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.)
yourself with the legislation
Go through your recruitment policies and
procedures. Check your documentation is up to date and complies with current
is an excellent reference point). Make sure that anyone who could be involved
in the recruitment process understands what is legally required of them.
what you want from your new recruit
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
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
Copywriting near Chester
and Wrexham. As well as providing a full range of copywriting services, Debbie
also specialises in HR writing.
Published By; Debbie Thomas, Grangewood