Top 5 Recruitment Tips for SMEs

ESA Group

It’s likely that virtually all hiring managers have had a similar problem at some point in their careers: attracting the perfect candidate for that new job vacancy they are desperate to fill. However, it can be especially difficult for those at smaller companies, who may find that they are losing out to bigger brand names when finding the best of the best.

For the majority of people looking for a new job, it’s expected that they’ll want to work for a business they’ve heard of. This is because, ultimately, people need job security. And bigger companies are perceived to be more secure than smaller ones.

However, there are lots of people out there who would prefer to work for a smaller business, and not just because of it might be less ‘corporate.’

Here’s my five top tips for attracting (and retaining) the people you need:

  1. Find out what the going rate is for the position and match it.

It might sound like a simple tip, but a common mistake that small businesses often make when creating a position, is to base the salary on their budget, rather than on the market. If you want the best people, they are almost guaranteed to chase the best salaries. So, make sure the salary you are offering is going to be enticing to potential applicants.

  1. Offer ​an employee benefit program.

It’s surprising how often candidates will have multiple job offers on the table at the same time – especially if they are experts in a niche industry. In these times, an employee benefit program can move from a candidate’s wish list to their necessity list. Core employee benefits such as medical, dental and life insurance can really make your business attractive to a job hunter, particularly if your competitor isn’t offering the same deal.

  1. Be creative with your perks.

Employees are usually just as concerned about the quality of their work life as they are about the amount of money they receive each month.

As a small business, you may not be able to offer the perks that larger companies can – but you may be able to offer decent alternatives. E.g, where a big corporate is offering an on-site gym, could you offer local gym membership? 

  1. Offer employees progression.

Most employees aren't looking for jobs where they’ll do the same thing for the next thirty years. They're looking for positions that offer opportunities for advancement.

Are you offering staff training programs? Or a clear pathway to progression and higher earnings? Whatever it is, in terms of attracting employees, be sure to get the future possibilities on the table.

  1. Widen the scope of your advertising.

The days of placing a small job ad in a newspaper are long gone. You’ll receive a better response to your advert if it’s visible in more places. Recruiters such as ourselves can help do this for you, but if you don’t want to use a recruiter, it’s vital that you make an investment to advertise on large job boards and consider advertising on social platforms such as LinkedIn.


Dan Heathcote, Managing Director of ESA Group - a specialist marketing, HR and technology recruiter in Birmingham city centre - looks at how small businesses can improve their chances of success when hiring the top talent.

ESA Group is a specialist recruitment agency with a proud reputation for treating our clients and candidates with integrity and empathy, ensuring you are never treated as a number.

Roles we cover: Marketing, Technology and HR across B2B and B2C sectors in Birmingham, the Midlands and further afield.

We are experts in our field. Our specialist consultants have developed their networks over many years in the industry, which means we can identify and consistently deliver the best talent available within the shortest possible time frames.

We enjoy lasting relationships with a long list of growing companies, including Gymshark, Purplebricks, Claire's Accessories, Gateley PLC, Hafele, the Coventry Building Society and many other national / international businesses.

This blog post has been produced in support  of the GBCC’s Growth Through People campaign. The views expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of the GBCC.