There’s nothing like a new label to get everyone fired up about something. This month, the HR press is abuzz with talk of “Returnships”, or “Returning Professional Internships”, designed to act as a bridge back to senior roles for experienced professionals.

This is a professionals opportunity to begin returning to work. The idea is that “The Returner” takes on commercially significant assignments based on their skills, interests and prior experience. The employing organisation gains from focused attention on business-critical issues and a low-risk opportunity to assess a potential employee’s suitability for a permanent role at the end of the period (usually 12 weeks).

“The Returnee” benefits from coaching/training and mentoring provided through the program. The placement also offers the returnee the opportunity to update skills, knowledge and experience in their previous sector/role, or to potentially transition into a new area.

Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Tideway and Lloyds Bank have all revealed success in employees returning to work over the last few years, and have made Returnships part of their on-going recruitment.

The ability to find, proposition and harness talent is an increasingly critical skill. At Cohesion, we believe that great recruiters should always be offering creative ways for the business to find and bring in new talent – regardless of their demographic. 

Here are our top 5 tips for accessing pools of senior and experienced candidates:

1. Educate your Internal Stakeholders

Advise them regarding the recruitment landscape for particular skill sets. Help them to understand that being flexible and considering candidates that may have taken extended career breaks will, ultimately, enhance the organisations skills portfolio.

2. Identify your audience

All great recruitment should start with defining what you need, then working out where to find it. Do you want to attract mums that have had long career breaks? Try thinking about where they hang out online and offline. Sites such as are dedicated to helping organisations reach out to this demographic.

3. Develop alternative communities

Those returning to work aren’t the only group to consider developing a dialogue with. Other relevant profiles could include ex-employees in general; ex-Graduate cohorts and highly-skilled retirees (we’re a fan of;  all of whom could enhance available skills for your organisation.

Having clear practices to keep in touch with these communities will help you to be able to reach out to them in future.

4. Make it known you’re in the market for Returners

Include positive statements about Returnees in your advertisements and on your careers page. Make it clear that you want to hear from the communities you have identified. Then, make sure provide details for how interested candidates can get in touch.

Make it clear that, when employees leave, the door is always open and you’d like to maintain an appropriate dialogue.

5. Make it easy

Don’t put up barriers in the recruitment process, or screen candidates out because some re-training  or updating of skills may be required. If you are willing to support re-registration of professional qualifications then this could open a viable route to talent – such as support return to practice for nurses (#comebacktonursing if you’re familiar with the NHS), or supporting previous professional drivers to get back behind the wheel.

Additionally, make sure you’re asking relevant questions and make the journey through your ATS as short and simple as possible.

Returning to Work



The term ‘outsourcing’ is to HR teams, as ‘Voldemort’ is to Harry Potter. However, there are many benefits of working with an Outsourced Recruitment Partner.

There tends to be a lot of confusion around the intentions of an Outsourced Recruitment Partner – we don’t want your HR teams to be made redundant. In fact, one of the key benefits of working with an Outsourced Recruitment Partner is the complete opposite – which brings me to my first point:

  • HR teams have time to focus on HR

Attraction, engagement, assessment and on-boarding are just a few of the many aspects under the remit of Recruitment. Generally, HR teams aren’t trained to be the best at all of them – this would require a lot of your HR and economic resource.

This is one of the benefits of working with an Outsourced Recruitment Partner – it’s their job to be the best at all things Recruitment.

The stress is taken off of your HR team, allowing them to focus on your current personnel – this can help to boost your retention rates from an internal perspective. Consider this: if your HR team didn’t have to worry about recruitment, what else could they be doing?

On top of this, the right Partner will enhance the capabilities of your HR team. Using the right recruitment metrics and providing you with useful Management Information, the right Partner will allow you to learn as you go, and understand why things are done how they are.

Now, I’ve mentioned how HR teams aren’t usually experts across the board in Recruitment. This can be detrimental to the quality of your candidates, and reflect negatively on your employer brand. So, the next few benefits of working with an Outsourced Recruitment Partner – drum roll, please…

  • The Quality of your Candidates

The time-constraints and a lack of expertise that bear down on HR teams can lead to a decline in the quality of your candidates.

One of the benefits of working with an Outsourced Recruitment Partner is that they will have a specialist team dedicated to your Recruitment – this will result in a higher quality of candidate being put forward.

  • The Perception of your Brand as an Employer

As I touched on in the previous point – there tend to be time-constraints, as well as a lack of expertise, with Recruitment for HR teams. You should consider how the candidates’ recruitment experience will reflect on your employer brand.

Not sure how it will? In one word – negatively. A bad candidate experience gives the impression that you don’t take pride your brand, or in enhancing your brand. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful tools in any companies’ arsenal. However, it’s not always powerful in a positive way.

The right Partner will reflect your brand in a positive way – exactly how you want it to be reflected.

  • The Time-to-Hire in your Recruitment

This stands to be a challenge for the majority of in-house Recruitment teams. Your time-to-hire can be influenced by the time-constraints of HR teams. The lack of expertise can mean that each application takes longer to be screened and the appropriate action taken.

A long time-to-hire can create the two points above:

  • Your employer brand will be reflected negatively – “it took so long to go through the process, and I was eventually rejected anyway. What a waste of time.”
  • High-quality candidates will drop out – you don’t want your best candidates to receive job offers from other companies, simply because they’re in your process for a longer time.

One of the benefits of working with an Outsourced Recruitment Partner, much like with the above two points, is their specialist team. This specialist team, with their expertise and the time dedicated to your Recruitment needs, will drastically reduce your time-to-hire.

Okay – so, we’ve covered how working with an Outsourced Recruitment Partner will free up time for your HR team to operate as a HR team. Then we touched on the benefits to the actual Recruitment process. But, what you’re all waiting for:

  • Cost vs Value

It’s a common misconception that Outsourcing will save you money. This is probably because it’s how most Partner’s will pitch themselves.

However, whilst it’s possible to save yourself some money with Outsourcing – this isn’t always the case. Hence why this point isn’t titled “Cost Reduction”. Instead, the cost of Outsourcing should be considered in terms of the value that you receive for your investment.

Again, this can be linked to the time-constraints of your HR teams. Working with an Outsourced Recruitment Partner will allow your HR teams to use their time to add more value to your Company.

Would you consider your employer brand as value? Outsourced Recruitment Partner’s certainly would. Maintaining a positive employer brand will add substantial value to your Company, because of how it is perceived by all external sources.

Consider the value that high-quality candidates can bring to your Company. The best candidates will perform to a higher-standard, and take less time to settle into their role. This is value.

We’re not saying that working with an Outsourced Recruitment Partner is for everyone. However, it’s a case of weighing up the costs and benefits, and considering the additional value.

As always, we’re happy to receive any comments or queries – we don’t bite!

7 Steps to the best Recruitment Campaign ever


So, you’ve shortlisted your candidates, and the fortunate few have been invited to interview.

The interview is the make-or-break point of your Recruitment process. The interview is where you differentiate the ‘walkers’ from the ‘talkers’. The best interview questions can help you to achieve the best recruitment outcomes.

This is where a candidates’ CV comes to life.

The difficult part? Asking the right questions to get the best candidates.

Below are just examples of the type of questions you should be asking – the questions that you actually ask should align with the competencies that you are assessing against. Nail down your competencies – nail down the best interview questions.

Start Basic

You should start off with the most basic questions that allow you to explore the candidates’ previous experience and motivations for applying for this role.

  1. “What’s your greatest achievement in your career so far?”
  2. “What do you love about your current job?”
  3. “Why have you chosen to leave your current job?”

Get to know the Candidate

Then, you should begin to create a personality profile for the candidate.

  1. “Tell me about a time that you had to overcome a challenge.”
  2. “Describe something innovative that you have come up with.”
  3. “Tell me about a situation in which you’ve had to take charge of a group of people to achieve something.”

After asking a combination of the above questions – you know why they’ve applied for the role, and whether or not their personality will fit in with the Company culture. This is your opportunity, providing you’re happy with their answers so far, to add the finishing touches to their personality profile.

  1. “So, where do you want to be in 5/10 years?”
  2. “Tell me about the relationships you have built during your previous role.”

You now have almost an entire profile of the candidates’ personality, from which you can decide whether or not they are suitable for the Company. At this point, it would be advantageous to ask the candidate why they think you should hire them.

  1. “How will your set of skills benefit this Company?”
  2. “Why shouldn’t I hire you?”
  3. “What are your strengths/weaknesses?”

Paint a Picture

Asking questions similar to the above will put you in a strong position to make either a hiring or a shortlisting decision. By now, you have an idea of a few things:

  • The personality profile of the candidate
  • How they will fit in with the Company culture
  • How they feel they will fit in with the Company culture

There are other methods that can be explored for for building a personality profile of a candidate so that, when the candidate comes to interview, you already have an idea of who they are. Decide which works best for you, and align it with your competencies.

To conclude – asking the best interview questions can mean that you are more likely to recruit the best candidates for the role. From an interview, you want to get an idea of what the candidate is like.

Asking questions that are similar to the above, which are aligned with the competencies you are assessing against, will allow you to do this.

Have you tried any of the questions above? Did they work? Or, do you find that other questions work better? Please, let us know!

For all you candidates reading this

So, you now know the sort of questions you can expect to be asked. Don’t worry – it’ll be our little secret!


7 Steps to the best Recruitment Campaign ever


Being an Introvert isn’t a disability, it isn’t a disorder – it’s just someone’s personality.

They’re naturally a shy person. In a world where business is big, and voices are loud, does your recruitment process assess an Introvert on their ability? Or, do you write the Introvert off, just because they’re not as confident as a desirable candidate?

Here’s a few tips on how to get the most out of even the shyest Introvert:

  1. Assess what is of actual value to you

Just because a candidate is shy, does not mean that they are any less able than your other candidates. One of the main things to remember about assessing is that you want to have a clear set of criteria that you want to see met – you need to know which abilities are valuable to your company, and which are just desirable but not imperative for the candidate to have.

  1. During group activities, set a level playing field

A general concern, when dealing with introverts, is that you think they might be shy because they don’t know their stuff. I’m not telling you this is wrong, because it may be at times. With this tip, I’m helping you to clarify whether or not this is the case, or whether they’re just more withdrawn than other candidates.

During the group activity, take everyone out of their comfort zone. Although this may not draw an introvert out of their shell, it’ll allow you to assess their ability to think outside of the box. At this stage, you can look to keep tabs on their input: is it valuable? Is it productive? Is it pointless blabber?

Introverts tend to think before they speak – don’t expect them to dive straight in with ideas. It may take them a few minutes of listening to everyone else before they bring anything to the table. They may only contribute one thing – however, it’s the value of that one thing that you need to assess, not how much they have to say. Where other candidates’ ideas may be of little value, an introvert’s single idea could change the world. Of course, it may not. But, that’s up to you to decide.

Equality in Recruitment

  1. Build a rapport with the Introvert

The one-to-one interview should be seized as an opportunity to build a rapport with the candidate – giving them the impression that they can be themselves around you will draw out their personality, and show you who they really are. This can allow you to identify their capabilities.

An introvert may struggle during the group activity, but flourish during the individual interviews. This is your opportunity to pick their brains. Generally, introverts hate small talk, but are comfortable with in-depth conversations. So, where you may ask one candidate a series of questions, you should ask an introvert one or two main questions. Ask them to elaborate in such a way that answers all of the questions that you would ask any candidate.

Being their friend will allow them to settle and be more comfortable, as opposed to feeling intimidated when they can feel all eyes on them during group activities.

  1. Do your best to understand them

I don’t think I can stress this point enough. I would just like to reiterate: being an introvert is not a disability – being an introvert is just who you are.

Have you ever been in this situation – you feel as though someone is losing patience with you, and you’re doing nothing wrong? It made you feel uncomfortable, maybe even a little incompetent, didn’t it? Now, imagine the majority of people you come across making you feel like that. Not nice, is it?

Be patient. Let them think about their answers. Don’t try and push them or force information out of them. Because, they’ll crawl up inside their own little bubble, and you will have wasted your time. Arguably even worse than having wasted your time: they could have been your best candidate, and you, because you weren’t patient and didn’t take the time to understand them, scared them away.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not trying to tell you every introvert you come across could change the world. However, making a conscious decision to find out is far more valuable than losing out on great talent.

Remember, just because an introvert doesn’t suit the role they applied for, doesn’t mean they can’t contribute to your business in other ways. Make a note of their strengths and weaknesses; where they flourish and where needs development. If your Applicant Tracking System is of a good enough quality, this will be easy – it will allow you to match them with vacancies that will be more suited to their strengths.