The jobs market is getting tighter as the levels of unemployment fall, the average age of the British worker increases and the skills gap bites harder. How can SME’s ensure they get the best candidates for their job vacancies, retain their staff and hire the right person at the offset?
1. Is it really time to recruit?
Taking on a new member of staff can be daunting for the smallest companies, but if you are already working at full tilt, it may appear as the only way to boost your revenues – other than putting your prices up. But getting it wrong can be very costly indeed! Once the workload is out of the way, it may mean that the new employee becomes redundant without any work to do. So make 100% sure that it is the right time to hire before taking on a full-time person. If you know that the additional workload is going to be sustained, then start the hiring process straight away!
2. Get clarity on what you really want
Very often, SME’s make the mistake of hiring what they think they want, not what they actually need in terms of skill set, experience and personality. I always suggest writing a clear description of the job based on the daily duties. Keeping this in mind will define the characteristics of the person you should hire. And stick to the brief when the interviewing process starts. This will ensure that you recruit the right person for the job, rather than someone you like. Instead of only considering experienced people for your job vacancies, considering a trainee or apprentice may give you a good result, especially with the amount of support available for this kind of recruitment.
3. Incentivise staff
When it comes to staff wages, small companies typically struggle to compete with large corporations, so it is important that SMEs seek other ways to encourage the best candidates. Research shows that beyond high salaries, job seekers prioritise roles that offer flexible work hours (37%), meaningful work (35%) and a pleasant work environment (32%). While SMEs may not always be able to offer the impressive salaries of the largest corporations, their small size means they can focus on getting to know their employees on a personal level and tailor the benefits offered to suit their employees’ needs. Highlighting how a candidate’s work will make a real difference to the organisation is also a key way to draw job seekers who may otherwise seek employment with larger competitors.
4. Take a multi-channel approach to hiring
More than half of job searches are done via a mobile device and this figure is expected to continue to grow. However, it appeared that a mere 9% of SMEs currently optimise mobile for recruitment – with many UK SMEs still relying on newspapers and personal contacts as their main means of hiring.
Job seekers want the flexibility of searching for jobs on the go – and companies that do not accommodate this, could be losing out on the best candidates. In 2017, companies of all sizes will have to embrace smart phones and tablets as a core platform for hiring. Get your job ads online, utilise your website and social media channels to attract candidates, and make it easy for them to engage with you. This will help you get the deepest possible candidate pool.
5. Keep the process clean
Always ensure that all the candidates you consider are legally entitled to work in the UK.
Make sure that you job ads are not discriminatory, and that the recruitment process is free of prejudice. Treat all interviewees in the same way, and make sure that the selection criteria are published together with the job description.
Keep records of the process, like interview forms and letters to unsuccessful candidates. Should there be a problem later, you will have evidence of the process you followed.
As a legal formality, job details – including terms and conditions – need to be sent out to the new employee in writing. You must give any new employee a written statement of employment if they are being taken on for more than one month. Then, finally, you need to register as an employer with HM Revenue & Customs. This can be done up to four weeks before you pay your new staff member.
Visit www.cathyrich.co.uk for more information on how to negotiate the recruitment process, and how I can help you make the best of the time and money you spend on people entering and exiting your business, regardless of size.