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Recruiting Brilliant Staff

Starting a business and making it grow and develop is hugely exciting and once it’s in your blood it is literally all you think about, morning, noon and night. But that passion and desire to grow needs to be kept in check with reality, and nowhere more than when recruiting staff.

I started in business over ten years ago and in that time have employed some fantastic people who have helped take the company where it is today. I’ve also employed some right muppets, and worse, that have been a drain financially and emotionally.

Let’s be clear, you need to employ people to make a business successful, but recruiting the wrong staff is much worse than not growing. Staff who are constantly off sick, sell your database to competition or abuse your network, honestly you don’t need them or want them, I can vouch for that!

So how do you get the right staff? That’s the $64,000 question, actually not a bad guesstimate of how much the wrong person could cost you, by the time you have paid advertising or recruitment fees, spent time interviewing, put in resources and spent three months wages to work out how bad they really are!

First of all you need to plan exactly who you want to recruit, why you want them, what they will do, what skills they need, the training they need, how they will fit into your existing organisation? The more detailed the brief, the more likely you are to get the right person.

Then the financial aspects, can you afford to recruit them and pay wages, what is the timescale before they make you a profit, what is the worst case scenario and how will you get out? Obviously there is all the HR and employment law hoops to jump through, I’m not going to address that here but before recruiting you better make sure you have!

Getting the recruitment process right is critical and a good tip is that the harder you make it for someone to get the job, the more likely it is you will get the right person. If they aren’t prepared to attend a few interviews, stand up in front of a group and say why they want the job or spend a couple of hours doing work related tests then they aren’t likely to put in the effort when there are deadlines to meet.

So having tested, interviewed and assessed you are ready to make a job offer. Not sure that the right candidate is there but willing to take a chance on someone who seems OK. DON’T. It may seem time consuming and expensive to start again, which it is, but so much cheaper than taking on the wrong person.

But if you are sure you have found a gem and you decide to make a job offer, make sure you take references. Yes I know your gut feeling is that they are wonderful and it’s just more time and expense, but better to learn from someone else’s mistake than make an expensive one yourself.

OK so D-Day is here and the new bod arrives… hopefully (I’ve had them change their mind with a matter of days to go and I know that’s not uncommon). Assuming they show, welcome to the world of being an employer, that’s where the fun begins and we will look at that another time.

About The Author: Nigel Wilkinson is Managing Director at WNW Design and has recently launched a new business . In addition to his business interests, Nigel is married to Yoga Dance teacher Michelle, the father of teenage twins, Chairman of Exmouth Chamber of Commerce, an avid Networker, a Social Media commentator, a keen golfer and football supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @nigelwnw, or telephone on 01395 542569. You can also find WNW Design on Facebook here.

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Hi Nigel,

A great read. As the co-owner of a small recruitment company I think it raises some interesting points. One of the objections I often hear from business owners is that our fee, or any fee to a recruitment agency , could be construed as ‘costly’ if our candidate was to leave the client’s employment and you have touched upon this in the blog.

It was with this in mind that my company, prosperIS, developed a unique, ‘risk-sharing’ invoicing structure for smaller digital marketing agencies. It is designed to share some risks with our clients to make sure they would only pay the full fee if the candidate stayed with them long-term.

It tends to work quite well.

Keep up the interesting blogs!


That’s a great way to help small businesses spread the cost. Finding a recruitment fee on top of the additional new wages & various set up costs, which in themselves can be thousands with cars & computers etc can mean recruitment is unaffordable for many SMEs.
The new recruit should be paying for themselves in 3 months maximum, so spreading the fee over 6 months is a great initative

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