SMEs undoubtedly have a harder time recruiting than large organisations. Everyone has heard of Google and Microsoft. Nobody’s heard of Jo Bloggs’ Pet Emporium, even though it is quite the best pet emporium in town.
Speaking from my august height of just over 5’, I can assure you that small is beautiful, not least when it comes to small businesses. In fact, it’s often the characteristics that come with being smaller that form the most positive part of the employer brand perception and should be reflected in the candidate experience.
For example, a smaller headcount tends to make businesses more dynamic, flexible and responsive when compared to the larger businesses. SME employees often enjoy more involvement, see their ideas being adopted and achieve demonstrable results more quickly. This is a big plus.
It’s true that SMEs have to work harder to be visible to potential recruits, but don’t worry about your diminutive size. Small is beautiful in the recruitment process too. You can use the same tools as bigger companies to capture attention (it doesn’t have to be expensive) and unlike larger organisations you can engage individually with candidates for a better experience. Candidates often complain that larger organisations make them feel little more than a number (if they receive any acknowledgement at all). If you treat candidates like real people from the start it could make all the difference if they have several offers - and good people often do.
Be confident about what makes your business different. You can’t appeal to everyone so focus on what will attract the people who are the right cultural fit for your business. No one size fits all. Every company and every situation is different.
They say people buy from people. That’s true of your recruits. Make your existing team part of your story. Some of the best employer branding tactics simply communicate high levels of employee engagement. Seeing people enjoying their work can be inspiring. Why not communicate some career success stories at the same time? For example, we have started adding our team stories and experience to our opportunities page so visitors start to get a feel of what life here is like.
Part of your story relates to benefits. Understand what matters to the people you want to employ and reflect their needs in the package. Not everyone is motivated by money. SMEs often can’t compete on salary so being flexible and innovative with benefits can be highly appealing. Employers that help create harmony between work and home are real magnets.
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