Recruitment can be frustrating, expensive and time consuming for food startups and SMEs. If you make a bad hire, the results could be devastating. Thankfully, there are some key insights from Innovate UK that can help make your recruitment process seamless. Here are the essential recruitment tips for food and drinks startups and SMEs.

Be Honest About Affordability

“Make key hires that can fill skill gaps and complement existing staff to help you reach the next level” – Zac Williams, Founder and Director at GradTouch.

Be honest with yourself about your budget. Can you afford a full-time team member? Moreover, do you have enough work to warrant a full-time hire? Consider all options open to you. Freelancers could be a viable option. There are plenty of benefits to outsourcing tasks:

  • You can use someone with strong experience and expertise
  • You can use the best talent without the commitment
  • You can change their workload to match business requirements

If you’re considering freelancers, look for reputable sites like PeoplePerHour where you’ll find plenty of skilled professionals.

Hire the Skills You Really Need

“Growth is not just about profit; bigger budgets allow us to use skilled freelancers, increasing the quality of our output” – Graeme McGowan, Creative Partner at Jamhot.

Don’t hire people at speed, even if you’re going through a phase of rapid growth. You want to ensure the people you find are a good match to your company’s culture. Can you offer an applicant the career path and job satisfaction they’re craving?

Look at the places your current team is lacking. Consider what your food business needs to take the next step forwards. Try to bring in skilled individuals who complement your current team and add something extra to your proposition. For example, you could be a strong tech team with the potential for growth but without business development skills, progress could fall flat.

Explore All Recruitment Options

“Utilising specialist websites for your industry can give quicker access to appropriate skills” – Gary Cassey, MD of Cass Productions.

How are you going about your hunt for the perfect candidate? There are plenty of options but not all are for you. Recruitment agencies are great at handling the process but could be costly. Major job boards will get high levels of traffic but are more tailored for larger corporations. Consider researching smaller, cheaper niche job boards. These will get your job ad in front of relevant applicants.

It may be worth asking around on LinkedIn too. Your current network is a great resource for finding quality candidates. Look beyond just the professional platform. All social media sites provide a free and effective opportunity to advertise your vacancy. In fact, social recruiting is becoming increasingly important to the recruitment industry.

Scrutinise Your Applicants

“99% of being successful is about having the right attitude. Those people can learn new skills” – James Vizor, CEO of Rule Recruitment.

We’d recommend doing a little research on hiring process best practice, there are plenty of resources out there to help you. One of the most common pieces of advice will be to know what you’re looking for from the ideal candidate. There’s no shame in looking at comparable businesses and what they seek. Consider for instance, Richard Branson considers people skills, grit and optimism to be the most important characteristics. Do you agree?

Be sure to pay attention to your employer brand throughout the whole process. This is a topic of much discussion in the recruitment industry and refers to the way a company portrays themselves to the applicants. This covers the full process and is vital to attracting the right talent. What’s life at your company like? How can you communicate this to the candidate effectively?

If you’re interested in finding more food startup or SME advice like this, subscribe to Innovate UK’s YouTube channel here.

Additionally, you can follow @InnovateUK on Twitter here.