At this time of year, we turn to our recruitment expert, Santa, to tell us why a Total Recruitment Philosophy (TRP) works so well for his business.

What is TRP?
TRP brings together planning, branding, recruitment and employee onboarding – it’s crucial to combine the elements and practice as a whole recruitment process to be successful. Reaching, engaging and retaining the right talent for your organisation begins with creating a recruitment process fit to stand out amongst competition.

Thinking Ahead
Every year, I analyse data to interpret and forecast logistics to ensure the presents I deliver are appropriate and in line with common trends for the year. Additionally, it’s important for me to embrace the latest thinking, tools and technologies to recruit high-calibre candidates for my organisation. After all, those who help me deliver the presents have a huge impact on the company brand.

Santa forecasting trends for recruitment

Santa forecasting trends for recruitment

The Elf Brand
With competition from major retailers who recruit thousands of additional staff during the holiday season, it could fast become difficult to recruit elves to assist me in delivering presents – however, since the Elf brand is strong and prominent, this allows me to directly source and use attraction avenues to help me win this challenge every year.

Attracting applicants is one thing, but maintaining employee engagement is another – since our work is seasonal, I am always thinking of creative, innovative ways to keep my elves in the loop and keep them motivated during not-so-busy months. I offer training and development opportunities to boost employee morale, positively impacting their job satisfaction – this, in turn, reduces the risk of my elves finding employment elsewhere.

Of course, there can be other reasons why employees choose to leave so exit interviews are conducted to highlight key issues or trends to better improve the elf experience and the business as a whole.

Recruiting for Santa

Recruiting for Santa

This is a particularly important stage of the TRP – it needs to feel like perfection for candidates at every step of the way to truly believe in my organisation as an employer of choice. The only way to achieve this is to pay attention to detail every step of the way to get it right for Christmas Day!

The Total Recruitment Philosophy consists of four fundamental functions – if one is overlooked, this could have a detrimental impact on all.

It is for this reason, we stress the importance of reviewing business functions and refining processes in order to run a smooth business. Only with a TRP, have I, Santa, been able to deliver presents annually maintaining exceptional service and working towards organisational goals with sustained progress.


outsourced recruitment

RPO costs – what’s the real deal?

Whether this is through full outsourced recruitment (or Recruitment Process Outsourcing -RPO), exit and retention interviews or temporary managed services, we are often asked “well, how much will outsourced recruitment cost my company?” Sometimes, it’s just not that straightforward.

RPO can bring multiple benefits and success if implemented correctly, we understand the importance of assessing long-term advantages against initial investment.


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1. Vacancies and Volume

The cost of RPO will vary considerably and in line with your annual hiring projections. You should also factor in the availability of suitable talent and the complexity of your hiring needs.

Recruiting the same roles across a limited number of locations often means efficiencies can be generated which might drive down costs related to attraction and sourcing strategies.

On the flip side, if your hiring needs are much more complex, the investment is likely to be higher.

outsourced recruitment

2. Design of Outsourced Recruitment and Assessment methods

Recruitment and selection methods are another key element which will define the level of investment required.

Automation of some screening processes such as video interviews can lower costs and drive efficiencies.

The design and introduction of situational judgement tests might require a higher investment up front, but ultimately can lead to less resource being required at later stages of the outsourced recruitment process.

For each layer of assessment you add, be prepared for costs to increase.

3. How much of the process are you outsourcing?

Full outsourced recruitment: from attraction to application to assessment through to post-start retention interviews, will require resource and time.

However, it can be a worthwhile investment to create a consistent and engaging process for the candidate.

There might be options to outsource one or more elements of the process, but bear the candidate experience in mind as this might have negative implications later on if processes and communications are dis-jointed.

4. Technology

Do you need applicant tracking technology? Do you already have it? Does your RPO provider bring their own to the table? Each has cost implications which are worth taking into account.

Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

5. Overall service levels required

How much time are you expecting from your Outsourced Recruitment provider?

What account management levels do you need?

Do they need to be onsite, offsite or are they expected to travel to multiple sites on a regular basis?

6. Reporting levels and management information

What level of reporting and analysis do you require?

Can you self-generate reports or do you need your RPO to provide a detailed analysis suitable for your Board or Executive Team?

To make the right choice for your business, it is important to assess the advantages of investing in Outsourced Recruitment but also to understand what outcomes you are expecting and what price you are prepared to pay to achieve them.

Are you thinking about RPO and want to know more? Click here to find out what Cohesion can do for you. 

We’ve identified seven killer questions for exit interviews to encourage honest feedback and pinpoint weaknesses.

Exit interviews can be conducted in a number of formats, it’s just as important to use the best medium to reach out to employees as it is to be asking the right questions. This can encourage honest feedback and pinpoint organisational weaknesses. So, is your organisation asking the right questions?

1. Why did you begin looking for a new job?
Finding out exactly why employees search for new employment can assist in identifying a trend. For example, if an employee simply needed a job closer to home, it is a great way to pinpoint if a specific situation has sparked the search.

2. What led you to accept the new position?
This question could provide you with a competitive advantage if you are able to contrast and compare your foothold in the market against rivals. Low employee retention rates could be due to more competitive pay and staff benefits from competitors.

3. Did you feel that you were equipped to do your job well?
In order to identify key issues an employee faced, it’s essential to discover whether or not the employee felt sufficiently equipped to do their job throughout their time with you. This could be down to a lack of training and development opportunities.

In exit interviews, asking the right questions to understand why employees are leaving can improve the quality of employee experience and boost retention rates

Asking the right questions to understand why employees are leaving can improve the quality of employee experience and boost retention rates

4. How would you describe the culture of our company?
As you conduct exit interviews over time, the data from this question will help to identify trends. These can outline real causes of concerns for your company, through personal opinions of employees who may be responding to the interview in an emotional manner.

5. Can you provide more information, such as specific examples?
Although employees may choose not to disclose further information, following up with this question can be beneficial in revealing personnel problems. It can also be crucial in picking out flaws which may be easily rectified, preventing the loss of another employee.

6. What could have been done differently for you to have remained here?
Direct and to the point, this will provide employees with an opportunity to open up. It’s important to remember this is a hypothetical question, but can shine light on your weaknesses.

7. If you could change anything about your role or the company, what would it be?
We recommend asking this question last – having gained insight throughout the exit interview, this one will help the employee to focus on the key reason for leaving. This also provides opportunity for constructive feedback.

Asking the right questions can provide detailed feedback and suggestions which can generate positive movement within your business. Using the correct format of the questions is also vital – suggestive or biased questioning leads to skewed results, reducing validity.

We made an appearance at PebblePad’s Symposium on Wednesday 2nd December. With a focus on the impact technology has made in graduate recruitment and employability, we presented our thoughts on graduates, recruiting trends and how to create a new generation of Future Ready learners.

1. Academics Anonymous?
More recently, we’ve seen companies, such as PwC, switch to non-standard techniques to shortlist candidates. Focused on the psychology of the individual, such companies have chosen to use strengths, values-based and behavioural testing to determine if a candidate is suitable for the role.

Interestingly, Grant Thornton highlighted if they continued rejecting candidates on UCAS points or equivalent, almost 21% of their current graduates would not have passed.

Graduates know how to fill out an application form, but do they know how to fill out a successful application?

Graduates know how to fill out an application form, but do they know how to fill out a successful application?

Solution: Assist in completing Online Forms
Encourage applicants to capture, interpret and express their work experiences and help them to define the importance of the skills developed. This highlights attention to detail along with the ability to showcase communication and distinguish the application from others.

Often, we find candidates attaching CVs in the hope this will be sufficient information for their application. While a CV is great for supplementation, it should not be used as a replacement.

2. Socially Active?
Technology has bridged gaps in communication and graduate employment is no exception to the rule. With the influx of social media and online activity, graduates can register interest or participate in Twitter sessions or webinars, helping to build a rapport and leave a lasting impression on the recruitment team.

Solution: Using Increased Online Platforms
It’s great being active on social media but portfolio creating systems such as Pebble Pad boost graduates’ confidence in producing high quality content and taking responsibility for their work along with harnessing their creativity.

With employers seeking for technical skills ranging across a variety of platforms, and universities like Aston encouraging extra credit for using them, graduates can benefit from using a new platform to disclose problem-solving techniques.

3. It’s great having experience but…
It’s essential to explain the value of work experience. Whether it’s providing fantastic customer service at a fast-food outlet or attention to detail when working in an office, employers want to see a set of skills which can be further developed through a role with their organisation.

However, it has been recognised that there is very little to no overlap between what employers are expecting from graduates and skills graduates believe are suitable for the role. So what are they looking for?

Going above and beyond: Social Enterprise is a great way for graduates to stand out

Going above and beyond: Social Enterprise is a great way for graduates to stand out

Solution: Encourage Employability Skills
With a gap between employer and graduate expectations, getting involved in social enterprise projects such as Enactus can really provide students with the upper hand. When we attended the UK Social Enterprise Awards earlier in the week, 5 students confidently presented a project on contributing to sanitation projects in Africa – demonstrating vital skills to take forward in the future.

4. Video Interviewing
Fast becoming the main screening method ahead of assessment centre, video interviews streamline potentially successful candidates for a given company. A great opportunity to gauge if an applicant is truly passionate about working for your company, video interviewing can indicate levels of confidence, innovative thinking and creativity.

Solution: Video Interview Training
Many companies provide practise runs for graduates to prepare well before their actual video interview – we think it’s important for university careers departments to conduct Video Interview training sessions or create a webinar which applicants can review.

Not only would this boost employability rates of students, but additionally provide the students with a competitive advantage to enter the labour market.

And finally – don’t forget about SME’s!
Both large companies and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) can provide equally valuable opportunities to those on work experience, however there can be differences in the types of work you’ll get to undertake.

As technology affects the way in which graduates now apply for jobs, it’s important to remember not every company will have a huge attraction campaign – sending speculative CVs or popping into the organization to have a chat show a graduate is pro-active, rather than reactive.

As a graduate recruiter, Cohesion believe in actively making a difference by supporting talent to become Future Ready. The University of Sussex also attended the symposium – you can read their views on the event here. We encourage university careers departments to review their employability sessions to tackle the changing trends in graduate recruitment and for upcoming graduates to engage in as many opportunities as possible.

Exit Interviews are a great way of obtaining useful information from your employees. We have created a list of 5 classic mistakes your organisation might be making with Exit Interviews:

Often, most HR professionals have had experience conducting Exit Interviews. However, these professionals have difficulty designing a process which could be easily replicated and applied across the entire company. Take a look at the mistakes you might be making:

1. Conducting the survey yourself

Given that employees would like to leave on good terms, respondents might be less likely to participate honestly. This not only provides inaccurate feedback but, more so, does not provide meaningful data that you can actually use.

2. Are you asking the right questions?

Exit Interviews should consist of qualitative and quantitative questions, along with a selection of demographic questions. This in turn provides a rounded set of data, allowing your business to investigate issues which may have been overlooked when the survey was initially created.

Trying to understand why employees leave can be difficult

Trying to understand why employees leave can be difficult

3. No Benchmarks, internally or externally

How do you use Exit information to interpret results? Better yet, how can you gain a competitive advantage from this data? External and internal benchmarks should be established, in order to measure results effectively. Key actions can be defined to assist your business in achieving your goals, as a result of doing so.

4. Inefficient Data Capture

How does your organisation capture Exit Interview data? Online systems can be a great way to collate all the data in one format; ready to analyse and review. Additionally, many online systems automatically generate reports, highlighting key trends and speeding up the process of identifying flaws in employee experience.

Capturing Exit Interview data in the right format is crucial

Capturing Exit Interview data in the right format is crucial

5. Are you being consistent?

It is important to retain most exit questions to identify trends in the long run. However, if a new initiative has been implemented, Exit Interviews can be a valuable opportunity to ask about the recent changes or the company strategy. Additionally, this will provide further insight into the return on investment of retention initiatives.

It’s important to avoid these 5 mistakes, in order for you to truly understand the value of Exit Interview data. Not only is it important to ask the right questions, it is also asking yourself: who will best conduct the interviews? How will I use the data? And, finally, why is this happening – what can I do to change it?

So you’ve invested in a great attraction campaign, sifted through countless CVs, conducted all kinds of testing, but how do you execute an effective Assessment Centre?

Assessment Centres are gaining traction and they’re a fantastic way to see how candidates will perform in tasks which are linked to their potential working environment.In order for an assessment centre to be as useful to your company as it is engaging for the candidates who attend. So how do you successfully create the next stage of the selection process?

1.  Preparation is Key
Material used for the assessment should be relevant to the role you are recruiting for – the competencies tested will determine if the candidate is suitable for the role and if they display the values of your business.

Get Organised

Preparation is Key

However, many businesses overlook the importance of ensuring future talent candidates are thoroughly prepared to go through the application process. This not only ensures the applicant has a fair chance of succeeding but also creates a fair and equal process where all candidates are performing to their best – which leads us to our next top tip…

2. Quality over Quantity
Assessment days should be used as a late stage of the recruitment procedure; poor candidates who do not meet the requirements of the assessments can cause managers to lose faith and prove disheartening.

Take a look at how creating a foolproof recruitment strategy can ensure your application process is effective in appealing to the top talent.

3. Keep Candidates Engaged
As a representation of a working day in your company, assessment centres are a great way of showcasing your brand, culture and values – to keep candidates engaged and interested in joining your team, smooth implementation is essential.

Keep Candidates Engaged

Keep Candidates Engaged

Candidate engagement should not be limited to the face-to-face interaction the process entails – find out how you can enhance your graduate recruitment process here.

So there we have it – our top tips for Assessment Centres. It is crucial to highlight the importance of candidate engagement throughout the recruitment process however, since assessment centres often form the last stage, it’s vital to maintain the level of interest in the candidate to reduce the rate of declined offers.

Written by Louise Conway (Graduate Recruiter) and Minal Sthankiya (Marketing Executive)