Want to pursue a career in recruitment? You’re in luck. The demand for recruiters has never been so high, thanks to the major skills shortage that has affected many key industries across the UK. New recruitment companies are now appearing each month to meet this increased demand, each one in need of enthusiastic recruits to join their ranks. For those who are thinking of entering the industry, you’ve got over 35,000 recruitment companies to choose from, leaving you well and truly spoilt for choice.
However, despite recruiters having a reputation for being outgoing, confident people, many of them seem to have a tendency of following the crowd when it comes to applying for recruitment roles.
Hordes of recruiters apply for roles at large corporations with recognisable names or branding each year. In one way, you can’t blame them. To get ahead in this notoriously competitive industry, it makes sense to try and bag a role at a well-known company that offers appealing incentives, attractive benefits, and good pay. But unfortunately, as so many recruiters are applying for these roles, there is a lot of competition which can leave the less experienced candidates at the bottom of the pile.
Thankfully all is not lost. What many of these recruiters don’t realise is that working for a large organisation isn’t the only way to get ahead in the recruitment industry. They might not have the same reputation, huge portfolio of clients and big grand offices, but small to medium enterprises (SME) can actually be a great place to carve out a long and successful career in recruitment. Here are just a handful of appealing benefits that SME’s can offer that might just surprise you.
Increased flexibility and autonomy
When working for a small business, it’s likely that you’ll experience far more flexibility and autonomy when it comes to your work schedule. Thanks to advances in technology, a lot of start-ups are now embracing a mobile workforce that can work from practically anywhere. Imagine how much bigger your candidate pool will be if you can travel to any part of the country and still remain connected to the main office. This is something that some larger companies are starting to utilise, but it is something that is often only limited to managers.
Some SMEs will also offer perks that give their employees the freedom to choose when they want to work each week as a reward for meeting their targets. This can be extremely beneficial if you’ve got a family or just a very active social life.
But don’t take this increased flexibility and autonomy as a sign that you’ll be bored and not have anything to do each week. In actual fact, despite their often laid-back vibe, SMEs are generally fast-paced and it's likely you’ll have to handle a variety of projects simultaneously. So even though you may have the option to work anywhere you wish, you’ll still be expected to work hard to help establish the company and build relationships with new clients and customers.
Get noticed more easily
One of the biggest advantages to be gained by recruiters working for an SME is that it will be easier for you to get noticed and there’s little chance of you getting lost in the crowd. Due to their smaller sized sale teams, it’s likely you’ll get to know every employee, especially your managers. Thanks to these smaller teams, you won’t have to vie for the attention of your manager and you’ll be easily recognised for your hard work and efforts. You will also find it easier to share your ideas, quickly build relationships with your colleagues and managers and show off your existing skills and knowledge.
Getting noticed by the right people at an SME recruitment agency could also mean that you’re asked to take on extra responsibilities within the company and collaborate on new projects. This will put you in great stead when it’s time for promotions, which you might be surprised to hear, generally happen quite often. This is because SME’s have fewer managers but offer more opportunities for their recruiters to progress.
There’s no denying that resources at an SME can be limited in comparison to big firms. They don’t always have the same big budgets to spend or fancy software to utilise. But this doesn’t necessarily put them at a disadvantage. Working for an SME enables recruiters to have more involvement in the recruitment process, build a rapport with clients and organisations and give input openly to ensure improvements are made regularly.
They have more opportunity to follow a lead from start to finish, rather than having to pass some aspects over to more senior recruiters, like they would at a larger agency. This can be an incredible way to learn new skills and gives valuable insight into how a small business and its team work.
Having such a hands-on approach can also put those with an entrepreneurial streak in good stead if they have ambitions to start their own agency in future. What better way to learn what works and what doesn’t than to experience it first-hand.
If you hadn’t considered working for an SME until now, these benefits will hopefully encourage you to divert from the crowd and try something new. While there are perks to working for a larger recruitment agency, there are plenty of areas where SMEs beat them hands down.
Understandably, some recruiters reading this might be concerned about the risks involved with joining an SME too. You’re bound to be worried about the longevity of a smaller company and whether they have what it takes to grow and succeed. Afterall, we all want to feel a sense of security. These are justifiable fears to have, but it’s important to remember that there is an element of risk in any company and any role.
If you’re willing to overlook the possible negatives and focus more on the guaranteed positives, you will find that joining an SME recruitment agency is actually an extremely worthwhile step for anyone who wants to start or continue a career in recruitment. You just need to decide whether you’d rather be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond. The choice is yours.