How do small businesses recruit top people? My first answer would be: “with difficulty!”
The route that springs to mind is to use a recruitment agency, but they can charge anywhere from 15-25% of starting salary for the pleasure. That is just too much for most small businesses.
What other avenues are open to you?
Gumtree - okay, you find the odd gem but you are also bombarded by crap. Cost: cheap, £25. Work: a lot.
Monster - this is great, if you have the hours necessary to sift through millions of CVs. Apparently, this is what the recruitment agencies sift through in order to send you CVs. Cost: reasonable, £400 (for a month of CV reading). Work: still a lot.
Webrecruit - this is the service that we have been using recently and it has yielded great results. They run a recruitment service for you and send you relevant CVs online - meaning that you do not have to waste you time with CVs that obviously do not cut the mustard. Cost: a little more, but not agency, £750 (approx). Work: less.
What about the actual interview process?
Interviewing is something that gets easier the more you do it. At first, you are desperate for everyone that comes though the door to be right. As a small business, you probably waited until you were creaking in order to justify the hire in the first place - now you have to take time out to interview etc. You really want the person coming through the door to be right.
But once you have done a bit of hiring, you realise the importance of waiting to find someone that is perfect. Someone that fits in on a personal level, technical level, client-facing level, etc. You realise that a mistake costs more.
We have started testing candidates much more rigorously - if they can’t complete a simple coding task, then they do not get to the next stage. Each stage gets increasingly more difficult without taking up too much time. This means that you only end up interviewing people that already meet the technical and motivational standards that you require.
So, what is the bottom line?
* Recruitment is hard.
* It takes longer than you think, so start early.
* Guilty until proven innocent - controversial, but it means you ask the right questions.
* Do not settle for okay - your business is too important.
Recruitment agencies, please do not get in touch!