Recruitment & Hiring

40% of small business are looking for new staff in 2017: Make sure you’ve got the right attitude to hiring

Dominic Powell /

Recruiting new talent is often an area SME owners struggle with, and a recent report reveals many will be wrestling with the task of finding top staff in 2017.

A survey completed by accounting firm Bentleys shows many SME owners are planning significant growth in all aspects of their business. More than half of business owners surveyed also said they were confident in their company’s prospects for 2017.

Top of mind for 49% of respondents is acquiring new customers, along with growing revenue, which 34% of respondents claimed as a main intention for the year ahead. Almost a quarter of SMEs also said improving cash flow to be a concern.

However, hiring staff is something a majority of respondents across the board labelled as something they anticipated to achieve over the next few months. Thirty-nine percent of small business owners and 57% of medium business owners said they want to get new workers on board.

Read more: Aussie SMEs still use out-dated hiring methods: Three things you need to know to keep up with global recruiting trends

Managing director at Bentleys Perth Phillip Rix said in a statement staffing is one of the greatest challenges for smaller operations.

“The impact of staffing issues highlights the volatility of challenges micro and small businesses can face. One employee can have a more significant impact on the success and opportunity for growth in a smaller business than in larger ones,” Rix said.

Hiring all about attitude

Recruiting even just one employee is a daunting task for so many business owners, and one expert believes it comes down to attitude.

Sue Parker, hiring strategist at DARE Group, told SmartCompany SMEs can fall into the trap of having the wrong approach when starting to think about hiring.

“SMEs traditionally struggle because they are not an employee’s brand of choice. Business owners need to take a step back and look at why someone would want to work for me and my business,” Parker says.

Parker believes putting yourself into the mindset of a job seeker is the first step to successful hiring practices.

“You need to attract people that don’t know anything about you or your business. You need to sell to potential candidates, who then, in turn, need to sell you,” she says.

Start planning your recruitment now

Parker says a “knee-jerk reaction” to hiring must be avoided, because improperly researched hires can cause trouble for businesses down the road.

“If you start 2017 and you know you want to hire staff in three months’ time, start thinking about it and planning immediately. Know where you want your staff growth to happen, and begin developing your platform of attraction,” she says.

“Don’t panic and wait until right before the interview, get onto it now.”

Part of an extensive hiring process is the creation of a “cracker” job advertisement, which Parker says SMEs traditionally struggle with. A “robotic” job ad won’t do you any favours.

“Write engaging purpose-filled ads with a marketing slant, show somebody why they would want to work for your business,” Parker says.

“Be realistic. Show your applicants what success would look like in the role you’re advertising. Most job ads have all the bullsh-t criteria, but don’t focus on the nature of the role itself.”

Finally, Parker’s last tip for hiring is to “get real”.

“SMEs need to be real about their imperfections and perfections,” she says.

“This gets everyone on the same page and avoids surprises two months down the line when you realise the person you hired isn’t who you thought they were.”

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the features and profiles editor at SmartCompany.

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