How to: Attract the Brightest Talent to Your SME

SMEs are expected to drive much of the forecasted job growth  in the upcoming months as the economy continues to pick up.

But recruiting the right people has always been a challenge for growing businesses, who often can’t compete with larger organizations when it comes to salaries and benefits. Indeed, in a recent survey conducted by Conference Genie, over a third of SMEs from across a variety of sectors identified recruitment as their biggest HR challenge.

As a new report from the CIPD (Recruiting and Developing Talented People for SME Growth) points out, recruiting the right people is imperative. A wrong hire not only costs the business money, but can also be extremely disruptive. It suggests that SMEs, however, may need to be more creative about the way they build their employer brand and attract new recruits.

Here are some suggestions to help your business stand out from the crowd and attract the brightest talent:

Build your social media presence

Your LinkedIn page is often the first place prospective candidates will go to check you out, so make sure it is engaging and up-to-date. Facebook and Twitter are also a great way to spread the word about job opportunities so you can attract the widest pool of candidates. Make sure the messages you put out emphasize what’s great about working for your business. Keeping an active social media presence will help you build a community of people who feel connected with and loyal to your business and could turn out to be just the talent you’ve been looking for.

Focus on values

Making sure the people you bring on board are a good fit with your corporate culture and values is key to a successful hire, so don’t forget to talk about your values in your recruitment campaign. The Generation Y jobseekers are putting a strong emphasis on working for companies whose ethos they share, so spend some time thinking about the messages you want to convey about the qualities and behaviors you value.

Nurture your reputation

In today’s digital age, paying attention to your company reputation as an employer is vital. Sites like the Glassdoor (a kind of Trip Advisor for business) make it easy for people to find out what it’s like to work for your company and how well (or otherwise) you manage your recruitment process). Entering awards can be a good way to build your reputation and get formal recognition as a great place to work. But it’s how you treat people that will really make the difference. Treat people well and word will get around. Treat them badly, and the information will spread like wildfire.

Use your employees as ambassadors

Happy employees are your greatest advertisement, so try and think of ways you can use them in your recruitment efforts. You might consider putting interviews with graduate employees on the jobs section of your website for example, or producing videos or podcasts with employees talking about what the corporate culture is like. Ask employees to keep their LinkedIn profiles updates, so that job hopefuls can see who they might be working with. Don’t just limit the content to career-related information. Research has shown that many people also look at the social opportunities offered by potential employers, so if your business has clubs or societies or a lively programme of social events make sure you talk about those too.

Emphasize opportunities for development

People are often attracted to SMEs because they believe they will have the opportunity to be more involved with the business and develop a wider range of skills than with a larger organization. If your business believes in developing employee skills and giving them opportunities to get involved in projects, ensure you highlight this in your conversations with candidates. Sometimes, ambitious people will forgo the bigger salary and corporate trappings for a vibrant and exciting environment where they will be able to grow fast alongside the business.

Build external links

How well known is your business in its local community? Getting involved in local chapter, charity or networking groups can help you build your reputation and provide another vehicle for spreading the word about the kind of people you are looking for. Building links with local schools, colleges and universities is important too – it will help you build a community of prospective employees who know what you stand for and may want to come and work for you in the future.

What do you do to attract the best candidates to your business?

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