Sunday Irish Times interview

Louise was lucky enough to be interviewed on her recruitment and business techniques for the Sunday Irish Times on the 14th of December 2014.

 

How to hire the higher fliers.

As competition hots up, there is a battle for the best recruits, writes Sandra O’Connell

 

After cutting her workforce from five to three during the recession, Louise Lonergan finally has recruitment on her mind. While a positive sign, it’s also a cause for concern.

She set up Lonergan Corporate Gifts, which provides a gift selection and delivery service for corporate clients, in 1998, but it is the events that followed a decade later that are foremost in her mind. “In June 2008 the phone just stopped ringing,” she said. “We had to re-engineer the business to remain profitable.”

From the middle of 2014, the company finally started to see growth again. “Ideally we hope to take on a salesman next year but we’re nervous,” she said.

Recruitment costs more than just a salary. “For a small business like mine, it’s the time it takes to train someone up, particularly at a time when existing staff are already stretched to the max,” she said. “Also, there’s the worry of getting the wrong person. That has a much bigger impact on a small company than it would on a big one.”

If and when she does identify the right candidate, she faces a further challenge: how to compete against bigger companies that have deeper pockets.

“The best way we can compete is with flexibility,” she said “Nine times out of ten, the people we take on here are mothers who want to work in a place that lets them nip out for the school run, or finish early to be with their kids.

“It has helped us find really well qualified staff we wouldn’t otherwise be able to get.”