Five ways to boost your small business recruitment strategy

Managing people

16 February 2016

Finding the best people to help your small business flourish can be a real challenge. Lately things have become so competitive that recruitment is often known as ‘the war for talent’.

According to a recent study by research consultancy BDRC Continental1, over a quarter of UK SMEs expect staffing problems to be a ‘moderate obstacle’ to business in 2016 – while around 10% expect staffing to be a ‘major obstacle’. Who said recruitment was easy?

Are you looking to make sure you get the right people through the door of your SME in 2016? Then check out our top five tips for turbocharging your recruitment drive below.

Define your recruitment proposition

There are likely to be plenty of reasons why your firm is a great place to work. Thing is, you’re so familiar with your own business that it can be easy to forget just how special your workplace is. So sit down and make an exhaustive list that takes in all the positives that come with working for you.. You may be surprised just how many there are. And what better way to recruit the best staff than to have genuine belief that your small business really is one of the best out there!

Sell yourself

If you’ve seen the film Field of Dreams, you may remember Kevin Costner’s character hearing a mysterious voice that says if you build it, they will come. So he builds a baseball park – and the crowds duly arrive!

In business, things aren’t so straightforward, and just setting up your business isn’t always enough to get the right staff through the door. Even the best-known companies spend real time and effort (as well as cash) ensuring that they’re as visible to the public as possible. So if you want to maximise your recruitment opportunities, get your name out there. Advertise or share vacancies on the platforms where they’re most likely to be seen.

And, if possible, attend job fairs. This’ll not only let you meet potential employees well in advance of an interview - it’ll help them get to know you a little. All of which is a great opportunity for selling your business’ positives to the best candidates. 

Highlight your credibility and trust factors

Your business goes to a fair bit of effort to meet its legal obligations – so let potential employees know about them. Things such as compliance with health and safety legislation or ISO certification may not sound that exciting, but they are very strong signals to candidates that you are a professional outfit where they will be in good hands. And of course if you have professional indemnity insurance, you may want to mention that too. While not mandatory, having this type of cover is best practice – and another good trust signal.

Give a glimpse of the future

Make an effort to let candidates know where they could go within the company. After all, recruitment is only part of a process that continues with staff retention through to engagement and development.

Giving a glimpse of the future can be particularly important for attracting candidates for a starting position, since it demonstrates that if they have the capacity to develop, they will be rewarded accordingly. Let prospective employees know about the business’s ambition – where it wants to be in five years and where they could be in five years if they demonstrate the same ambition.

Create a feedback loop

Every time a new employee is happily and productively on board, why not elicit some detailed feedback on your recruitment process. What did you do well during recruitment – from initial job advert through to the interview stage? Was there anything you could have done better? Have employees seen any strong recruitment tactics used elsewhere that you could use in your own strategy?

Use the information gained to continuously improve and refine your recruitment process. And hopefully, you will obtain ever-better talent as your small business evolves and grows.

1BDRC SME survey, 2nd quarter 2015