Archive for the ‘Job applicants’ Category

Future Proofing Graduate Recruitment

Friday, August 1st, 2014
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Recently there have been a number of reports stating the difficulty that employers are having when it comes to filling graduate roles. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by recruiters and the PPS Graduate Recruitment Team has gradsblogcertainly seen a change in the market over recent years.

The AGR did predict a rise in the number of roles available from 2013-2014 and it seems that their estimates were credible. But what can employers do to ensure that there is interest in their graduate roles and schemes?

Graduates are becoming more sophisticated, no longer will a pen and free key ring gain you, well, anything! Graduates want more and this may be in terms of good freebies but they are also looking for the perfect job, in the perfect company and so selling “you” is becoming ever more vital.

A crucial element of graduate recruitment is starting early. It is difficult to succeed without solid foundations, and as any building needs a solid base, the interest of graduates needs to be attained at the earliest possible stage.  It’s not about trotting into a class full of final year students with some jelly beans and car stickers, it’s about playing the long game, putting the time in and ensuring that first year graduates know about you and the opportunities you have. Brand awareness is the new free key ring!

Companies such as Thales are already putting this in to practice and visiting students in their first year of University. What could be a better way of gaining their attention? They know who you are instantly, they know about your graduate scheme and there is a sense of familiarity almost 3 years before they begin looking for their first job after graduating.

Do you get to know your graduates? Here at PPS we are committed to frequently engaging with our candidates. Whether that be via an email, a prep call or an SMS, we are constantly connecting with them and creating a two way relationship which enables them to talk to us as much as we talk to them!

We are using technology to our advantage, we recently hosted a very successful Twitter Q&A campaign which enabled us to instantly connect and engage with candidates. Click here to find out how we did it.

Whilst this was hugely beneficial to the recruitment process, we cannot forget that the power is in the people and whilst technology is only going to get more important (98% of graduates apply online for a job), don’t forget how valuable a phone call can be or an on campus student ambassador who can shout about how great you are.

Graduates are gaining power. They know that 23% of employers had unfilled vacancies in 2013-2014. They know we want them, and they know we will work hard to get them on board. As the pool of graduates gets tighter, competition rises and attracting graduates will be an ever increasing challenge.

We aren’t going to be left behind, are you?

Sally Parsons

Written by Sally Parsons

Graduate Recruiter at PPS Works




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What Does Onboarding Actually Look Like?

Friday, June 27th, 2014
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If you look online there are reams of information on ‘Onboarding’, you might even come across a few infographics or images of lifebuoys- yes lifebuoys.

When I began working in recruitment none of these lengthy articles really offered any examples or explained what good onboarding actually looked like. There are a number of organisations and businesses that are doing it successfully and every recruiter can learn a little something from them.

Thinking about candidates as an audience is particularly useful. Onboarding begins as soon as someone is introduced to you or your business. Check out the landing page for NHS Graduates- it has an interactive skeleton which helps to navigate the website and even has a ‘Match Me’ tool to find out if it’s the right scheme for the prospective candidate.

Another great example is the Motley Fool, a multimedia financial-services company, whose number one value is “Be Foolish!” The Motley Fool has an Employee Handbook with a difference. It’s online, interactive and the first page is a welcome video featuring the company’s CEO.

The handbook not only demonstrates the culture of the company, but also outlines the policies, including:

Appropriate work attire “Our only request is that you don’t dress in a way that would disappoint your parents.”

And a very relaxed attitude towards annual leave- “Take what you need”.

The Motley Fool’s approach not only deals with making people feel welcome to begin with, but also creating a great working environment for employees- don’t forget that the on boarding process goes beyond the first week. Click here to read the handbook.

Another company that successfully illustrates what onboarding should like is online shoe and clothing retailer, Zappos. The company and its culture have become so popular that they have stopped advertising altogether.

Zappos constantly talks about the ‘Zappos Family’ which newbies are welcomed in to through a New Hire programme. No matter what position an employee is recruited to, he or she goes through exactly the same training programme.

As well as training, new employees also take part in team building exercises and finding out more about the culture of Zappos. At the end of the four weeks, a small graduation ceremony is held- the company has reported that the people in each class bond and continue their friendships even after moving to their respective departments. You can read more about Zappos by clicking here.

These are all fantastic examples of top-notch onboarding. There is plenty of information online about it but it’s also really important to take note of what others are doing in the industry. By doing this, we can concentrate on being bold, innovative and creating a successful onboarding process.

Hannah RWritten by Hannah Ratcliff, Business Development Executive at PPS




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What Genre is Your Recruitment Process?

Thursday, June 12th, 2014
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No two days in recruitment are ever the same, whether you are dealing with a number of different people, solving complex queries or working on the latest attraction methods. Every day offers a variety of challenges and can GENREFILMevoke a range of emotions.

It can feel a bit like you’re a character in a low budget film. The genre varies from day to day- I am sometimes reminded of Action and Adventure but, in less fortunate cases, Crime and Horror spring to mind.

Often the importance of candidate engagement is prominent when thinking about a successful recruitment campaign. Obviously this is an extremely important stage of the process, but this is where your day can become unpredictable and take on the form of any genre. However, the initial screening process can mean the difference between you being the hero and the victim.

Screening has become such an automated process that we often forget that, without this being done properly, there won’t be any candidates to engage with.

To me, screening is consistently a rom-com. There are so many do’s and don’ts- it isn’t dissimilar to dating.

Don’t get desperate

It is important to take time out to find the right candidate or you could end up in the proverbial bed with the wrong person.

You need someone quickly, but why waste time and resource on the wrong candidates? If your gut feeling tells you they’re wrong, you’re probably right.

Do spend time reading the CV

You know the role and you’re on a tight schedule- it can be tempting to skim over CVs in a few seconds, take in the basics and make your decision. This is where romance can turn in to comedy.

You’ve read their name, you know their most recent or current role and a little bit about their education, but is this really enough?  You wouldn’t base the potential of a date on this information and you shouldn’t for a job either.

Don’t be seduced

I’ve never met a recruiter who doesn’t love to chat and network. Reading someone’s CV or application form gives us a unique look in to their life and experiences.

You get a good sense of someone’s personality and you may have even spoken to them on the phone and got on with them phenomenally well. If this is the case they may be a good companion for a catch up in Costa, but are they really a good fit for the role?

Always give screening the time it deserves.

Rom-coms might not be your thing, but if you can put up with participating for a short while, you won’t get caught up in a murder mystery later in the process.  

Hannah RWritten by Hannah Ratcliff, Business Development Executive at PPS

Find PPS on Twitter and LinkedIn

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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.

Find Hannah on LinkedIn

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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.

Find Hannah on LinkedIn

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Innovation, recruitment evolution and Vanilla Ice

Friday, February 28th, 2014
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Stop, collaborate and listen.

When we think about top innovators or evolutionary theorists, we may think of the likes of Charles Darwin or Steve Jobs- well, Google certainly does anyway.

Innovation can come in all shapes and sizes

Innovation can come in all shapes and sizes

But really, who could be more inspiring than that guy with the oddly trimmed goatee and a sensational 90’s one-time rap hit?

Maybe a more seasoned recruiter would give a better example, but, as a “recroobie”, I look to Vanilla Ice for my innovation inspiration.

Innovative thinking allows us to progress, respond to competition and develop unique selling points. These are all important elements within the world of recruitment. And what better way to get those results than stopping, collaborating and listening?

Innovation, like evolution, should be a force and not a process. Ideas bind us together, they mutate and they spread.  Stopping is the catalyst that allows us to act out of curiosity and begin to collaborate.

Here at PPS we are always looking for new ways to interact with candidates and create the highest response rate possible for our clients.

Our Thames Water Graduate recruitment team were able to do just that by collaborating with our  marketing team to create a truly unique and innovative recruitment experience.

Through sharing, listening and maintaining a strong focus on success we were able to host an extremely fruitful Twitter Q&A session with prospective applicants (search #AskTWGrads on Twitter to see for yourselves). This not only allowed us to interact with candidates in an entirely new way, it also increased Thames Water’s follower count,  encouraged an influx of applications and enhanced Thames Water’s employer brand.

Vanilla Ice could be an unlikely source of inspiration in the recruitment world

Vanilla Ice could be an unlikely source of inspiration in the recruitment world

Innovation allows us to attain the seemingly impossible. In an industry thriving on change and flourishing at such a rapid rate, we need to keep up.

With that in mind, how can one recruiter effectively prep 15 candidates for an assessment centre in under 1 hour? Well, by implementing something as easy as a conference call – which we did.

It’s a little bit like Queen and David Bowie creeping in at the beginning of ‘Ice Ice Baby’. We need to utilise what we have in order to revolutionise the way we think.

We are constantly looking to evolve – and within this industry, we need to stop, collaborate and listen in order to achieve that.

Recruitment will always be growing and developing. And will it ever stop? Yo- I don’t know.

How do you develop and innovate your recruitment processes? Comment below, tweet us, chat to us on our LinkedIn page – we would love to hear from you!

Hannah RWritten by Hannah Ratcliff, Graduate Recruiter at PPS

Find PPS on Twitter and LinkedIn


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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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Attraction methods: A “recroobie” perspective

Friday, February 7th, 2014
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I’m new to recruitment, a ‘recroobie’ if you will.

Up until 5 months ago, I never would have even considered the importance of ‘candidate experience’, let alone “screened” something.  There have been so many new concepts to consider, a number of different elements to focus on and of course, several jobs to find the perfect candidates for . It wasn’t until I started to get sourcing, job posting and mass tea-making under my belt that I realised how important attraction methods are.

Know your audience - and plan your attraction and sourcing strategy accordingly

Know your audience – and plan your attraction and sourcing strategy accordingly

Having spent 3 years of my life studying for a journalism degree, the majority of people I know question this profession, “It’s not really relevant to you, is it?” Well actually, I think it is. Journalism is all about knowing your market and your audience, and well, recruitment isn’t that different. For example, when direct sourcing, I think it is important to consider candidates as our audience and look at things from their perspective.

I’m still learning, but I think that drawing on some of the following points can help to make  for a more seamless and engaging  recruitment process.

  • Tread on their social footprint:

    Understanding our candidates' social footprints can help us communicate effectively

    Understanding our candidates’ social footprints can help us communicate effectively

What better place is there to interact with someone than the sites they use to network with their friends and families? People are way more likely to read a 140 character Tweet than a 300 word advert. They would probably prefer to reply to your Facebook message than return the voicemail you left them a few days ago.

These are passive candidates, whose interest and interaction we can really get a feel for. If we have the platform to  source and interact with our candidates using their social footprint, then why shouldn’t we?

  • Search Engine Optimisation:

Be the candidate! What keywords would you, or your ideal candidate use to find the job you’re recruiting for? Find out if the role has any well-known terms or phrases – and use them. This is a simple but effective way of attracting candidates and helping them to find you.

  • Advert Writing:

    A job advert is often the first touchpoint between a potential employee and employer

    A job advert is often the first touch point between a potential employee and employer

All too often job adverts take on the same, monotonous format. “This is the job, this is what you’ll be doing- fill in an application form if you like.”

Adverts should be compelling, they should sell the job and the establishment. The candidate needs to feel engaged and excited by the prospects of the role.

“Are you passionate?” “Are you ready to take on an exciting new experience?” “Do you want to work for one of the best organisations in the field?”

The job advert is often the first point of contact a company has with a potential candidate. It is up to us to ensure the job advert persuades the candidate to initiate further conversation.

  • Being industry savvy:

Know your market. Research similar jobs, is the salary you’re offering comparable to others? What benefits are similar businesses offering to prospective employees?  Can a candidate get a better deal/recruitment experience elsewhere?

So, as a self-confessed recroobie with a degree in journalism, I have learnt  the two are more similar than first apparent.  So, as the world changes and moves forward, recruitment needs to, too.

We will use social networking to interact with candidates, recruiters will become marketing experts and, in some instances, journalists might even become recruiters.

What’s in your attraction and sourcing armour? Comment below, tweet us, chat to us on our LinkedIn page – we would love to hear from you!

Hannah RWritten by Hannah Ratcliff, Graduate Recruiter at PPS

Find PPS on Twitter and LinkedIn



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The Recruitment(al) Life

Friday, December 13th, 2013
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I’ve been working for PPS for three months now, and in my time so far, I have learnt many a thing! Namely; always expect the unexpected in recruitment where no day is the same and – always get the breakfast egg and bacon sandwich on Fridays.

I thought it would be a good idea to share what I’ve learnt so far in the form of a blog – a Taylor’s Top Tips to Tremendous Recruiting, if you will. Read through, and recruiters – new and experienced, share your thoughts and your tips below!

1. Candidate experience is key!

Customer service is something most associate with hospitality and retail, however it is just as important in recruitment. You want the “customer” in your recruitment process – the candidate – to have the best candidate experience they can have. This doesn’t mean giving them the job, this means regardless of the outcome of their individual application, the candidate is put first throughout the entire process – at every touch point. Whether it’s a general enquiry or calling to offer a candidate, always try to build a good rapport, be empathetic and make them feel like the Number One priority – always.

It's always good recruitment practice to have a "Plan B" in place.

It’s always good recruitment practice to have a “Plan B” in place.

2. Always have a plan B

Recruitment is notoriously unpredictable and known for its unexpected nature; jobs coming in thick and fast, candidates dropping out minutes before interviews. With this in mind, it is great practice to have a contingency plan when mistakes occur, when life happens, when minds change. Always be on your toes! Be ready for anything! [Insert another cliché here!]

3. Never make promises you can’t fulfil – learn how to say no!

We’ve all been here. We have a moment to spare (it doesn’t happen very often), and a client gets in touch asking for a teeny tiny favour. What do you do? You, of course, help out and in turn, this helps the client relationship. However, it is important to remember to set boundaries with your clients. This is, after all, a business relationship in which you – the recruiter – know more about recruitment than your client. What may seem like a harmless favour now can easily turn into a long-standing inefficient and unprofitable situation in which the overall recruitment process suffers. It pays to know when to say yes, and when to say no.

Above all however, you’ll be hard pushed to find an industry that keeps you on your toes as much as recruitment does. You get to help candidates make career moves that can intrinsically improve their quality of life. You guide companies build workforces of dedicated and talented employees to drive success and growth.

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

Jon TaylorWritten by Jon Taylor, Graduate Trainee Recruiter at PPS

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Find Jon Taylor on LinkedIn

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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

Find PPS on Twitter and LinkedIn

Find Megha on LinkedIn

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