Tag: recruitment & HR

A strong employer brand is essential for attracting top talent - New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme Ireland

A strong employer brand is essential for attracting top talent

A strong employer brand is essential for attracting top talent - New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme Ireland

At the beginning of 2019, the unemployment rate was the lowest it has been in 10 years, at 5.3%. This is good news, but it also means that Irish SMEs are struggling to attract and retain top talent. There is no denying that a high salary has a reliably magnetic effect, but it is far from the only reason why people choose to work where they do and how long they stay with a company.

FDI companies are enjoying a large slice of the talent pie with 229,057 people currently employed in the sector, making competition fierce for smaller indigenous businesses. For Irish SMEs wanting to attract the right people with the right skills, it is vital to tap into these other draws and having a strong employer brand is a powerful enticement for job seekers.

What is an employer brand?

Having an employer brand is how you market your company to job seekers. Just like with the marketing of products and services, the promises you make to jobseekers should be fulfilled at all stages of the recruitment process and followed up on in the work environment. For example, if you market your company as “daring, innovative and fun” but then the job candidate quickly finds out that the office space is a cardboard cut out of every other office they’ve seen and their interviewer comes across as stern and a sticker for the rules, the expectations that brought them to your door in the first place have been shattered. This is why is it important that your employer brand is a clearly defined personality for your company which is holistically incorporated into every aspect of the organisation.

How do you create an employer brand?

Considering that the average person spends a third of their waking life at work and that people are more aware than ever before of the importance of a healthy work/life balance, where someone chooses to work is a serious consideration for them. Therefore, if you have the ability to offer benefits and perks that people with the skills you desire would appreciate, then it makes sense to construct an employer brand that acts as a platform for these advantages. But what does this look like in practice?

Case study: Lush

A great example of employer branding done right is the cosmetics retailer, Lush. When Lush holds their open call recruitment events, they truly are an event! Hopeful job seekers are known to queue for hours to be in with a chance of working as a sales assistant at Lush. But why? For anyone not in the know, Lush on the surface would appear to be your typical high-street retailer that pays their employees an average wage without commission. The hype all comes down to their employer branding, which they’ve perfected.

Lush’s employer brand is all about injecting positivity, fun and a heavy dose of quirkiness into life while also being steadfastly ethical and environmentally conscious. Lush defines itself as being a challenger of the status quo, a champion of individuality and relentlessly passionate about everything they do. Vibrant colours, bold images and a generous amount of sparkle dominate their image and they employ a complementary informal brand voice. Their typical customer identifies intimately with the brand and many fans, or “Lushies” as they call themselves, even help Lush spread the word about new products with their organic user-generated content. It makes sense that more often than not Lush’s employees are also their customers.

In keeping with their branding, you won’t hear humdrum questions such as “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” during a job interview, but rather they’ll ask “Which fictional character do you think is most like you and why?” Staff frequently have opportunities to exercise their creativity by submitting and implementing concept and design ideas for seasonal campaigns. When an employee’s birthday comes around, they will get to have the day off and employees are regularly invited to participate in Lush industry events. With passion being a key Lush trait, employees get to try new products for free and enjoy 50% off all products so that they are truly invested in what they are selling.

More than a job

What Lush has managed to do is create an employer brand that is also a lifestyle choice. People want to work there because they feel that Lush represents them in more ways than simply a job title. In this scenario, employees feel valued for who they are as individuals and not just for the skills they provide. When you show your employees that you value them, they become ambassadors of your brand and when that happens attracting and retaining staff is no longer a problem. The key to a successful employer brand is the crafting of a story that people want to be a part of and proving the truth of that story throughout the employee experience.

If colour and sparkle don’t feel like the right style brand for you, remember that Virgin, The Boring Company, Google and The Walt Disney Company all are examples of successful employers brands with very diverse company personalities and employee benefits. Your employer brand is only limited by your imagination!

About the author


Scarlet Merrill

Scarlet Merrill is Editor of the New Frontiers website and founder of her own startup, Engage Content Marketing. She is an expert in designing and executing content strategies and passionate about helping businesses to develop a quality online presence… [Read Scarlet’s profile]

Other articles from the New Frontiers blog

A framework for founders: how one VC thinks about pre-seed investments

A new cohort commences Phase 2 at GMIT’s Innovation Hubs

The food business: when is a trend not a trend?

Four of the Mid West’s most promising New Frontiers startups

Corporate Health – From horseback rides to health tracking apps

Corporate Health: from horseback rides to health tracking apps

Corporate Health – From horseback rides to health tracking apps

Corporate health and well-being has been around as a concept for a long time. Longer than you might think, in fact. Companies in the USA introduced initiatives to promote health in the workplace as far back as the 1880s. Companies such as The Pullman Company and National Cash Register started with the establishment of an athletic association for employees, and meeting employees before work to go on horseback rides.

These companies went on to implement twice-daily exercise breaks, and building on-site gyms and recreation parks for their employees by the early 1900s. After World War ll, things become more mainstream – with such companies as Texas Instruments, Rockwell and Xerox implementing employee fitness programs. The 1950s saw the emergence in the USA of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) with the aim of avoiding workplace accidents and work-related illness.

Throughout the 1980s, health and safety fell under the same umbrella – with health possibly being safety’s poorer cousin. The focus of this area fell on safety, to the extent where today you can’t even look inside a warehouse without wearing a Hi Vis vest, or load a photocopier with a ream of paper without having first been on a full day manual handling course.

A focus on workplace health

Fortunately, health became just as important as safety, and companies started to look to employee Occupational Health professionals to ensure the health and well-being of their most valuable asset – their employees. Things were starting to change.

In 1984, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Europe defined health promotion as “…the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health” in addition to methods to change lifestyles.

The ‘first and best known’ definition of health promotion, promulgated by the American Journal of Health Promotion since at least 1986, is, “…the science and art of helping people change their lifestyle to move toward a state of optimal health.

Today, health promotion officers manage employee health engagement programmes within an organisation. In recent years, these programmes have taken many shapes and forms. Typically, they will have a number of elements focusing on general health, nutrition and mental well-being. Many companies now provide health workshops and health talks around such topics, have health screening and smoking cessation programmes, and promote various forms of physical activity, such as taking part in fun runs and bike rides, usually with a fundraising element attached.

Implementing health programmes in organisations

The promotion of physical activity has generally been somewhat of a difficult element to implement, especially if an organisation has multiple sites and locations across the globe, as it’s impossible to get everyone to turn up for time and location dependent events. To overcome the challenge of trying to get all employees to attend a company health initiative at a given time, date and location, companies have started introducing fitness trackers for employees to engage them in physical activity.

Companies such as BP (British Petroleum) distributed 25,000 Fitbit tracking devices to their staff – the Fitbit wearable fitness tracking device comes as a bracelet or a clip-on option that monitors your steps, calorie intake and burn, and even your sleep pattern. In the USA, employees were able to earn activity points which led to staff discounts on their health insurance. We’ve also seen companies launch pedometer challenges, which is an activity challenge based on the number of steps being completed by each employee, tracked on a mini step counter device clipped onto the body. Today, pedometers are incorporated into most smartphones.

You may wonder why companies spend so much on health initiatives for their employees. It’s been said that healthy, happy employees are good for business, and they are. Employers care about the health of their employees and as their employees are their most valuable assets, they naturally want to protect them and ensure they are healthy and fit. It’s no secret that the health and wellness of employees has a direct effect on an organisation’s ultimate success. Engaging in physical activity is advantageous to the health of the employee, the employer and the organisation as a whole. In fact, managers and supervisors who regularly participate in physical activity have a more positive relationship with subordinates and other employees.

The advantages of a healthy workforce

The benefits of a healthy workforce are well recognised. Evidence shows that employing a physically active workforce can reduce sickness-related absence by up to 20%, increase productivity by up to 15%, improve quality of service and raise the public image of the company. A survey completed by Ibec estimates that it costs every employer in Ireland just over €800 per year in unscheduled absences per employee, with a total cost of nearly €1.5 bn to Irish employers annually.

Organisational benefits

Organisational benefits of a healthy active workforce include:

  • increased productivity
  • increased profits
  • decreased costs due to reduced absenteeism
  • decreased company health care costs
  • improved human resources through better recruitment
  • lower employee turnover
  • improved employee relations
  • lower level of employee stress
  • improved work environment
  • enhanced corporate image

Employees spend a significant amount of time at work. Businesses already have a substantial investment in each worker in terms of recruitment, training, compensation, and benefits packages. Encouraging a culture of physical activity helps to protect that investment and capitalise on the returns in cost savings, cost avoidance, productivity and human capital.

Employee benefits

Engaging in a physically active lifestyle is known to:

  • reduce stress and anxiety
  • reduce tiredness
  • lift moral
  • reduce the risk to various health conditions
  • improve mental well-being
  • improve overall physical fitness & agility

In 2015, we set about solving a problem we had identified with large employers: how to keep their employees healthy and engaged in physical activity all year round. We developed an online platform for employers to engage their employees in their own health through the employees’ existing fitness tracking devices and apps. This BYOD (Bring your own device) system immediately saves the employer the initial capital outlay that is required, in most cases, when an employer wants to get their employees engaged with their own health all year round.

The other issue with trying to run any initiative through fitness tracking devices and apps is convincing all your employees to use the same app or device, and this can be difficult because the people who are most likely to engage with any health initiative are the ones who are already out there being active and using existing tracking apps/devices. Convincing these people to switch to the company’s chosen app/device can be a massive barrier to maximising the participation of the employees.

An activity challenge to raise engagement

We knew that employers where interested in promoting healthy lifestyles to their employees, but how they could engage their employees in healthy activities all year round was the problem we were trying to solve. And we knew that to maximise the participation of the employees, there had to be benefits to both the employer and employee alike. We set about developing a system that had benefits for all – it had to be fun, simple to use and would allow employers to engage, motivate and reward employees for being active, while also being cost effective for the employer to implement.

In association with Sligo Chamber of Commerce, and sponsored by From Me2You gift cards, KudosHealth launched a Workplace Activity Challenge. The aim of the challenge was to engage the employees from a group of large employers and organisations in a four week competition based on the physical activities the employees were completing in their own time, such as walking, running, cycling, etc. The secondary aim of the challenge was to discover what motivated employees to take part in workplace challenges.

Over 400 employees took part, representing some of the biggest employers in the region in an inter-firm activity challenge from the 9th Sept to 7th Oct 2016. Employees were able to connect their existing fitness tracking such as Fitbit, Strava, RunKeeper or GoogleFit to the KudosHealth platform to record and register their fitness activities. They were awarded points, and each individual’s points were then averaged out to form the ‘Company Score’ which was then presented on a Company Leader-board.

Employee survey summary

The following charts show the key findings of our survey.

Insights from the survey

One interesting statistic that emerged from the subsequent employee survey was that a staggering 69% of the users who took part said they did it to be part of a team; many users were completing their activities alone or in small groups, but the KudosHealth system allowed the individual activities to contribute to a team score and this was the single biggest reason for taking part.

Another interesting statistic that emerged from the survey is that 54% of the participants had never used a fitness tracking app prior to taking part in the event. The survey results also showed that 93% of people said they would take part in this type of event again, with 60% of the participants answering that they completed more exercise than they normally would during the challenge.

Implementing a workplace well-being initiative can have its challenges, but the rewards for businesses are clear in terms of reduced staff turnover and absence from sickness, a better motivated and happier workforce, and improved teamwork. If you are interested in how the KudosHealth platform could help you get started, we’d be happy to talk you through it.

About the author

KudosHealth Declan Trumble New Frontiers

Declan Trumble

Declan is a New Frontiers alumnus and the co-founder of KudosHealth. The startup has developed an employee health engagement SaaS solution aimed at large employers. The platforms allows employers to engage employees in activity challenges 365 days a year… [Read Declan’s profile]

Other articles from the New Frontiers blog

A framework for founders: how one VC thinks about pre-seed investments

A new cohort commences Phase 2 at GMIT’s Innovation Hubs

The food business: when is a trend not a trend?

Four of the Mid West’s most promising New Frontiers startups

employment contracts startups employees new frontiers

Employment contracts: what you need to know as a new employer

employment contracts startups employees new frontiers

For a startup, the task of hiring your first employee can be a daunting prospect. There is a vast amount of legislation surrounding the employment relationship, which can be difficult for an employer to contend with while also trying to run a business. In this article, I will focus on contracts of employment and answer some of the key questions employers have when it comes to this topic.

What are the different types of contract?

Firstly, it is important for the employer to decide on the type of employment contract that will best fit the needs of the company. An employer can provide a contract of indefinite duration (i.e. a contract with no end date) or a fixed term/specified purpose contract. I have set out below some further details on the above contracts and highlighted some of the pitfalls which employers should be aware of when using these types of contracts.

Contract of Indefinite Duration

This is a contract with no specified end date (often referred to as a permanent contract). A contract of this nature will not expire and will only cease in situations such as resignation, dismissal, redundancy, etc. However, when an employer gives this type of contract to an employee, they can include a probationary period (usually of six months’ duration, and not exceeding 11 months). The probationary period allows the employer to decide during this time if the employee meets the performance expectations of the role.

If this is not the case, the employer could look to terminate the employee during the probationary period. It is advisable to hold reviews with the employee during the probationary period to identify any areas of concern. Although an employee with less than one year’s service would not be in a position to take an Unfair Dismissals Claim, there is no service requirement with regard to taking a claim under the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2011. As such, employers should keep written records of any discussions had with the employee, in order to show that the decision to terminate the employment relationship during the probationary period was based on performance issues.

Fixed Term and Specified Purpose Contracts

The main advantage of fixed term or specified purpose contracts is that they allow for the termination of the contract once the fixed term or the specified purpose has been completed. Generally, a fixed term contract ends on an agreed date and this is stated in the contract. By contrast, a specified purpose contract is used in situations where the termination date is not definable in advance and is suitable in situations where a person is employed as a replacement for someone who is absent due to illness or maternity leave, or if someone is employed to work on a particular project.

Employers should ensure that they fully understand the rights of employees on fixed term or specified purpose contracts, as set out in the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act, 2003. It is important to note that if an employer wishes to renew an employee’s fixed-term/specified purpose contract that they must provide the employee with a written statement, no later than the date of renewal, setting out the objective grounds justifying the renewal and the reasons why the company was unable to offer a contract of indefinite duration.

In addition, there are some limitations on the use of fixed-term/specified purpose contracts and if an employee has been employed on two or more continuous fixed-term contracts, then the total duration of those contracts may not exceed four years. After this, the employee becomes entitled to a contract of indefinite duration unless the employer can justify a further fixed term contract being issued on objective grounds. The Unfair Dismissals Act 1977-2015 also contains a provision to prevent the abuse of fixed-term contracts by employers. The Act provides that where a fixed-term or specified purpose contract expires and the individual is re-employed within three months, the individual is deemed to have continuous service. However, the Workplace Relations Commission* may even look beyond this three month threshold if they feel that the employer’s aim in breaking the employee’s service was to avoid the legislation.

What needs to be included in a contract of employment?

The contract should include the main terms and conditions of employment. The Terms of Employment (Information) Acts 1994–2014 lists all of the specific terms and conditions which must be included in the employment contract such as:

  • name of the employer and employee
  • the address of the employer
  • the place of work or, if there is no fixed or main place of work, a statement that the employee is required or permitted to work at various places
  • job title or the nature of the work
  • the date of commencement of the contract
  • for temporary contracts, the expected duration of the contract or, if for a fixed term, the date on which the contract expires

As above, there are some terms and conditions that an employer must include in a contract. However, an employer should also consider placing some other clauses in the contract which may assist them in the running of their business, for example probation, retirement, or lay off/short time working clauses. Taking probation as an example, it may be very useful for a new business to have a probationary period included in their contract, as it will allow them greater flexibility when managing the performance of a new employee and assessing if they are the right fit for the company.

When do I issue an employment contract?

The Terms of Employment (Information) Acts 1994–2014 provides that an employer is obliged to provide an employee with a written statement of terms of employment within the first two months of the commencement of employment. The contract must be signed and dated by – or on behalf of – the employer. The employee should also be requested to sign the contract. A copy of the contract must be retained by the employer during the employment and for a period of one year after the end of the employment.
Employers should be mindful that it they do not issue their employee with a contract, the Workplace Relations Commission can award four weeks pay to an employee.

Do I need to have a Company Handbook?

It is best practice to also issue an employee with a Company Handbook. The handbook should outline the standards of conduct and safety, company regulations and the administrative procedures used to facilitate the efficient running of the organisation. Employers should require employees to acknowledge (in writing) that they have received the handbook, that they have read it and understand its contents. Company handbooks should be checked regularly and updated where required. Employees should be informed of any updates to the handbook and these should be circulated.

There are two policies which must be provided to an employee within 28 days of them starting in the company; the grievance and disciplinary policies. The Workplace Relations Commission has developed a Code of Practice which is a useful resource for employers when drafting these policies. These codes of practice are available on the Workplace Relations Commission website.

To conclude, the importance of a contract of employment cannot be understated. It is the document which forms the basis of the relationship between the company and their employees and it will be used as the main source of reference if any disputes should arise. With this in mind, it is very clear that an employer should carefully develop their contracts of employment to ensure that they have met their obligations under the legislation and that the contracts fit the needs of the company.

* The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) was established on 1 October 2015 under the Workplace Relations Act 2015. It has taken over the functions of the National Employment Rights Authority, the Labour Relations Commission and the Director of the Equality Tribunal. It has also taken over some of the functions of the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT).

About the author

Ciara McGuone SFA New Frontiers
Ciara McGuone

Ciara McGuone is an Executive at the Small Firms Association, a national organisation that exclusively represents the needs of small enterprises in Ireland. She is responsible for providing advice to members on various aspects of HR and employment law… [Read Ciara’s profile]

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A new cohort commences Phase 2 at GMIT’s Innovation Hubs

The food business: when is a trend not a trend?

Four of the Mid West’s most promising New Frontiers startups

Hiring interns for your startup: our top tips

hiring interns startup internship new frontiers advice tips

Hiring an intern can be a great way of bootstrapping a particular source of expertise into your startup during early-stage, when you may not have the resources to support hiring a fully fledged employee. It is really important, however, to note that interns should not be viewed as ‘free hired help’ or ‘personal slaves’ for the hiring entrepreneur.

If this is what your idea of hiring interns is, then you can guarantee that the person will more than likely walk out after a few days and hey, who would blame them! Only hire an intern if you are willing to commit some time to helping them grow and develop in return for them offering their skills to help your startup grow and develop.

Interns should leave feeling that:

1. They learned something valuable and had an experience that adds value to their CV
2. They were exposed to experiences that has developed their skills and potential career path
3. They were valued and treated fairly by their receiving company

A question people often ask me is why they haven’t received many applications for an internship position that they have advertised. The answer is usually that they published a boring, generic job spec, solely focused on what the receiving company wants from the person with no mention of what the intern will receive in return. With a regular paid role, the onus is on the applicant to sell their skills in return for a nice salary package, however with an internship the dynamic is different. The receiving company has to sell to the candidate in a compelling way why they should impart their skills and services for a very low or nominal fee and what, besides money, the receiving company can provide to the candidate in return for these skills.

Job specification guidelines

There are many ways a job specification can be put together. The following section outlines some headings that some startup companies I have worked with have found useful in developing specifications for roles that have arisen within their companies.

1. Job title & type

A descriptive job title (try to come up with an interesting title that an intern may find useful to have on their CV when they eventually are looking for gainful employment, and also one that will garner some interest amongst potential applicants!). Also mention if the internship is full time or part time, and the contract duration.

2. Location

Company name and address of the offices where the intern will be posted.

3. Description of the company

Give a 100 word overview of your business; where you’ve come from, where you are going with the business and the type of culture that exists within the organisation. Keep this fresh and interesting and avoid using jargon!

4. Description of the role

Include a bullet point description of the areas of responsibility that the candidate would have within the role. When complete, read it back to yourself; does it sound enticing and interesting? If you were a 22 year old graduate, would it make you want to apply? Get the views of others, maybe even ask some interns that are working in other startups in your network. You will probably get some great advice!

5. Learnings & rewards

Remember, an internship doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles that a paid graduate roles comes with – therefore you need to sell the role and incentivise people to apply by positioning the role in an attractive way. In this section, you will list what the intern will receive in return for their commitment to your company. Include the areas of development that they will encounter, the exciting innovations they will be exposed to, the dynamic nature of being involved with an SME, the background of the person they will work most closely with or learn from, the networks they will get to mix with, the possibilities for progression or future employment, future possibilities within the firm, learning and/or training opportunities, as well as expenses or payments or bonuses awarded. Perhaps €50 p/w expenses or a performance-related bonus could apply. Include whatever is appropriate for the situation. Read it back, put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself again: if you were a graduate, would you apply?

6. Experience & qualifications required

Make sure to be clear about any experience that is required – e.g. previous office environment experience, or whatever is appropriate for the situation – and what qualification you would like the candidate to have (diploma, degree, masters, etc.).

7. How to apply

Include full contact details, method of applying and closing date in this section.

Happy Recruiting!

About the author

claire mcnamee new frontiers blanchardstown dublin ireland

Claire Mac Namee

Claire is the New Frontiers Programme Manager at the Institute of Technology in Blanchardstown. New Frontiers at Blanchardstown is run from the LINC (Learning & Innovation Centre) where Claire is also Enterprise Manager – taking care of the marketing, communications, events and incubation services for the centre. Claire has worked with over 300 startup companies since joining the LINC in 2008…. [Read Claire’s profile]

Other articles from the New Frontiers blog

A framework for founders: how one VC thinks about pre-seed investments

A new cohort commences Phase 2 at GMIT’s Innovation Hubs

The food business: when is a trend not a trend?

Four of the Mid West’s most promising New Frontiers startups

How to build a successful startup recruitment process


As a startup, making hires is an important decision that can have a huge impact on your finances, as well as on your productivity and growth. As an entrepreneur, you may not have any previous experience of recruitment, and you’re unlikely to have an HR Department to take care of this for you. Putting in place a successful recruitment strategy will require you to learn new skills and processes. Here are my tips for getting started.

Recruitment is the action of employing someone for one of two scenarios: to either fill a role that has been vacated, or to fill a role which has been created because of increased demand or business expansion. If you’re a startup, it’s most likely that you are recruiting for a new position. You may find the proposition of creating a new role daunting, but remember that you are potentially creating a competitive advantage that was previously untapped!

The recruitment process

There are five stages to recruitment:

  1. Vacancy verification – What is the position to be filled?
  2. Person specification – Who is the person to fill the position?
  3. Sourcing candidates – Where is the best place to find the best candidates?
  4. Interviewing and selection – Is the candidate as credible as their CV?
  5. Job offer – The right package for the right candidate.

An aspect of recruitment which tends to be over-looked is the expense that recruiting the incorrect candidate will generate for the organisation – in terms of re-advertising, low productivity, and increased training costs.

A person who has been recruited into a position that is unsuited to them will suffer from low morale, excess levels of stress, and may leave the job within the first few months of starting. To get the most out of it, it is imperative that you invest enough time and thought when creating the position.

Vacancy verification

The first step in this process is to decide what you want:

  • What are the responsibilities of this role?
  • What are the targets and objectives of this role?
  • Is this a full-time or part-time position?
  • Does this project have a time frame or is it an on-going role?
  • Who will this position report and be accountable to?
  • Could this position be out-sourced?

Spend 30 minutes considering these questions. You know you want somebody to work for the company, but what do you want them to do? It must be clear to you what you want or it will never be clear to the employee.

Person specification

Once the parameters of the job have been considered and developed, it is time to look at the person who will fill this role. What personality best suits the role? What education or experience levels would you prefer, or indeed does the job dictate? It is important to consider that we inhabit a culture that places immense emphasis on educational qualifications; however qualifications do not equate to experience. In my experience – if you have to decide between the two – qualifications can be gained in a short period of time, but experience cannot be bought.

Sourcing candidates

Next, you need to consider where the most appropriate placing of this vacancy is. General positions such as retail, tradesmen, hospitality, general operatives, etc. can be sourced from a relativity small pool; in this case the local newspaper may be the most useful tool. As the position becomes more specialised, jobs websites may become more appealing and these can reach a broader pool of talent. However, if this is unsuccessful it may be desirable to use a recruitment company to take the effort out of sourcing.

It is worth noting that recruitment company fees range typically range from 17% to 27% of the total annual salary of the prospective candidate. So, for example, if you are hiring an engineer with a starting salary of €60,000, you could pay anywhere from €10,700 to €16,200 in finder fees. You’ll need to consider what would be the best return on investment in this situation.

Interviewing and selection

This is your opportunity to flesh out the applicant’s CV, and a great chance to understand the applicant and their experience, as well as their expectations of the role and its future development. It is important to consider the CV and the person separately from each other and to make a list.

Firstly, based on the information contained in their CV, which candidate would you be most likely to hire? Secondly, after meeting with the applicants, make a list of which candidates you would be most likely to hire based on personality and the interaction of the interview. Is the same person at the top of both lists? It is very unlikely that they will be.

You need to consider what you value most from each candidate and their role within the organisation. The recruitment of candidates  based only on intuition leaves the organisation vulnerable. As highlighted at the beginning of this article, employing an unsuitable candidate is expensive and time-consuming.

Job offer

At this stage, you have chosen the person you feel best suits the role you have available and now you need to make them an offer. A job offer is generally about more than money – depending on where the applicant is in their professional life cycle – however you will have to work within industry standards to attract the right talent.

Packages for employees can be expensive if you start to consider medical plans, pension plans, employee assistance programmes, etc., but at this stage of your business you have something that bigger organisations don’t have: flexibility. Work is no longer nine to five, and life no longer exists outside of this time frame either. You know this, it’s what you live. This is something people want in their working life, and the goodwill that can be generated from this will be incalculable.


Employers need to consider the recruitment process as a business transaction; you wouldn’t buy the wrong piece of machinery, or a computer package that didn’t meet your requirements. Similarly, you shouldn’t recruit someone just because you like them or have a ‘good feeling’ about them or because they have an attribute on their CV which you feel is missing from your own skill set. You can return or exchange a piece of equipment that doesn’t work correctly or is unsuitable for your needs, but you cannot do this with an unsuitable appointment.

The recruitment process is a reflection of your company’s standards and creates your employee’s expectation for the tasks ahead. A successful recruitment can add huge value to your startup and drive your business forward. It is well worth putting in the ground-work!

About the author

Katie Murphy New FrontiersKatie Murphy

Katie is a New Frontiers participant at Waterford Institute of Technology. Katie’s background is in Human Resources, but she has recently founded an innovative agri-business startup, Clún-Ór… [Read Katie’s profile]

Other articles from the New Frontiers blog

A framework for founders: how one VC thinks about pre-seed investments

A new cohort commences Phase 2 at GMIT’s Innovation Hubs

The food business: when is a trend not a trend?

Four of the Mid West’s most promising New Frontiers startups

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