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Finding and Hiring Talent for Your Small Business


Emerging from the pandemic, many small businesses owners express difficulty finding and hiring talent. The ‘new normal’ of the job market calls for an innovative approach to recruiting workers. 

This month’s expert speaker is Sheila Spisak, the retired Director of People Development for Muncie Power Products Inc. Her vast background includes human resources, people development, career coaching and advising and professional development. She continues her work today as an HR consultant and executive coach. As a veteran in the industry, Sheila describes recruitment as consistent and stable for a long period until the recent shift of employment. To fully understand the climate of today’s job market, let’s look at how we got here.


Sheila speaks on this shift and the new employee needs that have been brought along.

“Workers want better working conditions and compensation”, Shelia reveals, “They’ve also realized they have to have a better work-life balance”. To hire in these new conditions Sheila takes us through the best recruitment practices to identify talent that aligns with your business’ needs.

Redefining the Recruitment Strategy

With a smaller applicant pool, small business owners seek creative ways to connect with talent.

  • Job Fairs. This is a great opportunity to speak face-to-face with a large pool of candidates. Sheila notes it crucial to provide candidates with a takeaway and retrieve contact info at fairs.

  • Partner with universities, technical/vocational colleges, and organizations. Many students and recent graduates are looking for internship and career opportunities.

  • Be specific with marketing and advertising to narrow applicants to those who best fit your business. Sheila points out that a small applicant pool isn’t a bad one.

  • Use social media to your advantage. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and even Tiktok can be used to advertise and connect with job seekers.

Select Candidates Based on Values and Attributes

Sheila says that good employees are often turned away or don’t apply because of extensive experience and qualification requirements. Instead, consider how your candidate’s core values will align with your team and mission and use training to make up for areas of inexperience.

How do we ask questions about a person’s values? How do we get to know the candidate as a person? Sheila is often asked similar questions by business owners and HR managers. She suggests Behavior Based Interviewing in which you ask a specific question getting at a situation from the candidate’s past. Below are example questions Shelia provides.

  • Can you describe personal accountability and what that means to you? How have you used accountability in your past role?

  • Describe a time when you have improved the life of someone you’ve worked with.

  • Tell me about a time when you failed in a project. How did you handle that and what did you do differently next time?

BBI brings up experiences from a candidate’s past, reaching for their response and ability to overcome and learn from challenges. 

Reward and Retain

What is a benefit? The new normal demands reevaluation of employee benefits. Previously, benefits included compensation, health care, a 401K and pension. The new meaning suggests additional advantages such as flexible hours and the ability to work partially or completely remote. Is there any part of the job your employees could successfully complete at home?

Shelia also encourages HR managers to provide incentives such as an employee referral program or a sign-on bonus. This is a great way to set your business apart in an applicant’s job search. Don’t forget about your current team members! To retain your current talent, consider offering a longevity bonus for employees who remain with your business for a specified time period.

As small businesses owners, we are called to adapt to various roles and circumstances. We can use Sheila’s tools to better navigate this new market and build our team stronger than before. Speaking of team, we’re on yours! Sheila and Beyond Main are available to help you along the recruitment process by answering questions and providing you with additional resources.

Visit Shelia’s Website

Join our Main Street Collective Call HERE. Calls are held the second Tuesday of every month!

Watch this Main Street Collective Conversation and others HERE.

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