Many SME’s (and larger businesses) find themselves offering an amazing product or service, but struggle to build a team around the business idea – Why is this? Often an idea is awesome because it is unusual, niche, or built around ground-breaking or disruptive principles.
So what does this mean for your recruitment?
Well, it might well mean that you find yourself recruiting in a niche market. Unusual skills, distinct specialisms, quirky culture fits – all mean that you might be finding it difficult to build your team.
So where do you start?
First things first – get really clear on what you are looking for. What are your essentials? What are your ‘nice to haves’? Really define the parameters of the job description, and get crystal clear on who could fit the role.
Check that your employer brand matches your target audience. Amazing employer brands attract the gold dust of recruitment – passive candidates. Ensuring you employer brand is giving out the right message will shape you as an employer of choice, a business candidates consistently approach directly.
Next – map out your market. Figure out the businesses who operate in areas similar to you, or businesses who have a culture you aspire to - get to know who works where. Start to connect and engage with the market. Ensure you understand the technology or developments that drive the market. Who is leading the change? Are you connecting to the right people at the right time?
Once you’ve figured out the movers and shakers of the market place and defined the competition, start to think about creating a presence in your niche. Write blogs or articles on relevant industry news, attend (or hold) conferences and create an online presence in the market – particularly on social media. Start and contribute to debates, post relevant content and build a following.
If you build a presence, have an awesome employer brand and make yourself visible as an ‘employer of choice’ you should automatically be building a talent pipeline. Nurture the relationships – even if they aren’t right for your business, they probably know someone who is. Keep in touch with interested (potential) candidates, providing them with information that will be of service to them. Make sure they think of you when they are looking for a new challenge or know someone who might be.
Recruiting in a niche market is not a ‘post (an advert) and pray’ exercise. It takes time, dedication, knowledge and great relationship building skills. However a mix of great employer branding and creating a name for yourself in the market place should see you building your talent pipeline to enviable levels for years to come.
So, you’ve had 9 maybe 12 months out of the working world, raising your family, adapting to a new way of life and all too quickly maternity, paternity or shared parental leave is over. What now?
First things first – do you want to go back to your old job? For many of us, not going back to work isn’t an option. Childcare costs are sky high and relying on one salary isn’t a long term option. So if you do have to return to work, make sure it is for a job you love – one that it is worth being away from your family for, and paying for childcare to do so.
Being a parent can change you and if the above doesn’t sound like the job you are currently in, here are 5 simple steps you could consider to find a job that will help you get that all important work/life balance:
Approximately 80% of workers in the UK are parents – so don’t ever feel that you are alone, keep in mind that having children is a fact of life. Some businesses will be more accommodating than others, so be mindful of the culture and attitude towards families when you are job searching.
Whilst you are under no obligation to talk about your family situation at interview, if it is important to you to ask questions about how you can work together to make sure the role fits with your childcare arrangements – don’t be afraid to share.
None of this sounding appealing? Do you have a particular skill set or expertise in a specific industry? Could you consider setting up a consultancy, or small business to work around you and your family? Trust me, it isn’t as scary as you might think! Talk to someone, your partner, friends, family - do some research to see whether it's a viable option and consider consulting with a professional careers coach to support you on your journey.
The first few hires in the early days of a start-up can be completely crucial to the success and longevity of the business you are trying to build. The start-up life won’t be the right fit for everyone – but for the right people, it is an incredibly attractive proposition.
To start off you need to get super clear on what it is that you are looking for. Every hire counts and every employee needs to be adding bags of value. Clearly define what it is that needs to be done, what that looks like in terms of an actual (realistic) job description, the type of candidate that will fit in with the company culture you are trying to build, and do an awesome job.
Next, think about how to find the type of people who will thrive in a start-up environment. As mentioned, it won’t be right for everyone – and in fact I wouldn’t shy away from being clear about that. The chances are, particularly in the early days, you are going to be looking for candidates willing to wear lots of different hats, candidates who are comfortable with a great deal of change, whilst maintaining flexibility and candidates that love the idea of innovation and the chance to be a part of something new and exciting.
To the right audience, positioning roles within start-up companies is all about the language. Growth, responsibility, opportunity, creativity, fast paced – all the words that resonate with candidates who are themselves on a growth trajectory, looking for the next exciting opportunity.
Honesty is also key. Sure, if it all goes to plan the potential rewards could be big for the first few in the door. But equally the risks are high, and it is easy to offer bonuses or perks that seem great when you are working with a handful of people, but can quickly become unsustainable as the company grows. Being mindful with what you offer in the early days (or at least how you position the offer) could end up being pretty important in the long run.
It’s also pretty important to have some great recruitment processes in place, nailing your employer brand, advertising to the right audience and making sure that your interview processes clearly evaluate for a blend of both culture and skills fit.
In a nutshell – recruiting for start-ups requires a little bit more of a niche approach to find the superstar candidates that could transform your business. But with a little time and care, the process could produce someone that elevates your start-up to the next level.