PPS goes Woolly for St Mungo’s

February 6th, 2014
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On Friday 31st January 2014, we showed our support for homeless people by taking part in St Mungo’s annual Woolly Hat Day.

Altogether, we raised over £300 with donations from our employees and external suppliers!

Along with hundreds of people on the day, we donned beanies, baseball caps and berets to help St Mungo’s raise money for its work supporting homeless men and women.  We were in good company too, as this year’s Woolly Hat Day has drawn support from the likes of Martin Freeman, Sir Elton John and Benedict Cumberbatch. The day also incorporated a bake sale, an office raffle and our Graduate Recruiter, Matt Perry, getting his legs waxed once we had reached the £100 milestone!

charity hats fundraising support

It was hats galore in the office as we supported Woolly Hat Day 2014

As a valued client of PPS, the Managed Services team went the extra mile with a sponsored “Wear your PJs to Work” day.  Mandy Glover, Manager of our Managed Services, said:

“We were proud and had great fun supporting St Mungo’s Woolly Hat Day. St Mungo’s does a wonderful job helping those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness across the UK. We hope our Woolly Hat Day initiatives, which included a bake sale and a raffle draw, helped to continue their work rebuilding lives.”

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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Sorry Social Care, but it’s time to dig deep.

January 31st, 2014
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I have a problem with something the social care sector says and does (or doesn’t do for that matter).

“The problem is we just don’t attract enough people to care work.  When we do get them, they are the wrong type of people.  When they do join us many don’t last beyond the first week.  Services are operating at critical levels so whether we like it or not, we are often forced to take whoever walks through the door”.

I’ve lost count of the number of times a HR or Operational manager has said this to me.  Worse still, despite this being deemed wholly unacceptable, fresh ideas on how to improve the situation are far from forthcoming.  If as predicted there will be 16.1 million over 65s in the UK by 2035 (an increase from 10 million in 2012) then this is incredibly alarming.

social care 2

There are a number of political, social and economic factors making it difficult to recruit the right people in sufficient numbers in the social care sector.

Granted the sector does contend with some serious and significant issues – how you can deliver an increasingly personalised agenda whilst competing with low pay, challenging day to day work, negative PR in the press, an over-reliance on a migrant workforce and high turnover is not something that is easily achieved.

If therefore the breadth and complexity of political, social and economic factors is making it incredibly difficult to recruit the right people in sufficient numbers, why is such a key strategic issue taking so long to be tackled at Board-level?

OK, so the Board might talk about it.  They might accept that they have a problem.  But where that problem lies in respect to a multitude of other problems is very telling.

You can often tell right away how important recruitment is viewed:

-          It’s largely devolved to a junior member of the HR team or an Operational Manager;

-          The variety and understanding of available recruitment tools is thin on the ground;

-          There is a complete lack of recruitment data.  Nobody knows where the last recruit came from let alone how long it took;

-          When you ask about the recruitment budget you are met with a vacant look;

-          The recruitment process itself is a minefield of red tape and there is a trend to make it harder to recruit, rather than easier!

If a social care organisation’s growth relies on delivering exceptional care and support, surely recruitment sits at the heart of this. social care

This means Board-level support to enable a senior HR figurehead to build and deliver a compelling employer brand, plan the future workforce, create exciting career pathways and rethink the approach to reward.

This means the Finance Director questioning temporary staffing spend, seeking opportunities to reduce this and reinvest the savings in HR and recruitment initiatives.

It means recognising and investing in a professional recruitment resource – internal or external – who understands that attraction is actually selling and requires much more than job boards and open days.   They take responsibility for retention and recognise that the best support workers are not necessarily those who have previous experience, so they recruit against values.  They question the ROI on every activity and pound they spend, understand what works and scale it up to deliver efficiencies.  They deliver processes which enable candidate attraction rather than make it more difficult.

You don’t have to look far to see some examples of where providers are investing time and resources – Care UK have built an internal resourcing team and a new careers site, Bromford took a different approach to building their brand and now have an enviable social media strategy and online presence.

Thankfully it seems the message is getting through.  I’m having more conversations with providers where recruitment is on the radar at Board-level.  However it is still largely perceived as a cost rather than an investment and this needs to change.  Professionalised, commercial recruitment teams are integral to the future success and growth of providers.  After all, without enough of the right people, how can you deliver those exceptional care services that give you your competitive edge?

What are your thoughts on the current state of 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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Is there a “perfect” Graduate Recruitment Process?

January 24th, 2014
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Is there such a thing as the “perfect” Graduate Recruitment process?

No two graduate recruitment campaigns are the same. As recruiters, we can attest to the fact that graduate recruitment can be a lengthy process.  Moreover, from a student’s perspective – the idea of attempting the often dozens of stages can be frightening.

For example, a typical graduate selection process can consist of the following many stages:

1)      Updating your CV

2)      An in-depth online application form

3)      Situational Judgement Questions

4)      Online Testing

5)      Telephone Interviews

6)      Online Video Interviews

7)      Filming videos on why candidates are right for the company

8)      Assessment Centre

9)      Final Stage one to one Interviews

So, in today’s day and age, can we create the “perfect” graduate recruitment process?  Is there an ideal length or a best combination of assessment measures?

Graduate Hat

Finding the “ideal” graduate campaign may be difficult, but there are steps we can take as recruiters, to ensure it’s the best fit for our clients’ needs

Most importantly, how do we determine the most engaging candidate experience – one that still entices candidates to apply, whilst capturing the best talent?

Having worked on a number of graduate campaigns across varying industries and different job roles, I have often found there is a preference of including as many stages as possible, almost as a default reaction. But how many of these stages are actually crucial to identifying the best candidates? And how many, in essence, are assessing the same skills?

So, here are my top 4 tips to remember when devising your next graduate recruitment selection process:

Find out everything

A recent study suggests 42% of graduates are put off by a lengthy application process, and there’s much they would like changed about the process. To develop a graduate selection process that doesn’t have candidates running for the hills and assesses their skills and abilities appropriately, gain thorough knowledge of the job role. Find out what is needed to excel within the specific job role and adapt assessments accordingly. From daily tasks to the various groups they will be working with and communicating with – everything.

Understand the culture graduates will be working in

Identifying the culture and core values of your client is key to building an appropriate graduate campaign

Identifying the culture and core values of your client is key to building an appropriate graduate campaign

 

It is no longer enough to recruit graduates who have the necessary experience and academic background. More and more, companies are looking to hire graduates who “fit” the personality, culture and values of their organisation. Figure out the sort of culture you’re recruiting for. Find out the type of environment graduates will be working in – the office atmosphere, the expected work/life balance, the combination of client-facing/team-work/individual work the role entails.

Use this information to identify the sort of individuals who would “fit” the company and then, identify which specific stages of assessment are needed. For example, a Marketing/Communications role, which requires some time spent working at one of the company’s retail stores, indicates the need for strong communication skills and confidence. As such, a telephone or video interview would ideal for this role.

Identify what adds value and what doesn’t

It is important each step of your selection process actually adds value to the overall goal of the campaign – which is to find the best candidate for the job. For example, it’s a good idea for a finance-degree related role, to have graduates conduct online numerical testing. However, from my experience, the majority of finance graduates tend to excel within their tests, which reduces the value of the stage in separating the good from the great.  Instead, other methods need to be employed which offer a more rigorous way of testing such skills. Why not play the Generation Y game and  find out what your candidates really thought of the assessments used in your recent graduate campaign.

Merging stages into a day or two day assessment centre.

Merging stages into a day or two day assessment centre.

Merge stages

If you feel the majority of assessments are crucial, why not merge stages together and conduct them all over a short period of time? On a recent graduate campaign, we created a 2-day assessment centre filled with a series of exercises that assessed all the skills and abilities required, whilst keeping candidates engaged and promoting a much shorter recruitment process.

Overall, there is no question about it – each assessment is as important as the last, and there is no clear-cut “ideal” recruitment process. However, as recruiters, we need to find out what’s essential and valuable to the selection process – and what’s not, and be flexible in making changes.

Doing so, we can deliver campaigns that encourage, not overwhelm graduates, whilst still providing the rigor and depth needed to find the cream of the crop. 

 What does your “perfect” Graduate Recruitment Process look like?

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

Bavinder ChahalWritten by Bavinder Chahal, Recruitment Co-ordinator at PPS

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

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

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

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?

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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GUEST BLOG: Successful Graduate interviews – the interviewer’s perspective

November 27th, 2013
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We shake hands, exchange greetings and I offer a drink.  We sit down, I explain the format, then start asking the questions that will determine whether the person in front of me is suitable for further consideration in the available role.  It’s a very familiar process, and I’m far less nervous than the candidate.

interviewAre you nervous? Perhaps you should be!

But maybe I should be nervous. Whilst research shows that interviews can be a highly valid form of assessment, am I really sure that the script I am about to follow really ascertains whether the individual has the right skills, knowledge and motivation for the role? If this is a question you have ever considered, I hope my blog will be of some interest!

As the graduate and industrial placement season gets into full swing, I thought I’d share my recent interview experiences on the validity and reliability of interviews.  For now I will just focus on two key points; interview design and candidate motivation. A future blog will look at my views and experiences of assessing job-person fit and the best structure to use for graduate interviews.

1.       The wrong questions waste time and money

The best questions are the ones that stop the candidates in their tracks. I have recently conducted a review of over 800 interview responses to the question ‘Tell me about a time when you had to manage a range of tasks at the same time’. Out of the 800 candidate responses, 650 referred to them planning their university work load. From the client’s perspective, the interviewers were wasting time gathering information from this question when there is so little variation in individual’s responses. Not surprisingly, 90% of the graduates scored an average mark to this question. Assuming the interviewers spent 10 minutes on this interview question, and with 800 candidates being interviewed, they have just wasted 133 hours – that’s nearly 4 weeks of work – on data that will not aid them in their selection decision making process.  Whilst you could strongly argue that it is the candidate’s responsibility to provide an example that stands out from the crowd, it is our responsibility to ensure that each question allows us to use the full marking range. Testing of interview questions is key to avoid costly mistakes like this being made, and feedback from the interviewers should be collated regularly to spot flaws in the design.

2.       Do they really want the job?

In a time where unemployment is high, employers could be mistaken for thinking that there are a wealth of enthusiastic graduates out there who want to work for them. In reality, many graduates tend to panic and apply for a number of different roles in different industries in the hope that this will guarantee them a job of some form.  I have seen many incredibly talented candidates rejected from recruitment processes as they haven’t convinced the company that they want to pursue a career with them. But from the company’s perspective it is far worse to have recruited these bright and capable people only to lose them six months down the line after companies when they go and pursue their desired career pathway.

Quite simply, to assess motivation effectively, it is all down to the questions you ask. Very basic motivation questions tend to ascertain whether the candidate knows the relevant data about the company they are applying for but all this shows is that your website is well stocked up on facts and figures.  In interviews, I often hear candidates talk about wanting a challenging role and so I start this challenge at the interview stage. If they really want a challenge, ask them questions that make them (and you) squirm a little.  So when they say ‘they like the culture of the company’, ask them to describe the culture as they see it, and why they have these views. And when they say ‘they want a role in a certain sector’, ask them what other companies they have applied for and the reasons for this. Suddenly you will learn so much more about whether the sector and/or the role is really right for them. The more detailed and direct the questioning, the less likely it is that you will get a vague response. Don’t leave the interview without knowing for sure what their motivation for the role is. You almost want to get to the point where you feel you are being interviewed by them, as the candidates who really want the role are the ones that really want to find out more about your own experiences in the company to cement their thoughts that this is the role for them.

I would love to hear your views on this. What have been your experiences of competency based questions and assessing motivation? Have you been successful in designing interviews that use the full scoring range? Get in touch and let’s share experiences and best practice.

Written by Jacqui Rice, Organisational Psychologist at Loganberry Limited

What did you think of this blog? Comment below, tweet us, chat to us on our LinkedIn page – we would love to hear from you!

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5 things a Graduate would change about Graduate Recruitment

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.

 

Enjoyed this blog post? Share it with your followers and friends! You may also enjoy reading Graduate Recruitment: What we can learn from the British Cycling Team

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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GUEST BLOG: Using social media as a listening tool

November 15th, 2013
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So much has already been said about social media, talk of how it’s revolutionizing the way we interact, communicate and broadcast – is there anything else to add? In my opinion, something is always overlooked and it’s something really simple in this case – the real key to making the most of social media is listening.

What's that? Using social media as a listening tool?

What’s that? Using social media as a listening tool?

Let me be clear here, I don’t mean spying. I mean, using social media as your benchmark and monitoring tool. Twitter is simply a global chat room where people share thoughts – 500 million tweets / thoughts are shared daily to be exact – so you can bet someone has already been tweeting about you and sharing  their thoughts . I urge you to use Twitter to tap in and gain authentic, straight ‘from the horse’s mouth’ feedback from candidates – and hear how you stack up.

Do you honestly know how your recruitment process – and recruitment brand – feels like from a jobseekers perspective? On paper, you might be hitting your targets and deadlines – but have you lost something in pursuit of that? How aware are you? Do you know what are your competitors doing, saying? Do you know how you compare?

Its time to lift your chin up from your desk and take a listen to what’s going on.

Why listening is important

Social media has given everyone a public voice. Take me for instance – if something goes wrong with a product or service I’ve bought – the first place I go to share my thoughts  is social media. I want my followers to know what happened to me so that they have insight when making similar decisions themselves. And this applies to recruitment also.

Some scary stats

So there’s a lot to discuss and improve!

Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just the direct tweets to your account or @ mentions you need to look out for. Search Twitter for your company name, graduate programme and even industry. Listen, engage, and respond to your audience. Who’s talking about you, what do they need and how can you help? You might even find positive feedback about what you do – wouldn’t that be nice to share?

The search function on Twitter is a useful way to key into what's being said about your business

The search function on Twitter is a useful way to key into what’s being said about your business

Since it’s impossible to be everywhere at once, there are an abundance of options for keeping track such as, Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and a useful tool called Twitonomy. You can set these up to create weekly reports, allowing to you to keep your finger on the pulse.

So, what do you do once you’ve listened? It’s entirely up to you.

If you’re the proactive type, look for trends in the mentions. There may be something you can easily fix – a website error or ATS glitch. If it is something that needs more time and effort – get the experts in – but you can still respond to show the candidate you’ve listened. In turn, these improvements will help to change your perception on social media.

Can you afford not to listen?

Blog by Kat Fox, owner of Peters-Fox consultancy and employer brand & candidate experience warrior.

Connect with Kat on LinkedIn

Visit the Peters-Fox website

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