Small businesses may not be able to compete with the benefits that large employers offer — such as gym memberships and free lunches. But for many job hunters, the chance to work in an innovative environment with a tight-knit team can trump those big-business perks.

If you’re a small employer competing with big ones to win stellar staff, it pays to play up the many unique benefits your business offers. Use this worksheet to craft an enticing recruitment pitch. By making a few changes in how you position a job, you could convince a key person to join your team.

1.Know the competition and how you measure up.
Who else is recruiting your job applicants, and what do they offer? If the IT talent you want is also being wooed by Google and Facebook, for instance, you need to know what you’re up against. Are your salaries at least in the same league? Are you competitive on basic benefits such as health insurance, retirement and tuition reimbursement? There are ways to find out:

___Check the career sections of competitors’ websites to see what perks they boast about and how frequently they post openings.
___Scan your industry’s trade magazines and professional associations for salary surveys.
___Investigate on salary websites such as,,,, and

2.Focus on the nonfinancial perks you offer that competitors do not.
Unlike Google or Yahoo, you don’t offer a subsidized cafeteria or stock options, but what edge do you have on those giants? Can you point to fast-track growth for your top performers? Do rock stars in the field mentor junior staffers? Do you offer more autonomy, remote working or a better work-life balance than the tech factories? List five nonfinancial benefits of working for your company:

1)_____________________________________________________________ 2)_____________________________________________________________

3.Identify the top-selling features of your workplace.
What do your employees love about working in your company? If you don’t already know, it’s time for an assessment.

Ask the team members who’ve been with you the longest:

What do you like most about our work culture?
What drives you to serve our customers?
What qualities do you admire in your peers and/or managers here?
What one word would you use to define our organization?

Ask your most recent hires:

What attracted you to apply for a position here?
Why did you accept a job offer from us over others?
What feature of our work environment is the most important to you?
What would you tell a prospective job candidate about working here?

4.Draw an enticing picture with career success stories.
If entry-level employees have climbed the career ladder to senior management in your organization, or innovators have incubated their own product lines or spinoff companies from within the supportive environment of your business, share that. Young talents tend to view positions at high-profile companies as stepping-stones to career success. Show them how their career paths could benefit from working for you. Mine your HR history for three great examples of employees who flourished.

5.Share your vision of the future – for your business and employees.
Having a sense of purpose at work is a key to happiness. Nothing appeals to an ambitious person like the belief that their work will be making a contribution. If you can paint a picture of how your business and each employee within it are contributing to the greater good, you can win the hearts and minds of passionate people. Can you sum up in two sentences why your business is important to the world and why your employees feel good about what they do there? The leadership author Simon Sinek calls this “starting with why.”


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