Our client faced a decline in overall applications from graduates, raising concerns about the availability of diverse talent, especially in the engineering space. To address this challenge, they partnered with PeopleScout to develop a recruitment process that would prioritise diversity and inclusion in their hiring for graduates. The objective was not only to attract exceptional talent, but also to engage and nurture candidates from various backgrounds, ensuring an inclusive and representative workforce.
PeopleScout collaborated with the company to design a successful early talent campaign strategy. One key focus was to target the ‘Gen Z’ demographic while actively reaching out to a diverse array of candidates from different locations and backgrounds. To accomplish this, our recruitment experts executed a process designed to reduce adverse impact for all ethnic groups. The candidate attraction campaign also utilised inclusive language and imagery in the media strategy, ensuring that the campaign resonated with candidates from diverse backgrounds.
Utilising Media for Outreach
Employing their Employer Branding imagery, the campaign leveraged social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat as well as the Google display network. With images that represented various groups, the campaign generated an impressive 29,000 clicks, effectively driving traffic to the career site, which produced over 42,000 total click-throughs to view available roles.
Mitigating Adverse Impact
After candidates applied and completed assessments, an adverse impact analysis was conducted, particularly following the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) stage. The analysis aimed to ensure that the benchmarking process did not negatively affect any ethnic group.
SJTs, known for their robustness and unbiased assessment experience, were used to screen a high volume of candidates. The automated scoring process helped reduce bias compared to traditional methods like CV evaluations. They also have lower adverse impact compared to other selection methods, such as cognitive ability tests.
This assessment method, combined with ensuring the recruitment coordinators who managed the candidate journey did not receive any ethnicity information about the candidates, helped eliminate unconscious bias and resulted in greater diversity of the candidate pool.
The collaboration and communication between PeopleScout and the client yielded remarkable outcomes. Throughout the campaign, the PeopleScout delivery team handled over 2,000 calls and emails. Among the 2,656 applications received for the graduate scheme, 54 offers were made, with 39% of these offers going to female candidate and 36% to candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds.
The successful partnership has significantly transformed their graduate recruitment process. By placing diversity and inclusion at the forefront, the company has paved the way for a more representative workforce. As they strive to achieve their strategic goal of 5% of their total workforce coming from early talent by the end of 2024, they continue to work with PeopleScout as their recruitment partner, ensuring a future that is diverse, inclusive and innovative.
AT A GLANCE
COMPANY: Road Network Company
PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Talent Advisory
Amongst travel and hospitality recruitment challenges is a clear and persistent issue: staffing shortages. Talent leaders are struggling to fill empty roles amid low unemployment rates.
According to a 2023 survey by Deloitte, more than half of hotel executives (53%) say their properties have between 25–74% of the workforce they had in 2019. The situation at airports is even tighter with 62% of executives saying their workforce is half its prepandemic size or smaller.
On top of this, the unemployment rate sits at 3.8% in the U.S., 4.3% in the UK and 3.7% in Australia. The travel industry also saw a massive exodus of workers. In 2022, there were record quit rates during the Great Resignation, with the quit rate in leisure and hospitality jumping by a percentage point to 6.4%. So, how can talent leaders hire hospitality and travel workers when the available pool is smaller?
Luckily, the right technology solutions deployed at the right times during the recruitment process can help talent leaders source, attract and screen candidates to find the best talent more efficiently and effectively. In this article, we’ll cover three technology interventions that talent acquisition teams can put into place to tackle hospitality recruitment challenges.
Hospitality Recruitment Challenge No. 1: Our open positions receive few applicants, and many of those who do apply do not have the background or experience needed to succeed in the role.
Solution No. 1: Invest in artificial intelligence sourcing technology to fill the top of your funnel.
Amongst common hospitality recruitment challenges that we see is finding talent with a wide variety of specialised skills across diverse and distant geographies. There is no one-size-fits all approach to hiring travel and hospitality talent. Finding a chef for a luxury property in Lake Como, Italy will look very different from a search for housekeeping staff at a family resort in Orlando, Florida. Finding a flight attendant looks very different from filling a baggage handler role.
With such a tight talent market, employers must target passive talent. During the Great Rehire talent leaders focused on filling roles as quickly as possible, but now they need to focus on finding and hiring more experienced workers.
An AI-enabled candidate sourcing tool can identify passive candidates with the right experience for specific roles and can even identify which candidates would be most likely to leave their current employers. Within seconds, recruiters can build a list of these candidates and share the opportunity. PeopleScout’s talent acquisition suite, AffinixTM, includes the AI sourcing feature, Talent Finder, which can connect employers with millions of passive candidates.
Consider the following best practices for using an AI sourcing tool:
Before searching for candidates, make sure you have a thorough understanding of the technical and soft skills needed to be successful in the role.
Use features, like PeopleScout’s Diversity Boost, that can identify candidates from underrepresented backgrounds to help meet your DE&I goals.
Blend AI with the human touch. By having a recruiter reach out to a sourced candidate with a personalised message, employers can create a positive experience.
Make sure a human makes all final hiring decisions. AI can make the process more efficient, but hiring managers should make the final call.
Hospitality Recruitment Challenge No. 2: Candidates drop out of our process before reaching the offer stage, either by abandoning the application or ghosting the interview.
Solution No. 2: Improve the candidate experience by making the process quick and easy by embracing tools like SMS or virtual interviews.
Hospitality employers must ensure that their candidate experience sets them apart from other employers at every stage of the candidate journey. For candidates, how they’re treated during the hiring process is a preview of what their experience will be as an employee.
PeopleScout research shows that the hospitality industry has a lot of room for improvement in this area. In our analysis of the candidate experience of more than 215 different organisations, the hospitality sector came in last overall with the lowest average scores in every stage except Follow-Up (in which it was second to last). While hospitality organisations effectively showcased their diversity and inclusion efforts on their career sites, only half gave candidates the opportunity to register their interest.
Your candidate experience should be unique to your brand and help you distinguish yourself from other employers hiring for similar roles or skills. Many talent acquisition teams don’t appreciate that candidates don’t perceive the recruitment process as a funnel. They’re the main character in their own story, and they expect to be treated that way. Candidates want to engage in their job search on their own terms. So, anytime they encounter a roadblock to getting the information they want, especially if they don’t know what to expect in the next stage, they’re more likely to drop out of your process.
There are several ways to leverage technology to make the process easier for candidates. First, start with a shortened application. According to PeopleScout research, nearly 40% of organisations asked candidates to duplicate information that was already contained in their resume or CV. Make sure your application only collects the information that is most critical for determining who moves along to the next step of the process.
From there, other technology solutions can be used to gather the additional information necessary to make a hiring decision. SMS can be used for an initial text screening, and virtual interviews, like those available in Affinix, allow candidates to answer additional questions at their own pace while feeling as though they’re driving the process.
Finally, automated communication can keep a candidate engaged in the process. The right technology platform can help by sending automated messages to candidates, via email or chatbot technology, updating them on their application status. You can even craft messages letting a candidate know if they did not get the job, so they aren’t left wondering if you ghosted them.
Consider the following best practices for using technology to improve your candidate experience:
Make sure your application is mobile-friendly and can be filled out in 10 minutes or less. Test your current application to see how long it takes to apply.
Provide candidates with the opportunity to opt-in to receive text messages or emails from your organisation to remain in compliance with local spam laws.
Tailor the type of virtual interview to the type of role. While video interviews may be appropriate for customer-facing roles, others may prefer the opportunity to answer questions with recorded audio.
Make it simple for candidates to understand where they are in your process; this can be something as simple as a progress bar.
Hospitality Recruitment Challenge No. 3: Our assessment process isn’t effective at identifying the candidates most likely to succeed in the role, leading to increased turnover, reduced productivity and disengaged employees.
Solution No. 3: Assess candidates for passion, purpose and mindset.
The travel and hospitality industry is all about guest experience, and hotels, airlines, restaurants and theme parks differentiate themselves with the unique experience that they provide. So, talent leaders need to find candidates who not only have the right skills and experience but also a deep understanding of the brand and how it is reflected in the service provided.
For example, in a major city, you may find three hotels on the same street, one catering to a high-end luxury experience in a historic building, another geared toward young travellers with bold art and hit music playing in the lobby, and a third designed with business travellers in mind—with a large business centre, meeting rooms and plenty of quiet spaces for someone to plug in their laptop. Many hotel brands even have this variety of styles within their own portfolios. The service provided in each hotel looks different, and a person who excels at a luxury property may not thrive in a trendy hotel.
By selecting the right assessment tool, employers can go beyond looking at just capability, behaviour and results but also determine whether candidates align with their organisation’s purpose, have passion for the work they would do and whether they have the mindset to adapt to new environments.
By building an assessment during pre-screening that accounts for passion, purpose and mindset in addition to the standard skills and experience, employers can use technology to shortlist candidates based on several different attributes at the same time. This way, employers can get a clear picture of the different strengths and weaknesses of candidates in order to make informed decisions about which candidates are best to bring forward to the interview stage.
By identifying candidates who match well with an employer’s brand of guest experience, talent leaders can reduce turnover and build a happier, more engaged team. In turn, that leads to better customer experience and a better bottom line.
Consider the following best practices for building an effective assessment for hospitality talent:
Identify the essential behaviours for the role to separate those who will actually be successful from those who simply present well during an interview.
Build assessment tools around your organisation’s vision and values so applicants have a chance to form a connection to them from the start.
Self-evaluation tools can also be used to help applicants consider their own strengths and whether the role will offer sufficient opportunity to use and demonstrate them.
Distinguish between good candidates who meet the criteria and great candidates who will take an organisation further.
Finding the Right Talent Technology for Hospitality
The travel and hospitality industry still faces an uphill climb in returning to or even exceeding their prepandemic staffing levels, but talent leaders have additional and improved tools available to help identify, attract and screen candidates. However, in a full marketplace, finding the right tools can be a challenge. Consider partnering with an RPO with expertise in technology that can help identify the most impactful ways new tools can solve your most pressing hospitality recruitment challenges.
Curated suite of modular recruitment solutions helps augment recruitment efforts, deliver fast results and drive lasting business impact
LONDON—6 September 2023—Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) leader PeopleScout is proud to announce the launch of RPO Amplifiers, a curated suite of modular recruitment solutions to help employers augment their recruiting teams when and where they need it most. Whether it’s focused support for peak hiring seasons or sourcing hard-to-fill roles, RPO Amplifiers are designed to help organisations meet immediate talent goals and drive lasting business impact.
“We are committed to meeting our clients’ unique needs with customisable talent solutions—and a full-cycle RPO engagement may not always be the best fit,” said Rick Betori, President of PeopleScout. “The flexibility of RPO Amplifiers allows organisations to scale quickly and augment their existing recruitment efforts, giving them the agility needed to compete in today’s talent landscape.”
PeopleScout’s suite of RPO Amplifiers includes:
Talent Mapping: PeopleScout experts harness research and analytics to help employers make better workforce planning decisions with insight into talent availability, salary benchmarks and more.
Talent Sourcing: This talent sourcing solution helps employers boost their internal recruitment resources, engage with passive candidates and generate a list of qualified, enthusiastic applicants.
Talent Campaign: Surge Support: This project-based solution leverages the expertise of PeopleScout’s recruitment pros when and where needed, without increasing permanent recruiter headcount. Surge Support is implemented quickly and seamlessly, providing all the benefits of RPO expertise on a short-term basis.
Assessment Transformation: This solution helps employers deploy assessments to make the right hires and enhance the candidate experience, leveraging cutting-edge technology and visionary design.
RPO Amplifiers offer scalable, agile recruitment support for organisations in all industries, augmenting existing processes with focused support, backed by PeopleScout’s 30+ years of recruitment expertise. RPO Amplifiers can be added as a standalone service or combined with an existing RPO engagement—whether with PeopleScout or another provider—when extra support is needed.
Learn more about PeopleScout’s RPO Amplifiers here.
Neurodiversity in the workplace has become a much bigger part of the wider discussion about diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I) at work over the last decade. While the neurodistinct community still experiences prejudice and misperceptions, the cultural wave of “neuroinclusion” and advocacy is driving a number of companies to change their hiring practices in order to attract cognitively diverse talent.
Neurodiversity has taught us that diversity and inclusion are about more than age, gender, race, religion and physical ability. DE&I is about ensuring different points of view and different experiences are valued. Indeed, Nancy Doyle, an organizational psychologist and neurodiversity advocate, argues we’re all differently abled in some way. We all have different experiences and perspectives that we bring to the table.
In this article, I’ll explore what embracing neurodiversity in the workplace means for employers and offer some practical advice for creating a neuroinclusive environment.
We all understand by now that diversity at work improves business performance, and neurodiversity in the workplace is no different. While some neurodivergent traits, like difficulty with organisation or sensory issues, pose challenges in traditional work settings, neurodivergent people have unique strengths that offer myriad benefits to employers.
Neurodiverse professionals often have special skills in pattern recognition, analysis, mathematics and more. In fact, neuroinclusion is strongly tied to innovation. Cognitively diverse teams, consisting of both neurodivergent and neurotypical employees, are more creative, make better decisions and solve problems more efficiently.
In her TED Talk, “The world needs all kinds of minds,” autism activist and prominent animal behaviourist Temple Grandin says, without autism “there’d be no more Silicon Valley, and the energy crisis would not be solved.” In our world of technological advancements and automation, the advantages of neurodiversity in the workplace have never been greater.
Neurodivergent Candidates: An Untapped Talent Pool
Neurodivergent individuals can sometimes struggle with interpreting nonverbal cues, facial expressions or tone of voice. Sometimes this means they display what may be considered inappropriate behaviour for the workplace, like excessive honesty or difficulty maintaining eye contact. This runs contrary to what many corporate cultures think make a good employee—having good communication skills, emotional intelligence and relationship building capacity.
Most hiring processes are built for neurotypical candidates. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, interviews tend to focus on evaluating social skills and confidence. This may be relevant for some job roles but may not be a genuine need for others. This puts some neurodivergent applicants at a great disadvantage, particularly when high emotional intelligence isn’t required for success in the role.
In the next section, I offer some practical changes you can make to your hiring program and recruitment processes to support the success of neurodivergent talent.
“Inclusion is a social, moral and economic imperative. We all lose when human potential is squandered.”
Dr. Nancy Doyle, CEO and Founder, Genius Within CIC
How to Foster Inclusion for Neurodiversity in the Workplace
So, how can you make your workplace more neuroinclusive and create a recruitment process that ensures neurodiverse candidates are more likely to be successful? Here are some tips:
Make Neurodiversity Part of Wider DE&I Strategy
At the vast majority of organisations, hiring people with disabilities or cognitive differences is often a sporadic initiative rather than a structured program. To achieve success, it can’t be a pet project of HR or any one person. Rather it should become a part of your larger workplace DE&I initiative.
The first step in building out a sustainable neurodiversity hiring strategy is to be clear on your objectives. It could be to support corporate social responsibility with an inclusiveness focus; to access a wider talent pool in a tight labour market; or to enhance workforce efficiency and effectiveness. Whatever the objectives, the whole organisation must buy into the program and have the right expectations. So, communicate your goals and objectives widely and secure strong, visible and consistent support from senior leadership.
Often, we see that organisations don’t think through how a person with a disability might perform their duties. When organisations define a talent persona for each job type, and target those individuals from the outset, employees are much more successful. This in an opportunity to test your assumptions about job roles and explore the impact if an employee didn’t certain skills. Your selection criteria must be justifiable and define what is essential to succeed in the role.
Once you’re clear on the skillsets you’re looking for in each role, targeting the audience becomes easier. To help with sourcing neurodiverse candidates, you might consider seeking help from an outside partner who can help you think through the art of the possible and drive informed choices.
Education and diversity training in advance of a neurodivergent colleague starting, or in the very early stages of onboarding is important to ensure they’re successful in their new role. Talking to managers and other team members about the characteristics and preferences of a neurodiverse person is entirely appropriate if it’s done in a way that is sensitive to that individual’s privacy and dignity. In fact, it’s critical these conversations take place, so your teams understand in advance what they can expect with their new colleague. For example, throwing a person with autism into a group meeting and asking them to say something about themselves is likely not going to be a comfortable experience for them. If managers know this ahead of time, they can make informed decisions about how to introduce their neurodiverse new hire to the team. Moreover, when employees know that their new neurodiverse co-worker may not make eye contact, they’re less likely to take it personally.
Rethink Your Recruitment Process
One reason I’ve seen neurodiversity in the workplace fail is because the recruitment process is not sufficiently tailored to the needs of neurodivergent candidates. The focus must be on assessing basic competencies and characteristics as well as a candidate’s capacity and willingness to learn, rather than how well they interview or even their previous job experience (as neurodivergent candidates often have less employment history).
I caught up with our UK-based Assessment Design team, comprised of organisational psychologists, to understand more about how they’re helping clients create more equitable assessment experiences. They shared that because the interview and assessment process can often be complex—varying by role and company—there is no “silver bullet” and each situation should be addressed on a case-by-case basis, especially since many neurodivergent people are undiagnosed or may choose not to reveal their diagnosis to potential employers.
Interviews in particular can be a challenging prospect for neurodiverse candidates. While most organisations won’t eliminate interviews altogether, they shouldn’t be the only consideration. They should be balanced with other evaluation techniques, and, for candidates who require adjustments, you might consider weighting interviews so they count for less in the overall candidate appraisal.
Prepare to offer reasonable adjustments for the recruitment process as neurodivergent candidates in particular will likely need to deviate from established processes. This could mean changing the location or of an interview or allowing for a screen reader during an online assessment exam. Another example of an adjustment is to put the interview question into the chat during virtual interviews to make the experience more accessible. Keep in mind that any adjustments you make for the recruitment process should be adjustments you’re prepared to offer in the workplace as well.
At PeopleScout, we provide experienced assessors who can act as a neutral third-party in interviews which can help to reduce bias in the scoring.
The PeopleScout Assessment Design team recommends a blended assessment approach consisting of multiple styles of question, allowing candidates different ways to show their potential. These blended assessments have the added benefit of giving candidates a realistic preview of what the role and organisational culture is like. For example, for a large international airport, the bespoke 1XP experience we created an immersive experience in which security officer candidates had complete various tasks, including “spotting the difference” between images, to test their ability to catch potential security issues in the airport.
Regardless of whether candidates have requested adjustments or not, should always clearly communicate with candidates the steps of the recruitment process, what’s expected of the candidate at each stage and what’s coming up next. All candidates appreciate this, but neurodivergent candidates in particular may benefit knowing what to expect upfront.
Adjust the Working Environment
Beyond experiencing issues with workplace etiquette, neurodiverse employees often struggle with sensory challenges, like sensitivity to light or sound. Modern office environments with open floor plans or noisy warehouses or shop floors can prevent neurodiverse employees from being successful in their work.
Consider offering flexible seating arrangements, quiet places for breaks or noise cancelling headphones. When feasible, remote work is a great option for some neurodivergent employees. Be prepared to adjust lighting or make adaptations to a neurodiverse employee’s workstation. Even changing a uniform to have a softer fabric can make all the difference for a neurodiverse worker. For employees with learning disabilities, assistive technologies, like screen readers, or video trainings can help them complete onboarding modules and job tasks.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach here. Just like neurotypical people, disabled and neurodiverse employees each have their own unique requirements and preferences for maximising their productivity.
Consider Career Paths
Taking a long-term view of the development of disabled and neurodiverse employees is key to continued success of your program. One idea is to give neurodivergent employees a “buddy” or mentor that they’re comfortable with—outside of their direct manager. Having this extra person checking in on them is invaluable in retaining neurodiverse employees beyond the first three to six months.
It’s also important that organisations engage with their disabled and neurodiverse employees directly about what support they need and how they feel about their experience. Sometimes employers are uncomfortable asking those questions, but people with disabilities generally want to engage and are open to talking about what support they require. Of course, these conversations should happen in a way that honours the employee’s privacy and dignity.
My experience tells me that making disability and neurodiversity part of your DE&I strategy isn’t easy. If it was, more organisations would be further down the path. But it is worthwhile, not only to meet societal expectations, but because it makes good business sense. Start small, build confidence and scale. Neurodiversity in the workplace is a wonderful journey if you’re committed to it and plan appropriately.
Apprenticeship recruitment has taken on more importance in early careers programs in recent years. In the UK, there was a 22% increase in interest in apprenticeships from young people in 2022 according to UCAS. In Australia, the number of organisations employing apprentices and trainees is at its highest level in over a decade with seven of the 10 fastest-growing jobs in Australia now accessible via an apprenticeship pathway.
Organisations and employees alike are waking up to the fact that many skills can be learned on the job—and that this is often more relevant training than a university degree. Whilst providing opportunities for hands-on experience and training, apprenticeships also help businesses to develop a talent pipeline that is equipped with future-ready skills.
Whether for workers just starting out or those changing careers, apprenticeships help people gain valuable skills and on-the-job experience as they move toward a career in their field. For employers, field and business apprenticeships are one of the best ways of engaging early careers talent or career changers.
In this article, we’ll explore how designing and offering apprenticeship programs can be a smart way for organisations to create their own talent pipeline, close their skills gaps, and diversify their workforce.
What is an Apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is paid employment that offers on-the-job training and is often accompanied by classroom-based learning. Some employers may offer their own in-house training while others offer it in association with a college, university or other training provider. An apprenticeship must last at least a year but can go as long as 5 years. Through in-depth, job- and industry-specific skills training, apprentices gain a nationally recognised qualification or certification upon completion.
Apprenticeship programs are a great choice for individuals who are early on in their careers, who are looking to upskill or who are exploring a career change. Employers are responsible for ensuring that apprentices work with experienced staff, learn job-specific skills and receive time off from work to complete their classroom training.
Different countries have different laws and regulations around apprenticeships including wages and working hours. There are also various funding programs and government schemes available to encourage both workers and employers to embrace apprenticeships. For example, the UK Government introduced the (controversial) apprenticeship levy in 2017 which uses business taxes to fund apprenticeship training. The Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program gives eligible employers in priority list occupations (ranging from aged care and dentistry to various engineering roles) wage subsidies for offering quality apprenticeship training programs.
Types of Apprenticeships
Types of apprenticeships differ from region to region. In the UK, a common misperception is that apprenticeships are just for manual or skilled trade jobs. Whilst there are many apprenticeship programs in the skilled trades, there are also apprenticeship opportunities for all kinds of careers from actuaries to arborists. For example, our client,National Highways, offers apprenticeship opportunities for project management, business administration, legal, surveying and data analysis.
In Australia, apprenticeships are offered for skilled trades, whilst traineeships are for other vocations in sectors like hospitality, digital media and financial services. Organisations are increasingly embracing corporate apprenticeships and traineeships as a means of diversifying their workforce and creating opportunities for social mobility.
There are different levels of apprenticeship including degree apprenticeships which correspond to an equivalent education level. In the UK, completing a Level 2 apprenticeship is the equivalent of completing a GCSE, and a Level 7 apprenticeship is the equivalent of completing a master’s degree. In Australia, apprenticeships are typically delivered through Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and State or Territory Training Authorities and span levels from Certification II through to advanced diplomas.
Benefits of Apprenticeships for Employers
Apprenticeship recruitment can be an effective way of growing and upskilling your workforce. Here are just a few of the benefits for employers.
Building a Talent Pipeline
Companies in a variety of industries can build their own apprenticeship programs to help talent see the rewarding career opportunities available within their sector. As apprentices gain experience, organisations establish a pipeline of prospective employees.
Early careers employees see apprenticeship programs as proof of an organisations investment in their success and are more likely to stay with an organisation after completing the program. In fact, 90% of qualified apprentices stay on with their employers upon completing their training, and 69% of organisations say that employing apprentices has improved retention. Clearly, apprenticeship recruitment is an excellent way to “grow your own talent” and reduce attrition.
Closing Skills Gaps
According to McKinsey, a whopping 87% of organisations are aware they already have a skills gap within their workforce or will experience one in the next few years. Apprenticeships offer a way to develop a new generation of workers to help your organisation succeed into the future. A structured apprenticeship is an effective way to get a leg up in recruiting and retaining sought-after talent like software developers, data analysts and engineers. Indeed, 86% of employers said that investing in apprentices helped to develop relevant skills for the organisation.
A third of employers agree that apprenticeships have helped improve diversity within their business. They are particularly effective for creating career opportunities and boosting earnings for workers from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.
As more people struggle financially with student loans and education costs, apprenticeships have become an accessible career path for workers of all ages and backgrounds and give participants a shot at career success. They allow workers from underrepresented groups to increase their earnings potential—to work and earn money in the field while they learn. If your company cares about being a catalyst for sustained change in the community, apprenticeships are a great way to achieve this.
As a leading recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider, PeopleScout helps organisations to obtain the talent and skills they need to succeed into the future through early careers recruitment solutions covering interns, graduates and apprenticeship programs. Unlike apprenticeship recruitment agencies, as an RPO partner our expertise in talent acquisition strategy and workforce planning means we’re better equipped to successfully integrate apprentice programs into your overall talent attraction and training strategy. Plus, we have experts on staff that can design an assessment centre that evaluates apprentice candidates against your organisation’s values, culture and other requirements.
ASSESSMENT STRATEGIES FOR TOP EARLY CAREERS TALENT
11%Attrition Rate—Well Below the Industry Average of 30%
We’re Duplicating This Campaign’s Success for Some of the Client’s Other Departments
The increased cost of living means the customer service advisors at this leading UK bank are under greater pressure to handle more and more complex customer queries, leading to longer calls and increased hold times.
The bank needed to recruit more staff to meet their service levels and create a great experience for their customers. As their RPO partner, we are currently recruiting almost 2,800 permanent customer service advisors per year. In response to the changing needs of their customers, however, we launched a campaign to recruit an additional 150 customer service representatives for their contact centres plus up to 450 additional advisors within their branch network. At the same time, we enabled them to transition from contingent solutions to 100% permanent hiring.
We designed the customer service recruitment process from scratch, which included a recruitment marketing campaign that we designed and managed. Digital adverts directed candidates to a careers page where they could apply. Each candidate received an automated message to complete an online test, which ensured only best-fit candidates progressed. Our team then reviewed the applications and test results and put forward candidates to the client for a virtual interview and role play.
Once the selection process was complete, we managed the offer process and submitted compliant right-to-work documentation for successful candidates.
To date, the PeopleScout have achieved 104% of our hiring goal, with an attrition rate of just 11%—well below the industry average of 30%.
As a result, the client have asked us to duplicate this campaign to support recruitment in additional call centre teams.
“The PeopleScout team work tirelessly to deliver and are fully invested in our objectives and values. There is always a willingness to be flexible and agile, working collaboratively to achieve a common goal.”
AT A GLANCE
COMPANY: Leading UK Bank
PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing
ANNUAL HIRES: 3,000+ across customer services in-branch and in the contact centre
By Andrew Weston, RPO Solution Director, PeopleScout EMEA
In our world of e-commerce and online banking, consumers want slick digital experiences. But they still want the human touch when they run into a problem. Despite the growth of digital channels, excellent customer service is still a must-have in a business landscape where companies compete on customer experience. High-volume hiring in the contact centre has never been more important or more challenging.
Customer queries are more complex and high-value, and contact centre agents are now expected to not only answer calls, but interact with customers through chats, emails and social media. Contact centres need highly-skilled talent who are comfortable working in a myriad of technology platforms. Customer service representatives (CSRs) must also exhibit strong soft skills like listening and empathy—especially as consumers are experiencing more financial hardships and mental health struggles post-pandemic.
Indeed, 84% of contact centre leaders—whether part of a BPO or an internal contact centre—believe the pandemic permanently elevated the importance of the contact centre for their business. But, it’s hard to deliver against your service levels when you’re struggling to hire or when you’re losing staff amidst the Great Resignation. Since 2019, the number of vacancies has increased, while the number of applicants per opening has dropped by 50%.
So, how can a contact centre director and talent acquisition leader team up to tackle today’s tough landscape? Here are three top recruitment challenges in the contact centre and tips for overcoming them.
1. Use Your Employer Brand to Attract the Right Kind of Talent
ContactBabel’s UK Contact Centre Decision Maker’s Guide states that contact centre attrition reached 23% in 2022, with 1 in 6 operations experiencing annual attrition of over 30%. This results in UK contact centres making over 212,000 hires annually. With turnover like this, how to make high-volume hiring more effective is always on the minds of contact centre directors.
As consumer behaviour has changed, a different set of skills is needed in customer service. Contact centre agents need to exercise problem solving and analytical skills while also displaying empathy to customers who may be upset or emotional. Agents who lack these skills are more likely to struggle to resolve customer issues and to suffer from increased stress levels.
By honing your employer value proposition and attraction messaging, you can stand out amongst your competition but also zero in the characteristics you need for your contact centre. By shifting your mindset from focusing on getting the most applications, or even those with customer service experience, to getting applications with the right profile, you can reduce attrition by increase the likelihood of your new hires being successful.
Case Study: Finding Candidates with Problem Solving Skills
We helped Direct Line, a British insurance provider, improve their recruitment outcomes in the contact centre through employer branding and recruitment marketing. We found their ideal candidate profile was someone with strong analytical skills and who could proactively problem solve—rather than those with past experience in customer service.
We then expanded our search efforts, looking for candidates who would have honed these skills in non-customer service roles who would be interested in making a career change. Not only did this open the doors for Direct Line to access a new pool of talent, but it also helped to increase the quality of their hires and reduce attrition.
2. Rethink Your Assessment Centre to Reduce Drop-Off Rate
With growing complexity in customer service, organisations need contact centre agents with strong listening skills and written communication skills (for chat, email and social media enquiries) as well as the ability to self-manage and multitask. Leveraging candidate assessment tools to find candidates with the right combination of skills and behaviours is imperative to the success of your contact centre.
Case Study: Moving the Assessment Stage Forward
One of our longest standing clients, tasked us with high-volume recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) for their financial services customer contact centres. The bank needed to recruit more staff to meet their service levels and create a great experience for their customers. We designed the customer contact recruitment process from scratch, including a recruitment marketing campaign.
As part of this new process, we advised the bank to introduce an online test immediately after the candidate applied using an automated email. This caught them while the application was still front of mind and also ensured that only best-fit candidates progressed. This meant that hiring managers were committing their time to top talent and helped to reduce the overall time to hire. As a result of identifying high quality candidates sooner, we were able to reduce the attrition rate to just 11%, well below the industry average.
More Assessment Centre Tips to Reduce Drop-Off
Here are some more assessment centre tips:
Try introducing assessment tasks earlier in the process or combining assessment stages. This helps increase hiring speed and keep candidates engaged.
Rather than traditional multiple-choice tests, try a role play scenario or an interactive experience that gives the candidates a real-life feel of what their day-to-day job will look like. The benefits are two-fold—you get a better idea of how candidates will perform in the role, and they get a better idea of what to expect before they accept the offer.
Ensure candidates are prepared for the assessment centre by offering webinars, instruction videos and even practices tests. This helps to eliminate nervousness and boost confidence amongst candidates—reducing candidate drop-off before the assessment centre phase.
Following the tips above on finding the ideal candidate profile and assessing for the right skills to start with, will help reduce ghosting on day one. In addition, you can also work to speed up the recruitment process and improve communications to keep candidates engaged after offer acceptance.
Speeding Up the Recruitment Process
With so many contact centres vying for customer service talent, employer response time is crucial as you want to beat the by being the first to move the candidate through the recruitment process. About a quarter of candidates state the reason for their ghosting was because the hiring process was too long or too slow. So, take a look at your recruitment process. Are there any steps you could eliminate or combine? Are there ways you could reduce the time between steps?
If it’s feasible for your organisation, you might consider moving to same-day offers, even if they’re contingent upon reference verification, background checks or drug testing. Also, moving the start date up will reduce the likelihood of a competing offer turning your candidate’s head. Waiting for your next training class could be risky, so think about running smaller training classes more frequently to accelerate hiring.
Staying Connected with Regular Communication
Communication is also a key part of combatting ghosting during the crucial period offer and onboarding. Staying in touch with candidates is imperative to keep them interested. If you ghost your brand-new hire by forgetting to check in, they’re more likely to ghost you in turn. The same Indeed study found that 77% of jobseekers saying they’ve been ghosted by an employer.
Assessing the touchpoints between your organisation and the offer holder is an important way for employers to ensure they keep the lines of communication open and increase engagement with candidates. Are you using your CRM to the fullest? Investing in creating content that showcases your employer value proposition (EVP) and sending it out regularly to your candidates via engaging emails will ensure they are reminded regularly of the value you offer—whether through benefits, flexibility, growth opportunities, diversity and inclusion initiatives and more.
Personal touchpoints are another way to stay connected. Check-in emails from the recruiter or even messages of congratulations from the hiring manager will help candidates feel valued and special. You might consider asking existing employees to act as an ambassador and share some onboarding materials with more information about your organisation, your culture and values or your employee resource groups (ERGs) so they start feeling like a part of the team.
These small gestures can help your candidate feel connected to the organisation before they start—and could end up being what keeps them from changing their mind when they receive a competing offer.
RPO for the Contact Centre
Facing a recruitment landscape in which you need high-volume hiring to support your contact centre operations? Check out our latest webinar in conjunction with Personnel Today, featuring CCMA, in which we discussed how to maintain speed and agility in high-volume hiring whilst keeping the quality of hire. Watch it on-demand!
WEBINAR ON-Demand: Hire quality vs speed: Finding the perfect balance
As employers continue their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, many face the same two challenges: Applications are up and talent acquisition teams are lean, which leaves a smaller team to sift through mountains of job applications.
At the same time, the pressure to find and hire the best candidate is high. After all, top talent can help speed a recovery. And, while the hiring process needs to be fast, it can’t leave out top candidates. So, let’s examine strategies for managing high candidate volumes that can help employers stand out during the Great Rehire.
Challenge: Our organisation needs to scale quickly to make a large number of hires, but our team doesn’t have the bandwidth to handle the volume.
One key pillar of value for HR outsourcing solutions – like RPO; on-demand or project based RPO; or Total Workforce Solutions – is the ability to scale seamlessly as hiring demands shift. Conversely, in an internal talent acquisition team, it can be difficult – if not impossible – to scale up quickly to handle a higher number of hires and then scale back down when hiring volumes shrink. Consequently, many organisations find themselves initially making a large volume of hires to staff up new locations or during a peak season, but then hiring volumes return to normal.
What’s more, businesses in industries hard hit by COVID-19 will see especially high numbers as the economy continues to recover. For these organisations, RPO providers – specifically, on-demand or project RPO solutions – can help fill the gaps by providing focused support based on the needs of individual organisations.
For instance, at PeopleScout, we bring expertise and insights from across our client base, as well as the people needed to handle hiring spikes. Our industry-specialised flex team of recruiters can be activated on short notice, and our global delivery centres provide 24/7 support and recruiting capabilities that enable a faster recruitment process.
An RPO provider can also provide broader solutions – like bringing technology expertise to add automation or virtual interviewing solutions; or providing talent advisory services to improve employer branding, assessments or job posting strategies.
Challenge: Our team is too bogged down in repetitive work; the process of screening candidates and scheduling interviews takes too much of our recruiters’ time.
COVID-19 has exposed technology gaps for many employers. In the early days, many scrambled to implement virtual hiring solutions so that they could keep their talent acquisition functions moving. Now, as the pandemic passes the one-year mark, employers face a different challenge: Is their technology built for scale?
When facing high candidate volumes, recruiters can easily get bogged down in repetitive administrative tasks. For example, they might get caught in a game of phone tag trying to schedule interviews; answering simple questions from candidates; sending emails to keep their talent communities warm; and sourcing candidates for hard-to-find skillsets. As a result, that leaves little time for higher-value activities, like communicating with top candidates.
However, robotic process automation (RPA) can lift some of the load. This technology utilises bots to replicate human actions for time-consuming, but straightforward administrative tasks. And, while it can be used to screen résumés, it can also go far beyond that.
For example, RPA can be used to deploy chatbots to answer simple questions from candidates 24 hours a day. A chatbot can also be used in automated candidate screenings to ask questions about a candidate’s skills, education and experience – either online or via text. Best of all, in addition to saving time for the recruiter, this technology also improves the candidate experience by allowing them to get answers more quickly and feel as though they’re driving the recruitment process forward.
RPA can also be used to automate emails, social media posts and other employer branding campaigns. Right now, many organisations are building candidate pipelines and keeping talent communities warm as they prepare to make hires. In this way, RPA can be used to send messages to these communities – keeping candidates engaged and keeping your company top of mind.
Interview scheduling tools can also prove to be a significant time-saver for recruiters. As an example, with Affinix – PeopleScout’s proprietary talent technology – recruiters can avoid the back-and-forth of scheduling interviews with candidates by automating the process instead. Specifically, a recruiter can sync their calendar with the tool and provide candidates with a link to schedule the interview at a time that works best for them.
These tools can then be combined into a virtual solution that spans from recruitment marketing tools all the way through onboarding. And, as the recovery continues, many employers are finding lasting benefits from adopting these strategies.
Candidate Generation & Assessment Strategies
Challenge: We’re seeing high applicant volumes, but we want to make sure the people we hire are interested in the role for the long-term; we’re worried about high turnover as the economy improves.
As employers hire in 2021, they face a mountain of applications. This includes both candidates who are excited about the role and see it as a long-term step in their careers, as well as candidates who are looking for the role now, but don’t necessarily want to stay in the role or at the organisation for the long haul. But, how do you differentiate between the two?
One option is to adjust your candidate generation and assessment strategies to attract and hire the employees with the passion, purpose, and mindset that best match for the organisation and the role. For instance, to showcase an honest and authentic employer brand, write honest and authentic job postings. By tailoring your employer brand and job postings to attract only candidates who are truly qualified and interested in the role, you’ll save recruiter time by eliminating the résumés of candidates who aren’t qualified or aren’t excited about the role.
As an example, one PeopleScout client previously wrote job descriptions with an overly positive view of their open positions – without mentioning the more challenging elements. And, although they received a high number of applicants, as those applicants moved through the process, many realised that they didn’t want the job. Meanwhile, others accepted the job, but the turnover rate was high, which was expensive and wasted time for both the recruiter and the hiring manager.
In response, PeopleScout worked with the client to make the job postings more realistic about the challenges, in addition to providing a real preview of what the job would look like. In the end, the client received fewer applicants, but turnover in the role dropped significantly. The client also saved hundreds of hours in hiring manager and recruiter time.
Employers can also adjust their assessment process to identify candidates who can succeed and grow in the role by evaluating their passion, purpose and mindset. This means assessing candidates to find out if the candidate has the enthusiasm for the work; finds purpose in the role and at the organisation; and has the right mindset to grow and learn.
Bringing It Together
Combining these strategies in the right way for your organisation can help manage the high candidate volumes we expect to continue during the economic recovery from COVID-19. Furthermore, many of these tools and strategies will continue to show their value when unemployment is low. RPO providers and on-demand or project-based RPO can help manage yearly hiring spikes; technology tools will continue to free up recruiter time; and job posting and assessment strategies that guarantee the right cultural fit will continue to result in better talent and higher-performing teams. And, for talent leaders in 2021, solutions that deliver immediate results and lasting benefits will drive success.
Most employers are still using legacy assessment processes that are ineffective in today’s competitive recruitment landscape. With the cost of one bad hire reaching as high as $50,000, it’s imperative that organisations ensure they’ve assessed candidates’ current skills, future potential and cultural fit.
So, how can you adjust your assessment process to bring in talent that will support their business now and into the future? In this book, Candidate Assessment: Bringing in Better with Passion, Purpose and Mindset, we explore how employers can rethink their assessments to hire talent that will thrive.
In this ebook you will learn:
Why assessing only for knowledge and skills puts you at risk
How investing in technology helped one retailer modernise their assessments and improve the candidate experience
How to customise your assessments to find the right passion, purpose and mindset
The application process has changed dramatically throughout the years. Yet, some aspects seem eternal—like the fact that employers often start with lots of people at the top of their recruitment funnel and need to make sure they get the right people to the bottom.
But, the world is changing, and the pace of change is accelerating; candidates expect a simple, efficient recruitment process, and employers need workers who are digitally fluent and can adapt easily to change. Reskilling is also becoming even more important.
Plus, there’s also a strong focus on fairness, transparency and equality—with blind reviews of applications, diverse interview panels, and selection processes centred on the need to demonstrate competencies and alignment with the role.
Therefore, in order to adapt to today’s ever-changing landscape, it’s vital for employers to focus on a candidate’s potential to grow and adapt to future needs, as well as the skills and qualities they have today. To that end, throughout this article, we’ll share four steps for building a better assessment process—because not only is assessment the key to a more productive workforce, but it’s also essential to a workforce that’s more resilient and able to stand the test of time.
Step One: Shift from Experience to Potential
In a bid to prepare for the unknown, employers need to shift their focus away from candidates who have prior experience in a role and toward those who have potential. That’s because the employees who can demonstrate flexibility and resilience will be the ones who are best able to ride the wave of uncertainty.
Specifically, McKinsey & Company predicts that higher cognitive skills—such as creativity, critical thinking, decision-making and complex information processing—will be the most in-demand traits in the future. In fact, the need for these skills is predicted to grow by 19% in the United States and by 14% in Europe by 2030—up from already sizable demands. Furthermore, the same research also predicts the fastest rise ever in the need for advanced IT and programming skills, which could grow by as much as 90% by 2030.
As such, organisations that want to be at the forefront of innovation need to start thinking creatively about how they can tap into the vital perspectives of diverse minds. To lead a sector, outrun the competition, and truly innovate, employers need to stop looking for people who fit and start looking for people who add. Likewise, bias—conscious or unconscious—needs to be removed from the process. Besides, although they might seem like they come with a higher risk factor, people who do things very differently can create exceptional outcomes. So, instead of always asking, “Who can do the job?”, employers should be asking, “Who can take us further?”
Step Two: Reap the Rewards of Great vs. Good
Transforming candidate assessment and selection is an investment, but the business case has never been more important. Plus, many of the current processes and tools are subjective and don’t focus on differentiating between good and great hires. With this in mind, are organisations and hiring managers equipped with the tools they need to make the right decisions?
Additionally, better performance predictions will lead to better outcomes, and investing in the right tools can deliver multi-millions in cost benefits. In essence, an employer with a more agile and adaptable workforce is in a far better place to achieve competitive advantage—as well as the kind of employee satisfaction that attracts more high-achieving, agile candidates. In this way, quality hires have a substantial influence on business performance.
However, despite rigorous testing, chemistry sessions and multiple interviews, it can still be quite difficult for employers to understand whether an individual would actually be effective in a role—thereby making bad hires surprisingly common.
Conversely, getting great people—the people who go above and beyond the role criteria—is really good news because it has a profound effect on quality of output, which is truly beneficial to the business. What’s more, while great employees are valuable in and of themselves, they also drive wider team performance, inspire others and make it easier to recruit other great people.
Step Three: Build Better by Thinking Bigger
So, if we’re going to build a better and fairer candidate assessment process, we need to find a way to:
Measure potential, rather than experience, because we don’t know what the future looks like.
Identify the behaviours that are required to separate those who will actually be successful from those who present well during an interview.
Distinguish between good candidates who meet the criteria and great candidates who will take an organisation further.
Give candidates a clear and authentic picture of the organisation and the role so that they can self-select out of the process if the opportunity isn’t right for them.
Include candidates who might have non-traditional experiences or career paths and assess them equally.
Assess candidates fairly and without subjectivity or bias.
Finally, employers need to be able to identify and select candidates who are motivated and energised to be productive at work. And, the way that we do all of these things is by assessing for passion, purpose and mindset.
Assessing Passion, Purpose & Mindset
Traditional assessment processes assess for capability, behaviour and results. These terms are defined as:
Then, when these aspects are combined with new measurements that focus on purpose, passion and mindset, we can better predict the success of candidates and determine the candidates who are more engaged and likely to be a better hire for employers.
Let’s dig into those new descriptors and what they mean.
Purpose is a candidate’s alignment with and willingness to contribute to the vision and values of an organisation. For example, one study reported by McKinsey found that, out of 100 variables, employees reported that seeing purpose and value in their work was their most motivating factor—even more so than compensation. Notably, this is especially important for younger workers.
Clearly, ensuring that applicants understand the organisation’s purpose and consider how aligned they are with that throughout the assessment process engenders a sense of belonging and partnership that underlies both great performance and job satisfaction.
In this way, assessment tools can be built around the organisation’s vision and values so applicants have a chance to form an appreciation of them from their earliest contact with the organisation. Then, if they don’t share the same values, they can choose another path. However, applicants who see an affinity with their own values will begin to feel the engagement and inspiration that will drive job success and satisfaction—even before they’re hired.
Passion is a candidate’s enthusiasm, enjoyment and commitment to mastering the requirements of a role. When an employee is passionate about a role, they’re engaged. Even so, most employers don’t have a method to effectively understand what a candidate is passionate about.
For this reason, during the assessment stage, employers need to find ways to reveal an applicant’s natural passions—which are often in the form of strengths—and find out if these are aligned with the role requirements. Then, they’ll be able to determine whether the candidate is likely to be a high performer who will want to commit the effort needed to succeed in all aspects of the job. Interviews, assessment centre exercises, and immersive online assessments are excellent vehicles for exploring and observing applicants’ innate strengths in relation to the role. Similarly, self-evaluation tools can also be used to help applicants consider their own strengths and whether the role will offer sufficient opportunity to use and demonstrate them.
Mindset is a candidate’s belief about themselves and their basic qualities, although these beliefs are rarely measured by employers. The two types are defined as:
Fixed mindset: The belief that one’s talents are innate gifts and not malleable.
Growth mindset: The belief that one’s talents can be developed through education and effort.
It’s thought that people with a growth mindset achieve greater success because they’re focused on learning and believe that they can get better and develop new skills. It’s worth noting here that organisations can have a growth mindset, too. For instance, organisations with a growth mindset are more likely to fill vacancies internally, whereas organisations with a fixed mindset automatically advertise in the external market.
When assessing mindset, we’re looking to understand a candidate’s strengths and attitudes in relation to learning, feedback, resilience and adaptability. Of course, there are many ways to do that; just keep in mind that it’s less about what candidates may have done in the past and more about how they approach their work and develop and broaden their competence.
Step Four: Think Outside the Checkbox
By focusing purely on the capability, behaviour and results of candidates as they’re presented in front of the recruitment team, today’s more traditional interview and assessment process can be challenging for both candidates and employers. That’s because, while these measures can predict the future success of certain candidates in specific roles, change is now constant—which means that better, more well-rounded assessments are a must.
For instance, a more blended assessment during the pre-screening allows employers to shortlist candidates based on several different attributes at the same time. The candidate can then forego multiple stages by demonstrating different attributes at the same time. This way, employers can get a clear picture of the different strengths and weaknesses of the entire group of candidates in order to make informed decisions about which candidates are best to bring forward to the interview stage.
The talent landscape and the world around us renders current assessment processes ineffective. As such, employers need to embrace a new approach that both ensures that candidates are assessed appropriately and also empowers them to make good decisions.
To that end, passion, purpose, and mindset can have as much influence on performance as a candidate’s core intellect, achievements and behaviours. And, by building these factors into the assessment of a potential employee, employers can select from a diverse pool of candidates based on each individual’s potential, as well as their current performance.
Unfortunately, most employers aren’t assessing for all of these factors, so they’re missing out on a comprehensive look at candidates. In the end, the question your organisation needs to consider is this: In a rapidly changing world, what is the cost of maintaining the status quo?
To learn more about how to build the specific assessments to fit your needs, download our ebook.