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The Ultimate Recruitment Guide for SMEs Back

Posted Date: Jul 5, 2018 12:49 PM

Whether you're an SME with 3 employees or a fast-growing organisation of a 100, recruitment is a challenge your organisation will face continued growth. There are a number of questions you may have, for example, Where can I find candidates? Which job board is the most effective? What is the best way to recruit? How do we attract the right talent?

Well, this guide is going to be your go-to resource. We appreciate, the economic environment changes and technology evolves, therefore we're going to update this guide regularly to ensure it features the current best practices. We've also attached this guide in PDF form, so you can take it with you and read it on the commute to work or flight to your next holiday destination, we'll leave that choice to you.


Let's start with the basics, develop content!

If there are plans for hiring in the short-term or long-term, please don't avoid this step! It's incredibly important to develop content based on the working environment of your organisation.

  • Start by developing a careers page. Speak briefly about the organisation, it's vision and the benefits a potential candidate might be in for. A very good example of a structured careers website is from WebHelpUK. Whilst they have created a fully fledged website for their careers section, this is not necessary for smaller organisations (2 to 50 employees), a simple page with useful content and some visual artifacts is adequate. If you're worried about the cost of developing such a page, consider using WordPress and a free template, it's simple and effective.

  • In addition to the careers page, if you have the resources, develop a CV drop box for potential candidates who are interested in working with your organisation, or simply refer to a specific email to send their CV to.

  • Add Careers to your social media plan. You might have a dedicated individual producing content for your brand or alternatively, it might be distributed amongst teams. As part of your social media campaign, it is important to include information regarding Careers at your organisation. There is no restriction on what form the content should be in, blogs, audio, and video are all great ways to present life within your organisation. Be creative with the content you put out, just to get you started here are some examples of content you should consider:

    • A day in the life of an employee (Video)

    • Extracurricular events e.g. Charity Events employees involved in (Blog)

    • Celebrations among employees (Blog / Video).

    • Insights into projects an employee has worked on (Audio / Podcast).

By developing content relevant to potential candidates, you are building a brand that represents the great work your organisation is doing. If you've noticed, McKinsey & Co, Google, and Facebook don't often aggressively advertise or use external recruiters to place for their roles. Why? Most of the time these organisations have an oversubscribed pool of candidates. But the best thing is, these candidates are keen to work with such organisations and they're aware of the company culture, therefore likely to have increased retention rates. In hindsight, there are going to be candidates who admire the work you do and therefore are keen to work for you, make sure you don't miss out on this talent! For more information on increasing employee retention, check out our other blog here.


Define the role!

What skills are required? What are the duties & responsibilities? Who will they be reporting to? What projects will they be involved in etc? 

Many times we've come across roles that are defined vaguely, as a result, a new employee may find themselves working on a number of things that weren't mentioned to them at the time of hire. Before any budgets are set. it is vital you brainstorm what the new role will involve. It depends on the complexity of the organisation, but get started with two simple questions:

  • What issues are we facing as an organisation?

  • What issues should be tackled with the addition of this new role?

This gets the process going and allows you to further expand by asking questions such as (but not limited to):

  • What skills are required for this role?

  • What are the daily duties & responsibilities?

  • Who will they be reporting to?

  • What projects will they be involved in?

At this point, you should have a clear understanding of the potential candidate you are looking for.


Resource planning.

Now that you know what you're looking for, you need to determine resourcing factors:

  • When would you like the candidate to start? Are there any particular projects the candidate will be aligned to?

  • What salary are you willing to offer to the right candidate? It's important to avoid changing this later on.

  • Is there an onboarding process in place and, what are the timescales of on-boarding?

  • Will candidates require any formal training to get started in their role? If so, what are the timescales of this?

Again, you can go into these further depending on the complexity of the organisation, hopefully, we've got you started.

To determine a suitable salary, we recommend using Adzuna's Salary Calculator. Simply enter the job title and location, Adzuna will come back with an average figure on the right-hand side. The beauty of this tool is, it aggregates a large % of job listings across the UK, along with their salary, therefore most of the time the figure shown is fairly accurate. This will give you a good basis to set a salary for your role.

There are also many useful tools available to develop an employee handbook and on-boarding practices. This can definitely help speed up the employee onboarding process and also save valuable time for existing employees. A quick search on ProductHunt will tell you the best current tools available for your organisation.


Yes, you can create the job description now.

A job description is a legal requirement for any organisation taking on employees, however, it is often overlooked and most of the time copied and pasted from multiple other job descriptions (don't worry we've all done it). Though with all the brainstorming we did in step 2 to define the role, it should, in theory, help you draft the job description in no time at all. We recommend the following structure, but there are no rules or regulations, it's entirely up to you.

  1. Job Title

  2. Job Overview

  3. Duties and Responsibilities

  4. Qualifications

  5. Company Overview & Benefits

Interestingly, a recent article on job descriptions understood the analytics for 400+ job description views using a heat map. It was concluded that the most read part of the job description was the salary and benefits (obviously), whilst the qualification section was also quite high up there. Not many candidates took much attention to the company overview. The full article can be found here.

A question we've always tried to work out ourselves is, how do job boards rank each job description. After some trial and error, we've noted most job boards have different algorithms, therefore some are aligned to positioning based on date, others on keywords and others more sophisticated on previous browsing history etc. For the best possible chance to gain maximum exposure, ensure you use keywords that a candidate might search. For example, for a financial analyst position, the candidate might search "ACCA jobs", which is a qualification, therefore if ACCA is put into the job description, the candidate is likely to come across the post.


How do I find candidates?

It's time to find some candidates and there are a number of ways to approach this. We're going to keep it simple and use the two most common approaches, in-house recruitment and external assistance in the form of a recruitment agency. There are also technology platforms and other services that you may wish to use, however, we won't cover them as part of this guide.

  • Gaining referrals from your network is a very cost-effective way to source quality candidates.

  • Posting on the major job boards is the most common method used by organisations to source candidates of all levels. There are a number of job boards you can use, the list below is a small handful of useful boards.

    • Indeed (General)

    • Monster (General)

    • Reed (General)

    • Dice (Tech)

    • TotalJobs (General)

    • Glassdoor (General)

    • Universal Job Match / Find a Job Gov (General)

  • CWJobs (Tech)

  • Telegraph Jobs (General)

  • Guardian Jobs (General)

  • Fish4Jobs (Genera)

  • Jobsite (General)

There are also a number of specific niche job boards/communities, for example, for software development roles you could post on Stackoverflow, or for data science roles you may consider using Kaggle. Targeting niche job boards will tend to give you more specific candidates.

An interesting hack you could use, to give you a little insight into which job board you should be advertising on, is by listing the job title and other job titles associated with that particular role. Once you have a list of related roles, you can then search for them on Google with "job title jobs", e.g "Data Scientist Jobs". As you can see from the screenshot below, CVLibrary, Indeed, and DataScientistJobs are the job boards which appear first on results. It's important to also consider paid searches, as this will be visible to candidates when they are searching for their next role. If you do the same for the related roles, you may start to see a pattern of most occurring job boards. In our opinion you should target these job boards as they are the first results a candidate sees, for example, if you were to reverse engineer the candidate's application process, they are likely to start by searching on Google, for jobs around their skill-set / job title. In theory, this should mean you are likely to gain more applications and better quality candidates through the job boards ranked higher on Google for your role.

Data Scientist Jobs

Data Jobs

Data Analyst Jobs

Data Jobs

Data Engineer Jobs

Interestingly, Google for Jobs is due to launch in the UK very soon, this will definitely spark change in the way companies source candidates. For more information on Google for Jobs, please read our article here. Don't worry, we've got it covered, if you recruit with Reecru, your jobs will be visible on Google for Jobs.

  • Sourcing through LinkedIn is also another cost-effective option, offering a large database of potential candidates to contact, however approaching candidates can be tedious and time-consuming, so we recommend this method only if you have an in-house recruitment team or resources available to manually source the right candidates.

  • Alternatively, you might consider using a CV Database as you urgently require a candidate. This method will allow you to contact the candidates instantly, though you may find that there are fewer candidates to choose from as the database is likely to be considerably smaller than LinkedIn. It should also be noted, you are likely to spend time searching for the right candidate, therefore it can be a time-consuming process.

  • Recruitment fairs/open days/events are also a great way to build your talent pool. The benefit of hosting or attending such an event is that you can increase your brand awareness and network with a number of candidates actively seeking work, in a short space of time.

  • At this point, we're making the assumption you have taken on board point 1 in this article, to develop content and consistently post it on social media campaigns. Well, now it's time to leverage that growing fan base, so post a recruitment campaign on those networks and either your follower is actively seeking work, or they will know someone who knows someone, who is actively seeking work (you get the point). Social media can be highly effective if done right, you may also consider using paid adverts to kick-start the recruitment campaign through these channels.


The process of screening and interviews.

Depending on the size of your team, you may have an individual or small team dedicated to screening candidates before forwarding them onto the decision maker/hiring manager. If you don't, then drop us a line on info@reecru.co.uk as we have the perfect solution for you.

When pre-screening candidates for the decision maker/hiring manager, we believe it's important thoroughly screen candidates and eliminate those that don't meet the basic requirements of the given role. Not only does this save time for hiring managers, it prevents prospective candidates from being lost in the recruitment process. We also believe all interviews should be conducted in an identical format, therefore offering a fair and transparent recruitment process for candidates. Some questions your organisation may wish to ask are:

Questions around motivations:

  • Tell me more about yourself?

    • Professional Experience

    • Hobbies

  • What interests you about this particular role?

  • What do you know about the company?

  • What are your salary expectations?

  • What is your ideal position and why?

  • What interests you most about this position?

Questions relevant to experience:

  • Why is there a gap in your work history?

  • Let’s get specific. Tell me about your job at Company ABC

  • Did your level of responsibility grow or change while you were at ABC?

  • Tell me what you liked best and least about working at ABC.

  • Tell me about using XYZ.

  • Tell me about at least one significant career achievement.

Questions related to a scenario/case study:

  • Tell me something about yourself that others may be surprised to know about you.

  • Tell me about a time you had a difficult working relationship with a colleague. What was the challenge, how did you address the situation and what did you learn from the experience?

  • What is a development area, a deficit, or a gap that you’ve had to overcome or improve in your career? How was that identified, and what did you do to improve?

  • What challenges do you see impacting the industry?

Other relevant questions:

  • The reason you are leaving your current position?

  • Why is there a gap in your work history?

  • What is your notice period?

  • What are your ideal timelines?

There are a number of scheduling/calendar tools available to streamline the scheduling process and your on-going workflows, though a quick search on ProductHunt will tell you the current favourites! Your interview structure may vary, but these are the most common stages:

  1. Initial introduction call

  2. Initial technical test (optional)

  3. Pre-screening interview (call/in-person)

  4. Interview with hiring manager (call/in-person)

  5. Final interview with hiring manager & senior management (in person).


We've found the right candidate, what next?

After completing the interview stages, the hiring manager will be able to confirm their selection. It's time to negotiate a salary/benefits package with the candidate and to ensure an agreement has been made, prior to the contract being sent out. Here at Reecru, we always keep salary/benefits transparent throughout the whole process so that the candidate is aware of what they will be entitled to at the time of hire. Once an agreement has been made by both parties, it's time to send out the contract to the candidate and proceed with a formal agreement. Given that employment contracts vary between organisations, we recommend you draft your employment contract with a relevant legal advisor, for those reasons we won't be providing any structure/examples/templates in this matter.

A few tips:

  • Ensure you are timely throughout the recruitment campaign, you don't want to miss out on great candidates.

  • Be transparent with candidates throughout the process.

  • Build rapport with potential candidates, whilst they might not be a good fit for this role, they might be the perfect fit for a role in the near future.


We're nearly there, the final on-boarding process.

Many organisations often overlook the on-boarding process, here are a couple of reasons why you shouldn't:

  • If you are unorganised and there is no real on-boarding process in place, It's going to leave a sour taste for the incoming employee, it is quite an unwelcoming experience.

  • Time is money and you're losing out! A structured onboarding process can ensure employees are productive as early as the first week.

Prior to candidate starting:

  • Brief all relevant stakeholders of the incoming employee and their role within the organisation.

  • Ensure the employee has relevant access to IT systems, telecoms etc, from day one! It's frustrating, the number of times we've seen employees with no access to systems for a period of 2 weeks!

  • If you have an organisational chart in place, make sure it's updated, along with any other collateral.

  • Produce business cards for the employee (if required)

  • As previously mentioned, there are a number of tools available create an employee handbook, we highly recommend for you to produce this collateral and distribute it to incoming employees prior to start.

During the first week:

  • Setup introductions with the team/organisation (depending on the size).

  • Ensure all formal agreements are completed and signed off.

  • Offer to show the new employee around the office and its facilities.

  • Setup a meeting to discuss the project/work the employee will be involved in.

  • Setup a meeting to run through the organisation policies e.g sick leave, probation period, timesheet etc.


  • Ensure the new employee is settling in well and is happy with the work they are involved in.

  • Address any concerns the new employee may have, this can be done through a monthly or quarterly meeting.

  • Also, map out routes for progression and how the employee may be able to take on more responsibility going forward.

We hope this guide has provided you with a foundation to start your recruitment process. If you have any suggestions to improve this guide, feel free to email us on info@reecru.co.uk.

PDF Download Version will be uploaded shortly.

Recruitment Agency Approach

We understand recruitment is challenging process, but we're here to help. Reecru is an online recruitment agency leveraging technology and gig-economy to ensure we find the right candidate for your business.

Our solution saves up to 70% in recruitment fees and helps reduce the time-to-hire.

Get in touch with us today on 0333 050 4483 or info@reecru.co.uk for a free recruitment consultation.