In the previous blog, Competing for talent in the 2020 employment market? I hope you’ve budgeted for this, I looked at the sorts of challenges SMEs might need to look out for in 2020 when it comes to hiring. How do you overcome these? Like I said – the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem!

As I mentioned previously, due to a number of factors – the availability of information , social media, recruitment marketing and the rapid growth of new technologies – the last 10 years hasn’t just seen an evolution of the in-house recruitment sector, but a revolution! You then add a sprinkle of the 2020 market challenges, the current skills gap and things start to become rather complicated! 

In the STEM skills markets I’ve worked in, over 80% of candidates are now passive, so companies are having to work bloody hard and much smarter to tap into that market or they risk being left behind. Unfortunately, your traditional methods won’t work.

Larger companies have had the resources to adapt to this, and have seized this opportunity by replacing traditional, administrative recruitment functions with specialist, strategic resourcing functions. This has drastically widened the recruitment gap between big and small, and many small and medium-sized organisations have become poaching grounds. 

I know smaller organizations don’t always have the luxury of a dedicated recruitment team that larger companies have in place, but with business models changing, technologies advancing and global resources becoming accessible, now has never been a better opportunity to level the playing field at a cost that is affordable for smaller organisations. 

Your recruiting strategies may be undefined. You can’t offer huge salaries or envy-inducing benefit packages, yet you’re fishing in the same talent pool as companies that can offer these things – so what are you going to do to minimise the talent fallout? 

Here are some quick wins…..

Get proactive with some form of workforce/hiring plan

The more foresight you have the more successful and cost-effective your hiring will be. How will you capture demand across the business and how will you access this information? What do we need to recruit? When, where, and why do we need to recruit? 

Take a look at your employment brand 

Make sure, at the very least, that you have a clearly defined proposition for employees and some approved brand messaging to use. As a minimum, talent is going to want to know who you are, what you do and why they should move to your business. 

Get serious about using data to shape your strategies 

Before you engage in any hiring, you need to understand your talent demographics and their preferences, otherwise you risk shooting in the dark and wasting a lot of time and money on sloppy approaches through the wrong channels. With most candidates being passive in their search, you need to know the basics of what you want, where you can find them, and what you need to be able to offer so that a candidate wants to work for you.  

Get your hiring managers on point with some kind of playbook 

Interview talent as if you are impressing a new customer. Put your best people in front of your prospective employees to sell the story authentically. Adopt this approach throughout the process, so that everyone leaves wanting to work for you and you can select the best of the bunch.

Make sure you are using a decent technology platform

Have you got a technology stack that supports (enables) the end-to-end process? It does not have to be expensive but at the very least you have to ensure your tech isn’t holding your team back (and handing the advantage to your competitors).

Use speed and personalisation to out-hire your bigger competition

Speed of process and the candidate experience will be key ingredients to differentiate yourself. Show them just how different it is going to be working for an agile smaller business (speed boat) by moving at a pace your corporate competitors (super tankers) can’t match. Think about quick wins to improve the candidate experience. Offer talent same-day feedback. Don’t spend weeks producing an offer letter, send it out within 24 hours, or the same day if you can. Then make sure you follow-up with a phone call.

Like any human relationship, hiring is part strategy, part serendipity. But for a small business, there’s a third challenge in the mix – time and budget are both limited. So focus on the quick wins with these brexit, skills-gap busting tips and if you need any help, feel free to get in touch.

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