Recruiting the right team

This is a guest post by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

When it comes to business, putting the right team in place is vital. It can be the difference between success and failure. The problem is, the recruitment process can be a minefield. It’s expensive, time consuming and often frustrating for small businesses. Thankfully, we’ve got a little advice and some essential tips to help your recruitment efforts.

What Can You Afford?

“Make key hires that can fill skill gaps and complement existing staff to help you reach the next level” – Zac Williams, Founder and Director of GradTouch.

A full-time hire is a huge commitment for a small business. Can you actually afford it? Moreover, is there enough work to warrant a full-time team member? You may find that working with freelancers is a better route to take. If you require specific skills in a certain area, you’ll find freelancers could offer numerous benefits:

  • You can find someone with a combination of experience & expertise
  • You can tap into a person’s talents without adding them to the payroll
  • You can scale their input up or down to match demand

There are plenty of freelancers online waiting for you and it’s a thriving market. In fact, a recent survey found that nearly 70% of Europe’s SMEs are using freelance talent to benefit their business.

Hire the Skills You Need

“Growth is not just about profit; bigger budgets allow us to use skilled freelances, increasing the quality of our output” – Graeme McGowan, Creative Partner at Jamhot.

At times of quick growth, brands tend to speed up their hiring processes. This can lead to poor hires. When undertaking the hiring process, it’s important to ensure the candidate is a good fit for your brand’s culture. Can you offer the job satisfaction and career path they’re hoping for? Will they get on well with the rest of your team?

Take a look at your team’s strengths and their weaknesses. What hires will make your company successful? Are you lacking anywhere? Would extra skills in a particular area help your brand reach then next level? For example, if you’re a tech brand that shows great potential for growth but doesn’t have a strong business development team, you should look to bring in someone to fill this void.

Make sure you’re getting the right advice when hiring. It’s vital that you know the law and what’s required of you. There’s plenty of help out there, do some research before beginning the process.

Explore All Recruitment Channels

“Utilising specialist websites for your industry can give quicker access to appropriate skills” – Gary Cassey, MD at Cass Productions.

Stop and think before deciding the route you’ll take to get your brand’s message out there. Recruitment agencies are the obvious choice but they can be expensive at times. Major job boards get a high volume of traffic but are more catered for big businesses. Try looking further afield.

Smaller niche job boards often come at a lower cost and will get your ad seen by relevant candidates. Look towards your network too. You could know someone or have a friend-of-a-friend that’s perfect for the position – LinkedIn is your best tool for this. Social media generally can also be an excellent platform for spreading word of your vacancies. Don’t underestimate the power of social recruiting.

Scrutinise Applicants

“99% of being successful is about having the right attitude. Those people can learn new skills” – James Vizor, CEO of Rule Recruitment.

If you’re looking for advice on the recruitment process, there’s plenty of information out there to help. Before you even begin approaching any of this, you need to first consider what type of person you’re looking to hire. There’s more than meets the eye to this. You need to start by looking at your own company. Your employer brand (the image/culture you’re portraying as an employer) is vital to successfully finding the right candidate. Demonstrate what your company is all about and why candidates should be excited about working with you.

Look for key traits from your candidates. Richard Branson, for instance, highlights three key characteristics he looks for when hiring:

  • People skills
  • Risk-taking and determination for success
  • Optimism

If you’re interested in finding more startup or SME advice, you can find more helpful videos on Innovate UK’s YouTube channel – be sure to subscribe.

You can also give @InnovateUK a follow on Twitter here.

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