A high proportion of vacancies in the UK every year are with small businesses, but it can be hard for them to find new staff. Many SMEs turn to recruitment agencies to source staff who are the right fit and have the right skills.
But how can agencies best put forward the advantages of working for a small, lesser-known company? Also, how can the right recruitment agency software make it simpler to find quality candidates for a smaller business?
Small and medium businesses in the UK
According to a recent House of Commons briefing paper, 99% of businesses in the UK are SMEs, making up a total of more than 5.4 million companies. Within this, there are over 5.3 million micro-businesses with fewer than 10 people, employing 36% of the UK workforce.
This shows just how important small businesses are and why this steadily growing sector is seen as the engine of the British economy. However, SMEs are being hit by the skills shortage, in the technology field in particular, and there is fierce competition to recruit candidates with the knowledge and experience needed.
If you are competing with recruiters working on behalf of larger companies, the problem can be that, because these organisations are better-known, candidates are more likely to choose them first. Perceived advantages include prestige, greater brand awareness and opportunities for career progression.
In fact, there are also major advantages to working for smaller companies, but many SMEs find it hard to get across the message of all they have to offer. This is one reason why they often turn to recruitment agencies to find a new employee. But then recruiters in turn have the job of finding people with the right skills and selling the company to the right candidate. Here are our key pointers for agencies recruiting for SMEs.
Get to Know the Business
Every small business has its own culture and it’s important to find candidates who will fit in and be part of the team. A way to do this is to really get a feel of the business you are recruiting for, as then you are more likely to find candidates who are right for them.
Often small businesses are looking for staff members who are not only highly skilled in their own field, but are also all-rounders and willing to turn their hand to other tasks when necessary. A big advantage for SMEs is that as an agency you can save them time and avoid them having to weed-out candidates who aren’t suitable for them.
Spread the Word Widely
Technology helps small companies to be on more of a level playing field with the larger ones, by making it easier for candidates to get a feel of what a company is like and apply for jobs. In addition to job boards, it can help to reach a wider range of candidates if you advertise on social media, using recruitment agency software which makes it as easy to apply via these channels as possible.
Looking at the whole age range can also help you to avoid missing out on potential candidates. This includes Generation Z, people born in the late 1990s and early 2000’s, who are now playing an increasingly important role in the workplace, as well as the slightly older Generation Y/Millennials and all the other age groups in the workforce. People in their 40s, 50s and 60s can sometimes be overlooked by recruiters, but they have much to offer, including experience and loyalty. You need to find the sites which these varied age groups regularly visit.
Present SME’s USPs Clearly
The advantages of working for larger companies are well-known, but as a recruiter you also need to be able to get across to candidates what the advantages of working for a small company are. Candidates may not be clear about what a smaller company has to offer, so this needs to be put across both in the initial marketing and placing of job ads and at the interview stage.
Attractions of working for a small business include greater flexibility, the opportunity to take on more responsibility early on, and the fact that often a role can be more tailored to a staff member’s individual strengths. They are also likely to have more access to senior management and a chance to put forward ideas, without going through the layers of admin which tend to be present in larger organisations.
If, despite all your efforts, you cannot source an ideal candidate with the full skill set required for the job, it can be helpful to think flexibly and to look again at the strongest applicants who have come forward. The company may be prepared either to recast the job’s requirements, possibly by shifting someone internally, or to change the hours and look at flexible working. Finding two part-timers can often work just as well for a small company as one full-timer.
Adapt software is ideal for recruitment agencies working with SMEs. It enables applications via a wide range of routes, including job boards and social media as well as a mobile phone app. Adapt quickly captures all the information supplied by candidates and saves it in an easily searchable form. To find out more about how Adapt can work for you, please get in touch.