Bredin Report: Forecasting SMB hiring in 2018

In a strong economy, hiring and retaining good employees becomes more critical than ever for small and midsized businesses (SMBs). For online job sites, this means opportunity.

Capitalizing on this opportunity, though, requires answering key questions about SMB subsegments, needs and preferences, such as: Which types of SMBs will do the most hiring in 2018? What types of employees are they hiring? Which hiring services have SMBs used, and what are their perceptions of those services? Which services will they use in the future, and what features and content provide a competitive advantage in winning SMB business?

To answer these questions, Bredin recently surveyed more than 500 U.S. SMB principals. Learn what they told us in this webcast originally recorded on April 12th, where you’ll learn more about these topics:

SMBs’ biggest challenge: Finding the right candidates

When asked what their biggest hiring challenges are, 38% of SMBs selected “finding qualified/skilled candidates,” followed by “candidates that are a good fit with our company culture” (31%) and “ability to offer competitive salaries and benefits” (22%).

However, hiring challenges are somewhat different for the largest SMBs. SMBs with 100 to 500 employees rate the “ability to offer competitive salaries and benefits” their biggest challenge (26%), followed by “finding qualified/skilled candidates” (23%) and “finding a good recruiting resource/site” (20%).

Where SMBs get bogged down in the hiring process

Among those that have hired employees, “finding and selecting candidates” is the most time-consuming part of the hiring process (48%) across all company sizes. For SMBs with fewer than 20 employees, more than half cite it as the biggest hiring time commitment.

As companies grow, though, other parts of the hiring process become more time-consuming. Among SMBs with 20-99 employees, ”writing a job description” (16%) and ”interviewing candidates” (13%) are the second and third-most time consuming parts of the process. For SMBs with 100 to 500 employees, the second and third-most time-consuming tasks are “researching and selecting a recruiting resource/site” (24%) and “interviewing candidates” (19%).

And the SMB hiring decision maker is…

The principal, in most cases. Of those SMB principals who’ve done any hiring, 88% say they have primary hiring responsibility. Of course, as SMBs grow, the principal increasingly delegates this responsibility. They only retain primary responsibility for hiring at 64% of SMBs with 20-99 employees, and 48% of SMBs with 100-500 employees. Concurrently, the HR function grows as SMBs do. While only 10% of SMBs with fewer than 20 employees have a dedicated head of HR, 53% of companies with 20-99 employees and 67% of companies with 100-500 employees do.

Likewise, only 3% of SMBs with fewer than 20 employees have an external HR consultant, while 22% of companies with 20-99 employees and 29% of companies with 100-500 employees, do.

What SMBs want in a hiring service

The factors that matter most to SMBs in a hiring service are candidate quality (59%), the ultimate success of the candidate hired (52%), cost (45%), and specialization in a particular skill, job type or industry (45%).

What specific features do SMBs want from a hiring service? Background checks (65%), detailed candidate profiles (50%), and salary range recommendations (32%).

And the top SMB recruiting tool is…

Word of mouth, used by 63% of SMBs. Newspaper ads are second (25%), followed by “using your own website” (21%).

How much hiring are SMBs doing in 2018?

A lot, as 97% of companies with 100 to 500 employees expect to hire at least one full-time person this year, compared to 88% of companies with 20-99 employees and only 31% of companies with fewer than 20 employees.

And the winner among hiring services is… and LinkedIn, tied at 13% of SMBs saying they have had a positive or very positive experience when hiring employees with them. Craigslist is third, at 10%. and “a recruiter” are tied for fourth place, at 7%.

Want all the details?

Watch our webcast 2018 SMB Hiring Outlook and Preferences

About Bredin

Bredin was founded in 1991 by America's foremost small business expert, author and syndicated columnist Alice Bredin. From its beginning, Bredin was designed to be a breed apart: 50% research consultancy, 50% creative agency, 100% focused on SMB. Based in Somerville, Mass., Bredin helps Fortune 500 companies understand, reach and retain SMB customers through timely, targeted research and award-winning marketing programs.