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Advice - Spice Girls, Football & "The Rock"

by Max Jones / Friday 17th February 2017


There’s literally advice out there for everything isn’t there? There’s advice online about “what to do when you have no wifi” OR “what to do when your bored at home” & even “how to get a rhino to walk down stairs”.

And over the last 13 years, SSG have seen their fair share of recruitment problems & solutions. With that in mind, I thought I’d give some advice around some of the most frequent questions we get from our budding recruitment entrepreneurs & see if any of you out there can relate?

If Barcelona FC did technical advice…

“In a race between my laptop & a tortoise, the tortoise would win every time. What can I do to speed it up? I’ve bought it a membership to David Lloyd Gym but this doesn’t seem to be working. Help!”

I’m sorry to tell you this, but it may be that even David Lloyds Gym and the famous Stair Master can’t save your laptop now. He’s spent too many long nights & early mornings on your lap, desk & the sofa. Although there may be hope for him yet. No one wants to have the chat with their laptop about their fitness & I appreciate that so surely there’s a better (& less offensive) way to speed the little fella up!

First off, I would check you haven’t got any nasties that might be slowing him down – run a malware scan (free download available on their website www.malwarebytes.org/) to check there are no suspicious malware or spyware present. Don’t be surprised if you find some, you never know where your laptops been after you go to bed. After, I would suggest using an anti-virus programme to scan again & to give him ongoing protection. There are plenty of free ones available such as Avast or AVG.

Now that we are happy he’s clean (& we’ve managed to avoid Rebab for the young laptop!) we can have a good tidy up. This could range from just deleting a few unwanted files or performing a full system wipe (but remember once it’s gone its gone, so make sure to back it up!). If the problem persists, I would suggest taking him (albeit kicking and screaming) to the local computer repair shop for a full inspection of his hardware.

Of course at SSG we’d do this for all our ventures, we’ve dealt with our fair share of hardware problems in the past & we even offer a Laptop getaway spa package for all “unfit” laptops (Disclaimer: one of these is untrue).

“I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want…a decent accountant”
If Accountant Spice existed…

“I know every 3 months I have to call my mother-in-law, but should I be doing my VAT return too?”

Now I’m not saying have a schedule for calling your spouse’s mother, I’ve tried it & they soon cotton on to the predictability of the phone calls and the relationship is never quite the same. However in regards to VAT, in the majority of cases, HMRC like predictability. In fact, generally speaking, they love it! So much so that they make the VAT return date every quarter. The way it works is VAT returns are due quarterly but the frequency and/or due dates are dictated by HMRC. When you register your recruitment business (or any business really!), HMRC provides you with an effective date (essentially the date you will start being charged for VAT). Much like when your mother-in-law starts scheduling coffee catch-ups moments after you and your spouse get married (if it hasn’t happened to you, it probably will).

From identifying your VAT quarters, to physically doing your VAT returns & calculations for HMRC, SSG have always found that the whole process can be pretty gruelling & alien to most recruiters, would you agree? If it doesn’t start with a “P” and end in a “ment” is it really number 1 on a recruiters list? I doubt it very seriously & much like missing a coffee catch-up with your mother-in-law, it’s easy to get behind on your VAT returns. & while pleading ignorant to one of them may work 99% of the time, when it comes to the other it works 0% of the time (in other words HMRC can’t be won over by the age old “I make your child happy” speak).

For more information about VAT returns I would suggest jumping onto Gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/vat-returns/overview) for a VAT explanation not juxtaposed with mother-in-law analogies.

“The best things in life are free, now that I’ve discovered what Job boards mean to me”
If Janet Jackson worked for SSG…

“I have huge respect for my main girl Janet Jackson, but I’m not 100% sure that was the right lyric…”

Now unfortunately Janet Jackson, when producing her hit single in 1992 “The best things in life are free”, wasn’t 100% appreciative of us recruiters out there. Generally speaking in regards to Job boards out there, we’ve found that you do “get what you pay for”, as cliché as it sounds. However there are some weird & wonderful free job boards out there that can be a great way of cost-effectively improving your job coverage & getting your brand “out there”. 

One of the most popular free job boards out there is Indeed (https://www.indeed.co.uk/), this offers both free adverts & free access to their CV database. Now yes there is the ability to have some sponsored adverts on Indeed, and if you exceed a certain number of adverts posted they do come & “suggest” you start using sponsored adverts but in the main the job board is free & in our experience has been a good board considering the obvious cost-effectiveness!

For more information on this I would suggest jumping onto the Indeed website to have a look around & see if Janet Jackson may have actually been writing in 1992 with us recruiters in mind!

“Show me the money Mr Client”
Sometimes you’ve got to get a little Jerry Maguire on people…

“Your client won’t pay, what you do? (Before you call “the boys” of course…)”

So before you hit up your boys & ask them politely to go sort Mr. Client out, and by your boys of course I mean Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Mark Wahlberg & Ted (yes the teddy bear, I don’t know about you but I would not want to mess with him!), I would suggest going through some slightly more “rational” alternatives first.

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s no fun, but sometimes you got to keep your sensible hat on don’t you?!
Tricky clients are just part of the recruiting game. After all it’s a dangerous game we play & while the rewards can be high, the buzz euphoric and the incentive schemes to die for, it’s a dual-edged sword that can be riddled with frustration, more frustration and well more frustration.

For us at SSG, we have our very own Dwayne “the four stage process” Johnson way of getting the money from the clients our recruiters have been working with:

1) Do you have signed terms in place that clearly state that the client has to pay within an agreed timescale. If you are confident that the terms have been signed by the right person and cover the situation you are in now, then that’s Stage 1 complete.

2) You may then have to write to Mr. Client pointing them to the signed payment terms & then giving them a very reasonable 5 days to pay (or you’ll call Mr. Johnson).

3) If, despite you writing to the client, no payment is made we then tend to help our recruiters send a 7-day letter which is a pre-action letter warning the client that if they don’t pay, our client will consider legal action.

4) If they still don’t talk to you, you have one of two options. Number 1 call “the boys” & get your money one way or another for sure, or number 2 consider court action. Of course we would suggest the more reserved option, & just in case that isn’t clear – Number 2…! Often we find number 2 & the issuing of the claim is enough to elicit payment, whereas sending Dwayne Johnson round…well havoc might ensue!

Closing thoughts

I hope that this (if not all, then some, if not some, then at least the bit about “Techie-Taka” football) is useful for those recruiters out there potentially debating going it alone & starting this very own recruitment businesses.

The irony is, in our experiences, it does not tend to be the physical recruiting that deters people from starting their own business, but the business side of business ownership! & from an SSG standpoint, that’s where we have& hope to counite to add the most value we can.