Almost every small and medium-sized companies know the problem: Filling vacancies is harder than ever. Thanks to a shortage of skilled workers and a working world without borders, the pressure of competition is increasing – and smaller companies face real challenges when it comes to recruiting employees.
But don’t worry: we’ll help you. In this article, you will learn what is important when recruiting for SMEs. We will also give you valuable tips that you can use to recruit employees for your company to be able to win. So vacancies will soon be a thing of the past…
What des recruitment mean?
Employee recruitment (also: personnel recruitment or recruiting) means the targeted recruitment of qualified specialists. In short: It’s about filling vacancies. To this end, companies try to identify suitable staff, motivate them to apply, and ultimately hire and retain them successfully.
To achieve this goal, a well-stocked toolbox is available. From Online Marketing with your website, social media, and ads via offline Marketing with posters, newspaper advertisements, or brochures at job fairs or the use of headhunters, the possibilities for recruiting employees are manifold. Which measures are actually used depends on the company, the work area, and the respective target group.
The challenges of small and medium-sized companies in recruiting
Our working world is subject to permanent change. Digitization has changed many processes and in a world without borders, the view of work of the younger generations differs greatly from the ideas of the older generations. That is why all companies face the challenge of continuing to be attractive to employees.
The competition is correspondingly strong when we are flooded with information. The attention span on the web continues to decrease, classic media are losing importance in recruiting. Especially as a small or medium-sized company, it is often difficult to make yourself heard at all. After all, the means here – both in terms of budget and know-how – are significantly lower than in large corporations with pronounced HR and marketing departments.
The result: Smaller companies, where every occupied position can make a difference are facing big problems. This particularly affects industries that also have to struggle with difficult working conditions. Whether it’s the construction industry, crafts, care, or daycare centers – the lack of staff is noticeable everywhere.
According to Statista, it took about 234 days to fill an open position in elderly care for companies in 2022. That’s 8 months! The situation is similar in craft and construction, where vacancies will remain vacant for 180-200 days. For comparison: The average duration of all occupations is around 120 days.
To summarize the challenges for SMEs: The world of work and the information channels are changing, skilled workers are becoming more selective and have more options through digitization, the competition is greater, it is harder to stand out and there is a lack of know-how to counteract this.
That sounds like a bleak prospect, doesn’t it? But it doesn’t have to stay that way. Because don’t worry: We won’t leave you alone with these challenges …
5 ideas for more applicants
Before we get to the tips, a few words in advance. All of these employee recruitment measures are only successful if you are a good employer for your employees. So if you are having difficulties recruiting, you should first of all start with the actual working conditions.
Ask yourself: Are you up-to-date and in the upper field of your industry? Only then is it really possible to recruit employees in a sustainable manner.
After all, you don’t just want to increase the number of applications, you want to recruit qualified employees who are glad, motivated and stay in your company for a long time. So make sure that you are the best employer you can be within the scope of your possibilities! And then the recruiting process can start…
1. Optimize the careers section of your website
The careers section on your website is your opportunity to attract potential applicants to make a real impression. Yet this area is all too often overlooked. It is often not enough for much more than a headline, a short introduction, and a list of job advertisements.
A well-positioned career area offers many opportunities. Because in times of a shortage of skilled workers, it has never been more important to present your own company in the best possible way. That means: The tables have turned a bit. Just as potentially interested parties have to apply to you, you as a company have to apply to those who are interested.
In short: It is no longer possible without a detailed presentation of your company, possible advantages, and the specific job offers.
It is not without reason that large brands and corporations often create extra websites for the recruiting process. There it is explained in detail what advantages the company offers, what the work there is like and what the specific jobs look like don’t shape things. But also for SMEs there are some elements that you should definitely display in the career section of your website:
Introductory text: If you think of your career page as an interview, then the introductory text is the greeting. So make sure you find a few suitable sentences here that lead nicely into the following content.
Clear communication of benefits: Applicants want to use their applications to make it clear to you why you should hire them. Likewise, as a company, you must clearly communicate why one should work for you. It is therefore essential that you clearly and prominently present your advantages communicate.
Here it makes sense to work with special icons or small images. Clickable elements are also interesting to emphasize advantages even more clearly. Caution: Don’t fall into the habit of considering every little thing as a relevant advantage. Pay attention to quality instead of quantity. 3-6 real benefits are enough.
Contact person: Everyone likes to know who they are dealing with. It’s just uncomfortable sending an application to a supposedly anonymous company. Therefore you should introduce the respective contact person, ideally with name, job title, photo, and contact details. This makes for a more positive feeling when applying.
Voices of employees: The voices of our customers are not only important to us when buying products. What employees think also plays a major role in an application.
So it’s worth integrating a kind of testimonial element in the career section, in which you let your colleagues have their say, ideally with their name or job title and photo. This is how you create trust and can present yourself as a good employer at the same time.
Explanation of the application process: It makes sense to disclose the exact procedure of the application process. What comes after the application? Are there possibly several rounds of introductions including trial work? Or is it done with an interview? All of this can be revealed in a graphic with just a few steps. An additional FAQ element with all relevant questions about the application (In what form? Where? What happens next?) ensures that everything is clarified in advance.
Display of job offers: If you only have a few vacancies, a simple list view suffices. Depending on what you choose, you can create visual variety with clickable images or boxes. If you have many vacancies in different business areas, then you should categorize the vacancies accordingly. In this way, you create an overview and differentiate between the commercial and the craft area of your company.
Offer social media like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn Many options for targeted employee recruitment. In general, there are three different approaches that you can ideally combine with each other:
Social media content: Ideally, you should already post content regularly on your social media channels. They now offer the opportunity to include content that has a positive effect on recruiting. It is not just about regularly sharing vacancies. Rather, it plays an important role in recruiting and employee retention that presents you as an employer.
That means: Communicating about yourself as an employer, letting your employees have a say and offering a convincing picture of what it means to work for and with you. According to the Golden Circle, the focus is always on the why. Why should one work for and with you?
Social Ads: Ads are still there a very good option to massively increase the reach of your job advertisements. In regards to how the concrete implementation looks like and which channels you want to use, you should ask yourself about the respective target audience. Demographics play a major role in this. So it’s important that you know what kind of people (age, educational background, interests, region…) you want to target.
Depending on the network, vacancies can then be viewed on your company profile and can be found using the search function. This gives you and your open job ads additional reach.
It has become difficult, especially for small and medium-sized companies, to stand out from the crowd. It, therefore, makes sense to use social media for your external presentation as an employer. On the one hand, you can communicate a positive image of the work at and with you, as well as at the same time increase the reach for your job offers. A win-win situation.
3. Convince with your own recruiting video
Videos are generally always a good idea. On the one hand, they are very easy and convenient to consume in the age of smartphones & smart devices. On the other hand, they offer material that you can distribute on all channels in a targeted manner.
Now the usual objection often comes up: We don’t have the opportunity for a video. We can only reply: That’s not true. Because you always have everything you need in terms of basic requirements in your pocket: your smartphone. If the idea is convincing, potential applicants are It doesn’t matter if the video was shot in 4K with a 5000 dollar camera or with a brick.
4. Rely on a holistic HR strategy
Depending on the number of open jobs, you should not approach recruiting as a hodgepodge carrying out individual measures. If you regularly have a large number of vacancies, it makes sense to view recruiting as a holistic process. It is then no longer a matter of using individual measures to determine specific positions To push job offers but to get the permanent recruitment of specialists going through a broad-based HR strategy.
For this, you ideally dovetail the various ideas and options for recruiting employees into a holistic HR campaign. Just follow these steps:
Optimize the careers section of your website. Here you lay the foundation for the imagery and the wording of your HR campaign. possibly it may even make sense to create a separate landing page for this of your website.
Create your vacancies so that Google for Jobs can read them perfectly.
Plan and create social media content that takes up the imagery and wording of the career area and presents you as an employer.
Use the imagery and wording of the career area to target social ads switch. Ideally, use a fixed layout that can be easily implemented for other job offers.
Place additional job advertisements on well-known job portals (indeed, StepStone …) and use the job offers that you have already entered on your website.
Transfer the online measures to the offline world: Place posters, newspaper, and magazine ads using the established imagery and wording or notices with demolition around.
Also, digital displays on monitors in the city or in buses can be useful. Depending on the situation, it can also be worthwhile to set up a kind of recruiting magazine, i.e. a brochure, which makes all online content also available offline.
Evaluate all measures and continuously optimize them. In particular in online marketing, you can often make adjustments that promise a lot of success. You also follow the PDCA cycle when recruiting.
Deal with incoming applications seriously and carefully. Give e-mails a confirmation of receipt with a polite reply and a short statement about the processing time (e.g. “Thank you for your application. We will probably need several weeks for the review. In the meantime, please refrain from asking about the status of the application process. We’ll get back to you definitely with you as soon as we have checked everything.”).
And please: stick to it. Because even if a rejection is made, a company can be remembered positively as long as it communicates this openly and transparently. Nothing is more frustrating than not hearing from a company.
In order to get your employee recruitment rolling holistically, a lot of time, effort and creativity are required. But it is worthwhile in any case. Because if you position yourself so broadly, you will always find enough suitable applicants for your vacancies. For most small and medium-sized companies, however, it is also a bit leaner and less complex.