Many of us will have read in the news about the difficulty some people have finding jobs and with a general election this year (May 2015) job creation and unemployment figures are going to be a huge part of what we will be hearing from all the various political parties.
But while, we hear about the number of people there are out of work, we rarely hear about the reverse, i.e. business owners who have vacancies and want to create jobs but struggle to get the right staff.
This is not because they are being too picky or choosy, but simply because people applying for these jobs don’t have the necessary skill-set to fill the role.
Everline, the small business finance provider, carried out research with the CEBR to look at small business and recently published their Autumn 2014 figures. While the report covered several things – one of the main takeaways was the skills shortage.
This has both a major financial and time implication for small business owners:
- Small business owners spend an average of over 100 hours a year looking for potential candidates, training new staff, and developing existing members of staff.
- In economic output (GVA) terms, this is worth an estimated £3,160 of the owner’s time. If suitably skilled staff were readily available, this time could be spent developing new business.
You can read the full report here.
But while we can see there is a skills gap hindering finding the right employee, it is difficult for a business owner to correct that gap as this would need to be carried out centrally at Government level. One way, however, we can look to reduce this time for employers is to suggest some ideas to help speed up this process.
How can SME’s attract suitable staff – quickly?
- Detailed Job Descriptions – Make sure any job descriptions are as complete and detailed as possible. General description templates are okay as they can save you time initially, but a detailed description will save you time and effort and it will help you select possible candidates.
- Detailed Character Description – As well as a job description – be honest – what type of person do you see in this role. What are their characteristics? A character description can be a great way to help you as a small business to find a suitable match.
- Questionnaires – Do consider sending prospective candidates online questionnaires to complete with more in-depth questions around tasks they will need to complete. Services such as Sonru take this step a further and even allow you to create and receive one-way video questionnaires online.
Again this will help whittle down candidates before you spend time seeing them.
- Advertise everywhere – don’t be shy! If you have a process in place to screen applicants, why not attract 200 submissions? Get your job listed locally i.e. online or in a local paper. Do you need specialist skills? Then advertise in trade magazines.
Use social media – LinkedIn is fantastic for this. Post an ad in specialist groups or target those people already in the business using LinkedIn Ads. Ask friends or family if they know anyone suitable – but be clear they need to be qualified. Are you based on a business estate? Put up flyers in cafés on the estate. There are lots of places you could advertise cheaply.
- Outsource – dare we say it, but you could save money and time in the long run by outsourcing this to a recruitment agency. This could seem like a costly experience but you might be able to negotiate a fixed fee or a using a newer or specialist agency could save money.
This will also save you the time of going through the process. Also, using a specialist agency could mean they have people on their books already that are suitable for your role. Never simply write off a recruitment agency because of the cost.
Hopefully this will give you some ideas to help speed up you recruitment process. Taking the time ahead of the process will help you later down track when screening and interviewing the right people. Plus, it will mean spending less time recruiting will mean more time on growing your business – and in the long run – that’s the best thing all round.