14th May 2019

Takes one to know one: why SMEs should work with start-up recruiters

Recruitment, Startups

In a small business, every new hire is critical. Expanding the team is a big investment, and many SMEs may naturally look to large recruitment agencies to help them find the right person. However, this isn’t always the right fit.
As a start-up recruitment agency, you understand the needs of a growing business more than anyone, because you’re in the same boat. And with more than 5.7 million SMEs in the UK alone, if you can communicate this common ground, there’s a huge potential client base for the taking…

You know the qualities needed in a candidate

As we’ve already mentioned, the stakes are higher when small businesses recruit someone new. People are a company’s biggest cost, so directors need to make sure they find someone who adds real value to their organisation.
Being a start-up agency, this is your opportunity to show empathy; you know first-hand the difference each employee makes to an SME. And more importantly, you understand the unique skillset a small business employee needs to possess – from a proactive attitude to flexibility.
This insight into the type of person other start-ups need will aid your recruitment process, as you can focus on finding energetic self-starters that will turn their hand to whatever task needs doing. The right person for the job isn’t always the most qualified; it’s about finding someone with the right attitude.

You can prepare contractors properly for interview

Understanding a start-up business works two ways; as well as searching for contractors with the right qualities to complement growing companies, you can manage applicants’ expectations.
When you’re recruiting for roles within SMEs, it’s important that candidates have a clear understanding of the company’s culture, and how working for a start-up differs to a larger organisation. For example, they will need to be comfortable with change, as often small businesses will change their direction if a new marketing opportunity arises.
There are also some exciting benefits to working with a blossoming business, which you can communicate to them pre-interview. It’s a great place to get mentoring support, as working within a small team means lots of one-to-one time with company bosses. It’s also a chance to gain experience in lots of different areas, so contractors can decide later on whether they want to specialise in a particular field.
No doubt that working for a small business can be riskier than a role in a corporate business, but the rewards can be greater as well. 

You know how to pitch salary packages

While we’ve spoken about the need to be cost-conscious in a small business, a strong salary package can help to attract high calibre candidate. As a recruiter, you are in a unique position to advise SMEs, as you know the going market rate.
Sometimes nudging a salary band slightly higher can save businesses money in the long run, as they are able to attract highly skilled workers that bring value to their firm. If they can’t afford to beat the rest of the market on wages, you can recommend some other perks that will help to make their offer more attractive to the best quality candidates.

Take the time to understand SME client needs

As the examples we have shared show, start-up recruitment agencies can engage with SMEs on an equal level because you share many of the same growing pains. However, each business is unique, so it’s important to spend time with the owners and understand their individual needs.
If you’re a consultant or small team, dedicating time to clients is easier said than done. You’re also running a lean operation, balancing business development opportunities alongside essential admin tasks.
Like your small business clients, start-up recruiters need to recognise when the time is right to hire new staff – and when alternative solutions can be cheaper and more effective. For many growing agencies, the best way to free up your time for client engagement is to onboard recruitment back office technology.
By automating everyday processes like timesheet approvals, raising invoices and chasing payments, you can reduce the strain of back office operations. And with technology taking care of the boring stuff, you can focus on offering SME clients a high-quality standard of service.
Startup 20/20 is an affordable back office solution for start-up recruitment agencies. Book your free demo to find out more.

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