Recruitment Agency

Top reasons why you should use a recruitment agency

Getting the best from a recruitment agency! Our Director of Grocery Retail Recruitment, Nikki Murran, shares her top reasons on why you should engage with a recruitment agency, instead of going it alone. 

I wrote an article last year listing the benefits of using a recruitment agency when adding to your retail team. A shameless plug you ask? Perhaps, but also, good information to know when you are deciding whether to engage with an agency or go it alone. 

Whilst the benefits are numerous, ranging from expert industry advice and employer branding, to access to wider talent pools and better value for money, some retailers have told me they are still hesitant to reach out to recruiters for support as they are unsure of the process or how best to proceed when dealing with a professional recruiter. So, this month, I have put together some information about how the recruitment process works and some tips to follow when you are using a recruitment agency.  

Look for experts specific to your industry – your regional manager or support office will usually offer recommendations. You want to make sure you are using a recruiter that understands the vacancies you have, the market and location you are recruiting for. They should also be open and honest about the climate of the current job market. A good recruiter should give you feedback about packages being offered by competitors for similar roles, give you a salary guide for your role in the market, and also be willing to work within the budgets that you have rather than push you into a salary band that isn’t feasible for your store. 

Agree terms – be sure to ask your recruiter about the costs involved, when they are due, and what sort of policy is in place for candidates who leave. Your recruiter should be transparent with all this information from the outset.  

Information is king – Share as much information as you can about the business, your store, your team, the role, the package, and the benefits on offer. This allows your recruiter to upsell your business to the best candidates on the market. The more information you give them, the more attractive your job becomes to prospective employees.  

Wish list – Be sure to provide your recruiter with a detailed wish list of the sort of candidate you require. Include everything from culture and soft skills that are important in your store to ideal systems you would like them to have used previously. It’s also worth ranking items on your “wish list.” 

Keep an open mind. I always explain to my retailers, any candidate I send you should be able to DO the job. By the time we have screened them, we are sure they are all capable so at this point it should just come down to “fit”, which means at the end of an interview day with my candidates you should feel like any of them could potential do the job, but you will likely have a preference for who you think will work best alongside you, your team and your customer base. Some CVs may look stronger than others, but by trusting your recruiter to understand your role, and meeting all of their candidates you will get a broader picture of the market and often times a candidate who doesn’t “jump out” from a CV – will have an X factor that you can only discover after an interview. There is a reason we put each candidate forward!  

Feedback, feedback, feedback. The more feedback you provide, the better partnership you can form with your recruiter. It’s the best way for them to understand what a great candidate looks like to you. Many of my clients register jobs and just ask me to put forward the 1 or 2 best candidates as they trust I know what they want.   

Partnership approach, look to your recruiter as one of your business partners. Most of our clients have been with us for over ten years and come to us for advice, a snapshot of the current market, feedback on the knock-on effects of new legislation, or to hear what other retailers are doing to combat shortages in the market – we can be a great business partner and the more we understand your business the more support we can offer.  

Communication: regardless of how your recruitment process is going communication is always key. By keeping in touch with your recruiter during the process you can make sure they are keeping your role active and adjusting your wish list as your business needs change  

Haste: most good recruiters are able to react swiftly to your recruitment requests. In the Grocery and wider retail market, this is especially important. Be sure to agree on a timeline from the outset with your recruiter. They should outline when you should expect the first CVs and, from there, when the first interviews should be expected. In today’s market, it’s imperative that you move through the process promptly or you risk losing candidates.  

Hopefully, this helps with your next hire! For more information call us on 01 814 8747 or email 

Top 10 Recruitment Tips

Top 10 Recruitment Tips

One of my clients is getting ready to open a brand-new convenience store. It’s such an exciting time, but he contacted me concerned that he was going to be unable to staff the store ahead of his impending opening date. I am looking after his key roles, but he asked me for some advice to help him through his upcoming staff recruitment drive.

It prompted me to put together a list for this months article of my top ten tips when recruiting staff for a retail job. Obviously, this list varies slightly with each role, but below are some nice guidelines which some may find useful.

Advertising – when you are writing a job advertisement , whether it’s for a shop front window or an online job board you should quantify the role clearly. Make sure to state the tasks, hours, location, salary and contact details and how to apply. It may seem simple but with over 1500 retail jobs on just one of the job boards as of today, it’s worth ensuring yours has the information potential candidates look for! You should seek to include details which will matter most to prospective employees such as pay and shift pattern, rather than use this space to over elaborate on what the role entails and what you are looking for.

Sell the job – ensure your advert is going to attract candidates to apply – rather than dissuade them from doing so. Oftentimes, retailers compose a job advert which is similar to a wish list of their perfect candidate. Listing endless skills and experience they must have in order to apply. This can lead to few or no relevant applications. Write the advert with the potential candidate in mind – think “WE OFFER” rather than “YOU MUST HAVE!”

Advertise in your locality – Local noticeboards, public spaces, libraries, and community colleges are all great sources of local talent and have the added bonus of hitting the exact demographic you are looking for. With “shorter commute times” one of the top reasons for making a move cited by jobseekers, it is well worth advertising locally to appeal to local hidden talent!

Look at your online job boards paid and unpaid options – these can be worthwhile to attract a decent volume of candidates, but remember they are only as good as the job advertisement you write. Make the role something YOU would like to apply to! When writing a job advert to go online ensure you are using phrases which a job seeker is likely to type into a search bar. “Sales Assistant” will always attract more applicants than “Sales Executive” and “Deli Assistant” will appear in far more searches than “Fresh Food Counter Hand.” If your store is part of a retail brand it is also worth reaching out to see if they can post the advert on their website directly for a wider reach.

Social media – This can be a really useful tool – use your company’s Facebook account and share your job (with a picture) with dedicated groups – such as job fairy boards – but remember to keep an eye on your comment section as well as inbox for responses.

Referrals – Past employees, current employees and customers can be great advocates for your business and you as an employer! Get networking!

Use an agency – (ahem, shameless plug here) Recruitment agencies are professional recruiters – At Excel we have a database of over 85,000 retail candidates and a team of specialist recruiters who understand the industry. This can be a particularly useful option when you are looking for management or specialist candidates as it can be challenging to find the right expertise on your own.

Move with urgency – in this current market you need to respond quickly to candidates who meet your criteria. It goes without saying – still go through your screening and vetting process – but it’s recommended doing them slightly quicker than before!

Job offers – when you are offering the job to your preferred candidate – offer the full package – list every available benefit and include them in your job offer letter. From free parking to free coffees, pensions and holidays – get it all down so that you can relay it to your chosen candidate and get them excited to join your business!

Retain your talent – following a survey of our database we have listed the top reasons candidates choose to remain with their current employer – the more of these you can offer to your team – the less likely they are to leave your business!

→ Career opportunities

→ A voice in the workplace

→ Progression

→ Flexibility

→ Fair pay

→ Fun perks

→ Work life balance

→ Additional Annual leave days

→ Inclusive Culture

Happy recruiting and good luck! For more information call us on 01 814 8747 or email

You can view all of our live jobs here

Why use a recruitment agency

Why use a recruitment agency?

Having grown up in the world of independent retail, our Director of Grocery Retail, Nikki Murran, has first-hand knowledge of the difference employing a recruitment agency can make in the quest for good staff. Highlighting the advantages in the article below.

With many retailers still reeling from the cost increases they have shouldered in the last couple of years it’s understandable that they may take pause before committing to paying a recruitment fee for a new hire. Now, I may be biased, (actually I am definitely biased) but, from over a decade of experience and client feedback I absolutely see it as money well spent. Here are the reasons why:

Industry experts and market insights

When you partner with an agency, you should choose one who are specialists in their field. Or, have a specialist department that recruit for your field. My team all come from grocery retail. We all know a good store manager when we see one, we all know the difference between a deli manager and a deli supervisor, a scratch baker, and a confectioner. In the same way that my colleague who runs the fashion department can recognise the difference between a high street retailer and a luxury one! It’s what we do!

Having an industry expert recruiter on your side means they always have a read of the current market. They should keep you updated on salary trends in the market or what candidates are looking for to make a move. They should give you direction, guidance, or feedback when you register a job, making sure you are putting your store in the best position to attract the best candidates. This is surprisingly rarely about money – often it’s some flexibility around shift patterns, contracted hours, job titles, or review periods. But the point is, a good recruitment partner will help you frame your job to make it as attractive as possible, without forcing you outside of your budget!

A good rule of thumb here is if a recruitment agency hasn’t compiled a salary survey specific to your industry each year for the past couple of years, they are unlikely to be a real expert in that field.

Employer branding

With the Irish market hovering around the perfect unemployment mark the last couple of months – now is more important than ever to make sure your brand as an employer is landing well. A good agency will likely have a read of the market perceptions about your brand and will give you some honest feedback when asked. A great agency will help shape your employer brand message and project it out into the market.

We make it a point to find out all the great things about your store and role and use these to help attract the best candidates for you.

Talent pool

If you are advertising for your current open role, chances are you are confined to candidates who are job-seeking this week, candidates who are applying for roles that match their experience, candidates who are applying to the salary range you have on offer, and candidates who managed to find your job ad amongst 100’s of others. It’s a pretty narrow field when you think of it like that.

Excel Recruitment has over 90,000 candidates on our database. The vast majority of placements we make, come, not from candidates who apply at the right time, for the right role. Rather, they are from candidates who applied over the last year or so and spoke at length to a recruiter about their experience and skill set and what they are looking for in their next move. When we get the right role in – we then reach out to the right candidate – it’s like a jigsaw! So, we deal with a much larger pool of candidates for your job than you could likely hope to.

We also love the saying “Great people know great people.” Most of my own placements come through recommendations, clients recommend me to each other, and candidates do the same. In fact, most of my conversations seem to start with “such and such” passed me on your number!

Bang for your buck!

I grew up in the world of independent retail. When our family store was looking to recruit a new store manager, maybe 15 years ago now, I knew the money to cover that was coming, not from some head office fund, but out of the store’s bottom line. With this in mind, I was sure that we should try to find the right candidate ourselves before trying an agency.

We spent a considerable amount of money on advertising; in a newspaper, two online job boards and on a radio station. We spent hours sifting through applications and met every applicant who had ever worked in retail management. It was all a waste of money and time. When we reached out to Excel Recruitment (plug, sorry – but we did!) they had candidates for us within a week. The guy we hired increased the margin within 6 months, and more than covered the fee we had paid.

Really, in a management or specialist role, when you compare the cost of the placement to the value that candidate will bring to your bottom line it’s a no-brainer! Especially considering if you don’t hire someone you don’t pay anything!


Time is the one thing every retailer I know is short on. Using an agency means that after one detailed phone call, you have a team of recruiters working on your role. They will advertise your job, source candidates, sell them the benefits of your business, set up interviews, follow up on feedback, offer the job at your direction, deal with messy counter offers, and complete verified reference checks. They basically take most of the pain out of the recruitment process for you!

You can check out this feature in the most recent edition of ShelfLife Magazine here. For more information call us on 01 814 8747 or email

You can view all of our live jobs here

Public Sector Recruitment

Why Choose Excel For Public Sector Recruitment and Selection?

Excel’s Public Sector Recruitment division provides a wide range of solutions for our clients and are trained in the CPSA Codes of Practice. As a company, we are delighted to be recognised as a CPSA (Commission of Public Service Appointments) approved recruitment agency. This means that our staff are fully trained in accordance with CPSA standards and can help you recruit for or apply to a number of jobs for permanent, temporary, and contract recruitment within the public sector.

What does being a CPSA approved recruitment agency mean for our clients?

The Commission is Ireland’s regulator for public service recruitment which links public sector organisations who have open or ongoing vacancies with approved recruitment agencies in order to fill these vacancies. The Commission also outlines five codes of practice that must be followed when hiring for public sector jobs and therefore, all of Excel’s internal recruitment processes for recruiting civil service and public service roles are built around these standards.

Why choose Excel Recruitment for public sector recruitment?

As a CPSA approved recruitment agency, Excel Recruitment provides the same wide range of recruitment solutions to our public sector clients that we do for all our clients across permanent, temporary, and contract recruitment.

We work with public sector agencies providing temporary, permanent, and contract recruitment solutions aswell as end to end or part management of recruitment campaigns including design or information booklets and job descriptions, advertising of posts on PAS, all major job boards & social media, point of contract, management, and shortlisting of all applicants, design of shortlisting and interview questions and matrix’s, provision of aptitude and psychometric testing, provision of independent panel members and note-takers, and providing detailed feedback to candidates in line with CPSA code of Practice.

Our island wide footprint, coupled with our experience and understanding of the requirements of state agencies, non-profit organisations & government agencies means that we are strategically placed to fill public service roles efficiently, and most importantly; successfully.

The CPSA Codes of Practice are embedded in our working processes and our team is made up of qualified and experienced public sector recruitment specialists

To discuss your recruitments needs, contact our Director of Commercial Recruitment Ciara Connolly on: 045 397142 or email her at  ciara@excelrecruitment.

To view a list of our current live jobs, click here

To learn more about the CPSA and their guidelines, in their own words… click here.

Cost of replacing employees

The True Cost of Replacing an Employee

Our CEO, Barry Whelan, featured in the April edition of ShelfLife magazine to discuss the true cost associated with replacing employee’s. Check out what he had to say below:

Encouraging an employee to reconsider their decision to resign from a company, can help save a great deal of time and money further down the line, writes Excel Recruitment’s Barry Whelan.

Ireland is in the midst of the “Great Resignation” with employers witnessing a higher churn in employees then most can recall. We know there is a staff crisis in hospitality, but there is also a looming crisis for labour in the retail, industrial, warehousing, transport, and health sectors. Workers are leaving their jobs in record numbers and new roles, due to demand with the re-opening of society, are being registered at a faster rate than we have ever witnessed in Excel. This is leaving businesses scrambling to replace employees, often at a major cost to the business.

Job postings consistently rising

The trajectory of job postings for the retail sector is on a consistent upward trend, having more than doubled from 1,578 in February 2021 to 4,258 in February 2022 (data courtesy of Indeed). Retail will be the next sector to be faced with a serious and damaging staffing crisis, akin to that currently being suffered in hospitality.

The industry data paints a stark picture – between 2019 and 2021, the number of retail job seekers per retail job vacancy had been increasing year on year. However, since then it has dipped significantly and in February 2022 there were 39 job seekers per job, down from 78 job seekers per job in February 2021. What’s more, the number of employers with active retail job vacancies has now nearly tripled in the 12 months to February 2022 when it stood at 1,360 employers – up from 488 employers in February 2021.

Re-evaluating priorities

Over the course of the pandemic many people were out of work and/or on reduced hours – they had more time on their hands to really look at their careers and their life, and what they want from both. As a result, we’ve seen thousands of workers change careers, upskill in their current industry, and/or just make the decision to strive for a better work-life balance.

That dynamic, combined with the fact that the industry has also missed out on approximately two years of new candidate intakes – due to workers either leaving the sector during Covid because of lockdowns and working restrictions, or indeed leaving the country – has left supply as a major issue, which continues to deteriorate.

The true cost

Depending on the complexity and seniority of a role, the actual or real cost of employee turnover can be estimated to be between 33% to a whopping 200% the employee’s annual salary.

Before allowing an employee to resign without any effort to get them to reconsider, employers should be aware of all the possible costs of replacing an employee.

The more obvious costs such as advertising, the recruitment process, executive and human resource professionals’ time spent interviewing, recruitment agency costs, background or reference checks, rejection of unsuccessful applicants or indeed interim temporary workers hired to plug a hole, all add up to a considerable number of man hours and burn rate interviewing.

But these are not the only costs; you must consider lost productivity, lost sales, lost turnover, lost knowledge, and new hire learning errors along with training time. These are the hidden costs of losing good employees.

Whiplash changes

The talent market has undergone whiplash-like change in the last 18 months, with companies shedding their workforce last spring and then spinning into a hiring frenzy this summer. It’s no surprise that many employees are looking for new opportunities or at least revaluating their career priorities.

Oftentimes, when an employee looks to leave, they should not be retained, as fresh talent can often add unmeasurably to a business. However, management need to understand the total cost of ownership in employee disengagement and attrition before making a decision not to try to retain talent.

‘Stay’ interviews

There are two recent trends that are worth looking at. The first is the ‘stay’ Interview. Here, instead of the usual six-monthly appraisal, companies engage with employees asking them why they continue to work for them and what they need to continue to do so.

Intercom, the Irish-founded tech communications platform with more than 800 employees, is a great example of this, with managers holding special meetings with each of their team members encouraging them to stay.

Boomerang employees

The second trend is boomerang employees: employees who return after leaving a company. A new LinkedIn Workforce Insights survey shows that this keeps rising.

Boomerang recruits amounted to 4.3% of all job switches last year, up from less than 2% in 2010, according to LinkedIn data. Fully trained, culturally compatible employees returning to their employer can’t be a bad thing!

If you would like to check out the full April edition of ShelfLife magazine you can do so by clicking here.

management mistakes

Management Mistakes: Part 2

Our CEO, Barry Whelan, featured in this month’s issue of ShelfLife magazine discussing the final part of the top management mistakes series. Check out what he had to say below:

Continuing last month’s series on management mistakes, Excel Recruitment’s Barry Whelan outlines 11 more errors managers should avoid in the pursuit of keeping staff members happy, motivated and productive.

When candidates come to Excel Recruitment looking for a new role, we zone in on their ‘reason for leaving’. We want to understand completely why the candidate wants to move job, so that we can find the right new job for them. One of the reasons that comes up consistently in the top five is frustration with a manager or poor management. Here are the second set of the top bad management mistakes that can drive an employee out the door.

For all those managers out there interested in improving their ability to manage others, take heart in the fact that you’re only human. I know I for one have made every single one of these management mistakes at some point or another in my career. Let’s start with another personal favourite of mine!

1) Belittle their team over things, both significant and insignificant:

When a soft deadline is missed, this manager raises it at a staff meeting by throwing their hands up and remarking about how everyone’s incompetence will ensure the closure of the organisation! The dramatic manager who makes mountains out of molehills is a prime example of a bad manager. While a good manager should never ‘lose it’ with the team, they may be forgiven for doing so in a crisis, but not for something insignificant.

2) Passive aggressiveness, reminding the team of the power they hold over them:

This manager does things like often making “jokes” about firing people, then laughs it off, like they want to show their team that they have a great sense of humour, but, at its heart, this behaviour is bullying.

3) Active aggressiveness:

In a team huddle, this manager makes comments such as: “I know you have all performed really well and the business is performing, but we are only as good as last month and if anyone drops the ball, they will know about it.” Using direct threats and fear as motivation does not have a place in modern professional management.

4) Cross personal boundaries:

The risk of crossing personal boundaries arises easily in social occasions involving work. How many employees have woken up the morning after the dreaded office Christmas party with a completely different impression of their manager, who drank too much with the staff or became their pal at the party, before reverting to the previous relationship status come Monday morning as the boss.

5) Physically invade people’s spaces:

No physical contact is permissible anymore. If a member of staff is upset in front of their manager, while human nature might illicit a response like a hug, this is a no-no. A bad manager invades an employee’s space. The employee takes a step back and they take a step forward. An employee asks for personal space, and they don’t give it and stand too close when talking.

6) Delegate autonomy, without meaning it:

They tell you they want you to make the decision. They don’t want to be involved or indeed need to be, because you have the experience, and you are driving this project. They then take your decision, and go and change everything, without bothering to explain why. This is so deflating for staff.

7) Play favourites with team members, and make it obvious:

This manager takes the same team member out for lunch every week; they make a big deal of their birthday, but not others. They play favourites and do not operate in a fair and equitable manner. This causes resentment and a poor team environment.

8) Criticise team members in front of their team:

A critical tool of performance management is to criticise a team member away from their peers. This should be done outside of the process. Criticism should be given one-on-one and should always be constructive. Whilst public humiliation means everyone gets to learn, it is a sure way to make an employee have a browse through job boards.

9) Become defensive at the slightest constructive feedback:

The bad manager asks for feedback in meetings and then bullies and belittles everyone who opens their mouth. Then when people don’t contribute to meetings, they act passive aggressive about it: “I guess no-one has anything to add and we’ll just have to go with my plan.”

10) Multi-task while interacting with others:

This behaviour of a bad manager is very insulting to the team member. Clearing email while in an important conversation or taking calls mid meeting makes team members feel their input is not respected or indeed needed.

11) Take credit for employees’ ideas and work:

No decision is made, or action is taken, that isn’t the idea of the manager. A bad manager will only carry out an idea that they believe is their own. How many managers have you had whereby you had to make them believe an idea was theirs to get it implemented!

If you would like to read the full March 2022 issue of ShelfLife magazine you can do so by clicking here.

Management Mistakes

Management Mistakes: Part 1

Our CEO, Barry Whelan, featured in this month’s edition of ShelfLife magazine talking about the mistakes managers make. See what he had to say below:

Securing great talent is harder than ever in today’s competitive market, so it is vital management don’t alienate staff by adopting the wrong attitude or techniques.

Here, Excel Recruitment’s Barry Whelan outlines 12 of the top mistakes to avoid:

When candidates come through Excel, looking for a new role, we zone in on their ‘reason for leaving’. We want to understand completely why the candidate wants to move job, so that we can find the right new job for them. One of the reasons that comes up consistently in the top five is frustration with a manager or poor management. Over this month and next, I will be outlining 30 of the top bad management mistakes that drive an employee out the door.

For all those managers out there interested in improving their ability to manage others, take heart in that you’re only human. I know I for one have made every single one of these management mistakes at some point or another in my career. Let’s start with my personal favourite!

1) Be inconsistent and unpredictable:

This manager likes to keep people on their toes by being totally inconsistent in terms of communication (both style and content), expectations, feedback and long-term vision for the organisation. All the employees’ nerves are shot from playing workplace Russian roulette!

2) Move the goalposts:

This manager changes their expectations every time you meet with them. They give out to employees for not meeting the new expectations they have just told them about and for instead wasting all their time trying to meet the expectations they set last month. They look for constant validation!

3) Involve themselves in every decision:

This manager does not let any decision be made without weighing in, no matter how small, and no matter how long it will be before they have time to review the matter. They are hands on…no problem is too small that needs their faultless problem solving!

4) Correct small mistakes to demonstrate how clever they are:

The classic insecure micro manager will review and approve emails or business correspondence, then change their mind over inane word choices. They will randomly ‘correct’ already correct grammar or spelling on documents given to you to sign in pen, ensuring that even once you understand it’s correct, it has to be re-printed!

5) Refuse to give any feedback:

The manager who won’t give any feedback, either positive or negative, ever, but will overreact completely when people fail to correctly understand what they want!

6) Make everyone run on their schedule:

They will be 20 minutes late to every meeting, leave early, and then get angry when a minor decision is made without having their input. They insist on being the final decision maker for every aspect of every project, but then don’t make decisions in a timely manner; instead waiting until the eleventh hour and making everyone scramble to get the work done.

7) Spend time on less important things so that they can ignore more important things:

The manager who insists on doing tasks someone else could do while unmade decisions pile up on their desk to the point of nearly halting anything getting done.

8) Refuse to let people do their jobs, then give out to them for it!

How many times have we met candidates who were hired for a job that they were not allowed to do! I met a graduate the other day who was hired as an accounts assistant but ended up selling products on the showroom floor.

9) Treat people the same, regardless of their experience:

A good manager must adjust to their audience, don’t treat 10+ years experienced employees the same as those with less than one year! This is a sign that the manager does not have the confidence (or experience) to manage experience.

10) Don’t learn new skills or improve existing ones:

This boss feels, why should they learn stuff when they have people to do stuff! They fail to learn even the most elementary technology like email attachments, making their staff do that in addition to their own work.

11) Only communicate the trivial:

This manager can’t deliver big news that is in any way negative. They communicate on small, insignificant things and don’t tell anyone about challenges in the business, changes in process or even positive news.

12) Build a sense of importance by talking about how busy they are all the time:

This manager constantly tells their team how busy they are, how they had to catch up by working all weekend. They have to remind everyone how they are busier and thus work harder than everybody else. Often these are the same people who talk excessively at work.

If you wish to read the full ShelfLife Magazine February 2022 Issue, you can do so by clicking here.

Keeping Your Goals on Track

Setting realistic objectives and keeping your goals on track throughout your career is vital to achieving meaningful progress in any industry. CEO of Excel Recruitment Barry Whelan discusses…

If you have a career, you should have a career goal. Career goals are a great way to keep you focused and on track to achieve your full potential and personal ambitions.

So what is a career goal?

Career goals are the set of steps along the career ladder of your chosen profession that take you through the journey of your career. Like any journey, there is a start, a finish and stops along the way. Career goals are simply markers that keep you focused and make sure that you are going in the right direction and if not, help identify the issue and how to get back on track. Every employee or jobseeker should define their career goals clearly. It helps you pinpoint effective action plans and to keep focused on the direction of your career.

How to set career goals

Career goal setting is an easy process. Think of them as a set of targets best split between short-term targets and long-term. Take for example, that you decided at the age of 18 that you want to be the sales manager of a large company. Your career goal is set, now you need to follow the steps to get to that position. Your targets can then be focused on: you may need a strong Leaving Cert, then to complete a good business degree before joining the workforce in a junior sales role, whilst supplementing your education with a post-grad which may then help facilitate a move to a larger sales organisation in a role that allows for progression to the level you are looking to reach.

These are short-term and long-term career goals. The teenager’s long term goal is to become the manager of a company. To get there, he needs to achieve his short-term goals, which include passing his school and college exams, gaining experience by working for a related company and boosting his experience and skills through further studies. Short-term goals are those that can be achieved within six months to three years. It may take three to five years or more to achieve long-term goals. Defining your career goals is just half the battle. You must then do the work to accomplish the goals you have set. If you don’t map out your goals properly, it will be harder to achieve them. When setting career goals, try this twist on ‘SMART’ goal setting! Instead of the usual: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound, today we are opting for:


What does career success mean to you? What is it that you want to achieve? Do you want to be a CEO or to achieve financial freedom or do you want a job that affords you the best possible work/ life balance? Everyone is different. Be specific.


Time-bind your career goals. This is the best way to keep them on track. For instance, if it takes four years to complete your degree, four years is your goal. Once you can attain the short-term goals within the set timeframe, you are on the right path to achieving your ultimate goal.

Avoid negativity

A goal must be something that an individual wants rather than something they want to avoid. Don’t focus on leaving a particular job or position within the next five years. Instead, aim for where you want to be and plan what you can do to get there.


While a career goal should be a challenge, it must also be something you can achieve.

Tie actions to each goal

For each set goal, a person needs to take certain measures to achieve it. List each goal and the different activities that are needed to achieve that goal to make achieving it easier.


Excel launch new Finance & Office division led by Ciara Connolly

Excel Recruitment is delighted to welcome Ciara Connolly to the Excel team as Divisional Manager leading our new specialised Accountancy, Finance and Office Support recruitment division.

Who is Ciara Connolly?

Ciara is a fantastic addition to our team, boasting over 10 years’ experience recruiting at all levels in her chosen specialisms. Ciara is highly skilled in account management with vast experience in managing high volume temporary, permanent and specialist recruitment projects across a large number of public and private sector clients. She has a proven track record in sourcing and placing hard-to-find candidates from Accounts Assistants to Executive level.

So why a specialised division? And why now?

Excel Recruitment has a rich history of recruiting accounting, finance and office support talent of all levels for our clients since our beginning. 2020 despite its difficulties, or maybe because of them, saw these needs continue while also creating new needs for more elasticity within our clients’ workforce. The world’s on-going uncertainties mean our clients need more flexibility to scale staffing up and down as required and now more than ever need to be able to rely on efficient, knowledgeable and effective recruitment partners.

That is what Excel has always provided. Our new Finance & Office division just takes it one step further.

CEO Barry Whelan says “The move to a defined specialist division will allow our team to concentrate specifically on accounting, finance and office support cross any industry. It gives us greater focus and scope to recruit permanent roles along with providing contract and even temporary personnel solutions. The team are empowered with even greater search and selection capabilities allowing them to ‘Place Great People with Great Companies’

Ciara brings a credible and deep understanding and insight to her clients and candidates alike. Are you are a client looking to hire on either a temporary or permanent basis? Are you a candidate looking for your next dream role? Contact Ciara today on or call Ciara 045 397142 or our Dublin office on (01) 871 7676.

How, and why, to think long-term when hiring during post lockdown uncertainty

As a country, we continue to balance the fight against COVID-19 with the fight to rebound against its effects on the economy. Businesses are also moving from focusing on operating safely to focusing on their longer-term goals; while still operating in an uncertain and constantly changing landscape. This leads many managers to question their strategies for hiring during post lockdown uncertainty.

What this means in recruitment terms, is that hiring someone new at any level is now a more important decision than ever. Even for business with bright long-term futures, the uncertainty that’s affecting the entire world has understandably hindered everyone’s ability to plan anything, from holidays to houses to new hires. Below are a few tips to ensure you maximise the effectiveness of your recruitment efforts for the long-term, even as things continue to change.

Take stock

Now more than ever it is crucial to be clear on the needs and goals of your business, and who you may need to hire to achieve these. Taking a step back and actively assessing your current team’s strengths and weaknesses can allow you to identify potential gaps in talent or assess whether it may be a simpler issue of retraining, motivating or even promoting your current team. By refocusing on the long-term vision for the business, as well as current needs rather than just making the quickest/ cheapest/ most convenient hire, you are less likely to make a potentially costly mistake.

Quality over quantity

An unfortunate fact of this pandemic is that more people from a wide range of industries are now looking for work. Many are looking for a change of sector, either temporarily until things return to normal or permanently. Open vacancies, including those that were headaches to fill just a few months ago, are now seeing a huge spike in applications. While this sounds great, shifting through unqualified or unsuitable candidates can be time-consuming, particularly if you’re not looking with a focused eye. While it is important to stay open-minded to transferable skills and experience, by building the profile of your ideal hire before you start recruiting, you’re less likely to waste on unsuitable CVs or make a snap decision on who to hire for the sake of speeding up the process.

Candidate experience

While we are no longer operating in the candidate’s market we were just a few short months ago, it is important to remember that to have high calibre staff, you must first attract a pool of high calibre candidates. While there are now more active jobseekers generally, grocery retail is still a competitive and thriving employment market and you want to ensure you’re attracting the best applicants possible.

Budgets are tighter and employers want to avoid having to offer candidates more and more money to entice them to move. But salary isn’t the be-all and end-all for candidates either. Factors such as commute, work/life balance, company culture and career progression are all still priorities to candidates regardless of COVID-19 and should be highlighted throughout the recruitment process.

Remember the soft skills

Although there is a lot to be positive about as the country returns to normal, there is still uncertainty around the economy with government guidelines being revised and reassessed as needed. As frontline workers during the entirety of lockdown, those working in the grocery industry know more than anyone how crucial it is to be able to react and pivot quickly, while simultaneously remaining welcoming and friendly to customers. Resilience, adaptability flexibility and positivity are qualities in your team and potential new staff that cannot be underestimated as we continue to learn how to operate in post lockdown life.