Hiring the right staff is never easy, but small businesses face different challenges to larger companies.

However, with a challenge comes great opportunity and small businesses should embrace the hiring process as a chance to grow and develop. We address the five major challenges that face small businesses looking to hire new staff and discuss the best ways to overcome them.

In many cases we believe you can take advantage of your unique position as a small business.


Competing with larger companies

Large companies appear higher in search engine results, they have a bigger network and they usually have a strong brand image either locally or nationally. Put simply, they have a bigger reach and when they advertise for staff, their jobs are seen by a wider audience.

There is no way to immediately fix this, but remember that you DO have an existing network. Your current clients, the family and friends of your existing staff, the business across the road, your small but loyal group of social media followers. Do not be afraid to use these contacts and talk to people about the opportunities at your business.

The maths is simple, the more people who see your job role the more chance you have of reaching the right person who is passionate about what you do and has the attributes you need.

Use your network wisely and you can expand your reach.


Finding qualified candidates

Reaching a large audience is a small step in attracting people to your role, but what happens when all the applicants are under qualified or unsuitable?

This can be very time consuming and often frustrating. You might receive 50 CV’s and only 2 of them have the skills you are looking for.

To solve this problem, it is important that you have a clear message from the outset. Examples of this might be:

  • Experience with appointment setting, scheduling and managing a database are all essential
  • A degree in Marketing (or equivalent) is required for this role
  • Previous experience in managing a production team is required

These will automatically filter people out and although it will reduce the volume of applications, it could save you valuable time in reading speculative applications.

Be specific and clear to ensure that you get the right applicants.

Please note: you need to be very careful not to discriminate against any groups of people in your job adverts. Whether it is gender, race, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, religious belief or pregnancy/maternity you need to make sure that your advert does not directly or indirectly discriminate against any person. If you need more help with this, please call us.


Lack of process or hiring experience

You’ve built a successful small business based on a variety of skills and knowledge. Hiring, however, does require a certain process and if you have never experienced it before, it can seem overwhelming.

Are you monitoring the clicks on your job posting? Are you tracking applicants through a system and ensuring regular contact? Is there a defined person that will filter any new CV’s?

As the business owner you are probably going to have a great understanding of what you need and the interview process can actually seem quite easy. The problem faced by small businesses comes during the pre-interview sorting, filtering and organising.

To overcome this problem, we suggest that you identify a process early on. Make sure you know who is responsible for each part of the process and who will have final say on scheduling. Ensure that specific time is set aside each day or each week to take the process forward.

Taking a measured approach to the hiring process can make up for the lack of time or in-house recruitment expertise.


Offering a competitive salary and benefits

This is a tough one. Some small businesses simply can’t match the salary and benefits offered by a larger company. Company cars, strong pension schemes, health insurance, mobile phones – the list of benefits from large companies can sometimes seem endless.

And then there is salary. You will often hear that money isn’t everything when people apply for a job, but that does not mean it is not important. You need to set the salary and your expectations at the right level unless you have a very unique and appealing USP

The great news is that small businesses do have certain USP’s. Career progression, flexibility, less bureaucracy and the chance to increase your responsibilities quickly are all attractive to candidates.

Focus on the positives when advertising your role.


The risks of getting it wrong

As a small business, the stakes are higher. Hiring the wrong person could impact your bottom line more seriously than it would for a large business and you need to be able to place more trust in a new employee than you would at a larger company.

Anything that jeopardises your product, service, customer relationships or your company image could have a lasting effect.

But what is the reverse of this? If you get the right employee you can enhance all of the above!

New employees will have more effect on your business so it’s important to be excited and positive at the prospect of moving your business forward.

Embrace the risks involved.

As one of our clients once told us “the best part about the whole process was that our new team have brought in skills that we didn’t even know would add value to our business”.


Need some advice?

As a recruitment agency we are here to help with your hiring needs. We understand that every business faces different challenges when looking for new staff and we work with businesses of all types and sizes to provide recruitment solutions.

If you’d like a free consultation or some advice then email chris@morganjones.net and we can schedule a call.




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