Small Companies Need to Expand Their Ideas About Finding TalentPublished April 24, 2018 | By Achim Neumann, PresidentOne of the greatest challenges for any small company is locating quality talent. Small companies must compete with large organizations who can often offer larger salaries, and better benefits packages, in addition to being a recognized name brand. Small businesses must also compete against other small companies that may be desperate or very aggressive about hiring what talent there is available in the marketplace that will lean toward a smaller company. These conditions drive up prices and can leave a small company with choices that create real concern about being able to acquire the talent they need to be successful.Because of this reality, small companies must be creative about how and where they source talent. There are strategies to help in this area. Prioritize the Perfect SkillsetCompanies will often focus on a candidate’s academic achievements and work experience. These can certainly give an indication of what the candidate has done in the past, but they may not be true indicators of the candidate’s skill set which is what is most important for your company.Each job has its own set of demands and skills. A candidate may have been called upon in this past employment to utilize skills that may not be completely relevant to the current job that is on offer. The same candidate may in fact excel at the skills you require but may not have had an opportunity to utilize these skills in his previous employment.Therefore, the focus should be on the candidate’s skills and what he or she excels at. These skills are the point of contact between your company and the candidate and will help you to determine if the candidate has the level of talent that you need. This strategy should be communicated to everyone in the hiring process in your organization. They should understand that matching skills with the particular job is the priority and is more important than a college degree, or even past job experience.Be Prepared to Train a CandidateWhen you have a small company, the chances of you finding the ideal candidate with the right combination of experience, skill set, and past achievements is extremely low. The reality is that you will find someone that is lacking in one of these or some other important area and you will have to train them on the rest. This should not discourage you, instead you should look for candidates that have the majority of the qualities that you want and is trainable in the other areas. This is a candidate that you can hire and train to become ideal for your company. The key is to be able to recognize those candidates. In order to do this your HR team must be completely aligned about what qualities is most important. Communicate the strategy clearly to everyone in the hiring process so that they look for the same type of candidate. Search Offline and OnlineToday most companies search for talent online. There are various online job search sites that cater to every industry. On these sites there are thousands of applicants who are looking for jobs of the type that you are offering. These resources or ideal because they provide you an opportunity to review and even interact with a large number of candidates many of whom might fit your needs. But you shouldn’t limit you search only to online databases. There are also offline options you should consider. One is to connect with local universities, colleges, and trade schools. Many students looking for work opportunities will be available to interact with you about possible job openings.If you are looking to hire part-time, this is a good chance to employ a student who can become a full-time employee when he or she graduates. You can also find interns and short-term employment workers at these institutions. You may have to train some of the students, but the payoff long-term could be exceptional for your organization. Small companies have to be creative to locate and find exceptional talent. They can expect to be priced out of the market in many situations, but they can attract great talent if they are creative about their offers, provide an exceptional work environment, and convince talented candidates that they will be a part of something special.