Small businesses may think that they don’t need a recruitment strategy because they don’t recruit as often as their larger competitors. However, it’s the presence of those larger companies, wooing the best talent, that makes a solid recruitment plan important for all businesses, regardless of their size.
What most candidates don’t realise is the scale of employment within small businesses. They employ just under 50% of the USA’s total employee workforce and, according to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, they accounted for 61.8% of net new jobs from the first quarter of 1993 to the third quarter of 2016. However, large companies tend to win a large share of candidate attention because of their image, resources and reputation.
It’s vital, then, that your business has a clear recruitment plan or strategy in place. Recruitment is a costly affair, particularly if it turns out that you have employed someone who doesn’t fit well with the company. Here are five ways that you can make recruitment easier and more successful:
Streamline your recruitment process
Recruitment may be an ad hoc task in your business but having a set process will reduce the amount of time that you spend on it and increase its effectiveness. A plan that covers the following elements will give you a framework that you can use whenever you need to recruit:
- Scope out how your company values and principles can be communicated throughout the process – this will help with cultural fit and ‘sell’ the job better
- Create a job description format in which you can insert key tasks, responsibilities and skills
- Draw up scoring forms and notes that give you a mechanism for assessing and evaluating candidates.
Assess your reach
It’s essential that you have an advertising reach in mind, both in terms of geography and availability of skilled candidates. How will you get your vacancy in front of the right people and make them notice you?
There are many online job sites out there, so researching the strengths and weaknesses of the main ones relevant to your sector will help. And, of course, never underestimate the power of working your contacts to spread the word and the usefulness of social media. If you’re not confident that you will attract the quantity or quality of candidates, specialist recruitment agencies can use their skills on your behalf.
Stay flexible with temps
Hiring during difficult economic times is scary. Will the business be able to support the additional costs? And what if your shiny new start loses their sparkle a few months into the job and develops performance issues?
For some posts, trying a temporary arrangement may reduce those risks. You could employ someone directly for a period of up to a year or use a freelancer who may be interested in a contract at a later date. Make sure, though, that there are enough candidates in the market that will be attracted to this option.
Utilise all your resources
Your strategy should include everyone who works for you. You could consider an employee referral program, where your current staff recommend someone they know to fill the vacancy and receive a reward if that person gets the job. Alternatively, you could do things more informally and bring your staff together over lunch to look through their LinkedIn contacts or suggest people they know who might be right for the new job.
If your staff can promote your business as a great employer to their contacts, those people are more likely to show interest in working for you.
Outsource when it’s right
The idea that using a recruitment agency is a cost effective option might seem counter-intuitive, but they can save you money. This is particularly the case if:
- The staff running the selection process would otherwise be engaged in tasks that would generate income for the business
- You operate in a niche sector (such as manufacturing automation or supply chain management) or need a candidate with specialist or hard to find skills.
A recruitment firm can use its expert knowledge and skills to focus your recruitment process and do most of the work for you. A good agency will also help you to reduce common recruitment mistakes such as creating unrealistic job descriptions, focusing on the wrong things in interviews and offering the wrong type of rewards package.