SMEs need to recruit, retain and nurture great talent in order to grow. Unfortunately, the journey to success can be a struggle if you don’t have the right people on board.

Hiring the right people may be challenging and time-consuming, but it’s not something you can afford to overlook. Recruit the wrong candidate and you could find yourself out of pocket and with a demotivated workforce.

Good candidates are sought after and you may need to compete for talent.  Make sure you keep candidates up to speed and engage as early as possible.

Here are five ways to ensure you recruit the right people:


1.    Conduct a job analysis

You need to be 100 per cent clear on the position you’re recruiting for. Carry out a job analysis to identify the key duties, responsibilities, skills and outcomes associated with the role.

Once you’ve collated all of this information, you’ll be in a much better position to develop an accurate, up-to-date job description and person specification.

Research market re candidate availability and salary levels to ensure your expectations are realistic and in line with market conditions.  Consider existing teams and salaries and how these may be affected.

Research candidate attraction tools – recruitment can be expensive, set budget accordingly.

2.    Create a CV checklist

It’s essential you have a checklist in place to ensure your recruitment approach is consistent. It will also make it easier to qualify candidates, so the process is as efficient as possible.

3.    Use your job description & person specification to shortlist

You’re a busy person, which is why it’s important you make the best use of your time. Streamline your recruitment process by shortlisting all of your applicants against the job description and person specification you created during the recruitment planning phase. That way, you’ll ensure the right calibre of candidates reach the interview stage.

4.    Telephone interview screening

For the most effective usage of your time, use an initial telephone interview with pre-set questions to identify the strongest candidates.  Utilise technical tests early in the process if appropriate.

5.    Get your questions right

Interviews are integral to the overall hiring process. Ensure you use yours to your full advantage by asking questions that will separate the desirable candidates from the average candidates.

For example, ‘tell me about your best work achievement?’ The applicant’s answer will divulge a lot about what the person values and what he or she deems important. It also shows what he or she considers to be an achievement.

6.    Do your checks

It goes without saying, but now that you’ve gone to the effort of planning your recruitment, don’t undo all of your hard work by not being thorough near the end of the process. Carry out background checks and follow up references to verify your candidates’ skills, qualifications and experience. It’s a stage you cannot afford to overlook.

Recruitment is a two-way process. For advice on attracting appropriately skilled candidates read our blog post ‘Candidate Attraction.’

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