As we emerge from a challenging economic climate, there’s a real sense of optimism in the jobs market. Companies are hiring again and investing in their people, and individuals who might have stayed put in their current job to weather the storm in a recession, are now feeling confident enough to move onto new roles.

But how can fast growing businesses take advantage of this to attract new talent? And how can they compete with larger corporates luring candidates thanks to the impressive addition they make to their CV? Here are my top tips for SMEs hiring in 2014:

Build your profile

Whilst your company might be well known in your marketplace, it doesn’t mean top new talent will have heard of you. Today, the first thing most people see if they are researching a company is their website or social media presence. Using your website or social media channels as your ‘shop window’ can be a powerful way to present your company’s message but it is vital that you invest time in keeping both up to date. Nothing will turn a potential candidate away more quickly than a website, social media page or blog that is clearly outdated as it could imply inefficiency. If you don’t have the resources to dedicate to keeping blogs, or social media channels updated then it’s actually better not to have a profile at all!

Celebrate enterprise

Fast growing businesses are exciting places to work, and the appeal of working within a truly entrepreneurial company is widely recognised by job hunters. Those that join your team will get to be a part of your growth journey, as well as getting some fantastic experience and exposure to a broader range of activities than if they were to work for a larger corporate with a narrower job role. Make sure that your website, your brand and the way you talk to potential candidates communicates how agile your business is, and showcase the dynamism and ambition within your team.

Define your recruitment process

Recruiting within small and medium enterprises can often be less formal than in larger businesses, but that doesn’t mean it should be totally ad hoc. The recruitment process itself can create the first impression about a company and if it appears to be disorganised, the natural conclusion is to assume that the business is poorly managed. Make sure you set clear timescales for the process from beginning to end, and that the job spec you create is based on a series of desirable outcomes and objectives as well as personality and attributes. The temptation is to choose people to work with you because they feel like they fit – but don’t lose sight of what you want them to achieve and make sure they understand that from the very first interview.

Don’t throw them in at the deep end!

Typically, fast growing businesses are busy and of course fast paced. But if you attract new talent to your business, don’t risk losing them by not investing the time in settling them into their role properly.  The transition into any new job can be difficult, but if someone feels totally unsupported and out of their depth it can have a really detrimental impact on their performance, so much so that they may actually decide to leave before they’ve had a chance to shine. Each new starter should be given a plan of development that is regularly reviewed and amended. If you have the resources, consider allocating them a mentor within the team, or schedule regular catch ups with them to check in on their progress and wellbeing.

Nurture your team as you nurture your business

People need to feel that they are valued, and that their potential is recognised. Regular feedback on performance as well as formal appraisals are really important, whether your business is large or small, as a means of giving your team goals to strive for and showing them that you’re investing in them over the long term. Let them know where there are opportunities for them to grow and develop and support them in getting there. Retaining a loyal and brilliant member of your team will be invaluable as your business continues on its exciting growth journey.

Alison Humphries is a coach for GrowthAccelerator –