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Hiring employees on a $0 budget

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Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

One of the hardest things to overcome when you’re attempting to hire employees is doing so with no budget. For many small and non-profit organizations, it’s a reality that there’s no money to dedicate to recruiting. Whether it’s because there just isn’t enough to go around or because you’re only responsible for hiring for a few positions and money is allocated to larger scale hiring, many of us are faced with doing the impossible: hiring employees on a $0 budget.

However, it doesn’t have to be impossible. While it is a feat that requires creativity and resourcefulness, it really is amazing what you can do without a dime. I’ve seen this first hand with one of my friends in the industry who hires for several positions in her office without any recruiting budget. It really is a remarkable thing, but her success proves that it is possible. Read on for four key strategies to stretch your $0 budget.

Rely on referrals

It goes without saying that when you’re working with a $0 budget, your biggest asset is your referral network. It’s vital to successful hiring and retention, so don’t be shy about the fact that you’re always on the lookout for a viable candidate for your positions. As the saying goes, “ask and you shall receive.” When you make it known that you are seeking candidates, it’s more likely to cross a colleague, family member or friend’s mind when they come across someone who would be a good fit. The extra benefit of referrals is that when you do find employees, they’re far more likely to stay with your company for an extended period of time than someone you just recruited. This makes your job easier in the long run and could be the difference between recruiting every two years and recruiting every six months.

Connect, connect, connect

Avidly connecting goes hand in hand with relying on referrals, but it goes a step further and by helping you build a pipeline of candidates. And when you’re recruiting on a $0 budget, a pipeline of candidates is absolutely essential. Connect with professional groups, family members, friends, clubs, sports teams, that guy at the gym. By connecting everywhere you go, your reach will extend far beyond what you could do alone.

Target strategically

A $0 budget leaves little room for casting a wide net and seeing what comes back. It requires specific and targeted communications and recruiting. This is one aspect that is certainly different from working with a large recruiting budget that allows for posting on multiple job boards and getting dozens or even hundreds of resumes. Your non-existent budget means you’ll need to evaluate specific qualities and experience your candidate must have and go after those. The other aspect that makes strategic targeting necessary is that you likely don’t have enough time to cast a wide net but will instead need to be smart about how you use your recruiting time since many working with a $0 budget are also working alone or with a small team.

Be interactive

Thinking on the positive side of things, working with a $0 budget has no affect on your online presence. Social networks are free, and free is your new best friend. Take advantage of all types of social networks by not only having a page but also being active, interactive and proactive. Rather than sitting back and waiting for candidates to come to you, seek them out. Get involved in conversation about the industry and connect with all types of people. When working with no budget, the Internet and social networks are your secret weapon.

If you hire employees with a small budget, how do you make the most of free resources to stretch your budget? Let us know in the comments section below.

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