As a startup or SME, recruitment can be an area of uncertainty and concern. It’s an expensive, difficult and lengthy process. If you make the wrong decision, the effects will echo throughout your company. If you get it right, it can be the key to success. Thankfully, Innovate UK can offer a few tips to help you recruit the right team.

Consider Affordability

“Make key hires that can fill skill gaps and complement existing staff to help you reach the next level” – Zac Williams, Founder and Director of GradTouch.

A full time hire is a huge commitment which shouldn’t be taken lightly. You need to be sure that you can actually afford it. If funds are looking tight, it may be worth considering other options like freelance talent. Freelancers are soaring in popularity among startups and SMEs. This is for a number of reasons:

  • They allow you to use someone with both skills and experience
  • You can tap into talent without committing to an annual salary
  • You can increase or decrease their involvement to meet business demand

“Growth is not just about profit; bigger budgets allow us to use skilled freelancers, increasing the quality of our output” – Graeme McGowan, Creative Partner at Jamhot.

Hire Skills You Need

When your company is growing at speed, it’s easy to panic and hire people quickly. Do your best to avoid this reaction. When you’re looking at potential candidates, be sure they are right for the opportunity your company presents. Are they the right cultural fit? Can you offer the challenges and progression they crave?

It’s important to evaluate your current team. Where do your strengths and weaknesses lie? What skills could drive your company to the next level? Most startups are built in the image of their founder, it takes something extra to move forward. Look at what’s lacking and hire in that area.

Explore All Recruitment Channels

How do you plan to find your next hire? Here are some of your available options:

  • A recruitment agency
  • Job boards
  • LinkedIn network
  • Social media platforms
  • Customers
  • Internal recommendations/promotions

Recruitment agencies may be your first initial thought though these do cost a hefty amount. They’re often an unrealistic option for startups.

Job boards are another top choice. Having said this, the obvious ones are usually less cost effective for small businesses. We recommend looking towards niche sites which specialise in your specific field. These are often cheap (sometimes even free) and will be seen by relevant candidates.

“Utilising specialist websites for your industry can give quicker access to appropriate skills” – Gary Cassey, MD of Cass Productions.

Scrutinise Your Applicants

Before you start looking at the applicants themselves, you need to consider what message you’re sending out. Your employer brand will attract certain types of candidates. Be sure the recruitment process paints an accurate and intriguing insight into your company. Try to offer as much information on the culture as possible. This should be something that resonates with your new hire.

Now it’s time to drill down into your candidate pool. What are you looking for from your next hire? We don’t just mean skills but personal attributes too.

“99% of being successful is about having the right attitude. Those people can learn new skills” – James Vizor, CEO of RULE Recruitment.

If you’re unsure what traits you should be looking for, learn from other entrepreneurs. For example, Sir Richard Branson highlights three main attributes he craves from applicants:

  • Someone who relates well to others and treats them with respect
  • Someone who isn’t afraid to take a risk but is determined to be successful
  • Someone who see the best in others and their own situation

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