Hiring Guide for Fast-growing SMBs in the UK

For small-to-medium businesses (or SMBs), finding the right talent has always been a challenging task as compared to larger business enterprises. 

Over 50% of the fastest-growing SMBs in the United Kingdom now have lesser staff as compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. While 18% of the small businesses have been able to grow their workforce (since the pandemic outbreak), just 6% say they aren’t facing any issues in workforce recruitment and employee retention.

An October 2021 study conducted by Indeed UK shows there is little urgency in job searches among potential employees aged between 18 to 64 years. The same study found that just 7.7% of respondents were actively looking for a job in October 2021.

Fast-growing SMBs in the UK are facing multiple hiring challenges including their inability to:

  • Offer a high or competitive salary package to their best candidates.
  • Find a larger pool of potential candidates.
  • Dedicate extensive time and resources to proper employee hiring and training.
  • Design an efficient training and onboarding process.

How can U.K-based SMBs overcome their hiring challenges in 2022? Here is a complete hiring guide.

How SMBs can overcome hiring challenges using technology

75% of the recruiters believe that technology can play a major role in hiring in 2022, while nearly all recruiters will rely on automation in their hiring process in the future. 

According to this CIO article, smaller businesses can leverage more value from their investments in digital transformation tools. This includes digital hiring technologies.

Here are 4 technologies that can help SMBs overcome their hiring-related challenges.

  1. Process Automation

Going forward, more SMBs are likely to streamline their hiring process using automation tools. On its part, automation is not about replacing HR personnel but instead helping them improve their productivity and decision-making skills. The emergence of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology can also eliminate manual or repetitive work from the hiring process.

Further, automation tools can take care of the following HR-related activities that typically consume around 80% of the recruiting team’s time and effort:

  • Sourcing of the right candidates
  • Candidate screening
  • Interview scheduling
  • Regular communication and follow-ups with potential hires
  • Designing customised templates for offer letters

How can U.K-based SMBs benefit from using hiring automation tools? Here are a few benefits:

  • Improves the quality of hiring particularly in verticals like small retail stores, restaurants, and call centres.
  • Enhances the overall candidate experience as they do not have to wait long for the final decision and receive immediate feedback.
  • The use of technology removes common biases from the recruitment process, thus enabling efficient and bias-free objective hiring.
  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Over 50% of recruiting managers say that screening candidates from a large pool of available talent is the most challenging part of their job. The use of AI technology can reduce (or eliminate) this time-consuming activity. Besides, AI-powered hiring tools can make accurate talent recommendations based on the applicant’s existing skills.

AI-powered chatbots are also helping SMBs hire faster by automating HR-related tasks like reviewing resumes, scheduling interviews, and providing timely feedback to applicants. Further, by integrating an applicant tracking system (ATS) into an online job board, SMB recruiters can attract quality talent and save hundreds of inefficient work hours.

AI technology is also effective at eliminating any hiring bias and achieving objective hiring. AI-based recruitment tools are designed to ignore demographic information such as the candidate’s gender, race, and religion, which can impose bias in any recruiting process.

  1. Video interview

According to an Aberdeen Group report, companies are likely to improve their cost per hire by 2.7 times by using video interviews. A 2020 Candidate Survey found that 82.4% of job candidates are satisfied with video interviews as a form of recruitment. 

Advancement in video technology means that recruiters and candidates no longer need to be in the same room (or even vicinity) for the scheduled interview. For SMBs, this can be a convenient and cost-effective mode of interviewing potential hires from anywhere in the country (or even globally).

According to HR experts, 80% of the recruitment will be “virtual” (or video-based) in the foreseeable future. Here is how virtual interviews can be beneficial to SMB recruiters:

  • Provides a clear picture of the candidate being considered for the job.
  • Improves the talent pool available for recruitment.
  • Improves the employer’s brand image among recruits.
  • Helps in quick and efficient hiring at lower costs.
  • Helps in building an open and transparent hiring process.
  1. Objective hiring

U.K-based employers still have a class-based bias in their hiring process. According to CV-Library, two-thirds of British employees believe that class is a critical issue when securing a new job. Over 60% of candidates from Scotland feel they are likely to be discriminated against for their Scottish accent.

According to Lindsey Hopkins of Fujitsu, “When recruiting new talent, the socio-economic background is arguably one of the most significant, but possibly one of the most neglected elements of diversity and inclusion.”

Besides creating healthy diversity in the workplace, objective hiring for SMBs can help in achieving equity in hiring for aspiring candidates. Small businesses can also benefit by including diverse personality traits that can drive improved problem-solving skills.

To be more objective in their hiring process, SMB recruiters need to inculcate the following techniques:

  • Define the job requirement that is clear and objective.
  • Focus on the desired candidate’s job experience instead of their job titles.
  • Use skill assessment tools to evaluate the candidate’s technical skills and strengths.
  • Ask the same set of questions to every candidate applying for the same job position.


In the face of growing hiring challenges, U.K-based small businesses need to innovate to attract and retain the best available talent. Digital technology like Robotic Process Automation and AI can improve the recruitment process and make them more objective (or bias-free) and productive. 

The use of objective hiring can be inclusive, diverse, and enlarge the available talent pool for SMB recruiting managers in the U.K. To meet these challenges, companies need the expertise of a SaaS-based AI platform that can transform traditional hiring processes for the better.

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