How SMEs Can Recruit On A Tight Budget

On this recruiter blog, we often address ways of boosting your staff retention so that you can avoid any unnecessary time and costs that are associated with recruiting new talent to your company.

But, obviously, the continued success and growth of your company will require recruitment of extra members of a talented team. Sometimes, existing staff members will move on which will leave you with recruitment to do and at other times, there might be more job creation due to company growth where you need to fill vacant roles. 

When it comes to the bigger businesses out there, they obviously have large recruitment budgets with systems in place, too, for when they do recruitment drives for hooking the best talent amongst graduates and young people who are looking to do Apprenticeship programmes.

If you are an employer who works for or owns a smaller company, however, it’s probable that you have just a small budget for recruitment. If that is the case, how do you go about recruiting young talented people when you only have a limited budget to play with?

Well, the good news is, there are lots of strategies you can put into place. Both long term strategies and strategies you can put in place for instant use when you need to recruit new members to your team.

Recruitment does not necessarily need a huge budget these days. It’s aboıut you and your company being out there and being visible to the people you are looking to attract. Ans also, as a smaller company, you can leverage the advantage of being able to demonstrate the human touch. 

Let’s look at some tips and strategies you can make use of to make your recruitment as cost effective as possible. 

Have A Recruitment Plan In Place

However vague, try to have a recruitment plan in place for the year ahead so that you have an idea of the type of budget you might need and how much time you will need to spend on your recruitment drive. 

What type of staff are you going to need in the upcoming year? Are you going to be looking for students or young people to do weekend or evening part time work? Are you the type of company that is going to need to recruit seasonal staff for busy periods? 

Is your hope to be able to offer positions or graduate programmes or internships? Or will you be looking to recruit young people to Apprenticeship programmes?Do you need people to do weekend work or seasonal jobs? Do you need graduates? Do you want to use interns or offer apprenticeships? 

Taking some time to sit down and think about what you want your recruitment to look like in the future can save you money in the long term. It can save you the effort – and fees – of going through agencies and hiring people as and when. 

For example, if you know you are going to need to recruit some seasonal staff or temporary staff from time to time, have a plan in place so that you begin the recruitment process in good time. 

And if these staff are happy in their work and you are happy with them, you can save money in the future by asking them if they want to return to work for you next time they are needed. Showing an interest in why your young recruits are doing temporary work can build a relationship and, if they are available, they could return to work for you in the future. 

This saves you both time and money. We have written in the past about effective ways of recruiting and working with seasonal staff

Know Who You Want

Identify the type of candidates you want to attract for each particular recruitment drive and target those people effectively. Focussing on specific candidates means you have a much better chance of getting the right person or people in the shortest amount of time.

Recruitment is about quality, not quantity. You don’t want to be wasting time and money on vague ads that then attract hundreds of applications, many of which are from people who are not suitable for the roles you have on offer. 

Too many applications means you could also be letting the best young talent slip through the cracks if you miss their application.

Get Your Job Ad Right, First Time

Once you know who you want, you need to make sure you write your job ad and target it towards that audience. No vagueness. A well targeted job ad should ensure you receive a smaller pool of quality applications. 

When writing a job ad that target young people, be careful not to put those young people off with unnecessary job ad jargon. There are a few tips in this list about what to include – and what not to include in your job ad so that it is focused. 

A good job ad should promote your company and the job at the same time. If the role you are offering is niche, make your ad niche. 

If you are an SME, you can promote the human touch. Lots of young people can find the through of starting their career in the workplace a daunting prospect. Offer mentoring and other support within the ad as well as opportunities for further training and development.

Does Your Company Branding Reflect Your Company?

Focussing on your company branding can save you a lot of money in the long term when it comes to recruitment. Get your branding right and young people will want to work for you before you even begin a recruitment drive. 

Many people will know about your company before you put any type of job ad out there so make sure that what they do know reflects you. 

We have written articles about how to boost your employer brand in the past but in short, your branding is all about people’s perception of your company, products or services. This includes the culture of your company, too. Be sure to speak to your existing staff about how they see the company culture as it may be different to the views you have yourself. 

Take a good look at your website and other presence in the online world and make sure that what is there is representative of you as a business – what you sell and how you sell it. And where staff fit into the success of the company.

Use The Internet

It may seem like stating the obvious but the internet is a hugely useful tool if you’re recruiting on a budget. There are lots of free tools out there and you can also make targeted investments that should give you excellent value for your money. 

Social media is an excellent tool that you can make use of food recruiting on a budget. Make sure your presence on each outlet both reflects your company and also targets the people you are aiming to attract. If you are looking to target young people and you want a presence on places like TikTok, why not get young people who already work for your company involved. 

Your social media presence is also a place where, if you are recruiting, you can post your own job ads for free.If you do want to invest in sponsoring a post, then you often get the option to target a particular audience so this is a valuable tool.

Job boards are also a valuable tool that you can make use of. Recruiting on a budget means you need to choose your job boards wisely – those which target the type of people you are looking for – so that your money has been well spent. 

If you are looking to recruit young people, for example, job boards like e4s are dedicated to getting young people into work. Your job ad will reach your target audience. 

If you want to save time and money in the long run, it will also be worth your time to consider looking into investing in some recruitment software. This will prove very useful for medium sized companies in particular. Take the time to research which software will be the best fit for your company. 

Network, Network, Network

Get yourself out there both in person and virtually. Attend professional events and job fairs and talk to people. These are the places where you meet people who have the same professional interests you have. 

Attend careers fairs at schools and colleges and run online events that give you the opportunity to network with your target audience.  

Get involved in community events in your local area as a company. This will give you the opportunity to boost your employer branding but also to network with potential future candidates. 

Use Word Of Mouth

No budget required for this type of recruitment. All staff talk about their jobs and the company they work for when they are out of the workplace. If your workplace has a good culture where staff are motivated and happy, this will be passed on and 

Use Employee Referrals

Employee referrals are a great tool that employers can use when recruiting on a budget. You can offer your employees a bonus or other perks if they recommend a new recruit for you that works out but other than that, employee referrals cost you nothing. 

Research also shows that employees who have been recommended are more likely to accept the job you have on offer. They also tend to be more engaged and stay around with the company for longer. This again saves on your recruitment budget and also boosts your staff retention in the future .

As well as asking your current employees to recommend staff for the company, don’t be afraid to ask previous employees who have either retired or moved on to other roles elsewhere. 

If you are on good terms, former employees might be happy to suggest suitable recruits for your firm. They know your company culture and how your workplace functions and will be able to suggest good fits for your vacancies. 

Take A Look At Previous Candidates or Team Members

When recruiting on a budget, it is possible to save yourself some money by looking again at candidates from a previous recruitment drive. Go back through those applications to see if there was someone you missed last time. 

Or, if it’s a different type of job that you have vacancies for, those previous candidates might be more suited to those roles. Get in touch with them to see if they are still looking for work. 

We have written a previous article about the benefits for employers of offering work experience places or part time work to students and young school leavers. 

If you offer such places, then you could find yourself with a talented youngster. Get in touch with them to ask them if they would be interested in coming to work at your company full time. These young people already know your company and should settle into their roles quicker than someone who may be brand new to the workplace. They can also brşng some fresh ideas.

Treat Your Interviewees With Respect

You have gone through the applications and narrowed down the pool and now it’s time for the interview stage.

The interview experience is also about your company branding and whether you offer someone the job or nıt, make sure your candidates leave the room and the process with a positive view of your company. 

Host the interviews in a pleasing environment and treat your candidates with care and respect to make them feel comfortable and start to build a relationship..

Getting the interview right first time will save you money so take a look at some questions you can ask your candidate to assess whether or not they are a good culture fit for your company

Think about what your candidate wants from you during the interview process. If they feel you have valued their time and effort, they will have a more positive experience. Avoid these words and phrases when you are interviewing your candidate. 

When you offer a job to a candidate you have interviewed, this is great. But what about all those other people who didn’t make it? Don’t forget about those people. They still need to have a positive experience so that they have a good feeling about your company. There are a few steps you can take when rejecting candidates so that your company reputation isn’t tainted.