Small- and medium-size enterprises have both differences and similarities to the operations of large companies. Although small- and medium-size enterprises do not manage their operations on the same scale as big companies, they share all of the same basic structures and business processes. The organization charts for all companies include departments for sales and marketing, administration, production, accounting and finance, human resources, and more. Large companies, however, have historically held the advantage in hiring. Their size provided larger budgets to afford big recruiting advertisements. Large organizations had the advantage of dedicated and substantial resources for their corporate websites, which included careers sections. They also allocated IT funding for acquisition and implementation of sophisticated back-end hiring management systems.
Times have changed. The good news for small- and medium-size enterprises today is the opportunity to gain the same advantages from many of the business process and technology improvements that were designed for large companies, and until recently, have only been available to large companies. With the combination of on demand availability, best practice processes, software-as-a service technology, and Internet connectivity, all companies are now only one click away from the same capabilities. In the area of human resources, small- and medium-size enterprises now can leverage technology and process improvements that can transform their talent management operations to be more effective and efficient. Two areas with low-hanging fruit for small- and medium-size enterprises are sourcing strategies and hiring management systems. The playing field is leveling.
The evolution from expensive newspaper recruitment advertising to online job boards represented a major shift in reach for candidate sourcing. For small- and medium-size enterprises, job board advertising rates were often too steep — and the geographic reach was broader than they needed. Hiring for small- and medium-size enterprises requires identifying external candidates, yet may not involve high-volume recruiting. Staffing is typically geographically limited. Sourcing strategies are often reactive: The need for a new hire occurs and advertising for that job opening is placed. Once the hire is made, sourcing for candidates halts. That method of candidate sourcing is expensive and misses out on the low-cost/high-yield opportunities presented on the Internet today.
Your Message Must Be True
To drive recruiting success in the future, small- and medium-size enterprises need to develop a good message and employment brand, and be poised to react to quality candidates quickly. The employee value proposition must ring true and be communicated in all media, including the corporate website and recruitment advertising. Low cost, local resources can help transmit the message and build a candidate pool. One example is using Craigslist, an online community with a wide range of classifieds and forums. Craigslist has sites covering 190 U.S. cities as well as 35 country sites. Job postings are easy and free at all sites except the San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City sites. Rates for job postings at those sites are substantially less than major job boards. Craigslist was the number-one classified site according to comScore Media Metrix, with 8,236,000 unique visitors during October 2005. Also, watch for opportunities for job posting and candidate sourcing with Google Base, a massive classifieds database combining listings aggregated from other sites, along with postings which are currently free. DirectEmployers Association, a consortium of U.S. companies, has announced a partnership with Google. All member company jobs currently available through the DirectEmployers search engine and those located at JobCentral.com will be included in a new Google database. In addition, new online referral networks such as LinkedIn, Jobster and H3 provide opportunities for any web-savvy recruiter to engage in a “six degrees of separation” exercise and access a much larger network than a small or medium-size organization’s own employee referral program could deliver.
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Software as a Service
A strong sourcing strategy produces numerous candidate applications and information, and requires filtering and assessing candidates to make the right hire. Up until now, managing the hiring process has created an administrative burden for small- and medium-size enterprises. Today, small- and medium-size enterprises can improve business performance by streamlining hiring processes with self-service talent management applications delivered on demand, known as “software as a service.” This software solution is designed specifically for web delivery and supported by a vendor as a service, only requires a standard browser and an Internet connection. It is subscription-based and easy to configure and deploy. This can be the platform for:
- Requisition management
- Job postings
- Approval processes
- Candidate management
- Campaigns by email
- Contact management
- Prescreening and ranking
- Interview management
- Reference and background checks
- Careers website management
- Reporting and analysis
- Employee referrals
In the past, only large organizations could afford the resources necessary to deploy enterprise applications. Using new, on-demand platforms for software delivered as a service essentially democratizes access for smaller companies to leading applications. They can leverage the years of development and refinement focused on large companies to meet their needs.