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written by
Jack Stratten

Small business recruitment tips

Meeting in coffee shop

Getting recruitment right will make or break your business. It can be expensive – especially if you use an agency – and you can’t grow without more staff. But it’s widely acknowledged that 1 in 5 recruitment decisions are wrong – and according to the CIPD, hiring the wrong person costs an average of £8200.

So, this guide is all about how you can hire the right person, and without spending a fortune.

Be honest about the job

One major recruiting headache is getting lots of unsuitable applications. And being clear and honest in job adverts can help to alleviate this.

It’s an easy trap to fall into: you’re eager to sell your company and the role, so you focus on aspects of the job that sound more exciting. But all of a sudden the role you describe doesn’t really match the role itself, and the people applying aren’t quite right.

The job advert has to accurately describe what your employee will be doing on a day-to-day basis. If it doesn’t, you’ll not only get the wrong applicants, but you’ll risk losing whoever you hire when they begin to realise the job isn’t how it was described.

In recruitment, honesty is the best policy.

Hire an apprentice

Apprentices are affordable and eager to learn. You can also get access to government funding when you hire an apprentice, which can cover the majority of your expense. And you’ll be doing your bit for the local community too, by tackling unemployment in your area.

In truth, it’s surprising that more small businesses don’t use apprentices to build up their workforce.

To find out more on apprenticeships, check out our comprehensive guide.

Offer something bigger businesses can’t

The job market is extremely competitive, and chances are, you’re battling against a number of other businesses to attract talented employees. Many of these businesses may well be bigger than yours too, with the power to offer more money, and a more wide-ranging benefits package.

But this doesn’t mean you’re doomed to failure. The key is being creative, and playing to your strengths. Many prospective employees are specifically interested in working for small businesses, driven by the possibility of making a real difference and helping an SME to grow. So, sell the job on that basis: in this role, you’re not just a cog in a machine – everything you do affects the success of this business.

Think also about the benefits of working for a small business. It’s easier to prove your worth and get things done with less bureaucracy – and that could make career advancement faster. It could also be argued that it’s more interesting, because the work is more critical – you don’t tend to get many pen-pushers at small businesses. You might even argue that it’s more fun and friendly, because a small business is like a small family.

Offer flexibility

Salary remains the number one priority for job candidates, but increasingly, having a good work-life balance is close behind.

You don’t have the barriers and red tape that bigger businesses have to contend with when it comes to offering flexibility to your employees. If you want to be flexible, you can make that happen overnight. So, sell this to employees; show them that you’re a small, nimble business that can offer the flexibility they need to maintain a happy, healthy work-life balance.

The bottom line: make the most of being small.


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