How SMEs can hire good talents and build teams

Every small business owner understands the need for good people but very few are able to hire the right talent. I realize those who do are the ones that are able to scale up and sustain in the longer run.

Let's look at the problem more closely. How does a small business look for new people to hire? If they have in-house help, they buy access to a job portal and start filtering CVs based on conditions that they select from the available search criteria. If they do not have anyone to do the legwork in-house, they go to a placement consultant to help them get CVs for further consideration. Let's understand that the placement consultants source the CVs from the same of job portals. So the sourcing pool of CVs remain the same irrespective of the approach followed in recruiting candidates. 

Problem 1 
If we choose the incorrect criteria to filter CVs, we get inappropriate CVs. If we get inappropriate CVs, either we end up not recruiting someone or recruiting someone who under-performs. Can't be a happy situation for the employer or the employee. The employee would leave sooner or later forcing the company to return to the previous state.  

What are the chances of choosing incorrect criteria 
I consider it reasonably high - in most cases there are no formal job specification requirements. Requirements are shared verbally and hurriedly too. Both in-house staff and placement consultants are only too eager to comply and hence least questions are asked to clarify doubts at this stage. 

Define requirements as clearly as possible and verify understanding of the CV sorting team(s). It would be best if a few CVs at the start are studied and approved by the requisitioning authority and then further sorting of CVs take place. Quality of CVs that are found would definitely be more apt. During interviews also, the reference of the defined job specifications can help make better selection decisions. 

Problem 2
The  CVs that are found after correcting problem 1 may not give good outcome several times. This is because the database may not simply have the matching candidates at the first place. So depending on the database will not help. This is where a different line of action would be necessary. 

a) Advertising in a daily newspaper that is likely read by the target employee base could generate good response. However, a few basics need to be in place - the business must have a proper website, the ad design should be good and prominently positioned to attract eyeballs. 
b) Linkedin and Facebook ads also can help, provided the number of contacts is high. 
c) Internal referrals by employees can also help in sourcing good CVs
d) Hiring from campuses and grooming them can be a very strong approach that can also facilitate faster awareness of the employer brand and lead to a steady trickle of job applications through employees, references or websites.

Problem 3
The major challenge in accomplishing the above is to get the act right. It may not happen on the first attempt and Business owners give up thinking that their business is special and need some special processes to succeed. So they dump it and wait for some divine intervention!

Business owners must persist with the approach and fine tune every part of it as they proceed. This will gradually improve the process. I have seen small businesses achieving remarkable turnaround in their recruitment performance in a pace of 2 to 3 years.  As of now, I believe, there's no other way for the SMEs to get into a position of talent advantage.


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