Kinspeed Recruitment – It can’t be that difficult

The article below was written by Ian Wragg for City Region Business magazine. The full article and a nice picture of Ian Wragg can be viewed at

Recruitment – It can’t be that difficult

‘I need a couple of web developers, can you sort it for me Ian’ Those words from my technical Director struck terror in my heart. Previous attempts to hire people had ended in uncertainty and eventually tears.

The headlines shouted ‘2.56 million unemployed’, ‘worst figures for 17 years’, ‘graduates unable to obtain employment after years of study’, surely this time it would be easy. The last two employees came into my mind. The first came in for 3 days and then disappeared into the mist ofChesterfield, never to answer his phone or his door again. Shame he was really good. The other touched my heart strings with his tale of walking 3 miles to the library each day to use the free internet to find a job. He lasted three weeks, ‘retiring’ to be a carer for a sick relative.

I placed an advert with linkedin, an internationally recognised website for professionals to link with each other, offer services, browse jobs.  I carefully stressed that no agencies should get in touch but I knew that I would have at least 20 calls in the first 3 days.

Our receptionist fended them off bravely but a few managed to get past her by using strange company names, and clever stories of how we had grown up together and we were old friends.

Applications started to flow in thick and fast. There was a guy from the US of A, half way through his degree but available next summer, 2 Greeks, a Hungarian, a Ukrainian, an Egyptian, 2 Indians needing to be sponsored,  a Spaniard, a Pakistani, a guy from Romania whose salary expectations were £50k net with 2 years experience. None of the above were actually resident in theUK.

Plan B, I will go for graduates. We had always employed graduates and brought them through. There must be hundreds of graduates out there just waiting for us to advertise, after all its late summer, they will be fed up of lounging about after the multiple degree parties and will need to get stuck into employment.  Ok they are not up to speed to start with but they are quick learners. Job specifications were quickly despatched to the local universities and placed on their job websites. I sat back wondering how I would possibly have the time to deal with all the CV’s that would come flooding in, would our mail system be able to cope.

Then disaster struck, our receptionist went on holiday. The apprentice took on the task of answering the phones and with little experience in sniffing out a PPI salesman who can recover thousands, a telecoms company who can save me thousands and a HR services company that will cost me thousands the calls started creeping through the net.

The recruitment guys with the weird names also started to come through. ‘Hows your Linkedin campaign going ?’ they asked smugly. I could almost smell the smugness. ‘Getting manyUKcandidates?’ they continued. I could almost see colleagues in their office rolling about with laughter like Cadburys Smash Robots. ‘A Few’ I lied. The ultimate request came from one agent who asked if he could put three CV’s forward for the job as his clients had seen it on Linkedin and would like to apply! ‘Well tell them to apply through Linkedin then and save me £5000 in fees’ I suggested and gently replaced the receiver.

The university job boards threw up no candidates. I will continue with my mission to find staff without using an agent. Call me old fashioned but I like my staff to have initiative and sometimes that means finding their own job …..

Ian Wragg is Managing Director of Kinspeed Limited a software development house since 1985 and a patron of Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce