December, 2011

How much value does a new recruit generate

by Andre on December 29th, 2011

Ok – it all depends on the role. A sales person might generate a bigger return on investment, but without support staff the business can’t function. So what’s a good return on your investment. Again, that’s impossible to just put a general figure on, but a recruitment campaign run in 2009 certainly generated an excellent return.

Best Job in the WorldTourism Queensland spent around $1 million on a marketing campaign for the region – and dressed it up as recruitment drive. They advertised the “best job in the world”, and undoubtedly offered something pretty exceptional. A salary of over £10,000 a month, free accommodation in a hugely expensive villa with swimming pool. 12 hours work a month required in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. Fantastic marketing – and fantastic job!

Anyway – I digress. It has been reported that the recruitment drive and campaign generated more than $200 million in global publicity value for Tourism Queensland. The campaign gave Queensland global coverage and was an internet and social media sensation.

So – $1 million investment, and a $200 million return. That makes recruiting worthwhile!!

Oh – as an aside, Tourism Queensland received over 34,000 applications for the position. Looking through CV’s and video applications must have taken a while!


Positive discrimination for young people

by Andre on December 29th, 2011

We sometimes end up having those slightly awkward conversations with clients – “well, you know what we want to say… but are we allowed to say it?”. And so it goes on, a bit of sparring and talking around the subject, with the recruiter trying his or her best not to be discriminatory in any way, and us trying to find out what the real requirements are.

With most areas it’s quite simple and common sense – you can’t select someone or try and target anyone based on race, gender, sex, disability etc. There are some exceptions of course when something is absolutely required, but on the whole, you can’t discriminate.

National Apprentice ServiceAnd then there’s age. You can’t discriminate based on age either. That’s common sense. If you advertise a position and you get two applications, one from an 18 year old, and one from a 60 year old, you can’t just the 60 year old because you think they might be too old. Companies advertising internships (which are generally perceived to be for younger jobseekers) have to be careful here as well – and can’t just reject applicants because of their age.

But what apprenticeships and government funding? The whole idea of the funding is that the cost of recruiting for employers is lower, so that they can afford to employ more. The funding however isn’t equally distributed. Currently, the Government funds apprenticeship training for 16 – 18 year olds fully, but gives less funding for those who are 19 – 24, and even less for those 25 and above? I am definitely not saying this is wrong – or shouldn’t be done, but it raises some questions.

This can all be a bit problematic – especially for employers. If you want to take on an apprentice you need to know how much it is going to cost your business. Well, if you take on a 16 – 18 year you only have to pay them £2.60 per hour and you have no extra training costs. Take on a 19 – 24 year old and you have to pay for half their training as well, so it’s going to cost you more. Employ a 25 year old or over, and it’s going to cost you even more.

As a recruiter you are not allowed to discriminate and employ someone based on their age – but when different age people start costing you different amounts, how can you not take this into account? The government is completely right in doing more to tackle youth unemployment, but the danger is by introducing this scheme employers are more incentivised to flout the law, and take age into consideration when employing someone.

As mentioned, the scheme to tackle youth unemployment is not being questioned here. However one of the unintended consequences of it could end up putting employers in difficult positions, and some clarity is needed on what employers should be doing with regards to age discrimination when recruiting apprentices.

how do you want candidates to describe themselves

by Andre on December 19th, 2011

Quite recently the Youth Employment Taskforce Report stated that the main goal of employers is to find people with the right attitude and ability to work with others.

It should follow that jobseekers try to convey the attitude and team work aspects the most on their CV’s. I haven’t gone through our database of CV’s to be able to confirm whether our candidates and employers are roughly matched up in this aspect, but Linkedin has done some research on their user profiles.

Last year the top word was “motivated” – pretty powerful and one that I would use a lot as well. It conveys attitude more than anything else.

In 2011 the top 10 list is:

1. Creative
2. Track record
3. Motivated
4. Effective
5. Extensive experience
6. Wide range
7. Innovative
8. Communication skills
9. Dynamic
10. Problem solving

Does this suggest that people are trying to portray themselves in a certain way, whilst employers are actually looking for something different? That “creative” is at the top of the list suggests that jobseekers think recruiters are looking for people who can come up with solutions outside the box. Track record is all about the experience, and this is something that employers have explicitly stated is not their main driver when recruiting. Motivated – yes, that fits with what employers are asking for. The team work aspect is only covered by “Communication skills” though. This is so important – but only comes in at number 8.

It would be interesting to ask a range of recruiters directly about this list. Does this sum up what they look for? I doubt it does somehow.

91% of recruiters screen candidates using social media

by Andre on December 15th, 2011

This is a pretty big stat! Reppler, a service that helps you manage your online profile, has carried out a piece of research which has some amazing results.

Not only are 91% of recruiters using social media in their recruitment process to screen applicants, but apparently 69% have rejected candidates based on something that was seen or uncovered in the social media research. This can range from having inappropriate photos to lying about their qualifications.

On the other side, 68% of people questioned claim that they have hired a candidate based on what they saw on a social networking site. Specific reasons for hiring include giving a good impression of their personality and showing good communication or creative skills.

Social networking is becoming ever more popular and it’s crucial that within the recruitment sector both employers and employees constantly strive to find more ways of using it to improve the process. As a recruiter are you one of the 91% that uses social networks to help you with your recruitment?

No incentives for hiring an apprentice yet

by Andre on December 12th, 2011

After all the hype surrounding youth unemployment – how easy is it to access the money that the Government is promising, and how much help can businesses actually get?

It sounds great doesn’t it, a £250 million vocational training fund to get young people into work. This was reported on the 17th November, and then on the 25th November Nick Clegg announced a £1bn fund to tackle youth unemployment. The money will apparently go on job subsidies, with £2,275 offered to any business willing to hire an unemployed 18- to 24-year-old.

A billion pounds – great! As a business owner you must be thinking you can get a slice of that to help your company. Look into it further though and it doesn’t sound quite so great. The initial promise of up to a £1500 incentive for businesses taking on apprentices won’t be introduced until April 2012 and according to the apprenticeships website: “details of how the new incentive will be administered and when employers will be able to express formal interest in it are currently being developed and will be announced as soon as possible. Updates on this development will appear on this website.”

Ok – so there are no more details about the incentive yet. Read a bit further and you’ll see that the vocational fund is split over 2 years. Fine in itself, but only £50 million will be spent in year one (2012), with a further 200 million in year two (2013). We’re not even sure if this fund is covering the cost of the apprenticeship incentive payment. Most of the money won’t be accessible for at least another year and a half.

What about the subsidy then? Up to £2,275 apparently. The apprenticeship website doesn’t explain this in too much detail either. The details are still being thought out – “details of this subsidy are currently being developed and updates will appear on this website.”

Sounds familiar doesn’t it, but the wording is also a bit confusing. Firstly, an incentive payment of £1500 (paid in two installments). Easy enough. But then you read about £2,275 payment.

Employer subsidy to employ a jobless young person

From April 2012, an incentive of £2,275 will be available for small employers who employ a jobless 18-24 year old for a period of 6 months. The subsidy will support work and training placements.

Is this a top up incentive? The £1,500 seems a simple two stage payment. The £2,275 attaches a 6 month extra criteria and specifies an age range. It is also referred to as a subsidy, whilst the £1,500 payment is simply an incentive payment.

I may have over-complicated this – but if this is the information we can gather from the official apprenticeships website, then how are other employers going to interpret the information?

Big initiatives are great – when they are simple and they are accessible. Put barriers in the way and all of sudden it seems like it is just another soundbite. I’m going to do some further research and hopefully will be back with another post confirming that I believe that these initiatives will really help tackle youth unemployment!

Any apprenticeships down south

by Andre on December 9th, 2011

According to the Associated Press – 70% of apprenticeships are in the North. Not only is there the a real North – South divide occurring, research has apparently shown that “fewer than 1% of young people in the Kensington and Chelsea area of London started an apprenticeship, compared with around 15% in the East Riding of Yorkshire”

Inevitably everyone is starting to talk about if people “down south” know about apprenticeships, and whether there is more need and requirement from young people in the North. What we don’t know though is whether there are as many openings in the South as in the North. There is also a massive difference in business across the country, with more manufacturing and companies traditionally associated with these kind of work opportunities in the North.

Whatever the reason, and whatever conclusions you draw, one thing is certain. If apprenticeships are going to work as a way of getting more young people into work, then more companies need to introduce them, and across a wider range of sectors.

Charging students to work for you

by Andre on December 6th, 2011

As the argument rages about whether minimum wage legislation should be enforced for all, or interns should be exempted, some organisations are going even further.

An organisation called Etsio is actually advertising vacancies where the intern has to pay for the privilege of working. Companies are advertising on the site and asking for fees of between £60 and £130 per day from the intern. I find this incredible – on the one hand there is a debate happening about whether people should be allowed to work without any remuneration or not. On the other hand there is an intermediary organisation and employers making a complete mockery of this and charging interns substantial amounts.

One of the points raised against letting interns work for free is that it promotes inequality. It’s an understandable point, but it’s debatable. Once you start charging an intern around £100 a day for the privilege of doing work though, then the inequality argument becomes a lot stronger. I don’t think anyone would suggest that all of the young people of today would be in a position to pay for this privilege!

What amazes me is that companies are associating themselves with this intermediary organisation. At best this practice of getting interns to pay is dubious, at worst it is exploitative, and completely illegal. Whatever it is though, the damage that can be done to a brand if a company is advertising their vacancies on this website is immeasurably. A bit of press coverage and your business is at massive risk of being portrayed in a very negative light. Tread carefully.

Are you recruiting more experienced candidates

by Andre on December 5th, 2011

Although it’s quite subdued at the moment, there’s more and more talk about an “expectations gap” between young jobseekers and recruiters. Looking at youth unemployment, the massive disparity between general and youth unemployment has some common explanations. But do these reasons tell the whole story?

Yes, less companies are recruiting, yes, investing in the future is harder in these economic times, and yes, companies can choose from a bigger pool of candidates, but are there other reasons why youth unemployment is so disproportionately high?

National unemployment is at 8.3%, whilst for 16 – 24 year olds it is a staggering 21.9%, almost 3 times as high.

Jobcentre Plus

I don’t want to talk about this in too much depth now, but want to ask the question. Do young people have disproportionately higher expectations? Has the reality of the economic situation spurred other groups into more action, for example into putting more effort into applications and finding employment? Equally – have young people been helped as much as other areas where there has been increasing unemployment? We are sure on one thing – Employment4students has had over 10 million jobseekers visit the site over the past few years and it’s clear that the overall advice and information that they receive about careers is not good enough.

For companies looking to recruit this is double edged sword. There are fantastic candidates out there, looking for work, but getting them to show themselves in a positive light and sell themselves to the recruiter should be easier than it in reality is.

We need some drastic improvements to help the youth of today into employment, which will help both businesses and candidates, but in the short term as a company, if you are more proactive than others, then searching harder will give you access to the best candidates and of course a competitive edge.

How do you do this? Give us a call on 0845 838 0595 and we’d be happy to see what your situation merits and how we can find you the best candidates!

Using social media to find a job

by Andre on December 2nd, 2011

Where are you advertising your vacancy? Are you ensuring that you are engaging, or the jobsite you are using, is engaging with candidates?

Econmatters / Jobvite / MBA Online have done some research to show how people are using social media for job searching. Although the research has been done in the US, and the market is different from in the UK, it is generally agreed that trends seen in the US market also appear in the UK (sooner or later!).

Anyway, I digress..

1) 50% of job hunters last year used Facebook to look for a job

2) 16% of job hunters got a job referral through Facebook

3) 18.4 million people in the US say that Facebook got them their current job

These figures show that social media is becoming more and more important – and why we here at Employment4students place so much emphasis on it. Ultimately it can help you find the right employee. By letting jobseekers share and like your vacancies, virally spreading it amongst friends, and by attracting candidates to our Facebook page we are actively putting your vacancy in the social arena. It lets people tell others about what you are offering, and helps get your vacancy out to passive jobseekers or those who otherwise might not have seen it.

At Employment4students we’re constantly looking to improve our engagement with candidates so that we can provide you with better applications. I didn’t intend this to become a sales pitch – but it’s more important than ever if you’re recruiting that you use a jobsite that can get you out to jobseekers – the best of them, and the largest number.

Click here for the report

Not paying your interns

by Andre on December 1st, 2011

We have already talked about internships and the legal issues surrounding paying interns. The law is quite clear about who should be paid and who is exempt – but there are still lots of companies who are not paying interns and potentially not aware of the law.

Recruiter has just announced that HM Revenue and Customs are planning a media enforcement campaign – which is aimed at enforcing the law and dealing with illegal practices.

A statement from HMRC says the following:

“Evidence suggests that young workers who apply for internships or work experience are unlikely to proactively complain about non-payment of NMW.”

“Therefore, to tackle the issue HMRC will conduct targeted enforcement on those trade sectors who traditionally use interns and work experience as a means for young people to gain the experience necessary to work in these trade sectors.”

“Targeted enforcement activity can include (but is not limited to): Unannounced visits to companies, and educational work to help employers understand their responsibilities.”

If you’re employing or thinking of recruiting an intern – give us a call and we’d be happy to explain the law and the interpretations.

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