Archive for the ‘Recruitment’ Category

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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Recruitment success, candidate experience and photobombing.

Friday, March 7th, 2014
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The past week or so seems to have been a flurry of celebrity selfies, red carpet face-plants and oddly alluring GIFs of Leonardo Dicaprio sobbing.

And speaking of The Oscars, what could be a better time to focus on our recruitment successes? Let’s think about how important it is to make an impact, what it means to fail and, most importantly, the formula for a top-notch photobomb.

Recruitment and the Oscars have a lot more in common than you might think...

Recruitment and the Oscars have a lot more in common than you might think…

Can you believe that Leonardo Dicaprio has never won an Oscar? Let him be a reminder to us that, even if a candidate doesn’t succeed at interview, he or she could still have so much more to give.

When the successful candidate is offered a position, we tend to put all of our attention on them, and why wouldn’t we? We may need to contact their referees, begin DBS checks or simply keep them engaged in the recruitment process.

But let’s not forget the unsuccessful candidates- Dicaprio is the guy sitting in our talent pools. He’s the versatile candidate, waiting to achieve, impress and be recognised. That candidate is what allows us to be resourceful and they could be the person that finally fills that tricky role you’ve been working on.

But it’s not all about the revealing dresses, overpriced shoes and those little golden men- it’s also about photobombing.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Jennifer Lawrence and Jared Leto are all masterminds when it comes to hijacking Oscar snapshots. These guys are pretty high profile but any recruiter can easily achieve this level of expertise with the use of quite a simple formula:

1. Be prepared

In recruitment, we should always be ready and waiting. We should be equipped with all of the tools we need to make an amazing impact on our candidates. We need to be ready to provide an excellent candidate experience and pull out all of the stops so that we can offer the right candidate a new job (or get the guy from Titanic in our talent pool).

2.Teamwork

No photobomb could work without forming the perfect unity between yourself, the other person in the photo, and the camera. By pulling together and using one another as a resource, we will be successful, we will jump in at the last minute and we will make a lasting impression on our candidates, and enhance employer branding.

3.Flexibility

And just like Brad Pitt, leap at the opportunity to get stuck in. Be willing to go the extra mile so that you can take control and explore alternative methods, own the moment and fill that really difficult role.

So, maybe, just maybe The Oscars are in fact a bit like recruitment.

Let’s be prepared, pull together, smile for our candidates and, if we fall over on the red carpet, strut our way through the critics and photobomb everyone we walk past.

How do you deliver award-winning recruitment campaigns and Oscar-worthy quality candidates? 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

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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

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Why values based recruitment is a no-brainer.

Friday, February 21st, 2014
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Last week I had the pleasure of spending a morning with colleagues from Skills for Care, Alternative Futures Group, Profiles4Care and Avenues Group.  The strand that holds us together – values based recruitment.

Now it’s no secret that social care has its fair share of recruitment problems.  It speaks volumes that the sector is growing, yet thousands of front-line jobs are still sitting vacant.  HR teams are at pains to come up with a reliable and consistent way of filling care and support

"Values based recruitment is a no-brainer in social care" - Lee Burman

“Values based recruitment is a no-brainer in social care”

vacancies.  Even harder still is the need to fill vacancies with the right people, who will actually stay.

Which is why a values based approach to recruitment may be part of the answer.

At the heart of values based recruitment sits the idea that skills are something that can be taught and developed with the right training.  What really matters are the values and behaviours sitting at the core of the individual.  When you plug this approach into recruiting a high performing support worker, this means that what you might be looking for is that passion for making a difference to the lives of others.  It’s a part of their DNA.  Not making a difference is simply not an option.

I think the social care sector is onto something here.  We’ve seen it with our own clients.  These individuals are easy to spot.  When you talk to them they have a genuine and sincere enthusiasm and passion for enabling others to live happy lives.  Putting higher calibre applicants in front of hiring managers becomes much easier, because you can spot a ‘fraud’ a mile off.

Focus on previous experience often fails in social care recruitment. Rather, its the core values of a candidate we need to focus on.

Focus on previous experience often fails in social care recruitment. Rather, its the core values of a candidate we need to focus on.

I say values based recruitment is part of the answer.  It doesn’t solve attraction problems on its own.  The sector still has far more work to do in how it sells itself and retains staff.

What it does do however is open the potential candidate pool far wider.  When you remove the shackles of having to recruit for previous experience, you have far more interesting places to go with your candidate sourcing strategy.  We’ve seen it first hand – one of my most memorable

interviews was with an applicant who was working at B&Q, but the one thing he loved most about his job was his role as an employee champion – supporting his colleagues to ensure they were living a fulfilled life at work.  He blew the client away at interview and was offered the job on the spot.

So often social care is berated for being behind the times but I can’t see any reason why this approach shouldn’t be adopted elsewhere.  How many times do we complain about the customer service rep who just doesn’t care, or the pushy sales person who doesn’t have our best interests at heart.  If these skills can be taught and developed, then recruiting against values is surely a no-brainer.

What are your thoughts on using values based recruitment in the social care sector?

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

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leeWritten by Lee Burman, Business Development Manager at PPS and a social care enthusiast.

Follow him on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn!

 

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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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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 www.studentsonplacement.co.uk 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 www.millioncareers.co.uk 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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Find Will Shepherd on 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

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Find Megha on LinkedIn

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How do you hire great graduates?

Friday, November 29th, 2013
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The reason I ponder this is because I met with a grad recruiter client last week, who said, “Lee, we know we recruit good graduates but now, we want to recruit great graduates”.

I took a sharp breath. How do you go from good to great? I thought about this for a couple of seconds, chose my response, and executed the best open Good to greatended question I could fathom – “Well… that sounds like a great idea, but what‘s the difference?”

And so, he proceeded to present a fairly well-defined list of what he viewed as the differences between good and great.

And I listened.  And I listened some more, and then I continued to listen for even longer.

Amid a haze of adjectives that would have even the most ardent Countdown fan running for their lives from Dictionary Corner, what I eventually learnt was, that to him, ‘great’ was quite simply  those graduates who truly wanted to work for his business.

And why did he want ‘great’, and not just ‘good’?  They performed better.  Who can argue with that?

How could he spot them?  They were more enthusiastic, they knew his competitors and had even applied to some, they demonstrated  that extra little bit of knowledge about the industry and to top it off, they demonstrated a pure passion that couldn’t be replicated in others.

So I asked him how he thought we could best work together to find ‘great’.  Among his ideas and suggestions, the thought of video interviewing cropped up. His rationale for using it – “graduates like it, they’re used to it, it’s their thing isn’t it”.

And so followed a discussion around its pros and cons, to which I asked – if video interviewing didn’t exist, what else could we do?

blog graduate change recruitment

Thinking “small” can help make “big” changes to your graduate recruitment process

Silence.

“Well”, I suggested, “How about we just tighten up the ‘Why do you want to work for us’ question that we ask at telephone interview stage?”

I continued. “Let’s raise the benchmark and only give above average scores to those candidates whose answers go further than just verbatim of what is in the About Us section of your website and annual report. Let’s probe to see if  they have a deeper understanding. When they talk about competitors, let’s ask for a few names and check if they have applied to them.  When they say they are passionate about the industry, let’s ask them to demonstrate it.  What have they done to prove they should be scored higher than a good applicant, and as such are a “great” candidate?

In the end, we came to the conclusion that video interviewing could wait.  We could elicit what we were looking for by making small refinements, not wholesale changes.

I guess the point of this blog really then, is to suggest that the recruitment landscape is changing at quite some rate. As such, there will always be the temptation to try something brand new and emerging in the hopes it helps to improve the quality of hire.

Ultimately, however, there is often little need to make wholesale changes.  It’s the small incremental ones, which if executed correctly, will deliver the best outcomes.

If you recruit graduates, apprentices or trainees and you want to go from good to great, why not play The Generation Y Game and find out what it might take.

leeWritten by Lee Burman, Business Development Manager at PPS and all-round cool kid. Follow him on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn!

Enjoyed this blog post? Share it with your followers and friends! You may also enjoy reading 5 things a Graduate would change about Graduate Recruitment and Successful Graduate interviews – the interviewer’s perspective

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5 things a Graduate would change about Graduate Recruitment

Friday, November 22nd, 2013
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Figures published by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) show there has been a 4% decline in the number of graduate vacancies, compared to last year. Moreover, their annual survey indicates there are a staggering 85 applications per job.

Without a doubt then, it’s a tough market out there for the young job seekers of today. This week’s blog takes a look at job-hunting from the perspective of a graduate, fresh out of university. Here, they share 5 things they would change about graduate recruitment:

 

  • Poor social media effort
  • It’s surprising how little effort some graduate employers put into social media. As part of the “Apple” generation, we graduates spend a considerable amount of time online. As such, it pays to have an engaging social media presence if you’re looking to recruit graduates! The best accounts allow for conversation to flow between the employer and candidates, where questions are answered, advice is shared and candidates gain a better feel for the company brand and culture. Unfortunately, these are few and far between. Instead, there are many dull, monotonous profiles that churn out job posting after job posting and seemingly avoid the “Reply” button at all costs. Three words: it’s not working.
    Go on, hit the Reply button. You know you want to.

    Go on, hit the Reply button. You know you want to.


 

  • Lack of direct contact
  • It appears to be Mission Impossible to get a hold of a human when applying for a graduate job. The lengths we graduates go to, and the despairs we no doubt experience trying to reach someone other than an automated voice at a company is worthy of an Olympic medal. It really shouldn’t be so hard – after all, we want to work for you!  All we want is an easy to find, readily available direct contact – preferably with an email address or number – who we can get in touch when we have a question or two about the real world of work.

 

  • Automated, untimely emails
  • Perhaps the number one thing on most graduates’ hit list. We’re unsuitable for the role, you say? That’s okay, but please, please, don’t let us know with an automated email that’s 3 sentences long and peppered with spelling mistakes, sent 7 weeks after our telephone interview. Instead, send us a nice timely email letting us know that if we want, there’s someone who can provide personalised feedback. Chances are, we’ll be disappointed but we’ll remember you fondly, and speak of you as such to our friends. We might even go away, get better and reapply in a few years’ time. Wouldn’t that be nice?

    You can be sure a graduate will share their candidate experience with friends and family - good or bad

    You can be sure a graduate will share their candidate experience with friends and family – good or bad

 

  • Uninspiring and/or confusing job adverts
  • I’m no recruiter, but I know this much – a job advert should be a goldmine of information for any prospective candidate. It should not however, resemble a horoscope reading found in the back pages of a woman’s weekly magazine. That is, ambiguous, bland and full of cryptic-ness.  Too often, companies fail to inject a bit of personality into their adverts or clearly explain the job role. The best adverts are the ones that make a candidate want the job, surprisingly. They highlight the job, location, salary (please don’t use competitive salary!), key role responsibilities, the selection process and the deadline – in a manner that is reflective of a cool company with a graduate-friendly culture.

 

  • Careers websites that make us want to switch off
  • True graduate story – you’ve found your dream job, you’ve connected with the job advert, and you’re primed and ready to craft an amazing application. So, off you go to the designated careers website. To your dismay, your once perceived notion of an exciting and interesting company to work for is shattered as you view an outdated, user un-friendly careers website. One in which you can’t even find the job advertised! Nothing crumples a graduate’s job desire more. Make it easy for us to learn about the job, your culture, your ideal candidate – and make it even easier for us to apply. We’ll love you for it.

 

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What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? What can recruiters and employers do to make the graduate recruitment experience better? And what can graduates do to help? Comment below, tweet us, chat to us on our LinkedIn page – we would love to hear from you!

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