Where Can SMEs Recruit the Best Job Candidates?
There are predictions that the UK’s SMEs will create tens of thousands of new jobs in 2017 and over the next few years. However, as skills shortages continue to bite, the big question is how small and medium companies can compete for talent against larger rivals, and where to find candidates with the skills and qualities you need.
As a leading provider of managed offices to rent, at Basepoint we work closely with our licensees and take a keen interest in all topics concerning them, including recruitment issues. Here we will look at ways of finding the new staff members you need.
SMEs Set to Grow
It is estimated that more than 16 million people in the UK already work for small and medium companies. Many of these firms are expected to expand not only this year, but also in the years ahead. Despite concerns over issues such as Brexit, one recent survey by specialist bank Aldermore found 80% of SMEs expected their revenue either to grow or to remain steady in the next 12 months.
Continued growth will mean taking on staff, with the npower Business SME Growth Forecast Index having recently predicted that small and medium companies could create as many as 200,000 new jobs by 2020. The report also pointed to big benefits for the British economy, saying an extra £16 billion could be generated annually.
However, one factor which could slow growth for small companies is the continuing impact of a skills shortage, particularly in digital and associated fields. Another research study has recently suggested that the difficulty in finding skilled staff is now the biggest hurdle facing small companies which want to grow. So, if you are looking to expand and need to find new staff members, what is the best way forward?
When seeking new staff, it has become vital over recent years for companies to make full use of social networks. Increasingly, social media platforms are among the first places that many people turn when they are searching for jobs, with LinkedIn and smaller professional networks playing a key role.
Before advertising jobs via these fields, it is important to look at which platforms tend to be used most by people who are already working within your industry or who are likely to have the skills you require.
However, anyone recruiting staff needs to bear in mind that not everyone spends a lot of time using social media. This might in particular apply to some older candidates, or to those who are combining jobs with other responsibilities and don’t have much free time, but who still have high levels of professional skill. So it is advisable to use other channels as well in order to ensure the broadest choice of candidates.
Often new employees are found not only via advertising, but “on the grapevine”. For instance, existing employees may have friends or former colleagues who would be an ideal fit for you. Many larger companies operate referral schemes, where current staff are rewarded if they suggest a new staff member who is then recruited. Some smaller companies are now also introducing similar initiatives.
Going beyond your own team by networking with other members of your local business community can help with recruitment. If you are based in managed offices to rent, you will meet and chat to other business people informally and build up relationships. When staff know you are looking for someone, they are likely to pass the word on if they hear that someone is available who might suit your business.
Also, if you meet and chat to people at networking events, even if they are not looking for a new position now, there is a good chance they will remember you and might apply to you for a job in the future.
Sometimes, when you are looking for someone with a specific skill set, you might come across someone who doesn’t quite fit but has other skills which could be valuable. This might mean there is potential to fill the gap in a different way, perhaps by taking them on in a slightly different role, while moving someone else within your company.
Also, if you don’t find one full-time candidate who has all the skills you need, another possible option could be to employ a couple of people part-time or flexibly. You may also want to consider outsourcing to freelances or using remote workers, something which has become much easier with the development of high-tech new apps and systems.
Get to Know Candidates
Especially in a small business, it is important to find someone not only with the right skill set, but with a personality which will be a good fit for your team. This involves going beyond the CV, by spending time talking to people at interviews and finding out what makes them tick and how they would deal with situations which might come up.
Often it can help to arrange a phone interview followed by a face-to-face meeting or even two interviews in person, so that both you and your prospective employee are sure you are making the right decision.
Basepoint provides a whole raft of support features for small businesses using our serviced office space, including regular networking events. Our centre is a business community, with staff from different companies regularly meeting and talking in breakout areas and at a range of events. We also offer virtual offices to rent.