SME Advice: Hiring New Staff

SME Advice Hiring New Staff

Whether you’re the owner, manager or general employee of an SME, you’ll appreciate that the most important aspect to ensuring it is a success is the staff behind it. You all play your part in some way and if you take pride in your work you’ll want to see the business go from strength to strength.

Part of success though is expansion, hiring new staff and ultimately making sure these individuals are the right fit for the task at hand. If you find your SME in such a position, then what better time than the New Year to get hiring fresh faces? Here TNT takes you through the processes for finding, interviewing and employing the best candidates.

Why hire new staff?

Firstly, if you need a little more convincing, there are many great reasons to take on new employees, this includes:

  • You can bring new knowledge and experience to your existing team
  • Workloads can be shared and spread around much easier
  • The overall quality of work can improve significantly
  • There’s potential for increased profits and future expansion following a successful appointment
  • You might also be giving a promising young talent their first big opportunity in work

The right advertisement

With your decision made, you need to advertise for your new role(s). This is where the job advert you place is hugely important, as this is almost like the baited hook for reeling in the best candidates.

Whatever the position may be, your advert needs to be enticing as you shouldn’t just target those looking for jobs, but those already employed and not actively looking who might be tempted by a better offer. Structure it as follows:

Company introduction

A short piece about who your company is, where it is, your vision and achievements.

The role

Arguably the most important aspect, you should essentially list all the responsibilities clearly and with language which describes just how significant this is, regardless of which position it might be.

The specifications

Again this needs to be clear and is essentially a list of all the characteristics, skills, qualifications and job-specific experience needed to be a success in this role.


This is a key part of the advert as the rewards and benefits on offer might determine whether or not someone applies. Detail what’s positive about working at your company and what options you have for aspects like travel, holidays or working hours. Also you should detail future benefits; however whether or not you want to offer a pay scale is also up to you, but it’s worth looking at competitor rates first.

How to apply

Lastly, leave the contact information for your company so it’s easier to see what they need to send (CV and/or covering letter) and where they need to send it.

Needless to say it needs to be grammatically correct and have accurate spelling to give a professional look. Also avoid cheesy language and tautological statements, as these can also leave a poor impression.

With your advert written up you should host it on your website, as well as sharing it with other UK job sites, graduate job sites, social media platforms and traditional print media. The wider the exposure the better.

What to look for with applications

Once the applications and CVs start rolling in you need to look out for the ones which meet all the criteria, but most importantly what experience they have both related and unrelated to the role. Although it may take time, carefully read all the ones that fit the bill and annotate their applications to question them during interview.

What to avoid from applications

At the same time you’ll want to separate the wheat from the chaff, so if you spot some of the following in an application you can disregard these and narrow down your options quicker.

  • Those without any relevant experience
  • Poor qualifications
  • Long gaps in work history without any explanations
  • Lack of additional useful experience and qualifications such as a driving licence
  • Criminal records
  • Poor spelling and grammar
  • Failure to explain why they meet the requirements in their covering letter

What to look for during the interview

Once you have your shortlist it’s time to invite the candidates for interview. You might want to conduct these yourself, as a panel or leave it to other recruitment staff; whichever you choose you should look out for:

  • If their body language is confident and that they are polite, smart and attentive
  • They speak confidently, clearly and fully answer the questions
  • What they say supports the information they provided in their application

In terms of the above mentioned questions, prepare a list of five to ask each candidate that tests their knowledge and gets them to elaborate on what they could bring to your SME. Also, give them chance to ask questions to see what their plans are and if they have any insightful queries about the company.

A final thought…

With all the above completed you will hopefully have found a fantastic person or group of people you wish to employ for your SME. If you can’t choose though, or your preferred applicant is holding out for something else, you can always invite them back for a second interview or negotiate a deal to land the right person.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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