8 tips for reducing recruitment costs for cash strapped small businesses

With high recruitment agency fees of at least 20% of annual salary, looking for alternative methods of recruiting is a high priority for a lot of small businesses. We thought that we would summarise a few ideas that have recently helped our limited budget start up businesses to recruit some great staffat a fraction of the cost of recruitment agencies.

1. Online Job Advertisements

There are many cheaper sources for advertising your vacancy on various online job sites such as reed.co.uk. The cost of our advertisement was £200+vat for a premium plus listing for 6 weeks. You can also search for CV’s on free CV search sites such as monster.co.uk

Don’t forget to place the vacancy on your own website and contact your suppliers or customers with whom you have a good relationship to see whether they are willing to place the advertisement on their own sites too.

2. Graduate Employment

Employing good graduates is an effective way of getting great staff and if you’re lucky, at a fraction of the cost of employing somebody with experience. A lot of graduates have the theory and specialist technical knowledge but just need their first opportunity. You can also mold them to your company ethos and culture and they are yet to develop bad working habits or practices. Research the top universities or colleges for your particular requirement and post your vacancy on their jobs boards free of charge. Surprisingly, there can be a lot of competition for good graduates so ensure that your advertisement “sells“ your company.

3. Employ Students on a Work Placement

Again, research the best performing colleges and universities for the skill set you are interested in and contact the university directly to discuss your needs and a possible work placement. It’s a good source if you’re looking to supplement your workforce on a temporary basis with a particular skill or need. If the student proves themselves you have a possible future employee without having to spend the time and resource on recruiting further down the line. Visit The Graduate talent Pool a government partnership site for businesses looking to recruit interns.

4. Linked In, Social Networks and Referrals

Register with Linkedin.com, do your research and don’t be afraid to contact possible candidates directly. It’s a great network for recruitment and head hunting.  Ask your contacts and friends on Facebook.com if they know of anyone who may be suitable for the role you’re recruiting for and last but not least ask your current staff if they can refer anyone.

5. Part time Staff and Flexible Working hours

If you can offer part-time work or flexible hours you may be astonished at the quality and abundance of applicants. Certainly that was our experience as so many companies seem to dismiss the idea of taking on part-time staff or being more flexible as there are a wealth of people who want to return to work after a period of absence from work; often in order to spend time with their children but needing flexible working hours to fit around childcare.

Offering part time, flexible hours can tap into a wealth of highly skilled workers who would like the opportunity to build up their confidence again in a workplace environment. Salary and recruitment costs can often be lower given their previous experience and qualifications due to the flexibility you are providing and their recent absence from a workplace environment.

6. Don’t be afraid to haggle or ask your agency for a flat fee

In this current job market recruitment agencies are suffering so don’t be afraid to haggle over the percentage or even ask for a flat fee not related to the annual salary of a candidate. They need your business just as much as you need to recruit!

7. Improve your Interview Process

A tried and tested interview process ensures that you offer the right job to the right candidate in order to retain them for the long term and reduce your staff turnover thereby reducing your recruitment costs. “Test” your candidate appropriately giving them a small project or ask “how would you complete/do/react?” or a “review this” exercise. Remember to ask general just as much as specific work related questions and get a conversation going – do not be too formal as you want their real personality to shine!

8. Personality Testing

The right fit for your organisation is just as important as the skill set and whether the potential candidate has the right personality for the job. We have found using personality testing software and/or companies to be invaluable although this may seem quite expensive it may prove to save you a deal of money and resource in the long run.

 

If you have any other tips or ideas you would like to share please feel free to comment.

avatar Name: Alexandra Eager
About: Alex has worked as a Financial Controller and Finance Director for many years for a variety of companies across a range of industries but more recently she has moved away from accounting working for an internet marketing agency as Finance and Operations director, primarily overseeing the finance functions and search engine optimisation (SEO) for clients. Follow Alex on G+ and on Twitter @Alex_BusDirUK
Alex runs her own company with two fellow owners developing a suite of e-commerce web sites and promoting them directly. “I found that SEO and finance were quite compatible both needing an eye for detail, research and analysis as well keeping up with new developments and changes.”

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