Top 3 recruitment tips for SME’s

recruitment tipsEmployment has been steadily rising, reaching a rate of 73.5% in the second quarter of 2015 according to the Office for National Statistics. In July this year, the number of employed reached 31.1 million, seeing unemployment drop by 361,000 over the previous year. Employment and economic growth go hand in hand. Choosing to employ is critically important to your business and now unemployment levels are low, there is more competition from employers trying to find the right candidate. For small companies, effective strategies for recruitment and retention are therefore as important as ever. That is why we are detailing our top 3 recruitment tips here.

There are many challenges to finding the right employee. Good candidates are able to pick and choose their next employer, so you will have to find creative strategies to make a position more appealing. In the job market, you might be competing with large companies with recognised brands and significant recruitment budgets. With a commission of anything up to 25% of the new employee’s annual salary going to a recruitment agency, recruitment can be an expensive exercise.

Our 3 recruitment tips

  1. To recruit on a budget, small to medium sized businesses first have to consider the advantages they offer to employees. Your company might be able to offer benefits which large companies can’t match. Some of these will be obvious, such as rapid career progression and the opportunity benefit from business growth. Other factors might be less apparent and will need to be emphasised. Consider your location and working environment, how you might support training, flexible working hours or working from home. More and more employees are looking for a job which fits their work/life balance, so a more flexible approach is often highly appealing to prospective employees.
  2. Once you have identified these benefits, you might want to consider broadening your pool of potential candidates. For Example, would the position suit a working mother, a school leaver, or someone close to retirement? Could a part-time position fit with other working commitments a prospective candidate might have? Once you answer these questions, you will be in a better position to advertise positions that appeal to candidates who are not looking for a traditional 9-5 job.
  3. Think about where your potential candidates might be and make greater use of your social media links (e.g. twitter, Facebook) as part of your recruitment campaign to target a wider audience. Showcase career development opportunities within your business on your website to show how staff have been promoted and build an image of yourself as a ‘good employer’ to gain a competitive edge over other businesses.

You might also need to consider whether you have sufficient resources in place to manage the recruitment process. If you lack capacity in-house to handle a recruitment campaign – consider whether you need support from an HR consultant who will be able to help with the whole process. From writing the job and person specification for the ideal candidate, choosing where to advertise, liaising with recruitment agencies, through to interviewing techniques, testing and assessments, offers of employment, contracts and more – access to HR expertise can be vital.

To recruit and retain the right employees can give a real competitive advantage to your organisation. As an employer you compete with any number of other companies on the basis of salaries, benefits and working environments. HR support can help benchmark against other companies in your specific industry and sector. HR involvement in contracts and policies will also play an important role in the recruitment and retention of your work force.

Existing and future legislation will also impact recruitment and retention. In April 2015, there were many legislative developments including Shared Parental Leave, Parental Leave, Adoption Leave, Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption pay increases. In addition, the Minimum Wage rose in October 2015 and in April 2016 we will have the National Living wage introduced to all aged over 25. These developments may or may not be relevant to you, but knowledge and awareness of legislative changes to ensure you remain compliant is very important and can help to ensure your workforce is happy and motivated, and less likely to ‘jump ship’.

HR Service Centre offers help and advice in the recruitment and retention process, as well as ensuring your handbook and policies are up to date for compliance. If you would like to discuss this or any other HR services matter further please contact Lesley Saunders on 0845 606 9640 or email

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