The Build Up To The EU Referendum And Its Impact On Recruitment In Britain

by Andre on April 30th, 2016  

What is taking place on 23rd June 2016? Well, most of the people living in Britain, and no doubt elsewhere, know the answer to that question. 23rd June 2016 is the date that those of a voting age in Britain – and many British expats around the world – will vote to decide whether Britain remains a part of the European Union or whether it exits. As an employer, perhaps you have noticed if there has been an effect on your business with all the type around the EU referendum, either positive or negative. For example, has the build up to the EU referendum had any impact on your recruitment strategy?

First of all, let me say what this article is not. It is not an article that is laying down any argument for or against Britain remaining a part of the EU. It is simply a look at some of the points put forward by those in the ‘Brexit’ camp and those in the remain camp. In particular, it’s a glance at what each camp claims will be the impact on businesses and employers and no doubt you have your own views on this, too.

The EU Referendum – An Emotive Subject

Perhaps not surprisingly, the lead up to the EU referendum has made the topic of leaving or staying within the European Union an emotive subject which has divided businesses, politicians and the general public. And this has not become a division between different political parties but also public differences of opinion within parties; the division between Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, perhaps being the most obvious and certainly the most public.

Internationally, Britain’s June EU referendum is also making waves. On a recent visit to the UK, president of the United States, Barack Obama made a speech where he openly supported those in the remain camp and suggested an exit would harm trade and business ties with the United States. Does this concern you as an employer? France has also made its unease felt by Britain’s potential leaving of the European Union.

What is for certain is that we are dealing with the unknown. Both the Brexit campaign campaign and the Remain campaign can share numbers and statistics to suit the arguments they put forward but the reality is, no country has ever left the EU so no one knows what the actual effect will be. After promising a referendum, David Cameron now has to leave it to voters to sift through those arguments and statistics and decide for themselves what they think the best route will be for the future of the UK.

What this article is not: This article is not a ‘Brexit’ or a ‘Remain’ in the EU argument. The referendum is going to happen and we are considering the effect for employers in the run up to, and no doubt immediately after, the referendum, too, whatever the result.

What Are The Options For Britain If Voters Vote To Leave The European Union?

So, let’s take a quick look, first of all, at some of the options that are being put forward by those in favour of leaving the EU. What will the outcome be for trade and industry? After all, these outcomes are ones that are going to have an effect on businesses throughout Britain and you as an employer.

Suggestions put forward by those in favour of leaving the EU are:

  • It can be an ‘amicable divorce’ between Britain and the European Union – If Britain leaves the EU, ties between the two can be renegotiated. It doesn’t have to be a complete severance and strong business and trade links can be retained with European Union countries so that UK businesses don’t get faced with large tariffs for the trade. Britain can have a free trade agreement with the EU but not be tied to EU law or have free movement of people.
  • Britain will have more control of its own affairs – Those in favour of Britain leaving the European Union say that if Britain leaves, it will be free to make its own decisions about agriculture, fishing quotas, justice and home affairs without interference from the European Union.
  • A clean break – Some ‘Brexit’ campaigners suggest making a complete clean break from the European Union when it comes to trade and rely on membership of the World Trade Organisation.
  • Leaving the EU will save money – No more membership fees for being part of the European Union would save Britain money, those in the ‘Leave’ camp say. This money can be better spent in Britain.
  • SMEs will benefit – Are you an employer that recruits staff to your small or medium-sized company? Those who are in favour of Britain leaving the European Union believe small and medium-sized enterprises will benefit because they will no longer be tied to European Union regulations which hold them back. They argue that the British market is dynamic and will soon adapt to leaving the EU and SMEs will have more freedom to flourish.

What do those who support remaining in the European Union suggest?

Here are some of the points they argue:

  • A loss of migrant workers – If Britain leaves the EU, many migrant workers who have had a positive effect on the economy will be forced to leave. Perhaps your company would feel a direct effect of this? Also, as well as losing migrant workers, in future years, there will be a more limited pool of talent for recruitment because British firms will be unable to choose from European employees quite so easily. If your company employs staff from EU member countries, perhaps this is already an issue you are considering.
  • An ‘amicable divorce’ is not possible – Those who support staying in the European Union question the possibility of an ‘amicable divorce.’ After all, they argue, why are other European countries just going to sit back and allow Britain to leave with special trade agreements? Why should Britain be allowed to have it all ways? Any negotiating of these trade agreements could take years, European countries could choose to make life difficult for Britain in the meantime and this will have a detrimental effect on the economy and on jobs around Britain.
  • EU standards will still need to be met – If Britain wants to continue trading with the European Union, European Union standards will still need to be met but if they are not part of the union, they won’t have any say on how these standards are drawn up, what should be included and how they should be implemented. There will be no place at the negotiating table for Britain.
  • Millions of British jobs will be lost – Those who want to remain a part of the European Union say millions of British jobs will go as large international companies will look to work with a more competitive EU. The ‘remain’ campaign argue that around 3 million jobs linked to being part of the European Union and, in particular, the foreign-owned car industry at risk. They say the financial services sector is also concerned about Britain no longer being part of the European Union. Are you an employer is any of these sectors? Do you share the same concerns?
  • Leaving the EU will harm the competitiveness of British businesses – Those who will vote ‘stay’ in Britain’s EU referendum say that, as a worst case scenario, rather than there being trade agreements negotiated between Britain and the European Union, there could actually be a trade war where British businesses would suffer and lose out. When it comes to business and trade, Britain could end up being the outsider, left on the sidelines with few friends to play with.

British Jobs And The EU Referendum

So, in the run up to the EU referendum in June, what are your thoughts about the effect this is having on British jobs and recruitment? As an employer, have you altered your recruitment strategy in any way?

One certainty is that none of us really know what will happen to the British economy and jobs until after the referendum. If British voters vote to leave the European Union, will those companies who have said they’ll leave Britain actually leave? Will the United States prefer to trade with the EU over Britain? Will there be ‘consequences’ from France?

Naturally, there are lots of questions and lots of ifs and buts that cannot be answered or decided upon until the referendum has taken place – it is difficult, if not impossible, to put figures on either the number of jobs that will be created or the number of jobs that will be lost. So, where does this leave you as an employer? The British economy and business growth enjoys certainty and when it comes to the question of Britain staying in the European Union or leaving, we can’t enjoy that until we know the outcome.

The Run Up To Britain’s EU Referendum – Now Could Be An Ideal Time To Recruit

For the first time this year, unemployment has risen in Britain and one of the reasons stated for this is the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the EU referendum. Employers are not recruiting as many new staff as they normally would – indeed, some may not be recruiting at all, right now – because they want to see the outcome of the EU referendum first.

What is your company doing when it comes to recruitment over the next few weeks? Are you following suit and hanging fire like many other British companies are doing?

Have you thought that now could actually be an ideal time to recruit staff to your company? There is a lot of young talent out there and right now, lots of that talent is looking for student jobs, graduate careers and also apprenticeships. We have written lots in the past about beating the competition to attract that talent to your company. This can be through writing great job ads or offering perks to your staff, for example.

If other companies have made the decision to put a temporary hold on their recruitment programmes while they await the outcome of the EU referendum, now could be a great time to step in there ahead of your competition and get first choice of all that young talent out there that is keen to start work. When it comes to recruitment, you could turn the uncertainty surrounding the referendum to your advantage.

E4S attracts thousands of young job seekers to its website on a daily basis. Whatever size of company you are, whether you have temporary work available for students, part time weekend jobs, exciting graduate opportunities on offer or you are looking to employ young apprentices to help drive your company forward, why not advertise your job vacancies with E4S and get ahead of the competition in landing Britain’s young talent?

5 Fantastic Reasons Why You Should Hire An Apprentice

by Andre on April 13th, 2016  

UK apprenticesIf you are an employer then, chances are, you have considered whether or not it is worth your effort to hire one or more apprentices for your firm. You will probably also be aware that the current government are working hard to encourage companies to embrace apprenticeships by highlighting the many benefits of apprenticeship programmes both for young people and for you, as an employer.

The good news is, over recent years, many large corporations and smaller firms, too, have seen the rewards of hiring apprentices and, as programmes develop, apprenticeships are shaking off their old image and are increasingly seen as a dynamic addition to recruitment options for employers.

Talented young people are also viewing apprenticeships as true alternatives to university and, at E4S, just in March alone, we received over 48,000 page views of our dedicated Apprenticeships section and handled over 11,000 Apprenticeship applications. Demonstrating the high level of interest there is in apprenticeships at the moment.

If you are still wavering and wondering how offering apprenticeships can benefit your company, here are 5 fantastic reasons why you should hire an apprentice:


1. Apprenticeships Are Government Funded & Affordable

Yes, that’s right. If you hire an Apprentice, it is not going to cost you the earth in training funds – because the government will pay for some, or even all, of the training involved, depending on the age of your apprentice. That means you get a potential bright young star working for your company and you get to keep your costs down, too.


2. Apprenticeships Simplify The Recruitment & Training Process

For most companies, unless you have a dedicated in-house training team, the apprentice’s formal training, qualification and assessment will be handled by a training provider who offer structured and meaningful training for your apprentice that is relevant to your industry.

As part of their Apprenticeship programme, all young Apprentices learn core skills about the workplace, bring their maths and English (and IT, where relevant) knowledge up to a required level and also gain nationally recognised vocational qualifications in the relevant industry, all handled by the training provider. In the meantime, you can liaise with both your Apprentice and their mentor to discuss the most suitable pathway for your young recruit.

Because the training is structured, you have invested in them and they are doing hands on training in the workplace, your Apprentice feels valued. This builds their confidence so that they work more effectively for your business. This means existing staff can be freed up to work on other projects, too. It’s a win-win situation.


3. Offering Apprenticeships Gives Employers The Opportunity To Attract The Best Young Talent

Young people who choose the option of Apprenticeships are often those who are looking for an alternative to the university route. This means you get the first chance of harnessing some of the United Kingdom’s best young talent. And, if you think about it, because Apprentices tend to be young people, they are not coming into the world of work with previous workplace ‘baggage.’ They haven’t developed work habits from another company and this means you can mould your young Apprentice to suit the needs of your company.

Research has shown that because Apprentices feel valued in the workplace, they are loyal employees and this improves your staff retention and helps to build and sustain a strong team ethic within your company. On successful completion of the Apprenticeship, many firms choose to keep on their young recruits and help them to progress further. This promotion from within eases the burden on your future recruitment needs and also means your staff know exactly what is required of them.


4. When You Hire An Apprentice, You Do Your Bit For Young People And The UK

Yes, offering Apprenticeships is ethical. Why? Well, for starters, you will be doing your bit to combat youth unemployment in the United Kingdom. You will be helping to create a skilled workforce that will drive the future economy and you will be benefitting your own company in the process.

How? Well, we have already mentioned the structured training and the likelihood that your apprentice will remain loyal to your firm in the future. But another interesting piece of research by the Centre for Business and Economics Research has found that your company can benefit financially in other ways. Consumers who discover that you employ Apprentices are often impressed by the fact that you are investing in young people and prefer to do business with companies that can demonstrate a strong sense of corporate social responsibility over other firms that don’t.


5. Young Apprentices Can Offer A New Dynamic To Your Firm

Because of the nature of Apprenticeships – earning whilst you carry out hands-on training in the workplace – young apprentices are generally very keen to learn and succeed, and can offer new, innovative ideas and solutions to problems that could have existed in your firm for some time.

Having a young person, or young people, working around your current team can energise your existing workforce and therefore increase productivity. Remember, Apprentices are not just coming to work each day so that they get their pay cheque at the end of each week or month. They are coming to learn new skills and progress so that they are not just stuck in a rut as the ‘office junior’ or the building site labourer, all the time. They want to succeed and they want to build a career.

This can only benefit your company and, in fact, lots of UK employers who have been hiring apprentices for many years say they believe the continued success of their business depends on strong, sustainable apprenticeship programmes.


Hire Your Apprentices Through E4S Today

Convinced? You should be! If you would like to be a part of the new apprenticeship movement and start tapping into Britain’s best young talent why not post an apprenticeship advert with E4S and review the applications? or call 0845 838 0595.

National Living Wage Goes Live

by Andre on April 1st, 2016  

The National Living Wage has finally come into effect today, 1st April 2016. What is it? How does it affect employers? And what do you need to do to make sure you are 100% in compliance?

What Is The National Living Wage?

National Living wageIntroduced by Chancellor George Osborne in the Budget 2015, the National Living Wage is an attempt to make sure that employees, either full or part time, earn enough money to pay for everyday living costs like food, bills and transport. It is expected that the new rules will give an immediate pay rise to over 1 million workers in the UK.

The National Living Wage only applies to employees aged 25 and over, however, and is set for the current tax year at £7.20 an hour. Everyone younger than 25 will still be governed by the National Minimum Wage rates, which are currently:

  • 21-24 years – £6.70
  • 18-20 years – £5.30
  • 16-17 years – £3.87
  • Apprentices Under 19 (or 1st year apprentices over 19) – £3.30

As you can see, effectively the National Living Wage is giving your employees who are aged 25 or above an instant pay rise of 50 pence an hour on workers 12 months their junior. For an employee who works an average of 40 hours a week, the new rules will see them earning around £1,000 more per year.

The £7.20 rate is expected to rise each year and will be set by the Low Pay Commission. The aim is that the National Living Wage will top £9 an hour by 2020.

What Happens If You Don’t Pay Your Employees The National Living Wage?

There are strict penalties for any businesses which don’t comply with the new National Living Wage starting from April 1st 2016.

Any companies which don’t pay eligible workers the National Living Wage face penalties of 200% of the amount they owe, unless they pay the arrears within two weeks. The maximum penalty will be set at £20,000 per employee and any employers who flout the rule face being banned from being a company director for anything up to 15 years.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has set up a special enforcement team to tackle non-compliant employers with criminal prosecutions.

The National Living Wage – What You Need To Do

If you haven’t already, then as an urgent priority, your company needs to:

  • Find out which of your employees are eligible
  • Inform them of their new pay rate
  • Make sure your payroll department knows all the details

Job Interviews – What Does Your Candidate Want From You?

by Andre on March 29th, 2016  

As you are no doubt fully aware, when you are recruiting new staff to your company with job interviews, there is lots to think about during the application process and this can be especially true when you are looking to recruit young people; school leavers, students and graduates. All recruiters want the same thing when they are looking to hire: they want the best candidate for the job and they want that candidate to stay with the company for a length of time so that they can grow together with the company.

Much of the time, in these articles, we focus on what employers can look for and what they can do to attract the best staff. For young people, for example, they might want to know they are going to be working for a forward thinking, vibrant company so writing that killer job ad to show off those aspects of your firm can be a great way of attracting their attention. If you are recruiting graduates and competition is stiff for your post, using assessment centres and / or psychometric testing can help you make that final decision.

Interviewing candidates is just one aspect of an application process that can help you decide if you have the right person for your role and most of the time, from the employers’ point of view, articles will focus on the best questions to ask. Even advice articles which are written from the point of view of the candidate will focus on giving them tips on what the interviewer might be looking for and how best to answer questions. Shining at interview is important to both parties.

But how about if we swap things around? Whatever type of company you are, when you have vacancies to fill and you would love to have the best young talent out there to fill those roles, how about turning the tables by thinking about what your young candidate could be looking for from you. How can you help them in interview so that you both know you are the best fit for each other?

Be Clear And Honest About The Job Vacancy

When you are recruiting for job vacancies, it can be easy to get caught up in company jargon and mission statements. You want to sell your company to your candidates and tell them all about your happy, productive team of staff. While these might make complete sense to you, a young person who is being interviewed just wants to know exactly what their job will be.

Remember, many school leavers and students might be entering the workplace for the first time. Being clear and honest about what their duties could be and what will be expected of them when they are an employee at your company will help both you and the candidate in the long run. Will there be a chance of extra hours? Will there be a requirement to be flexible? Will there be specialist training?

And with all this, of course, this is a good time to sell the benefits: The qualifications and experience gained in apprenticeships, how your specialist graduate programme will benefit them, chances of full time work in the future for students.

It’s Not Just About The Money

Yes, of course people go to work to earn money but for many, including young people, the wages or salary are not the be all and end all to being in work. People want to be rewarded for their efforts financially but they also want to know what other benefits they will receive in their job.

Do you offer any quirky (or lucrative, if you are a bigger company) perks to your employers that make them feel like a truly valued member of your company? Even for small and medium enterprises, there are perks that can be described in interview such as monthly or quarterly pizza days where staff get together, for example. Larger companies might have a gym or a games room where staff can go to take a break a break and chill out. Fun, forward thinking companies that have a contented staff are going to appeal to many young people and they could be just as impressed with this as their hourly wage or salary.

I’ve written about suggestions for perks in the past as a way to boost staff retention because they’re used effectively by many companies of all sizes. And of course, whilst you sell your staff perks to your potential new employer during interview, you can assess whether you think they are going to fit in with your company culture or now. Again, you can read more about recruiting for culture fit, here – it’s advantages and disadvantages and what to be aware of if this is the route you want to take.

You want your candidates to be genuinely interested and passionate about the role they are being interviewed for so that they enjoy job satisfaction. If they are this type of person, just concentrating on the financial benefits of the role might not give them any clues about their work life and could deter them from taking their job application further.

Young People Want to Know They Are Being Valued During The Interview Process

Obviously, it depends what type of role you are recruiting for within your company, but if it is a competitive Apprenticeship position or graduate programme, for example, where you are using assessment centres and various stages of interview, bear in mind that your young candidates could have travelled many miles to the interview.

Are you showing them that you value their time during interview by acknowledging the effort they have made to get to the interview? Is your candidate fully aware that there could be more interviews or further assessment before you come to your final decision? Some of your candidates could have pulled out of other important commitments to make it to the interview for your role – if you acknowledge this commitment that they have shown then they will be more likely to feel they are going to be valued when they are actually working for your company.

It might be time consuming and difficult to fit in but if you decide a candidate just isn’t the best fit for your company, give them feedback on why you think this is the case. Not only will they appreciate this and be able to take this for ward when applying for future positions, they are also more likely to encourage others to apply for your future roles because they felt informed and appreciated throughout the process.

Young People Want To Know They Are Going To Be Valued In The Workplace

If you are interviewing school leavers, students or graduates, as well as being clear about what will be expected of them should they be awarded your job, young people want to know they are going to be valued from their first day at work. Yes, they have duties to carry out and you have sold them the idea of your company perks for employees and training but remember that starting a new job can be a daunting prospect.

When they are in interview, young people want you to show that you understand this fact. How are you going to help them to settle into their new role in your company when they do start work? Will they have a mentor, for example, or do you have a buddy system? Will they have an opportunity to speak with you or other managers about their training programme for how they are going to build their skills and progress through your company? Will they be encouraged to express their opinions about their new role and offer ideas about upcoming projects you have?

As mentioned in a previous article about engaging staff immediately, before and after they begin their new job, not only makes them feel valued but it is much more likely to boost your staff retention, too. The recruitment of new staff can be a time consuming and, sometimes costly, process so you want your new young stars to stick around and drive your company forward. They are more likely to do this if they feel valued and a part of the team right from the beginning.

Young People Want You To Know They Are Nervous

When was the last time you went through a recruitment process where you were the candidate? Think about how you felt during that process and put yourself in the shoes of your candidates applying for your roles. When people are nervous, it can often be difficult for them to be themselves and give you a true picture of how they really are.

We all know that the interview process can sometimes give a false impression of a candidate – and even the company doing the interviewing, for that matter – so a mutual understanding and acknowledgment of that can make your candidate feel more relaxed and even grateful that you have shown your awareness.

You will have seen for yourself how, in interviews, nerves can show themselves in different ways:

  • Your candidate might talk too much or even talk over you.
  • Your candidate can appear over confident and a bit of a know it all.
  • On the flip side, your candidate might just freeze or clam up and fail to answer your questions fully.

Young people, especially school leavers and students, are unlikely to have had much (if any, at all) practise in an interview scenario, let alone practical experience of the workplace so they could feel much more at ease if you let them know you understand if they are feeling nervous. After all, you never know; you could be interviewing someone who has the talent to really shine at your company – you want to coax the best from them during that precious interview time.

Some companies send literature to candidates before the interview so that they can prepare for the interview. This could be broader information about the company and the projects they do or it might be more information about the interview day and a rough timetable of events. Inviting candidates to the workplace to show them around before the interview can also be helpful in easing nerves and it can give young people some ideas for meaningful questions to ask during the interview and at the end of the interview, too.

Job Interviews – In Conclusion

Whatever type of company you are and whatever type of role you are are recruiting for, the interview process is just one stage of the application. Application forms, covering letters, CVs, perhaps even trial periods of work or written assessments can all work together to give you a more clear, overall picture of your candidates. And, when it comes to the interview stage, taking a bit of time to put yourself in the shoes of students, school leavers and graduates could mean a more effective interview that will help you choose the best candidate for the job.

If you have vacancies within your company – part time, temporary or full time – and are looking to attract the best young talent to your roles, why not advertise with E4S? Take a look at the page to see what we have to offer.

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW 2016) – Are You Getting Involved?

by Andre on February 26th, 2016  

Next month, between 14th and 18th March 2016, NAW 2016 will take place. National Apprenticeship Week is a showcase for, and a celebration of Apprenticeships – a look at how they benefit the UK economy, individual businesses and young people. This year’s theme is all about ‘rising to the top.’

As employers or company owners, you are no doubt fully aware of the emphasis the current government is putting on Apprenticeships as a way of both getting young people into meaningful employment and also as a way of easing the skills shortage within various sectors of the British economy.

Perhaps you have already introduced Apprenticeship programmes within your firm or maybe you are thinking about taking young people on in the future by way of an Apprenticeship. National Apprenticeship Week will promote Apprenticeships so that more companies can be encouraged to introduce them as part of their recruitment and staff retention strategy.

NAW 2016 (National Apprenticeship Week) – What Is It All About?

National Apprenticeship Week 2016 Events

Organised by the National Apprenticeships Service NAW 2016 will have a series of events up and down the country throughout the week, and, if your company is getting involved, you can register your particular event so that it can be shared on the online map of Apprenticeship events.

If you just want to dip your toes in, find out more about Apprenticeships and what is involved in them, then you can also use the online map to locate an event near you. Businesses, schools, colleges and other training organisations are all arranging events so there could be something in your locality.

Are You Ready To Commit With The National Apprenticeship Week 2016 Pledge-O-Meter?

If you are adding more Apprenticeships and Traineeships to your existing programme, or you are making a bit of a resolution to commit to introducing Apprenticeships and Traineeships, then you can also register this on the national ‘Pledge-O-Meter’ in the run up to the week. Last year, 23,000 Apprenticeships and Traineeships were pledged, so, naturally, it’s hoped that this year, that figure will be surpassed. The Pledge-O-Meter is already up and running so you can add to the tally whenever you like and help this number tick ever upwards.

The National Apprenticeship Week 2016 ‘Pass The Torch’ Campaign

Since January 26th 2016, an Olympic-style torch has been making a tour around southern England. 26th January was the National Apprenticeship Awards and, as a symbol of passing on knowledge from one generation to the next, the torch began its journey around the south of the country and will make appearances at various events organised for National Apprenticeship Week. It will be present in London on the 14th March for the launch of National Apprenticeship Week.

If you are committed to the employment and professional development of school leavers by way of offering Traineeships and Apprenticeship programmes and this sounds like something you want to be a part of as an employer, you can get all the relevant links and further information from here.

What Are The Challenges Facing Apprenticeships In 2016?

As well as being a showcase of successful apprentices and of the multitude of Apprenticeships out there, it is the mission of National Apprenticeship Week 2016 to demonstrate to both young people and employers that Apprenticeships are playing a valuable part in the building of careers and in the continuation of the success of the British economy.

The drive to push the validity and attraction of Apprenticeships has not come without challenges, however, and there are still challenges, both new and longstanding, that need to be overcome when it comes to the subject of Apprenticeships. Let’s take a look at some of those challenges and how events like National Apprenticeship Week can get rid of some of the misconceptions and myths surrounding Apprenticeships.

Myth 1 – Apprenticeships mean you are committed to a particular career

In the past, one of the selling points of Apprenticeships to young people was the fact that, having successfully completed a level on an Apprenticeship programme, the person could either go on to be employed by the company where they did their Apprenticeship or, if there were no vacancies available, they could apply for similar jobs elsewhere, using their skills and qualifications.

A great selling point, right? However, one of the challenges facing recruitment onto Apprenticeship programmes now is that this has slightly backfired. Recent research, ahead of National Apprenticeship Week 2016, has revealed that some young people are under the impression that doing an Apprenticeship means they are then committed to working in that industry for the rest of their life. This has dissuaded them from applying for placements.

The challenge now, to convince young people that this is actually not the case, is to sell other benefits of Apprenticeships. The training offered and the work experience gained during Apprenticeship programmes mean that young people are picking up knowledge of the workplace and transferrable skills, too. Young people need to be made aware that, should they want to take their career path in a different direction in the future, their Apprenticeship can benefit them in doing this.

Indeed, for you as an employer offering Apprenticeships, if you spot particular strengths in your young recruits, you could even direct them towards different pathways in another area of your company, perhaps, or even within a different industry.

Myth 2 – Apprenticeships are not real jobs

National Apprenticeship Week 2016 also faces the challenge of quashing the myth that Apprenticeships are not real jobs. A lot of young people believe they are not in a real job if they are doing an Apprenticeship. This could be because there are compulsory units involved that must be completed and then assessed by an assessor either in the workplace or in a training centre.

Also, not all Apprenticeships guarantee a role with the company upon completion of the Apprenticeship. This could be another reason for young people not feeling like they are in a ‘proper job’ if they know it could end on a given date.

Not all employers are in a position to be able to offer all of their Apprentices a permanent role on completion of their programme but, if you are in a position to offer permanent roles, really pushing that can help end that stigma felt by young people that they aren’t in a real job. And, for you as an employer, if you can offer permanent roles and promotion – and get a reputation for doing so – this then gives you the opportunity to choose from the best young candidates out there for your Apprenticeships as they should be applying for your roles in higher numbers.

Myth 3 – Apprenticeships pay low wages

Yes, it is true that all the literature out there will show the minimum wages that Apprentices must be paid and it is also true that a lot of young people out there are dissuaded from applying for Apprenticeship programmes because they feel they won’t be being a paid a decent wage.

Actually, the case is that, depending on the company and the type of apprenticeship, many employers out there pay above those minimum wages to their apprentices. If you are an employer who is in a position to offer higher wages, again, really advertising this can help to dispel that myth.

Apprentices are also receiving training courses and on the job training, too, so it is important for employers and the Apprenticeship Service to get this point across. An Apprenticeship is a programme whereby a person is actually being paid to learn and this is a point that needs to be communicated to young people.

Myth 4 – Apprenticeships are not a real alternative to university

A lot of young people still feel that going to university to study full time will get them a superior career and a higher salary than if they do Apprenticeships. So, Apprenticeships are still not being viewed as a true alternative for those people who either do not want to go to university or who are not in a position to go.

Events like National Apprenticeship Week 2016, with its theme of ‘rising to the top,’ should help towards eradicating this myth as Apprenticeships are celebrated. Also, these days, many more companies are advertising their Apprenticeship programmes in such a way that demonstrates Apprenticeships as a viable alternative and, in some industries, Apprenticeships are evolving.

In Law, for example, it is now possible to do an Apprenticeship whereby young people can become fully qualified solicitors. In this sense, the Apprenticeship is no longer second best. In the engineering sector, where there is an increasing need for skilled UK workers, companies are reaching out to try and remove the snobbery that still surrounds Apprenticeships. Amongst the challenges faced by the engineering sector is the ability to attract more female Apprentices. Currently, over 90% of young people doing Engineering Apprenticeships are male.

What Are The Benefits Of Pledging To Offer Apprenticeships In The Run Up To National Apprenticeship Week 2016?

I’ve written in the past about Traineeships and also the benefits to employers of creating Apprenticeships within their company, so we’ll not go into detail here, but employers who embrace Apprenticeships have said they have had a positive effect on their firms. So, if you are thinking about the best way to employ young people, develop and harness their skills, now could be the perfect time to get involved by using the Pledge-O-Meter to pledge Apprenticeships within your company.

And National Apprenticeship Week 2016 is not just about pledging to offer more Apprenticeships. It is also about realising the challenges faced currently and about quashing the myths surrounding them.

In the engineering sector, for example, Chief Executive and Chairman of engineering company, Reinshaw, Sir David McMurtry said in this Gloucester Citizen article, that employers need to be more involved with schools and the local community when it comes to Apprenticeships and encouraging people to be interested and excited by engineering. They are even going so far as working with primary schools, doing projects with children to show them that science is exciting. They are also working to encourage more females and people from ethnic minorities into the engineering industry by way of Apprenticeships and other methods.

So, in 2016, it is also about the bigger picture. In many sectors within the UK economy – and perhaps you are aware of this within your own industry – there is a skills shortage that is continuing to grow as staff already within those industries retire and as technology develops. Getting young people onto Apprenticeship programmes means specialist skills can be developed and the skills gap can be narrowed. But, the challenge is not just for you as an employer to offer Apprenticeships within your field – it is also about attracting young people onto those Apprenticeships.

National Apprenticeship Week 2016 will have events up and down the country – and employers, schools, colleges and training organisations can share ideas and work together locally to showcase Apprenticeships. And the current government is also working to encourage more schools to give access to Apprenticeship providers.

This recent news article highlights the point that some schools are only suggesting vocational courses and Apprenticeships to lower-attaining pupils. This contributes to the myth mentioned above that Apprenticeships are not seen as an equal alternative to university. These days – such as the Trailblazer Apprenticeships in Law – Apprenticeships really can take young people right to the top and qualifications can equal those of an honours degree. Employers can take action to reach out to schools and work together with them to make pupils aware of this fact so that young people can make more informed choices about the best route for them.

The government’s Trailblazer Apprenticeships are there to give young people a pathway right to the top of their field and a new Food Engineering Trailblazer has been launched recently by the NSAFD (The National Skills Academy For Food & Drink). As with the Trailblazer Apprenticeships in the Law sector, the new food Trailblazer Apprenticeships have been developed by teams from some of the largest food manufacturing companies in the UK. So, it could be a case of ‘watch this space’ for more innovative Trailblazer Apprentices in other sectors in the future.

As well as the annual National Apprenticeship Week 2016 events that you can get involved in, local initiatives could be set up in your locality where you might work with other businesses, schools and colleges, and also industry conferences often discuss Apprenticeships, too. If you want young people onboard within your company and are offering Apprenticeship programmes, you can advertise these with E4S.

Apprenticeships are here to stay and can be of great benefit both to young people, to the wider economy and to you as an employer. Get involved and take a look at the National Apprenticeship Week 2016 map to check out events happening in your locality.

A Guide To Culture Fit – Is Cultural Fit A Feature Of Your 2016 Recruitment Strategy?

by Andre on January 29th, 2016  

In the world of recruitment, ‘culture fit’ or ‘cultural fit’ has become a bit of a buzz term over recent years and more and more companies are starting to take this method of recruiting very seriously and adopt it into their recruitment methods. In this article, we will look at cultural fit and how it can benefit your company and we will also address the potential disadvantages of adopting it into your recruitment process.

First of all, let’s look at the first question that might come to mind: What is cultural fit?

What Is Cultural Fit Or Culture Fit?

When it comes to recruiting employees to a team, what we are all looking for is to make sure we are getting the right person for the job. Recruitment can be both costly and time consuming and so the ideal end result is to end up with a new member of staff who is going to work well with the rest of your team, who is not going to move on to pastures new after a matter of months or weeks, and who is going to drive your company forward, flourish and be successful in their role.

For many companies who are recruiting new staff, that’s where cultural fit plays a part. Cultural fit is all about making sure they get the right person for the job, not just because of their previous experience, skills or qualifications, but also because of their outlook on life and work. Cultural fit is all about employing someone because their values and work ethic match those of your company’s culture.

Interview Scenarios

For example, you could be interviewing someone for a role within your company – it might be a graduate role or you could be interviewing a student for a part time job or seasonal work. Let’s say that the person you are interviewing ticks all the qualifications and experience boxes – but then you find out they love to work independently and do things their own way. Your company is a company where your workforce thrives on teamwork and collaborations. Perhaps then, even though your candidate looks the part on paper, they are not going to gel with your firm.

Another example could be that you discover your candidate likes to work to fixed routine and know exactly what is going on. Perhaps your workplace has a staff of people who thrive on innovation, working with new ideas and not necessarily working to a set routine. Is that person going to be the best person to fill your vacant role? Again, they might look the part on paper but will that person truly flourish in your company’s culture?

If the people you are interviewing do not really fit your company culture then, chances are, they will become unhappy in their role and start to look for work elsewhere. This is obviously not good for your staff retention and certainşy not good for your recruitment because, if that employee does move on, you are going to need to begin the recruitment process all over again.

Culture Fit Can Be A Win-Win Situation

Awareness of culture fit can be a two way scenario. It doesn’t have to be a situation where employers are assessing whether potential employees will be successful with the company. Making candidates aware of your company’s culture can also give them the opportunity to decide if your company is right for them, too.

Different people thrive in different situations. Does your management style and the way other employees work in your company suit your candidate? Does your management style lend itself to getting the best out of that potential employee? Being able to work this out during the recruitment process means that, in the end, your staff retention will be boosted because both parties can decide whether the arrangement will work for them. Culture fit can be central in developing your workforce and driving your company forward.

The Benefits Of Cultural Fit For Your Company

The benefits of cultural fit can be significant for your company, whatever type of company your run. When everyone is working towards the same mission, cultural fit can:

  • Encourage productivity and business success. We’ve looked at the challenges of keeping productivity high in the workplace in the past and good cultural fit can be one of the ways of cementing good productivity levels.
  • Improve the self-esteem of your employees because they feel more able to do their job. This means they are more likely to stick around for longer because they are more committed to the company as they perform better. If you are recruiting graduates and students, this means you have more chance of retaining the best young talent out there.
  • Research has also shown that if culture fit has been used effectively during the recruitment process and you have a committed staff, at challenging times for the business, this staff are more likely to work harder to fix things and also adapt to new business practices for the success of the firm. You will have a strong team committed to success.
  • When you have a strong team because that team shares the same values as those of your company, you could also end up with a happier staff who are less stressed. This means they are less likely to need to take sick leave and, again, this is beneficial for productivity.

Cultural Fit Is Becoming Top Priority For Larger Companies

Rather than just concentrating on filling vacant positions such as graduate programmes or individual roles, some larger companies are making cultural fit a top priority in their recruitment by considering the culture of the organisation as a whole.

Companies that take cultural fit seriously, actively market this to potential candidates right from the outset. Their websites appeal to a particular type of person and, when they time comes for recruitment, their job ads appeal to a certain sort of person. If lots of young people work there, then the website will reflect this. If they are big on providing student jobs, this will be reflected, too.

Cultural fit can assess whether people are right for the job from the get go. Good cultural fit helps people to work together to adapt to necessary changes in the business to keep on top of the game.

Do You Know Your Company’s Culture?

So the next question to follow with is, if you are interested in cultural fit as a recruitment strategy, do you know your company’s culture? This obviously has to be the starting point as you will be recruiting staff based on the beliefs, attitudes and traditions of your company.

If your company is well established then you could have written mission statements that staff are aware of and maybe you even have long-serving members of staff, too, who know your company inside out. For others, it might not be so simple, however. You could be a new start-up or you could have recently gone through lots of changes in the company set up for whatever reason. If this is the case, then how are you going to pin down what your company’s culture is?

Whatever field your company operates in and whatever type of roles you have on offer, there are a few things you can do to try and identify to identify the culture of your company.

  • Think about whether you could explain the culture of your company to a candidate who comes for interview. If you are interviewing a student for part time work or a graduate for a more senior position, what could you tell either of those types of people about the firm?
  • Indeed, before you get to interview stage, do you actually know the types of people you want to interview so that they can be a valuable member of your existing team?
  • Sit down and have a thing for yourself about the culture of your company.
  • Ask existing employees what they think the culture of the company is. What do your young apprentices, students or graduates think and how would they describe the company culture to other people of a similar age?

Before you can consider recruiting staff with cultural fit in mind, it is important that you are clear on your company’s values, goals and practises and work out how to put these into your recruiting process. For larger companies, this could involve working with a consultant to really drill down into some values and the company’s mission. For smaller companies and new start ups, maybe you already have an idea of the type of people you want to work for you because of the staff already employed.

Can The Strategy Of Recruiting For Cultural Fit Be Over Used?

Recruiting for cultural fit can be very effective in boosting your company’s productivity and staff retention but it is also important to make sure you are still recruiting a diverse range of people rather than a group who are clones of each other. Can your company afford to let a talented interviewee go just because you think they might not fit in with your team? This is a tough decision to make and that is why it is so important to know what the culture of your company is.

Sometimes, opposites attract and a variety of people from a diverse range of backgrounds can make a really strong effective team because they behave in particular ways in given situations. So, just because an interviewee says they are not the type of person who likes to go out drinking after work, are you going to let that talent slip away just because the rest of your staff often go out together after work? That is down to you to decide via other aspects of your application process.

A candidate’s personality, whilst it is important, might only be one part of your decision to decide whether or not to offer them the job. Other ways to decide if someone will fit into your company is to do personality questionnaires, group exercises, role plays and presentations, for example. This is where psychometric testing can also be a useful tool in recruitment, too, because you will get a chance to see how your candidates operate in given situations and also how they assess their own personality and behavioural traits. You will get a more rounded picture of your potential new employees.

So, what is important is that you don’t use cultural fit to end up with a lack of diversity within your company.

Should You Be Adopting Cultural Fit As Part Of Your Recruitment Strategy In 2016?

Recruiting for cultural fit can be very effective for both the culture and the productivity within your company so, yes, it can be a part of your recruitment strategy. But, as with other recruitment strategies, it’s perhaps best not to use it solely. Culture fit should not be a blanket for your company because you do not want to stifle individuality. Individuality is also a trait in people that can drive your company forward.

It is certainly true that some people will really thrive in particular cultures within the workplace whilst others will struggle in the same environment. That employee could well have all the relevant experience, technical skills or qualifications to do the role but if the culture isn’t suited to them, they won’t feel motivated to succeed in their role. If the employee is unhappy in their role then productivity will be affected, the mood of other members of your team can be affected and also, your unhappy employee will feel more motivated in looking for a new job rather than stick around. That leaves you back at square one, beginning the recruitment process all over again.

Depending on the role you are recruiting for, yes, you need to hire people for their skills and knowledge, too, but don’t forget that these are something that can be taught. This is especially true of entry level jobs that you might be recruiting students or apprentices for. If someone seems right for your firm but doesn’t necessarily have the skills, then they might still be worth taking on because then you can train them up in your role.

One incompatible person who just isn’t singing from the same hymn sheet as the rest of your staff can upset or destabilise even the strongest team. As I said above, some level of psychometric testing can be good so that you can get a broader picture of aptitude and ability as well as personality. If you are the type of firm that requires your staff to work well as a team, introduce some, team building exercises on recruitment days so that you can see how different candidates behave in certain situations.

Certain candidates might have a completely different way of going about their task to everyone else but it could still be a method that you think will work really well for your company. It is important to hire individuals who are a good culture fit for your workplace but who are still individuals who can thşnk for themselves and feel they can work in their own way. Don’t want a company full of clones or robots who all think and go about things in the same way. This can put your company at risk of losing any innovative ideas and processes.

As well as exercises, questionnaires and presentations, at interview time, introduce some questions that centre around your company’s culture. Is the candidate aware of your company’s culture? Perhaps you arranged some open days so that candidates could visit and observe the atmosphere throughout the workplace. If you can ask questions about this in the interview, you can ascertain whether they will fit in with your company by their answers.

Even if you are recruiting for cultural fit, successful candidates can still be from all different backgrounds. Perhaps they have no previous work experience, they might be graduates or students looking for part time work. Depending on the nature of your company, if you recruit a student who happens to be ideal cultural fit, they could go on to stay with the firm full time after graduation.

Whatever recruitment practices you employ in your application processes, the hoped for outcome for all companies is the same: You want to hire professionals or trainees who will flourish in their new roles, train and develop and make a contribution to driving your company forward. If you get cultural fit right, you should end up with a team of talented individuals who are innovative, highly motivated and who are more likely to remain with the company for a significant amount of time. This, ultimately, saves you a lot of time and money when it comes to recruitment.

If you are looking to recruit students, graduates and other talented young people to be a part of your company, then you can post your ad with E4S and see what we have to offer employers, here.

2015 On The Employer Blog – A Review Of the Last 12 Months

by Andre on December 20th, 2015  

So, it’s that time of year again. By the fact that it is the final month of the year, December always seems to be the time that we take stock; take a pause and look back at the year that we have just charged through. Whenever new government initiatives are introduced in the world of employment, we blog about them and, as employers, you no doubt implement some and hang fire on others. And before we all know it, all the predictions and the implementations have carried us headlong through another 12 months, and we wonder where those 12 months went.

Next month will see us all in a whole new year with new hopes and predictions for the future of employment in the United Kingdom and overseas, too; particularly the employment of young people in the case of E4S. But, before we go rushing off into 2016, what happened in 2015?

Let’s take a look back at some of the employment issues addressed in this blog. Has there been any real change for school leavers, students and graduates in the world of employment in 2015? Has their lot improved or is it now even more difficult for them to find the employment they want? Has there been any change, for better or worse, for companies and for you as employers? Have you found any benefit to your company from any new initiatives that might have been introduced or do you feel they have actually made life more difficult?

A Review of 2015 on the E4S Employer Blog…

The E4S employer blog addresses a range of issues around employment with a general running thread on recruitment and, from that, staff retention. As with other years, 2015 was a year of of tips, discussion and advice.

January 2015 – Getting Those Job Vacancies Noticed By Young People

Right at the beginning of the year, we looked at all those killer ways to promote your student job vacancies. Having the vacancies at your company is one thing, writing the job advert is another skill altogether – and then, once you have master all of that, you need to promote your job vacancy so that as many people as possible see that vacancy.

But you don’t just want anyone and everyone to apply for your job vacancies. There is nothing worse than trawling through piles and piles of unsuitable application forms from people who don’t match your requirements. This is clearly time best spent elsewhere in the development of your company.

If you are looking for students or school leavers to recruit into your vacant roles, then you need to think about how you are going to get them onboard. Our January article gave lots of tips about promoting your company to young people – your job ad is also an ad for your firm and if you want to get young talent onboard, you need to convince your potential applicants that you are a forward thinking, exciting company to work for.

  • Tailor your ads
  • Use social media
  • Use video
  • Use companies like us at E4S who will be able to combine all of the above and direct that towards young jobseekers – those job seekers you are looking to attract.

February 2015 – The Correlation Between The Number Of Jobseekers And Staff Retention

Throughout the whole of 2015, there has been a lot of movement in the jobs market and also a continuation in the shift in trend from employees sticking around in their ‘job for life’ to a more flexible attitude towards their jobs and careers.

This means employers are having to become increasingly inventive when it comes to their recruitment and staff retention strategies; this is especially the case when it comes to keeping hold of the best talent so that you can drive your company forward with innovative ideas. These days, many employees are more confident about changing jobs in order to improve their lot and many are even undergoing a complete career change.

Why is this the case? Why are so many people so willing to hand in their notice and move on to pastures new? Reasons given by employees are:

    • A general change in attitudes towards jobs and careers. 2015 – and before that, too, saw more appetite and more ambition for new challenges amongst employees.
    • New Year Syndrome. Well we all get that new year feeling of starting afresh and taking control of our lives in all sort of areas. For some, it’s that time where you join the gym – again! For others, it can be that time where it’s time to make a change in their career. Perhaps you have noticed yourself, as an employer, that you sometimes lose staff at the beginning of the year.
    • More opportunity for progression. Are you giving your young staff, whether school leavers, students or graduates, the opportunity to progress – or at least a career map where they know progression is possible in the future? These days, employees don’t want to feel they are in a stagnant role.
    • Higher wages. Finances are always going to make the list when it comes to reasons why employees look to change jobs. Wages were set to increase through 2015. Did this happen within your company or did you come up against other obstacles that either prevented these wage rise or slowed them down?
    • A more interesting job. Are your young employees challenged and do they feel they are a valued part of your company? Handing different projects over to your younger employees – even if it is students working in a part time role for your firm – can encourage staff to stick around for longer and, in the case of students, you could bag yourself a future graduate member of staff.
    • Employees feel unappreciated or undervalued in their current role. Whatever type of company you are involved in, what are you doing to make sure your staff feel appreciated and valued in 2016?
    • Some employees are unhappy with current management. Again, it depends on the size and type of firm you own or work for but whatever the situation, have you got good management in place that seeks to actively involve and develop other staff members?
    • Employees would like more training and development. Are development programmes in place in your company where all staff feel they are progressing, either via promotion or within their current role?
    • More flexibility in working hours. Government legislation is already trying to address around rights to work flexible hours. On a more informal level, do you have a culture within your workplace where staff feel they can go to those in senior positions to ask for time off for childcare purposes or similar?

If any of these issues have arisen within your company throughout 2015, here is the article in more detail so that you can look forward to 2016.

March 2015 – The Gender Pay Gap In The UK

Yes, March was the month where the gender pay gap issue came to the forefront once more and, unfortunately, it is a problem that is not going away. The month in the Guardian, it is once again being addressed as December is the month that the Commons Women & Equalities Committee starts to take evidence around the gender pay gap. Let’s see if 2016 can bring more positive news on this issue. For more detail about the issues that were addressed in the March blog post about the gender pay gap, here is the link to the article.

April 2015 – Are Young People Being Let Down By Lack Of Employment Options

As with the gender pay gap issues that I wrote about in March, April was the month where I addressed young people (well, we are Employment 4 Students) because they, too, have been very much a feature of employment and recruitment news throughout the year. That looks set to continue into 2016 as in October of this year, this article in The Guardian highlighted a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission that warned Britain’s youth are at risk of being a lost generation.

In my article, written back in April, we were awaiting to see which political party would be the victor in the general elections of the following month so I summarised what each part had pledged in the field of employment – specifically, youth unemployment.

We now know, of course, that the Conservative Party came to power. They had pledged to tackle Britain’s problem of youth unemployment by creating 2 million jobs and, on top of that, 3 million new apprenticeships. Perhaps your company is already making use of, and even benefitting from, the implementation of apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are seen as a key way of getting the youth of Britain into meaningful employment so if the government do manage to introduce 3 million new apprenticeships, this could be highly beneficial for young people, companies and the British economy.

May 2015 – The Issue Of Staff And Holiday Entitlement: How Does Your Company Fare?

Yes, another hot topic of 2015 was the fact that the workforce of the United Kingdom seems reluctant to make use of their full holiday entitlement from the workplace; indeed, many staff are not even taking their breaks and lunch hours within the working day.

Whilst the initial reaction to this news might be to think that is beneficial to your company as an employer – all your staff in the workplace, working all the time – evidence actually shows the complete opposite.

Staff not using their full holiday entitlement or not taking breaks makes them less productive and this is detrimental to the productivity of your company. And aside from less productivity, it can also be bad for your firm’s staff retention as staff become more likely to be in need of sick leave, they can become bored of their role and they don’t feel valued; these are all reasons why employees leave current roles for pastures new.

Issues as to why employees don’t make full use of their full holiday entitlement or their breaks are often issues that can be addressed by employers. The article from May offered the following reasons for staff not taking time out:

  • Too many things to complete so no time to take a break.
  • Staff feel they shouldn’t take time off – this is often due to the culture in the workplace where if other staff don’t take their breaks, those who want a break feel they shouldn’t take it.
  • Schedule clashes – this is more related to holiday entitlement. Employees with families and spouses have to juggle holidays so that everyone gets time off together. If this cannot happen – and there are numerous reasons why – then rather than take the holiday, anyway, many employees just continue going into work.
  • Saving holidays up – depending on how you company arranges staff holiday entitlement, some employees prefer to save holidays up and let them roll over to the following year so they can take a longer break, perhaps to travel further afield, for instance.
  • Not giving enough notice – arranging everyone’s holiday entitlement in the workplace can be tough. There are always going to be popular dates where lots of your staff want to take the same holidays and this is impossible. Some staff lose out on the dates they want because they didn’t jump in there first and rather than rearrange dates, they simply don’t take the holidays.

There are numerous benefits to your company if all of your staff are taking their breaks and using up their full holiday entitlement. Here’s the link to the original article with all of those benefits listed.

June 2015 – Top Perks Offered By Employers

Again, the running theme of good staff morale and improved staff retention. June was the month where I listed some perks employers can offer staff so that they are happier in the workplace.

The main point to note was that employer perks do not necessarily have to be limited to large corporations. Small and medium enterprises can get in on the act by being innovative and even quirky in their ideas and these can be just as effective in retaining your best young talent as quirks that might cost a lot of money. Young people and students like to feel like they are working for innovative, forward thinking companies and these little perks can go a long way to creating and maintaining that image.

You can read the full list of perks in more detail and their benefits to your company, here, but suggested ideas that could be implemented were:

  • Paid insurance.
  • Allowing staff to bring their pets to work with them – obviously, this depends on the nature of your business.
  • Casual dress code rather than office suits.
  • Offering clothing advances – this is good for students and young people whose wardrobe might not be suited to your company’s dress code.
  • Investing in the fitness of your staff – this can be through gym membership, for example, or it can be something that is also a social event such as cycling clubs or running clubs.
  • Offering a games room – A place where employees can go to switch off for a while and wind down.
  • Foodie days – This could be a monthly or quarterly get together in the workplace where you get a take away meal or where staff can bring in homemade cupcakes or pizza, for example. Days like this are good for boosting staff morale.
  • Time off work – a day off if it’s your birthday, for example. Again, young graduates and students are likely to relate to perks such as this.
  • Company retreats and getaways – This is a perk for perhaps larger companies.
  • Free treats – Not all companies can afford to offer their staff retreats and getaways but other free treats don’t need to cost the earth and they can still mean a lot to employees in making them feel valued.

July 2015 – Writing The Perfect Job Ad

When you have job vacancies with your company the job ad for that vacancy is also an ad for your company as well as having to be an effective piece of writing that attracts the right people. If you are looking to employ students, graduates or young apprentices and you place your ad with companies such as us at E4S, your company needs to look dynamic and the type of place where those young people would like to work.

Writing a job ad to attract a target group of people is a skill and in July, I offered some top tips for making sure you (or someone else within your company, if need be) present your job vacancy to the people you want to attract. You can read the article in more detail for further information about each tip but the top tips covered, were:

  • A good job title with location information, too – already, your advert is targeted to people in a relevant geographical location.
  • Be clear and concise – young people do not want to be reading through reams of information in the initial job advert.
  • Make your ad flow – is all the information in a good order so that it reads well?
  • Sell your company – as I said above, make your company look attractive to school leavers, students or graduates. No one wants to work for a dull company.
  • Expand on your job headline – as with newspaper headlines, the subsequent article expands on the initial headline. You have used your headline to grab attention and now you need to go into a bit more detail about the job description.
  • Who do you want to apply for your job vacancies? Keep this in mind throughout the creation of your job ad. Do people need to have their own transport, for example or do they need to have any specialised skills for the role? Including specifics like this will mean you should get more targeted applicants.
  • Include some information about the wage or salary. Not necessarily an exact figure, if that isn’t relevant, but your candidates will want to know about financial gain for their efforts.
  • The call to action. This is paramount in any job vacancy advert. Tell people exactly what you want them to do in just a few words. ‘Apply now,’ for example is concise and to the point.
  • Proofread your job advert – or better still, if you are the one who has spent time carefully preparing your ad and you have read through it over and over, why not ask someone else in the company to cast a fresh eye over your work. If your ad is aimed at young people, ask the younger staff in your company to give you some feedback on the ad, too.
  • Post your ad – you need people to see your job vacancy! You can advertise your vacancies to students and young people with E4S.

August 2015 – Challenges Faced By Employers In The Workplace

There are many challenges faced by employers in the workplace these days; lots of them, ultimately based around staff retention. In August, I highlighted some of the issues that employers face along with some possible remedies for these problems. Do you face any of these problems in your own workplace?

The 8 issues highlighted were:

  • Unqualified or unsuitable applicants applying for your vacancies. One remedy for that problem is mentioned above – does your job ad ask the right questions?
  • Your job adverts fail to attract any applicants.
  • How much should you rely on taking a peek at applicants’ social media presence?
  • How do you make sure your company gets the best young talent over other companies?
  • How do you retain that best young talent once you have attracted them to your firm?
  • How can you keep productivity high within your company?
  • How do you improve and maintain employee morale?
  • How do you encourage women to apply for roles that have traditionally been dominated by men?

October 2015 – The Pros Of Psychometric Testing

It’s not a recruitment method that is going to go away any time soon so in October 2015, the advantages of psychometric testing in the recruitment process were looked at. Again, ultimately, psychometric testing can be good for your staff retention because, when used correctly, you should be able to spot candidates who would be best fit for your company.

Advantages of psychometric testing for employers are:

  • Companies of all sizes can make use of the process.
  • You are not relying on interviews to decide who to employ.
  • Psychometric testing saves the employer time and money – you are attracting the most suitable candidates for your role.
  • You get a true picture of candidates rather than a snapshot of their interview skills.
  • Psychometric is fair for you and the candidate so it is a win win situation.
  • You can choose the stage at which you introduce the testing to the application process.
  • The tests measure a candidate’s skill and ability rather than exam grades.
  • You can protect the culture of your workplace because you will get an idea of which candidates will fit in well when they start to work for you.
  • You will have consistency in your recruitment process because everyone will do the same test.

The article explained in more detail what psychometric testing is and how it can be best used in the recruitment process for the benefit of the candidate and the company. You can read the whole article, here.

November 2015 – Engaging New Recruits

And in November I looked at what employers can do to engage new recruits once they are in the workplace. Starting a new job, whether that’s a part time student job or embarking on a graduate career, can be extremely daunting. When you have been to all the trouble to successfully land your ideal new young recruit, you don’t want to lose them almost immediately because they don’t feel settled in your workplace. Many new recruits leave companies leave their company within six months of starting the job so what can you do to make sure this does not happen to you?

I looked at ten different ways of engaging new staff:

  • Start immediately with an email or a phone call before they even start work.
  • Get feedback from your new recruit, both formally and informally on a regular basis.
  • Encourage friendships in the workplace.
  • Draw up a career plan together so they can see a map of where they are going.
  • Recognise their achievements – even the little ones.
  • Be consistent and clear in communicating your expectations.
  • Allow new staff to be themselves.
  • Involve new recruits in new and ongoing projects.
  • Give new recruits a position of responsibility on a project.
  • Let your new staff know you are supporting them.

The full article regarding this issue can be read here.

As you can see, 2015 has been a busy year in the world of recruitment and 2016 will no doubt be exactly the same. In 2016, the difference is, we will have a more established government who could well be acting upon election promises when it comes to employment. This could throw up changes for employers and, of course, we will look at those here on the employer blog if and when they arise.

For now, we wish you a very happy new year and look forward to seeing what 2016 has to bring.

10 Ways To Engage New Recruits Straight Away So They Stay With Your Company Longer

by Andre on November 30th, 2015  

It can be easy to assume that once you have gone through the process of writing a great a job ad to attract people to apply for your latest vacancies, and you have gone through the interview process and perhaps even some psychometric testing, that once you have selected your candidate and told them they have got the job, that’s it.

All your hard work has been done, you have chosen your next bright young thing and they are just going to waltz into your workplace on their start day and just slot straight in, seamlessly. This is a mistake many employers make but if you actually put yourself in the shoes of your new recruit, take a moment to imagine how they must be feeling on that first day at work.

Whether you have employed a student for some part time work or seasonal work, or you have taken on an apprentice or you have recruited a graduate onto your graduate programme, your new recruit has to deal with a new building, new faces, names, where those names and faces fit into the company, perhaps dress code, a whole new work and company culture. It could be this person’s first ever experience of any workplace, at all, in fact. Whatever type of company you run, whoever you employ, being the new kid on the block can be a daunting process for anyone.

We all know by now that, these days, the ‘job for life’ culture is a thing of the past and, for various reasons, employees feel more confident in moving from job to job and even undertaking complete career changes. This means, for employers, that the task of boosting staff retention is even more of a challenge than it might have been previously. Many young people leave their post within a year of starting to work for a company and some even leave within six months of starting.

So, what can you do as an employer to prevent this from happening to you? How do you avoid the frustration of going through your company’s whole recruitment process only to lose your newest recruit within a matter of a few months? Is there a remedy for this trend?

Rethinking Staff Retention Strategies

One remedy for improving staff retention and not losing your best young recruits to other companies just a few short months after you have recruited them is to look after those new starters. Staff retention is often thought about over the long term with companies focussing on existing staff who have been working for the company for some time. The assumption can be that new staff will stick around but this is no longer the case.

New recruits need to feel engaged, they need to feel like they are a part of the team and they need to feel they are a valued member of your company straight away. In a fast moving world, companies need to act fast to make sure new recruits feel this immediately. There is no time to leave young people floating around the workplace aimlessly, wondering what is going on and feeling new and ignored.

Be aware that when new young people join your team of existing staff, you are expecting them to step into a culture that has probably been established for some time and if you have a successful, tight knit team it can be even more difficult for your new recruit to break into that and feel like a member of that team. So when it comes to new recruits in your workplace, whatever role they are employed in, be aware that it can be a difficult task for them, for you as the leader and for your team of staff, too.

Companies need a strategy and a structure for making sure young new recruits are engaged straight away so that they don’t become disenchanted with their new workplace and make a decision to move on as soon as they spot the first chance.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at ideas that, if they are not already, could adopted in the workplace to make sure your new recruits don’t disappear as soon as they spy the chance.

Engaging New Recruits In Your Workplace

1.Start engaging new recruits immediately

No, not from their first day at work. Your newly recruited school leaver, student or graduate wants to feel a part of your team as soon as you inform them they have got the job – even if that job might not actually start for a few weeks to come.

As soon as you have told your candidate they have got the job, send them any paperwork or information about your company that might make their first few days easier. If there’s a uniform for your firm, why not invite your new recruit in to get them measured up so that they can arrive on their first day both looking part and feeling the part. Your new recruit will already be feeling like a fish out of water on their first day; don’t make them look like a fish out of water by letting them be dressed differently to everyone else.

For some roles, such as graduate programmes, your new young staff could be relocating, specifically to begin their career with your company. Or you could have seasonal work on offer for students looking for summer work, for example. Where relocation is involved, perhaps the offer of some type of support would be welcome – suggestions for suitable areas, reputable estate agents and transport links, for example.

Other types of communication could be in the form of an email, letter or phone call from a direct superior. A welcome chat where your new recruit could ask any questions that might have cropped up since you offered them the role. And perhaps a map of your company’s layout and photos of key people within the company – and where they fit into the company – could be useful, too.

Anything helpful you can do before your new member of staff arrives on the first day will help them to know you are waiting for them and when they do arrive, they are going to be valued and looked after.

2.Ask for feedback from your new recruit on a regular basis

Even if you have an appraisals system, don’t just wait until appraisal time to sit down with your new member of staff. The wait for this meeting could seem like a lifetime to new recruits. Ask your new recruits on a regular basis for feedback – how are they settling in, what are they finding easy or difficult. This can be done in the form of a formal sit down in private but it can also be an informal stop in the corridor; a quick, ‘How are you doing?’

All employees want to feel valued and challenged, even brand new ones, and if they are feeling a bit lost during their first few weeks, with no one to hold their hand, this can force them to shut down and not feel a part of the team or fulfilled in their role. Ultimately, that could lead to you losing your new talent that you have spent so long trying to hook.

3.Engage new recruits by encouraging workplace friendships

New recruits can be engaged quickly by having a culture in your workplace where friendship between colleagues is encouraged. This can either be done via organised team activities where team members can reward each other or it can be done via peer to peer lunches where your new member of staff can get to know fellow team members in a more informal and relaxed setting.

When your new staff member gets to spend more informal time with members of staff who have perhaps recently been in the same situation as themselves, it can help them to settle in more quickly because they will likely find that some of the concerns and worries they have are exactly the same as those that existing members of staff had when they first started. The important point here is, your new recruit will then feel it is perfectly normal to have these dips in confidence or particular worries and it will help them to settle into your company culture much quicker.

4.Engage new recruits by drawing up a career plan together

As new recruits join your company in whatever type of role, sitting down together to discuss a career plan will show young staff that they are not only valued within the firm but that also, you are looking out for them to succeed. This will surely encourage more loyalty from your member of staff because they will be fully aware of what you have discussed with them, what you are looking for from them and they will also know that you know what they would like to achieve.

If there is any training involved, both formal and informal, academic or practical, make sure your new recruit knows about this and what dates this training will take place. This way, they will not feel forgotten about or pushed to one side, and they will know the training will let them do their job better whilst also developing their broader skills.

Letting new recruits take charge of their own training also encourages independence and shows that, as a company, you are trusting them to develop their own skills so that they can thrive in their role for your firm. Giving your new recruit links to online training or pointing them towards professional magazines and journals shows that you value them.

5.Engage new recruits by recognising any achievements

Even if it is just a small achievement in their new job, showing your new young staff that you have recognised what they have achieved – whether this is a scalable result from a project, hitting a target or just general settling in and working as part of the existing team – will let them know that you value what they do. This means that in the future, your new recruits are much more likely to be engaged and try harder so that they continue to get this recognition.

Recognition can be anything from a rewards scheme such as ‘Employee Of The Month,’ a simple pat on the back and a ‘well done,’ or it can be a build up to future promotion.

As a boss or a leader, watch and learn what your new recruit is good at and what they are most enthusiastic about within your company and, where possible, begin to develop and encourage these skills rather than trying to make them do jobs that don’t stimulate them. Obviously, there are tasks in the workplace that just have to be done even if no one likes to do them but, where possible, if you can develop the skill of a new recruit where you feel it can help your company move forward, this can be a win win situation for both you and your new young talent.

6.Engage new recruits by being consistent and clear as a boss or a leader about what is expected of all employees in your firm

Yes, in this world of fast-paced lives, where employees are more ready to move on than ever before, this is where leaders can look at their own skills and their own company culture. Do your employees know that they are valued and do they know exactly what is expected of them? If this is the case, this will definitely get passed on to your new recruits as they go about their work, either by you or by their colleagues, or indeed, both.

Make sure your new recruits know exactly why a certain job needs to be carried out in a particular way and make sure they get the recognition for that if that happens. If your new young staff are fully aware of what achieves recognition and reward in the company, they will be more likely to work towards that.

Employees knowing what is expected of them is not just about leaders within the company dictating the rules. This can demoralise staff and have a detrimental effect on your staff retention ratio. Where possible, have a company culture where employees – including your new recruits – can make suggestions to you. This could be suggestions for training courses, for example, where a young member of staff might want to start specialising more. When staff take responsibility for their own training in this way, they feel more committed to the company because they feel trusted and respected.

7.Engage new staff by allowing them to be themselves

Allow your new young staff to be themselves in the workplace by encouraging their ideas. As human beings, we are all individual and unique and we all have our own take on a given situation. Having a company culture where staff -including your new recruits – feel they can out those opinions and suggestions forward. Where necessary, as a leader, boss or mentor, you can then guide your new member of staff so that, in the future, they can hopefully become the stars of your company. After all, new staff are employed in all sorts of roles so as to develop the future of any company – this can be achieved by encouraging your new staff to be themselves.

8.Engage new staff by involving them in bigger more innovative projects straight away

It can be easy to think you are doing the right thing by not giving your new recruits too much responsibility at the beginning and easing them into their new role. While this can be true to a certain extent, it is also important to make your new young staff feel valued and part of the team by involving them straight away in any big company projects that might be already underway or are about to begin.

By doing this, young staff get to prove themselves both to you and their workmates and they will also stretch themselves in a workplace environment, meaning they will learn quicker. Involving your new recruits in projects like this will let you observe how they work as part of a team and you will also see if any natural leadership qualities stand out during the process. Don’t forget, retaining your best staff is your aim so if you do spot any leadership skills in your new staff, have you got a system in place where they could perhaps be fast tracked into managerial roles in the future. Don’t just go through the motions with your new staff -if you spot a talent, how can you leverage that talent so that your company benefits and your new young staff member benefits, too.

9.Engage new recruits by putting them in a position of responsibility on a project

This doesn’t have to a huge, important project where the future of your company depends upon the outcome. It can be small tasks in the workplace or a team-leader-for-the-day activity. As mentioned above, this allows you to observe certain skills in your new recruit but also, from your new member of staff’s point of view, it allows them to stretch themselves and also take away that feeling of being the new kid on the block with no idea of what is going on around them. Your new employees will feel a sense of responsibility towards your company straight away.

Leadership is often about taking a step back rather than micromanaging staff all the time. If you allow your staff to flourish by giving them responsibilities, they will feel more engaged and your new recruits are much more likely to stick around in the future.

10.Engage new recruits by being consistent and letting them know you support them

Employees need to know that, as an employer, you are transparent and consistent and that you support them in their desire to progress their career. Don’t have your staff wondering which head you are going to be wearing at work each day otherwise they will become disengaged. They need to feel they can come to you with any work issues rather than fearing knocking on your door.

If your company has good staff retention because you offer lots of employer perks, be consistent by offering these to new recruits, too, even if they are temporary or part time. This will also make encourage them to be more engaged and part of your team.

In conclusion, engaging new recruits right from that very first time you inform them they have got the job, is a great way to boost your staff retention. An open company culture where all staff feel valued and part of a team works in tandem with this.

Advantages Of Psychometric Testing For Employers

by Andre on October 31st, 2015  

Introduction to Psychometric Testing

The purpose of this blog is to address various issues around employment and recruitment for employers looking to employ young people, whether they be school leavers looking to embark on an apprenticeship, for example, or students looking for seasonal jobs and part time work, or even university leavers hoping to get started on their graduate career ladder.

At all levels, recruitment can often be a timely and costly process – so, for employers, once new recruits have entered the company, improved staff retention is always a high priority. Over previous posts, I have written about various recruitment strategies that companies can consider, both for attracting the most suitable candidates to apply for jobs and for giving yourself the best chance of making sure your best young talent sticks around once they are working for you.

In this article, we will look at psychometric testing and its advantages for employers when they are looking to recruit new staff. If you are part of a larger company, the chances are you are already making use of psychometric tests as part of your graduate recruitment process – these days, larger companies are spending millions on getting their test completely customised to suit particular roles – and you may already have seen positive results in employing the staff most suited to your company’s culture. If you are not already making use of psychometric tests as part of your recruitment strategy, they could be worth thinking about.

Obviously, we are not saying psychometric tests are the be all and end all which can take the place of all the other recruitment strategies that you might already have in place. Indeed, some people debate their usefulness, at all, but for many companies who have incorporated this method, they say they get a more objective, overall picture of their candidates rather than relying on their own personal views.

Where psychometric testing has been employed as a tool for recruiting the best young talent into a company, those companies also use other means of deciding whether an applicant is suitable for both the job and the company. Depending on the size of the company, this can be application forms, outside references, exam results, covering letters, interviews and assessments centres.

So, let’s take a look at what psychometric testing is and why, if you are not already using it in your company for graduate and other types of recruitment, it could be advantageous for you.

What Does Psychometric Testing Measure?

First of all, if you are going to be asking job applicants to complete psychometric tests as part of their application process, you need to know what these tests are measuring. How do you know which candidates are best suited to your job vacancies?

Although psychometric testing measures a candidate in a variety of areas, the basic umbrella definition of psychometric testing is that it is a measurement of the mind.

Depending on the nature of your company and the industry you are involved with you might put more emphasis on one area of psychometric testing over another but generally speaking, psychometric tests measure:

  • Ability / Aptitude
  • Personality

Within these tests, you will get an idea of your candidate’s abilities, of how they work in given situations, what their strengths and weaknesses are and how they relate to other team members. Rather than just relying on the candidate’s appearance, exam results or previous experience, you can get a picture of whether a person will thrive within your company set up.

The ability and aptitude tests will give you an overall snapshot of an applicant’s ability and intelligence via numerical, logical and abstract testing whilst the personality test will give you an idea of how your candidate’s deal with certain situations.

So what are the advantages of psychometric testing for employers when recruiting graduates, school leavers and even students? Let’s take a look.

The Advantages Of Psychometric Testing For Employers

Companies of all sizes can utilise psychometric testing

Psychometric testing does not necessarily need to be reserved for larger corporations looking to recruit graduates. SMEs can use the method, too, as part of their overall recruitment strategies. Whilst it is important to make sure candidates are being tested for the right traits, small and medium enterprises might not necessarily tailor tests quite as much as larger companies. Rather, they can be used to give a more general idea of candidates’ abilities and personality.

Psychometric testing means you are not relying solely on interviews

Of course, interviews – and asking the right interview questions – are crucial to any company’s recruitment strategy but if you are in charge of recruitment for your firm, you’ll know that interviews don’t always go according to plan when you are looking to employ the most suitable students, school leavers or graduates within your company.

  • Some candidates could be absolutely perfect for your job but they just don’t interview well. This could be because of nerves, because of a lack of previous interview practice, or the candidate might just be having a bad day.
  • On the other side of the coin, some candidates could have lots of confidence or be well versed in the art of interviews and will offer a whole range of well rehearsed answers to your questions. Does this necessarily mean that person is the best fit for your vacancies?

Recruitment is all about filling your vacancies with the right people for the job and, on their own, interviews do not measure capability. Psychometric testing gives you a benchmark where you can compare results against other candidates who have applied and also previous candidates who might be thriving within your company. Introducing this type of test means you don’t need to sit and rack your brains, trying to remember everything that each candidate said in interview.

Psychometric testing saves employers time and money

Recruiting new staff can take up a lot of valuable time and can also prove costly, especially if the best young talent isn’t found straight away. Psychometric testing can save employers both time and money because, if it is used at the beginning of the application process, it means you are not sifting through a mountain of application forms sent in by people who might not be the best person for the job. If you work for, or own, a company where competition for jobs is high and hundreds or thousands of applicants apply for your roles, you will appreciate effective filtering methods such as this.

If you’ve written a great job advert that is going to tempt all those students and graduates towards your company, psychometric tests used early in the application process means you can quickly identify those young people who will best fit your company both through their abilities and their personality. In this way, psychometric testing can contribute to much more efficient recruitment because you are only taking those most suited to your company to the next stage of the application process.

Psychometric testing provides a true picture of candidates

Psychometric testing gives a good overall picture of your candidates – they give an idea of the candidate’s personality what makes them tick and how they prefer to work in given situations; how they work under pressure, for example, and how they work alone or as part of a team.

The very nature of psychometric tests is that they are difficult to game so the results you get from each test should be true results in that they show you what your candidates are really like in the workplace. This means you will also know not only their abilities but how well they are going to get along with other employees within your company.

Psychometric testing is fair for your candidates as well as for you

Psychometric testing offer a standardised approach to recruitment and it is fair for candidates because they all go through exactly the same testing process. If you have done interviews in the past, perhaps you have had days where you are not feeling to well or you feel a bit fatigued. This means students and graduates who apply for your job vacancies might not be getting the same type of interview as the candidates who were interviewed the day before, for example.

Psychometric testing also helps candidates to better judge themselves. It could be that a graduate who was very keen on your role realises their key strengths actually lie elsewhere so they can save you time and money by not pursuing their application. If you have found their personality really suits your company, however, you might be able to make use of the candidate’s new found strengths elsewhere in the company. In this way, psychometric testing can be a win win situation.

Psychometric testing can be used at any stage of the application process

A further advantage to psychometric testing for employers is that they can be slotted in at any time during the application process. Depending on the size and nature of your company, they can be used right at the beginning in the form of a fun questionnaire or they can be slotted in at various times during the day at assessment centres, for example. Some companies even run two lots of psychometric testing, at the beginning and the end of the process, just to compare the results and double check they are employing the right person.

Psychometric testing is about measuring skills and abilities, not just education

When it comes to recruitment strategies, many companies still place a lot of emphasis on education and academic achievement, as well as any previous work experience. Whilst this is valuable to a certain extent, psychometric testing can be used to plug a gap in that academic achievements are not going to give you a complete picture of what your applicants are actually capable of in the place of work.

Depending on the nature of your company, psychometric testing can give a chance to school leavers and graduates who might not have work experience or particularly fantastic grades but you might find, however, that these applicants are more than capable of doing the job you have on offer and they would shine within your company. Exam results alone cannot show you whether a candidate is going to thrive within your company and drive it forward in the future but psychometric testing measures these abilities.

Again, we can go to the flip side of the coin here because another advantage of psychometric testing for employers is that it can reveal to you if a candidate is over qualified for the role they are applying for. When you are recruiting new staff, obviously, the aim is to have the best talent stick around to contribute to the future success of the company. If a candidate who is overqualified for the role is offered the job then that person is soon going to become bored and unfulfilled in the workplace and, chances are, they will soon have itchy feet and want to move on. This is clearly not good for your staff retention and you will have to go through the whole recruitment process all over again; time and money that can be better used elsewhere in the company.

Can protect and develop the culture of your workplace

Recruitment is not just about hiring young people who have demonstrated they can do the job. Whilst this is obviously a key requirement, you also need to know how well the candidate will fit in with the rest of the team already working for you and how they will operate within your company’s culture. Someone who prefers to work alone in a quiet atmosphere, for example, is not going to feel fulfilled or work to their full potential if your company thrives in a fast moving environment which relies heavily on teamwork.

Psychometric testing can help do this both with the personality test and the other tests because you will get an idea of how that person works and what motivates them.

Also, staff retention can be a problem for companies of all sizes but psychometric testing becomes an advantage for employers because, in theory, the test results will guide you in employing the right person for the job – someone who is going to feel challenged and fulfilled whilst also thriving in your company’s culture, whatever type of culture that may be.

Depending on the size of your company and the amount of money you have available for staff recruitment, psychometric tests can be customised to meet your company’s specific requirements and complement other parts of the recruitment process so that you can maintain the company’s culture. As a recruiter you obviously want to find people who share your company’s values and who will strengthen that culture rather than go against it or weaken it.

Psychometric testing encourages consistency in recruitment

Last, but certainly not least, is the advantage that psychometric tests encourage consistency and standardisation when when you are looking to hire new staff. As I said above, every candidate is given exactly the same tests and you can use this as a benchmark.

Whilst other aspects of recruitment and your company’s application process are certainly valid, references are from outside your company and a candidate’s previous workplace might not have had the same values as your own workplace. The previous company might also have been looking for different requirements from their employee.

Covering letters and CVs, whilst they offer clues about previous experience, employment and achievements, are always carefully prepared and have usually been checked and double-checked. These can only offer a clue as to how your candidates will operate in your particular environment.

Psychometric testing removes bias from that area of your recruitment strategy.

How To Get The Best Out Of Psychometric Testing For The Benefit Of Your Company And Your Job Candidates

So, now we’ve looked at all the advantages of psychometric testing for employers, let’s summarise and take a quick look at some points to note if you want to implement this method to your recruitment process. Although psychometric testing is a scientific process, it is not a faultless system so here are some points to bear in mind:

  • As a recruiter or employer, you need to be able to utilise psychometric properly and be fully aware of what particular tests are showing you. The tests must be suitable for your company, otherwise the results you get will be interpreted incorrectly and you will end up with the wrong people in the wrong jobs. This is not good for your staff retention and not good for the candidates involved.
  • Where possible, allow for nerves from your candidates. Depending on the type of company you are, your job might be the dream job for some of your applicants and their nerves could be getting in the way of them completing tests quickly and efficiently. Psychometric testing is indeed scientific and standardised – but human beings are human beings.
  • Allow for the fact that some candidates might not have any previous experience of psychometric testing. For graduate careers, chances are, most of your applicants have had quite a bit of preparation and practice. However, some candidates will be facing this system for the first time and will have no idea what to expect.

So the key to getting the most out of psychometric testing and making sure that there are advantages for you as an employer is to make sure you don’t rely solely on that one method. Have psychometric as a part of your recruitment strategy that works alongside your other methods. There is a lot to be said for gut instinct so if you have a candidate that might not have performed so well in some areas of the test but their application form and references are impressive and you really liked them in interview, allow that to be a part of your decision to employ someone or not.

Psychometric testing can be very a very valuable part of your recruitment strategy when utilised to complement more traditional methods of recruitment.

8 Challenges Faced By Employers (And How To Face Them Head On)

by Andre on August 31st, 2015  

Recruiting the best staff to your company is always going to be a top priority for you as an employer, whether you are a small and medium enterprise or part of a large, corporate firm. It sounds simple doesn’t it: You get job vacancies in your company, you advertise for new staff, you recruit the staff and then they come to work for you and remain with the company, happily ever after. Problem solved – in theory, that is.

We all know it is not quite as easy as all that, though, don’t we. The UK workforce, the setup of different companies, the changes in work culture, the introduction of new initiatives by the government of the day; all of these factors, and more, can contribute to the challenges for the employer in both the recruitment of staff and the retention of staff.

So, what are the top challenges facing employers today? Perhaps you can even think of other challenges to add to the list with regards to your own company but these are just a few. Let’s take a look at those challenges – and let’s also look at how those challenges could be tackled. In previous blog posts, we’ve addressed some of these challenges at length so we’ll be linking back to some of those posts for further reading. The following challenges are listed in no particular order.

  • Employer Challenges – Number 1: A vacancy arises within your company and after advertising it, you receive hundreds of CVs and completed applications…from completely unsuitable candidates.
  • Employer Challenges – Number 2: Completely the opposite to challenge number 1. You get a vacancy within your company, advertise it and you receive hardly any applications to fill the position at all.
  • Employer Challenges – Number 3: You think you have found the perfect person to fill a role within your company but then you check out their social media presence and start to wonder if the candidate if suitable after all.
  • Employer Challenges – Number 4: How to get your hands on the best young talent out there when there are so many other companies out there trying to chase down the same staff you are.
  • Employer Challenges – Number 5: How to retain that fabulous young talent once you’ve got it. It’s one thing tempting the United Kingdom’s best bright young thing to your company in the first place but what are you going to do to harness that and make sure those people want to stay around for a while?
  • Employer Challenges – Number 6: How to keep productivity high within your company. Are all of your staff working at optimum levels to drive your company forward and, if so, how do you encourage them to keep up that momentum? How do you get the most from your employees?
  • Employer Challenges – Number 7: How to improve employee morale. What is the mood like within your workplace? Is your team of staff motivated and happy or is your staff turnover and staff sickness level high?
  • Employer Challenges – Number 8: Encouraging women to apply for your vacancies. This is a challenge that isn’t faced by all employers – obviously it depends on the type of company you are working with and the types of job vacancies that might arise. However, some firms struggle to encourage women to apply for top posts within their company so we will take a look at this challenge, as well.

As I said above, you might well be reading this and thinking you could easily add a whole host of other employer challenges to this list but as E4S focus on trying to match young school leavers, students and graduates with employers like you, we are focussing on the recruitment of these people.

Employer Challenges – Number 1: A Pile Of Unsuitable Applications And CVs

As an employer, the chances are this has happened to you scores of times when you have advertised job vacancies within your company. The advert goes out and then all of sudden, you are drowning in a sea of CVs and applications. Whilst this might seem like the perfect solution, you can become disheartened very quickly as you sift through each application form, CV and / or covering letter, only to find each one relatively useless.

Yes, your candidates might be super enthusiastic in their applications, which is great, but maybe, for your particular job vacancy, enthusiasm is not quite enough. You start to wonder, “Did anyone even read this job advert?”

Well this is where you might want to take a look at the information that has gone into the job advert. Because as well as unsuitable applicants for vacant positions, another challenge faced by employers is getting an effective job advert out there – one that not only attracts lots of applicants but attracts lots of suitable applicants. What a luxury it would be to have the headache of trying to choose between a handful of fantastic, keen young people looking to work for your company.

Writing for different audiences and different purposes is a skill that not all of us has and, if you think this is you, why not get someone else within your company to either write the job advert for you, give you some pointers or at the very least, proofread what you have written. And if you really are wondering where on earth to begin with the whole process of writing your job advert, take a look at these E4S tips about how to write a great job ad so that it’s tailored towards the people you want to attract to work in your company.

Employer Challenges – Number 2: Tumbleweed. Your job advert falls flat and fails to attract any applications.

There can be a number of reasons for why your job advert has attracted zero or hardly any applications:

  • The nature of your company mean jobs are difficult to fill because those jobs are seen as unattractive.
  • Perhaps jobs vacancies are difficult to fill because your company is seen as dull and unattractive.
  • Jobs with your company are difficult to fill because there is a skills shortage in the field that you operate in.
  • And / or we could shoot back up to the solution offered in number 1 – perhaps you might need to look at how you are writing those job adverts and presenting the firm.

Recruiting new staff and advertising your job vacancies can be a time where you can sit back and really have a good look at how your company is seen by school leavers, students and graduates. After all, they are the people you are trying to attract. If they see your company as a bit dull, they’re not going to apply for your vacancies and you could be missing out on the best talent.

If you are struggling to find young people with the relevant experience or qualifications to fill your traditionally difficult to fill vacancies, some employers remedy this by introducing apprenticeships or school leaver programmes as part of your company recruitment strategy. This means you can train young people up to the standards you need them to be at. Internships or work experience programmes could also be an option where students are given a taster of what it is like to work at your company.

Employer Challenges – Number 3: The Social Media Profiles

To peek or not to peek, that is the question. And if you are going to have a little delve into the social media presence of your candidates, do you do it before they reach the interview stage or afterwards?

More and more employers are looking at the social media presence of potential candidates, these days, and it’s down to you to decide where you draw the line between someone coming to work for you and not.

This will depend on the nature of your company. These days, students and school leavers are more savvy about what they allow to be public on social media but for some roles, there could be more room for leeway where you can perhaps more relaxed about what potential candidates are choosing to share.

Employer Challenges – Number 4: Getting Your Hands On The Best Young Talent

You are in competition with all the other companies out there who are looking to get their hands on the best of the United Kingdom’s young talent, so how do you get in there, ahead of the rest. This can be a particular challenge for SMEs who might be in competition with the larger corporations.

If you are reading this article, there is a pretty good chance you are interested in employing young people – after all, getting young people into employment is what we focus on at E4S.

Offering jobs to students during the holidays or on a long term basis at evenings and weekends can be a good way to spot talent early. These days, a lot of students choose to stay on with companies they have worked with during their time at university once they have graduated. If you can offer quality staff development and promotion, for example, you might be able to persuade your former star student worker to stick around.

And again, how are the students and school leavers viewing your company? When you place your adverts for job vacancies are you appealing to them as a fun, forward thinking company to work for, or do you look a bit stuck in your ways as a company? Think about different ways to promote your vacancies – we’ve addressed this in a previous blog post – and add videos and testimonials of all the great young staff you have working for you. If you want to attract young talent, then you need to look young and exciting as a company.

Advertising your job vacancies on E4S is a great start because we have so many students, school leavers and graduates visiting the site on a daily basis. E4S is the most visited website specialising in undergraduate jobs and you can read more about this on our About Us page.

Employer Challenges – Number 5: Keeping Hold Of That Bright Young Talent

So you have gone to all that trouble to write a great job ad and you have promoted it in all the best ways possible to attract that bright young talent. Your labours have paid off and you’ve bagged yourself what you believe to be the perfect person or people for the roles. I’ve written in the past about the job for life being a thing of the past, with more and more employees feeling more confident about hopping from job to job but there are a number of strategies you can implement within your company that could see your new star remaining with your company for the longer term and driving the firm forward.

Small & Medium Enterprises – Traditionally, small and medium enterprises have faced the bigger challenges with staff retention because there is sometimes limited room for growth. However, SMEs can adopt a strategies to make sure their staff stick around, including a celebration of the fact that you are an SME. If you are an SME and are looking for recruitment ideas and staff retention strategies, take a look at some of these tips from a previous article.

Staff Holidays – What is the mood in your company when it comes to taking time off work? Is there a culture of everyone remaining glued to their desk throughout lunch hours and breaks, feeling the need to keep up with demanding workload? Are all of your staff taking the holidays they are entitled to? As I said in a previous article, rather than increasing productivity in the workplace, a culture where staff feel they need to be in work at all times can actually be counter productive and people are more likely to apply for other roles if they feel undervalued and tired all the time.

There are lots of reasons why staff don’t take breaks or the time of that they are entitled to and it’s an increasing problem in the UK. You could improve your staff retention by addressing the work life culture within your company.

Staff Development – Making young staff feel like a valued part of the company, whether they are doing part time student jobs or they are school leavers, is a great way to make sure they stay around for longer. If you have in house training and opportunities for more responsibility within the company, involve your younger staff in this, too. Where appropriate, the implementation of apprenticeships could be a good way to apply structure to this and get some help with funding, in the process.

Employer Challenges – Number 6: How To Keep Productivity High Amongst Employees

How do you go about making sure all your staff are working to the best of their ability and therefore keeping productivity high within your company? This is just another of the challenges faced by employers.

Well, we can go back to your company culture, here, with regards to staff taking time off. Ensuring that all your staff take a break when they are entitled to one and also making sure they use their full holiday entitlement means they return to their desk or workstation feeling refreshed. People who have taken a break also often have new ideas which can really benefit your company.

Staff incentives are also a good way to keep productivity high within the company. Again, if you are employing students just on a part time or temporary basis, you could also involve them in your incentive schemes, too, so that they feel a sense of belonging within your company. Apart from this being good experience of the workplace for young people, you might also find, in the future, that they stay with you on a more permanent, full time basis.

Employer Challenges – Number 7: How To Keep Staff Morale High

Employers often state staff morale this as one of the challenges of their job. And how do you keep staff morale high so that they enjoy coming into work every day or for every shift? Again, it depends on the type of company you are as to the details of what you might be able to do to improve staff morale but one thing is for sure, if your staff are buoyant and happy, then your staff retention is going to be much higher.

So what can you do? This is a similar employer challenge to those mentioned above. The culture and atmosphere of your workplace is likely to be the determining factor that affects staff morale.

Are you approachable as an employer? A good relationship between management and staff can do wonders for morale. Staff who feel valued for what they do for the company are more likely to remain with your company.

One way to do this is by offering employer perks. There are lots of different perks employers offer to boost staff morale and staff wellbeing and these are all great not just for staff retention but also for attracting staff to apply for your vacancies in the first place. And the best thing about offering employer perks is you don’t have to be a huge multinational corporation that can afford hotel breaks of high-tech gyms in the workplace. A little bit of imagination and companies of all sizes can offer quirky perks that also attract the attention of students and young people. Here are a few ideas for you if you missed our last article on this subject.

Employer Challenges – Number 8: Attracting Women To Your Posts

Yes, this depends on the nature of your company but if you are company specialising in mechanical engineering, for example, chances are you are struggling to attract women to apply for your roles. This is a huge problem facing the UK at the moment and one the government is continually trying to address.

Some jobs and professions are not seen as traditionally female roles, and for to jobs in any sector, there is a struggle to find women with the drive and ambition to reach those positions. There are lots of reasons for these issues, discussed in this article, recently. For solutions to this problem, it might well take you, as an employer, to take the initiative in the beginning and, for those roles that are seen as traditionally male roles, actively try to attract females into them.

Again, apprenticeships are a good option here. If you have female staff already in one of those roles, perhaps see if they can be a type of ambassador for the role to encourage more females.

So, these are just seven of the challenges facing employers today. As I said above, you can no doubt list a few more than these. But, if you do want to try to reduce some of those challenges, you can make a start by registering with E4S and posting your job vacancies with us. Your first step in attracting students and school leavers into your current vacancies.

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