How to Hire on a Tight Budget

Having a strong team is vital for a successful business – but building that team on a tight budget can be a challenge.

Published on July 10, 2019

It’s difficult to hire even with a healthy budget – so hiring on a tight budget is even more of a challenge. You need to find some way to make it work, even if your budget is limited, because being understaffed will always cost you more in the end. This can be an enormously stressful situation to find yourself in, but it is possible to find good workers without exorbitant spending. You’ll need to consider what options you have available and how far you can stretch your budget.


Your hiring budget shouldn’t be relegated only towards the cheapest options, but rather the most effective options. If newspaper classified ads haven’t been successful for you in the past, just getting an ad out there to spread the word isn’t an effective use of your budget. Make use of the channels that get you the lowest cost per qualified applicant – when you hire on a tight budget you need to be conscious of your time and money. If you don’t have this data or haven’t found an effective channel yet, you can pursue different options depending on how much money you have available.


If your budget is minimal or virtually nonexistent, some of your only options are putting up flyers, posting on your social media channels, or relying on word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth is one of the most viable free options for hiring. Your job can gain a lot of traction through word-of-mouth. Although word-of-mouth isn’t something you can entirely control, you can push your current employees to refer their friends and family. This becomes an opportunity to find someone new without needing to spend any money. But word-of-mouth alone may not always be feasible, and the results can vary pretty drastically depending on what you’re hiring for. So, are there any other cheap or free solutions to hiring new people?


A less-considered option for finding the right workers on a tight budget are local and talent-specific job boards. These smaller job boards can be cheaper than most of the larger job posting networks, but come with a caveat – because these job boards are more niche, they can vary widely in effectiveness. Some are used frequently by their respective communities and some hardly at all. These local and talent-specific job boards can also be entirely free to post on or cost a hefty sum, especially in the case of high-skilled labor job boards.


You might also benefit from looking for contractors rather than full-time employees. There are independent contractors who specialize in nearly any industry and can come help you for the length of a project or a heightened period of demand. Few businesses consider independent contractors when trying to grow their staff, but contractors can be a great temporary addition to your team. You can also offer permanent employment to a contractor if you find a good fit. Considering independent contractors when devising your hiring strategy is part of total talent management and can truly widen your scope of potential qualified workers.


One way to access independent contractors in your industry more directly is tilr, a job posting platform where you only pay when workers go to work. Using tilr can help you maximize your budget and reach a large audience of qualified individuals without needing to pay a premium. tilr has a talent pool of qualified workers who receive jobs based on their skills and the skills you enter when posting a job. This helps to not only make your hiring spending more efficient, but also lower your overall time-to-hire.


The biggest thing to keep in mind is a different strategy will fit each business. This doesn’t mean you should try everything and see what sticks – with a tight budget, you can’t. Think of where you’ve been successful in the past or where qualified people in your industry might be looking. At the same time, don’t be afraid to try something new. If you have had little success with past channels, find something with little upstart cost and gauge its effectiveness. To make the most out of your hiring budget, be cautious and purposeful. You can find the right people once you’ve found the best channel for your business.