In a competitive market that is constantly evolving, it is vital for SME owners to use an effective recruitment strategy.
In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to create a strategy that drives exceptional talent acquisition and retention for your business. From optimizing the interview process to harnessing the power of employee referrals, we’ve shared our top tips on how to ensure your business grows successfully.
1. Why is recruitment important?
2. What is a recruitment strategy?
3. How to create and develop a recruitment strategy
4. Six tips for small business recruitment:
- Focus on your brand
- Change how you write job ads
- Develop an employee referral scheme
- Rethink the interview process
- Attend job fairs and events
Create videos to promote your company culture.
Why is recruitment important?
Strategic recruitment is vital to business success. Some of the benefits include:
Lower long-term hiring costs
Reduced employee turnover
Stronger company culture.
What is a recruitment strategy?
A recruitment strategy is a plan that sets out the different steps a company will take to find, attract, hire, and onboard skilled workers. Businesses use different recruitment methods to attract qualified staff, usually determined by the type of role trying to be filled.
Recruitment and employee retention go hand in hand. This makes it vital for small business recruitment strategies to include internal processes focused on improving employee engagement.
How to create and develop a recruitment strategy
The first step to developing a recruitment strategy is to clearly define your recruitment goals and set specific objectives for each stage of the recruitment life cycle.
Agencies often use the recruitment life cycle to describe their approach to hiring. However, full-cycle recruiting is also a model that can be valuable to small business owners who plan to manage their entire recruitment process in-house.
While the number of stages in the cycle can vary from company to company, the main steps involved include:
After identifying your overarching goals, you can start to think about the different roles your company may need to fulfil further down the line. This part of the strategy is referred to as workforce planning, which helps to:
Forecast hiring needs
Connect existing roles to future goals
Identify potential gaps
Determine necessary steps to fulfil this demand.
Six tips for small business recruitment
1. Focus on your employer brand
Digital review platforms have created greater transparency within the job market, giving candidates the power to screen prospective companies from their fingertips.
These platforms can serve as your business’s biggest advocates or critics, which can often decide whether a candidate applies to work for you.
To help increase your visibility and give candidates confidence in your company, it’s essential to focus on your employer brand and employee value proposition (EVP).
What is an employer brand?
Employer branding is a strategy businesses use to market themselves to job seekers. This branding aims to build a positive company image and send an outward message that encourages the belief that the company is a great place to work.
To achieve this reputation, your employer brand strategy should focus inward to provide existing employees with positive employment experiences.
Your EVP forms an important part of this strategy by demonstrating the specific rewards and benefits your company can offer its employees. Defining what your company stands for through this proposition can help attract skilled workers with aligned values.
Employer brand example - Google:
Google has become globally recognized as a company that offers significant benefits to its workforce.
Their famous 70/20/10 model gives staff the autonomy to spend a percentage of their time on training and developing their own ideas.
In addition, their career website features My Path to Google, a section of their website dedicated to showcasing personal recruitment process experiences and day to day life working as a Googler.
2. Change how you write job ads
First impressions are everything, and how a job advertisement is written can make all the difference in your efforts to attract top talent.
For a small business owner with a busy workload, the prospect of sitting down to craft tailored job ads can feel less than appealing. However, there are steps you can take to make the process less time-consuming.
How to write a good job ad:
Effective job advertisements are engaging and inclusive, and prompt the right people to apply. These tips can help you avoid making common job ad mistakes that result in attracting the wrong job applicants for your roles:
Research your target candidate: When writing a job ad, it’s important to think about who you’re writing for and the type of language you should use to appeal to the type of candidate you want to hire.
Emphasize company culture: Use the writing process as an opportunity to communicate your company culture. In doing so, you’ll be more likely to attract workers who make a good cultural fit for your business.
Highlight benefits: Focus on the reward and recognition your company offers to help to win over potential candidates.
Be authentic: In the same way, you wouldn’t want a candidate to exaggerate their skills and achievements, it’s important to only advertise benefits that your company will realistically be able to deliver on.
Use keywords in job titles: To maximize your job ad’s visibility, aim to use standard titles that will resonate with potential candidates, even if the internal job titles planned for the positions are different.
3. Develop an employee referral scheme
An employee referral programme is a recruitment tactic that uses a company’s existing workforce as a recruiting source.
Through employee referral, you can ask your workforce to engage with their network to recruit candidates they feel would make a good fit for your business.
While this type of strategy offers benefits to employees, employers, and job seekers alike, as a small business owner, setting up an employee referral scheme could help to:
Engage your workforce
Attract high-quality candidates
Build teams with good cultural fit
Save time and money on sourcing.
Although recent research into the success of employee referrals in the UK is limited, previous studies indicate this strategy offers significant benefits to employee retention, with 47% of hired referrals having been retained by companies for three years or more.
4. Rethink the interview process
The right interview process for your company will depend on lots of factors, such as your industry and the type or level of role being filled. However, there are key interview techniques that should remain consistent across all organizations:
Make candidates feel at ease: Many highly skilled workers can suffer from interview anxiety, so it’s important for hiring managers to create a relaxed and comfortable space where interviewees can shine.
Be hospitable and flexible: Attending a face-to-face interview in the UK is estimated to cost candidates an average of £41. When rethinking your interview process, consider whether onsite interviews are necessary for early-stage candidates, or whether an initial phone or video interview would suffice.
Respect candidates' time: Interviews often require candidates to take time off work to fit into the recruiter's schedule. Rescheduling at the last minute or turning up late for the interview shows a lack of respect for candidates' time, which can set a really bad example for the way your company does business.
5. Attend job fairs and networking events
These recruitment events are an effective way for employers to meet potential candidates that they may not have come across through more traditional methods of the hiring process.
Job fairs can offer significant recruitment benefits, including:
Attract local talent: In the UK, around 450 searches for ‘job fairs near me’ are made each month. Attending these fairs can help you capitalize on nearby talent without needing to pay to advertise jobs locally.
Face-to-face interaction: A candidate may seem perfect on paper, but direct social interaction can help to better determine how easily they’ll adapt to your company's culture.
Market your company: Job fairs are one of the best places to advertise your business and meet candidates of all levels - from first-time job applicants with untapped potential to experienced workers seeking a change.
Save time and money: Blocking out a couple of hours to meet candidates in a singular space can help to cut out a large chunk of time and money spent on the sourcing stage of your recruitment strategy.
6. Create videos to promote your company culture
Recruiting videos have become a popular employer branding tool used to attract top talent. These versatile recordings help to showcase company culture and values, giving potential candidates a better feel of the company they’re looking to join.
While corporate videos are often associated with expensive production costs, small businesses can create videos in-house at low cost by:
Tapping into internal talent
Styling videos to intentionally feel informal
Making use of video equipment leasing.
A large number of job seekers use social media as part of their job search, and video recruiting provides a way to tap into this community at a low cost.
In addition to using videos to promote new opportunities across your social media channels, these videos can be uploaded to your website alongside job postings to increase candidate engagement.
‘Day In The Life’ videos are particularly useful additions to text advertising and can be authentically crafted to inspire candidates by appealing to their key motivators.
Ensure your strategy reflects the business culture
Finally, remember your business has the exciting opportunity to customize a recruitment strategy that reflects the culture you want to cultivate in your business.
With the right strategy, you can build a strong, competitive brand identity that will attract passive candidates for years to come.
‘Recruiting should be viewed as a business partner, someone who is critical to the success of the business’