business owners on a daily basis. It seems that the “traditional” ways are cumbersome, time consuming, and often result in high turnover, costing lots of money.

I recently read an article explaining that Microsoft assumes that the best candidates are not looking for new jobs. Actually, if a candidate reaches out to them, that candidate is less desirable. I don’t know about you, but I assume that Microsoft probably has their hiring processes fine-tuned. If that is the assumption they make, we can probably make a similar one. So, what does that mean for our typical employee search? In my mind, we are spending valuable time and money on something that is not going to provide the result we are looking to receive, and with that said, how do we go about finding qualified employees?

When we are looking for a new employee at BCI, we begin our search by asking our current employees if they know anyone who is really talented at whatever position we are filling. This gives us candidates that already have a good reference from people we trust. We find that our employees only give us high-quality candidates because their name is on the line, as well. They won’t recommend someone that won’t show up for work on time or have a bad work ethic. It’s interesting how that works, isn’t it?

I find that regardless of the industry you are in, your employees probably know people who are in similar roles as themselves. If you own a dealership, your technicians know other technicians, if you manage a hospital, your doctors know other doctors, or if you are a principal, your teachers know other teachers. You will come to realize that your own employees are the best recruiters when it comes to needing someone to fill a position at your company, especially since they know it so soundly. There is nothing wrong with tying in an incentive program for good leads or hires that come from a referral. This provides additional incentive for your employees to bring strong leads to you based on what they know of your business and the culture you desire.

Another way to find employees is to think about places you go and the great staff they have. Now, I’m not promoting stealing other companies’ employees, however, you never know when someone is ready to make a transition, and you might just be able to give that person an opportunity. Think about the Service Manager at the car dealership you visit. Is he/she the type of person you would like to run your service department? What about the friendly receptionist at your doctor’s office who makes scheduling appointments easy? These people are the ones you need to be constantly on the lookout for that can help take your business to the next level. This is how we have found all of our current employees.

For example, last year at a tradeshow, I stopped at a booth and met Alex, an awesome salesperson. He was personable and engaging. The next day, I walked back by the booth and he remembered my name and details from our earlier conversation. In that moment, I thought he would be a great asset for our team! He isn’t looking for a new job, but I am staying in contact with him. I encourage you to keep connected with people who represent the type of employee you would like to have on your staff.  You never know who they know, or if they may be looking for a new position at some point in the future.

By thinking outside of the typical hiring methods, your candidate pool will begin to expand. Not just with leads, but from the best, qualified leads that fit your business. Ultimately, this will save you time and money!

Sara Hey

VP of Operations, BCI