Recruiting financial staff for SMEs can be a struggle when you’re up against larger organisations with the brand recognition, advertising budget, and wage packet to price you out of the top talent. With recent news that the professional jobs market is on the up, it’s likely to get increasingly competitive.

New survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) revealed that professional recruitment firms have 12% more vacancies on record than this time last year. APSCo’s data showed that growth in the professional staffing market is rising across all the trade association’s core groups. Finance and accounting vacancies grew by 13%, IT by 11%, engineering by 7%, and media and marketing by 1% showing the market’s current stability and strength.

 In such a competitive market it’s crucial that SMEs have the best recruitment tactics in order to attract and retain financial talent. With this in mind we’ve put together 4 steps that will help tip the balance in your favour.

Build your employer brand & promote your company values

 As an SME you might not have the same brand recognition as some of the larger employers, but you can still punch above your weight if you develop a strong ’employer brand’.

To build your employer brand you’ll need to give candidates an insight into what it might be like to work for you. Large employers find this difficult as they invariably present their formal corporate façade. SMEs on the other hand have more of an opportunity to show a little character. Use your website and social media presence to show off your ethos to potential candidates. You could consider running a ‘day in the life of’ feature to show what it’s like to work in finance at your company. By presenting an open, supportive, and positive working environment you can convince candidates that working for your SME is the right career decision to take.

Recruit for the right fit before qualifications

 Whilst qualifications for finance and accountancy roles are a given, once candidates have jumped over that hurdle it’s best to look to their soft-skills to evaluate how they would fit into your organisation. Working in an SME can be like being in a family, and such close quarter relationships require strong interpersonal skills. Communication and rapport building will be essential to ensure they can work closely with your existing staff, garnering their support and getting the results that you need. You’ll also need someone that’s flexible and able to manage their workload to meet the fast paced and ever changing needs of an SME.

As an SME it’s not only important to attract talent, you also need to retain it. Recruit talent that can grow with your company and the future needs of your business. Your senior financial staff will undoubtedly need replacements so you should assess every potential hire with the question “can I see this person progressing within our business?”. If the answer is yes, you could be on to a winner.

Sell the benefits of working for an SME

 When competing with larger employers, you have a perfect weapon in your arsenal; the benefits of working for a smaller company. Working for an SME means that employees are exposed to more of the business. This will give them the diversity and experience that they wouldn’t get working for a large company, helping them to grow. This growth often leads to faster career development as the employee becomes more integral and in tune with the needs of the business. It’s also important to remember to show off any benefits that your particular SME offers such as flexible working, training, and mentoring as these can all help to show that you’d be a good employer to work for.

Refine your hiring process

 A strong hiring process is well defined and efficient making the process easy to engage with for applicants. When developing a job description for a new role make sure that you have the buy in from all the relevant parties, and that you have all the information that you’ll need from the start. You don’t want to be tweaking what the job entails half way through the recruitment process as this will be disheartening for potential candidates and make it difficult for your hiring managers to evaluate candidates using the same criteria. Keep recruiters up to date throughout the recruitment process so they can keep candidates informed ensuring that even unsuccessful candidates are left with a positive experience of your company.

By following these tips you’ll develop a reputation as an employer that people want to work for, helping you to attract quality talent and reduce staff attrition.

Written by Financial Staffing Solutions, specialist financial recruiters covering all accountancy and financial roles. If you’re looking to hire a finance or accounting professional, then get in touch: – 020 8532 2644

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