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A warm welcome back to our blog! In this article, we felt the need to answer one of the top concerns faced by small and medium businesses. This is in regards to challenges they have in hiring the talent they need to help their businesses thrive.

It is unfortunately common that SMEs struggle with hiring even while they comprise 99% of private businesses in the UK and hire 60% of employees. Amidst the range of skills, competence, market cost and location of candidates, it is not easy even for big businesses to find top reliable talent.

SMEs often find themselves between a rock and a hard place of not having funds to spare but also requiring qualified talent to entrust the work of their businesses. This means that SMEs would need to spend effectively on hiring the right person for the job. That is why it is essential to address the key problems SMEs face when hiring.

Competing with Big Businesses to Attract Top Talent

SMEs must compete with big businesses when looking for talent. Big businesses have the brand, higher salaries, and incentives to attract talented employees. With tight budgets, often SMEs cannot put up the same attractive offers that big businesses do. Most SMEs also do not have a brand that is widely known or a presence in media, universities or hiring platforms.

In order to stand out, SMEs have to make use of creative and modern ways to attract talent. They can actively increase their social media presence to build their brand. Now that remote work is more accepted, it is a good way to hire affordable but qualified talent that would otherwise be unable to work in person.

SMEs also have the advantage of having close nit teams that are passionate about the mission of the organisation. This way they can attract talent that believe in a people centred and mission driven organisation.

Not having a Good Hiring Process

One key issue for SMEs is having a hiring process that will result in the ideal candidate for the job. Owners or managers of such businesses may be wearing different hats and doing a lot of the work themselves. This leads them to have little time and resources to devote to reviewing CVs, holding different interviews, checking backgrounds to properly vet and select a qualified candidate.

SMEs that wish to hire recruitment teams or organisations to support their hiring process may also not be aware of which organisations are best. Without knowing which hiring expertise is needed or where to place the adverts, SMEs end up wasting a lot of time and resources as well as losing out on many good candidates.

It is important to know the kind of hiring expertise needed for the job to be filled. Furthermore, it is essential to set up an effective hiring process from start to finish to ensure the selection will contain the best talent suited for the job. This will avoid a waste of invaluable resources that SMEs cannot afford to lose.


Settling for a less than Ideal Candidate

Once the hiring process is complete, one hopes to have a good candidate in place. However due to a shortage of cost or time and a lack of a good selection criteria, as mentioned above, SMEs may end up with a candidate that is unqualified for the job. The cost of a bad hire may be up to 15 times their base salary. Furthermore, a bad hire ends up being a waste of time, added stress, reduced morale and productivity for businesses.

Despite their real concerns of the costs of hiring, SMEs are still better off spending appropriately higher and getting their value for money in hiring the employee that their business can steadily depend on.

Being unable to Maintain Valued Employees

Another key problem SMEs face is that once they gain a talented employee, they face the risk of losing them due to many reasons. The main reason is not having effective management where valued employees may leave out of frustration, overwork, or lack of growth opportunities. Given that SMEs may not provide quicker raises or complex training, employees may start looking elsewhere.

Retaining good talent requires strategic management where employees are closely committed to the mission, feel valued and appreciated. Incentives and rewards may be provided in a creative manner where costs become an issue. Business owners could take some time to provide mentorship or training.

Employees could also be given certain days off or have some flexible hours. Owners and managers can also provide employees with the feeling that their needs and concerns would be addressed with care from smaller businesses rather than in a big business where their issues would be lost in a knot of bureaucracy.


There are efficient, effective, and creative ways out for SMEs.

The good news is that SMEs can tackle these challenges head on. As mentioned under each of the challenges, there are key ways business can attract, hire and maintain top talents. These involve the efficient and effective use of their hiring funds, investing in a good hiring process, people centred management and using creative and modern tools to attract and maintain valued employees.

At AJ Connect we ensure SMEs and their limited funds are well invested into a top tier recruitment process, ensuring the companies working with us get their value for money and qualified employees they can depend on. We pride ourselves in building reliable long-term relationships with SMEs who partner with us and work hand in hand with our clients to ensure their success.

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