Hiring Guide for Small and Medium Business

Introduction

It’s no wonder that SMEs are increasingly finding it a challenge to source talent. Between the time spent placing an advertisement, developing job descriptions and evaluating resumes can take up 35 hours alone! For many small businesses without their own recruitment resource or HR department these precious resources have been stretched even thinner.

In addition, we all know that the talent shortage is a huge problem for businesses of every size, but what about small and medium-sized enterprises? These days it seems like there are more barriers than ever before.  How do you find the best person?  Will they be the right fit for your company culture?  Will they want to work for you?  Can you afford them,  as larger companies may provide more appealing offers and opportunities. 

Businesses in these categories face many challenges when trying to hire an individual who will not only meet their needs now, but also grow with them as they expand over time—and this takes some planning ahead!

There are also workforce trends and shifts taking place, where talent is now looking for flexibility. Flexibility with where they work, who they work with and what they work on.  These workforce dynamics also need to be considered in your company’s hiring and talent plan.

Hiring staff is a major responsibility for any business. Whether it’s because you need help with your day-to-day operations or are looking to grow, having the right people in place can make all of the difference between success and failure – which may not sound surprising given how crucial hiring decisions have been historically viewed by businesses who lacked resources.

In small and medium sized businesses, these hurdles are usually faced by the owners, managing directors, or hiring and human resources professionals that are juggling other responsibilities. 

This guide to recruiting talent for small and medium sized businesses outlines how you can effectively manage your recruitment process while building a successful plan that will support both today’s objectives as well as those in the future.

These guidelines are the blueprint to ensure that you can always find talented people for your business. No matter what stage, size or industry conditions may be at this point in time- these strategies will provide a roadmap ensuring success!

There’s no underestimating the damage a bad hiring decision can do – therefore the  risks of getting it wrong are costly, and for businesses looking to secure their future success ensuring that your recruitment and talent management processes are robust is essential.

The heart and soul of your company resides in those who give it life.

Planning Your Recruitment

It is important to plan for recruitment in any business, but it becomes even more vital when you have a smaller workforce. A company’s ability to grow and adapt will rely on proper workforce planning, so they should strike this balance between being consistent across all departments of the company while still remaining flexible enough with changing economic conditions. 

Writing the Job Description

Job descriptions provide information on the skills and responsibilities that are required for any given role. SME businesses typically have an advantage in being able to involve all potential stakeholders more easily than larger organizations, but it is important to create standardised approaches across your business so hiring managers can rely upon consistent guidelines when filling vacancies at different levels of seniority within their organisation’s hierarchy. Developing templates will help with consistency across your business and portray a professional image to potential job seekers.

Job Description Checklist

Job TitleThis is the headline for the job description and describes a few words about the position and responsibilities. 

Department – Which area or department of the business will the job be under.

Role Overview – Main purpose of the job.  List 2 or 3 key functions of the role.

Key Tasks – Outline the main duties and responsibilities, as well as the key skills to carry out these tasks.

Objectives – The primary mission for this position.  Why are you hiring?  What problem is your company having that you are seeking to hire to solve?

Responsibilities – List the responsibilities that will be undertaken, including the immediate one’s and those that are for longer term objectives. 

Accountability – Report to Manager, Team Leader or Supervisor

Requirements – Formal qualifications and certifications 

Location – Where will the position be based? Or is there flexibility for remote work?

Company Overview – Brief description of your business or company and what you do?

Day-to-Day – What will the person be doing day-to-day.  List out the key day to day responsibilities or outcomes.

Ideal Candidate – What is the persona of the right ideal candidate that includes the experiences they should have, the skills, styles, accomplishments, academic and background. 

Salary and Benefits–  What will be the compensation, and are there any other company benefits or development opportunities. 

Application Instructions – How to apply, the recruitment process, and dates.

Setting Appropriate Timelines  

1. Model the role by analyzing what you need and why?

2. Define the perfect candidate

3. Recruit and Attract talent by posting the job

4. Interview, Screen and Select the best candidate

5. Prepare the Offer and Hire

6. Plan the Perfect On-Boarding

Determining Salary and Compensation 

The perfect pay package depends on your company’s budget. It can be tricky to figure out what is an appropriate amount, but it’s worth taking the time and doing some research before making any decisions that will affect how much money someone gets paid at their job!

Paying a good salary is important for keeping the best talent, but as a business owner you don’t want it to cost too much. So what’s an appropriate amount? It all depends on how much value employees bring and whether they’re worth more or less than market price in comparison with other companies that might be hiring them at your competitors’. 

You need find out where these different factors come into play by weighing them up:

• What a prospective employee wants

• What they’re worth on the market

• What they’re worth to your business

• What you can afford to pay

• Meeting local law requirements regarding compensation

Source: SEEK Career Advice AU. 2021. 

A Consistent Approach 

 Making sure that the core elements of your recruitment process are consistent across business is important, as it helps to streamline decisions and ensure consistency. As an organisation grows in size there will be increased pressure on hiring managers – ensuring all policies match each other ensures success for everyone involved!

Developing fixed guidelines for how your recruitment process should work will ensure that:

1. you are compliant with the relevant legislation when recruiting

2. can be internally transparent about the hiring process

3. Candidates also have a fair and consistent experience 

We know that the needs of your business will vary over time. In order to keep a flexible process, you should be able to adapt internal hiring schedules with clear guidelines.

A Contingent Workforce: Temporary versus Permanent Hiring

When is it effective to hire a Contractor, Freelancer or Consultant?

When should you hire temporary workers instead of permanent staff? This is a question that every business gets asked, and for good reason. The answer will vary depending on your needs as an organization. For many businesses, hiring a specialist on the occasional temporary basis can be more cost effective and efficient than recruiting permanent staff. Sometimes it’s difficult to know when this is going to happen for your company though – and we will discuss situations where planning for a contingent workforce may make sense. 

Keep in mind that flexible working arrangements have been shown to be a successful way of attracting and retaining the best employees. Contract professionals can provide crucial short term support while still being able to offer your business something more permanent, like experience or specialist skills that you may not always need right away but will come in handy down the road when they’re needed most!

Considering Hiring a Contractor?

1. There’s nothing like having someone who knows their way around a project to make it go more smoothly. However, sometimes you need outside help and that’s where secondments come in! Consider whether there are staff members from other parts of your business who could temporarily join this team so they know how things work when dealing with clients or customers on-site at all times without disrupting what needs doing within the company itself.

2. Is this a project that is unlikely to be repeated, but the skills needed for completion are required again in future?  If so it may make sense to take on staff who can provide training for them.

3. When you’re looking to fill a temporary gap, it’s important that your recruitment process involves exploring all options. What are the benefits of hiring someone full-time? Is there an opportunity cost in only considering short term contracts or could this person bring value long-term too with their experience and expertise!

4. The induction process should be considered by any company that hires contractors. Will they need to have access to information about your policies and culture? Do you have equipment for them or systems set up so they can do their job effectively while working with you on an ongoing basis too!

Adapting Hiring Strategies for Contractors and Consultants?

When looking to recruit short term staff, employers should consider adapting their recruitment process. Even more so than when taking on permanent workers, time-to hire can be the deciding factor in securing top notch contractors which will work for your company over an extended period of time!

Time-to-Hire Expectations 

 

 

Contractors Expect

Employers Expect

1 Week or Less

30%

5%

1 to 2 Weeks

50%

25%

2 to 3 Weeks

15%

20%

3 to 4 Weeks

< 5%

30%

4 Weeks+

< 5%

20%

80% of Contractors expect to be hired within 2 Weeks, whereas
70% of Employers expect to hire in more than 2 Weeks. 

Remember, Time-to-Hire can be a deciding factor in securing top notch contractors!

 

Hiring the Right People for your Business 

Hiring for Culture Fit

Determining your hiring criteria is an important part of the recruitment process. This should involve looking for qualities you want in a candidate, so they are likely to be good cultural fit with what’s expected at work and have something positive bring new ideas into their workplace

A key step in selecting someone who will make them feel welcome as soon as possible after joining up-and help strengthen relationships between co-workers following any transition period – all while adding more value than just filling space on staff lists  -, begins by better understanding your company culture and the fit of potential candidates. 

 

Importance of Specific Candidate Attributes (According to Jobseekers and Employers)

JobSeeker

Employer

 

Very Important

Important

Very Important

Important

Experience

75%

25%

75%

25%

Culture Fit

45%

55%

70%

30%

Qualifications

55%

45%

45%

55%

 

Strategies for Identifying Culture Fit in Candidates  

Culture fit is the glue that holds an organization together.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the result of poor culture fit due to turnover can cost an organization between 50-60% of the person’s annual salary.

Cultural fit is the likelihood that someone will reflect and/or be able to adapt to the core beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that make up your organization.

How to Identify your culture

Is it clear what your organization’s values are? How would you describe the culture in one or two sentences. What type of people have been successful at this role and why did they succeed, while others were not as lucky with their success rate on these types jobs for some reason we don’t know about yet – but may soon find out once interviewing them! Assess all candidates’ potential fits before making any decision just like that: by playing a guessing game instead- since no one really knows how someone will behave until put into an actual environment where there can be consequences if mistakes happen (and usually do).

Ask the right questions

Mix in questions during the interview process that give you a glimpse into whether or not the candidate will fit. Questions like:

  • Describe your ideal work environment
  • Tell me about your preferred work style
  • How would co-workers describe your work style?
  • What characteristics make the best boss/manager?
  • Describe a work environment in which you’d be unhappy
  • What type of culture do you thrive in? (Does the response reflect your organizational culture?)
  • What values are you drawn to and what’s your ideal workplace?
  •  Why do you want to work here?
  • How would you describe our culture based on what you’ve seen? Is this something that works for you?
  • What best practices would you bring with you from another organization? Do you see yourself being able to implement these best practices in our environment?
  • Tell me about a time when you worked with/for an organization where you felt you were not a strong culture fit. Why was it a bad fit?

 

Involve your employees

Why not get your current employees who are successful within the company’s culture to interview candidates? You might be surprised by what they have to say about them. The candidate may seem like an ideal fit on paper, but do you really know how he or she would work with others in a team setting? Get your current employees’ take on the candidate. Even if it’s just a 20-minute conversation, their opinion can be invaluable in helping you make the right decision for your company!

Get the facts

If this role is a pivotal hire for your company such as a senior management role, administer a personality test during the hiring process. Personality tests aren’t an 100% tell-all but they can be a good indicator of how the candidate operates and interacts with people and their environment.

You can assess a candidate’s work ethic and style by determining whether they succeed in a virtual environment or with everyone on the same space. If it is more comfortable for them to have an authoritative top-down hierarchy instead of flat management, this will also show up when assessing their ability to collaborate across teams as well.

Evolution of talent marketplaces

Trends in hiring from talent platforms that can give SME’s a competitive advantage. Talent platforms enable organizations to benefit from the global workforce.

The 2020s have been termed the “year of the gig economy” and in response, organizations are evolving their strategies in order to accommodate these new working patterns. Recent research by ConsultXperts has revealed that with a shift in focus on developing human capital and investing in data analytics, next-generation talent platforms can create significant value for organizations through greater access to high-quality employees.  This is achieved without huge investments thanks to this new generation of talent platforms designed specifically towards global labor markets. With such a system, employers gain access to highly skilled workers while lowering costs at the same time; meanwhile, employees find themselves with more flexibility when it comes to finding work. Consulting is seen as the main industry that will benefit from talent platforms, with 73% of organizations surveyed revealing they are intending to invest in this technology in the next year.

“We are now seeing a rise in digital services designed to better capture data on an individual level,” said David Del Prato, principal analyst at Amadeus Consulting. “This has the potential to change how we work, and we can expect to see a reshaping of working practices and an increase in remote and freelance work as people gravitate towards flexible working patterns.”

These changes will lead to a shift in the workforce – one that favors highly skilled workers. Access to this global workforce has been made possible thanks to the rise of digital services designed to better capture data on an individual level, potentially changing the face of working practices. Such changes are likely to lead to a reshaping of working practices and an increase in remote and freelance work as people gravitate towards flexible working patterns. These developments mean that companies need to rethink how they can attract and retain top talent by offering them access to the skills and opportunities they desire, all while staying competitive.

Why organizations are adopting them

This new technological advancement provides a way for organizations to gain access to high-quality employees without having to invest heavily in recruitment. With this shift in focus on developing human capital and investing in data analytics, next-generation talent platforms can create significant value for organizations through greater access to high-quality employees.

Employers both large and small are turning to next-generation talent platforms because they provide an easier way to find high-quality talent. The research showed that the average cost of recruitment is currently $4,500 per employee; however, with talent platforms, this figure drops to $2,000 per candidate found. This significant reduction in price does not impact quality as 47% of employees recruited through platforms are already professionals or at least possess two years of experience in their role.

Moreover, the research found that on average, only 16% of new recruits join an organization by applying directly through their website. This demonstrates how talent platforms can dramatically shift the recruitment process as new employees will be sourced from a pool of candidates who would not have otherwise been actively looking for work with your company.

All in all, organizations across all levels are turning to next-generation talent platforms as a solution for hiring the workforce of the future. By lowering costs and improving quality, these organizations can stay competitive in an increasingly demanding market – thus creating value for both their employees and shareholders.

What are the benefits for both employers and freelancers?

Employers, whether large or small, are able to gain access to potential candidates worldwide without the huge costs involved. Talent platforms provide a way of finding high-quality staff at a lower cost by using a global labor market. Freelancers are able to obtain work from around the world, outside of their home country, without having to pay huge costs for international flights or visas.

The benefits of talent platforms are that they can tap into a global labor market and bring far cheaper rates to employers looking to hire. This means they are able to access people who would have been out of their price range for filling roles.

Now that talent platforms are on the rise, companies are starting to embrace new technology in order to stay competitive in 2022.  Some examples of companies that have adopted talent platforms to successfully lower recruitment costs while still finding high-quality employees are Salesforce, Microsoft, and IBM.

“We now live in an era where everyone has a portable digital identity. No matter where you are, talent platforms can now identify that person’s data and connect them with the right role,” said Jamid – CEO of ConsultXperts.

Next-generation talent platforms make this possible as employees are able to build profiles that show their strengths, experiences, and knowledge. This enables recruiters to easily find suitable candidates based on these profiles at a cost that won’t break the bank.

Another benefit of next-generation talent platforms is their increasing use as a means to hire freelancers rather than employees. In today’s world, many companies are leveraging consultants and specialists to cover temporary skill shortages or provide expertise on projects for an agreed time frame – without having to make those new hires permanent employees. This enables companies to bridge gaps and maintain a leaner workforce, while also being able to quickly access the skills they need without having to pay out on permanent employment terms. In addition, companies can avoid costs such as staff benefits.

With an estimated 40.8% of employees planning to look for a job with a different employer in the next 12 months, according to Randstad’s Global Workforce report, talent platforms are becoming an integral part of companies’ strategies as they can gain access to fresh skills without having to make those new hires permanent employees. These freelancers also represent the millennials who now make up the majority of the workforce and this evolving market is shifting the employment landscape, as employers need to adapt or risk losing these employees.

Employers are now turning to talent platforms in a bid to make a more flexible workforce and in turn, boost their bottom lines.

For example, in the financial services industry where compliance is key when it comes to hiring new employees, talent platforms provide access to qualified professionals – who they can then hire on a contract basis from around the world, without having any long-term obligations.

With talent platforms enabling potential employees to provide more information about themselves, they are becoming more attractive to recruiters as they can make better hiring decisions.

How does this impact issues such as diversity?

Cutting recruitment time and costs is key for businesses in 2022,  where the workforce has become increasingly diverse, making it more difficult to screen candidates and find the most suitable one for a given role. A potential issue with talent platforms is that it could lead to less diversity as hiring managers are likely to go for people who fit their predetermined profile or ideal candidate.

In order to be successful, companies need an innovative solution that meets both the business needs of hiring managers, while also providing access to high-quality talent in the most effective way possible. Next-generation talent platforms deliver both value and diversity, without sacrificing quality – which is why they are becoming more popular.

Next-generation talent platforms such as ConsultXperts are designed to bridge the gap between employers and employees by providing a means for companies to access global labor markets without having to make permanent hires.  By selecting the best candidates, companies can boost their bottom lines and drive the business forward. Companies are able to respond quickly to gaps in their workforce through freelancers who they need only on a part-time basis.

It is important for employers to understand that this new working pattern will affect how employees and organizations interact with each other and as such, it is important for employers to adapt. This is not just about what employees want, but also about what companies can integrate into their long-term strategies to retain talent for the 2022 and beyond. By evolving their strategies in this way, they will ensure that they are able to work with the next generation of talent – who are looking for better work-life balance and flexibility but are also expecting transparency.

In-Demand Expertise On-Demand

Inder Singh

Inder Singh

Author Since: July 9, 2021

Inder Singh is the CTO & Co-founder of ConsultXperts. Inder's expertise is building sales team across the globe and then his own growth advisory and consultancy in helping startups and businesses.

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