Case Study: Why ‘difficult to recruit’ roles don’t exist

We partnered with Buy a Gift, a leading gift experience retailer in Borehamwood, to help them overcome a recruitment challenge.

On the case: Luke Mason, Director

“Luke is, without question, the most professional, effective recruiter I’ve ever had the pleasure of dealing with. He moves quickly on all aspects of the recruitment cycle and makes a genuine effort to ensure the employer he matches you with is closely aligned with your experience and career aspirations.” Kayleigh Doherty, Senior Account Manager, Buy a Gift

The brief.

Buy a Gift approached us after eight long months of trying to recruit two Account Management roles. Before speaking to us, they had worked with five different recruitment agencies.

Frustrated by delays and understaffed, they needed to recruit fast. The Hiring Manager felt previous agencies had not understood the brief, as candidates were not well-suited to the roles. A huge amount of time had already been spent on recruiting – with no positive results. What could we do to help?

Our approach.

We needed to take stock of the previous eight months. Why hadn’t they reached the right candidates?

Ask the right questions. We began with an in-depth briefing call with the Hiring Manager. This was the first time in eight months that the process had actually started with her. Other agencies had spoken to HR and the nuances of the roles had been slightly lost in translation.

By setting out with the right brief, half the battle was already won.

Take a deeper look. A visit to the Buy a Gift offices gave us a good picture of the wider environment, culture and team dynamics. This made selecting candidates with the right personality fit much easier later on down the track.

Location matters. Both roles were located in Borehamwood, which presented a challenge. London-based candidates are reluctant to leave London. Whilst candidates located outside the city, were put-off by a busy A1M commute.

Our advertising strategy targeted areas such as Hatfield, North London and Luton. By highlighting the flexible working pattern, alongside a strong salary and benefits package – we finally got people to see the advantages Borehamwood has to offer.

Use time wisely. Eight months in and understandably, the Hiring Manager was fairly fed-up. She had already conducted around 40 interviews, taking her away from vital day-to-day duties. To lighten the load, we reduced the original three-stage interview process to just two-stages: a video interview and one face-to-face interview with a presentation.

Video interviews meant the Hiring Manager quickly screened potential candidates early on. This created a high-quality, shorter shortlist and saved her a huge amount of time.


Within three weeks of our first conversation with Buy a Gift, we filled both roles with brilliant people. That’s why we don’t really believe ‘difficult to recruit’ roles exist – they simply need a different approach. 

“Luke has made a point of keeping in touch since I started my new role and even made a visit to the office to catch-up. I have never come across this (both as an employer and a new recruit) so it was a really pleasant surprise! It shows how much he values his clients.” Kayleigh Doherty, Senior Account Manager, Buy a Gift 

If you have a ‘difficult to recruit’ role and no-one else can help you. Call the A-Team (that’s us by the way).





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