Your employees are the most important part of your business, so a mistake in recruitment can be crippling. Here’s how to take on the right people in the right way.


In a recent post, we looked at the challenges of scaling up a business, and emphasised the importance of hiring the right people in a way that contains risk. Of course, that’s easier said than done, and many people have asked how they can do this.


At DCA, we’ve worked with many small businesses through good times and bad for several years. In that time, we have learned some key pointers for intelligent recruiting.


Know the Requirements

This might sound obvious, but looking for a set of well-defined skills and capabilities is far more effective than simply seeking out warm bodies with a bit of experience in the field. In other words, don’t just look for a salesperson – zero in on the kind of products they’ll be selling, and the way that they’ll be selling them, to get more definition on the skills that a new hire will need to be effective. Every person should be able to bring something new to the organisation, so thinking about what your company needs is vital. Remember, the jobs market is still employer-friendly, so you shouldn’t worry too much about narrowing the field.


Interview Intelligently

Small forests have been cut down, and rivers of ink have been expended, writing about the best way to give job interviews, and to interview candidates. In reality, the interview process boils down to answering a simple question: which candidate has shown the skills and experience that my organisation needs?


Use your notes about the skill-set required to build a picture of your ideal candidate. Compare all CVs and candidates against this ideal. Many people find it helpful to really drill into this process, assigning scores to candidates under various weighted headings. Here’s a simple example ‘scorecard’ for this system, taking the example of a software company seeking a phone-based salesperson:


Sales Role Telephone Experience Demonstrated Results Technology Experience Reliability Total
Notes Experience selling products over the phone, cold calling (25) Specific results that the candidate has achieved in past sales roles (30) Experience selling in the software and technology sphere (35) Ability to remain in Roles for a considerable length of time and understand the market (10)
Candidate A 21 20 29 5 75
Candidate B 14 15 24 8 61
Candidate C 10 25 22 7 64


By this table, candidate A emerges as the most suitable for the role, even if he’s proven a bit more flighty than the others, and candidate C can point to an impressive, verifiable track record. This system doesn’t remove subjective judgements altogether – you are still taking a decision on the factors that matter to the business and how much a candidate delivers on each – but it can put structure on your judgement process, and stops you making decisions entirely with your gut.



It continues to amaze us when companies don’t build the most basic protections – including a probationary period and a well-laid-out process for breaches of discipline – into their employment contracts. Even if you’re confident that you’ve hired the right person, these simple clauses will save you thousands of euros if things don’t pan out as you hoped. As in all business, you can hope for the best outcome, but be ready to deal with the worst.


These tips won’t guarantee that your new recruits will deliver the results you expect. However, they should help you avoid a hasty or badly-thought-through recruitment decision, and protect you from expensive litigation if you do make a mistake.



Aside from payroll organisation, DCA provides advice to many businesses going through the recruiting process. If you think you might benefit from our expertise, just get in touch to organise a free, no-obligation consultation.