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Common SMB recruiting challenges and how to defeat them

While the human element is an arguably important asset in businesses of all sizes, talent acquisition in a small-medium sized business is quite different from the enterprise counterpart. That leads to different recruiting challenges each is facing. 

How a new hire performs or what they value in a team of 5-20 usually makes a sweeping impact compared to the team size of 50+. A wrong choice may create a ripple effect onto the entire organization, especially if the team is young or the position is senior. 

On the other side, each employee in an SMB holds a critical role in their discipline (sales, marketing, customer success, etc.) which is not easily covered by other team members in case of their absence. A sudden resignation letter will undoubtedly make your head spin and the next thing you know you are working against the clock to get that position filled. 

It is imperative that you can find the talent with the right skill set, a culture fit and an intention to stay with the company for long-term. 

Here are some tips for you to proactively tackle the problem head-on:

1. Expand your recruitment reach through the right job boards

84% of SMBs struggle to find enough people to interview and hire (source: LinkedIn Business) while 57% claim word of mouth to be their main pool for talent (source: Indeed Small business survey). 

It's time to consider casting your net further and wider to get the right person for the job. 

There are plenty of sources to reach candidates such as Internet resume databases, student/youth recruiting programs and career fairs. However, job boards are still proven to be the top source when it comes to quality of hires.

sources of candidates

Source: LinkedIn Talent Solution

Job Boards are often referred to by industry professionals as any combination of job sites, job portals, job search engines, job aggregators. This depends on what technology is used for the backend to populate jobs. However, it makes little difference to job seekers as they simply see it as a website they use to actively look for a new opportunity. There is no surprise at then that recruiters have a higher chance to score on this channel. 

I did a quick experiment to see what a job seeker's typical experience is like searching for jobs online. I googled “marketing job in Toronto” and the first search result page returns 10 different job sites like Indeed, or niche job sites for marketing like “Marketers on demand”. I then narrowed down my search by asking Google “which job sites are best for marketers”, and what came back to me was a list of articles with headlines similar to “10 best marketing job boards to start with". 

That means I have an option of 10-20 job boards to start with for my job hunting process, and that is just for marketing jobs! 

Do you see the challenge recruiters are facing here? It is to “guess" which job boards the candidates are on?. So the question everyone is asking is “which job boards should I use to post the job?”

We have this question covered in “the nuts & bolts to get the most of job boards" blog, which will give you a starting point of criteria and tactics to choose the right job search site to attract the right candidate. 

Pro tip:

Niche job boards are usually a faster way to find qualified candidates compared to generic ones because they have already establish a strong connection with professionals with a specific skill set and/ or interest whether it is geography-wise, industry-wise (e.g. healthcare, retail, transportation job sites), discipline-wise (e.g. programmers, marketers, doctors career portals), or scenario-wise  (e.g. startup jobs, fortune 100 jobs, c-suite level jobs).

With 150+ job boards in its Publisher Network and a heavier focus on niche sites, JobAdX helps recruiters reach qualified candidates and make better and faster hires. JobAdX keeps your jobs in its inventory and only shows them to the candidates that are most likely to apply based on its Search Behaviour Matching Mechanism. By tapping into JobAdX's exchange solution, recruiters can reach out to more active job seekers with the right skill sets and even the right mindset to bring the most positive impact to their growing team.  

2. Make your employer brand shine with storytelling

While 56% of people say a reputation as a great place to work carries the most weight when they consider a job at a company, SMBs usually face the challenge of low brand recognition when they approach job seekers (source: LinkedIn Talent Trend Survey). Specifically, 73% of SMBs claim that they are challenged by competing with better-known companies for talent (source: LinkedIn Business)

Therefore, employer branding is no longer a nice-to-have accessory in the business strategy and is now a must-have for SMB to stand out.

You can start by carving out an hour or two each week to share what is happening in the office on social media. This will give candidates a peek into your company’s culture and nudge them into inviting online conversations ahead of hiring needs. Quantum Recruitment Agency keeps their Instagram active every week with photos of office meetings, career fairs, and team building. Scheduling platforms like Buffer or Hootsuite can also help you save some time to publish your posts on multiple platforms with a price range of $15-30/month or 30-day free trial to get started.

A column of employee spotlight on the company website is another good idea to showcase the company culture through the lense of individual employees. Check out Humans of TapMango for great examples of both in-depth conversation style or light-hearted Q&A format featuring 10 employees from different departments. 

Encouraging your employees to get involved with their social media or jotting down some opinions on the company’s review pages can also make a tremendous impact on credibility and reputation. A brand presence created by your employers brings transparency into your company's environment and overall, exudes positivity and team spirit. Needless to say, the people working in the company are your best employer brand ambassadors.Here is a list of 18 employer review sites to jumpstart your employer reputation

Pro tip: 

Show, don’t tell. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a video is worth a thousand pictures. A recruitment video that showcases your company culture can engage the candidates 3x times longer (source: 2016) and increase the apply rate by 50% (source: and guess what, despite the myth, it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to produce!

If you have an interest to find out more about videos, see these blogs to see why you need a video and how to make a great one:

-   3 compelling reasons why you need a video in your job description

-   Best recruitment videos and what makes them great

-   Writing job description: 2 simple tips to attract more applicants

-   Webinar: How to Use Recruitment Video to Boost Apply Rate and Candidate Quality

JobAdX is the only job exchange platform with Interactive Job Ad that allows you to show the recruitment video alongside the job description across 150+ job sites. Besides posting videos on Youtube, social media and your career site, now you can easily influence job seekers right at the moment they are looking for jobs and see the direct impact the video has on your talent acquisition KPI like number of applicants, time-to-hire, cost-per-hire. 

Click here to see a video of how an Interactive Job Ad looks like in one of our publisher site -

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 15.54.25

3. Automate the tedious and repetitive tasks

HR personnel usually wear many hats like workforce planning, legal compliance, employee training, compensation, employer branding, performance reviews, and so on. Recruiting is just one responsibility in the long list. Unlike many enterprises with a talent acquisition team dedicating their time to this task or an agency handling recruiting for them, SMBs usually have a smaller HR team or even a 1 or 2 person team that handles everything. Therefore, it is important for SMB to find a solution that is time and budget efficient but still guarantees the outcome.

However, it is important to re-evaluate your process and identify which part of it needs assistance from automation software. If you are receiving more resumes than you have time to go over, pre-screening tools like resume parsing or skill-testing software may be a solution. If the interview process is overwhelming, tools like EasyHire or SparkHire can speed up your selection process through an online live or pre-recorded video interviewing platform. HRIS (Human Resource Information System) like BambooHR is also an option for anyone finding compiling all data of new and current employees tedious and time-consuming. 

Pro tip: 

For small-medium sized businesses, searching for and reaching out to candidates is usually the biggest time sink in the hiring process. JobAdX automates this task of spreading the word about open roles through its publisher network of 150+ job boards across North America and across various industries including healthcare, manufacturing, retail, tech, logistics, hospitality, real estate, etc. 

With optimized cost-per-performance based on industry data and hiring objective along with self-set budget, JobAdX provides peace-of-mind for HR professionals who is facing setbacks with finding talents. With JobAdX’s ergonomics, hiring managers or recruiters now only need to do 4 simple steps: upload jobs, create a campaign, set budget, set timeline, and let the machine do the legwork.



Operating on stealth mode does not help in this talent war, especially for SMBs who are facing fierce competition against bigger established firms. Always sourcing and expanding your recruitment reach, doubling down on your employer brand and tapping into automation software will prepare you with both a passive and active recruiting strategy, so you can better respond to hiring needs while still making time for other projects. 



1. LinkedIn Business, SMB Attracting Top Talent

2. Indeed, Small Business Survey 2018

3. LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Accelerate Growth with SMB Hiring Solutions Webcast

4. LinkedIn Talent Trend Survey

5. 2016