6th September 2018
But small businesses can struggle with recruiting the
right people. They are sometimes regarded as not being able to offer the package
or career progression many candidates want. While this perception is changing, there
are things you can do to emphasise the positives of working in a small business
environment and to catch the eye of the right candidates.
Laying the groundwork
Develop a good website to raise your profile. Keep in mind the fact you are not only marketing your company to your customers but to potential new recruits too. If you don’t have a presence on social media, think about setting your company up on at least a couple of networks. Update them regularly. Make sure you are talking about any awards your company has won, any charities you support – in fact, anything that gives insights into your business and its culture. (Don’t however rely exclusively on social media for advertising your vacancy – this could leave you open to a discrimination claim.)
Go through your recruitment policies and procedures. Check your documentation is up to date and complies with current legislation (ACAS is an excellent reference point). Make sure that anyone who could be involved in the recruitment process understands what is legally required of them.
If you select a candidate who is the wrong fit it will, unfortunately, become apparent quite quickly. So think hard about your company’s culture before you recruit. Write a person spec but be very honest with yourself about what you need. Is your ideal candidate somebody who is a good all-rounder? With a small number of people in your business, do you need them to be willing and able to work in different departments or help a colleague if necessary?
Or do you need someone who brings some specific skills with them? If so, what can you do to check these skills actually exist? Think about what you can do to find out if the level of competence the person claims to have is backed up by performance – can you set a relevant test or find one online for example?
Skills are important but so is attitude. Try to prepare questions that will help you understand the person's attitude to work, life and challenges in general. Someone with a positive attitude can achieve a great deal even if they don’t have every skill you’d like.
During the interview
This is not just the time to find out more about the applicant. This is also your chance to sell the benefits of working for your business.
Explain the cultural and lifestyle benefits. Make sure you talk about the breadth and variety of work they’ll be involved in. Outline the opportunities to take on increasing amounts of responsibility and the access they’ll have to key managers and decision-makers. This isn’t always possible in a larger company and can give your new recruit an opportunity to have real impact on the business.
Interview on-site if possible. Do a minimum of two interviews and involve at least another two of your employees so you get some different perspectives. (Plus it’s far easier to interview if you are not the only one asking questions!)
Once you’ve selected the ideal person it is entirely understandable you’ll want to tell them and arrange for them to start as soon as possible. But do make sure you’ve checked out any essential references, qualifications and/or licences first. Because it is considerably easier to sort out any problems that may arise before you’ve made that offer of employment..!
Following many years working as a human resources, training and
business communications professional, Debbie Thomas now runs Grangewood
Published By; Debbie Thomas, Grangewood Copywriting