If your business has a problem with IT, electrics, decorating, plumbing, legal matters, or many other areas you will hire a professional, so why not for recruitment? SMEs can benefit from using a specialist graduate recruitment agency.

The truth is that a good consultant can offer huge value, save you time and money, provide industry knowledge, and find you high-quality candidates.

Getting the right staff is hugely important for a business, but there can be an feeling of ‘I’m not paying a recruiter to find me someone, I can do that myself’. Yes, it is easy to find someone to do a job, but getting the right one is not always straightforward. And it’s important to get the best person that you can. 54% of employers are currently finding it difficult to recruit for their graduate vacancies.

For each job I work on, I will typically spend several hours searching for and speaking with candidates; sometimes spread over several weeks, if it’s a particularly tricky position to fill (though most vacancies are filled in a shorter timescale).

7 reasons why SMEs should consider using a specialist graduate recruitment agency:

  1. Job sites are saturated; so many businesses are looking for people, and this is the most obvious way to find someone. There are many adverts- and yours can get lost, meaning the right people don’t apply (though many unsuitable ones will). It often needs a proactive approach to find someone. I do have paid access to several jobsites, but they are not the only way I find people, and they currently account for just over half of my placements.
  2. The way your advert is crafted is also important, and a job description alone is not enough. You really need to make your opportunity stand out, and this is something I have years of experience in.  I can make your job come to life.
  3. I pay a lot of money for the premium service for job sites, and also LinkedIn recruiter. I can proactively search these, not just wait for responses to adverts. I have an eye for what to look for, and invest time in it. If they are out there I will find them. It can then take various methods of contact before reaching someone. If you were to do this yourself, you would need to pay for the access, and also spend time on searching (do you have several spare hours?). I also have various other methods that I use to find people. Each fills a percentage of vacancies.
  4. If placing an advert then you will generally get a lot of applications. Possibly dozens to hundreds (and for one recent vacancy I received over 1,500 applications. Just think how long they took to process). Most will not be close to being right, and it can be a real slog going through them. Or, depending on the role, you may get many who appear to be a good match on paper, and it can be tough getting this down to a manageable level. But this is something I am used to doing. I can either get it down to a manageable list for interview, or continue the search if none turn out to be of the required standard (it happens).
  5. You may have direct links with a university, and these can often work very well. But the quality of service varies; some universities are very switched on and helpful, others are not. Only around 5% of my jobs are filled from the portals where jobs can be added. And there are many universities where I don’t bother adding an advert at all now (for example, some have taken days or even weeks to approve an advert). Others don’t have a good connection with graduates, meaning most aren’t aware of the vacancy. Even if your university is one of the good ones, if you are just using them you risk missing out on graduates who have studied in another city, and returned home for work. You are also limited to a set number of candidates, with often significant variations in overall employability and work ethic.
  6. It can be tough for SMEs when up against the huge graduate employers, who are highly visible across universities. They have teams whose job is to go out and recruit students. There are even books showing the top 100 graduate employers. And unfortunately many graduates are already snapped up at an early stage. How can you compete against that? I can help, as I regularly advocate for working with SMEs. Spreading the word through a variety of other methods, including direct work with universities and students, and social media channels. Something that is very important when dealing with graduates.
  7. I speak with a lot of students and graduates on a daily basis; in addition to hundreds of SMEs. This means that I have a good idea of what is happening in the market, and can advise you on the right course of action to take. For example, if there is nobody on the market who is suitable and interested, you may need to revise the criteria that you are looking for.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss anything related to the graduate employment market. I work with a range of businesses, including with internal recruiters. You can find out more about how graduates can benefit your business here.

Matthew Parry

Director. SME Graduate Employment

Email: matthew@sme-graduates.co.uk Telephone: 0370 7749500

The specialist graduate recruitment agency for SMEs