In this blog, we explore the 7 Step Recruitment process for SME’s; from setting the foundation to identifying the correct candidate. Recently featured on the HR Uprising Podcast, Miles Bonnell, Founder of Milo HR with over 10 years experience within Talent acquisition, joined Lucinda to discuss how to create a winning talent culture or acquisition strategy, with a particular focus on SMEs.

Step 1 – Set the foundation

The foundation of any good recruitment process for SME’s is to assess what is happening in-house with the team. Identifying what the culture is like, how staff are being retained and understanding how the employees feel. Before you can even sell a job in your company to potential candidates you need to know what you are selling! Finding the correct alignment is important as in order for both corporation and individual to find synergy, transparency and honesty is essential.

Step 2 – Creating a job description

Once you have considered the foundation of culture and brand perception, you can start to recruit. This is when HR and talent acquisition can work well together as you start to advertise. Begin by assessing what the current need is and what the future need is; different needs require different skills and approaches. Knowing what the need is before you set the strategy is important; this will dictate the budget allocated, and therefore the purchasing power within the market. The job description will set the scene of the culture and then recruitment are able to use those job descriptions to reach the right candidates through advertisement. The role of the job description is not just to create an advert but for candidates to understand the role and measure their performance against it. 

Step 3 – The rejection process

Once you get to this stage of the recruitment process for SME’s, studies show that if someone attends an interview and does not hear back from the business, not only are they more likely to not apply there again but they are also more likely to not recommend the company to their friends and family. So therefore, businesses must be careful in the way they communicate throughout each step of the entire process.

Step 4 – The hiring process

Recruitment interview SME

Particularly in a small business, the hiring process must be unbiased and diverse. The adverts need to be screened in order to ensure there is no bias in the wording. E.g. using overly masculine wording. This also applies to the interview itself, the importance of representation with a diverse interview panel.

Step 5 – The job advert

One of the best ways to get the best ‘bang for your buck’ is not to necessarily pay to advertise with Indeed directly. The website itself will find your advert using your own local job board, scrape it and put it on there. If you want to increase viewership there will be an account manager for Indeed. They will tell you how much money will get you with your advert. LinkedIn isn’t too dissimilar; you can now post two jobs on there for free but the same thing applies. The more money you pay the higher it will be in the search. Miles advises that if the job is in the range of up to 30/40k then use Indeed. If it is in the 30/40k upwards range use LinkedIn. Niche recruitment websites are also useful for example charity or specialist skill set jobs. 

The ‘untapped’ market, are those people who are currently in jobs. They are passive and not actively in search of a job but might turn their head if someone approached them. This untapped market is where head-hunters or specialist recruiters come in.

Step 6 – The use of technology

Setting up an effective Applicant Tracking System (APS) is very important. Once you have advertised the applicant tracking system will push the adverts to the correct audience. The applicant tracking system must first be set up effectively. This is very important in order to maximise the time of the talent acquisition team. Maximising the use of technology increases the output of the team through allocating their time more effectively. You can use an ATS to ensure that every person gets a response at every stage. This means that no one will be ghosted and manual emails won’t need to be sent out. You can also use an ATS to automate a zoom link or calendar invite. The system can also be used to create reports to be sent to leadership teams automatically. Additionally, once a template is set up for a role, it can be reused. Using the ATS, it can be posted automatically to all of your preferred job sites rather than performing it manually.

Step 7 – Identifying the right candidate 

Several top tips for sifting through candidates:

  1. Maximise the use of your ATS. Create killer questions e.g. do you have a minimum of 3 years’ experience as the role profile.
  2. Consider technology to ask the candidates to answer a few questions in a video format. Allows the person shortlisting to review and identify those to take forward to interview in a time efficient manner.
  3. Preparing and asking effective interview questions.

More information on the recruitment process for SME’s

This episode Talent Acquisition for SME’s with Lucinda and Miles Bonnell, is available on the HR Uprising Podcast. Also available for download on Spotify, iTunes and other podcast providers. 

Please see below for more resources. 

Talent management

Actus Edge for SME

-Next steps – Effective Onboarding: What are the best practices?

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