A job close to home

What do candidates want?


It’s definitely a candidate-led market at the moment with skills-shortages in many areas, and the best candidates quite often aren’t looking for you at all – they are doing well in another organisation and role, which means you need to go and look for them. So how do you know what they’ll want?

Well, first and foremost the role needs to be right for them – a good match for their skills, experience, values and behaviours. However, TotalJobs recent Employer Insights Report (Feb 2016) also suggests that candidates are considering both location and salary equally. It’s not all about the money and because they don’t have to travel extensively to get the job of their dreams, they won’t.

Localised attraction

We’ve certainly seen a need for a more localised attraction strategy in the Graduate recruitment space recently, but it’s becoming more prevalent in the experienced-hire market too. Organisations need to understand their local demographics, which includes where potential new employees are working now, as well as knowing where they ‘hang out’ in order to target them appropriately with their attraction messages.

For those to whom location and convenience of getting to work matters,  being really clear about location and travel is essential. I read with interest the comments received by a recruiter on LinkedIn last week – the conversation going like this:

CANDIDATE – “When you say west of London could you give me the nearest tube station?”

RECRUITER – “Uxbridge.  With respect, I have a dozen candidates asking me about the scope of the role, not where the nearest tube station is. I think we’ll leave it here.  Thank you for your attention.”

Don’t forget ….

I’d also add to the attraction strategy detail about the organisation’s values and ethics, plus mentioning any additional lifestyle benefits that are on offer. You could also offer up the opportunity for them to speak to someone in a similar role, to find out what it’s really like to work for you, as candidates tell us they are doing more research than ever before when deciding on their future employers.


Measuring Recruitment

How do we know as recruiters that we are doing a good job?

The LinkedIn UK Recruiting Trends 2016 report, tells us that quality of hire is the most important performance metric for recruiting teams, according to UK Talent Leaders.

Whilst we agree that quality of hire is a sensible performance metric for recruiters, we were a little surprised to see how it’s being assessed:

54% of talent leaders are measuring quality of hire on retention and turnover statistics

What about employee performance?

We were still a little disappointed to see Hiring Manager satisfaction (43%) and new employee performance appraisal (37%) feature below tenure and turnover. In our view this seems a much more sensible way of determining if a recruiter has been effective – by that we mean they have translated the requirement successfully into a recruitment process that delivers a high-performing candidate that the Hiring Manager is happy with.

Good recruiters

Good recruiters will ensure candidates expectations of the role and future development are clear from the outset, but how long they stay in the business is often determined well after the recruitment process has concluded. There are so many factors that impact an employee’s decision to stay with an organisation, that sometimes even the most stringent and engaging recruitment processes in the world can’t overcome someone’s decision to leave.

PhD study of recruitment

We are looking forward to the results of a PhD being conducted currently into quality of recruitment within social care. The study aims to pin-point the key traits of prospective employees, highlight the best recruitment and assessment strategies and then ultimately provide a robust way of ensuring that employees are being effective. This will no doubt include both performance appraisal and Hiring Manager satisfaction.


How do you measure quality of hire? How able are you to get retention and turnover statistics? Does your organisation link appraisal and manager satisfaction back to the recruitment process?

Employee retention – how good is yours?

How long should you expect employees to stay?

With the cost of recruitment sitting anywhere between £2,000-£7,250 per hire (median average – CIPD Resourcing & Talent Planning Survey 2015), the subject of how long someone should stay with your business is a really topical one – what is ‘average’ tenure and how long should you expect people to stay?

Retention statistics

In the US, The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that the average time someone stays with a company is 4.6 years, and the latest AGR research suggests UK Graduates stay on average, 2.5 years after the end of their Graduate programme. According to the latest Deloitte Millennial survey, 1 in 4 Millenials would quit within the next year if an opportunity to do something else arose, rising to 44% within the next two years.

How to improve employee retention?

We already know that young people joining the workforce now, appear not to have the long-term career focus and company loyalty that previous generations have had, so is there anything organisations can do to increase tenure rates? (Aside from ensuring they remain competitive in the salary stakes that is).

We recommend open discussion about long-term plans

– being forewarned is being forearmed as the saying goes. During the recruitment process find out how long your new employee wants to stay in the role and work with them to make the best use of the time they spend with you. If you know from the get-go, that they are looking for progression after 12 months, then you can plan for this and enable it where possible, rather than keeping them in a role they’re unhappy with which will ultimately mean they leave.

Enabling ‘talk before you walk’ sessions as standard,

– you can normalise conversations about people’s intentions to leave. All too often people hand in their notice without mentioning anything to their employer about what it is that’s making them unhappy – when often you could have prevented it.

Implement retention interviews as standard

– if someone is having a wobble in the early few months you can pick this up really quickly through a retention interview and deal with it before it leads to them exiting. Also, by repeating retention interviews at the 6-9 month mark you can check in that their expectations continue to be met, and if not find out why not.

Continually managing expectations – is key suggests the AGR, along with frequent career path discussions. It’s also interesting to note from their research that longevity in post is increased where someone has worked for the organisation previously (eg. has completed an internship).


So tell us – how good is your employee retention?

The great employability debate

The great employability debate

Government choices

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has been in the press in the last few weeks, with her statement around promotion of opportunities to young people:

“As part of our commitment to extend opportunity to all young people, we want to level the playing field – making sure they are aware of all the options open to them and are able to make the right choice for them.”

This follows the Prime Minister’s announcement in January 2016, of a commitment of £70 million to transform the quality of careers education, advice and guidance offered to young people, and whilst there’s no firm date in place for this to come in, we welcome the thought that young people will be gaining more balanced advice when it comes to the opportunities on offer to them.

Employers, government and education

We spent time recently at the Warwickshire Skills Conference for business and education leaders – sat on a table with a councilor, a council employee and a Head Teacher.

While these initiatives to bring education and employers closer together are essential, all players responsible for enhancing employability are still a long way apart.

Probably not the point of this blog to get involved in overtly political debate, but it was interesting to see that the government’s education agenda causes frustration for both employers and schools.

Schools and FE colleges themselves are under-resourced when it comes to careers, and some of the responses coming out of them aren’t a good fit with enhancing employment for all (see below).

And employers are completely under represented at events like these, where they have the opportunity to make a difference.

An employability anecdote

We’ve just launched a recruitment campaign for a Higher Apprenticeship programme with a construction business, and we’re really keen to get into schools and colleges in the vicinity of the vacancies, in order to raise awareness and promote the roles.

The programme itself is really fantastic – a thorough and detailed training plan in place as well as funding provided for study up to Honours degree level.  It’s a great opportunity for anyone looking for an ‘earn while you learn’ package, and a strong alternative to the traditional University route post-A Level.

However, speaking to several colleges we‘ve been really surprised at their reticence to promote the opportunity, fundamentally down to the fact that they aren’t the associated learning provider for this client. Therefore if there’s no potential funding available they won’t let us talk to their students.

And we had a similar shock talking to local schools. One of them told us in no uncertain terms that the programme was not appropriate for their school “All of our students go to University” we were told!

Our employability suggestions

So to continue the debate, we have the following observations/ suggestions to make:

  • Start careers education with teachers (as recommended by the Headmaster of a Warwickshire based school)

Careers advisers cannot cover all angles. Schools should organise local employers to come and talk firstly to teachers, and then subsequently to students, so that all teachers at a school can support students with their career choices.

  • Get parents involved

An obvious absence at the Warwickshire debate was any parental input. Kids only spend about 1/3rd of their time at school – more should be done to engage parents.

  • Sort out funding so that schools and colleges aren’t only incentivised to promote certain training and learning opportunities

This seems obvious, but is no doubt more highly complicated. Something for Nicky Morgan to tackle perhaps?

  • Encourage more employers (particularly SMEs) to assist schools with pointing students in the right direction

Events like these and others that we attend, particularly those at schools, really struggle with the business contingent. While there are loads of initiatives to get employers in to schools, they are often underwhelmed.

Perhaps employers could be incentivised by reductions in National Insurance contributions for participation in employability schemes – contributing to the wealth of the country in non-financial ways.


What do you think? What are your views? Are we too negative in our views (there are some great employer/ schools stories out there too)?