Small Business Saturday Blog

Hiring tips for start-ups

Wednesday, March 01 at 15:24
HR

A new business is nothing without a talented and skilled workforce that can shape its culture, achieve its short-term goals and build a foundation for future growth. Hiring the right candidates is a top priority for start-ups, but many struggle to source the right employees for respective roles as they lack experience and are constrained by budgetary requirements and other demands.Data shows that 10 per cent of new hires do not work out. While large organisations can usually absorb the blow, micro and small businesses are often left reeling as just a single employee can represent a large percentage of the workforce. A strong hiring strategy will mitigate some of the risks associated with new hires and help you to bring in the talent you need to make your start-up a success.Be proactiveStarting from scratch for each new hire can really limit your ability to source suitable candidates quickly, so be on the lookout all year, even when you don’t have any open spots. According to Bas Kohnke, the co-founder of performance software enterprise Impraise, creating and saving a watch list for talent and keeping in touch with potential candidates can pay dividends. He adds: “Send them an email, invite them to a party. Just keep them in the loop.”Talent management Hiring managers can now use platforms to streamline the applicant tracking and hiring process. Cloud software can be used to aggregate, update and maintain information about candidates and facilitate simple and intuitive communications with the candidate pool. Leveraging the wealth of new technology that is available in the digital age can really level the playing field for start-ups as they can access tools that were previously only available to the largest corporations. Bringing in a CRM Recruitment specialist to oversee this area of hiring is recommended.Optimise the process A Leadership IQ study found that a flawed interview procedure can have a detrimental impact on candidate selection, so it is important to optimise this so you can process prospective new hires efficiently. You could start with a survey and an automated email response to filter candidates, and then use video interviews as a second stage. While technical competence is important, try to ask questions that help determine a candidate’s drive, ambition, temperament, motivation, emotional intelligence and coachability, as these factors are often overlooked.Diversity and problem solvers Hiring people who are experts in specific areas of business and complement other employees is the best way to build a start-up team. AOL co-founder Steve Case believes that new enterprises must “strike the right balance between having a team of people who work well together and having distinct and diverse perspectives.” You might also want to favour problem solvers during the formative stages of business as you will most likely need employees who can overcome adversity and get things done quickly.The importance of building a strategy that will enable you to hire employees who are technically capable and an ideal fit for your company and culture cannot be overstated. Taking the time to define what you need and implementing a robust procedure can go a long way toward helping you source the right candidates at the right time.

Recruiting for your small business

Wednesday, May 18 at 12:18
HR | Recruitment | Top Tips

In this day and age of evolving technology, it’s understandable that many small business owners may feel overwhelmed when they need to hire someone. There’s hundreds, maybe thousands of websites all seemingly offering a similar solution. Whether you’re a small deli looking for a barista to make a marvellous macchiato, or a growing marketing agency delving into digital, understanding how job seekers behave is the first step to success.Tip 1 - Put yourself in the jobseekers shoes (and put your job ad in their sightline)Whether it’s browsing shop windows or searching online, job seekers with different skills behave differently when they look for a job. Take a step back, think about where the person you want to hire would go to search for a job, and make sure your jobs are seen there.  Tip 2 - The growth of “specialist search engines” Take a look at this graph below using Google data. You can see in red how searches for Cheap Flights has declined over time. More people now search for specialist travel search engines such as “Kayak", than search for “Cheap Flights” on Google.
Searches for cheap flights  Searches for KayakThis trend is also happening in the search for jobs. People are now using specialist search engines for jobs, like Adzuna, to begin their search. Ensuring your jobs are on the most relevant platforms to job seekers is the best way to make sure your vacancies reach the right job seekers.Tip 3 - Advertise for Free! The first advertising you should do for any job should be free. Whether it’s sticking an ad in the window or posting the job on your website, always look to free sources first. You can even advertise your job on sites like Adzuna for free.  There’s no commitment, no contract and no credit cards needed, just a great job description and a website or email address to receive your applications.Tip 4 - Job search is everywhere - be there. The constant evolution of the internet and ability to take sophisticated technology on the move has changed the way people search for jobs. Job seekers no longer need to spend hours visiting recruitment agencies, or trawling through newspaper ads, they can search at any time, virtually anywhere, through their smartphone or tablet. Ensuring your jobs are visible on mobile is critical, especially when trying to find people who aren’t currently “desk based” workers. Adzuna is a search engine for job ads used by over 9 million visitors per month that aims to list every job, everywhere. We search thousands of websites so our users don't have to, bringing together millions of ads in one place. By providing smarter search options and powerful data about the job market, we give jobseekers the information they need to take control of their careers.  Click here to request your free job advertising account.Adzuna’s mission is to be the best place to start looking for a job.  We love using the awesome power of technology to help match people to better, more fulfilling jobs and keep Britain working.

How to write the perfect job advert

Thursday, March 10 at 10:23
How To | HR | Recruitment

This week, we hear from Small Business Saturday champion Parker Sourcing about how to write a brilliant job description for your small business vacancyEvery company wants to land the best workers to help drive their business forward, which is why creating an efficient and extremely attractive job advert is very important.  On too many occasions, businesses fail to articulate the ethos of the company and specific responsibilities of the post, meaning many potential and talented candidates slip through their hands.To lure in the most creative, innovative and cutting-edge individuals, your job advertisement must be packed with reasons for candidates to contact you. But saying that, you probably won’t want Scooby Doo and the gang showing up for an interview and wasting valuable time either, so it’s all about striking the right balance to attract the people you want to hire.For example, you’re looking for someone to come in and head up your marketing team. You want them to take the bull by the horns from day one and create some great, catchy and viral advertising campaigns to really drive your business forward. However, you’re also a very flexible and team-orientated company who loves to get staff helping out across multiple departments. Would you really want to employ a marketing guru who had a less-than-positive attitude towards customer services?It’s essential that you make your job requirements clear to the reader in order to attract the right people for the job and to whittle out anyone who probably won’t fit the bill. If you’re on the lookout for a technically savvy developer for your I.T department, who can also provide the rest of the company with computer training, then you’ll need that person to be a confident communicator and not just a heads-down coding wizard.Is your company a fun, challenging or rewarding place to work? Let people know about it upfront, so they can picture themselves in the role. Be positive about the culture of the organization to have people really wanting to work for you. Put yourselves in their situation; they’re looking for a place where they can connect with the people around them; an environment they can look forward to working in every day when they wake up in the morning. Capture the personality of your company, and you’re well on your way to attracting the right candidates for your post.It’s not always easy to remember what information to include in when you post a job online, so to make sure you have everything covered, work your way through this list before you click ‘submit’:1. Have you included a clear job title for the position?2. Have you supplied a definite list of educational requirements and experience required to take on the job?3. Have you outlined a salary range for the position?4. Have you included the amount of working hours required per week?5. Have you listed a transparent set of duties that the role involves?For more hiring advice, read Lee Parker's previous blog post: Why Job Descriptions Matter

Successful HR for Small Businesses

Tuesday, April 14 at 11:12
HR

Approaching human resources correctly is essential for all successful businesses. While larger companies are able to employ a whole HR department to handle company policies, employee data and hiring, small businesses face more challenges in this area. For small businesses to ensure that their HR is done successfully, they need to consider their needs and put strategies in place to meet them.In-House HRNew and small businesses often find that an in-house HR professional is not necessary for their company. However, businesses should not ignore HR priorities. In this instance, many small businesses who have less than 50 or so employees allocate HR tasks among other members of the team. For example, an admin worker may be involved in the hiring process and another worker may be responsible for managing staff holidays. Some small businesses may opt for one-off consultations with HR professionals, especially regarding legal policies, to ensure that they are on track.HR SoftwareAs a small business grows, managing all of the day-to-day HR tasks between other team members can become a challenge. In this instance, HR software can lighten the load. HR software for monitoring absences from work, planning staff leave, recording salary history, keeping health and safety records, as well as providing online training where needed, can easily reduce the time spent on these tasks. For businesses who employ remote workers, there are HR software options for time tracking, task management, online calls, meetings, invoicing and so on.Outsourcing HRAnother option for growing businesses to consider is outsourcing their HR tasks. Outsourcing can give businesses access to skills and knowledge that they might not otherwise have and allow managers to focus on their core business. For businesses who do not require an in-house HR professional but are finding that allocating tasks to other team members is negatively affecting productivity, outsourcing can still keep costs low while ensuring all the necessary HR work is taken care of. There are a variety of HR responsibilities which can be outsourced, the most common of which are legal services, payroll, recruitment and pensions.
Author Bio: Stuart Hearn has 20 years experience in the HR sector. He co-founded plusHR, a leading UK HR consultancy, and previously worked as International HR Director for Sony Music Publishing. Stuart is currently CEO of OneTouchTeam, an online staff leave planner and HR system for small businesses. 

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