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5 keys to unlock an awesome hiring system


From our Hot Desk in Network Eagle Lab in Southampton, I have met a whole bunch of founder-led businesses with exciting ideas. We’re all getting good pitch practice. My pitch always gets a raised eye response… “Peopley makes HR and hiring easier for founder-led people-centric services businesses”.

Without exception the response I get back, after the facepalm of course is …


“why is finding the right people so hard?”

I’m best known for building the recruiting tools for the world’s largest recruitment franchise and in doing so I’ve discovered there is a BIG and common mis-perception about recruitment:

The reality is recruiting is a business systems problem, not a ‘recruiting’ problem.

Most COO’s and CEO’s of SMEs implement the well-trodden path … get a recruiter, or an agency person, post an ad, get CV’s, have a three to fifteen interviews, make an offer and hooray! You have a ‘rockstar’ and a growing team! Then when it all gets sticky, add a delicious layer of HR process to deal with poor performance, sickness and depression … oh and that’s just for you, never mind your staff! Not really a process that resembles a ‘system’.

Businesses develop systems for everything: sales systems, ordering and finance systems, filing systems, organising the Christmas party systems, making sure there’s sweets and goodies on every floor and even a system for keeping beer in the fridge! But an end to end hiring system around recruiting? … queue tumbleweed… You know it generally sucks and could be so much better, but the poor person who does it (which could be you?) is just too busy doing the day job to build anything better.


A single hire has over 160+ potential points of failure

Recruitment is hard, yes really hard, I should know, I’ve mapped all these failure points while training over a thousand recruiters across the world. I’m not surprised it’s difficult, what does surprise me is the number of businesses that do the same thing over and over and expect a different result! It’s the ultimate definition of madness.

If you have no business system supporting your recruitment, how can you possibly de-risk each hire, stop what’s not working and improve on the things that are? And external agency systems don’t count, agencies develop systems for making placements and invoicing fees. Don’t confuse the two different agenda’s.

For SMEs or early stage businesses it’s crucial to set good hiring foundations for growth. Sure anyone with a “slug of cash” can spend their way out of this problem – although look how quickly it can go wrong and damage growth when you push the scale-up button hard. Check out this article

Organically growing SMEs need every hire to be de-risked, and people able to ‘game up’ and bring value every day, there’s no room to carry anyone.

It’s actually not hard to put in simple and clear steps that work. And a by-product of these are stronger growth, better cashflow and healthier culture.

Here are 5 things to focus on for an awesome hiring system:

  1. Doing the hard work up-front in assembling and collecting thoughts from across the business to nail what is needed from each specific new hire

  2. Baking in good hiring habits to complete the right activities and USE the right resources at each and every stage of the hiring process

  3. Getting more value from agencies, controlling costs and de-risking poor brand exposure by taking responsibility for these partners

  4. Reviewing, designing and creating campaigns for how your business appeals to ideal prospects who have the right values

  5. Gearing your new hires quickly at the start to excel in productivity to make an immediate business impact 

So, instead of abdicating responsibility for recruiting tactics and simply screaming “get me more CVs” to the next recruiter that cold calls you, take some time out to build a hiring system.

Companies with a solid, unwavering hiring process increase revenue per employee by more than 30%.

If that doesn’t convince you, the next time you reach into the company fridge and pull out a coke (or something stronger) to numb the pain of that awful interview you just had, think about your hiring system (or lack of it) that got you to that point.

About Peopley

Peopley provide flexible Human Resources and Talent Management support for SMEs delivering people-centric services
Peopley has recently been shortlisted for Best Candidate Experience & Best Supplier Partnership against stiff competition from some of the UK’s biggest employers in the 2020 FIRM Awards (Forum for In-House Recruitment Managers).

About The Author

Debby built the recruitment tools for the world’s largest executive search franchise and has trained over 1,000 recruiters worldwide.  She was one of the first recruiters to recognise and adopt candidate sourcing techniques using social media in an 1100 global office network and has subsequently built the hiring operations for several founder-led technology & engineering businesses.  She is a Chartered member of the CIPD and a Solent LEP Skills Advisory Panel Member. 

Her interests lie at the intersection of technology, people and the environment, she is an advocate for Ocean Alliance and a regular Solent sailor.

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