How to Recruit Trades People

23 November 2015

Your own blood, sweat and tears, you can’t do it all by yourself. Growth is inevitably followed by the need to recruit, and you have to be able to trust the people that work for you.

Your staff are the customer-facing part of your business, and how they perform, behave and work is how you will be perceived in the wider world. Get the right team and the business will go from strength to strength. Recruit poorly and you’ll be fighting an uphill battle.

In this guide we’ll cover everything you need to know about recruiting staff, including:

1 2 3 4

What to look for in staff

What qualifications?

Where to recruit

How to interview

qualities for good

why bits of paper

the best places
to find good staff

what you really
need to know

What to look for in a staff Your legal responsibilities Tax and benefits Training

Getting references

Your legal responsibilities

Tax and benefits


a touch of the personal

how to make it all legal

the financial side of taking on staff

how training improves your workforce

The Perfect Employee: What To Look For in New Recruits

However, it’s key that you employ the right kind of person for this to work. Recruiting staff who understand how the company works, its philosophy and who share the ethics and values is the best way to create a core team.As we’ve stressed above, you can’t underestimate the importance of good staff. You can’t be a one man band and do everything yourself, but the way you run the company and principles you instil in your staff can have an effect. Set an example and your staff will follow your lead.

According to Forbes Magazine, often known as the ‘Bible of Capitalism’, employees should all possess the seven Cs. These are:

1 2 3 4





do they have the
necessary skills?

will they be able
to deliver above and
beyond expectation?

can they get along
with colleagues?

are they serious about
the long-term?

6 7 5




are they the kind of person you can work with?

do they fit with the values of your company?

are you sure they’re happy with the terms of


You can read the whole Forbes article here.

The Right Bits of Paper: Qualifications Matter

If you look at the competency criteria from the above list, you may wonder how it is possible to know if a potential employee has the right skills to do the job. The only sure-fire way of knowing is if they have the right qualifications.

Are they able to prove they have the necessary skill set through producing the relevant qualifications? In the UK there are a number of core trade qualifications that show employees have the required skills.


National Vocational Qualifications can be achieved in a variety of trade skills, including electrics, plumbing, construction and more. For a full list of available courses and further details, visit:


For more information about the qualifications offered by City & Guilds, a global leader in skills development, you can learn more at:


Apprenticeships can be offered, meaning you take on staff and train them on the job, while they are assessed on site by the relevant authorities. It’s a great way to invest in people and train staff in the way you want them to work but does require time and effort.

Discovering Gold: Where to Recruit

Now you know what to look for, you just need to know where to find it. This is the tricky part but there are plenty of places you can go to source potential staff.


Ask about – friends, family and colleagues may know
of someone looking for a career change of with the right experience. This is a great way of sourcing staff as you can get personal recommendations.


You could use professional recruiters but these are
limited in the trades and canbe costly. There are free means to advertise vacancies, such as the Government’s Universal Jobmatch platform:


Go online – advertise on sites such as and


Centres of education – as we mentioned above,
qualifications are important so why not go straight to the source and find candidates there?
Local NVQ and C&G centres will have notice boards to advertise or talk to teaching staff about the opportunities on offer.

Ask the Right Questions: What to ask at the Interview

Bizarrely, conducting an interview can be just as stressful as being on the receiving end. If you’ve no formal training in interviewing staff, it can be hard to know the right questions to ask


Use the time to try and get to know the person, and create an atmosphere where they feel comfortable, as you’re much more likely to get a glimpse of the real potential. They probably shouldn’t but appearances matter, as do first impressions.

There are certain questions you can ask which can elicit very revealing answers. These include:


What frustrates you?

it gives an insight into what
happens when it doesn’t
go as planned


Where do you see yourself in five years?

the classic question about
commitment and


Why should we hire you?

if they don’t know,
how are you expected to?

8 For a full list of pertinent questions to ask,
check out this blog.

Get a refeeree: Why a personal endorsement matters

Aside from qualifications, which prove a candidate has the right skills to carry out the job, it’s left up to the interview and your personal judgement to make the call. As much as you might like to think you’re a good judge of character, we all make mistakes or can be deceived.

That’s why getting a reference from a former employer, teacher or personal contact can help you to ensure you’re making the right decision. It can be
a bit of a pain but it’s well worth it in the long run.



8 If you need any further convincing, read this article

Keep it legal: Your responsibilities as an employer

It’s not quite as simple as placing an advert, hiring an employee and getting the job done. There are all sorts of legal requirements in place to protect both you and your staff. Here’s what you need to know.


You must ensure you are paying them at least the National Minimum Wage to comply with employment law article

They must have the legal right to work in the UK.
You can find out the requirements at:


You need to make sure that you have employers liability insurance in case anything should happen
to your staff or you are the subject of legal action. We can’t stress how important this is. Find out more by visiting

You also need to register as an employer with HMRC so that the relevant taxes
are paid. You can do that at


Tax and benefits: Making sure everyone gets what they’re owed

As we’ve touched on above, you need to register with HMRC to make sure you and your staff are paying the relevant income taxes. This is your responsibility as an employer and you could face fines if you’re not adhering to the law.

However, there are also some tax expenses in place for those who employ staff.  This often includes:



Company Cars

Health Insurance






Discover more about your responsibilities at

The success train: Why training really matters

Give your staff the opportunity to learn and they will be happier in the workplace. Studies have shown that a content workforce can be up to 20% more productive than the base rate. Try to make improvements like this in other areas and you’ll see what a big difference this can make.
Once you’ve found the right staff team or employees, you need to think about training. Not only does this create a better staff team, it shows that you value their development and future with the company. Better trained staff are more likely to stay longer, and reduced turnover improves consistency and keeps costs down.


There’s more information about staff training at


Recruitment doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful and the right staff team is out there, it’s all a question of tapping into this resource. Follow the advice of the above guide, click on the links for more detailed information, and you can find out everything you need to know about the recruitment process.

The growth of your company depends on your ability to recruit the best people, so it’s really important stuff to know.

By Dean Taylor

Back in 2010, Dean's building business was growing. He was doing great work, making people happy and enjoying being his own boss – but he was worn out. Not by the graft, but by the piles of paperwork taking up every evening. So, he got together with his cousin Adam, a web developer, and came up with a simple way to solve the problem – and help a whole load of other tradespeople too. They called it YourTradebase. Try it for yourself with a free 14 day trial. No strings. No credit card needed.

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