Talent acquisition is not just about filling vacancies. It’s about finding and attracting the right people who can help your small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) grow and thrive in a competitive market. However, talent acquisition can be challenging for SMEs, especially when they have to compete with bigger brands that have more resources and reach. How can you stand out from the crowd and attract the best talent for your SME? In this article, we will share some tips on how to build a talent acquisition strategy for SMEs that works in 2023 and beyond.
Talent Acquisition Strategy 101: What Is Talent Acquisition?
Before we dive into the details of how to build a talent acquisition strategy for your SMEs, let’s first understand what talent acquisition is and why it matters. Talent acquisition is the process of finding, attracting, engaging, and hiring candidates who have the skills, experience, and potential to contribute to your organization’s goals and culture. Talent acquisition is different from recruitment, which is more focused on filling specific roles quickly and efficiently. Talent acquisition is more strategic, long-term, and proactive. It involves planning ahead, building relationships, creating a strong employer brand, and developing a talent pipeline.
Why is talent acquisition important for SMEs? Because talent is the most valuable asset of any organization, especially for SMEs that rely on innovation, agility, and customer satisfaction to succeed. Having the right talent can make or break your business. According to a study by McKinsey, companies with top talent perform up to twice as well as those with average talent.  Moreover, talent acquisition can help you reduce turnover, improve productivity, enhance quality, and increase profitability.
Know Your Talent Acquisition Strategy: Does it Differ from Recruitment?
As we mentioned earlier, talent acquisition is not the same as recruitment. While recruitment is more transactional and reactive, talent acquisition is more relational and proactive. Here are some key differences between talent acquisition and recruitment:
To build a successful talent acquisition strategy for your SME, you need to go beyond recruitment and adopt a more holistic and forward-thinking approach.
Talent Acquisition Strategy for SMEs
So how do you build a talent acquisition strategy for your SME? Here are five ways to do it:
1. Build an Employer Brand with Real Personality
One of the best ways to attract top talent is to showcase your unique identity as an employer. What makes your SME different from others? What are your values, vision, and culture? How do you treat your employees? How do you make an impact on your customers and society? These are some of the questions that you need to answer and communicate through your employer brand.
Your employer brand is not just your logo or slogan. It’s your reputation as an employer in the eyes of potential candidates. It’s what makes them want to work for you or not.
To build an employer brand with real personality, you need to be authentic, consistent, and engaging. You need to tell your story through various channels, such as your website, social media, blog, podcast, video, etc. You also need to showcase your employees as your brand ambassadors, who can share their experiences and testimonials with prospective candidates. A strong employer brand can make you stand out from the crowd and gravitate candidates who share your values and vision.
2. Search in the Right Places
Another way to build a talent acquisition strategy for your SME is to be smart about where you look for candidates. Instead of wasting time and money on mass platforms that may not reach your ideal candidates, you need to focus on niche platforms that specialize in your industry, job type, candidate type, or demographic.
For example, if you are looking for creative professionals, you may want to use platforms like Behance or Dribbble. If you are looking for engineers or developers, you may want to use platforms like Stack Overflow or GitHub. If you are looking for young graduates or interns, you may want to use platforms like Handshake or Internshala. Niche platforms help you zero in your search criteria and target talents who are more relevant, qualified, and interested in your SME.
3. Offer Something Unique
As an SME, you may not be able to offer the same compensation packages as bigger brands. However, you can still offer great benefits that can catch candidates’ attention and make them choose you over others. You just need to get creative with your compensation and think about your employees’ lifestyles and preferences.
For example, you can offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote work, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks. You can also offer perks that enhance your employees’ well-being, such as wellness programs, gym memberships, or meditation apps.
In addition to that, you can offer incentives that reward your employees’ performance, such as bonuses, stock options, or profit-sharing. By offering something unique, you can show your candidates that you care about them and that you are willing to invest in their happiness and success.
4. Sell Your Growth Opportunities
One of the main reasons why candidates join SMEs is because they want to grow and learn. They want to have more autonomy, responsibility, and impact in their roles. They want to work on challenging and meaningful projects that can help them develop new skills and advance their careers. Therefore, one of the best ways to build a talent acquisition strategy for your SME is to sell your growth opportunities to your candidates. You need to show them how working for your SME can help them achieve their professional goals and aspirations.
It’s a good idea to highlight the learning and development opportunities that you offer, such as mentoring, coaching, training, or education reimbursement. You also need to showcase the career paths and progression opportunities that you offer, such as promotions, transfers, or rotations. By selling your growth opportunities, you can attract candidates who are motivated, ambitious, and eager to join your SME.
5. Create an Employee Referral Program
One of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to build a talent acquisition strategy for your SME is to leverage your existing employees as your talent sources. Your employees are your best advocates and recruiters, who can spread the word about your SME and refer candidates who are qualified, fit, and interested in working for you. To set up an irresistible employee referral program, you need to make it easy, rewarding, and fun for your employees to participate. Provide them with clear guidelines on how to refer candidates, such as who to refer, how to refer, and when to refer. You also need to provide them with incentives that encourage them to refer more candidates, such as cash bonuses, gift cards, or recognition awards.
Resource: Check out our Employee Referral Program Email Template to help get you started.
You also need to provide them with feedback on the status of their referrals and the outcome of the hiring process. By setting up an irresistible employee referral program, you can tap into the power of word-of-mouth and build a strong talent pipeline for your SME.
Reinforce Your Talent Acquisition Strategy with ATS
To make your talent acquisition strategy for SMEs more effective and efficient, you need a tool that can help you manage the entire hiring process from start to finish. That’s where an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) comes in handy. An ATS is a software that helps you automate and streamline various tasks related to talent acquisition, such as posting jobs, screening resumes, scheduling interviews, sending emails, tracking candidates, generating reports, and more. An ATS can help you save time, money, and resources that you can use for other strategic activities.
However, not all ATS are created equal. Some are too complex or expensive for SMEs’ needs and budgets. That’s why you need an ATS that is suitable for your SME scale. One of the best choices is Manatal. It is a cloud-based and user-friendly recruitment solution that is packed with features that can help you:
- Create attractive job ads and post them on multiple platforms with one click.
- Source candidates from various sources such as social media or resume databases.
- Screen candidates using AI-powered tools such as resume parsing or scoring.
- Engage candidates using personalized emails or SMS.
- Collaborate with your team using notes or comments.
- Track candidates using pipelines or stages.
- Analyze data using dashboards or reports.
With Manatal, you can take your talent acquisition strategy for SMEs to the next level.
If you are ready to start building your talent acquisition strategy for SMEs today, try a 14-day free trial with Manatal and see how it can help you attract and hire the best talent for your business.