You can learn a thing or two about recruiting for a small business from William Goldman’s The Princess Bride. The story describes a love like no other, a love in which the under dog wins (which can be said for most novels). It is very similar to the hopeful relationships small business owners have with their hopeful candidates. Your one true love is that perfect candidate and although it seems to be a fairy tale, “this is true love. Do you think this happens everyday?”

Recruiter’s Cliffs of Insanity

You climb up the staggering heights of the cliff, becoming more exhausted with every ledge. A man at the top of the cliff offers to lend you a rope, and you take it. He helps pull you to the top so you’re not climbing by yourself. Suddenly you realize you’re not actually climbing, you’re frantically digging through the piles upon piles of resumes left on your desk from all of the applicants hoping to qualify for the new job opening. The man with the rope? That’s your ATS.

As your company grows, so does your number of clients; and with more clients, there is bound to be more projects that require more man hours than your current employees can handle. It stands to reason then that you need to look at those resumes that have been piling up on your desk. Through the jumbled mess you find it gets harder and harder to keep searching, to keep climbing the Recruiter’s Cliffs of Insanity. Even though you don’t have a large company, an ATS can help you through the hiring process and reduce your time-to-hire. The program of your choosing filters 70% of the resumes that you would only bypass. A good ATS helps weed out applicants who would otherwise bog your hiring process with wasted time and energy (and not to mention the $10,000 you saved).

Flame Spurts and Lightning Sand

The Fire Swamp can be a scary place. Unpredictable obstacles like Flame Spurts and Lightning Sand line the path as you try to reach safety on the other side. Your candidate is following you through the swamp, as they are unfamiliar with the potentially volatile territory. Slightly singed by the Fire Spurts and submerged in Lightning Sand, they make it out safely with your reassurance and leadership.

The hiring process is full of unpredictable obstacles for both you and the candidate. You can reassure them of the process and keep them posted, so they are at least prepared and aware of any obstacles that may arise. Stand out from the 75% of employers who never contact the candidate after their interview. Even a rejection email is enough to maintain positive recruitment branding. 89% of new hires fail in the first 18 months because of a cultural mismatch, so it stands to reason that the culture and branding you convey can be just enough to deter the candidate of your dreams, so tread lightly and be wary of the obstacles that lay in your path on the journey to welcoming a new hire.

R.O.U.S –Rodents of Unusual Size

You’re directing your candidate through the Fire Swamp; not to worry, you’ve survived the Flame Spurts and the Lightning Sand. There’s just one thing left… R.O.U.Ss: Rodents of Unusual Size. They are vicious creatures and they would do anything to get to your perfect candidate. You’re not afraid though because you’ve got a sword and the heart of a lion. 

As a small business, you fight companies with bigger budgets, more clients, and well-known branding. Don’t let that discourage you, because recruiters have something to offer candidates. Your company culture and dynamic size entice those entering the workforce, or even those who don’t want to work for the “big guys” anymore. Small businesses account for 65% of new jobs created since 1995. With that said, it is unfortunately difficult to recruit when you work in an office of 1-5 people and a budget just big enough to pay your employees and not much else. Your time is consumed with other, seemingly more important things. But your company is only as successful as the workforce behind it. So how can you recruit easily and inexpensively? Properly executed mobile friendly recruiting is 5 to 10 times more effective at 20% of the cost.

The story of a recruiter and his candidate doesn’t have to be one of fairytale. The right tools and a good amount of communication develop a strong recruiter/candidate relationship. With an ATS to guide you, and you guiding your candidate, there is no reason you can’t make it through the hiring Fire Swamp together.