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How recruiters can effectively work with SMEs to find their ideal candidate

Seema Kavi, director at Quivira Capital

As a recruiter, finding the perfect fit for a fast-growing company can be a challenge, especially when they are still establishing their brand identity, but it is a great opportunity for you to get under the company’s skin and establish a long-term relationship as their trusted adviser.

SMEs that have grown at a pace which has left infrastructure and staff hiring behind gives you the perfect opportunity to help fill some interesting gaps with impressive candidates. While the CEO and senior management at the company will want to be involved in the recruitment process, they simply won’t have the time to sort through the hundreds of CVs they will receive and will be looking to rely heavily on your judgement and experience.

So how can you work with SMEs to ensure you find their ideal candidate?

Get under the skin of the company

To find the best candidate you need to understand what the company is looking for. If it has grown quickly over so many months, it is most likely still trying to establish its values and culture, presenting you with a great opportunity to help establish these. Do they want to be perceived as a relaxed employer that encourages creativity, or a more traditional company striving for a corporate identity? Spending a few hours speaking to the team Director and other members will give you a good idea of who you should be directing towards the position and the type of personality you are looking for.

Allow for unclear job descriptions

At fast growth companies, directors and CEOs will struggle writing the job description, as more often than not the role they are looking to hire for does not fit into a prescribed box. They often have an idea of the kind of candidate who would be perfect, but will not be sure where to start looking for them. Recruiters will need to pin down the exact requirements for the job description and play a large role in drafting the information. To get the most concise information on who the right person will be for the role, try and speak to the director’s PA - they would have been privy to most conversations about the new hire and will be able to offer you a good insight into the current personality types across the team.

Look for candidates which can adapt quickly

When a business is expanding quickly, you end up forming roles which are constantly changing and therefore would be best suited for candidates with a diverse skill set. For example, an SME may need to hire a business development manager who can also handle the marketing and graphics side of the business – this is a perfect example of roles created in fast-growing businesses which do not pigeon-hole candidates into one area, such as accounts or administration.

When hiring for an SME, it is also important to think beyond their immediate needs. Where will the company be in a few months’ time? Are there growth opportunities for the person you are hiring? When you are looking to source the ideal candidate always think about whether they have the potential to grow with the company and develop a career there.

The only way you can effectively recommend a candidate for a specific role at an SME is by fully understanding the dynamic, culture and values at the heart of the business you’re recruiting for. By taking the time to meet with decision makers and observe the day-to-day workings, you will be in a favourable position to identify the best possible candidate and lay the foundations for a successful long term relationship with the business.

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

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