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Recruiting on a Budget: How to Attract Top Talent as a Small Business

Taking on new staff doesn't just consume time. Lee Biggins, of CV Library, explains how firms can recruit even on a shoe string budget

Regardless of whether you’re a small business or simply a cost-conscious company, it’s highly likely that you’re looking to recruit the best workforce without breaking the bank.

There’s no denying that a large budget to spend on the recruitment process is helpful, but the fact is that it’s not essential; there are plenty of ways to secure the top talent on a budget, as long as you’re willing to change your approach.

Below, I’ve come up with some ways that small businesses can source talented recruits without having to spend a fortune.

Implement an employee referral scheme

If you’ve already got talented employees working for you, it’s likely that they’ll have people within their network who could also be a good fit for your business.

So, if you’re working with a tight budget, you should consider using employee referrals as a way to bring in new team members; offering your existing staff incentives to recommend potential hires can be a great boost for morale within the business, as your workforce is more likely to feel valued and that they’re contributing positively to the company.

Furthermore, if you do bring new staff on board through a referral, there’s a chance that they’ll have already met other people within the company, making the transition a smooth one.

Use social media

Another easy way to find talent is through social media; sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are often full of talented candidates just waiting to be found. And, the best part is that they’re free.

Even if you’re not using Facebook and Twitter to directly target job hunters, connecting with your current (and former) colleagues means you’ll be opening yourself up to their network too, and you could find yourself able to tap into a new talent pool.


A perhaps less used yet cost-effective recruitment method is to look back at previous applicants. Are there any candidates who made it to the final interview but then narrowly missed out on a job offer? If so, reconnecting with these candidates can be a great way to recruit on a budget.

Similarly, if you’ve made job offers in the past that have been turned down, you could get back in touch with the candidate and find out what put them off, and if there’s a way to remedy it. If not, you could take a different angle and see if you can sell the role that way!

Make use of professional events

Making use of other peoples’ time is a tried and tested technique when it comes to recruiting on a budget. If you happen to find yourself at an awards ceremony, trade show, training day or seminar, you should be primed to approach potential candidates.

An easy way to recruit at events of this type is to attend with the aim of bringing back the names of at least three people who could potentially be good recruits. The other advantage of using events like these is that potential employees will be there as equals, giving them a real chance to shine.

Rethink your selling points

If you’ve been trying to fill a vacancy for months with no luck, it could be that you need to rethink how you’re marketing yourself; make sure your job adverts are exciting and attractive, by making the job description clear and appealing, and shouting about any workplace incentives you offer.

Furthermore, if you’re a small business, highlighting this is key; for many people, working at a smaller company which offers more challenges is preferable to working at a larger organisation.

The reality is that recruiting on a tight budget requires creativity and a willingness to think outside the box. Trying and testing a variety of methods is key, and you’ll likely find that some work better than others, but an innovative and proactive approach is key. Ultimately, you have to go where the candidates are, whether this is by networking at events, creating social media profiles, or even trialling a job board.

There are a variety of ways in which employers can attract and secure talented staff without breaking the bank; a restricted recruitment budget doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on talent.



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