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How to find and employ staff

Hiring staff can be a challenge for time-poor small business owners but our guide on finding and recruiting the best staff will ensure you hire great people with less time and cost incurred.

As a small business owner it can be difficult to find time to spend on a lengthy recruitment process so it’s essential to quickly find the right candidate to fill your vacancy. Here are our top tips for planning your recruitment process:

Get the job description right

Before you start looking for someone ensure you’ve got a clear and detailed job description for the role you wish to fill. That way you can create an effective job ad that will attract the right candidates. When writing an ad put the job title first, followed by a summary of the role and the skills and experience you require in a candidate. Add a little about your company too and include the salary range. Tell people how to apply, along with a closing date – and don’t forget to include your contact details.

Try advertising the job locally

Target your advertising by considering how to reach the perfect candidate. Job ads in the local papers can be a good, if costly, way to find employees for a small local business. Alternatively, post job flyers in local colleges or universities to attract young people who are looking for their first job. Smaller businesses may simply choose to place a card in their window advertising a vacancy and take walk-in applications.

Utilise online job boards

Advertising jobs online is quicker and cheaper than using newspapers and by reaching a wider audience it can be more effective. Most online job boards work in a similar fashion: employers post their vacancies and applicants upload their CVs to apply. You can browse applicants’ experience and skills, quickly filtering potential candidates. Large general job boards include, with two million resumes added each month, and, which has more than one million resumes added each month. Try specialised boards to search for particular expertise: for example, for IT, for retail and for finance.

You typically pay a fee to list jobs and search for resumes but you can write more detailed summaries of jobs and create a pre-screening questionnaire for applicants to complete. Fees vary – listing on some boards is free – so consider what you’re willing to pay and the scope of the audience to ensure you get good value for money.

Use Jobcentre Plus

Your local Jobcentre Plus will have a range of recruitment services that can help you find new staff. You can advertise a vacancy for free online with Universal Jobmatch and get a list of suitable candidates matched by their skills. You are, however, limited to out-of-work jobseekers rather than those with high levels of expertise and skills looking to change jobs.

Use recruitment agencies

By using a recruitment agency you can outsource most of the job hiring process. A recruitment agency will provide a shortlist of suitable applicants, leaving you the task of interviewing and selecting the perfect candidate. Recruiters also know the market and where to find potential employees so this can be a very effective recruitment method. They generally work on a commission basis which typically ranges from 10% to 20% of the hired employee’s annual salary. This is one of the more expensive options but you benefit from saving time and having more experienced candidates to interview.

Use your network

Your business network is another good way to find staff – especially rehiring people you’ve worked with in the past or looking for recommendations from fellow business owners. Professional networking web sites such as LinkedIn can be invaluable in finding people with the skills and experience that you need. You can post a job vacancy online at LinkedIn and the site will automatically advertise it to LinkedIn members whose profiles are a good match.

Advertise on social media

Social media is a free way to advertise your job. Most companies will have Facebook or Twitter and can post job vacancies to reach out to their followers. Encourage existing employees, friends and family members to share your post to help increase your reach.


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Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

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