HR & Management
Six ways SMEs can avoid mistakes when recruiting
4 min read
01 June 2017
With a staggering 5.5m businesses in the UK and 99 per cent of these being classed as SMEs (employing 0-249 people), it is vital these companies avoid mistakes when recruiting.
The overall cost of employing the wrong person and finding a replacement is worryingly high, with a 2014 Oxford Economics Report highlighting the loss of an employee on £25,000 a year carries an average financial impact of £30,614. This is costly for a growing business, so it helps to know how to avoid mistakes when recruiting.
There are several factors to take into consideration before you make that final decision. It is vital for SMEs to recruit for the talent that a candidate brings and also for their ability to support future growth of the company. Both of these can be achieved by avoiding common mistakes when recruiting, and instead following these six tips.
1) Look for a balance between autonomy and following processes
Working for a growing SME often involves a need for autonomy as it is essential that a candidate can cope with the level of independence required. Likewise, they will need to be able to adapt and follow the processes already in place in order for the business to achieve steady growth.
2) Don’t assume career “downscaling” is bad
A candidate wanting to move from a large company to an SME should be seen as a positive. They can bring ideas, processes and knowledge which can be scaled down to fit the exact needs of the SME. Many business leaders see career downsizing as a negative thing; however often it is because the candidate is striving for more responsibility and the opportunity to broaden their experience.
3) Be 100 per cent sure
Each and every employee in an SME has a large impact on the business and there is little room for passengers. Not being sure is ranked high for mistakes when recruiting. Having the right skills isn’t crucial, as these can be taught, but having the right attitudes and behaviours is vital. The first step to identifying which behaviours are necessary is to look at the company goals. Role plays, psychometric tests and group activities are all great ways to bring out a candidate’s personality and identify how they react in certain situations.
4) Don’t necessarily rule out those who don’t fit the mould
Having the odd gap in education or rough patch in a candidate’s life is not necessarily a negative thing. Those who have been unfortunate in the past are often more likely to be loyal and will bring a different view point which can be great for sparking creativity and innovation.
5) Introduce candidates to staff before hiring
Although skills are important, quite often the breaking point is the personality and values that someone holds. It is important in any SME that chemistry and relationships are built between members of staff a. So introducing a potential candidate to the team before formally offering them the job can be a good way to establish whether this connection will form.
6) Don’t hang around!
If someone is active on the job market, it is highly unlikely that they will stay around for long and one advantage that SMEs have is that quite often, big companies can be slow in getting back to a candidate to offer someone a job. Keeping a potential employee waiting around for a long time can be very unattractive and so it is important to keep an open dialogue to show interest. If a candidate feels valued during the recruitment process they are more likely to feel that they will be valued when working for the business.
Olivier Herold is CEO at The Oxford Group