job candidates in line
Recruiting the best employees starts with using the right recruiting tools. — Getty Images/Delmaine Donson

Growing your business means hiring the right people for the right job. Ensuring you’re getting the right candidates to fill your open positions can be a challenge, especially when faced with limited resources, time and recruiting expertise. Recruiting tools can help you level the playing field.

This guide will:

  1. Explain why even as a small company you should use employee recruiting tools
  2. Walk you through a variety of types of recruiting tools
  3. Explain how to implement a recruiting process

Why use employee recruiting tools?

Successful recruiting goes beyond hiring people who are going to do a good job and stay with your company for the long term. “Top talent” employees can be 800% more productive than average ones, according to global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. McKinsey also found that 82% of companies don’t believe they are recruiting highly talented people.

Employee recruiting tools can help bridge that gap by identifying which candidates are most likely the best fit for your company. However, before you can use tools to start the recruiting process, you need to make sure your branding is consistent. You want potential employees to understand not only what your company does, but what your company stands for.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation (SHRM), accurately and effectively publicizing your brand message during the recruitment process will help you

  • get a greater number of qualified applicants,
  • have lower turnover,
  • fill positions more rapidly,
  • have a higher job offer acceptance rate, and
  • increase the number of diverse candidates applying for your open positions.

Before you start recruiting, you should make sure your company’s website, social media pages and other outward-facing channels are easy to understand and representative of your brand.

Employee recruiting tools can help bridge that gap by identifying which candidates are most likely the best fit for your company.

Types of employee recruiting tools

Targeting and identifying the right candidates and then assessing a candidate’s skills for a job at your small business are two pieces of the puzzle that a variety of employee recruiting tools aim to address.

Applicant tracking systems (ATS)

An applicant tracking system (ATS) filters incoming applications. The software itself can also be scaled to your needs, from free versions to more expensive offerings. Many have integrations for social media components and incorporate other recruiting tools, like video interviewing and artificial intelligence, directly into the system. And, of course, they also provide a way of weeding out resumes that don’t meet your job description.

Video interviewing

A 2018 LinkedIn study found that 56% of talent professionals and hiring managers say that new interview tools are impacting how they hire candidates. Video interviewing helps a small business assess a wider range of candidates in a shorter period of time. It can also give a better sense of a job applicant than a phone interview would, but without the commitment of an in-person screening. Video interviewing may be built directly into an ATS.

Internet sourcing

According to LinkedIn, a candidate’s resume is still king, followed by relevant work samples. Online identity is used significantly less despite the ubiquity of the internet. Only 9% of small businesses surveyed considered online presence to be the “most important source” of candidate insights. LinkedIn suggests that small businesses not rely so heavily on just a paper resume, but use internet presence and research on a candidate’s background to find the best fit for your brand.

Assessment tests

Testing how a candidate would perform a job seems logical, and there are online assessment tests available for use from reputable sources. This will help you rank resumes and talk to the most qualified candidates first. These online soft skill assessments measure traits like teamwork and curiosity that will give an interviewer a better picture of a candidate than an in-person interview could. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed in the LinkedIn study believed this was the most useful interviewing innovation for recruiting.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

You’ve probably had times when you wished you could clone your top employees. Artificial intelligence (AI) can help you do the next best thing by assessing the skills and qualities of past successful hires and searching for those same qualities in current candidates. Chatbots are another form of AI that can be useful for both the job candidate and the recruiter. They are a low interference way for job candidates to get their questions answered. Fifty-eight percent of respondents to the LinkedIn survey said AI was helpful in sourcing candidates and 56% found it helpful in screening candidates.

Employee referrals

According to SHRM, going old school can have pretty positive results. Because current employees value their reputation, they will likely only refer individuals they believe would make good employees. SHRM also believes that current employees are likely honest with the person they’re referring about your company culture and expectations. That means those prospective candidates probably have a better idea about your company and can make a more informed decision about whether your job is the right fit for them or not. This is also a good way to get your job opening in front of people who may not actively be seeking new employment, but who have the skills and work ethic your company is looking for. Think about encouraging your employees to share the job posting with their online connections as well. You can even draft a form letter for them to send to their connections about the opening.

Targeting ads and SEO

The internet itself can be a very useful tool when it comes to finding the appropriate people to fill a vacant position at your company. Of course, posting openings on relevant job boards is a good way to find the right applicants, but so is running ads targeting the right profile for the job candidate. There are many ways to target potential employees, including geo-targeting and targeting your website visitors. Strong SEO is also a way to reach people who are using specific search terms when it comes to their job hunt.

Job boards

Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn are just a few companies with online job search boards that weed out potential candidates based on questionnaires as well as search engine functionality. These might be effective to help your small business reach a qualified pool of candidates. Some of these boards even have paid components to help you get in front of more specific or qualified candidates. One complaint about job boards, according to SHRM, is their ability to generate too many potential candidates, which could overwhelm a small business in the hiring process. Not all of those candidates will be qualified or still looking for a job by the time you get to their resumes.


Many recruiting services will do the legwork for you and deliver candidates that meet your qualifications. This may be a more expensive route than running the search yourself, but LinkedIn found that satisfaction with the results of a recruiter is very high.

Designing and implementing an employee recruiting process

Think about your recruiting process through the lens of those you are trying to recruit. Does the recruitment message directly address why a person should apply? Is the recruitment message believable?

Before you begin your search, decide what type of candidate you want to target and where those people are most likely to be found. If you know where to find your ideal candidates, how do you plan on reaching them? What recruitment message is going to resonate best with those ideal candidates? What kind of job offer and benefits will appeal to those candidates?

When it comes to recruiting tools, you have to not only meet desirable candidates where they are, but have the tools in place to properly assess their skills once you find them.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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