5 Ways to Stretch Your Hiring Budget

Many businesses across the country have adjusted business operations to make it through the pandemic. After a period of hardship, many business owners, like yourself, are ready to start recruiting and rebuilding a bigger, more skilled workforce – only now you have to do it with a smaller hiring budget. 

Recruiting doesn’t look like it did one, even two years ago. Changes like virtual hiring, the increased demand for skilled workers, and factors playing a role in the Great Resignation make working with a budget even more challenging. Companies of all sizes, especially small businesses, now have to find a way to stretch hiring budgets. With the current madness surrounding recruiting and hiring, these are 5 tried-and-true methods to preserve your budget while navigating the right candidate pools for the ideal candidate.

Use and develop in-house talent

It costs a business an average of 6-9 months salary every time they replace a salaried employee.

Society for human resource management (SHRM)

These expenses relate to:

  • advertising,
  • outsourcing recruitment,
  • time, and
  • on-boarding

Meanwhile, the person you need may be right under your nose. Not only does internal hiring reduce the risk of a new hire, but it also saves on recruiting and hiring costs. Additionally, increasing internal mobility by upskilling your workforce may be more beneficial in the long run. Why? Because having a core workforce with skills in different arenas means you may not have to hire for a new position – or you can at least delay it until your budget matches your needs.

Ditch Paid Advertising

When working with a smaller budget, your first step is to re-evaluate where you can cut spending in your hiring process. Your main question becomes:

How can I get this job done, with less money, but at the same quality?

Chances are the first bit of spending you can eliminate are paid advertisements for your job postings. Nine times out of ten, you run the risk of overpaying for advertisements that may not even get the attention you’re paying for. Instead, utilize free methods of advertising such as:

Free Job Postings

Find job boards with a lot of traffic that allow you to create job posts for free. Then, share those job posts everywhere.

Careers Page

Make sure your careers page is fully optimized, mobilized, SEO-friendly, and engaging.

Social Media

Create marketing graphics, branding videos, and other forms of media to show off your employer brand. Then share it on social media and make an attempt to connect with potential candidates.

Consider contract and freelance work

Gig work has become a staple of the American economy, and it could be a huge asset for small businesses on a budget. Over


have started freelancing in the past couple of years, so maybe your best candidate is hiding out at Fiverr or UpWork. Not only is using contract workers less costly than hiring someone, but you also

  • reduce your hiring risk,
  • have higher levels of flexibility (and potentially diversity), and
  • have access to special expertise

Lastly, working with a freelancer or contract worker gives you the opportunity to evaluate different potential candidates. You never know. You may find a high-quality freelancer who is willing to commit to an open position at your company.

Tap into your database

Recruiting gets a lot easier when you know exactly where to look. Much of recruiting costs go into identifying the right candidate pool. But what if I told you that you already have access to two quality candidate pools…

for free.


Previous Candidates

Have you ever had a great candidate, but he or she just didn’t quite fit the mold for a previous position? Chances are, you have probably seen at least 10-20 of these candidates in the past, and chances are, they could still be job searching. Reaching out to these candidates gives you an opportunity to reconnect and invite them to apply to a current open position that you need filled. If you have been keeping tabs on your previous applicants, then doing this could help save you time and money when recruiting.


Employee Networks

Another free candidate pool is your network of networks. Each employee you have has their own unique network full of potential talent. If you are looking to save money on recruiting, then revamping your employee referral program will be key.

Use alternative screening methods

Screening has been one of the best methods to increase hiring confidence and reduce hiring risk. However, many screening methods can be incredibly costly. For example, assessment tools for measuring skills, competence, and IQ could cost thousands of dollars every year.

When deciding on an alternative, finding a tool that is engaging, houses human elements, and properly allows you to evaluate talent is key. That is why asynchronous video may be the go-to. Asynchronous video gives you the freedom to propose a prompt for potential candidates and have them act out the prompt in video – giving you a more explicit method of evaluation.

Good Luck!

Having to recruit on a budget isn’t the end of the world. Instead, it gives you an opportunity to tap into new, effective strategies that can be done with or without money. In the long run, it strengthens your workforce and paves a path for a strong recruiting and hiring foundation.

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