Recruitment Challenges for SME’s

SME’s are the lifeblood of the economy but despite producing 60% of all employment we often struggle to recruit the best people.  We’ve all been there, hired someone you thought was perfect, made all the right noises at the interview and then before they have even made it through the first month, you realise you’ve made a huge mistake.

So, how do you find quality applicants who will be the best fit for your business?  Because there is a link between good people and good business and therefore attracting the best talent is a strategic issue.  So, try to develop a relationship with people in your line of business and establish a pipeline of talent.

You need to spend time finding the right candidates. Yet, all the best people are fully employed, but many are concerned about their future prospects with all the economic uncertainty and we need tactics to get them engaged.  They look for careers in many ways, but they don’t look at your website and apply for a job.  Your message needs to be highly visible, and part of your marketing.

Most companies set up their hiring process as ‘you must buy now’, but quality candidates will not want to rush into things.  Most job descriptions are turn offs, written to prevent unqualified people from applying, rather than attracting the best people…..  Stop using job descriptions that attract average people, show the job as a growth opportunity and focus on the softer issues which are attractive about the culture within your business.

Is it a good idea to use a recruitment agency?  Only 16% of SME’s feel the value of using a third party recruiter is value for money,  but realistically they do have access to talent you don’t have.  With an agency, many employers feel the company’s culture is often misunderstood and you lose the opportunity to build a relationship with the potential candidates in the marketplace.  Using employee referrals as a means of recruitment is a favourite with many employers.

Research into the subject of recruitment challenges shows:

33% of SME’s believe the most successful recruitment strategy is to place an emphasis on large salaries, but how does this fit with the current team who are often paid less.

68% of employees rate training and development as the most important policy, which is often difficult in a small company.

67% of people employed in 2018 found their role through Facebook.

30% of business owners don’t have the time or resource to find the best candidate for the job and end up with the best of what’s on offer.

The cost of internal recruitment is significantly lower than external recruitment, and is often a preferred route.

SME’s can attract quality candidates even when competing with the big boys because SME’s don’t have layers of bureaucracy which exist in larger companies and so can offer recruitment quickly, and be far more engaging with potential candidates.

Employers often spend so much time on the underperformers that they forget to stretch the top performers.  Managers tend to communicate well with good employees and don’t with poor performers. It’s estimated that 10% of people in business are doing the wrong job.  So, looking at your workforce on a regular basis is definitely a good discipline.

Members of the Business Exposure Group debated this topic at a recent meeting and all agreed the following points were vital when looking to recruit the right candidate.

  • What role does your business need
  • What type of person and experience will benefit your business
  • Keep to an agreed timeframe and allow time for the recruitment process – it takes, on average, 12 weeks to get someone to join the company
  • Provide a complete job description
  • Involve your employees in the process
  • Make the candidate feel comfortable, explain the process of how long it’s going to take to deal with all the candidates so they are not confused
  • Sell the role and the company
  • Give constructive feedback
  • Make your offer clear and concise, get verbal agreement first
  • Continue the recruitment process after the offer has been made
  • Prepare for the candidate start date; get the first day right otherwise you’re always playing catch up.
  • Become a great employer and an employer of choice

After all surrounding yourself with talent is the best way to grow a robust business.

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