Kirsty Mackenzie of resourcing specialists iMultiply shares her tips on getting the right people to join her as she grew her business.
If you’re building your business and finding it difficult to get the right team members, you’re not alone. The UK faces skills shortages across a breadth of areas, and it’s something we still feel here at iMultiply: good, ethical, consultative sales individuals for our own team are difficult to find. We need to work hard, too, to source candidates for our employers who are seeking finance professionals with strong skills not just in finance, but in softer areas like communication.
But with the right approach, you can attract excellent people who’ll help grow your business. I’ve built iMultiply from lonely me to a talented team of 19 over 5 years. Because we’re a specialist finance recruitment and executive search business, I’ve had the privilege of helping other SMEs attract the talent they need to achieve their ambitions, too. Here are some practical tips that can help you beat the skills shortage and find the right people to take your business to the next level.
Use your network
Do reach out to your existing contacts, which can include current employees. Your network can give you access to individuals you didn’t know, whilst being powerful advocates for you and your business. Reconnecting with historic contacts such as ex-colleagues can be useful, too. Two of iMultiply’s initial hires were a friend of a friend and an ex colleague, both still with the business today.
Make sure that your contacts know you’re hiring and that you’re always ready to talk about your company’s growth and the people you need: listeners will sense your enthusiasm and be more enthusiastic themselves about helping you.
However, there are potential problems of attracting talent solely through your network. People tend to surround themselves with similar people, which can lead to subconsciously hiring in your own image – not the best way to embrace the power of diversity. Moreover, you may still be fishing in a limited talent pool, so explore other options, too.
Consider Non-Executive Directors/Advisors
Start-ups have an extra challenge when it comes to staffing: team members can see you as high risk. Part of the secret, I found, is not to shy from that; help your potential hires understand that with risk come rewards, and joining your young company is a chance to be part of an exciting journey. But another key factor for us was bringing in non-execs and strategic advisors on a consultative basis: having big names behind me early on helped me attract individuals who wanted confidence the business idea was solid.
Attracting these advisors was not as difficult as I’d feared; I find that if you ask for help and have energy and passion, people at this level are keen to support.
Power of the brand and culture
What makes your business special? We’re innovators in recruitment, challenging the norms in what has been a fairly static industry by passionately committing ourselves to customer satisfaction. We’re serious about doing things differently, and this has built not just our reputation, but our success. If you live your USPs, those differentiators become your business and build your brand, and that attracts individuals who are excited about your mission. I’ve been focused on building an environment people want to work in with a brand people can be proud of; that’s been especially helpful when it comes to attracting team members from our competitors.
Explore the best avenues for advertising the vacancy, and consider how you can make it stand out, such as including video, employee testimonials, photos, a message from the CEO or blogs. We build branded microsites [https://tinyurl.com/ybu3hjsb] for selected companies that feature this array of content; it all helps candidates get a fuller picture of your company, team and culture.
Even though iMultiply is a recruitment business, we’ve used other recruitment businesses to help us grow our internal team. This has helped promote iMultiply to individuals who otherwise wouldn’t have heard of us, whilst letting us focus on our customers.
A recruitment company can give you access to talent you wouldn’t otherwise find. On the face of it they may seem costly, however if they have the right network and they’ve taken the time to understand your business, they can save you time and money. Furthermore, they should assist with assessing the skills and abilities of candidates to ascertain whether they meet your requirements. This can lead to better hiring decisions.
Remember, attracting talent is only half the battle; how you motivate, engage and keep them is the next step.
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