Archive for the ‘Applicant tracking’ Category

Five Years of PPS- a Recruitment Triumph

Friday, June 6th, 2014
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Reaching the milestone of five years after an MBO was a natural time for reflection.

PPS in 2009 was a great place to work, and we worked hard for our clients- some things never change! But of course, with time, not everything stays the same; there have been many, many proud moments, some setbacks… and a lot of fun.

What have I learned in the last five years?

That having a strong team with shared values and behaviours is absolutely essential – any success without this won’t be long lasting.

Celebrating 5 years of PPS

Celebrating 5 years of PPS

Have you heard of the concept of Manifest Destiny? It is a belief that was held by early pioneers in America who conquered the west of the country. They shared a sense of mission and an absolute belief in their destiny.  As I look on with pride at what we have achieved and indeed conquered over the past 5 years, I am reminded of Manifest Destiny.

I see that same confidence and pride in our team today as they suggest and deliver results using different methods and systems.  Ultimately, to find better people that will stay longer may sometimes require disruption of the status quo.  It certainly requires the ability to understand and embrace the latest thinking in recruitment whether it’s video interviewing or analysing data to understand themes and trends that could give advantage to a client.

What changes have I seen in recruitment? In short, a lot!  Five years is a long time in any industry.  In 2009 ATS systems were still not necessarily the norm for every business.  Their application tended to be focussed on how to manage the volume applications that many recruitment teams struggled with.  Social media was a new and quite trendy way of tapping into another attraction stream – but rarely used to engage and build connections for the future.  What we are seeing today though is the application of these methods and systems for the future-proofing of talent.

Successful recruiters know that it’s not enough nowadays to just know where to advertise or what job boards you can direct source on – that’s just one piece of a much bigger solution.  Candidate engagement, talent pools and clear understanding of your employer value proposition is essential.

Now we have to ask ourselves more questions than ever. Why do people leave?  How do you keep in touch with them? How do you measure the quality of the people you do hire? And it’s important to remember that sometimes, to move things on, you have to pose difficult questions.

For example, the rate of mobile applications is staggering.  How will jobseekers apply for jobs in another five years?  You can order pizzas, and arrange a date on your phone – but you can’t always tell a company you’re interested in working for them!

Recruitment keeps us on our toes and that is why it’s so exciting to celebrate 5 years of success and look forward to many more.

What advice would I give to someone else starting in recruitment?

Be nosy, be bold, don’t be afraid to challenge and question how things are done and always, always have fun while you’re doing it.

Amanda Marques Written by Amanda Marques, Director/ Owner PPS Works

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Let’s give up bad recruitment for Lent.

Friday, March 14th, 2014
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9 days in, and after the post-bloating of Pancake Day, I hope everyone who’s participating, is settling in to their yearly regimes of giving up a treat for the religious holiday.

Chocolate is a popular choice to give up for Lent. As recruiters, what practices can we give up to make our recruitment processes better?

Chocolate is a popular choice to give up for Lent. As recruiters, what practices can we give up to make our recruitment processes better?

Research by the ever-scientific and always accurate Daily Mail has shown that giving up can be a very rewarding process. It claims  people could save up to £18,425 if they gave up chocolate, cigarettes, alcohol and coffee every year during lent.

So, if holding back on the occasional Dairy Milk can save thousands of pounds, surely giving up on poor recruitment processes can do the same?

What do we need to give up (not just for lent) in recruitment?

1. Give up on not using an Applicant Tracking System

You’re falling over piles of applications that came through the post and email. You have spread sheets overwhelming your desktop. Why then, would you not streamline the process by using an ATS?

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software package which allows electronic handling in a recruitment environment. At PPS, we use our own in-house recruitment system (MORS)  which shapes and moulds to the needs of our clients. More importantly, our technology delivers information that matters – just take a look at what our technology does for Turning Point‘s recruitment process.

Our software doesn’t hold us back like that obligatory chocolate bar and the yearly “summer diet” – it grows with us.

Using an ATS will save you valuable time and money, as well as improve your candidate’s experience through timely responses and efficient processes. So give up doing it alone!

2. Give up on disliking social media.

LinkedIn screenshot

Give up avoiding social media as a recruiter this Lent.

You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating. Social media is a tool with endless possibilities. So, take the time to figure out how social media can fit into your recruitment campaigns. If not used effectively, you could be limiting the amount of  applications you receive by a serious percentage. Take the time to understand the inner workings of Twitter, Tweetdeck, Facebook and LinkedIn and use that as your ‘giving up on being old fashioned’ for lent.

3. Give up on poor candidate experience

Candidates have a choice to be an employee, as much as you have the choice to employ them! The impact of a negative candidate experience resonates far beyond the candidate experiencing it – your brand and future talent pools are also at risk of the wrath of negative word of mouth. So, this Lent give up on delivering poor candidate experiences.

It’s time to show a bit more affection towards your candidates. Use an automated service, like PPS’ MORS to send text messages, helpful hints and tips and refined interview questions at the click of a button. Engage online platforms such as Google Hangouts to encourage active candidate participation. Or simply, call candidates back when you said you would and stop them from having a better relationship with your voice mail service than you.

So, they were our top three things to stop doing for your recruitment life – and for lent – which overall should save you time and money. What would you suggest?

yammaWritten by Hannah Adkins, aspiring author and guest blogger for PPS.

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PPS celebrates 2 years of recruitment with Turning Point!

Friday, February 14th, 2014
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All around the world today, people everywhere will be celebrating their relationships.

And here at PPS, we’re no different. Except, it is a different type of “ship” we’re celebrating. A partnership.

PPS Turning Point recruitment

PPS and Turning Point celebrate their two year recruitment partnership today!


Two years ago today, began our recruitment partnership with Turning Point – one of the UK’s leading Health and Social Care organisations. Since then, by Turning Point’s own admission, we have become, “an integral part” of their HR team. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a time when PPS did not fully manage Turning Point’s recruitment function.

When the idea of working together first surfaced, Turning Point were on the hunt for a partner who was as forward-thinking as they were.

They wanted a “one-stop end-to-end” service for their recruitment managers and candidates alike.

They didn’t just want quality hires – they wanted meaningful recruitment data and a sophisticated applicant tracking system along with it too.

Looking back so far, we’d like to think we’re achieving this – and more (click to enlarge):



Aside from the facts and figures, here’s what the people at both PPS and Turning Point had to say:

 Melissa Moore, Recruiting Partner at Turning Point:

“PPS have worked hard to ensure the service they provide is suited to both the organisation and the applicants. We now have a seamless process that makes the PPS recruitment team an integral part of the wider HR team. PPS provide essential management information to both recruiting managers locally and senior stakeholders within Turning Point making them not only a resourcing partner but a strategic one too. The team are fantastic and are very flexible with their approach to our recruitment.

Dave Beesley, Account Manager at PPS:

“The partnership between PPS and Turning Point has grown from strength to strength over the past 2 years. The key to our partnership so far is our shared desire to constantly evolve and improve as the recruitment world changes. Turning Point is an aspirational organisation – passionate about the service they provide. We share that passion about recruitment here at PPS – and that’s important. Ultimately, we are very proud of our partnership with Turning Point, and I am really excited about the future.”

Here’s to a fruitful two years and many more to come, Turning Point!

Want to know more about the recruitment partnerships we share with our clients? Get in touch, tweet us, or chat to us on our LinkedIn page – we would love to hear from you!

Megha Sthankiya Marketing Executive at PPSWritten by Megha Sthankiya, Marketing Executive at PPS

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Putting the Human back into Recruitment

Friday, December 6th, 2013
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Technology, hey?

It has advanced so much in recent years that, with it, our lives have transformed along the way. You only have to watch this video to see my point. Here; a baby, so intuitively in-sync with her iPad, the mere action of turning a page in a magazine is foreign.

TIDES of Change outlines five disruptive forces shaping the new world of work

TIDES of Change outlines five disruptive forces shaping the new world of work

This week, two of our colleagues delivered an insightful presentation around the TIDES of Change theory and Disruptive Forces that affect our world of work.

Whilst technology was unsurprisingly, a key focus of the presentation, the most important takeaway was the idea that the human element is still vital. This is even more imperative in the recruiting world, where every day we are in contact with – wait for it, real people – and not iPads or smartphones (despite all the voicemails you’ve left over the years). Real people, who are looking to make changes in something that’s personal to them – their careers.

Undoubtedly, technology at PPS is essential to the work we do. Our tailor-made MORS system allows both us and our clients to have full control over the recruitment process and deliver a fair and consistent process for all candidates.

However, the vital part of our work doesn’t come from intricate coding. It comes from communication. It comes from the creativity, intuition, professionalism and empathy of our recruiters. Real, human communication and a supportive recruitment process that means that we get feedback like this from candidates:

“I’ve never come across a company so committed to getting the right staff that they walk you through every step of the recruitment process. Keep up the good work.”

“Every time I contacted the recruitment team, I felt welcomed and never felt an inconvenience – they were extremely helpful and friendly.”

Technology continues to evolve every day, and its role in today’s business cannot be denied. However, amidst these advances, it is even more of a necessity that we retain the human element in all we do.

How do you use technology in the recruitment process?

Comment below, tweet us, chat to us on our LinkedIn page – we would love to hear from you!

Megha Sthankiya Marketing Executive at PPSWritten by Megha Sthankiya, Marketing Executive at PPS

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Guest Blog: How much do lost candidates cost your organisation?

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
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Chris Gunn is an HR professional specialising in resourcing, talent management and learning and development.  Her recent experience includes working for one of the UK’s largest forecourt retailers.    In this blog, Chris talks about her experience of implementing Moodle for on-boarding and learning management.  

After an average of 6 weeks to fill a vacancy, at a median cost of £8.3K for senior managers/directors and £2.5K for others (according to the CIPD’s 2011

Moodle Learning Centre

Moodle Learning Centre

resourcing and Talent Planning survey), losing a candidate due to start with your organisation or a newly recruited employee, undoubtedly has enormous implications for an organisation and its reputation.

We need to think about the effectiveness of on-boarding in our businesses – both before and when a new colleague starts. 65% of organisations say they start on-boarding before a candidate’s start date, with only 25% saying they start on Day 1. A third of organisations’ on-boarding scheme lasts between 1-4 weeks, whilst 25% say the duration is over 3 months. Whatever the optimum for your organisation, you need to ensure it is as effective as possible.

A forth coming acquisition of our business made us think again about developing effective on-boarding for our new organisation. Our goals for on-boarding were to:

  • ensure employees were engaged with the company culture
  • align them with the priorities and goals of the organisation
  • ensure employees had the key knowledge to perform quickly in their roles

Part of the company acquisition meant we were to acquire a new Learning Management System (LMS). We looked to choose one which would support us as part of our on-boarding activity. We selected Moodle – a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Moodle is a popular tool among educators and employers, for creating online dynamic websites for their colleagues or students.

As a replacement for our old e-learning system, Moodle would form part of our on-boarding process. It offered our company a new and improved way to manage and promote learning, which established our newly formed commitment to continuous colleague development.

Moodle was rolled out to 4,000 users, employees (permanent and fixed term), agency temps and externals to our business. By utilising its security features, we could customise access control for different groups. Furthermore, its customisation features allowed us to tailor various learning and teaching styles for colleagues with different needs. Through activity modules such as forums, databases and wikis, we built collaborative communities of learning around key subject matters. Through videos, assignments and quizzes, we delivered content and assessed learners.

Moodle essentially become a one stop shop for all colleagues’ e-learning information and needs through the employee lifecycle, in an easy to use friendly format.

For those new to the company, a new and improved modular on-boarding induction programme, Step to Success, was made available. Steps to Success allowed managers the opportunity to develop and enhance the performance of their team whenever a training need was identified. A How2 section was also created and easily accessed via the intranet, providing a hot spot of information to all colleagues. Our “Message board”, where course availability and cut-off dates were communicated to all, ensured that colleagues were always informed of training options, which ultimately helped to achieve a higher retention rate. To compliment colleague training courses, team training blogs were set up and frequently updated.

Monitoring the on-boarding programme feedback and new colleague turnover allowed us to proactively and reactively adjust to any feedback or issues that arose. With the correct tools and planning in place, you will be able to do just that; plus reduce the costs of losing new employees from your business.

So, here’s our question to you: are you sure your on-boarding programmes are effective?

Written by Chris Gunn, EDF Energy.

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University and A Level Results – is not going to Uni the way forward?

Friday, August 16th, 2013
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A-level results came out yesterday and the news was a wave of happy/sad students full of the joys of going to a university or debating whether to make graduate_grouptheir way into the world of work.

Congratulations to all students – let the next chapter commence!

But is university the only option? Site has told the Recruiter today that applications on the site that specialises in promoting apprenticeships, jobs and training, have doubled.

Why? They say it’s parental advice.

The Managing Director, Spencer Mehlman claims that at the careers events where exhibit, parents are now ‘dragging’ their kids over. He considers the economic downfall, the rise in tuition fees and the graduate unemployement rate to be factors in this new trend.

Our sister company, had this to say:

There are many options for students – be it an apprenticeship scheme, further education or work.  We often find that people misinterpret the point of university; the whole idea is to increase your employability in your chosen field, but there are many other avenues, so encourage your friends and family to try and find the one for them! One example is the increase in Industrial Placements. We pride ourselves in helping students from all economic and social backgrounds find placement opportunities and this is a way of incorporating working ethic, experience and employability skills into a degree for some students.

Here at PPS, we recruit graduates, apprentices and industrial placement students for a variety of sectors. The ROI on this type of recruitment is massive; graduates, students and apprentices are an investment into the future growth of your organisation. That’s why we utilise more than 20 years of recruiting experience to find the crop of tomorrow’s talent for our clients.

For more information about applying to any of our services, contact us on 0121 713 8320, or alternatively visit out website.

yammaWritten by Hannah Adkins, Marketing Executive at PPS; 

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How Candidates Can Perform at Strength Based Interviews

Friday, July 5th, 2013
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The strengths-based approach aims to be positive and engaging. Its aim is to offer genuine insights into candidates’ innate aptitudes. Recruiters feel nothing is more revealing about who you are than what you enjoy doing. Strength-based interviews are a new approach that graduate recruiters are moving towards as a way of assessing candidates for job vacancies. Competency-based interviews focus upon your ability and how

Find out the strength of your candidates.

Find out the strength of your candidates.

you react in certain circumstances, however strengths-based interviews focus on what you enjoy doing.

Recruiters are turning towards strengths-based interviews because it appears to be a solution to candidates turning up to interviews with well-rehearsed answers making it a challenge for employers to find out what applicants were really like and what excited them in the workplace.

The questions in a strengths-based interview will take a wide-ranging approach to assessing your personal attributes. Interviewers will focus upon identifying your abilities, such as working with others and analysing problems, or look for the pride in what you do. They will take also assess your body language and tone of voice, and may also ask questions relatively quickly in order to get a genuine response.

How do I prepare?

The theory behind strengths interviewing is based on positive psychology: everyone has strengths they are born with but few people know what these are. By identifying your strengths and matching yourself to the role, you will enjoy it more and perform better that those who have to try hard to fill the role.

You can identify your strengths by thinking about the below points:

•             What am I good at?

•             What comes easily to me?

•             When am I at my best?

•             What do I learn quickly?

•             What subjects do I most enjoy studying?

•             What gives me energy / do I enjoy doing?

•             Describe a successful day you have had.

•             When have you achieved something you are really proud of?

Consider the academic achievements and extracurricular activities you included on your CV or online application form. Think about what you most enjoyed, and why. When were you most engaged? What did you take most pride in?

You should also find out more about the company and if this is the right company for you in line with your strengths, ask yourself will the job use your strengths and allow you to use your natural talents?

We would love to hear from anyone that has experienced this approach to interview as opposed to a competency based interview. What are your views?

louWritten by Louise Birch, Account Manager at PPS Works.

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What are your employees true reasons for leaving?

Friday, June 21st, 2013
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We are living in a world where budgets are getting smaller and we are encouraged to tighten our belts. We demand more from our suppliers and if we could drive down costs by recruiting less frequently – how much money and time would that save?

We have all been in that situation when a member of staff resigns and your initial reaction is: “I need to find a replacement and quick.”blog

We start to look in our talent pools, speak to HR about finding a replacement and engage with suppliers. We focus so much on finding a replacement that we often forget to really explore the reasons why they are leaving – and to be prepared to accept an answer which may not be the truth.

So ask yourself a question – if you were asked why you are leaving by the person whose relationship with you had made you consider leaving, would you feel comfortable telling them the whole truth (and nothing but the truth)? Especially when you consider that they will be supplying your next employer with a reference?

It is vital to know why people are leaving so issues can be addressed and trends analysed. But if the data collected is not accurate, you could be addressing a problem that does not really exist, or not solving anything.

A solution to this is an exit interview with an external company as this can help a leaver give their true reasons about leaving, allowing HR to address any issues.

Some of our clients have been able to stop people leaving by addressing concerns that we have raised to them. Over time this could help reduce staff turnover and in turn this could help reduce recruitment costs.

What are your thoughts? Are exit interviews a worthwhile investment?

reiteenWritten by Reiteen Ladwa, Account Manager at PPS Works.

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Recruiting in a Changing World – GUEST BLOG – Abeo Verto

Friday, June 7th, 2013
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Richard Gotch, Director  of Abeo Verto, who are experts in helping businesses evolve successfully, talks about what organisations should be recruiting for in the shift from Generation X, to Y and then to Z.


Within organisations there is a shift of talent from Generation X to Y to Z. This got me thinking about the question, what should organisations be recruiting for – today’s or for its future requirements?


Generation X, Y and Z

For me the answer is clear - organisations should be recruiting for the future.  If an organisation is focused on recruiting for the future – they need a clear strategy, that is, to know where they are going in the future. Some Chinese Companies set 20 year strategies which they review and amend along the way. Dr. Alison Eyring reported that attracting, selecting, developing and retaining talent played a key role in each growth story of a number of Chinese businesses and was by far the largest interview theme.

James Kerr wrote an article suggesting that a new kind of Organisational Design and operating model will exist in organisations by 2020.

He believes a networked organisational design is the next evolutionary step for today’s “matrixed” organisation replacing the current common pyramid structure. To attract, develop and retain the best talent in the future organisations need to make a conscious effort to create a culture that is attractive to Generation Y and X personnel, including:

  • Increasing employee-based ownership to keep them interested
  • Harnessing the growing use of social networks within the workplace to meet more sophisticated ways to “stay connected.”
  • Allowing workforce fluidity by reducing the need for physical location dependence and establishing remote work locations
  • Offering more “tailor-able” and enhanced “lifestyle” benefits to employees such as childcare and eldercare offerings in benefit packages
  • Encouraging customer participation in business decisions as younger consumer continue to call for a “Voice” about products and services

However this will cause some internal wrangles when for example Generation X struggle to meet Generation Y and Z requirements, where self-disciplined teams become more prominent and begin to replace command and control structures, projects are managed via Agile methods and not traditional Waterfall methodology. Ambiguity becomes the norm, which isn’t punished but encouraged to foster creativity in the workplace. In my article I highlight how Generation Z are knocking on the door and demanding an even faster pace of change. You can see this today by comparing Apple and Samsung’s product offerings to the demise of Nokia and RIM (Blackberry). Even the workplace of today is different to how it was 10 years ago, check out this article – 5 Ways the Workforce Has Evolved by Raechel Logan.

Hence correct organisational alignment is critical. This is well demonstrated by McKinsey’s 7S Model which shows how inexplicitly linked tasks and activities are to the strategy set, if they are not aligned it can create a huge risk to the organisation being able to deliver on the strategy. (More can be read about the McKinsey 7S Model here.

Written by Richard Gotch, Director of Abeo Verto.

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‘I want to feel the love!’ Candidate experience in recruitment.

Friday, May 24th, 2013
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What communication do you send to your candidates when they apply for a job with you?

Job search

How do you treat your applicants?

Are you proud to boast that they represent your organisation in a great light, and give applicants a great experience of your employer brand?

Often your candidates are also your customers, yet for many organisations they are not afforded the same consideration as a customer would, and we’re not sure why.

We often hear that the ‘volume of applications doesn’t allow us to respond to every applicant – we don’t have time’. Yet organisations expect candidates to take time out of their busy lives to fill in applications forms and answer questions, so these people can be left deflated by the experience and with a negative impression.


Here at PPS we carefully manage our client’s employer brand by ensuring that ALL candidates receive communications at every step of the recruitment process. We really don’t think it’s hard to do this, our systems are automated on candidate sifting to send the appropriate email or text, however, the communications that do go out are personalised and provide either a thank you or update to those candidates who do apply.

We survey applicants and ask about their recruitment experiences – we want to ensure that we exceed their expectations from a recruitment team.

Here’s the feedback we have received:

“I have been amazed by the application process and how friendly the staff have been, setting a very high bar on what to expect from the brand. If this is just the start I cannot wait to see what working for you is like”

“The whole process throughout has been very simple and has been organised with great thought and depth. It just shows how much COMPANY puts into the recruitment process”

“I had regular contact from the recruitment team. I knew exactly where I stood at each stage of the process”

Regular contact was received and made me feel that the COMPANY realty were interested in my application”


debsWritten by Debs Edmondson, Major Accounts Director at PPS Works.

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