The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is widely accepted as a natural evolution and progression in the protection of a very basic human right – privacy. However, the impact it’s going to have on business in general is still a massive grey area for most, especially in recruitment.

How will GDPR influence our ability to build talent pools?

What will we have to do with candidate data that we use for benchmarking that we collected years ago?

None of the recruitment-oriented questions have really been answered and, with May 25th creeping up on us, they need to be. I bet you’re thinking – why does it really matter? We’ve had the Data Protection Act (DPA) and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) for years now? Aren’t they all the exact same?

In short – no.

Like with everything – if you want to comply with a new regulation or learn a new skill, you need to understand it first. Especially when, according to Forrester – 80% of companies will fail to comply with GDPR in 2018.

Firstly, what is GDPR?

Well – that’s the million dollar question at the moment. As defined by Investopedia:

“The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal framework that sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information of individuals within the European Union (EU). The GDPR sets out the principles for data management and the rights of the individual, while also imposing fines that can be revenue-based.”

It was approved by the European Union parliament in April 2016, and will replace the Data Protection Directive which currently regulates and governs how ‘personal data’ can be used.

Today, there are completely new ways of exploiting personal data, given the rise of the Internet and cloud-based technology – the GDPR seeks to address these threats by imposing steeper and more severe penalties for non-compliance, and giving people greater control over what companies are doing with their data.

GDPR applies to all ‘personal’ data. It’s often misconstrued what ‘personal’ actually means, and the type of information or data it actually applies to. Contrary to popular belief – personal information is not only what you’d consider as extremely private, such as bank details or National Insurance numbers.


Are you interested in ensuring you’re GDPR compliant in your recruitment? Come along to our seminars in March to find out more.

What is ‘Personal Data’?

As dictated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

“The GDPR applies to ‘personal data’ meaning any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified in particular by reference to an identifier.”

With that being said – it’s not just a case of protecting the data. To ensure full GDPR compliance, there are seven fundamental principles that are, ultimately, in place to drive full compliance.

But first – it’s probably best we cover off some of the key definitions of the GDPR, so you understand what we’re referring to as we go through…

Data Controller – The Data Controller is the individual who determines the purposes for and the manner in which any personal data is to be processed. 

Data Processor – Any individual who processes the data on behalf of the data controller.

Data Subject – An individual who is the subject of personal data storage (i.e. you or I, if our data is kept on any database).

Personal Data – Any data which relates to a living individual, who may be identified:

  • From that data, or;
  • From the data and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller.

Processing – In relation to information or data, processing means obtaining, recording or holding the data, or carrying our any operation(s) on the information or data.

Sensitive Personal Data – Sensitive personal data, whilst being separate to standard personal data, refers to the data consisting of the following information:

  • The racial or ethnic origin of the data subject;
  • His/her political opinions;
  • His/her religious beliefs or other beliefs of a similar nature;
  • Whether he/she is a member of a trade union;
  • His/her physical or mental health or condition;
  • His/her sexual life;
  • Any criminal information, and;
  • Any proceedings for criminal acts.

Third Party – A third party, when related to personal data, refers to any person other than: the data subject; the data controller, or; any data processor.

Now that’s covered – the 7 fundamental principles of full GDPR compliance:

The Fundamental Principles of GDPR


Accountability is what you would expect – the data controller(s) can demonstrate an organisation’s data processing remains compliant with GDPR at all times. In short – they can be held accountable for ensuring compliance.

This remains one of the most significant changes as we progress from the DPA to the GDPR – before it was acceptable to simply comply, whereas under GDPR this compliance must be demonstrable.


The accuracy principle is exactly what it says on the tin – it demands that all personal data that’s held on file is completely accurate and, where necessary, kept fully up-to-date.

GDPR dictates that any inaccurate or ‘old’ data should either be deleted or amended in a timely fashion.

Data Minimisation

Data minimisation, as a fundamental principle of GDPR compliance, asks that any information requested is adequate for the processing task at hand. In short, controllers must ensure that any additional or superfluous data should be destroyed in an appropriate manner.

For many – data minimisation will pose a considerable issues, especially for those with large archives of historical data.

Integrity & Confidentiality

Integrity and confidentiality asks that all personal data that is processed shall be done in a way that ensures the security of the data subject.

Lawfulness, Fairness & Transparency

Firstly – this principle ensures that all personal data is processed lawfully. Secondly – it ensures that all of  the data subject’s information is handled fairly and transparently.

To put this into perspective – 57% of individuals do not believe companies are transparent in their use of data. Think about the repercussions of this, in terms of your reputation as an employer and as an organisation.

Purpose Limitation

Purpose limitation dictates that all personal information accrued and stored by an organisation is used for ‘clear and legitimate purposes’. That same data shall not be processed for any additional purposes other than those explicitly outlined and understood by the data subjects when collecting the information in the first instance

In short – all of your data should have a purpose. And, it should never be used for anything other than that purpose.

Storage Limitation

Storage limitation is potentially the least defined and most ambiguous principle and concept. Essentially, storage limitation asks organisations to ‘not hold personal information for longer than is absolutely necessary and outside the purposes for which it was initially collected.’

Essentially – storage limitation refers to limiting how much data is stored. There is no time period that is specifically outlined as ‘longer than is absolutely necessary’, as it comes down to a legitimate business need. This is to be decided by your business, and expressed to any third-party that you subsequently engage.


Following each of these principles – there are a few elements of the GDPR that will affect your recruitment…

Key Elements that will affect Recruitment

First and foremost – the rights for individuals/data subjects under the GDPR. Individuals have every right to subject access (i.e. requesting to see all of the information you have on them as an identifiable individual); to have inaccuracies corrected, to comply with the accuracy principle, and; the right to erasure, whereby they must be deleted. Not archived or cached – they must be irretrievably removed from your database.

Secondly – your privacy policies will need to be updated, and kept up-to-date, to incorporate the new things you need to tell your candidates. These will include, but not be limited to, their right to erasure, and your legal basis for processing their data. It’s also not enough to just update your policy and leave it on your website – you need to evidence your candidates’ receipt of the privacy policy.


Given all of the above – our internal Data Protection Officers have pulled together a few top tips to help you understand what you need to do now:

So, what do I do now? Our Experts’ Top Tips

  • Be proactive – don’t wait, plan and act

The worst thing you could do is wait for GDPR to arrive before you even think about how it will affect you and, therefore, what you need to do to achieve compliance. Take control of your compliance – be accountable, and mitigate your risks.

But, don’t try and take everything on at once – get the easier bits done first. If you wait until you have no choice but to focus on GDPR – mistakes will be made, and wires will be unnecessarily crossed.

Plan what you’re going to do, and make sure you stick to it. Give yourself as much time as possible to achieve compliance, because it’s not just about doing it – it’s making sure your workforce understand how to do it, too.

  • Don’t just focus on the GDPR – look at the bigger privacy picture

The GDPR is part of a much bigger privacy initiative – focusing solely on compliance could mean you fall foul of the current Data Protection Act, which you certainly don’t want to do.

Familiarise yourself with the DPA, GDPR, and the ePrivacy Regulations which are slated to come into play during 2019. Once you understand all of these – incorporate them into your plan and see yourself with a more rounded picture of what privacy compliance truly looks like.

  • Clearly decide and document your basis for legal processing

This is important – your legal basis for processing comes into play in more than just the high-level compliance. It also comes into play with informing your current database of privacy policy updates.

In total – there are currently 6 legal bases for processing personal data. Most lawful bases require that processing is ‘necessary’, according to the ICO. However, if you can reasonably achieve the same purpose without the processing – you haven’t got a lawful basis. These 6 lawful bases are as follows:

  • Consent
  • Contract
  • Legal Obligation
  • Vital Interests
  • Public Task
  • Legitimate Interests

Document your legal basis for processing, and justify it.

  • Review your current candidate database

As a recruiter – you will have a tonne of data. Most of which, in all fairness, you probably won’t need. As a means of reviewing your current candidate database, you should look to dispose of the following three categories, which will probably constitute 30-50% of your data:

  • Redundant Data – remove all duplicate contacts and candidate information, because it isn’t necessary;
  • Obsolete Data – all ‘old’ records should be removed, because you no longer need them and, under GDPR, you cannot keep data because you think you ‘might need it at some point’;
  • Traded Data – any data that you have mined, found or purchased from elsewhere, because it definitely won’t be legal to process under GDPR.

Realistically, getting rid of data isn’t as bad as it seems anyway. Less data means your IT costs are automatically lower, and you have more control and reduced risk. What more could you want?

  • Train your team in Privacy & Security

To make GDPR truly work for your company – it needs to be instilled as part of your culture. It’s more than just a bunch of hoops that you need to jump through – for longevity, you need it to be adopted by everyone. Make privacy and security key cultural aspects of your organisation.

It’s as simple as appointing someone in charge of GDPR compliance – and getting them to run workshops, training, coaching and mentoring sessions with your employees. Once this training has been completed – it also needs to be repeated regularly, to keep everyone on their toes and reduce the likelihood of an issue.

  • Review your supplier contracts and ensure third-party compliance

If the data is yours – you are the data controller. Regardless of whether it is processed elsewhere or looked after by a third-party – you are responsible, and liable for any fines or breaches of data security.

In that vein – who are you sharing your data with?

Review third-party capabilities, and conduct a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) if necessary. Are they sub-contracting to anyone else? If so, the sub-contracts also need to comply, and you are liable for them if anything goes wrong.

Once you understand the extent of the data you’ve been sharing – issue new contracts in line with the GDPR, and clearly define responsibilities, obligations and liabilities.

However, as a rule of thumb – you should always try and reduce the amount of data you share with external partners.

  • Dedicate time, energy, resource & look externally for unbiased help

There are few, possibly even no, quick fixes to GDPR compliance – which comes back to my previous point of being proactive, and starting now. Dedicate time and resources to ensuring compliance – invest in it.

Take time to understand how the GDPR affects the whole organisation – where are the cross-functional dependencies?

Also, you should never be afraid to ask for help or advice. If you’re not competent in GDPR – ask someone who is. Find someone competent in strategic planning and problem-solving, who preferably understands recruitment, and ask them to take a look at your processes and build you a plan.

  • Evidence absolutely everything you do

Right from the get-go – document everything you do that’s related to GDPR.

Show how you work things out, dictate the reasoning behind your plan and outline exactly why you chose to do what you’re doing. Evidence-based accountability goes a long way towards proving compliant efforts to the ICO – evidence provides you with some level of leniency.

The ICO understand that the GDPR is a massive change, and definitely more convoluted than it needs to be. As such – they’re prepared to give ‘the benefit of the doubt’. To some extent, anyway. If you do something wrong, but have evidence of a Risk Gap Analysis and Mitigation Plan – what would be a fine may result in a good telling off and an audit, with the view to advise you as opposed to penalise you.


In conclusion – the upcoming GDPR isn’t something to be taken lightly.

However, at the same time – it’s nothing to be afraid of. Invest time in understanding how it works for you, and plan out exactly what you need to do. Make GDPR compliance ‘business as usual’, and you won’t encounter any problems.


Do you want to learn more about GDPR compliance in recruitment? During March 2018, our Data Protection officers are holding interactive seminars in Solihull and London. If you’d like to come along – save your space, here.

Candidate engagement is a key priority for many organisations who value the link between high levels of engagement and high work performance.

With engaged candidates, translating into engaged employees, said to be happier, more innovative, likely to stay longer and generally more healthy and satisfied – sit back and read our new blog!

Effectively, engagement is the result of doing other things right. It starts at the point a person has their first interaction with your organisation, and making sure it’s a positive interaction. What someone hears, reads and the information they are asked to submit on your website all have an impact on their opinion of you and your business. This effects and develops their level of engagement with you as an employer from day one.

Effective Candidate Engagement Tools

There are many obstacles during the recruitment process which can affect the level of engagement you’re giving candidates.

We’ve established that the whole organisation needs to be involved and focused on creating a culture of engagement, and the capability of your leaders in making this happen is vital. With support from HR teams, you need leaders who empower their teams, encourage participation, are authentic in their interest in staff, drive change, involve people and maintain an open and transparent communication style. If your external brand says you’re a great place to work, then you need leaders who make it a reality.

Listening to what candidates say will also help you to understand what is important to them and, therefore, help  fine-tune and influence your engagement activities.

In summary, a strong culture of flexibility with supportive leaders and clear channels of communication will go a long way. The ability to adapt to new ways of working and embracing change in technologies will help you to work in the way that your staff are, but don’t forget the personal touch – face-to-face conversations should not become a thing of the past.

How do you measure the impact of candidate engagement on your business?

It’s really tricky to put a financial measure on the success of a good engagement strategy. However, it can be done, and it’s not all about money. If your staff are more engaged, they are going to be more productive, stay longer and through gathering feedback, you will know that they are happier.

A motivated employee who feels fully engaged with their employer will have less time off and will give both their colleagues and customer a better service as a result. Customer satisfaction and compliant levels are very tangible indicators.

So, we’re back to the full circle to ‘The Employment Experience’. This of course is subject to ongoing improvement and development as time chances. Ultimately, the candidate experience reflects engagement in your organisation which, in turn, supports your employer brand.

So, your team have spent countless hours and resources recruiting into a role. You’ve had to go back out to market for a role you’ve had hundreds of applications for before.

You may begin to group your candidates together in your Applicant Tracking System – but, you can’t always dip into it and find an easy fill. Shouldn’t that be how talent pools work?

Shouldn’t I be able to fill roles quickly using candidates I’ve kept in my talent pools?

Despite popular belief – having a bunch of previous applicants or data-mined candidates does not always constitute a talent pool, let alone a fruitful one. Bear in mind, there are a lot of different factors that can contribute to either the success or failure of your talent pools.

For quite some time now, talent pools have allowed HR teams and recruiters alike the ability to recruit effectively and efficiently, without having to invest tonnes of resource into it. So, without a shadow of a doubt – if you aren’t leveraging the recruiting power of talent pools, they could be the most effective recruiting tactic you’re ignoring.

First things first – what are talent pools?

Talent pools are shortlists of candidates that aren’t currently being considered for a role by your organisation (they’re not technically applicants). They may be previous applicants that didn’t fit the role they applied for, or you may have found them via other means.

If you really think about it, the majority of the population could be your talent pool. Which, technically, is correct. However, it would be an impressive feat to be in consistent communication with that many people…

It’s important to remember that talent pools don’t always need to contain candidates that match up for current vacancies. Instead, they’ll be candidates that you want to keep an eye on for the future.

Therefore – effective talent pooling is an efficient way for recruiters to maintain a constant flow of candidates into your business.

But, what strategies can you and your team implement to begin building effective talent pools?

  • Engaging Unsuccessful Applicants

Just because a candidate wasn’t suitable for a role they applied for previously, doesn’t mean they aren’t suitable for your company at all. These candidates who have already shown significant interest in your company by applying are ideal for your talent pool. 

In the UK, each vacancy receives a tonne of applications. That leaves plenty of unsuccessful candidates that, if you’re not careful, might not show interest in working for you again. But, you’d like to think that at least a handful of candidates who aren’t suitable for the role they initially apply for might be relevant for your company in the future, right?

Think about it – all of these candidates have been assessed against your indicators and company values. So, you understand their competency and have already invested a significant amount of resource into them to find that out. Why not try and get the most out of them?

If you really want to begin building talent pools of previous candidates – it’s important to keep interview notes, interviewer feedback and information around why they weren’t hired for the role. All of this information is talent pool gold, because it helps you and your team decide who is truly relevant.

  • Careers Fairs & Events

Investing time and resource into recruitment events and careers fairs is a great way to build your employer brand, whilst attracting top talent to your company and familiarizing them with exactly who you are.

Events take a lot of planning, because there’s a lot going on. It can be hard to manage and nurture all of the candidates that register and attend. Usually, it’s a case of getting candidates to sign their details onto a spreadsheet, for them to be sent the occasional email blast with ‘Current Vacancies’ in hope of generating a few extra applications somewhere.

Talent pools are a far more effective way of tracking these candidates, and keeping tabs on them.

One of the most difficult things in recruitment is determining ROI. As hard as it may be to believe – talent pools make it easier to determine the return you see. How, you may ask?

A strong Applicant Tracking System is to recruitment, as Google Analytics is to marketing. It allows you to track where your visitors, or applicants, come from, and whether or not they end up applying. Through it, you can determine how successful each of your recruitment endeavours is.

If you already have a bunch of spreadsheets from events with hundreds of candidates’ details, it’s usually pretty simple to import them into your ATS to begin managing your talent pools more effectively.

  • Internal Talent Pools

Recruiting is both expensive AND challenging, especially if you’re looking to hire for more senior roles. So, being able to turn to a pool of internal candidates can be a big time and cost saver.

So, why are internal talent pools better than looking externally?

Well – your recruitment team will already have a strong understanding of candidates’ competencies, while the candidate already has an idea of the role and the requirements of working for the company. Also, you can be confident in the fact that your internal candidates will be a good cultural fit for your business.

Promote your open roles to your internal talent pools in a similar way to how you would for external candidates. More often than not, internal candidates can be dissuaded from showing real interest in a role when they’re forced to apply.

Adopting a similar marketing approach for internal candidates as you have for external candidates will result in far more internal applications, and more effective succession planning.

  • Company Leavers

When people leave your company – it’s often not forever. In fact, from the thousands of exit and retention interviews we’ve completed for our clients – more often than not, leavers would be interested in returning at some point down the line. So, what do we do for our clients when leavers tell us that?

Correct – we put them into a talent pool. But, how do we get them there?

Exit interviews are perfect for building a talent pool of previous employees who would consider re-employment with your company in the future. Conduct the interview with each of your leavers, and ask them whether or not they’d be interested in hearing about future opportunities. If they say ‘Yes’ – put them in your talent pool.

It’s a simple way of building talent pools of candidates who already know what it’s like to work for your company. That’s invaluable in recruitment.

  • Networking

Networking isn’t just something that should be left up to the sales team – it’s very much a powerful recruitment tool, too.

This method is, arguably, one of the most effective, because it often results in a lot of referrals. Which, according to RecruiterBox, means that you’re more likely to retain your new hires – with companies finding that referred employees are 23% less likely to quit than other hires.

Your brightest and best employees should proactively network and engage with talented employees in similar roles or with the desirable, transferable skills that are required to succeed in your industry.


To conclude – building effective and efficient talent pools is only one part of what constitutes a successful recruitment strategy. Alone, they won’t work as effectively. However, when combined with effective attraction strategies, consistent and appropriate engagement, and seamless onboarding – your talent pools should be concomitant, and basically fill themselves.

Every year, companies invest tonnes of resource into building their employer brand.

Why? Because your employer brand is the cornerstone of your reputation as an employer. It’s very much a candidate-driven market, so you’re competing with other organisations for the same pool of talent.

How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors? How do you stand out amongst the crowd?

Simple – your employer brand.

As defined by the CIPD, your employer brand is:

“…a set of attributes and qualities, often intangible, that makes an organisation distinctive, promises a particular kind of employment experience, and appeals to those who will thrive and perform best in its culture.”

Ultimately, it boils down to how you position yourself as an ‘employer of choice’, amongst your competitors and the pool of candidates. Contrary to popular belief – it’s not all about how big you are as a company. It’s not about how successful you are, or how much money you make. It’s entirely about how your employees feel working for you.

According to Glassdoor – 69% of candidates would not take a job with a business that had a bad reputation.

It’s quite clear how important your employer brand is, especially in generating the greatest return possible for your recruitment endeavours. But, what mistakes could you be making that are damaging your employer brand?

  • Not understanding, or trying to understand, where you’re going wrong

Nothing is perfect, and mistakes will always be made. To save yourself from making the same mistakes over and over again – you need to understand exactly where you’re going wrong. Is there something wrong with your recruitment process? Do your management team require any additional management training?

At what point, in an employee’s experience with your brand, do things go wrong?

Finding this out is simple, and resolving the issues will work wonders for your employee turnover, experience, and employer brand. However, it does require some additional investment of resource.

Solution: Exit and Retention Interviews

It’s simple, isn’t it? If you don’t understand what’s going wrong – ask. The very people who are experiencing what’s wrong are your employees, and they’re the ones you should be asking.

Implementing an exit and retention interview solution is the perfect method for finding out what you need to know. The following questions could form the basis of your solution, and help you really get to the bottom of any employee issues your business suffers from:

  • What do you enjoy about your role with us?
  • Is there anything you would change about the role?
  • What was your main reason for leaving our business?
  • What could we have done differently to have made you stay?
  • What advice would you give us to make future joiners more comfortable?

Use the information these questions give you to improve your recruitment process.

  • Your candidates don’t feel respected or valued, particularly if they don’t get the job

Regardless of what happens – it’s important to make sure your candidates’ experiences are always positive, respectful and fair.

Understandably – you can’t offer every applicant a job. Candidates know that, they understand it, and they respect it. You not offering them the role they applied for isn’t what damages your employer brand.

It’s how you do it. Also, in most instances – it’s whether or not you actually do it.

Think about it – candidates apply for a role with your company. They get through a couple of the initial pre-screening stages, after which your recruiters determine they aren’t suitable to continue through the process. You let all of them, regardless of how many there are, know the outcome – right?

Sadly – most companies don’t. Completely cutting your candidates off without even communicating with them is more damaging to your employer brand than letting them know they haven’t got the job.

Solution: Communication

Solving this issue all boils down to something as simple as communication.

Keep candidates informed throughout the process, from receipt of their application, through to the final decision your recruitment team make. There’s nothing more nerve-wracking for a candidate than waiting to hear back from an employer about a role you applied for.

There’s nothing worse than waiting to hear back from an employer, and not hearing anything at all.

There’s also nothing worse for your employer brand than having a bunch of candidates with negative opinions of your company, simply because they didn’t hear anything from you. Even if your communication is letting the candidates know they’ve not been successful – they’ll appreciate it a lot more than being left in the dark.

If you’d like to go the extra mile – offer candidates the opportunity to call your team to receive detailed feedback on their performance, and give them advice on where they went wrong and how they can improve it for next time.

  • Your company has a weak online presence, and you’re difficult to find

It’s common knowledge that, nowadays, all of your potential candidates will be researching your company, and trying to find out as much as they possibly can. Why? Every bit of information they find will help inform whether or not they actually want to work for you.

That being said – potential candidates can only find the information if it’s there to be found.

In an environment as competitive as recruitment, especially in some sectors, this lack of information can often be the difference between receiving the application, and not. In that vein – the candidate that doesn’t end up submitting an application may well have been the one who would’ve received the job offer.

With your online presence, it’s not necessarily a case of damaging your employer brand – it’s more that it will never truly materialize.

So, how do you solve this problem?

Solution: Update your Website & Manage your Social Channels

Having a company Facebook page and Twitter account is a good start – but it’s no longer as simple as that. Job seekers and potential candidates expect employers to have built and be maintaining a strong online presence across multiple channels. What does this mean? It means a user-friendly company website and active social media accounts as a bare minimum.

You don’t need to invest hours of marketing and recruitment resource into building your online presence. It all starts with talking about recent company news across your social channels, sharing photos and videos of achievements, and generally showing pride in your brand.

More importantly – engage with potential candidates as often as you can. Respond to their reviews. Ask and answer questions. Share relevant content. Keep them involved in the conversation.


Building a strong employer brand will always make your company more appealing to potential candidates. Something as simple as this can help you compete in the market, and gain the upper hand over your competitors. Whilst it’s simple to build – it’s also just as easy to undo all of your hard work and send yourself back to square one.

To build a believable employer brand – you need to be a good employer. There’s no way to fake it. You need to understand where you’re going wrong, communicate with all of your candidates regardless of the outcome, and get yourself online.

Your employer brand isn’t just a passing trend – it’s something that can, and will, directly affect the success of your recruitment efforts.

As Industrial Placement schemes continue to gain popularity – we thought it would be interesting to review their impact on graduate retention rates. Particularly, since most firms offer industrial placement students the promise of a graduate role upon completion of their degree.

With 2018 set to be another year of economic growth and increased business investment, alongside increasing employee turnover as the Baby Boomer generation seek retirement, it is expected that the student and graduate market will face a growth in demand.

At this time of year, we are right in the middle of Graduate Season! And, there are a vast number of graduate applicants, right? So, how come there will be hundreds of graduate roles left vacant at the end of the process this year?

There many different aspects that attract graduates to your organisation, but what if you could attract the best talent a year before they graduate, whilst enhancing their soft skills.

We recommend using Industrial Placement students to fill your graduate vacancies. Not only can you make them more employable and suitable for your organisation through a year of pre-training, they are more likely to come back to your organisation after they graduate! Keeping you a year ahead of your graduate recruitment campaigns.

Let’s hear it from the experts!

First off, let’s hear it from Universities who know the ins and outs of graduates.  Aston University recently informed us that 30% of companies offer their placement students a job after graduation. This supports the placement programme to be an efficient and cost-effective way for employers to recruit graduates. What more could you want?

Graduate roles are important to organisations – as they are the future of our workforce. Therefore we need to retain our best talent!

If an industrial placement student returns after graduation, they will be provided with a clearer insight into your company, its structure, mission statement and expectations of their job role. So effectively, they are only progressing from where they left off – with reached expectations reducing the chances of a costly drop out after training.

With this in mind – Aston University sets its sights on enrolling 100 percent of its student body in a placement year by 2020. Universities are continuing to promote the importance of securing an internship in order to secure a future graduate position.  Meaning that as recruiters, you will be handed returning Industrial Placement students on a plate.

So, what are the advantages to employers?

As the graduate market continues to be the major source of future talent for firms, it is important to gain a recruiting advantage by creating an industrial placement scheme which is cultivated to the developmental needs of the student:

  • A chance to take on lively, competent, energetic young people;
  • The opportunity to survey some of the best students before they graduate;
  • A cost-effective solution to short-term staffing and project work;
  • During their final year, students may carry out an employer inspired final year major project, which can be of benefit to both student and employer.

So, what is the difference between an internship and graduate recruitment process?

One large multi-national logistics organisation that recruits both graduates and interns run exactly the same process for both. They find that there is no needs to create a duplicate recruitment process other than to bear in mind that interns have slightly less experience than graduates when assessing responses.

And they explain that there is no need to repeat the process when hiring an intern back in a graduate role – they are already set up for their graduate position. The quality and tenure of the graduates that were previous interns are higher. This is supported by the extended, structured training process of the internship or industrial placement, with the returning graduate coming back to the organisation with already developed soft skills such as teamwork, and communication, and probably some basic professional skills too.

When interns are provided with a positive snapshot of your business then they will be more loyal and inclined to want to return after their work placement. This also helps to reduce graduate drop-out during your recruitment process.

Of course- there are so many more reasons why you should use internship programmes to recruit your future workforce. We have only discussed some of the benefits and how they can impact your business in the long run when recruiting graduates.

Work placements can help you set your graduates up for years of success in your company if you give them an exciting insight into your organisation. Did you know that 59% of graduate hires for the top undergraduate employers comprised of previous placement students and interns?

Providing undergraduate placement programmes allows valuable insight into your workplace and employee culture, often increasing the chances of your placement student’s return after graduation.

If you would like any further information on placements or graduates programmes – get in touch with Cohesion today.


It’s easy to plough through hundreds of applications and recruit the cream of the crop, right? What’s not so easy is actually getting hundreds of candidates to apply for your vacancies. This is where your recruitment advertising becomes absolutely fundamental.

Some may argue that your employer brand is what attracts your candidates, and that’s either good enough to do so, or it’s not. But, surely that would mean only a handful of organisations receive the best applicants?

As with everything – it’s about how you market it. It’s about how you package your vacancies. It’s easy to forget that recruitment is a two-way street and, whilst a lot of high-quality candidates will be automatically attracted to global organisations – any company can sell themselves to the best talent. However, you need to know how.

1. Ask yourself “so what?”

Okay, your organisation won an award – so what? How is that going to benefit your candidates if they choose to apply for your vacancy and, subsequently, join you? As I said before – it’s easy to forget that recruitment is a two-way street. Bragging about who you are, and the awards you’ve won, won’t attract the best candidates. Because, well – the award you won isn’t going to benefit them.

Whenever you’re writing job descriptions and summaries of your organisation – empathise with your ideal candidate. What will they want to gain by working in your Finance department? What skills will they acquire? Will they get involved with any important events?

2. Ask your current employees

If you asked all of your employees today what they’d tell their friends about working for your business – do you know what they’d say? Do you know what really wakes them up in the morning and drives them to get to the office early? Could you tell me what makes your employees not want to leave?

If your answer to any of the above is ‘no’ – go and ask them. You should especially ask any employees that are currently working in the role, or a similar role, that you’re in the process of recruiting for.

Doing so will help you to build an honest image of what it’s really like to work for you. This can then be communicated in all of your recruitment advertising.

3. Bring your business to life

To really make an impact with your recruitment advertising – you should be using it to tell a story. Bring your business to life by showcasing the employee culture. Using video as a medium of recruitment advertising shows a true reflection of who you are, and why other employees love working there.

You can use videos when recruiting any demographic. For Future Talent – why not record previous apprentices and graduates talking about their experiences, and why they’re glad they chose to work for you? The beautiful thing about video is that you can physically see emotion. This will engage your ideal candidates, because it gives them something to relate to.

4. Get Social

There are so many different forms of Social Media available nowadays, it can sometimes be quite difficult to choose which one is best for you. In short – they’re all the best for you.

Using a number of different Social Media platforms will help you to reach a much broader audience than if you’re selective with them. In the UK alone – Facebook has more than 32 million users; LinkedIn boasts over 21 million users, and; Twitter sustains a very strong user base of around 20 million people. You should be able to find your ideal candidates somewhere in there – surely?

You can use each and every platform to reach your audience. What’s more important is my next point…

5. Be Consistent

It’s absolutely imperative that you establish a clear message in your recruitment advertising. According to the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association – “clear brand messages across all recruiting channels and methods helps recruiters match candidates with culture.” Everything about your business should be crystal clear from your brand message, and this should be maintained all of the time.

In some ways – it can be quite dangerous losing this consistency and changing your brand message. Why? Well, by pure coincidence – at the moment in time that the inconsistent message airs, it could be found by hundreds of potential applicants. And, to make matters worse – the majority of those candidates could be completely wrong for your business.

It’s not worth the risk. Maintain your consistency, and keep your brand message the same in all of your marketing.


It’s a lot more difficult than you think to attract your ideal candidate to apply for your role. In April of this year, according to Trading Economics – there were 770,000 jobs available. It’s highly likely that a fair amount of those will be looking for the exact same candidate you are. You need to be making yourself stand out – not just in your employer branding efforts, but in all of your recruitment marketing efforts.