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Finding the right candidate for the right job is not as easy as you might think. Employing a retail recruitment specialist could save your company a lot of time and money and ensure you get the candidate that is best suited to your organisation. As an individual, registering with the right recruiter, means you will have access to the latest jobs available in the industry. Here, we look at the top Irish retail recruiters in the market


Brand Central

22 March 2021

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Retail workers would never have imagined that they would be deemed frontline workers but 2020 changed all that and now there is a new found respect for those working in this industry and an acknowledgement of the huge sacrifices people made to keep the country afloat. Demand for talent in the industry has ramped up since the beginning of 2021 with companies needing to fill extra roles in online, supply chain, deliveries, off-licence, protein and fresh food among others and with candidates looking for their next career move, it’s going to be a busy year for recruitment.

Recruitment fact file

Excel Recruitment

HQ: The Capel Building, Mary’s Abbey, Dublin 7

Established: 2002

Key People: Nikki Murran, director of grocery retail; Sean Thomas, senior grocery recruitment consultant

Key clients: Musgrave, BWG, Aldi, Lidl

Contact:, 01-8148 747


Social: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn

Q&A with…Nikki Murran, director of grocery retail

Nikki Murran, director of grocery retail, Excel Recruitment

Q: Tell us about your company and what you believe you do that is unique to the marketplace?

A: Excel Recruitment is run for retailers by retailers, a slogan that goes far beyond marketing but instead guides our day-to-day at Excel Recruitment. Building meaningful, long-term relationships with our clients and candidates, backed by industry expertise, is our core ethos and the key to our success. Excel Recruitment was founded in 2002 by CEO Barry Whelan after he saw a need for a retail recruitment service with knowledge and understanding of the retail industry. We have fulfilled this vision every day, replicating our winning formula across other industries, while still prioritising our commitment to retail.

Q: Are candidates slower to change roles since the start of the pandemic? What are the main challenges with starting in a new role or in a new company in the current climate?

A: Even at the peak of the crisis, grocery recruitment never stopped (with a little assistance from modern technology). Over the last 12 months, the whole country recognised what we have always seen: the talent and dedication of those working in grocery retail. We now know just how robust the Irish grocery retail sector truly is. Grocery is already one of the most recession-proof industries and with the surge of dining-in last year, we are now witnessing the knock-on growth. In fact, several grocery brands have announced major recruitment drives in recent weeks and we have seen significant demand for talent in key areas such as off-licence, protein departments and fresh food. The pandemic has also caused a surge in demand for supply chain roles and delivery drivers as online shopping becomes more commonplace. Candidates are confident and enthusiastic about taking the next steps in their career. The challenges of starting a new role now are similar to those of general life in the current climate: shifting government restrictions and heightened hygiene awareness along with fewer opportunities for socialising with your new team.

Q: If you were to give a candidate three generic pieces of advice when going for an interview, what would they be?

A: Show don’t tell: You have gotten to the interview stage because the employer has seen your CV. What they are looking for is not that you can do the job, but how. Come armed with tangible, real-life examples of what you have achieved.

Do your research: Employers don’t want to know you want a job, they want to know you want this job, with this company and why. Research should go far beyond a quick Google search. This is where your Excel Recruitment consultant can guide you.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail: Over the last nine years, I have seen many talented candidates fail before they even begin for unnecessary reasons: not reading instructions, being late, not understanding the role, etc. In Covid times, this may also mean checking your internet connection for Zoom calls and remembering to dress interview-appropriate, even when in your sitting room.

Q: How do you ensure that your company is in touch with the industry in which you serve?

A: Our team live and breathe grocery retail, not because it’s a job requirement but because each of us are genuinely interested in staying up-to-date with industry developments. Each of our consultants has had long successful careers in the retail industry and their passion and love for retail remains. As a company we are proud, close supporters of industry groups such as Retail Excellence Ireland, RGDATA and CSNA. These close affiliations are alongside our tightknit relationships with our clients, which allow us to stay in the loop about the day-to-day experience. It is important to us to celebrate careers in the industry because we know first-hand just how rewarding they are. We do this year after year through our involvement with the C-Store Awards and Grocery Management Awards and our presentations to DIT’s Retail Management BA and postgraduate students.

Q: What are the signs that an employee should recognise that indicates that they are ready for a new role or challenge?

A: If you’re thinking about a change, it’s probably time for a change! As outlined above, the grocery industry is continuing to thrive and there is no bad time to make a move.

Our experienced consultants take candidates through their experience and then the full grocery retail market – making sure we find the perfect fit for each candidate and indeed each client!

Recruitment fact file


HQ: 83 Merrion Square S, Dublin 2, D02 R299

Established: 1989

Key people: Anne Heraty, CEO; Lorna Conn, CFO; Lisa Holt, MD (Ireland); Garrett Roche, MD (Global)

Key clients: Musgrave Group, SuperValu, Centra, Aldi, Smyths Toys, Hickey’s Fabrics, Smiggle


Deborah Crilly, director, Cpl retail, (01) 614 6103

Michael Boyhan, retail lead, Cpl retail (01) 614 6104







Q: Tell us about your company and what you believe you do that is unique to the marketplace?

A: The Cpl retail team is passionate about pairing talented retail professionals within leading retail businesses. Our team of recruiters come from retail backgrounds and have experience across several retail verticals. They recruit for Ireland’s leading multiples, symbols, specialist, and independent retailers, from retail assistants through to senior management and executive appointments.

The retail team is committed to a high quality of service and a fast turnaround. Offering a consultative and bespoke approach, they recognise that no two hires are the same. They represent and promote their customers and brands in a professional and positive manner. Cpl core values of customer focus, accountability, respect, effective communication, and empowerment remain at the heart of what they do and who they are.

They focus on culture fit in addition to candidates’ skillset and previous experience to ensure successful placements.

Recruitment fact file

Crossell Recruitment

HQ: Dublin

Established: 1997

Key people: Steve Cattigan, general manager; Keelin Dempsey, recruitment manager

Key clients: Kellogg’s, Birds Eye, Dr. Oetker, Kimberly-Clark

Contact: 01 4603890



Q: Tell us about your company and what you believe you do that is unique to the marketplace?

A: Crossell Recruitment is a small agency, with a big heart. People are our business and we are focused on finding that perfect fit, and we won’t settle for second best. When you work with us, we take the opportunity to know you and your needs. Our goal is to match the right candidate with the right employer, creating a successful partnership for both.







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