HR 3 January 2017

How to recruit the right talent for your small business

Recruit the right talent
In order to achieve business success, it is crucial to recruit the right talent for your company

A strong and reliable workforce is key to the success of any business. You need employees who are hard-working, loyal and above all, talented. But it isn’t always easy to recruit the right talent.

Here, Richard Heyes, managing director of digital marketing agency Tecmark, shares his advice to small business owners who want to make sure that they recruit the right talent.

State exactly what you’re looking for on a job advert and be clear

Communication is key when looking to recruit the right talent. It’s your responsibility to convey a clear message about the type of person you’re looking for. If you are too vague, you’ll have CVs flying in from every direction.

Think long and hard about the skills a person must have if they’re to even consider applying for the role. Once you’ve established this, you can continue with your wish list of desirable qualities i.e. advanced qualifications, Photoshop skills or a foreign language.

Be realistic about the salary but be prepared to negotiate

When advertising a job role, it’s best to leave any discussion of salary to the interview stage.

Of course, the risk here is that you’ll be opening the floodgates to applicants of all levels of experience, from recent university graduates to industry veterans.

For that reason alone, you need to be detailed and clear about the job description to avoid under or over experienced candidates applying for the role.

Everyone will have a proposed salary range in mind before advertising for certain roles, which is why you’ve got to strike the balance between your expectations and those of the candidates.

By including a proposed figure, you may look as though you’re not willing to negotiate. You may be offering £35k, when your dream candidate is looking for £40k.

How you go about this is entirely up to you, but one thing you must remember is to always be realistic. Speak to recruiters or check the web to see what salaries other companies are offering.

Recruiting the right talent doesn’t depend on university qualifications

Many employers only consider candidates with a good degree (often 2:1 or above), even when the advertised role doesn’t require a person to be of degree level.

Don’t assume that a candidate with a university degree will trump someone with an apprenticeship or prior experience.

Many of Tecmark’s best recruits have been hired without a university degree. Talent can be measured by a person’s willingness to learn.

We’ve always been committed to giving hungry young people a chance within the industry. Sometimes curiosity and the enthusiasm to learn new skills is far better than academic knowledge.

There’s a lot to be said for someone who has spent the last three years working in the industry, even if they haven’t been to university.

The interview: set a timed task or an assessment

A job interview can tell you a lot about someone, but not everything.

If you can, find a way of establishing an interviewee’s attitude and personality. That way you can make a judgement over whether the person is the right fit for your company’s culture.

As for assessing a person’s talent, it’s a good idea to set timed tasks to determine how suited a person is for the role. This will also give you a better idea of how that person copes under pressure.

Never take the claims on someone’s CV as gospel – put their skills to the test before deciding whether or not to offer that person the role.

Keep close tabs on the benefits offered by your competition

Managing to recruit the right talent is half the battle – you’ve also got to keep them.

What separates you from your competitors? Does your business offer an attractive benefits package or private medical insurance?

If a candidate has two identical offers on the table, one from you and one from your competitor, the promise of additional perks may sway their decision.

This doesn’t have to be a pool table, swimming pool or free drinks on a Friday. One of the best benefits you can offer potential employees is learning development and training programs, alongside opportunities to grow and progress within the business.

Choose the right recruitment agencies for your business model

Some employers are put off by the idea of using a recruitment agency, but this is often how you’ll find skilled applicants who are actively looking for work.

The key with enlisting a recruiter is to ensure they listen and understand your needs and the culture of your workplace, before they decide to advertise your role via their networks.

It’s a recruitment agency’s job to scour the market for the most suitable candidates. Many recruiters also headhunt individuals from other companies.

When using recruitment agencies, it is important to find one that specialises in your field. To recruit the right talent, you want an agency that knows your industry inside out. After all, it’s their reputation on the line.

Use LinkedIn to your advantage

LinkedIn is a holy grail for employers. It’s not just about endorsing your fellow colleagues – LinkedIn can also serve as an effective recruitment tool.

If you’re on the lookout for a technical copywriter or an accountant, consider putting the call out on LinkedIn before you begin advertising on job sites.

You can also use LinkedIn to view a person’s CV before they’ve even applied for a role. If a person has the skills and experience you’re looking for, send them a private message.

Richard Heyes is managing director of digital marketing agency Tecmark.

Hiring your first employee? We reveal the secrets to recruitment success.

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