What’s the point of prerequisites?

May 9th, 2014
Share Button

Take your pick of 5 of the latest job descriptions you’ve either read or written. I bet every single one of them came with a list of prerequisites. A few years’ experience, a minimum degree classification, a driver’s license, etc. etc.

Why is this case?

For example, imagine you’re on the hunt for a new sales executive to help bring in new customers. Your job description might list that the ideal sales executive should have at least 5 years’ experience and a minimum 2:1 bachelor’s degree from a Redbrick-listed University. But what you really need is a sales executive who is going to be able to sell.

Screening based off a criteria can lead to a short-sighted approach to finding the right candidate. Credit: marcusrg, Flickr

Screening based off a criteria can lead to a short-sighted approach to finding the right candidate. Credit: marcusrg, Flickr

The point here is, is the focus of your screening process shouldn’t be to tick candidates off against a list of credentials. So what if the candidate doesn’t have a minimum 2:1 degree? The ability to teamwork, manage time and meet deadlines – all things a degree supposedly equips you with – aren’t necessarily taught within the confines of a lecture room.

Rather, you need to find out what skills people have – and more specifically, if they have the skills needed to overcome the business problem you face.

So, whilst your screening techniques shouldn’t discount experience or education, your methods need to decipher more. Test the thought-processes of your candidates by asking real-life situations into a timed video interview format. And know that the Internet has unlocked many unconventional ways to learn new skills – and your screening process should promote this, not neglect it.

Without prerequisites, what would your job description look like, I hear you ask? Well, if the responsibilities are clearly outlined, unqualified candidates will likely not apply. And if they do, chances are they won’t make it very far. This isn’t call to end all prerequisites – they can be powerful in highlighting the best candidates when used right. However, more often than not, they narrow a recruiter’s perception of what a good candidate looks like in terms of experience, skills and qualifications.

What are your thoughts on the value of prerequisites for a role – and ultimately, finding the right candidate? 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

Find PPS on Twitter and LinkedIn

Share Button

What Finding Nemo teaches us about promoting jobs

May 2nd, 2014
Share Button

Working in recruitment can become a mad rush of responding to emails, answering calls and relentlessly chasing candidates and hiring managers. When we get caught up in this whirlwind of questions and queries, we can sometimes forget what the overall aim is- to recruit. nemo 1

We want to offer the best recruitment experience possible, but sometimes we miss the little things that could make the difference between filling a role with the best candidate for the job and having the top quality candidate drop out.

We have to know what’s on offer to our clients. Marlin searched the ocean to find Nemo and we should put just as much effort in to knowing everything about the role our candidates are applying to.

Be passionate about your client’s business

That creepy fish with the war scar that lives in the dentist. Remember him?

He had it pretty good in that tank, no predators, comfortable living space and a range of ornaments, including the ring of fire. What more could a fish want? But he was so enthusiastic about the ocean that even his friends wanted to head out to the big blue.

If we aren’t passionate about the role we are recruiting for, how can a stranger to the business be inspired? We can discuss this with our candidates by really getting to know what’s on offer to them. What opportunities are there to develop? What are the unique selling points of the business?

You can learn all of this by doing your research.  Read through your client’s website and careers section, sign up to news alerts, understand the market and it’s competitors. At PPS, we delve into the intricacies of our clients with in-depth consultation calls and on-site visits to get a feel for the the business, beyond its job opportunities.

As the link between the company and the candidate, really knowing your role and client inside out can entice a candidate to remain in the recruitment process, and hang on to experience those opportunities for themselves.

So, just keep swimming! If we can keep our candidates enticed and show them why this is the business for them, then we can jump through the jellies and straight on to the EAC to ride with the sea-turtles to success. Give me some fin!

You can read Part 1: Candidate drop-outs, motivation and Finding Nemo here.

Hannah RWritten by Hannah Ratcliff, Graduate Recruiter at PPS

Find PPS on Twitter and LinkedIn

Share Button

Candidate drop-outs, motivation and Finding Nemo

April 25th, 2014
Share Button

Recruitment is a fast-paced business, it keeps us on our toes and you never know what might happen next. This can be exciting and motivating for the recruiter, but not knowing what’s around the corner can become frustrating and discouraging.

Candidates dropping out or accepting counter offers can become the bane of our lives, but with good control we can work towards putting a stop to those nasty surprises.

nemo 1

Don’t be scared of delving deeper when screening candidates. Use the time to better understand the reasons that drew the candidate to the role they have applied to

We’ve probably all taken that call, the one where the candidate thanks you for the opportunity but has accepted an offer elsewhere or simply isn’t interested in the position anymore.

It makes me think of Finding Nemo every time. You know that moment when he swims up to touch the ‘butt’? When I take that call, I feel like Nemo’s Dad.

I’m not saying that we should shout “Don’t you dare, young man!” (As tempting as it may be) but there are steps we can take to limit the risk of our candidates reaching out to touch the proverbial butt. The first one being – know what makes the candidate tick.

Understand the candidate and ask what motivated them to apply

We often ask this when interviewing candidates over the telephone- it can become novel and sometimes we don’t use their answer to our full advantage.

Say we have a candidate like Dory- this may be considered a nightmare to some people, but by digging deeper we can understand what stimulates their interest and ensure we remind them of why they applied in the first place.

If their reasons are monetary, delve further- do they like the sound of the organisation? Will this role allow them to develop personally as well as professionally?

If they start making whale noises and fraternising with sharks, they may be a bad choice. But it’s good to get to know the candidate and gain the best understanding possible so that we have the opportunity to keep them on board. We can send candidates communication that targets their motivation points, and so, further enhancing the reasons why this role is the one for them.

This is just one step we can take to keep candidates engaged and stop them from pulling out unexpectedly. That way, when you’re stood amongst your competitors, bellowing “MINE, MINE… MINE” you will be the lucky seagull that stands out. We’ll be sharing more recruitment wisdom with the help of Finding Nemo in the coming weeks. Up next week; what our fishy friends can tell us about promoting jobs to candidates.

Hannah RWritten by Hannah Ratcliff, Graduate Recruiter at PPS

Find PPS on Twitter and LinkedIn


Share Button

How mobiles can better your recruitment

April 18th, 2014
Share Button

Who has looked at their phone in the last half an hour?

You? You? Oh, and…you?

Yes, you are not alone; me too. In fact, it was probably more like three minutes ago.

However you feel about people’s reliance on technology, mobile phones are now of paramount importance to daily life. Mobile use has exploded; I personally now have a better computer in my hand than on my desk.

The use of mobiles means that there is a moving audience of millions searching the internet on their commutes or breaks. So, why not use this for the advantage of recruitment?

Here are 4 ways that the mobile can transform recruitment for both the employee and the employer:

Enhance your company reputation

If you are looking at increasing the number of passive candidates who apply, create a mobile website. A well thought out, easy to comprehend mobile website will reach those who are biting at chunks of information whilst working at another job. No one wants to apply for the company who appears ‘backward’ online. Create something that encourages viewing.

Reach the busiest of candidates

Your candidate has a job. He/she has a family. When do they have time to trawl through your site on their computers?

They don’t. Make it simple for them and optimise your website for mobile use so that they have the ability to look at the benefits of working for you on the go.

Video interviewing made easy

We have recently adapted many of our recruitment processes to include video interviewing, which improves the candidate and employer experience in a variety of ways. Employers can view these videos at any time with the use of a mobile optimised site – meaning that they do not have to be in the office to keep up with applications.

Integration with social media

Over 70% of smart phone users look at social media daily. A mobile optimised site is just the beginning. Make sure that you create a company Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin to attract candidates who are not even actively looking on your site.

Mobile recruitment is very exciting. Through the use of videos, social media and optimised websites, you can reach an audience that may never have accessed your website via a computer.  So long to the whirring of the formidable desktop, viva la mobile!

How do you use mobile recruitment? What impact has it had on your recruitment?

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

Find Hannah on LinkedIn

Find PPS on Twitter


Share Button

What’s wrong with your careers website?

April 4th, 2014
Share Button

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

Find PPS on Twitter

Share Button

You are using social media wrong. Here’s why.

March 28th, 2014
Share Button

You must hear it every day.

“Social media is King”, “If you’re not using social media to recruit then you are behind the rest of the world” “Social media is the new job advert”

But what about when people do it really, really badly? We’ve all heard the terrible stories of companies who have said silly things on Twitter. Like when Tesco tweeted this on the evening of the horse meat scandal:

Tesco's untimely response to the horsemeat scandal

Tesco’s untimely response to the horse meat scandal

A mistaken scheduled tweet, yes, but a presentation of how social media can really go wrong.

But hold your horses (excuse the pun), social media is pretty useful. It’s free, it is great advertising and you can reach people located in far flung places .

Just be careful. Here are our top three things to reign in (can’t help myself) on social media:


1 – Post irrelevant things

You have a job vacancy in your Engineering department. Why, then, would you post it on a HR job board, Marketing job board and on your mate Ted the Plumber’s Facebook? Be realistic – posting things, however interesting they are, to the wrong crowd will give you a reputation of a “spammer.”  And no one likes them. No one.

2 – Be self-involved

Remember that dinner party where you had to sit through your friend’s ‘friend’ talking about how much money he earns and how great his life is? Well, talking about yourself too much on social media is exactly the same.

Blend in your company-focused tweets with conversational ideas, opinions on worldwide events and images. If you claim to know a field particularly well, for instance, horses, why then would you not “live tweet” through the Grand National, as well as talking about your own company?

Here at PPS, we combine conversational tweets with recruitment blogs, advice and top tips:

The PPS Twitter

The PPS Twitter

















3 – Be really coy and shy 

Lastly, do not be afraid or shy when it comes to social media. It’s all about expression. You are more likely to start a debate, a conversation and get followers/retweets/favourites if you actually say something.

At PPS, we use social media on behalf of our clients as well as our own company. Search #AskTWgrads on Twitter to see how we’ve used social media for one of our clients.

What are the worst twitter mistakes you have seen? Do you agree with our top three social media no-no’s?


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

Find Hannah on LinkedIn

Find PPS on Twitter

Share Button

So, you have a talent pool. Now, what?

March 21st, 2014
Share Button

Talent pools allow us to have access to a constant stream of high quality candidates. They are a resource that, when used effectively, could mean the difference between successfully filling a role and having to begin the entire recruitment process again.

It is important we ensure that these candidates are ready and willing to take on the challenge of beginning the application process. But how do we prevent our talent pools from becoming stagnant?

Engaging with talent is hugely important. Whether we access them via talent pipelines, pools, or communities, this should be key to any organisation’s recruitment strategy.

Engaging with your talent pool in the right way - whether that's online or offline - is crucial.

Engaging with your talent pool in the right way – whether that’s online or offline – is crucial.

We need to communicate with these potential applicants, they need to know who we are and why we want to be in contact with them. This allows us to be ahead of the game and prepared for when that next vacancy is authorised.

The difficulty comes in knowing how to engage effectively with these different talent streams. We need to treat each potential candidate as an individual and work to build a unique rapport with them, because each of them is different and has a distinctive experience of you or your organisation.

Some of these individuals may be a ‘like’ on your company’s Facebook or LinkedIn page, others might be a speculative CV sent in via email and others with great potential, might have already been to interview with a Hiring Manager and are now ‘on-hold’.

We need to communicate with the talent, whether we drop them a call or a tweet, to ensure that they want to be contacted whilst they are patiently awaiting the right role. Any communication should be on a level that they request and are happy with, so as not to turn them away from your organisation.

Once we know what they are comfortable with, it’s worth creating a defined communication plan around their requirements – what are you communicating and why? Also, how is it adding value in engaging with these candidates (for both parties)?

This is where the human element comes in, intelligently selecting targeted communications – automated systems can help in this process of course, but they lack the personal touch that ‘real’ human beings bring to recruitment.

Through using our talent pools effectively, we are able to improve upon candidate experience as well as lowering the time and cost per hire. We must provide the service we promised and ensure that our pool of glowing talent, does not turn stagnant.

How do you engage with your talent pool? 

debs eWritten by Debbie Edmondson, New Recruitment Director at PPS.

Find Debbie on LinkedIn

Find PPS on Twitter

Share Button

Let’s give up bad recruitment for Lent.

March 14th, 2014
Share Button

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

Find PPS on Twitter

Share Button

Recruitment success, candidate experience and photobombing.

March 7th, 2014
Share Button

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).


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.


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

Find PPS on Twitter and LinkedIn

Share Button

Innovation, recruitment evolution and Vanilla Ice

February 28th, 2014
Share Button

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


Share Button