Archive for the ‘IT at PPS’ Category

What’s wrong with your careers website?

Friday, April 4th, 2014
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Long gone are the days where you sent your CV via letter, pigeon or a very enthusiastic owl. Candidates expect so much more from a company careers website now.  And in an ever-advancing world, their expectations should be met.

Let’s break down the numbers. In 2013, only 4% of all people who browsed the internet stayed on one page longer than ten minutes. Research at PPS shows the average stay on a website is often less than two minutes. That means if your guest does not find what they are looking for in seconds – they will go elsewhere.

So, here is your challenge. Pull up your careers site.  You have one minute to show me why I should spend two hours filling out your application form.

If you are struggling, you are part of a large percentage of companies who need to re-haul their careers pages.

So – what can you do to make your website sticky? Easy, give them what they want.

Look at the following examples. Remember the golden rule: if your careers site does not hook people within a few minutes, you’re doing it wrong.

1 -    Create easy to view content with lists

Who doesn’t like a good list?  Websites are no longer streams of text. Create a list with effective reasons to click ‘apply’ like Adobe:

Adobe's careers website

Adobe’s careers website







Adobe uses simple imagery and words like ‘great, transformative, endless, powerful’ to prove that this is where candidates should aspire to work. A website that uses the word ‘transformative’ without me wanting to turn to my book of ‘made up words that companies use’? Brilliant.

2 -    Relate to your company culture.

If you pride yourself in a relaxed company atmosphere, strong internal communications or just have a really nice set of desk lamps, then tell the prospective candidates through the tone of your advert. The Onion’s satirical wit may not work for all companies, but why not reflect your company’s ethos in the advert? Who said that adverts have to be serious?

Look at this sparkling ad for Listening Intern at The Onion:

The Onion's job advert for a "Listening Intern" position

The Onion’s job advert for a “Listening Intern” position














3 –      Be transparent.

How many more images of “friendly smiling woman running with briefcase” will we have to submit our eyes to? The era of transparency is upon us; do not ruin your website with fake images.

Take housing association, Wandle, for example, who enlisted us and employer branding agency, Peter’s Fox, to create their careers website. No long-winded baffle or random office images here – just authentic shots of people who actually work at Wandle. The result? A careers website that is true to Wandle’s brand and employee culture.

And consider Google’s use of their own Headquarters in their imagery. OK, perhaps your office may not be quite like Google, but it is far more interesting to a prospective candidate than perfect teeth and awkward poses.

Life at Google uses a number of images from Google's offices

Life at Google uses a number of images from Google’s offices








4 –   Hit the checklist

Finally, work through the following checklist. Have you:

  • Posted your jobs on your own company website, or made it easy to reach your careers site from your website?
  • Posted your jobs on social media?
  • Reduced the amount of text on your site to a minimum, whilst still giving candidates important information?
  • Used clear and friendly text which mirrors brand voice and company culture?
  • Engaged your candidates socially through ‘share’ buttons?
  • Used quotes from current employees, videos, games and other media to create a hub of vital information?
  • Made it very, almost painfully, easy to apply?

Once you have checked off this list, you’re on your way to career website awesomeness!

What does your careers website looks like? How effective a recruitment tool is it? Here at PPS, we create career websites for several of our clients. Take a look at the careers website we created for Wandle, in partnership with Peter’s Fox.  Interested in finding out more? Get in touch.

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

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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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Zero hours, mentoring and Boris Johnson – a review of recruitment in 2013

Friday, January 10th, 2014
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A quick review of 2013 from the point of view of a recruiter, entrepreneur, and ‘always wanted to be ‘politician.

Recruitment politics was dominated throughout most of the year by the Zero hour contract debate.

What a distraction!

When politicians know so little about a specific area that you happen to know a lot about, and are clearly only interested in sound bites and point scoring, you realise this is probably how they manage everything else they are supposed to be looking after for us – including the economy, immigration, and transport (see London Airport and HS2 debates).

Zero hours was a key talking point in recruitment in 2013.

Zero hours was a key talking point in recruitment in 2013.

When it comes to zero hour contracts, it would be far more appropriate to focus on low pay, skills development and lowest cost commissioning by Local Authorities. Zero hour contracts are prevalent in the Care & Support industry. Instead of looking to ban them, we need to debate whether we want some of the lowest paid members of our society to be those who care for us in our old age, or special need. Moreover, how we can ever guarantee quality in such an environment remains to be seen.

I spent a small amount of 2013 mentoring members of the younger generation, on employment and their future careers. Thanks to the CIPD for enabling me to get involved in what has been a rewarding experience working with secondary school students and new graduates.

What is clear from my time spent is the gulf between what they know, and the knowledge they actually need to secure gainful and meaningful employment in the future.  There is a great need to educate the next generation of workers on the basics – such as CVs and interview techniques – but more crucially, on gaining appropriate work experience.

Mentoring was a personal highlight for me in 2013.

Mentoring was a personal highlight for me in 2013.

The demise of a national career service for schools will have a profoundly negative effect. I watched a deputy head – for all his passion for his kids’ futures, explaining the importance of getting the postcode of their school correct on their CVs. Employers who know what really needs to be on a CV need to get involved! Our Social Enterprise endeavours to address some of these issues, but is of course just a drop in the ocean. Many more ventures and schemes like this are needed.

In the autumn of 2013, I started working with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses programme at Aston University. It continues to prove to be an incredible resource for business, and has had a tremendous impact on me and PPS over the last few months of 2013. Developing the vision and strategy for PPS has come at such a timely point given our year of such significant growth. Perhaps, most inspirational has been the opportunity to meet some many other exceptional business leaders from the Midlands, with a few particular stand outs – Byron Dixon (Director of MicroFresh), Richard Barnes (Owner and MD of Select Research Ltd) and Adam Whitehouse (Owner and Founder of TMT First Ltd).

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

I recently went to watch Boris Johnson talk at the London School of Economics (LSE).  He was highly entertaining, but during his 45 minutes, he was unable to be serious once. It is scary to think he could become our next Prime Minister. It was the same week that Nelson Mandela died, who I had also seen talk at the LSE some 10 years ago – there was some difference in what they had to say about their views of the world!

We’ve also been focusing on future leaders at PPS. Our new graduate recruitment programmes continues apace, with our new recruits currently in the middle of a rotation around our business, learning every day how to become recruiting experts.

So what does 2014 have in store?

At PPS we believe that clients will continue to demand enhanced solutions and greater service complexity from their suppliers. From Employee branding and internal referral schemes, through situational judgment questions and strength based interviewing, to on-boarding and initial induction, the profession we are in has changed, is changing, and will continue to change in 2014 and beyond.

Here are a few of my predictions (and goals) for the world of recruiting in 2014:

  • Look out for better career sites, and slicker application processes as the competition for quality staff gets hotter.
  • Clients running large recruitment campaigns will need to offer pre-application interactions including webinars and on-line chat.
  • New options will continue to arise for screening and assessment – audio applications are a favourite of mine.
  • There will be continued academic research into the link between recruitment methods and job performance.
  • Enhanced development of combined temporary and staff bank technology (see how PPS’ MORS system can help you to manage your agency workforce, as well as your in-house bank/ Locums)
  • I will have time to set up and get employers nationwide to giving meaningful careers advice to schools

I hope that 2014 becomes a great year for you all!

What did you think recruitment in 2013? What are your predictions for 2014? Comment below, tweet us, chat to us on our LinkedIn page – we would love to hear from you!

willWritten by Will Shepherd, Director and Owner of PPS

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Going mobile with your recruitment – tricks and tips!

Friday, November 1st, 2013
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Wherever you look, there’s either a smartphone, iPad or similar mobile/tablet device being used. More and more these days, it seems these little gadgets of joy (or nuance, depending on your thoughts on the digital age) are employed in many a job search.

Increasingly, more and more job seekers are turning to their mobiles to find and apply for roles.

Increasingly, more and more job seekers are turning to their mobiles to find and apply for roles.

From the comfort of a sofa or on the bus, every month, around 2.8 million UK job hunters are viewing jobs on-the-go.

So, what does this mean for recruitment and recruiters? Job adverts, vacancies, job boards and career sites alike, need to be as accessible as a smartphone and as finger-tip friendly as an iPad. Here’s some great tips we found on going mobile with your recruitment;

  • Website statistics – How many job seekers are trying to view your careers site from their mobile? What is their current experience if your site is not optimised for mobile? Take a look at your website analytics and see what percentage of visitors are using a mobile device, you might be surprised by the results.
  • Adapt, adapt, adapt! A mobile job seeker will potentially have limited time, limited bandwidth and a small screen to view content. Your mobile-optimised careers site needs to adapt to the device being used, reaching candidates no matter which mobile device they choose.
  • Have you got a job for me? Online job seekers increasingly expect opportunities to appear that are specific to theirsearch. You can use a candidate’s location from their mobile device to highlight opportunities in that area or within a given radius.
  • Simple and easy to use – A candidate is searching your mobile careers site for relevant jobs and expects to see the job listing, description and essential information immediately. Endless searching and scrolling? Within seconds your potential employee has abandoned the site and will be unlikely to return.
  • To apply… just tap, click and submit. Your job descriptions are easy to view, the job seeker is engaged and now wants to apply. Are they able to apply directly from their mobile device? You can provide a simple application form, an apply with LinkedIn button or ask them to submit an email address and a candidate will be sent a link to upload their CV.
  • Being social – Do you give your candidates the ability to “share” your job listings, send to friend via email or share through social networks?
  • Keeping track – Make it easy for a candidate to see how their application is progressing enabling them to track their status from a mobile device.
  • Get in touch – Your contact page should have a direct dial to call the linked recruiter, it is a phone after all!
  • Setting a good impression – Your online and mobile presence can create the first impressions for a prospective candidate. If the recruitment process experience is poor this may impact on their decision to proceed. A mobile-optimised careers site allows candidates to easily navigate and search for jobs and it can also generate more traffic, increase applications and give you an edge over the competition.

Source: Emma Johnson, Hireserve

What are your thoughts on mobile recruitment? Is your recruitment process mobile-friendly? As a recruiter, has there been a rise in the number of mobile applications you receive? How do you ensure your campaigns attract the mobile generation?

Share your thoughts with us – comment below, Tweet us. discuss with us on LinkedIn. If you’d like to find out how you could go mobile with your recruitment, get in touch with us here.

Written by Megha Sthankiya, 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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Video Interviewing – the future of recruitment?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013
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We chatted to our Graduate Recruiter, Loretta, about how video interviewing is used here at PPS. Have a look and see what she said!

Written and edited by Hannah Adkins, Marketing Executive at PPS Works.

Starring Loretta Snape, Account Co-ordinator at PPS Works.

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The Recipe for PPS Success

Friday, April 12th, 2013
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yammaDesigned and made by Hannah Adkins, Marketing Executive at PPS Works.

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The Recipe for PPS Success

Friday, April 12th, 2013
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yammaDesigned and made by Hannah Adkins, Marketing Executive at PPS Works.

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Feedback for Your Candidates – A Vital Statistic

Friday, February 22nd, 2013
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We’ve all been there. Patiently (at first, and impatiently secondly) waiting for that one important email from a potential employer which will say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to your application form.

But what if those emails never come?

CareerBuilders recent survey found that seventy-five per cent of workers who applied for jobs through various venues in the last year did not hear

Are your applicants waiting by the phone?

Are your applicants waiting by the phone?

back from employers. That’s an astounding number considering the simple measures you can put in place in order to suitably notify all applicants.

Not only are these figures a representation of the highly competitive job market, but they highlight the negative implications of uncommunicative recruitment teams for employers.

When applicants do not hear whether their lovingly crafted application form has been successful or not, it affects how the company is perceived. Nearly one-third (32 per cent) of workers said they would be less inclined to purchase products or services from a company that didn’t respond to their application. Candidates who had a  bad experience when applying for a position are less likely to apply for another position at that company and are likely to discourage friends and family from applying or purchasing products from that company.

But with eighty-two per cent of workers anticipating to hear back from a company when they apply for a job, regardless of whether the employer is interested or not, companies are still initially expected to treat its applicants to good communication.

Here at PPS, we act as an extension of your HR services. A dedicated team will use effective methods to enable candidates to get a great recruitment experience from your company – regardless of whether they are successful or not. From social media communities to ‘Good Luck for your interview’ texts, the candidates will have a personal and consistent relationship with our teams.

Have a look below at what candidates for a job with our client, a supplier of household electrical items, recently said about our processes:

“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.”

“(The Recruitment team) talked me through every step, constantly giving feedback and making sure I was happy every step of the way. Brilliant!”

Using our tailored recruitment technology and personalising the process allowed PPS to give the very best service to applicants and secure the brand’s well-known name from unnecessary criticism.

We think that one hundred per cent of applicants deserve to hear back from the company that they applied to…What do you think?

Comment and share!

yammaWritten by Hannah Adkins, Marketing Executive at PPS Works

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