Many small employers hire rarely. Others hire multiples regularly due to the nature of their business or during growth. When hiring increases significantly or repeat hiring is common, networking and employee referrals alone may not be enough to meet your needs.

When that happens, you need to build a sourcing process and network.

Here are some common sources of potential employees for you to consider. Evaluate those that meet your needs most effectively and develop relationships to sustain the process.

High Schools: Local/area high schools often have people looking for internships, part-time jobs, and eventually full-time work. Most have someone on staff dedicated to helping employers and potential employees connect. High schools are a great resource for all those jobs which do not require additional training or specialized education. You may also find great help for projects and short-term needs, such as: design and maintain your website, develop social media programs, and to support administrative needs.

City/local area Foster Children programs: In most states children are not allowed to stay in foster care beyond 18. There are a lot of people aging out of these programs even in smaller locations. These young people need jobs, apartments, and almost everything our families help with when we start out. Connect with your local foster care program to see how they can support your hiring needs.

Job skills programs: there are a wide range of non-profit programs designed to help specific populations increase their job skills. Look around for these in your community and learn what they offer. These include:

  • The Salvation Army, Goodwill, VOA, Melwood
  • Non-profit local organizations supporting specific populations – such as women returning to the workplace, returning citizens from jails and prisons, victims of abuse, those with disabilities, refugees, older workers
  • Veterans – via local/area veteran support organizations
  • Hospitality training programs (via schools, non-profits)

Neighborhood groups: from online groups to local community groups, many allow posting of jobs in their area.

Community colleges: Most students are already working full or part-time but the careers offices at these always have people seeking new positions. If you are seeking specific skills, then develop a relationship with a professor in the field and support internships or research projects.

Colleges: If you need people with specific education or training, connect with the relevant departments at your local schools. Offer internships. Welcome research projects or thesis-related projects. Get to know one or more of the top professors in the department and include them in your customer communications. Don’t forget alumni associations too, most good schools offer career services to them.

Job support clubs: 40+ has chapters across the US, many religious organizations also have job support groups. In MetroDC, the biggest is run by McLean Bible Church (no religious affiliation required.) Others can be found on Meet-Up or Eventbrite.

Workforce Development Centers (OneStops/Employment Services) are state agencies which handle both unemployment and employer support. Few small employers ever hire enough people to get specialized training done here but they do provide services to help identify and refer candidates who meet your needs. Depending on volume, they may offer pre-screening services. They also offer specific Veterans programs and local reps.

Paid Services

Job Boards
Generally the big names are too expensive. Most also are likely to result in lots of useless responses which impede your effectiveness. If you need specific skills, consider the niche board(s) which cater to that population. Professional associations are another option as many offer their members tailored job boards. Local area business/professional groups often offer job search services – check those you belong to, and others to see if they meet your needs at a reasonable cost.

Recruiting services
There are a wide range of services available from those who simply ‘spray and pray’ with your job listings on up to those offering extensive support. Ask others in your field for specific recommendations. Here are some options:

  • Contract Recruiters are individuals you hire for specific needs or projects. Most work as independent contractors on an hourly basis, although for longer-term needs you should consider hiring someone as an employee.
  • Flexible Work/Temporary/Contract/Interim agencies provide people on demand from their rosters for part-time, project, or short-term needs. These provide people from basic laborers to executives.
  • Recruiting Process Outsourced (RPO) services run the entire sourcing process for you. They can help you define what you need, post the jobs, screen the applicants. Many will handle the full hiring process if you prefer.
  • Contingency recruiters have a contract with you but are not paid unless you hire someone they refer. The key here is being very clear about the contract, the terms, and both sides responsibilities.
  • Retained recruiters are the most expensive and usually are best when you are seeking a CxO or someone with very unusual skills/ knowledge. You pay them whether or not you actually make a hire using them.

Your ability to assess what you really need and find a variety of ways to hire effectively can be significantly enhanced. Think of organizations you already know.  Ask people in your network for suggestions. Build relationships wherever the people you seek are.  Demonstrate your values and purpose to each group. Add in an effective hiring process (see part two of this series.) Hiring well takes effort to establish and sustain. Doing so provides big rewards in helping your organization thrive.