6 Most Effective Recruitment Strategies for Startups and SMEs in the UAE

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Today we shall look at the trending recruitment strategies for startups and SMEs, through a helpful guide to emerging human resource trends in 2021. Here are the most effective recruitment strategies developed to meet the specific requirements of startups and small to medium-sized enterprises.

Most of the hiring strategies that we come across are designed for businesses with massive hiring budgets.  As entrepreneurs, your startup business or the SME must function to align its hiring strategies with its financial position. Think out of the box to utilize your limited resources in hand.

Gain Access To Large Talent Pools

Companies usually resort to career fairs, recruitment agencies, paid job adverts and job portal for a quick response from the applicants. These resources are effective but not the best option for startups and SMEs because of the high cost involved.

Recruitment Companies

Recruitment companies in the UAE are insanely high. Their registration fee starts from AED 6000, in addition to a 1-month salary of the candidate, charged as their commission for every successful placement. Therefore, we advise small to medium size companies to tie up with the local recruitment companies in the countries they wish to hire from.

Online Portals

Most of the online portals charge per job post. However, Indeed allows hirers to post the job for free with their “Boost The Post” feature to reach more people. All the other online job portals have a package of 30 or 60 days. Users are required to pay extra for any additional premium features.

Our recommendation would be Indeed as it gives us a cost-effective solution and decent results. Our second recommendation for the ”Pay Per Job” post would be Dubizzle because it is cheaper compared to others. You can also register for the annual plan which is comparatively even cheaper.

Social Media Networks

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As a startup, you may consider exploring your own social network which is absolutely FREE. However, it is difficult to reach the right candidates through social media, as the organic reach of the post is limited to only a handful of people who are in your network. You may ask your social media marketer to post the job openings. LinkedIn is considered to be the best platform for recruitment. People use Facebook and Instagram for entertainment. People do not come to these platforms with the mindset to find work. Therefore, hirers often fail to use them for hiring purposes. However, if you wish to go down this path our recommendation would be to use Linkedin.

Freelancing Platforms

Alternatively, with the emergence of freelancers and the work-life balance phenomenon taking a toll over the young talent, one cannot deny the significance of talent pools like Bawabba for tapping into a new breed of highly talented and skilled workforce. The young workforce in 2019 looks at more than the organizational culture, values, future growth and management’s attitude towards their employees. The demand for freelancers is likely to grow alongside the booming e-commerce industry in the UAE. The e-commerce sector in the UAE is expected to grow to $40 Billion in 2019, according to Edarabia. Freelancers can accelerate the success of E-commerce businesses in the UAE.

It is legal to hire freelancers in Dubai, provided they hold a valid freelancers visa in UAE. This cuts the high visa & insurance cost. It is a great opportunity to try and test suitable candidates before hiring them permanently. Jobs for freelancers and part-timers are trending in the UAE job market. You can find freelancers in Dubai and contact them directly through Bawabba.

Develop A Positive Employer Brand Image

There has been a paradigm shift in the mindset of the applicants. They are not only concerned about getting a job offer, but they are also equally concerned about the reputation of the employer.

According to recent research by LinkedIn, 75% of job seekers assess the employer’s reputation and the brand image before applying. Despite all the non-monetary investment in terms of time and effort, it would not be surprising to see the perfect candidate walk away to another employer. Therefore, it is advised that SMEs in the UAE work on building a positive brand image in the community by supporting a social cause that would resonate with the talent they are trying to attract.

We must acknowledge that companies with a bad reputation fail miserably to attract the required talent to achieve the next milestone. Such companies often struggle to retain employees. Therefore, employer branding is one of the most effective recruitment strategies in 2019.

Enhance The Candidate Experience With Automation

It is vital that all applicants have a pleasant experience when they apply to a job opening in SMEs. The process should be fairly simple to follow with email notifications sent out at each stage of the recruitment process to keep all the applicants well-informed of the progress. Given the limited resources of SMEs, this could be a tedious process when done manually. However, you can use free email marketing tools and applications to automate the process.

You can use your own CRM or even Indeed to automate the entire recruitment and selection process. It will surely enhance the candidate experience and make a great impression on the applicant whether or not you hire them.

Ask For Referrals


For SMEs, referrals come in handy as compared to expensive advertisements. Through word of mouth, your professional and personal network will help you find the right candidates at a zero cost to you.

Offer An Attractive Compensation

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The remuneration package allows the employee to enjoy different perks. As employees are the most important assets of any company, one of the best things a successful startup or an SME can offer to its employees is a fair remuneration package. Startups and SMEs can easily use non-financial benefits and attract competent applicants. Employees prefer having a lower-paying job with flexible working hours, more vacation time, medical insurance and other benefits.

Keeping in vision the financial constraints, work out well-balanced remuneration packages to improve employee satisfaction level and their efficiency. Through research, gain some insights on the market competitive remuneration packages as this information is publicly available.

Business owners must strike a balance between the financial and non-financial benefits when offering a remuneration package to the prospective employees to reduce employee turnover, for example, fitness club membership. It is critical for all businesses is to have a culture free from bias, gender inequality, and equal opportunities.

As per the recent article in Gulf News, Business, the annual salary of top-most in-demand roles varies from AED 46K to 125K in the technology sector, whereas salaries may range from $56K to $400K for full-time Accounting and Finance professionals. However, with the option to hire a part-time accountant in Dubai as per your need may save your hard earned money in the first few years of your business.

Introduce Training and Development Programs

You can retain your best talent for longer by investing in training and development programs. Companies can get more done with fewer employees. Hence, they do need to hire more employees to make up for the shortcomings of their existing staff. Eventually, you end up saving more money in the long run. As a startup or an SME, critical success factors of any hiring strategy include employee retention and growth opportunities through proper training and development programs. Such programs demonstrate the employer’s commitment to the high standards of quality expected of the employees.

Start-ups and SME’s can reduce their salary expense substantially by using smart methods of sourcing talent, selection, compensation, and training to ensure the smooth running of their business without draining their bank account. In the coming years, the smart workforce will include freelancers to meet the Human Resource requirements of small to medium-sized companies in the UAE. As the government and universities are now supporting the establishment of micro businesses by making the freelancing license cheaper and opening small free-zones in private and public universities. Students are encouraged to start companies while they are studying.

In conclusion, there are several options available for SMEs to recruit high-quality talent without overloading the employer with the additional cost of hiring. In 2019, employers have the option to curtail the recruitment expense by utilizing free options, for example, social recruitment, and indispensable resources like Bawabba. Employers can sign up for a FREE account to start their talent hunt.

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