You Need More than Recruiters to Recruit at a Start-up

We have two incredible recruiters here at Legion, and I wouldn’t change a single thing about them. They strategize, cold-call, attend job fairs, review resumes, check references, run background checks, follow up – everything talented recruiters do to bring us great candidates. But when you are a small business in a large field of competitors, I don’t think that’s quite enough.

I think it’s invaluable for an owner of a start-up to be visible and involved in the community. At Legion, that owner is me (Tony is more comfortable staying at the office). Our recruiters know the history of the company, but I have lived it. They can talk about how cool and approachable the company owners are, but if I’m out there people can see it for themselves.

For instance, we have an intern who joined us this summer in our marketing department. If she had found us at a career fair or online she most likely would have passed us by. Even I can admit that working in marketing for a logistics company isn’t all that attractive. But she heard me speak in one of her university classes about our culture and incredible growth and spoke to me directly afterward. That was what made her decide to intern at Legion.

If this intern stays, she will be a great addition to our group. Even if she doesn’t, she will hopefully spread the word that Legion is unique and a great place to work, which will bring in more applicants. So my spending time in the community creates brand ambassadors who will also get the word out about Legion. This is true even if the people I’ve met don’t want to work for us. I had a valet at a downtown hotel recognize me and say he enjoyed the class I taught. He may never come to work for us because he doesn’t want to work in sales, but his friend might be interested in a position and he’ll know a little bit about us.

I’m not suggesting business owners attend job fairs and recruiting events – I know we all have companies to run. But there are other ways to connect with the community. Join a roundtable, volunteer to speak at a local university, become a local Chamber member. All of these things make you visible and gets the word out about you. As a small business owner, no one can sell your company better than you. And no one is as passionate about it as you are.