Five small business recruitment myths

Employees are at the heart of every successful business.

Success is built on co-operation, and that co-operation is built on a good team. Recruitment is therefore a vital priority for every expanding business.

Last month Simply Business found that 27 per cent of small firms plan to increase their headcount over the coming 12 months. But many more remain reticent about hiring – put off, frequently, by misinformation and rumour.

Taking on an employee is a big responsibility, but it is not something from which you should shy away. Here are five of the biggest recruitment myths that are holding small businesses back.

1. It's too expensive

There is a common suggestion that hiring employees is simply too expensive for small businesses. There are a few things to understand here. First, it is important that you recognise the costs of recruitment and employment. Hiring and keeping employees does require expenditure, and you must be confident that you can cover this expenditure before you begin.

But the idea that recruitment is always prohibitively expensive is a false one. Indeed, for many businesses it would simply be too costly not to hire. Employees are at the heart of any successful business. Without the right people, your firm will not be able to fulfil its potential.

2. There is too much red tape

This is another common misconception. There are, of course, very important legal obligations which you must fulfil as an employer. You will be required, for example, to make National Insurance Contributions, operate a payroll system, and take out employers’ liability insurance.

But none of these requirements are beyond your understanding. With a bit of forethought and organisation (and some legal advice if you are in doubt) you can meet your legal obligations with the minimum of fuss.

3. It's always better to outsource

Many smaller firms prefer to contract with third party suppliers, rather than take on their own employees. There is a lot to be said for this approach. Working with freelancers, for example, can help you keep your costs down if you need specific expertise for specific projects.

But there may well come a time at which you need to start building a team. A growing business can rarely survive on freelancers alone. Instead, you will need a well chosen group of people dedicating their time and energy to your firm.

4. You have to use a recruitment agency

It is common for businesses to use a recruitment agency to help them find and hire the right people. Agencies provide a potentially valuable service, helping you to navigate the often difficult road of recruitment.

But there is no hard and fast rule that says you can only hire through an agency. Instead, many businesses find it more effective to stride out on their own, placing ads in local papers or trade media, and making use of social media. Taking your recruitment needs in house can be a more cost-effective solution, and can help to ensure that you keep track of the process at every stage.

5. You'll never find the right person

This is perhaps the most dangerous myth of all. Reading certain parts of the business press, you would be forgiven for thinking that there is a chronic shortage of talent in the British labour market. This is simply untrue.

There is a wealth of expertise out there; the trick is making sure that you develop the right process to find it. In today’s difficult labour conditions you stand a better chance than ever of finding the right person to help your organisation grow.