best hiring practices and tips for UK SMEs.
With unemployment levels near record lows, and the active working population being at its lowest level in the UK, it’s no wonder that there is a current shortage of high-quality candidates. This becoming an acute issue for SMEs across the country as employees can afford to cherry-pick the top opportunities for their next career moves. This makes it especially important to use the best hiring practices for small businesses.
In this article, we consider the challenges of hiring employees for your small business, with advice covering every stage of the process, from job postings to onboarding. We explain how aspects like timing and the choice of recruitment platforms are as important as simplifying the interview process and ensuring newly appointed staff are supported by a mentor throughout their onboarding. And while recruitment can’t always be scheduled, some employment sectors are more seasonal than others.
1. it’s all about timing
Some industries have distinct annual cycles; you’ll struggle to find personal tax staff willing to leave their current roles in winter. By contrast, spring is a great time to advertise such roles. Unless you’re filling a sudden vacancy, investigate when to hire employees for small businesses. Consider the impact of school holidays since parents are less likely to be looking for jobs at Easter or in summer.
2. don’t dismiss people with experience in other industries
Unless you’re looking to fill a specialist position like dental technician role, today’s job market encourages creative thinking. Someone who’s previously set up their own homespun business could be ideal for a sales role, even without selling experience; having demonstrated tenacity and commitment. For the same reason, avoid arbitrary minimum experience periods or people who have moved around so frequently, that they haven’t been able to prove themselves in a role or environment.
3. research where to advertise
The best hiring practices for small businesses include effective job advertising. If you’re looking for local manual labour, the nearest Jobcentre makes sense. However, most vacancies have gone online with recruiters either advertising on job boards or directly approaching relevant candidates via networks such as LinkedIn. Knowing both where and when to hire employees for small businesses will maximise the chances of eligible candidates seeing the vacancy.
4. create a detailed job description
Recruitment is about establishing what you don’t want, as well as what you do. In the job advert and role description, add detail that emphasises what characteristics or experience are required to do it effectively. If possible, canvass the thoughts of outgoing staff as part of their exit interviews – nobody knows a role better than the person doing it today.
5. celebrate your firm’s benefits and positives
A dynamic job posting will stand out amid a sea of blandly written adverts. However, compiling an engaging advert that celebrates the best aspects of your company, takes time. Ask staff for suggestions on what they like about the firm; add a strong opening paragraph that captures attention; outline all the benefits, including ancillary aspects like flexible working, early finish Fridays or any other benefits that your employees value.
6. offer virtual interviews
Many companies have embraced the benefits of remote working, which necessitates remote interviews. Yet even local small business hiring should come with the option of virtual interviews since staff may be wary of stepping back into an office environment after the last few years of remote working. We are also used to making better use of our time and allowing tech to facilitate those time saving opportunities. Hiring employees for your small business can be done effectively online.
7. consider what makes existing employees successful
Perhaps your company thrives on building long-standing client relationships, requiring charismatic and dedicated employees. Or maybe your firm stands out from rivals because everyone is an authority in their particular area. Considering the attributes of existing staff often helps to determine how to hire staff for small businesses, ensuring that the right person is offered the role.
8. don’t over-complicate the recruitment process
It’s easy to deter would-be candidates with multi-stage recruitment processes or masses of paperwork. Small firms have limited HR resources, so is it really advisable to spend ages compiling psychometric tests or holding four-stage interviews? The talent pool may be limited, especially in terms of local small business hiring, so expedite the process with minimal gaps between stages.
9. appoint a mentor for a trial period
There are considerable costs incurred in recruitment, but the cost of retaining an unsuitable employee is higher still. Occasionally, this only becomes evident after they’ve started, so a trial period is advisable or a minimum probationary period to ensure they pass the test. To give them the best chance of succeeding and thriving, appoint an experienced colleague as a mentor. They should ideally work in a similar role, sharing learned experience.
the best hiring decision you’ll make.
If you’re still unsure how to hire staff for small businesses, it’s worth remembering that we offer a suite of tools, including our proprietary applicant tracking system. This minimises pressure on HR teams by automating and streamlining everything from interview scheduling to onboarding, allowing SMEs to focus on core duties and day-to-day HR responsibilities. Find out more by getting in touch with our expert team to see how hireful can help you to find and recruit the best candidates in your industry or locality.