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Introducing Tony Talbot

Tony Talbot has a 16-year recruitment veteran. He lives in Leeds and supports Leeds United. So, a very clever man.

Entering work, he saw recruitment as a very quick way to understand business. He works for SME clients. They are exciting and dynamic and you get to understand their passion for their business. His decisions can help SMEs achieve real success.

How does a small business start recruiting key staff?

It is a difficult thing to do, and without experience of recruitment it can be daunting. You can do it by yourself though. There is no need to employ a recruiter.

  1. Create your own talent pipeline. Look at your network and look at 2 or 3 degrees of separation. Add posts to LinkedIn and present your business in specific groups.
  2. Look at free advertising sites like Indeed. Have a paragraph on the way your business helps other people. Treat them as you would as a direct marketer. Then speak to the person directly through features and benefits. This may not work for specialist niche skills.

When you do have specialist requirements then use a recruiter. Develop a relationship with one or two recruitment companies. It’s not a great model to talk to lots of recruiters. This will ensure your job is de-prioritised.

How do you choose the right recruiter?

  • Do they have specialist knowledge?
  • Does your recruiter have a network of people in the space in which you are recruiting, the salaries, etc.
  • What evidence can they provide of working in your niche?
  • Is there someone that they have recruited that you know. Can you get a reference check from that person? This gives you reassurance.

How do you recruit someone who is a good fit with your business?

Tony Talbot is focusing more on mind-set. Especially for small consulting businesses. It’s important to look at corporate fit.

If you have a process that looks at fit from a CV, they’ve answered competency based questions. Real world questions. Beyond that Tony uses psychometric testing.

Tony advises as you are making a big decision, then give yourself evidence:

  • 3 levels of assessment
    • Good fit – shared life experiences
    • Experiences – work through their CV, qualifications match to the role. Real world examples of successes and failures.
    • Values, beliefs and attitudes of a candidate – in order to understand these, you generally need psychometric testing systems:
      • g. McQuaig – get account with them – each test is £100-150. This provides a detailed assessment of their psychological make-up.
      • Use the assessment to probe their weaknesses to establish whether they would get beyond them working with you.

As a small business, shouldn’t you be looking for the person who fills your competency gap analysis.

Seeing the potential in candidates

Tony psychologically tests the client. This provides the dynamics in the team. To get a variety of skills, beliefs and attitudes. McQuaig ask 2 sets of questions: One is around your current role, the second set of questions addresses how you see yourself as a person as opposed to how you are acting within a role. It will indicate whether a person has the potential to do more than they are doing.

Recruiting should be another process you develop. So you can repeat again and again. This helps you attract the right candidates – they themselves may see the small business as less attractive. The harder you make someone in a process the more they want the position.

Moral – do not UNDERWORK candidates in the process. They need the process as much as you do as recruiter. Underworking candidates will get you poor outcomes.

Recruiting family members can also be problematic. Be unemotional. Absence of process creates multiple points of failure.

When choosing a recruiter – ask them what they do. That becomes part of your process. They do the CV shifting, initial interviews. Producing interview notes. They may put the candidate through psychological processing prior to seeing the client. This allows you to narrow the number of interviews.

Tony advises clients which competency questions to ask. Tony advocates getting the candidate doing a presentation, so you can delve deeper to their thoughts. A new Marketing Director would naturally be expected to consider their first 100 days of their role. Plus, you may also take the short-listed candidates to dinner, introducing them to clients.

Competency Based Interviewing

You want a set of questions which are open ended. i.e. “Tell me about your business development techniques.”

As opposed to going through a CV in a chronological basis. Competency questions put people on the spot and gets you evidence of how their experience relates to the role.

Tell me about XYZ from start to finish. What was unsuccessful? These questions give you a much better understanding of a person’s competencies.

They are widely used and examples abound on the internet. Ask the same questions to each candidate.

If you are going to recruit in the next year…

  • Outline the roles you want to fill. This is a starting point. Articulate what you want. A job spec.
  • It can take months to get this sorted. Start with a good specification, that you understand how expensive that role will cost, how are you going to bring that person into the business. Can you do this through LinkedIn?
  • Will you need a recruiter? How will you recruit a recruiter?

Kevin advises you should write your OWN job description to identify what you want to do in your business and what you want to delegate.

How to contact Tony Talbot

  • Get in touch with Tony Talbot on LinkedIn.
  • His email is
  • Call: 0800 689 4275
  • His website is where you can download Tony’s Ultimate Guide to Getting Hired from his website.
  • Download Tony Talbot’s e-book on recruiting a recruiter. “Seven Essential Things You Need to Know Before You Engage a Specialist Consultancy Headhunter”

The Next 100 Days Podcast is brought to you by Graham Arrowsmith and Kevin Appleby