The 5 most common hiring challenges facing small-to-medium offices and how to overcome them


No matter the size of your company, hiring a new employee is typically a long process. You need to find applicants, sift through all the applications, and conduct interviews. When you’re a smaller office, however, the challenge is even greater for several reasons. If you currently work in a small- or medium-sized office, there are some common hiring challenges you are likely to face, but luckily, for each challenge, there is a way to overcome it.

1. Competition from bigger businesses

The primary challenge that smaller businesses face is that they have to compete with the larger companies who have some distinct advantages. For instance, larger companies typically have more resources they can invest into their hiring processes. This allows them to find more candidates, conduct more thorough screenings, and use more time during the interview process. To make up for this, you’ll have to make sure your company is putting its resources to good use. This means investing in the right screening tools, having experienced people conduct the interviews, or even hiring an outside staffing and recruiting firm to handle everything for you.

In addition to more resources, larger companies can often offer more. They may be offering better benefit packages, more prestige, or a higher salary. To combat this, smaller businesses need to highlight their own benefits. For instance, at smaller companies, there may be more room for skills advancement, more opportunities for leadership roles, or different incentives such as working from home. Don’t get wrapped up in what your company is lacking, but rather, emphasize what makes your company stand out.

2. A rushed process

With smaller sized offices, you typically have employees handling multiples responsibilities within their roles. This means that when you need to hire someone, you need to bring them in quickly, as they are likely going to be handling several different tasks. On the other hand, larger companies have the time to sift through all of the applications and really take their time, as they have other employees currently on staff who can pick up the slack until a hire is made.

It can be tempting for smaller businesses to rush through the process and make a quick hire as soon as they come across someone who seems to be professional, polite, and competent. You find a candidate that you think is good enough, and you hire them without conducting further reviews. This could ultimately lead to a bad fit, which costs your company time and money when you need to replace the employee down the road. That’s why it is important to take your time during the hiring process, no matter how badly you need to fill the position. If possible, consider hiring a temporary employee to fill in on the more basic tasks. This will allow you to lessen the load of your other employees, and make you feel less rushed to bring in someone permanent.

3. You don’t have the right tools

The next obstacle that smaller offices face is that they don’t have the right tools to conduct the hiring process. Large companies can afford to invest in the best tools for hiring, allowing them to get a better understanding of their candidates, and ultimately make a better hire. Smaller offices don’t have this luxury, as they are working on smaller budgets and can’t afford to commit as much to the hiring department.

If you’re in this position, it’s important to analyze your budget, and take into account all of the benefits that come with making a good hire. You may find that by investing in good hiring tools, you are able to lower your costs elsewhere. As mentioned earlier, you could also hire a recruitment firm, which has all of the best tools and resources at their disposal, and can handle the hiring process for you. This puts you on the same level as those larger companies, without having to invest long-term.

4. Finding new talent

When it comes to finding new talent, large companies have it easy. Not only do they have more resources to sift through applications and find the best candidates, but because of their name recognition, head-hunters are more likely to recommend their best clients to these larger companies, and other potential candidates are more likely to search for open positions there. The most talented people are therefore able to find open positions at larger companies more easily, and these companies can then use their benefits to sway them into joining.

As a smaller company, you have to work harder to bring in the top talent in the market. Your company could be what those candidates are looking for, but if they never hear of your open position, it won’t matter. A great way for smaller companies to bring in talented people, without spending more resources, is through employee referrals. Make it known company-wide that you are looking for a new candidate, and ask your employees to spread the word. Someone who already works for you may know of someone, who you can then bring in for an interview. Employees are not going to recommend someone they believe will perform poorly, as it would reflect poorly back on them – this assures the candidate is a strong one.

5. Inexperience in hiring

Finally, those working in a small or medium-sized office may simply not have extensive experience in hiring. Perhaps you are a fairly new business, and you have not had to make a lot of hires yet. Or maybe the person in charge of hiring has other responsibilities, and hiring is not their strong suit. You can be sure that those in charge of hiring at large companies have extensive experience, and are able to use this to ask better interview questions, conduct better candidates assessments, and ultimately make better hires.

If you lack experience in hiring, there are two primary solutions. First, you could bring someone in who does have this experience. Since good hires will play a large role in the success of your company, hiring someone to conduct the remaining hires is not a bad strategy. In addition, you could outsource this process to a recruitment firm, so that your lack of experience is not a factor. Lacking experience in hiring is not a bad thing – you just have to be aware of it, and not let it impact your office by letting someone else do the hiring for you.

To make good hires, you need to make smart choices

The key to making good hires for small and medium-sized offices is to make smart choices. You have to know how to wisely allocate your resources, how to best highlight the benefits of your company, how to bring in the best talent, and who the best person or team is to conduct the hiring. By making the right choices in each of these areas, you can put yourself on par with the larger companies, and no longer feel like you are at a disadvantage.

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