Recruit in the right way

One of the more common problems encountered in business concerns the recruitment, training, loss, re-recruitment, re-training, etc., of personnel.  In larger corporations, this is just a normal way of life and they tend to have their own specific departments dedicated to organizing such.  However, in a small business, the loss of one or two members of the team can mean the loss of half the workforce!  Just such a problem occurred at a firm of accountants that asked for my help last year.


When I arrived at the offices of Additup Accountancy Ltd (not the real company name), the senior partners told me that the systematic advertising, interviewing, recruitment, etc., of personnel was a significant drain on the limited resources available to their small team.  It wasn’t that they had a poor working environment or onerous terms of employment (they are typical for their sector), it was just that a problem (loss of personnel) that was common enough within their industry was of greater significance when your team is only a dozen people!  So, we set about reviewing their management system to see what improvements could be made to reduce the rate at which personnel had to be replaced.


Starting at the beginning (always a good idea) of the process of recruitment, I discovered that the two senior partners were recruiting differently.  They took it in turns to “deal with the hassle of recruitment”, but didn’t do much in the way of communication about the methods that they each employed.  The result was that they each used different routes to the job market, different language (use of words not mother tongue), and different ways to define the role for which they were recruiting.  The next problem turned out to be that they addressed training within their departments (two senior partners, two departments/specializations) differently, so that one group had some, but not really enough, training and the others got more or less none.  The final problem was that they didn’t really know why people were leaving, because they hadn’t asked.


The solutions that we implemented were as follows:

  • Agree on the method that would be used to recruit personnel – who’s going to do it, what interview questions are to be asked, etc.
  • Create specific roles with associated responsibilities and authorities – this allowed Add it up to define the kind of person best suited to that role in terms of education and experience.
  • Agree on from where personnel were to be recruited and how.
  • Standardize the style and language for the recruitment advert, so that it can be used repeatedly with the minimum of change.
  • Ensure that everyone undergoes the same induction training when they are recruited, which provides each new person with the same information and allows their training needs to be determined.
  • Conduct an exit meeting with people who leave to determine why they are leaving; it might allow something to be done to prevent their departure.


Add it up have had this system in place for about ten months now and no one else has left.  By putting some thought into the standardization of the process, instead of treating it as a problem and adopting the most expedient solution, the recruits know better what they are being recruited to do (and won’t leave in a huff) and the company gets a better fit between its people and the roles that it wants them to fulfill.  Putting effort in at the beginning of the process (thinking) has, so far, reduced the problems they had with the end of the process as it now fail less frequently.


If you are having a problem within your business, then dedicate some time to focus on that problem and solve it before it wastes your time and ruins your business.  After all, isn’t prevention better than cure?