What are You Looking for?

The first step to being able to find new members of staff who are a perfect fit for you business, is to know exactly what you're looking for from the outset. A focused approach will give better results. So what kind of things do you need to think about?

Consider both the role requirements and the requirements of the business and team as a whole. For example, to be successful in the role they might need skills and experience in accountancy software, however, to fit into a small yet growing company they might also need to have a flexible approach to work and be happy to help out wherever they are needed. When working for larger, more established companies, staff usually have more specific roles that they do not deviate from. Most people either prefer one or the other style of working, so think about what your company needs when considering applicants.

Your existing team might consist largely of quiet, studious individuals who work best alone, in which case a similar personality would fit in well. On the other hand, your team might be more productive when working collaboratively and appreciate a lively, creative working environment, in which case a highly independent applicant might not be happy in the role. It's important to consider a person's nature as well as their skills and experience when hiring.

Job Adverts

How you go about creating a job advert plays a large role in the kind of applicants you attract, and the kind of impression you give of your company. When you've decided on an ideal set of skills, both professional and personal, that you'd like from applicants, make sure that they make up the main body of your job advert. It's best to keep the list of skills to a minimum, focusing only on those that are the most essential. Otherwise, you risk discouraging strong candidates with an intimidatingly demanding set of requirements.

Another great piece of advice when it comes to writing job adverts is to avoid creating something that is stereotypical. You might think it is exhausting sifting through hundreds of applications as an employer, but those searching for jobs have to sift through far more job descriptions. Something nondescript or reflective of hundreds of other positions, will not stand out to promising applicants. Their next role is going to encompass the next chapter of their life, therefore they are going to be looking for something special. 

Try to include some personal touches that give the reader an idea of the kind of company they would be applying to. Don't be afraid to be humorous if this is a true representation of your relationships with employees, and make sure to mention the values of your business as, for the applicant, that is just as important as your expectations for the role. 89% believe it's important for an employer to have a clear mission and purpose, one that's easy to find on a job posting. They could be spending a lot of time as part of your company and will therefore need an environment in which they will be happy, and company goals that they feel comfortable supporting and working towards.

Recruitment Routes

There are many different recruitment routes you can take when it comes to finding the best people for your business, and each has its own set of pros and cons. For small, local businesses looking for employees who have a genuine interest and affection for the company, placing an advert in their shop window could be a really effective way of attracting the right person. They will be bound to see the advert if they are a regular customer, which shows that they enjoy and appreciate what the business has to offer. They are also more likely to be a good fit within the team as they are from a smaller pool of potential applicants from the local area and will have plenty in common with those already employed by you.

This would not be the best approach for a larger company looking for someone with a specific set of professional skills and experience. The chances of the right person wandering past your window are slim. Instead, you need to be searching further afield with the help of far-reaching software or recruitment specialists. You could even consider head-hunting those already in similar positions. 

Head-hunting is a great way to ensure that applicants have strong skills and experience relevant to the role, as they are already demonstrating their proficiency for another company. However, make sure you approach this task respectfully, as it is easy to damage your company reputation through activities such as poaching. Taking a reckless approach to hiring might suggest that you also take a reckless approach to firing, which is not an attractive prospect for any potential applicant. Not to mention the damage you could do to potentially lucrative relationships with competitors or companies with which you could partner in the future.

There are certainly benefits to hiring the help of recruitment companies when searching for new employees. They handle all of the time-consuming tasks such as sifting through applications (on average, a corporate job post receives 250 applications) in search of key skills and experience and, in some cases, can even hold interviews on your behalf. Furthermore, many promising candidates will go to specialist recruitment firms for their field, in order to find work. However, there are also downsides to this approach. Firstly, recruitment firms charge you for their services, unlike other recruitment routes. The job adverts they produce tend to be impersonal; often not mentioning the company that the job is associated with. Many people are put off by this anonymity as the reputation and values of a company play a vital role in their decision to apply for a job with them. 

Well-known job hunting software providers such as indeed.com and reed.com are a great way to spread your net wide and attract a larger range of applicants. They are also the first step that many people take when setting out on their search for jobs as they are highly convenient and accessible. However, it might not be the best approach if you're looking for specific skills. Consider advertising roles on more specific industry-based sites to attract more relevant applicants. Those who are serious about finding a great job will do their research to discover the best places to look for the best roles in their field.

Professional social media sites are also great for this, as they give you the opportunity to search for skills and experience that individuals have expressed on their profiles. They also tend to attract a higher calibre of applicants such as those with university degrees and those who are actively trying to network with industry professionals to show what they have to offer.

Another great way to keep the cost of recruitment low, yet find the best people for the job, is to contact universities directly. Part of each university's responsibility towards its students is to help them find professional opportunities when they graduate, and they do so by reaching out to local employers. Maybe you could attract students' attention by running a competition that gives them the opportunity to showcase their skills to you.

Your Recruitment Process 

Once you've attracted some great candidates, the next step is to think about what your recruitment process will entail. It is easy for applicants to show themselves in the best light in their applications, but how can you find out if these are truly reflective of their real abilities?

The first step, which most companies follow, is an interview. This gives you the opportunity to meet the applicant in person and find out a bit more about them. This can be a great way to see if they will be a good fit for the company and if they can back up what they've stated in their application with some strong examples. However, interviews are notoriously intimidating for applicants, who may not perform at their best. Depending on the skills you're looking for, such a taxing process that relies so heavily on social skills may not be the best way to test how will they would be able to carry out the role. 

So, why not offer them a trial day in the role too? This is a more relaxed way of finding out how competent they are and how they mix with your existing employees. Stick to some of the more basic tasks involved in the role, rather than pushing them to their limits, as this will allow their true nature to shine through. If they impress you during their trial and you feel confident enough to offer them the job, make sure to include a probationary period in their employment. This ensures that you do not become trapped in an employment contract with someone who later reveals characteristics which may be problematic for the company, or who does not accurately reflect the version of themselves that they initially marketed to you. 

Taking an Active Approach 

Taking a passive approach to interviews and observation of trial shifts is not the best way to make the most of the opportunities to find out more about your applicants. Plan what you'd like to ask before the interviews in order to extract the key information that you need. Similarly, think carefully about the challenges they will face during their trail and the qualities this will highlight in them.

Keep a look out for red flags during your recruitment process too. Warning signs like calls not being returned and you having to chase them to schedule an interview, can show that they do not have a genuine interest in the role. How they interact with other members of staff can be very telling too, for example if they are particularly negative or argumentative it can pre-warn you that they may have a negative impact on overall staff morale, should they be hired.


While there is plenty you can do to better your chances of finding brilliant staff for your business, as we have shown above, unfortunately there are no shortcuts. Successful recruitment takes plenty of time and consideration to ensure that you find the best of the best, no matter what you're looking for. However, we don't all have the time to dedicate to this process, but for that there is now an answer; outsourcing.

Outsourcing means handing over responsibility for some functions of your business to third-party companies. This new business strategy is proving extremely popular, in fact, 78% of businesses all over the world feel positive about their outsourcing experience. It is particularly beneficial for those who do not have the time to give to recruitment, as it allows you to make the most of a body of ready-trained professionals, rather then recruiting new employees yourself. 

You can also do so on a temporary basis, as and when you need the help, which allows you to avoid the complex nature of hiring full-time employees. Companies like Cymphony offer specialist call handlers, live chat operators and virtual personal assistants to help with your customer service function, but there are plenty more providers who cover all kinds of different departments. So, whether you would like to outsource or hire your own employees, you're now equipped with everything you need to know to create the perfect team.

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