Building a recruitment brand
Many SMP firms are now coming to the realisation that that the brand they present for recruitment is as important as the brand they present to clients.
Smaller firms cannot afford to recruit the wrong people, who might damage client and team relationships. Branding fulfils a dual function: on the one hand, it is a way of attracting talent by promoting and differentiating the practice. On the other hand, it acts as a filter so that unsuitable candidates sift themselves out. This is important for smaller firms that do not have dedicated recruitment resources, where interviewing and screening candidates is a major drain on the principal’s time.
10 areas for talent attraction to SMPs
SMPs have a strong message for attracting talent. We suggest 10 clearly formulated key areas for talent attraction that can be used by practice leaders building their recruitment brand.
#1 SMPs help businesses and wider society
#2 SMPs offer personal growth, development and a ‘long-term’ career
#3 SMPs have a spread of ages from 17 to 70+ and are already learning how to manage the multi-generational workforce.
#4 SMPs offer variety and are a springboard to career mobility
#5 SMPs are creative and work at the cutting edge
#6 SMPs offer work/life balance
#7 SMPs are ethical
#8 SMPs provide opportunities for participating in the success of the business
#9 SMPs provide the opportunity to see the concrete results of one’s work
#10 SMPs are people’s businesses.
 To find out more about each of these key areas, read 10 reasons to join SMP
SMP leaders are actively using social media both to convey their message to potential candidates and to engage them in a dialogue. LinkedIn posts with short videos showing what it means to work within an SMP and SMP trainee YouTube blogs are just two examples of how the message can be conveyed. There is a growing offer of training courses and programmes, for SMP leaders, on creating a digital brand to attract talent.
‘To build their professional standing, all of our trainees are encouraged to record work experience and knowledge in social channels such as YouTube, where they speak about their work experience as well as showcase their specialist knowledge with a view to engaging into a dialogue with others’ (Peter Jarman, PJCO, UK).
It is essential for the SMP leaders to ensure that the purpose and values communicated by the recruitment brand stay true in the practice and are embedded in the culture, and that employees have a clear understanding of how those values translate into concrete behaviours.
The recruitment techniques used by SMPs are evolving. Some SMPs use psychometric testing or profiling, particularly when looking at the balance of skills they want to bring into their teams; others ask their candidates to submit videos about themselves instead of writing covering letters and CVs. Those innovative practices have proved their value during the COVID-19 pandemic, when face-to-face interviews were impossible.
Adapted from the original ACCA Careers in Small and Medium Practices (SMP) report. The full version of the report can be accessed here