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Essential Hiring Tips For SMEs

Posted by Kate Smedley on 3 Oct 2017

Hiring talent is a challenge for all employers but small businesses in particular may often feel unable to compete with the branding and budget of their larger competitors.

Small to medium sized business (SMEs) account for 60% of people employed in the private sector[1] but a lack of experience in hiring combined with insufficient resources can hinder talent acquisition strategies. Creating an effective strategy to attract, source and retain talent is possible with the right approach and support.

Here’s our advice:-

Support your hiring process with technology

CEOs of SMEs lose up to one fifth of their time each working week spending time on HR related tasks and activities according to a new survey,[2] preventing them from focusing on business strategy and meeting business goals. Even within SMEs employing a dedicated hiring manager, around 20 hours each week are occupied with basic administrative tasks. Supporting your recruitment strategy with technology is vital to compete in a candidate driven market. Scalable recruitment software enables you to select only the services you need, expands with your business and provides a branded, mobile response careers site vital to engage with talent.

Consider a candidate persona

Research from the Hay Group found that one third of UK companies experience turnover levels of around 21%. For SMEs employing between 100-249 employees that can equate to a cost of £138,000 every year. For a hard to fill position taking the time to develop a candidate persona enables you to target your job posts and evaluate applicants more effectively. A candidate persona uses educated assumptions about your ideal hire’s experience, motivation and personal and professional goals. Over time the data gathered will inform future hiring strategies and improve your quality of hire.

Implement pre-hire assessments

Pre-hire testing removes the guesswork and the potential for unconscious bias in your hiring decisions. Tests may include personality assessments and video interviews which are easily integrated through applicant tracking software, resulting in faster screening times and more effective candidate evaluation. ‘Best in class’ companies of all sizes make extensive of use pre-hire testing in their hiring processes.

Benefits matter

The prospect of working for a small business is more appealing for many workers than that of a large organisation. Nearly half of all millennials believe that small businesses (under 250 employees) offer better job prospects, benefits and company culture in comparison to bigger employers. This applies to workers in other age groups too[3]. Owners of SMEs have more room to be imaginative with benefits and negotiate with individuals to align job offers with aspirations. Flexible working is the most sought after benefit among millennials.

Don’t skip the background checks

Within a small business, the negative impact of a bad hire is magnified. Nearly half of candidates admit to providing inaccurate information on CVs. Don’t be tempted to skip the background checks and don’t rely on social media searches as a substitute. Implement a formal strategy and automate basic checks through recruitment software. May 2018 sees the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation which all businesses must comply with. Initial guidelines imply that employers must have a legal justification to screening candidates or existing employees via social media or risk breaking the law.

Include interim staff in your overall recruitment strategy

A further new study[4] suggests that small businesses also ‘waste’ 27 hours (or three and a half working days) for each new interim hire. Time consuming activities include writing the job description, posting job adverts, evaluating responses and interviewing unsuitable candidates. One in five also admit to hiring the wrong person at least once a month. Adopting the same approach to hiring for all of your candidates ensures that interim or gig economy workers are assessed against your standard company criteria and culture fit. For more insight into the effective recruitment and management of your interim workforce, download our whitepaper The Rise Of The Gig Economy.

Begin to build your own talent pool

Creating a talent pool takes time and effort but in the long term builds a pipeline of potential candidates for future vacancies. A consistent message attracts talent to your website and allows them to register their interest in your business. Our article on 3 keys to building a talent community outlines the initial steps to create and nurture your own talent pool for your future hiring needs.

Create a successful hiring strategy for your small business with scalable recruitment software to help you recruit talent faster. Contact us today to start your 30 day free trial.

You might also like to read:-

What’s Driving Talent Away From Your Business?

The New Recruitment Rules

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Topics: talent engagement

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