Recruiting staff right now is hard. This blog, written by Station to Station business Co-Accounting, was so useful we felt we should share it.

Credits to Damion Viney and the team at Co-Accounting – click here to read more of their very useful blogs.

At Co- we have been recruiting for our South London Accounting team. In this blog we share our process and tips.


We feel that the way we view recruitment will be critical in whether we end up with a successful hire. As far as possible we want to get away from a traditional recruitment context where the employer pretends they are offering the best job in the world and the employee pretends they are the best candidate.

What gets lost in the traditional model is whether or not the employment will work and whether it is right for both parties. To us a successful employment is one that works for the business and the candidate.

We need to be clear about what we need. Obviously, the candidate needs money but beyond the salary, we are very interested in whether the role has the right tasks, how will they enjoy the work environment, working with our clients and crucially is the job going to take them somewhere they want to go. If the job is a great next step for their career and what they want to achieve in life, likely it will go well.


As far as possible we are trying to see recruitment as a repeating process which we hone and improve over time. So far key elements are:

Preparation – before we start we need a clear Job Description and then an attractive Job Advert that presents the opportunity in the best light without giving any false impressions. After all we do want the best candidates.

Questionnaire – A lot of people send in CVs for jobs that they are not really serious about getting. We ask everyone who sends in a CV to complete a questionnaire. This is the first step of a filtration process to sort the wheat from the chaff. If we never get the questionnaire back, we know they were probably never serious in the first place.

Orientation Calls – Sometimes you know a candidate will never work within 10 minutes of an interview. They might have totally misunderstood the role or from the get go it may be clear they are not right for team. So our orientation call is a very short 10 minute call just to get a sense that both sides are at least enough on the same page to warrant an interview.

Interview – in fact we do not talk about interviews, which come with a lot of the baggage of the traditional interview. Rather we ask people to a meeting. As we are a small team, everyone joins the meeting. We all need to be able to get along and we have discovered that the insights of the whole team make assessing candidates much more robust. We ask all candidates the same questions, score their answers independently and then compare notes.

Trial Day – research shows that interviews are great for finding out if you will get on with someone, but terrible for finding out if they can do the job. The trial day is our opportunity to assess them for the job they are being asked to do. We try to make the trial day tasks mirror as closely as possible the tasks the job will entail. For the candidate we underline that this is also their opportunity to see if they will enjoy working with us.

Induction – one of the most important things we learned from our recruitment coach (see below) is to view the induction and probation as part of the recruitment process. Having signed the contract we now need to do everything we can to make the employment a success. We put a lot of effort into training and setting people up to win.

Probation – we always set a probation of 6 months which is longer than most. We find we sometimes you really do need this long to be certain the recruitment is a success. We have reviews at 1 month, 3 months and 6 months and as far as possible, set clear milestones for people to achieve in those time scales.


With huge thanks to Helen Sanders of Your People Partners for their coaching and support in improving and maintaining this critical aspect of our business.


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