Top recruitment tips for SMEs

Small business is big business for sharp-minded recruiters

Smaller doesn’t mean less work, however. SMEs will require more attention to detail and be more involved in the recruiting process. Not least because to engage a recruiter is a significant per capita cost for them but also as their team is smaller, the engagement has to deliver the right candidate for it to work.

Top tips to help you seek out SME Talent:

1. Know your SME

Talk to the team. Get an understanding as to who and what is right for them. SMEs have unique identities which come from the founders and this is imprinted in the ethos of the business and the people it attracts to work for it. Know the team to know who is the right candidate.

2. Jack of All Trades

In major corporations, people have set roles and larger teams. In SMEs, you will find that people can and do turn their hand to most things. The term “team player” is critical and the business owners are likely to be very involved as well. In any recruitment process, this means they will also be hands-on and will want to feel 100% comfortable with those being recruited because they will have to work with them too.

3. Great Expectations

Candidates from an SME background are the obvious go-to as your first call because they will already have a thorough knowledge of working for a smaller business. Candidates wanting to make the switch from large to small need to be prepared for the cultural change. This is not a negative but it must be managed. If for example, the candidate is seeking a fast-paced, sector conglomerate then an SME is unlikely to be the correct environment for them.

4. Who?

The “Who” is right for roles within smaller businesses is key. Graduates and the mature worker are immediate options. Both offer different but attractive qualities which work well for SMEs. The mature worker is likely to have a career of experience – so training wise they can hit the ground running. The older worker can also provide stability to a small team and invaluable knowledge. The graduate, whilst in need of training, is versatile and keen to learn. They are likely to be team players and happy to switch roles and take on varied tasks.

Schemes such as Jobs Growth Wales offer support to small businesses to take on graduates and a number of universities including the Royal Agricultural University and Oxford Brooke’s have graduate programmes in place, working with business to give graduates a start in the workforce.

5. Small is Good

Working for an SME offers huge advantages. SMEs won’t compare to corporations when it comes to salaries and packages but small businesses offer more opportunities to progress and fast track their career, together with greater access to learning on the job with the team being more flexible in the context of roles and responsibilities.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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