Business Operations
6 min.

Recruiting Employees: Your Advantage as a Small Business

Véronique Forest
Last updated on 28 Feb. 2024
Published on 12 Sep. 2023
Two women seated at a table, seen through the window of a small brick café

For SMEs, recruitment can raise its share of challenges.

Table of contents

The job market is highly competitive—especially in a labor shortage. According to one 2022 study, 94% of business owners report struggling to find the right candidates to fill their positions.

There are many reasons why recruitment can be difficult, from poor working conditions to talent shortages, problems with the recruitment process, and more.

However, there are strategies that SMEs can use to spotlight their advantages and attract more applicants.

If you’re looking to improve your SME’s recruitment practices, this post is for you.

Have a well-thought-out recruitment process

In a small or medium-sized business, even a single employee can have a major impact on the rest of the company.

A new recruit can influence the company’s performance, culture and even team motivation. This is why it’s important to recruit the right person to round out your team.

Here are 3 steps to help make sure you pick the best candidates in the course of your recruitment process.

Pinpoint your labor needs

The first step in your recruitment process is to analyze your labor needs.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you need a full-time or part-time employee?
  • How many new employees do you want to hire?
  • Do you want to offer a permanent position, a seasonal job or a fixed-term contract?
  • What is your salary budget?

Once you’re sure the time has come to hire a new employee, it’s important to draw up a detailed job description, especially if it’s a brand-new position. Take the time to pinpoint the tasks and duties connected to the job.

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This job description will be used to:

  • Write your job posting
  • Assess candidate skills
  • Determine what training to offer
  • Help evaluate the employee once they’re hired

Have a look at this job posting template to help you write your own more easily.

You can also plan your labor requirements yearly, depending on the growth of your SME’s operations. Use the reports available in your human resources management tool to do so.

You’ll be better able to anticipate future hiring, and you’ll have more time to recruit the best candidates.

Create an attractive job posting

Now it’s time to draft your job posting. This is the first contact your candidates will have with your company, so it’s important that it reflects your image and grabs job seekers’ attention.

Your job posting should include:

  • Job title
  • Company description
  • Job description
  • Skills and requirements
  • Benefits
  • How to apply

Don’t be afraid to be original in your posting and set yourself apart from other companies. This being said, stay away from job titles such as “customer service rockstar” or “sales ninja.” This unoriginal practice can play against you, turning off certain candidates from applying.

Instead, leverage your strengths: a small company can enable employees to work in a wide range of sectors, to complete their projects quickly, to have more of a say, to enjoy less bureaucracy and greater flexibility, etc.

Be concise in your description and avoid vague wording. If your job description doesn’t really match the position you’ve advertised, your candidate may be disappointed once they’re on the job and decide to leave you for another employer. You might as well be honest from the get-go!

It’s also important to have reasonable expectations regarding the skills required for the position. There’s no such thing as an ideal candidate, and keep in mind that you can always offer additional training if needed.

Also include the salary you think you’re going to offer, whether it’s a fixed hourly wage or a salary range. Not only is this a best practice, it will also save you an enormous amount of time in your recruitment.

Once written and published, share the posting with your employees and encourage them to share it with their network. Recruiting through your employees is a great technique, since it makes them into positive ambassadors.

Interview like a pro

When you receive interesting resumes, contact the candidates as soon as possible. Schedule a phone interview to find out whether candidates fit with your requirements and company culture.

You can then invite the most promising candidates to a face-to-face interview.

During interviews, try to go beyond resumes and get to know your candidates. This will make it easier to determine whether their personality will mesh with the existing team and the advertised position.

Don’t hesitate to give your candidates a tour of your SME and have them meet your current employees to see how they interact with your team.

Remember to involve your team members during the interview. After all, they’ll be working directly with this person. For example, ask an employee to present the personality test or to participate in your proficiency test.

Don’t hesitate to ask different and original interview questions that will give you a better feel for the candidates. For example, ask them to explain their thought process when making a purchase such as a house or a car. Their answer will speak volumes about how they make decisions.

Build a strong company culture

It can seem difficult to compete with some of the larger companies that are able to offer their employees a huge range of benefits. But don’t worry, as an SME, you also have several advantages to offer candidates, such as flexibility, small work teams, a relaxed atmosphere, skill development opportunities, and more.

One of the best strategies you can adopt in your SME to facilitate recruitment is to build a strong, attractive company culture.

To be able to recruit the best person for your SME, you should be able to identify your company’s mission and values, the type of person you’re looking for, etc. These indicators are all part of your company culture.

Strive to put in place management practices that prioritize employee well-being. For example, if you can’t offer very competitive salaries, offer better work-life balance, flexible hours or more weeks off per year.

And don’t forget to update your website and social media to showcase who you are. Highlight your mission on your “About” page and don’t hesitate to show your colors in your Facebook feed or Instagram comments, for example.

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If you’re wondering what kinds of advantages to offer, ask yourself, “What kinds of advantages would I like to have if I were employed by a company?” You can also ask this question of your existing employees to make sure you’re meeting their needs.

Offer more flexibility

Your greatest advantage as an SME is the flexibility you can offer your employees.

The job market has changed dramatically in recent years. In addition to a competitive salary, workers are also looking for:

  • Better fringe benefits
  • A workplace that cares about their well-being
  • Recognition
  • A job that gives them fulfilment
  • Greater flexibility

Flexibility is as much about the diversity of tasks to perform as it is about the possibility of working flexible hours.

For example, if you’re a manager at a pharmacy, offer your employees a rotating schedule so they don’t always have to work weekends. To do this, you can use scheduling software to help you better manage your team members’ schedules.

Tap into your strengths

As a small or medium-sized company, you have a wide range of advantages to offer.

You’re likely to be an employer of choice for employees who want to see fast results for their actions and want to develop professionally by accomplishing a diversity of tasks. So, whenever you can, promote the advantages you have to offer.

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Your questions answered.

How do you recruit employees for a small business?

The steps to recruit employees for an SME include:

  1. Identifying your labor needs
  2. Drawing up a job description
  3. Creating a job posting
  4. Distributing the posting
  5. Interviewing candidates
  6. Making a job offer to the most promising candidate
  7. Onboarding new employees

How do you hire employees for a new business?

Before hiring employees for a new business, it’s important to make sure that you comply with existing legislation on matters such as the minimum wage or the amount of compulsory employer contributions.

The company also needs to determine a salary budget and write a job posting.

The posting then needs to be shared on specialized recruitment sites or social media, for example.

The new company can then interview candidates to select the best person for the job.

The employee subsequently signs an employment contract and fills out the documents required for onboarding, such as a personal information form and a direct deposit enrolment form.

What’s the best way to hire employees?

Strategies for hiring new employees generally include:

  • Putting up a job posting on a specialized website
  • Building a candidate database
  • Getting help from a recruiter
  • Setting up a referral program at the company
  • Participating in job fairs

The best way to hire employees varies according to the company and the situation.

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