Envisioning a smooth road to recruitment

Ireland’s 5% unemployment rate has resulted in the most competitive talent market we have seen in years. In the current climate, the services of a professional recruitment agency have become more vital than ever in helping businesses attract the right calibre of candidates, writes Gillian Hamill


Brand Central

15 March 2019 | 0

With unemployment at historically low levels in Ireland at present, it is certainly a candidate’s market. Small to medium companies must compete with large multinationals, which have proven recruitment processes, in order to attract the best possible talent. While smaller companies benefit from the personal element, fulfilling roles is a time-consuming and demanding task for any team to complete while balancing with their own daily to-do lists.

A professional recruitment company can therefore make a huge difference by taking this task on and freeing up a retailer’s time to focus on all the essentials that go into running a successful FMCG business. After all, although a candidate will be keen to impress a prospective new employer, they will also judge employers by how professionally their recruitment process is managed. An overly informal recruitment procedure without a properly thought-out job specification and interview process could be a red flag for high-achieving candidates, indicating that perhaps a company is not the right fit for their proactive mentality.

According to John Ryan, CEO of Great Place to Work, we are seeing an overarching trend in recruitment whereby “employee loyalty to the organisation is being replaced with interpersonal loyalty to a team, a leader, or a project”. He recently outlined in an Irish Times think-piece how

“‘co-creation’ and ‘plasticity’ will be key terms in 2019, as the main driving forces of a recruitment process that will increasingly value adaptability, curiosity, and the application of interdisciplinary know-how”. Ryan advises keeping “an eye out for employee experience strategies: particularly ones built on a continuous learning environment”.

What’s more, diversity and inclusivity are now important elements to consider within recruitment in the modern-day workplace, following a top-down approach from the board onwards. According to John Ryan, “many organisations are working hard on gender pay equality, mentorship programmes, the removal of barriers, and accelerated leadership tracks to deliver much-needed top female talent to boards and senior teams”. It is extremely important for all businesses, regardless of size, to ensure they do not fall foul of the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2005 during any stage of the recruitment process. Employers must take care to ensure that job advertisements do not contain any potentially discriminatory wording, as well as ensuring that they don’t discriminate against candidates on any of the nine grounds covered within Ireland’s equality legislation. These include gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the traveller community. A recruitment company can play a vital role in this regard by ensuring that this legislation is never breached, hence avoiding both financial and reputational damage.

Of course, another major advantage is that when helping select candidates to be invited for interview, a professional recruitment company will ensure that no potential gems are overlooked. With that in mind, we spoke to a number of leading recruitment companies to learn more about the services they offer and their specific areas of expertise.

Excel Recruitment: Understanding the retail industry from the inside-out

Recruitment fact file: Excel Recruitment

HQ: The Capel Building, Dublin 7

Established: 2001

Key people: Barry Whelan, CEO; Nikki Murran, director of grocery retail

Key clients: Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, SuperValu/Centra, Musgrave Wholesale Partners Ireland, Dunnes Stores, Aldi, BWG Foods, Gala Retail Group, Top Oil, Campus Oil, Iceland Ireland, Circle K

Contact: 01-8148747

Web: www.excelrecruitment.com

Social: Facebook: Excel Recruitment

Twitter: @ExcelRecruit

LinkedIn: Excel Recruitment

Barry Whelan, CEO, Excel Recruitment

Barry Whelan, CEO, Excel Recruitment

Q&A with… Barry Whelan, CEO of Excel Recruitment

Q: What is the point of difference your organisation offers candidates as well as clients in their search for the perfect position and the right people respectively?  

A: The key to our service is our consultants; their in-depth knowledge and understanding of the retail industry, and drive to place ‘Great People with Great Companies’. Our company ethos and our colleagues’ dedication to both their clients and candidates is the reason for our success over the last 17 years. Unlike our competitors, our retail consultants have had lengthy and successful careers in retail management, in both grocery and fashion/non-food. They love retail, understand the industry from the inside-out and know most people in it so can instantly identify the environment a particular candidate will thrive in. We are all passionate about retail and those that work in it. Excel is a corporate partner of RGDATA and Retail Excellence Ireland, key representative groups for the retail industry. We stay up-to-date with the latest news and trends within the industry and support and endorse retail further education, speaking each year to the graduating class in DIT’s Retail Management BA course and Postgrad on the realities of job seeking and careers in the retail industry.

Q: When considering individuals for a role, what are the qualities that might make one stand out as the best person for the job?

A: Our clients are the top national and international retailers in the country so the roles we recruit for are diverse and ever-changing ­– as are the people we find to fill them. We find great employees for our clients but equally, we want all our candidates to find their dream roles; a job they find fulfilling and that they will grow and succeed in. We do so by taking the time to understand who our candidates are and what they want from their careers, not just what they do. No two candidates, roles or retailers are exactly the same. Our expert team harness their extensive industry insight and take the time to match the right candidate with the right job, ensuring a long-lasting, mutually beneficial outcome for both the candidate and client.

Q: How has your company grown since it was established, and what is the road map for the future?

A: 2018 was a massive year for us in terms of growth and 2019 is set to be even bigger again. We have grown 40% in the last year with 32 dedicated consultants and support staff and are delighted that due to this growth, expansion work on our new Dublin office, our fifth in the heart of Dublin city centre, is due to finish at the beginning of April. Last month saw the official opening of our brand new Cork office, which will make serving our Munster clients and candidates even more seamless. With unemployment declining all the time, it’s well and truly a candidates’ market and all of our departments are very busy. Our future plans include continuing to ‘Place Great People with Great Companies’ and work with our fantastic clients.  Alongside this, we’re looking forward to continuing our long-time affiliations with key industry events such as the Grocery Management Awards 2018 and the Convenience Store of the Year Awards.

Q: How has technology like social media and other online tools changed the recruitment business in recent years?

A: Technology has many effects on the modern recruitment market. Social media has made it easier and quicker to reach a larger market of candidates as well as connect with and keep up-to-date with current or potential clients.  Targeted advertisements or LinkedIn Inmail campaigns can often help identify or reach unknown or passive candidates. In fact, last year one of our consultants placed a senior manager with one of the biggest hospitality groups in Ireland by first getting in touch on Twitter! However, it is important to stress that social media is just another tool and has just provided our consultants with another method to do what they do best; good old-fashioned networking.

While the medium may have changed, the skillset and knowledge of our consultants is still what counts when it comes to identifying great candidates and matching them to clients and roles in which they’ll thrive. In-house, our state-of-the-art advertising and CRM platforms streamline the CV screening and recruitment process, reducing the time to hire for our clients.

PRL Recruitment: Rigorous qualifying process for roles delivers results

Recruitment fact file: PRL Recruitment

HQ: PRL House, Old Naas Road, Bluebell, Dublin, D12 TN30

Established: 1973

Key people: Seamus Farrelly, director

Key clients: Procter & Gamble, United Drug Wholesale, Birds Eye, Imperial Tobacco, Gas Networks Ireland, Lindt and Sprungli, Danone, Auxilion, Heavey RF

Contact: Richard Jones, general manager – 01668 5144 / richard.jones@prl.ie

Web: www.prlrecruitment.com

Social: Facebook: www.facebook.com/prlrecruitment

Instagram: @prlrecruitment

Twitter: @prlrecruitment

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/prl-recruitment

Q&A with…Richard Jones, general manager, PRL Recruitment

Q: What is the point of difference your organisation offers candidates as well as clients in their search for the perfect position and the right people respectively?

A: At PRL Recruitment, our philosophy is simple, we do not engage with any client or accept any role which we can’t service. Since 1973, PRL Recruitment has widely been considered as the go-to sales and marketing recruitment agency due to the quality of candidates we source as well as the honest and factual information we provide both our candidates and clients.

Our recruitment consultants all have industry experience and only service clients from those industries. Furthermore, our mature team of recruitment consultants qualify all roles prior to engaging with a client and will clearly outline their concerns, possible challenges and whether or not they feel they can successfully source the ideal candidate to manage expectations and timelines.

When sourcing candidates for qualified roles, PRL Recruitment follows a rigorous qualifying process:

  1. All applications and database candidate CVs are screened and shortlisted. This shortlist is quality-assured by the operations and quality manager to ensure they meet the requirements of the client
  2. All initial shortlisted candidates are screened over the phone to ensure competency, availability and commitment
  3. If successful during the phone screening, the candidate is then interviewed by the recruitment consultant to further assess their compatibility and commitment to the role. At this stage, some candidates may be required to provide evidence of performance or a reference check if the client requests one
  4. In some situations, a second interview with the recruitment consultant and another member of the PRL Recruitment team may be required to assess the candidate’s suitability.

A candidate shortlist consisting of three to four CVs is only presented to the client following the completion of the above processes.

At PRL Recruitment, we also support all our candidates with interview preparation, presentation support and other skills to support them in securing a new position. Another service PRL Recruitment provides is ‘outplacement’ where we support organisations who are issuing redundancies in providing those members of staff with the skills required to create suitable CVs, interview preparation and introductions to existing clients if possible.

Q: When considering individuals for a role, what are the qualities that might make one stand out as the best person for the job?

A: Experience, drive, preparation and tenure are always important. At PRL Recruitment, we consider ourselves as an extension to the client’s organisation and as such, we only introduce our clients to candidates who have not only excelled and performed well in previous roles but also demonstrate tenure and commitment. As a sales, marketing and senior executive focused agency, it is imperative candidates are prepared for the screening and interview stages with our recruitment consultants. e.g. clear and concise reporting of their performance vs targets – particularly for sales roles and a clear description of performance vs other KPIs. It’s clear when candidates don’t prepare for interviews and address the process with less commitment and vigour than other candidates.

Q: How has your company grown since it was established, and what is the road map for the future?

A: PRL Recruitment was established in 1973 as Sales Placement Ltd. Since its inception, PRL Recruitment has developed a reputation for honesty and resilience in its drive to service some of Ireland’s largest home-grown organisations as well as multinational corporations. PRL Recruitment is considered as one of Ireland’s leading sales recruitment agencies with seven dedicated sales recruitment consultants, all of whom have industry experience and an all island footprint boasting offices in Dublin, Belfast and satellite offices in Kilkenny and Cork. PRL Recruitment’s growth has been consistent for over 40 years and we have successfully weathered some of the most challenging economic climates to date.

The jobs market in Ireland is buoyant at present with an influx of direct foreign investment in IT and financial services to name just a few sectors recently announced for the next couple of years. PRL Recruitment offers our clients a unique network and database of qualified candidates and will expand our offering to service the requirements of these organisations as well as home-grown companies over the next decade and beyond.

Q: How has technology like social media and other online tools changed the recruitment business in recent years?

A: Social media has revolutionised recruitment over the last decade. Prior to the various social media platforms now available, the majority of candidate shortlists consisted of ‘active candidates’ – those actively seeking a new position. Although these candidates are arguably more committed to a process, during periods of low unemployment rates the volume of active candidates reduce. Social media allows employers and recruitment agencies to target more ‘passive candidates’ – those who are not actively looking and therefore don’t visit online job boards but via targeted social media activities/campaigns, can be made aware of an opportunity and become engaged.

Candidate management systems (CMS) have also developed over the last decade and enable recruitment agencies to manage their database of qualified candidates more efficiently. The CMS allows recruitment consultants within the same agency to refer suitable candidates (with permission from the candidate) to one another, allowing a more cohesive team approach. The CMS also allows the management team to monitor the progress of a role and to allocate additional resources as and when required.

Brompton Recruitment: Offering clarity and expertise that builds trust

Recruitment fact file: Brompton Recruitment

HQ: 38 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2

Established: November 2001

Key people: Peter Barry, managing director

Amy Breen, head coach, director

Contact: amy@brompton.ie, peter.barry@brompton.ie, recruit@brompton.ie

Web: www.brompton.ie


Instagram: @brompton_careers

Facebook: @bromptoncareers

Brompton coaching partner:

Facebook: @appinesscoach

Instagram @appiness_coach

Q&A with… Amy Breen, director and qualified career and executive coach, Brompton Recruitment

Q: What is the point of difference your organisation offers candidates as well as clients in their search for the perfect position and the right people respectively?

A: We invest in the best software and social media platforms so that we have full exposure in line with our culture of generating excitement, fulfilling clients’ needs and lining up candidates with opportunities that add to their life.

We strive to understand our clients’ business by partnering with them (eyeballs not emails) and not simply acting as a vendor for them like many agencies do. What makes us different is that we believe in our clients and candidates’ success and we take it very seriously. Our philosophy is built on our values and our ambition. We continually advise our clients on the best steps to take to grow their business and don’t just try to fill roles straight away. We offer clarity and expertise that builds trust with our partners.

Q: When considering individuals for a role, what are the qualities that might make one stand out as the best person for the job?

A: When considering individuals for a role, we look for candidates that enjoy talking to us, are invested in the process and want to succeed and grow their career. It’s refreshing when candidates know their values and what they want out of a job and who they are. Internally, we value self-perception, trust and motivation and we try and look for similar values in our candidates. If they are unsure, we can offer coaching to help with clarity on their values. 

Q: How has your company grown since it was established, and what is the road map for the future? 

A: Established in 2001, we have steadily grown our business to a specialist search firm that services a vast client book. We help grow our clients’ business and strengthen their entire teams – from top tier to bottom. With 30 years’ combined experience, we partner with clients and grow their business by adding the right people at the right time for them.

Our road map is to keep offering our professional and exceptional service as talent acquisition specialists, qualified career coaches, human resources professionals and National Recruitment Federation certified consultants in order to provide an optimum service that can benefit and grow our clients’ business.

We love our clients’ businesses the same way that they do. We are passionate about the success of each client’s business and it is at the heart of everything we do. Therefore, if we keep valuing these things then we will only keep growing more and more. We believe that the right job can change your life and it is our sole ambition to find it for you.

Q: How has technology like social media and other online tools changed the recruitment business in recent years?

A: Recruitment as an industry has significantly changed due to social media as we are at a time when people want instant gratification. Artificial intelligence (AI) affects this so that the application process is quicker. Facebook jobs have been great for Brompton for certain roles and candidates can apply easily from their handset. We have had a significant increase in applications from newer and more user-friendly platforms. We edit our offering on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook to reach certain candidates. We love our brand and from a candidate’s perspective it is fun and easy to engage with. Today’s social media has to keep the end user’s attention. Online tools such as Recruitment Juice have helped our consultants develop as professionals as it is a super learning interactive platform and enhances our life-long learning.

We also offer career coaching to our candidates at our HQ on 38 Lower Baggot St, and also to our clients’ employees in order to get the best out of their employees; coaching helps you to realise who you are and what you want. Appiness Coaching is our coaching partner and can help you unlock the potential of your team.

Brompton is invested in your business and your staff; this is at the epicentre of what we do.


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