Four Recruiting Tips for SMEs

Hiring the right person for the job is always important, but in a small business it’s perhaps even more vital. With less staff there are fewer people to take up the slack if someone underperforms, and job roles are often wider.

So how can you make sure you recruit the best person you can?

Consider if it’s an employee you need

Think about the work that needs to be done. Is an employee the best fit, or would this work be better outsourced to another company or completed by a freelancer? If it’s a limited project, irregular work, or a role that requires very few hours a week, an employee may not be the best option.

It’s also worth considering whether an existing, productive member of staff could be trained to add the work to their role, especially if they’re part-time and happy to up their hours.

Think carefully about your company vision and ethos

Teams with a similar mind set are usually the most harmonious. If they align with the company ethos and vision they’re likely to integrate well, and be a more loyal and passionate employee. Think about the company’s future, too. Are they likely to grow with the company, and adapt to any new direction? Asking them about their thoughts on this is useful insight, both into them and how the company is perceived!

Choose the right job title and description

The wrong job description can put off or mislead potential employees, which will affect recruitment of the right candidate.

Jargon can put off entry-level applicants, whereas industry vocabulary can help weed out the serious contenders from the ones applying for everything.

As well as the big picture stuff, include the day-to-day duties of the role. Describing the work environment also helps, for example, “working in a small-friendly, open-plan office”.

Consider the personal attributes they’ll need for the job. The role might demand an ability to cope well under pressure, or confidence on the phone. Will the employee need to take on the hours or duties of other staff members on annual leave? Do they need to organise their own work load?

It’s also a good idea to advertise the benefits, or other requirements that come with the role. Flexible working, health insurance, and charity initiatives can all be interesting.

If the job description is for a freelancer, some of these details will be irrelevant and can be omitted, but it’s still worth thinking about the kind of person you want to hire. This is especially the case if you’d like an ongoing, long-term working relationship with them. It’s also important to describe the work accurately and set clear expectations if you want to avoid problems later.

Don’t hire in a hurry

Don’t leave it until the last minute to start the recruitment process. Finding the right candidate can take time. You need to give people a chance to see the job advert, respond, and organise interviews. The right candidate might currently be employed, making it difficult for them to arrange leave and attend.

Also ensure plenty of time to collect references and for any necessary background checks before offering the position. Click here for more information about the allowed and necessary checks. Remember that you can be fined up to £20,000 if you can’t provide evidence that you checked an employee’s right to work in the UK.

For guidance on your legal obligations during the recruitment and on boarding process, check out the Government’s Employ Someone: Step by step guide. You can also find links to a host of useful information on your duties as an employer on the Employing People hub.