205. Unlocking SME Career Opportunities: Navigating Small Business Job Markets with Stephanie Kelly

job hunting regional & remote work Sep 25, 2023
The Job Hunting Podcast 205. Unlocking SME Career Opportunities: Navigating Small Business Job Markets with Stephanie Kelly

If you've ever wondered how working for a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) differs from being a cog in a large corporate machine, or if you're actively considering a career move into the SME sector, this episode is tailor-made for you. We're joined by Stephanie Kelly, Director of Recruit With Me and an experienced recruiter specialized in helping SMEs attract top-quality talent. In this episode, Stephanie unpacks the unique culture, expectations, opportunities, and challenges of working in an SME. Get ready for actionable tips on how to craft an SME-focused resume, the soft skills that matter most in smaller organizations, and strategies to ace your SME job interview.

Here are some of the highlights from my conversation with Stephanie Kelly:  

  • The SME Landscape: Learn what sets SMEs apart from large corporations and why they might be the ideal setting for your skills and ambitions.
  • Skillsets that Shine: Discover the key skills and qualities SME employers look for in candidates and how to develop them.
  • Navigating SME Job Markets: Get insider tips on where to look for SME job opportunities and how to network effectively in this specific sector.
  • The Interview Process: Gain unique insights into what to expect in an SME interview and how to prepare for it.
  • Cultural Fit: Understand the importance of being the right cultural fit for an SME and how to assess this during your job search.

Why working for an SME is a great career path

Corporate professionals should give serious consideration to roles in SMEs, as these organizations often present a chance for broader skill development due to the necessity of multitasking in smaller teams. The flatter hierarchies in SMEs bring employees closer to key decision-makers, which subsequently allows for a more direct impact on outcomes. This closeness to core operations often means professionals can experience rapid career advancements, benefit from a close-knit and flexible work culture, and gain holistic business insights that might be compartmentalized in larger corporations. And the entrepreneurial spirit and agility of SMEs can offer professionals invaluable insights, especially for those harboring entrepreneurial aspirations.

In essence, while large corporations might offer brand recognition, SMEs provide a unique set of experiences and growth opportunities that can be invaluable for corporate professionals. Considering SMEs as potential employers can open up a world of possibilities for skill development, career progression, and personal fulfillment. So, if you're considering switching to a small or medium-sized organization, this episode offers valuable insights to navigate your career path effectively.

About our guest, Stephanie Kelly: 

Stephanie Kelly is the Director of Recruit With Me. An innovative recruitment agency designed for small business leaders and built on values of collaboration and quality. With a deep-seated passion for facilitating the ideal match between job seekers and employers and a career spanning several years, Stephanie has honed her skills in understanding the unique needs of businesses and job seekers within the small business community. She is a champion for the benefits of growing your career within an SME environment and regional communities.  

As a recruiter, Stephanie prides herself on being a talent connector. Her interviews are focussed on the holistic as well as skills, and an ideal outcome for her is a candidate finding the right job that supports their long-term career goals. Using a freelance model has given Stephanie a unique position to understand and advise businesses on what their talent wants to make roles more attractive without compromising on the needs of the business. Click here to connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn

Timestamps to guide your listening:

  • 04:43 - Stephanie's Career Journey and the Beginnings of her SME Recruitment Path
  • 07:13 - Unveiling the Entrepreneurial Strengths Behind Your Unique Journey in the Traditional World of Recruitment
  • 08:55 - Exploring the Differences Between SMEs and Large Corporations
  • 12:37 - Assisting Organizations in Growth, Expansion, and Public Listing
  • 15:05 - Transitioning from Corporate Comfort to SME Challenges
  • 17:01 - Exploring the Unique Pathways to SME Job Opportunities
  • 21:26 - Addressing Compliance and Family Business Dynamics
  • 23:33 - Adapting to Family Business Cultures
  • 26:47 - How SMEs Attract Talent in a Competitive Market
  • 35:12 - Finding Success in Regional SMEs
  • 37:43 - Stephanie's Final Thoughts

Links mentioned in this episode:

Are you new to The Job Hunting Podcast? 

Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach corporate, non-profit, and public professionals the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress. 

If you are 1) an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, 2) looking to find your next job or promotion, or 3) you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running – then this podcast is for you. In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients. 

So there is no excuse – I’m determined to help you! I want you to feel empowered, nail your next job, and have the career you want.

Enjoy the episode, and ciao for now!


Renata Bernarde | Job Hunting Expert

[email protected]


I cannot recommend it highly enough.

To my friends and colleagues who are currently job hunting, this podcast is for you. Renata Bernarde and her stellar line up of guests very generously share their perspective, advice, behind-the-scene secrets, tips, and anecdotes. "It's called The Job Hunting Podcast (it is what it says on the tin!) Guests include Anita Ziemer, Michelle Redfern, Mohit Bhargava. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Run. Don't Walk." - LinkedIn post shared by Amber Knight.

We listened, and we both got jobs!

"I am writing to let you know that I got a job. I found The Job Hunting Podcast because a friend of mine recommended it, and he also was successful in his job search. Your podcast tips and chats with guests helped me prepare for my job interview. My new position is a gateway to the organization and will allow me to grow as a professional. Thank you for the incredible work you do! We listened to your episodes and assimilated all the learnings." - Listener from New Zealand.

207. Modernizing Job Applications: Leveraging AI, LinkedIn, and Exp...

206. Strategies for Managing Career Transitions

205. Unlocking SME Career Opportunities: Navigating Small Business ...

204. How to become a gig executive: An interview with Werkling foun...

Don't miss my weekly newsletter! 

Every Tuesday, I'll send you the latest episode of The Job Hunting Podcast, as well as a curated list of news and articles. This way, you will have the best collection of career tips and advice automated to your inbox. You can now focus on assimilating the best content rather than searching for it. And have time to enjoy your life as well!


"I wanted to pass on the news that I start my new role on Monday - and to thank you for the great resources and inspiration you provided, which I found so helpful." - Kate, newsletter subscriber.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.