A recent survey found that 70% of SME businesses in the UK believe their revenue will return to pre-Covid-19 levels as early as 2021.
It’s an optimistic picture, and one that recruiters should be paying close attention to!
Small business have been less impacted by the pandemic thanks to their adaptability. Unlike big corporations, SME businesses have the flexibility to adapt quickly to changes in the market.
For example, how much easier do you think it was for a business with 10 employees to adapt to remote working than it was for those with a team of 200?
SMEs are faring well in this uncertain market – but how do you start winning their business?
Create a recruitment service package specifically for SMEs
SMEs have different recruitment needs compared to larger companies, so to win their business, you need to understand what they are and create a service offering that meet them.
Smaller businesses aren’t likely to have an in-house recruitment team, which provides you a brilliant opportunity to fill that gap.
Offering service models such as RPOs can be a great fit for SMEs as you can take over tedious tasks (like CV sifting and first round interviews) that make hiring too time consuming for small businesses – particularly in a candidate-heavy market.
Just make sure you have a clear plan that demonstrates how you’ll work together and the value you’ll bring to their business.
Make sure your website is catered to SMEs
The first thing prospects will do when they become interested in working with you is check out your recruitment website. If there’s nothing on your website that makes it clear that you have experience hiring for small businesses like them, they’ll move on to find an agency that does.
Create a web page that shows prospects you’re an SME recruitment specialist. Share testimonials from any small businesses you’ve worked with on your webpage and social media platforms so prospects can see you’re an SME recruitment expert.
Show how you'll save them money
SME businesses will have a smaller hiring budget than large firms. So, to win their business you need to demonstrate how you’ll save their company money.
How will the expense of your fee pay off? Here’s a couple of ideas:
- Show your SME prospect how you can take over time-consuming tasks and give their hiring managers back time to focus on activities that generate revenue
- Demonstrate how you can help them avoid costly recruitment pitfalls (such as low retention rates of new hires) by offering extra services such as post-onboarding support for placed candidates.
Explain how you’ll help them grow
Most SME businesses will have a big focus on business growth, so they’ll look for candidates with skills their business is lacking or to add capacity to existing skill sets, rather than replacing staff who’ve left.
So when you’re speaking to an SME prospect, try to discover the business growth plans so you can build a recruitment strategy around it. You can advise on the best candidates to hire that will help them grow as this is your area of expertise. Often, small business owners and hiring managers recruit in the wrong areas and this can actually get in the way of growth.
Suggest candidates who have worked in SMEs previously and have a demonstrated experience of helping smalls businesses grow. These candidates won’t just be more attractive to your SME prospect, they’ll be a better fit too - not every candidate can handle the quick pace of a growing business.
Learn how to work with internal managers
With no in-house recruitment team, it’s likely be working directly with the hiring managers, and there’s a skill to making these relationships work.
Hiring managers aren’t recruiters, so this gives you an opportunity to really show off your recruitment expertise. You are the hiring expert in this relationship, so don’t be afraid to voice your concerns if you see problems that will slow down the recruitment process. Your hiring manager won’t appreciate you sitting quietly while they make mistakes that cost money – they’re looking to you to you for guidance so be the expert they need.
To work with SMEs, you need to be a truly consultative recruitment consultant. Download the eBook below to learn how to sell yourself as an expert in your niche and prove your value prospects.
David is a Senior Growth Outreach Specialist at Firefish. After working as a 360 recruiter, he loves innovating recruitment with Firefish Software.