Posts Tagged ‘recruitment expertise’

How PPS maintains long lasting partnerships

Monday, August 15th, 2011
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Here at PPS we pride ourselves in providing a personal service to every single client and candidate we speak to. Being an independent business makes us different to the larger consultancies – as we are able to provide a tailor-made service to clients rather than a standardised service. This enables us to meet the needs and requirements of our clients and in turn gaining us a large number of long standing partners.

Each client has a small team of consultants working for them – this ensures that our PPS consultants – who are all HR and recruitment professionals – have met their clients and understand exactly what they are looking for and what type of service they expect. It is also reassuring for clients to speak to someone they know every time they call the PPS number.

Click here to read how PPS maintains long lasting partnerships

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‘Bad’ applicants – generic examples of the types of candidates rejected at CV screen

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
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Here at PPS, we screen 100’s of CV’s on a weekly basis, often with many being rejected at the first stage. Some of these rejections could be prevented if the candidate was actually aware of the role they are applying for.

For example, if you are applying for a retail role, would you tailor your CV so that your accounting skills are highlighted accompanied with paragraphs describing how you really want a career in finance? A potential employer would take one look at this and question your commitment straight away.

Using our recruitment expertise, we have devised some key PPS tips to making a good first impression:
Click here to read our tips!

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Recruitment Agencies 2011 and beyond

Friday, February 25th, 2011
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Recruitment Agencies 2011 and beyond

As a recruitment process outsourcing , and temporary managed service business, we are players in the same industry as traditional recruitment agencies. Stef, one of our newest members of staff looks at the state of traditional recruitment.

The recruitment industry as a whole took a severe hit in 2009 and 2010 and a number of recruitment companies did not survive the economic downturn with The Recruiter reporting again that a large number of recruitment agencies were put into administration during the last quarter of 2010.

This said, specialist sectors within the industry still continue to grow with The REC stating that employers are looking to continue to grow their permanent workforce in 2011 despite starting the year with a cautious approach. In addition to this they report that 32 per cent of employers plan to grow their temporary workforce over the next 12 months.   This is backed up by figures issued by the REC and KPMG showing that permanent and temporary staff billings continued to rise in the last quarter of 2010 showing a growth in permanent placements and a rise in the demand for temporary staff.

The main issues currently affecting the recruitment industry as a whole are the government’s policy regarding migrant workers, the Agency Workers Directive (AWD) which takes effect from the 1 October 2011 , the recent VAT rise and its impact on Public Sector recruitment costs, the Public Sector cuts casting a shadow over the jobs market in general, utilisation of the internet and mobile technology, and as ever agency profitability.

The recruitment industry will no doubt be faced with a number of specific challenges throughout 2011, alongside the longer term challenge of competing and growing RPO and inhouse recruitment models, but the figures published by the REC suggest that the medium term outlook at least seems to be more encouraging.

Written by Stafanie Cooke, a recruiter at PPS

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Agency Workers Directive 2011

Monday, February 21st, 2011
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The Agency Workers Directive (AWD) will be enforced in the UK from 1st October 2011. The main purpose of the Directive is to ensure the equal treatment and protection of temporary agency workers in terms of basic working and employment conditions which are pay, working hours, overtime, rest periods, holidays, training, access to shared facilities and internal job vacancies.

Equal treatment does not include the provision of a pension, occupational sick pay, redundancy pay, bonuses intended to reward longevity of service or loyalty and will not include any changes to the employment status of the temporary agency worker. An essential part of the Directive is that equal treatment rights will not come into effect until the temporary agency worker has been in an assignment for 12 weeks.

The implementation of the AWD will have major implications on the cost and use of agency workers. Yet research has suggested that approximately 60% of HR professionals are unaware that the Directive will be in place in less than 12 months.

This is a significant piece of legislation that carries severe consequences for non-compliance; getting it wrong could result in serious financial and legal ramifications. It is therefore essential for companies to start getting to grips with the potential areas of impact. Below are a few key questions and areas companies can be focusing on in anticipation of the Directive:

Find out more about the Agency Workers Directive here

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The Benefits of Telephone Interviewing

Monday, January 10th, 2011
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PPS telephone interviews - Image by Pixomar /

Although telephone interviewing as a selection tool has been in existence for a number of years now, recently more and more companies are recruiting both permanent and temporary staff using the telephone interviewing method, as well as a way to create a ‘talent pool’ for up and coming roles. It is typically used as an additional way of sifting suitable applications, in order to create a very ‘short’ list for face to face interviews at a later date.

The continued role of the telephone interview in the selection process is due mainly to the following:

  • It is a time and cost effective process with each telephone interview usually lasting 20 – 40 minutes depending on the role. The process can reach large geographical areas without incurring any travelling expenses; therefore, roles can be recruited for throughout the world as time differences can be factored into the process with ease.   This aids not only the recruiter but also the applicants since as the interview can be conducted in the comfort of their own home, travelling time and expenses are alleviated. In addition, employed applicants do not need to take off as much time as a telephone interview can often be factored into lunch breaks, evenings or even weekends.
  • While face to face meetings should always be included at subsequent stages in the selection process, the lack of visual contact at the Telephone interview stage allows for total focus on the applicant’s verbal responses. This is a great opportunity to discuss competencies and strengths of an applicant, without being distracted by visual and body language. The process is consistent for every applicant, and so helps eliminate discrimination in the process.
  • Each telephone interview can be tailored to each individual requirement, and specific competency based questions can be included, thus probing relevant experience and suitability for the role.  This is also a good way of assessing the candidate’s ability to ‘think on their feet’ as usually, there is nothing that the candidate can prepare for.  In addition, it can be used to test verbal communication skills and telephone techniques.
  • With well-planned and relevant telephone interviews, using either competency based or strengths based assessment, the conversion to offer from those successful at telephone interview will be high. Interviewing candidates who have not been previously telephone screened will generate an average conversion of between 20% and 25% (i.e. interview 4 to 5 candidates for one offer). With candidates that have been professionally telephone interviewed the conversion should be closer to 33% – 50% or more (i.e. interview 2 or 3 candidates for one offer)

With enhancements being made continually to the telephone interview model of selection, it is certainly here to stay.

Written by Debbie Flower a consultant (and telephone interviewer!) at recruitment process outsourcing company PPS.

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Review of 2010

Monday, December 27th, 2010
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Dear friends,

At the beginning of the year I read about a celebrity actor who sent an annual review of the year to all of his friends. I am sure that it was well written, funny, and full of highlights that everyone would appreciate.

Here follows my attempt at doing the same thing. I hope it is well written, if you find one or two of the articles amusing, then I am happy. And whether it is appreciated or not, I hope that you will let me know. That way I will know whether to repeat it next year. These are all articles that have amused, entertained or just occupied me in one way or another, and are collected intermittently from various publications and websites.

I have taken the liberty of using the PPS website to store the full articles, so click through where you want to read more.

I will start with by far the funniest thing that I have seen all year – a spoof on the Queen and Facebook.

Considering a permanent move to the Midlands in the New Year, I am always keen to hear about faster ways to stay in touch with London life. However I can’t help but agree that spending billions on a high speed link to Birmingham is money better spent in the current climate. See if you agree with me…… “Permit me to be underwhelmed by the news that in 15 years, I may be able to get to Birmingham in 49 minutes. …..”

Not always everyone’s cup of tea, I’m always a fan of Jeremy Clarkson’s Sunday Times column. Here he reminds us quite how the world in 2010 is changing “because this was the Nineties, and mobile phones barely existed…”

And now for a different perspective on the year’s biggest environmental disaster. She might be everyone’s favourite Dame, but Helen Mirren proves why actors and actresses should stick to what they know… “Dame Helen Mirren said yesterday she was ‘relieved’ that England did not beat the US in the World Cup because of the BP oil spill”

I have made several musical purchases over the past year, particularly since I joined the i-phone community. But my favourite album purchase of the year is an old one. I went to see Skinner & Baddiel live in London on the eve of the World Cup. As well as performing to their old Unplanned format, they were joined by several live musical acts including Keane, Ian Brodie from the Lighting Seeds, and James. Not sure how I managed to overlook James in my youth, but I have been enjoying them since last summer at least!

Also been a big fan of the Drums, although Amy & I weren’t so impressed with their live performance

The continuing news topic throughout the year has of course been the economy. The election provided an unfortunate distraction from actually getting on with dealing with our problems, and there is significant disagreement as to whether the current way forward is the right one. “To deliver such a fundamental change, not just in attitudes but also in the way society is structured, demands rather more thinking and planning than this government – in its urgency to appease the financial markets – has allowed itself.” While the world economy has moved on since this article was written, I think the principals remain. Such a shame that the Labour government wasted so many of the opportunities that it was given, but even worse that the fate of our economy now lies in the hands of the Coalition government (and the most unpleasant and dislikeable individual as Chancellor that I can remember)

Continuing the musical element of my review, we move now to Mr Liam Gallagher’s words. But not lyrics this time, instead his comments on various other artists. Maybe he should stick to singing!

Our funniest candidate application of the year arrived in September. He wasn’t selected for the next stage of the process, but we wish him luck for his desired role in 2011, and suggest that he is more flexible on relocation!

Distance: 3.1 Miles
16/09/2010 (12:30) Select
36% Match CV Ref# 3703571
Name: Paul Smith Available: Now
Location: Manchester, Lancashire Temp/Perm: Permanent
Age: 20-23 Travel: up to 20 miles
Job title: Chef Expected salary: £15,001 – £20,000
Desired role: Master of the Universe Willing to relocate: No
Skills: Leadership , management , ability to learn quickly , organisation , team-working , professionalism , adaptability , hard-working , resilient , omnipotence

Having spent significant time trying to understand different European work and employment cultures over the past few years, I was interested to read an opinion that there are “troubling developments in Europe”. The world that we know will change culturally over the next ten years far more than it has over the last ten -we will all deal with it our own ways! Interested to know what those of you outside of the UK think!

And to finish, a final chuckle with the funniest joke of the year from the Edinburgh festival, and other associated one liners! “analysing a joke is like dissecting a frog; no one enjoys it, and the frog dies”

For anyone who wants to pass comment and let me know what they think about this annual review, I am also posting to the PPS blog, where comments are welcome.

Hope you all enjoy the last few days of 2010, and I wish you a happy, successful and fulfilling 2011!

All the best


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The benefits of a Neutral Vendor Managed Service over a Master Vendor Model

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
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PPS Temporary Manged Service

Managed Services in temporary recruitment first appeared over 15 years ago in the form of a Master Vendor model, whereby a recruitment agency was the main provider of temporary members of staff. Since then Managed Services have evolved and introduced different models for the service such as the Neutral Vendor and hybrid models.

So what does Neutral Vendor mean? A Neutral Vendor model means that jobs are released to all supplying agencies for the appropriate category at the same time through the managed services online system. But how a neutral vendor is delivered can vary between providers. The PPS Neutral Vendor Managed Service model (NVMS) ensures that no submitted CVs contain any agency branding or contact details, which in turn ensures there can be no bias to one agency over another. This means that each supplier has an equal opportunity to source candidates for the role and therefore ensures that all supplying agencies are motivated to send their best candidates.

Not all neutral vendor services work in this manner, as many operate a ‘faster finger first’ approach to the submittal of candidates, whereby it is the first 10 CVs submitted that are sent through to the recruiting manager, providing no quality control. PPS believes that it is quality not quantity that is important and therefore allows all of our suppliers an equal amount of time to source candidates that match the criteria; all of whom are then screened by the NVMS team, which then provide the hiring manager with a shortlist of the very best candidates.

Furthermore it ensures that local agencies can continue to supply and have as much of an opportunity of filling the roles as the more established suppliers, thus helping to support smaller, local businesses in the area who otherwise might be pushed out of the market under a Master Vendor model or tiered agency preferred supplier list (PSL). The supplying agencies are more committed to supplying the clients on a Neutral Vendor account, as they know that they will receive all the roles as opposed to the few which a master vendor might decide to release. As a result, the suppliers want to send their best candidates through, as they know they are likely to receive a higher volume of roles through this model. The transparency of the model helps to create greater competition amongst the suppliers and again facilitates the high quality of candidates received. Suppliers want to be the best because they want to work on these accounts.

With a master vendor model, all roles firstly go to the master vendor who will endeavour to fill the roles and only if they cannot recruit, will the roles be released to the rest of the supply chain. Due to the reduced level of roles the lower tier suppliers receive they tend to be less dedicated to sourcing candidates for the end-client and are less likely to send their best candidates. The benefit of a Master Vendor model is that with the quantity of roles that they receive, they can offer lower margins, however this then raises questions over the quality of candidates provided. Many managed services believe the way to make cost savings is simply by driving down the margins. It is my view that this is often a mistake. I would argue that while with some positions this is possible, it is not so across the board – there is a fine balance between getting the margins right and maintaining quality. This is a balance PPS fully appreciate and adhere to.

The main reason a managed services is used is to provide a company with accurate management information on the usage of temporary staff within the organisation, how long they have been in place and to understand how much they are spending. The objective is to reduce the number of temporary workers in place, to reduce the cost per hire and to ensure that there are cost savings. It is my view that a Neutral Vendor managed service is much more likely to deliver such results over a Master Vendor. The Master Vendor approach is provided by an agency of consultants who are working for commission – it is ultimately not in their interest to reduce the number of temporary workers in place as this would directly impact on their earnings.

PPS is not an agency therefore we are not working for commission, we are fully dedicated to our clients’ aims and objectives and work in partnership with the HR and procurement teams to help reduce the reliance on temporary workers and provide real cost savings. We are highly engaged with both the managers and the suppliers and work closely with both parties to ensure that the best candidates are provided.

These are just a few examples as to how the PPS Neutral Vendor managed services approach provides benefits to both our suppliers and to our clients.

The PPS neutral vendor managed service model is unique; to find out more about how we differ from other neutral vendor providers please contact Mandy Glover

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Talent Pool

Friday, December 10th, 2010
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What is a talent pool?

Talent pools are everywhere now.  In the simplest terms they are sources of potential candidates for companies that are recruiting.  If you have applied for a job recently then the chances are you will have entered a talent pool at some stage in the process.

The main routes to a talent pool are:

Online job boards

Online job boardsTechnology has transformed both the way we look for jobs and how companies look for candidates.  Many candidates now post their CV along with a brief profile to online jobboards.  These online job boards allow categorisation for industry, job type, experience and educational levels.   Both recruitment agencies and end user clients can then pay to search these online talent pools to find suitable candidates.

There are no real restrictions to entry for candidates but with the industry growing so fast candidates should ensure to keep track of where they are registered, as the responsibility for keeping a record up to date lies with themselves.  In order to be found by relevant companies candidates should familiarise themselves with how companies would search for candidates of a similar profile.

Before posting your CV and profile you should consider some key facts about the job board.  Is it a good match for your experience, industry and job level?

Specialist agencies

Specialist recruitment agencies advertise in a variety of different places.  Once you register withan agency, your details will be held in their talent pool; coded in such a way that they can match potential jobs to your skills and experience.

Recruitment consultants will tell you if they choose to register you and if they do then administration methods vary.  Some will require you attend an interview inperson.  In all cases you should keep your recruitment consultant up to date with your current situation and update your skills and experience as appropriate.

Recruitment consultants often pro actively try to generate business using the CV’s of good candidates registered in their talentpool.  Make sure you understand how you will be informed if your details are presented to a client.  It could cause difficulties later if you apply directly.

End user clients:

Most companies using progressive recruitment methods are now using online application forms and applicant tracking technology.  “Weeding out” questions during this online process will determine  minimum criteria;such as right to work and essential skills.  Without this, an automatic rejection email will be sent.   This means that when candidates apply on their website, or through a link in an on-line advertisement, a talent pool is automatically created of all candidates who have passed the minimum criteria.

By creating a talent pool companies are avoiding unnecessaryadvertising and administration time. They are also removing the need to pay a recruitment agency fee (often as high as 30% of salary) for somebody who has found them themselves.

Talent pools are not a new phenomena.  Companies have been developing them for years in order to have a ready to draw on group of candidates with the right skills and experience.  In the past they wouldhave been manually kept and filed; now they are automated and electronic.

So be prepared for the fact that when you apply for a job,or log your CV on a job board, you may be making yourself part of a future talent pool. Make sure that your CV and covering letter are specific enough for the role that you are applying to, but also broad enough to appeal to anyone delving into the talent pool in a few months time.

Written by Amanda Marques, Business Solutions Director at PPS recruitment process outsourcing

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Advice for candidates in the recruitment process

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
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Advice for candidates in the recruitment processIt has been a frustrating time over the last two years for candidates seeking work and actually gaining employment. It can be soul destroying and demoralising.

However companies still want the best person for the role – it is crucially important that any negative thoughts are dismissed from the very outset.

Please find below some top tips that will help in your job search.


In this whole process the application form and the job description are your greatest friend!

Preparation is the key.

Application forms/ CV tips

  • This is often laborious and boring and you feel like you have filled out ‘000 of forms and sent off your CV everywhere – however DON’T rush this part of the process – take care.
  • Remember this is the 1st time that this employer will have received your details.
  • Make your CV / application form match the job description – print out the person and job specification, highlight the key words and ensure you use these on your application.
  • Have a flexible and constantly changing CV – change your personal profile and the bullet points on your responsibilities to match to the job description.
  • With organisations receiving increasing numbers of applications, employers have less time to read the CV. Make yours punchy and relevant from the first second – put your most relevant skills 1st, bullet point your responsibilities, and keep it to 2 pages. You only have 5 -10 sec to make a first impression.
  • Remember that your CV is a career history and it is also your biggest sales tool!


The key here is to think Positive!


  • Tips for an interviewDo your preparation – it is crucial that you know about the company, the role and why you want the job.
  • Think about and prepare why you are suitable for the organisation – what transferable skills do you have? Write them down and be comfortable that they will just roll off the tongue when you are asked the question!
  • Practice competency based questions at home with friends and family – they can be your harshest critic – use their feedback.
  • Try and guess the questions that may come up – look at the details that you have on the role and try and predict 5 questions that you might get asked.
  • Don’t be late – this is something that is always stated but is so true. Make sure that you know where you are going – do a dummy run the night before. Put the interview time in your diary 30 mins earlier so give you room for delays.
  • Be confident about your Strengths and Weakness – know why your strength is relevant to the Company. Know your job description. Make sure your turn your weakness into a positive e.g. “I can sometimes be stubborn however this means that when I am set a task I have the mindset that I will achieve and that it I will do an excellent job.”


  • 1st impressions are EVERYTHING and are hard to take back – make sure you are smartly dressed, well presented and think about the smaller details.
  • On the way from reception to the interview room try and make brief small talk about the weather or something similar – start breaking down the barriers, building a rapport and bringing through your personality.
  • Give a strong handshake – one that oozes confidence and not one that squashes the interviewer’s hand!!
  • Don’t appear desperate – the employer may think that you want any job – not their job.
  • Be specific as to why you are particularly interested in this role.
  • Don’t ask questions about benefits i.e. salary, holidays etc. This can put off interviewers. Things like this can be discussed at a later date. Ask questions likes “where is the organisation heading in the next two years?” and “what is the culture of the company like?” – these appear to be more insightful and not all about ££.
  • Stay positive throughout your interview, even if you do not feel that the interview is going well, the interviewer might! Remain positive with a friendly, professional attitude.
  • During your interview avoid commenting negatively about previous employers or express negative views which may lead the interviewer to think badly of you. Be really careful on your reasons for leaving – prepare your answer well.
  • Sound as though you are already working for the Company and show genuine interest in the Company and their plans. Convince them that you can do the job and want the position.
  • IF and only if you feel confident at interview, ask them if they have any reservations about you, as you would really like the position. Be prepared for them to come back with negatives – handle these in a calm manner and overcome their reservations.

Good luck!!

Written by Kate Ingram, a recruiter  for recruitment process outsourcing company PPS.

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Ensuring equality between your temporary and permanent workforce

Monday, November 15th, 2010
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Companies and organisations that engage with temporary staff have long been urged to maintain a suitable distance from those temporary workers, in order to avoid the risk of creating an employment relationship.

With the impending Agency Workers Directive governing the equal treatment of temporary workers, Dave Beesley, Resource Consultant at PPS, discusses some ways in which equality could be adopted between temporary and permanent staff.

With the planned Agency Worker Directive set to enforce fair treatment of temporary workers, there is a greater need to examine and enhance the temporary employment experience. This is true of both pay and benefits, and organisational management practices.

Our Managed Services operation has enabled us to work with hundreds of temporary recruiting agencies. The good ones will push for and fully assist and support candidates throughout the entire recruitment and placement process. They are also best placed to sit between the company and the temporary staff member, promoting fairness and equality, yet acting as a counter to the creation of any employment relationship. You pay your recruitment agency to supply and manage your temporary staff – make sure that they remain active after the placement!

Pay – Probably one of the greatest inequalities between temp and perm workers reported, and likely to be enforced by the AWD. Ensure fair and comparable pay structures, and run reports to regularly confirm that hourly rates match permanent salaries. PPS conduct regular industry benchmarking exercises which can determine average pay rates both internal and external to an organisation. Our technology is already built to enable compliance with AWD, in terms of both process and reporting.

Training – Many organisations fail to cover even the most basic training with temporary starters, including health and safety. Like permanent recruits, ensure that your temporary workers are fully inducted, and understand your policies and practices to prevent issues, uncertainty, or even injury. Use your agency to deliver this training to new starters, but make sure that they receive it. Continue to seek candidates with the relevant skills and attitudes required by the position, but remember that your organisation is likely to have its own way of working. Be on hand to support, and offer add-on training at each opportunity as you would for permanent starters, again using your recruitment agency where appropriate.

Recognition – Temporary Workers offer a range of skills and a wealth of industry experience, and feedback and praise related to this is simple yet rewarding. As long as neither are delivered as part of a formal appraisal process, they should come without risk. And make sure that the Temporary workers get formal feedback too – just be sure to pass it on via the agency. Offer positive feedback, and encourage temporary workers to reapply for similar temporary requirements in the future.

Development – Temporary workers are a great resource pool of candidates for those positions pending permanent recruitment. Aim to advertise opportunities internally, and allow permanent and temporary staff access to adverts to encourage loyalty. Many organisations fear temp to perm transfer because of expensive fees applicable. Remember – a managed services operation prevents fees after twelve weeks of the temporary worker’s start date. At PPS, we prove that conversion can be managed cost effectively.

Exit – The end of a temporary assignment should be managed fairly, despite its short-term nature. If an assignment ends earlier than planned, aim to offer the temporary worker some notice where possible, just never make it contractual. Consider offering feedback on areas of strong performance, and provide a reference to support the temporary worker in securing future assignments. Exit interviews conducted by a third-party recruitment partner can provide open and honest feedback about their overall experience.

There are a wealth of comparable benefits and management practices that should be considered when hiring temporary workers. Fear of creating employment relationships often means that companies get the balance wrong – you can have a temp, but still treat them fairly, and motivate them to work hard for you.

At PPS, our industry expertise can assist you prior to the AWD implementation, and I would urge you to start thinking about this sooner rather than later. Despite proposed changes by the AWD, remember that agency workers are contracted on a temporary basis, delivering you with much of the benefits of a flexible resource without creating a relationship of employment. That said, like permanent employees, temporary workers are as much the face of your organisation requiring a balance of equal treatment. We’ve seen the evidence year on year; treating your temps fairly really does improve their productivity and loyalty to the organisation.

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