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Hiring Faster, Better, Stronger

Author: Noemie Pavy

Published date: 2019/03


“The average cost of a new hire to a business sits at around £50,000 in the first year alone”


It is no secret that investing in the right people is key to driving business forward. I could almost guarantee that if you’ve ever so much as dipped your toe in recruitment circles you’ll have heard this more than you care to remember. However, in the monotony of constant regurgitation of what has seemingly become some kind of unofficial empty industry strap-line, you can’t help but feel the sentiment is dangerously overlooked. 

The word ‘investing’ here is key, and it is an investment. The average cost of a new hire to a business sits at around £50,000 in the first year alone, with a bad hire potentially costing you much, much more. Is it fair to say we pay equal attention to both the cost and benefit ends of the equation? Or is there something about investing in human and social capital that means we take our eyes off the road? 

Here is a quick guide to ensuring that you’re not a victim of the same common mistakes made by most hiring managers today:

Everyone has a home, it’s all about finding the right one. 

Questions I get asked almost on a daily basis with regard to recruiting for Harrington Starr include ‘How do you attract good candidates?’; ‘How do you retain your talents?’; and ‘What is your secret to hiring strong professionals?’. 

There is inevitably always a focus on the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of recruitment, the processes in place to ensure best practice, however while important, this is really only half the picture. The ‘who’s’ really should sit alongside the ‘whats’ and ‘hows’ of the world if we truly want to ensure we land that dream employee. However, by popular demand- let’s make a start with the what and how- the processes. 

First-up, everything starts with a strong and clear interview - a step that unfortunately today, a lot of businesses tend to almost brush over, and not lend the importance it deserves. 

The process should remain the same for every single individual invited to meet with you and your team. This way you are making sure that candidates are evaluated with the same set of criteria as the next one. Every company has a different culture, set of values and goals; which should be catered for through the development of a bespoke interview process. You want candidates that are right for YOUR business, not the average business. 

Let’s use an example: 

At Harrington Starr we know that we want great individuals with outstanding personalities, hardened professionals with a proven track record in sales, and good recruiters familiar with best practices and a strong work ethic to match. Candidates are put through a rigorous process that has been tailored to focus on these requirements, and they are interviewed by multiple trained team members at different stages. 

  • Stage 1 focuses on the person and their culture fit;
  • Stage 2 on the professional and their behaviour;
  • Stage 3 on the recruiter and their habits, and finally;
  • Stage 4 meet our CEO, Toby Babb. 

This is a process that has seen Harrington Starr grow from strength to strength over the years by hiring people that contribute in a way that mirrors the company vision. It is important to remember that this is not an example of an industry gold standard process, but it is one that works very well for us and the reason it is so effective, is precisely because we designed it against the company vision and values. 

As such, this is where the best practice recommendation comes in- create your own process around what you deem important within your organisation and your internal culture.

The process is the key to hiring stronger professionals, faster, and more suited to your needs, as well as ensuring higher retention rates. If you know who you are trying to attract and who you ultimately want to hire, retaining them will not be as much of a challenge as it currently is in recruitment. 

This brings me on nicely to ‘the who’, which is the key underpinning to an effective process. So how do we go about defining who it is that we want working in our business?

If you have set up your company a few years ago, you would probably have been able to identify patterns in your hires. This analysis of what has and hasn’t worked, as with anything is key to better understanding what you should be looking for in your hires. Who works well for you? Who has trouble adapting? Who doesn’t stay too long? Who did you recently let go and why? Or who recently left and why?

The calibre of candidates you hire is a direct product of the interview process. It is important this process is developed on the back of lessons learned from your analysis of the past alongside the vision for the company going forward in the future. Start asking yourself; Who do you want to attract? Who do you want to actually hire? Who do you want to retain? 

Look internally at the people that best portray your values, your work ethic and your culture, and build a process around them. Of course everyone is different, and different people bring different things to the table so when defining the type of people you want to be attracting, it is important to steer clear of developing a one-size fits all blueprint. Instead, think about the different roles in your organisation and how they contribute to the company vision in different ways. While you may have some blanket criteria that you want each candidate to demonstrate at a top-line level, for example: buy-in to the company mission, or strong work ethic, other criteria should be more bespoke. 

So how do you strike the balance between being able to clearly articulate who you want in your company, whilst still acknowledging individual differences? 

At Harrington Starr, we develop multiple profiles of interest and then throughout the interview process determine which if any, the candidate best represents. Our persona profiles include; The Grafter (, The Competitor (, The Thinker ( and The Connector ( All of which bring a different set of skills and style of working to their role. Observing the dynamics between different personas is also key to ensuring a healthy and positive office culture, which in many cases can be another crucial factor in ensuring similar retention rates. 

One final point on ‘the who’. Be honest and be transparent.

It is also your responsibility to ensure the candidate knows what they are signing up, what the culture is like, and how things work. As with all strong relationships, trust is essential and the way to achieving that is to be as open and detailed as possible when outlining what the company is like to work for, what it wants to achieve and what it’s like to work there. 

It may seem an obvious point, but it never ceases to amaze me how many candidates I interview claim they left their previous jobs in under a year because they felt they were over-promised or unaware of what they were signing up for. 

In summary, a smart investment in human capital requires consideration both for the person and the process. By tailoring both these factors to the context of your company is integral to ensure you have the right people IN your company. By following the recommendations outlined above I can almost guarantee that the return on your investment and the future of your business, will look much brighter.