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14th January 2019

5 Characteristics All SMEs Need to Look for When Recruiting

Posted in: Employeer Advice

Attracting the best candidates to come work for your small-to-medium sized business (SME) will take some strategy: strong employer branding, a great candidate experience throughout the recruitment cycle and good pay and benefits. You also need a strategy that works to your advantage. Finding candidates with the right characteristics that lead to a high-performing company culture.

In an SME there is often a unique sense of team, resulting in a more unified workplace culture. However, this culture could very easily be disrupted if you were to hire the wrong candidate. Therefore, it’s important that you find talent who not only fits but, thrives within your team.

To improve your hiring process, follow these five tips to ensure you’re attracting the right talent to take your company forward:

A genuine interest in your SME

In an SME there are obviously going to be fewer people to help the business reach its goals than a big corporate organisation, with this there are undoubtedly going to be times where employees are expected to go outside the confines of their job description.

You, therefore, need to recruit candidates who are passionate enough about the business to proactively go above and beyond their role for the good of the company. When you’re next interviewing potential candidates, try asking them a similar question to the below to determine their genuine interest in your company:

• What appeals to you most about working here?
• What do you think sets us apart from our competitors?
• Given what you know about our company, why do you think you would be a good fit?
• Describe a time you were asked to complete a task outside off your job description. What was the result?

Look for key triggers to determine if a candidate is genuinely interested in your business. For example, were they early for the interview? Did they have plenty of knowledge about where your company is going and its history? Did they prepare intelligent questions to ask you?

It’s not just what the candidate says that helps you determine their genuine interest in your company, how they say it is equally important. Make a conscious effort in the interview to read their body language – if they smile as they talk and make eye-contact, then they are probably excited about what you do as a business. If they appear nervous – remember that this may well be because they really want the job. Try to do everything you can to put them at ease. After all, nerves are preferable to a candidate who is aloof, folds their arms and sits back in their chair!

Invest in their own personal development

Whilst larger corporates may have the budget to equip every employee with state-of-the-art, personalised and up-to-the-minute training programmes, few SMEs have the same resources.

One of the ways you can still compete with these organisations is to hire candidates who have a proactive approach to their personal learning. There are copious amounts of free resources available for candidates to continuously develop such as podcasts, articles, webinars or YouTube tutorials. To determine their attitude to self-learning, ask questions such as:

• When and how was the last time you proactively learnt a new skill outside of work?
• Can you tell me about an interesting new trend relating to your area of expertise?
• How do you make sure you keep your knowledge up-to-date?

Find candidates that mirror your culture and ethos

When hiring candidates, look for those who place importance on all the things you do. This could range from your company culture, to a sense of purpose and pride in the work they do or the chance to take on new areas of responsibility. Here are some questions you could ask to gauge where a candidate’s priorities are:

• Why are you looking for in a new role?
• What is important to you most when looking for a new employer?
• What motivates you to perform?
• What engages you with a company?

These questions will help identify the candidates who want to stay and progress within your company and won’t be easily swayed should they get an attractive counter offer from their current employer.

The questions that the candidate asks you during the interview can also give you an insight into what their true motivations are, particularly if they ask more about the opportunity itself than material benefits.

Tap into graduate talent and more experienced workers

More experienced workers are going to need less training, less supervision and are more likely to stay in the job long term. They can also help develop any younger recruits you bring on board.

Graduates who are hungry to prove themselves and versatile can prove valuable appreciating assets for SMEs. They will be eager to learn and take on more responsibility, key for any growing SME. It also appears this age-group is waking up to the fast-track career opportunities in smaller firms.

If possible, look to develop relationships with educational institutions in local areas and attend career fairs that they hold.

Hire high potentials, not rock stars

Hiring candidates who have a high potential you can develop to grow within your company can be more beneficial for SMEs as they enter the business a clean slate, rather than coming in with pre-conceived ideas about how things should be done.

They have the right soft skills that ensure success long-term; resilience, initiative, entrepreneurial spirit, integrity, and being able to adapt to change and new challenges. This is who you want to grow into new roles as the company grows.

They’re not “rock stars” because rock stars know their worth and may be looking for the next gig when the grass turns greener on the other side.

Make the process even easier with Recruit Mint

Through our process, we will meet you and all candidates face to face, so we can get a true understanding of your company, your culture and where your struggles are. Whilst getting to know the candidates as more than just a CV.

If you’re looking for the right candidate for your company, we can certainly help you find them and help your business grow. If you’re interested in finding out exactly how we can help you, then get in touch on 01733 802300, or submit your requirement.

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