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Tips for Hiring and Recruiting on a Tight Budget


Hiring the right staff isn’t the easiest of tasks. For small and medium-sized businesses, finding qualified talent is particularly challenging due to limited resources and tight budgets. Recruiting and hiring the right employees for your business can be the difference between survival or failure.

Hiring is a huge investment for small businesses – in time and money. According to Glassdoor, the average company in the United States spends about $4,000 to hire a new employee, taking up to 52 days to fill a position.

Hiring the wrong employee can also be costly. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, the average cost of a bad hire for a business is close to $15,000.

A big budget does not necessarily translate to recruiting high-quality employees. With the right tactics and strategies, small businesses with tight budgets can recruit top-quality employees without having to choose from the bottom of the barrel.

Focus on attracting the right candidates

First of all, targeting highly-qualified candidates enables you to maximize your resources, develop relationships with candidates, and avoid a bad hire. You have a much better chance of finding a quality employee because you aren’t spending time sifting through numerous irrelevant resumes.

  • Set clear expectations about the skills you need and the salary you are willing to pay
  • Narrow the job requirements down to only skills needed for the specific role
  • Write clear, easy-to-understand job descriptions outlining position’s primary responsibilities and experience required.
  • Don’t just hire anyone to fill the position – take your time with hiring decisions.

Be Active on Your Social Media Channels

Get with the program – social media is not just for connecting with your friends and family. With the majority of job seekers using social media for their job search, social media channels can play an important role in networking and developing professional relationships.

Potential candidates will search for your company before applying and your social media profiles will be an important tool to promote your company and encourage candidates to apply.

All channels enable you to post a company profile at no cost.

The key to recruiting on social media is to remain active:

  • Invest the time to create and maintain accounts on social media channels including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Keep your pages updated with your company information, job postings, and photographs.
  • Encourage your existing employees to post positive comments about their experiences at the company as well as share business updates and job postings with their networks.
  • Add a link to your corporate careers site on your social media profiles.
  • Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are valuable resources for identifying qualified candidates and communicating with and recruiting applicants to fill positions.


LinkedIn is an entire professional platform where you can interact with candidates, build your employer brand, and leverage the networks you and your employees already have to find potential candidates for job openings. Employers can create company profiles and set up feeds of information (including new job postings) to attract followers.

While creating a profile is free, LinkedIn also offers a fee-based solution enabling employees to find potential job candidates matching job qualifications quickly and easily. LinkedIn profiles to your company page. Advertise your job openings on LinkedIn on a pay-for-performance basis.


Originally geared to personal communication, Facebook can be used for recruiting. Facebook enables employers to create a presence reflecting their employment brand, find potential candidates and post jobs. In addition, Facebook offers great opportunities for interaction with candidates and allows organizations to create a community through Facebook Groups.


While it can be used to advertise jobs, Twitter is primarily effective at increasing awareness and communicating with your followers. You can use Twitter to promote your company as a great place to work.  Some companies have job channels and/or individual recruiters who operate dedicated Twitter accounts for communicating with interested job candidates.

Solicit Referrals from Current Employees

The easiest, most effective, and least expensive way to find high-quality candidates is through your own employees. Your existing employees understand what it takes to succeed in your organization and are more likely to refer candidates with the right skills and fit in with the culture.

Offer employee incentives for referring successful candidates

Simply asking employees to go out and sift through their network for possible candidates may not be enough to get them actively looking. Try offering some incentives that are intriguing but don’t break the bank. Who doesn’t want free stuff?

Think about offering things like:

  • Nominal gift card to a local coffee shop
  • Extra vacation days
  • Donation to employee’s favorite charity
  • Recognition at employee meetings or in employee newsletter
  • Hold a lottery for all employees who referred employees and offer a non-cash gift such as dinner or movie tickets
  • Training opportunities
  • Lunch with the CEO

Leverage Recruiting and Hiring Resources

Instead of wasting resources on bad hires, take advantage of available recruiting and hiring tools including:

  • College career centers
  • Industry associations
  • Online recruiting tools
  • Background check services

Check out this infographic that highlights how to create an effective screening policy so you don’t run into any hiring issues that may cost you in the long run.

Think about Outsourcing your HR Efforts

In this day and age outsourcing is all the rage. A heap of money can be saved when the decision to outsource HR efforts is made.

How is this saving money, you ask?

Well, first of all, you don’t need to pay an HR specialist or full department of people to do these tasks. A freelance specialist can be hired solely when needed. This will also free up work space that would otherwise be taken up by this person or people. The choice that has to be made here is whether or not to hire a company or an individual.

In order to find specialists, try leveraging LinkedIn or other internet services. The caveat here is, a bit of time will have to be spent finding the right person or company for this position. Think about doing this early on so a trusted source is already integrated into your business’s plan from the start.

Offer Competitive Benefits

Competitive benefits can help moderate a candidate’s salary requirements and allow you to retain top talent without having to issue extremely high paychecks.

Some benefits which can enhance the allure of working at your company include:

  • Health insurance
  • Retirement savings and matching
  • Transportation costs
  • Childcare support
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Flexible schedules
  • Remote working options

Work/life balance is especially important with today’s employees. Most employees are willing to sacrifice a bigger paycheck if they have the opportunity to stay home with a sick child, take off early on Friday afternoon for a weekend trip, or work from home when they’re feeling under the weather.

When it all comes down to it…

Recruiting and hiring can be challenging for businesses with a very small recruiting budget. Instead, leverage low-cost and high-efficiency strategies to recruit and hire employees without spending unnecessary resources. The money you save on hiring will significantly impact your bottom line.

Happy hunting!



About the Author

Haku Kapule is a contributing editor at 365 Business Tips, a new blog that prides itself on presenting the best advice and practices for small and medium-sized businesses everywhere. He’s passionate about finding and offering useful tips to small business owners.


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