Small Business Saturday Blog

Recruiting for your small business

Wednesday, May 18 at 12:18HR | 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 Kayak

This 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 10:23How 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 vacancy

Every 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

Why job descriptions matter

Tuesday, February 23 at 11:28How To | Recruitment | Small Business

This week, we hear from Small Business Saturday champion Parker Sourcing about why writing a job description matters in order to find the best people for your small business


According to a recent study carried out by totaljobs.com, job seekers are now willing to travel larger distances to attend job interviews. The research shows that, in fact, those looking for work will travel up to around 72 miles for the chance to shine in front of prospective employers.

What’s more, the study also finds that job-hunters now spend much longer preparing for interviews than they did last year, with 44% putting at least two hours into planning and company research for each job opportunity. That’s a fairly large 12% increase on the previous year, showing that candidates are realizing the competition for jobs and are equally putting their foot on the gas – quite literally – to leverage themselves onto a higher platform.

The figures also mean that some businesses must look at the interview stage of recruitment a little more seriously rather than flippantly. With candidates now putting in the extra mile to impress prospective employers, it’s important that company’s hone their interview techniques too, and provide each potential employee with a fair and dedicated experience. For more information, please refer to our guide next week on writing a job description.

Additionally, companies should keep in mind their location when advertising on job boards. That is, if a job seeker is willing to travel further to your premises, then it makes sense to target those within a wider locale.



Next week, Parker Sourcing will give tips for writing the perfect job description for your role, here on the Small Business Saturday blog 





Inspire Series: Taking the first steps in recruitment

Wednesday, October 14 at 14:39How To | Inspire Series | Recruitment | Start-Up Support

We are pleased to announce Dylan O’Neil from Indeed to run a four-part series of workshops in the Small Business Saturday Headquarters at Somerset House on 'Expanding your business - Taking the first steps in recruitment'.

In this series Indeed, the world's #1 source of external hires, will provide great tips for small businesses looking to find great employees to help their business grow. From writing your first job description to deciding where to advertise your jobs, Indeed will share insights they have gained from analysing job seeker behaviour across the UK.

The first workshop in the series will be giving Tips for Top Notch Job Content from 11:45am on October 22nd.

The second workshop in the series will be presenting How People Search for Jobs Today from 11:45am on October 29th.

The third workshop in the series will be on Investing to Reach the Best Talent from 11:45am on November 17th.

The fourth workshop in the series will be on Measuring for Success from 11:45am on November 30th.

The events are free for small businesses to attend and will be an hour long with opportunities for questions. They will be live streamed on Periscope with real time Twitter Q&A, so even if you are not in the room you can still get involved. Make sure you follow @SmallBizSat for updates.

For more information and to register attendance please visit the links above.

With thanks to Indeed for the support of these workshops.

Quick guide to Recruitment

Wednesday, August 19 at 09:24How To | Recruitment | Toolkit


Recruitment Tips for Small Businesses


It goes without saying - finding the right person for your small business is pivotal for success! To help you along the way, FreshMinds have outlined some top recruitment tips…




Stage One - Gaining Interest


Job Adverts: where to advertise?


Local or national newspapers
Industry specific job websites 
LinkedIn 
Universities/Schools - get in touch with the careers service department 
Twitter – post a link to your advert 

Structure

Role title and short summary (approximately 25 words)
Company information 
Responsibilities – day to day tasks and/or specific projects 
Candidate requirements – academics, specific skills and industry experience 
Details – location, salary, start date and benefits* 

*List these details to keep them brief/factual



Pay extra attention to the role title and first line. For example: "Boutique, family run hotel requires a top manager with a ‘can do’ mentality to help run, plan, promote and organise all hotel services".

The basic format to follow is: (enter: description of the company) “requires a” (enter: role title) “to help/lead/manage” (enter: two responsibilities of the role). Don't start with “we/I am looking for…”


Outline the unique selling points such as flexibility, company culture and training and use specific words/terms to ensure your role appears in the relevant candidate searches. Ensure that the tone and language is aligned to your company’s message.


Databases

We recommend using…

Reed
LinkedIn
Specific industry databases (technology, marketing, sales, finance, start-up)

Most databases use Boolean search logic to allow you to find keywords or phrases on a profile or CV. Here are some of the basic principles of a Boolean search:


Search for more than one word by entering the phrase into quotation marks, for example “customer service”. Search for more than two words by using AND (must be in capitals), for example ‘’French AND Spanish’’


Find a profile which includes one or more terms by using OR (must be in capitals), for example: “hotel manager OR restaurant manager". Exclude a term by stating NOT before the phrase/word, for example ‘’marketing NOT direct marketing”.

It’s important to remember that the majority of databases charge either a one off or fixed annual fee.


Events/ Networking


Attend free or paid networking events to meet prospective candidates or attend career events or open days at schools/colleges and universities. Select schools and universities based on their Location and relevant degrees/subjects (look at Times University Guide for rankings on specific University subjects).



Stage Two – Assessment


CV Screen


Select three main points you require from CVs to quickly assess applications, for example: 2.1 degree, retail experience, and programming. Check for grammar and ensure the application process has been followed in the correct format. CVs shouldn’t be any longer than 2 pages. Only select a handful of candidates to progress to the next stage (generally 4 for 1 position is a good ratio).

Once selected call the candidates to ensure they are still available and outline next steps. This should include: assessment processes, timescales and salary expectations.


Face-to-Face or Telephone Interviews


We think that it’s really important to meet everyone face-to-face but a telephone interview can be useful for the first round.


Interview Structure


Welcome the candidate and explain the format of the interview. Ask how much they know about the position then give them an explanation about the company/role. This is a good indication of how much research they have done beforehand.


Get them to talk through their career to date and give rationale behind their decisions. For example: why did they choose that course/degree or why did they leave that position at that point? When talking through their experience within a role ask them to break it down into either day to day or project by project responsibilities.


Competency based questions (these must be the same for all candidates to ensure you can benchmark). Select 4-5 main competencies and create a question template. Competencies include: collaboration, problem solving, team work, leadership, drive, resilience, attention to detail, innovation - the list is endless! Questions can either be based on case studies (you may want to consider real life scenarios which have happened at the company) or experiences. For example:


Drive (experience) – ‘Describe an example of when you have been incredibly driven to succeed?’

Problem solving (case study) - ‘imagine you were on the shop floor and X happened, how would you react?’

Good answers should be structured and clear. The CAR technique can be useful for analysing this:

Context
Action – responsibility (did they lead or assist)
Result - what was the measurable output? (specific figures, customer feedback, company feedback)

Ask questions about their motivations and current situation e.g. are they interviewing elsewhere? When are they able to start? What salary are they looking for? – ensure you have a figure in mind and justifications for this.


Then ask them if they have any questions about the role. When are they able to start? Outline your timescales and when they should expect to hear from you.

Cultural fit is very important so it’s a good idea for the candidate to meet your team members.

Trial Day

You may want to consider a trial day/afternoon to give you a good indication of their performance.



Stage Three - Offer


Give the candidate some time after the interview before offering to ensure they have considered the opportunity. Once the candidate has accepted make sure that you send contracts as soon as possible.

Recruitment Companies

The recruiting process can be long and very time consuming. Recruitment companies can help you by managing this entire process and providing you with a selection of shortlisted candidates to interview. You may want to consider this option if you feel it’s a worthy investment.

You can also hire people on an interim basis through recruitment companies and they can be paid through an agency so it is a very quick process – you could have someone start tomorrow! This is a good option to consider around busy seasons.

Research different recruitment companies and select one which is specialised to your sector – ask them to outline case studies and state their ratios of filling positions.




With thanks to FreshMinds









How to go about hiring the best talent for your small business

Wednesday, January 07 at 10:10Recruitment

As a small business owner, recruitment can be incredibly challenging. Not only is recruiting the best talent for your business a time consuming process, you need exactly that, the best talent for your business.

In smaller operations, an employee’s responsibility gets greater. Unlike a larger organisation where multiple people may be responsible for a specific section or department of a business, in a smaller business there will be much more of an element of trust placed on an employee. When recruiting someone to work for you, you will be much choosier and will need to hire someone who will exactly fit your business needs and of course, someone you can trust.

With this in mind, we have taken a look at the ways in which you as a small business owner, can go about hiring the best talent for your business.

Be creative in your approach 
First and foremost, when recruiting for a role you need to think creatively. Sourcing the best talent is no longer just about placing an advert in your local newspaper and waiting for hordes of applications to be sent your way. We live in the age of the internet, we live in the age of the smartphone, we live in the age of social media, and all of these technologies will have an effect on the way in which you recruit.

With technological advances, things have been much more immediate. No longer do you have to wait a week for your advert to be seen in the local newspaper and then have to wait for people to apply, today you can have your job advert written and available for people to see in a matter of minutes. Because of this, think about the ways in which you can be creative in your approach and the way in which you can stand out and capture the attention of skilled job-seekers.

Utilise technology 
As mentioned above, technology has changed the way in which we do business and with it, it has changed the way in which we recruit. Ensure you are utilising the business orientated social network, LinkedIn, as this offers up a world of opportunity. A place for professionals to connect with others and showcase their skills, LinkedIn will make searching for talent much easier and will also make it easier for skilled professionals to be able to find you. Of course, LinkedIn isn’t the be all and end all though. There are other options.

Though they may seem like unlikely options, Facebook and Twitter are both options to consider. Both of these enable you to reach out to a wider audience and ensure that the right people see that you have an opportunity available. With Twitter in particular, the power of the hashtag cannot be ignored. Used as a way of categorising tweets that are similar in subject, by utilising hashtags within the tweets that you compose you will ensure they can be found easily and be viewed not just by those following you, but also those searching on that particular hashtag.

The ability to share easily on social media also means that you will be able to get your job advert seen by more and more people, so ensure you encourage the sharing of anything you post.
Of course, also be sure to add the details of the job to your website (if you have one), as regular visitors to it will see it and will hopefully share the details of it amongst their networks both online and offline.

Hire an experienced recruitment consultant 
If you don’t have the time and resource to recruit for yourself, it could be that you need to hire an experienced recruitment consultant. Using specialist recruitment CRM software, a recruitment consultant will be able to exactly match the skills of an individual to the skills required for your business. As mentioned previously, technology has changed recruitment. By using specialist software, a recruitment consultant will be able to easily filter those who aren’t right for your role and quickly identify those who are.

Develop relationships
Network, network, network. To ensure you get talent that is right for your business, ensure you are in constant communication with those around you. Positioning yourself centrally in your industry will enable you to develop relationships with individuals, organisations and key figures and get insight into this who might be right and who might be wrong for your business. To develop these relationships, be sure to attend as many conferences, exhibitions and events that you can in order to gain as much insight into the industry as you can.

By Dean Ronnie, www.mercuryxrm.co.uk 

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