Recruiting is tricky, right?

Recruitment is tricky

Nicola Anderson is our Passionate PA based in Nottingham. She joined us in May 2022 after 25+ years in senior management roles; recruiting, coaching and mentoring teams that consistently overachieved, won awards and excelled.

When it comes to growing teams, Nicola has been there and done it! In this blog she shares her 10 top tips for how she helps her current clients tackle recruitment.


Recruiting is tricky, right?

No matter whether you are recruiting your first employee, or your fiftieth, people matter. All business owners know though that it’s not just about the skills and experience a candidate brings, it’s about the ‘fit’ – finding someone who shares your core values, has the right attitude and personality, and ultimately gels with your existing people and excels within your business.

The aftereffects of the pandemic, the subsequent ‘great resignation’, the desire for hybrid working, the drive for personal development over renumeration and a better work life balance are all major factors for candidates today – and that’s without even considering the needs of individual businesses in a post-pandemic world!

So, what should you do?

  • You could post your vacancy all over the free and cheap(ish) job boards, hoping that someone with the right ‘fit’ finds you?
  • You could get on LinkedIn and shout about it to your network, praying that somebody knows someone. After all, it’s not what you know, but who?
  • You could get your HR team (employed or outsourced) to manage the process – if you have one and they aren’t overstretched already?
  • You could bring in a specialist recruitment agent who has a huge network and great marketing to source the ideal candidate for you. This can be the perfect solution but, with some charging up to 17.5% of the candidate’s package, sometimes this just isn’t an option for businesses.

We feel your pain because clients discuss recruitment with us frequently. These are all good options, but what if there was another one worth considering?

Let us do the leg work…

For a few clients recently, The Passionate PA has been called upon to tackle recruitment differently. Usually, this is off the back of other Business Support Services we are providing but because we are in a position of trust, business owners often confide in us when it comes to team dynamics, growth and operational issues. Sometimes, finding the right people is about doing the basics really, really well.

Client Story

A recent client of Nicola’s had a huge recruitment challenge this year. The business was growing at pace and therefore, after doing an Ops Review, the management team decided to open four new positions.

They’d advertised all four roles, yet the applications they were getting weren’t great. So many candidates didn’t have the required experience, and those that were shortlisted for interview, often didn’t turn up! Those that did, just weren’t the right ‘fit’ – there’s that word again, sorry!

The delay in filling these roles was adding extra workload to the rest of the team. Resulting in increased overtime costs and a serious drop in team morale and customer service levels. This was a problem that needed urgently resolving…

And that’s when the director spoke to his Passionate PA. With Nicola’s extensive experience of recruitment and team management, Nicola offered to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in. Here’s what she did, in a nutshell.

Our 10 Step Recruitment Plan

Step 1 – Understanding the Role
Nicola met with the senior leadership team to understand their dilemma in full. She wanted to learn more about the roles, the challenges and personalities within the existing team, as well as the customer base and the business’s long-term aspirations and goals. This helped with the recruitment work but also other responsibilities Nicola held across the business.

Step 2 – Job Description
She reviewed and rewrote the job descriptions after finding out it had been the same job description for almost 10 years. Yes, it had worked in the past, but the role and the business had changed, including the tools and skills needed to fulfil the role. Plus, candidates’ needs and aspirations have seen significant changes in the last decade, so a refresh was vital!

Step 3 – Market Research
Nicola looked at other roles of a similar level in the area, and the salaries being offered. She then went back to the leadership team with a recommendation to change the job title and increase the salary by £1,000 per annum to make the roles more competitive.

Step 3 – Job Specification
With approval for salary increase, she wrote a new job spec with the knowledge that it’s not just about expecting applicants to sell themselves in the current market. It’s just as much about selling the role and the company to them – this client had never even thought about their ’employer brand’ and Nicola’s fresh perspective was welcomed.

Step 4 – Job Listings
Based on the market research Nicola had done, and the level of these four roles, she decided the best place to advertise the role was on Indeed. By ensuring that the correct keywords and the filter questions were well used the advert attracted 56 applicants without any need to pay for promoting the advert.

Step 5 – Short Listing
Nicola then used her many years of recruitment experience to review the applicants and short list a total of 15 candidates to engage with on the advert’s closing date. She communicated fully with unsuccessful candidates too.

Step 6 – 1st Interviews
She then proceeded to conduct 30-minute Zoom interviews with 10 candidates and put 8 forward for face to face second interviews with the appointing directors.

Step 7 – Candidate Briefs
Nicola then submitted a brief to the appointing directors of the 8 candidates she had submitted, providing details of each candidate, key questions to ask them and arranged the second interviews with both parties.

Step 8 – 2nd Interviews
All candidates turned up for the second interviews because Nicola made sure communication was strong and engaging throughout.

Step 9 – Appointment
After each interview, Nicola discussed each candidate with the appointing director. From that discussion, Nicola made four offers of employment on behalf of the company and all were accepted.

Step 10 – Debrief
All parties (including the new recruits) had a brief call after the candidates had commenced their roles to discuss the recruitment process and to share any learnings that would be useful for any future recruitment projects.

The Outcome

Within just 6 weeks of commencing the process (21.5 hours of Nicola’s time), all candidates are now in role and doing well. Sometimes, the answer to a recruitment headache is a strategic, hands-on approach.

If you would like to discuss your current recruitment requirements, or would like an introduction to trusted recruitment agencies and headhunters, please do get in touch.

You can find out more about Nicola by clicking here!

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