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Bringing in the right people

Published on 7th June 2019 - Last update on 14th January 2020

Running a small business, and growing it into a bigger one, depends on bringing in the right people.

You can’t just put a 'help wanted' sign on your door. The future of your business could depend on the skills and qualities of the people who join your team.

Deciding who you need

You need to start by writing a job-spec. List the duties you need your new staff member to tackle. What will they be responsible for? Will they be sweeping up the factory floor or leading the sales team? Will they be running a specific machine or process? Will they be dealing directly with customers or working internally? Do they need to drive, to use a spreadsheet or manage others?

It can be a revealing exercise and you will probably find that you want somebody with a wide range of skills.

Your next step is to write the person-spec, which lists the skills, experience and qualities the person should have. Do they need qualifications? List them. Must they have had experience in the sector, or could they have transferrable skills from somewhere else? Do you want someone just to carry out the tasks assigned or someone who can work on their own initiative?

Remember, you can’t specify the age or gender in your person-spec, but you can make it clear what level of experience the role requires.

Attracting the right people

Competition for good people is fierce. You need to find reasons for them to join you and it comes as a surprise to many first-time employers that it is not simply a matter of money.

Recruitment Professionals talk about the Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

This is the combination of benefits which an employee will receive in return for the skills, capabilities and experience they bring to your business. It sums up the central reasons that people are proud and motivated to work there. Do you have an inspiring vision or a distinctive culture, excellent working conditions or exciting prospects?

A strong EVP will help you attract the best talent. To understand yours, ask yourself:

  • Why do your existing employees really think about the company?
  • What do they particularly like about working for your business?
  • Why do they stay with you – and what makes them move on?

You might need to talk to your existing employees to understand what is good about your business, what attracts them – and where you might need to make some changes to develop the Employee Value Proposition you need.

Test your EVP with existing employees and a sample group from the external market to see if it really would motivate an individual to work for your company.

Looking to grow your team? Find out how Growth Finance can give you the team members you need

Communicate your message

Armed with your EVP, jobspec and person spec, you are ready to communicate to the people you want to attract.

There are plenty of ways of doing this, with the growth of internet job boards. There are general boards, which people can search using key terms, and even set up to provide email alerts when the jobs they are looking for come up.

There are also specialised job boards, which concentrate on specific sectors. Try to find the boards that are in use for your business, but don’t be surprised if your job ad turns up on a general board – many have arrangements to share data. It’s a good thing – the more people see your ad, the more chance you have of finding someone with the skills you want.

Don’t forget the importance of local advertising, especially for less well-paid positions. People may not want to travel for work. Don’t be afraid to use local job boards, and find creative and relevant ways to communicate to the people you are trying to attract.

There is no need to be ‘creative’ with your listing itself. Just explain what the job is, what experience you expect applicants to have, and make sure you include the features that make up your EVP.  Putting in the salary range can be a good way to ensure people are in no doubt about the seniority of the role. It helps narrow down response, and will stop you wasting your own time as well as that of applicants.

Dealing with response

Ensure you make a list of all responses to your ad, and be sure to acknowledge all applicants. It’s not just good manners - it helps people be certain you have received their application, and stops them applying again. It also demonstrates that yours is a professional business. Even if you can see at a glance the applicant is not right for the job, the impression they form about your business will be conveyed to others – so make sure it's a positive one. Plus many businesses don't respond to all applicants - which is a great way to make your business stand out for the right reasons.

Let the ad run for a while – the longer the better for senior roles and unusual jobs where applicants may be few – and then write up a short list of the most promising.

You might want to run first stage interviews over the phone or video link. It will save you time and money as well as that of applicants'. Second stage interviews are usually done in person, in your premises – they give applicants a chance to make their own assessments of your business.

Despite all the advances in technology, knowing that you have the right candidate is still largely a matter of gut feel. You need someone with the right qualifications and experience, but you also need them to be someone you and the rest of your team will want to work with.

What happens next will depend on the size of your business. If you don’t have your own HR person, it is possible to outsource onboarding to an external consultant who can take care of the paperwork and any background checks, as well as help you draw up an employment contract.

Dealing with the costs

Bringing in a new person will be an investment in your future. If you use an employment agent the costs may be relatively high – a sum equivalent to 6 months salary is not unusual in some sectors. You can reduce this cost by taking on the task of finding, shortlisting and interviewing yourself.

However, there will be the cost of the new team member’s salary. If this is a replacement, the cost will probably already be within your budget, but if you are expanding your team to grow your business you may have to commit to paying an extra salary before they have helped you take on more work or generate extra profits.

At Rangewell, we know the solutions that are available to fund this kind of investment. A Short-term Loan or Growth Finance could provide the cash you need. Call us to discuss how we could help you find the funding you need to grow your team.


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Richard Mitchell

Richard Mitchell

Content writer
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