3 key ways to assess the success of your RPO partnership

3 key ways to assess the success of your RPO partnership

So, you’ve decided which RPO provider to go with, and you’re about to sign up and hand over to them. Your job is done.

Except… it isn’t.

Choosing your RPO provider is only the beginning.

After all, an RPO is a partnership. So, as the process moves forward, how do you continue to assess the success of this partnership? How do you evaluate whether your goals are being met, and your processes are transforming?

Of course, the hires being made are vital to this. However, there is much more to an RPO partnership than filling roles. An RPO provider works with an organisation not just to fill roles, but to improve their recruitment processes as a whole.  

To make a real difference and enable a business to scale and transform, an RPO should be insight-led.

So, we’ve come up with 3 key ways to help you assess if your partnership with your RPO provider is doing what it needs to do.

Firstly, before an RPO begins, there should be a thorough implementation process.

This process should clarify that your provider knows what they’re doing and when it needs to be done by. To help employers understand if the RPO has been implemented properly, we’ve identified 6 steps of implementation.


The provider should first outline what the aims of the project are and how those are going to be achieved. 


This stage identifies the methods agreed upon in the pre-planning stage in more detail. As a result, this phase should cover timelines, metrics, current and future EVP status, processes, forecasts, policies, and procedures.


At this stage, the key information and strategies should be communicated to the internal organisation.


Then, any recommendations for change, with a full analysis of the potential impact, should be presented to the organisation.


As a result of any changes, the RPO should identify if any training needs to take place to ensure there are no limits or negative impact on the new procedures. 

Sign off

Once the processes have been agreed upon and the RPO is live, there should be a thorough analysis of the project for the first 30 days. This should ensure that moving forward, any relevant changes can be made.

Secondly, an RPO should review the partnership at regular intervals.

Every provider will do this differently, whether it’s weekly, quarterly, monthly, or all 3. Ultimately, a partnership is effective as long as it is continuing to meet business needs.

As such, an RPO partnership should be flexible, as those needs may change. What your business needs at the start of the relationship may not be what you need 6 months down the line. So, the RPO should be flexible to meet these potential changes in requirements. 

Ultimately, these needs should not focus solely on numbers. After all, if your RPO partnership is providing your business with invaluable insight these regular reviews should be enabling your business to transform its recruitment processes. An insight-led RPO should provide your business with information on the market that could have an impact on your processes.

For example, if your brand awareness as an employer is low, or the salaries you are offering are below market rate, you need to be aware of these issues to implement changes. Insights such as these, along with consistently evolving solutions, should give your company the tools it needs to become a leader in the market.

Thirdly, an RPO should provide your organisation with the relevant metrics.

More specifically, these metrics should be different depending on who they are being reported to. For example, the Hiring Manager does not need the same information as the HR department.

As such, they should tailor their metrics to the audience receiving them. So, the hiring manager should have an in-depth understanding of the candidate market and current challenges, while the HR department should be informed of both cost and time per-hire. As a result, every member of the team should have the tools they need to focus on their goals.

As well as this, an RPO provider might provide live metrics which are accessible online to those who need to see them, when they need to see them. No matter the method, your organisation should have consistent assurance that your project is running smoothly.

So, to sum up?  

An RPO should not just provide your organisation with hires. When implemented effectively, an RPO should give your organisation the tools it needs to improve its processes moving forward. This should affect everything from your recruitment marketing and employer brand to your onboarding processes, EVP, and internal culture.   

Ultimately, a good RPO relies on a solid foundation of communication and honesty. Outsourcing your recruitment processes won’t always produce instant results. However, it will transform your organisation in the long run by enabling you to source, hire, and retain the talent you need to succeed.

For more information about RPO, you can download our RPO eBook here, or get in contact with us at marketing@talent-works.com.

RPO for digital transformation

What is digital transformation?

The term digital transformation sounds complicated. However, it’s very much what it sounds like.

As technology advances, organisational processes need to change and adapt to keep up. When a company adapts to these changes on a large scale across the organisation, this is called digital transformation.

When an organisation transforms its processes to embrace new technologies, it can be a daunting task. There will be big changes to handle and, as well as this, smaller processes that also need to change. Overall, digital transformation requires time, patience and a dedicated workforce.

It’s this last part that we’re particularly interested in.

A crucial part of any digital overhaul is having the right employees in place to push it forward.

In many companies undergoing a digital transformation, this requires all new hires in brand new job roles. Often, the number of hires needed indicates the need for a brand new tech department, especially in typically non-tech organisations.

Why are organisations undergoing digital transformation?

Digital transformation matters because if companies don’t keep up with technological innovations and digital processes, they are likely to lose out.

This loss can take many forms, but the ultimate cost is a financial one. According to research, “there is the potential for over $18 trillion of new value to be harvested”. So, digital transformation is an investment in the future of an organisation.

Ultimately, if companies want to be around for the long haul, they need to remain relevant. If they don’t, they will be overtaken by other companies with a more up-to-date offering. Once an organisation drops behind, it will take twice as long to catch up as it would to have got ahead in the first place.

Imagine the future of tech in business. According to Deloitte’s 10th annual tech trends report, “advanced networking, serverless computing, and intelligent interfaces will reshape business processes in the coming years.” All these innovations will speed up processes so that organisations can achieve far more in less time.

So, how can RPO help?

The number of hires needed to fulfil a complete digital transformation often far exceed an organisation’s current recruitment capacity. Outsourcing your tech recruitment needs can be the simplest, most cost-effective way to ensure your organisation attracts the right talent.

You can find out more about an RPO can help solve your tech recruitment needs here.

How can your company attract the right tech talent?

Any company looking to make an increase in hires needs to consider both their employer brand and employee value proposition.

The current market is overwhelmingly candidate-driven. So, there are fewer candidates than there are jobs. This becomes particularly apparent when trying to fill tech roles. Despite tech innovations being predicted to erase the need for manual job roles, research has shown technology has “created more jobs than it has destroyed.” However, the current workforce is struggling to provide the skills needed to fill these roles.

While internal training programmes and investment in the upcoming generations can solve these problems for the future, for now, there is a talent shortage. This means companies need to ensure they are ahead of the competition for the tech talent that can help to transform their company.

The benefits of an RPO partnership will naturally give an organisation the added benefits they need, with specialised, experienced recruiters and skill-specific talent pools at their fingertips. However, any organisation looking to make a dramatic increase in hires needs to refine its employer brand.

Why does your employer brand matter?

Essentially, you need to make it clear what it is your organisation is providing that makes you different. Define why top talent should work for you. Your employer branding communicates to candidates who you are, and how you do things. 

To do this, you need to define your principles and what the day-to-day looks like in your organisation. Once you have this established, you need to craft a narrative to draw talent in.

So, digital transformation for large organisations is, essentially, inevitable.

All companies need to embrace transformation to stay relevant and avoid falling behind. Where this might seem like a daunting task for large companies, there are measures your organisation can take to ensure that you are attracting the right tech talent.

Utilise an RPO to outsource your tech recruitment needs and refine your narrative to potential employees. In a world where there are endless possibilities, and job roles are abundant, it’s essential to streamline your message so that the right people hear you.

This requires a carefully crafted EVP and innovative recruitment marketing strategy so that the application process is geared towards tech talent right from the beginning. 

To find out more about RPO for digital transformation, you can check out our RPO eBook.

Tech recruitment: 5 reasons why you should utilise RPO

There is a war for talent in the tech field. According to research, 86% of recruiters said they “find it challenging to find and hire technical talent”.

So, why is it so difficult to hire tech talent?

In short, there is a limited pool of candidates. Technical innovations over the last few years have, rather than depleting the need for human labour, increased it. As such, the outlook for work in the tech industry is extremely positive. However, while machines have or will take over “hard, dangerous and dull jobs”, technology has “created more jobs than it has destroyed”.

What does this mean?

There is an increasing number of roles available in the tech industry, many of which the current workforce does not have the skills to fill. This is because the tech industry is developing far more quickly than the workforce has had time to keep up with. So, candidates with the right skill sets for highly-skilled roles are few and far between. As a result, 53% of recruiters “have hired tech talent despite candidates not meeting the job requirements.”

So, fears that technology will make human labour obsolete are clearly unfounded. However, until the next generations of tech-savvy talent enter the workforce, there is likely to be a skills shortage within the tech field.

For your company to continue to innovate effectively and keep up with technological advancements, there are things you can do to attract and retain the tech talent you need. Utilising Recruitment Process Outsourcing to hire your tech talent can have many benefits for your company.

So, we’ve summarised a few of these here.

  1. When working with an RPO which specialises in tech hiring, you can gain from the experience of recruiters who have worked extensively within the tech field. This means that they have a nuanced understanding of the role being hired for and what it requires. So, they already have a pool of highly skilled talent waiting to be contacted. All this experience can significantly reduce your time-to-hire, saving money on advertising and lengthy recruitment processes.
  2. In a candidate shortage, all organisations need to be thinking of ways to increase their retention rates. The good news is, an RPO can help you do just that. An RPO can ensure that your company maintains a positive employer brand throughout the recruitment process, improving the candidate experience. An improved candidate experience improves the “perception of employees about the company”, thereby increasing retention rates.
  3. If you don’t want to outsource all your recruitment processes, but you need to hire more staff for a specific department (such as Tech), you can utilise Project RPO. This provides a solution which is both flexible and scalable to your needs, while giving you access to those experienced tech recruiters. As such, you can utilise an RPO just for your tech hiring needs. This flexibility can save your company money and ensure you fill those tech roles quickly.
  4. RPO providers often have a capacity for research and industry-led insight. This means that your provider can assess the problems with Tech hiring your company is encountering and provide insight-led solutions. For example, a researcher can assess everything from salary and culture to job descriptions and broader problems within the market. This should then give you a realistic idea of the talent available and how to appeal to the right people with suitable marketing techniques and offerings.
  5. Some RPO providers have marketing, creative and digital capacities. This can enable the team working on your behalf to market your roles with the innovation required to attract top talent. Too many companies underestimate the value of a high-quality job advert. RPO providers with creative capacity can utilise the expertise of copywriters and designers. This ensures that your campaign is targeted to the right audience, in terms of both the language and overall design. An RPO’s digital capacity can create an application process which is quick and tech-literate, therefore appealing to tech-savvy applicants.

To get ahead of the game

You need to appeal to applicants from the very start of the process. This begins with talent attraction, refining your employer brand and EVP. So, by the time the applicant gets to interview stage, you don’t have to convince them of your company’s values because they are already aware of them.

Utilising RPO for tech talent can give you access to those insight-led techniques to ensure that your company attracts those highly-skilled applicants who are so in demand.

RPO, after all, is about much more than just recruitment. RPO can give your company the capability to truly define itself as an employer. So, it’s time to ask what your organisation wants to say and how it wants to say it.

To find out more about how RPO can help to solve your tech hiring troubles, download our RPO eBook.

Introducing Ken Kane: Business Development Director

As Talent Works International turns 10 this year, we are welcoming our new Business Development Director, Ken Kane. To introduce him, we thought the best way was to sit down with him and get to know him a little better.

So, read on to hear all about Ken, his vision for Talent Works International and the future of RPO.

So, Ken, where did you start?

What, you mean my whole career?

Yes, your whole career. Or, at least the highlights.

I started in radio advertising. My boss came to me and said I think there is a really good opportunity to sell recruitment advertising on the radio. So, I went around to talk to employers in the North East about recruiting using radio as a medium.

What did the radio ads look like?

You let your imagination run wild.

Later on, in my career, I came across a phrase: organisations that build an emotional connection with their people are the organisations that succeed. It’s about having a sense of purpose, aligning organisational values with the values of the people who work there.

Storytelling is something we’re absolutely wired to respond to, it’s in our DNA. As a kid, I still remember being told stories by my mum and my dad before I went to sleep. Those things stay with you.

What happened then?

I had quite a few years in radio, and then I got opened up to the world of agency, in a bit of a back-to-front way. Nissan was opening up in Newcastle. They needed loads of people. So, I approached an agency about utilising radio in the campaign. They said no. So, I thought, right, I’m going to go to Nissan directly. I managed to secure a significant amount of business. Then, the agency rang me up and said they wanted commission on it. I said absolutely not, and then they ended up hiring me.

So, that’s how I got into the world of agencies, when employer brand was still in its infancy.

So, you’ve seen the development of the concept of employer brand?

Yes. Candidates nowadays behave like B2B consumers and organisations have to respond to that. The power is in the hands of the candidate. So, organisations have to market themselves effectively, building a relationship with candidates and making sure that the employment promise meets the reality.

Many agencies will say that organisations have an employer brand which is distinct from a consumer brand. However, I don’t subscribe to that.

Do you think it’s all one and the same?

I think it always has been. Essentially, a brand is the soul and essence of an organisation. It’s shaped by a number of things including culture, values and behaviours. The promise an organisation makes to a consumer is different from the promise it makes to an employee, but it all comes from the same place.

Traditionally, if you look at the market, the line between the customer and the brand has been considered most important. That’s marketing. However, now, it’s about the customer experience, which is driven by people. So, the line of importance in an organisation is firmly on the relationship between brand and people (employees).

If you get the people bit right, you create engagement, which drives higher levels of discretionary effort. Innovation comes as a natural consequence of that. This then impacts on customer experience and creates greater customer attraction. If customers are spending more, then there’s greater shareholder value.

The latest PWC Chief Executives Report says that the biggest inhibitor to growth is not having the talent in the business to support growth.

This is where Talent Works International comes in.

Why do you think companies are struggling to find the talent they need?

I’m going to use a lot of cliché terms here… there’s a war for talent, and it’s a candidate-driven market. People have got a choice, so companies need to ask why candidates should choose them over somebody else. As a result, everybody’s after the passive candidate.

Many organisations fail to define their purpose and do not engage with their audience on an emotional level.

We’ve got the communications and creative capability to deliver the right message, as well the insight and data expertise to ensure that we land it in front of the right people, in the right place at the right time. Allied to this, our RPO capability is agile and scalable, blending brilliant sourcing with the best candidate experience to solve short and longer-term term recruitment needs. What’s not to like?

How do you feel about joining Talent Works International?

I’ve never been so excited to join an organisation as I am about joining Talent Works International. I went home after my initial chat with Neil, and I said to my wife, “I want to work there.” My intuition was telling me that this business is going in the right direction and that’s something I want to be part of.

What would you say is your passion?

My first boss said to me, “if you hire good people, your job will become much easier.” I’m all about hiring people who are on it. Either, they’re better than me now, or they have the potential to be better than me. My job is to enable them to fulfil their potential.

How do you spot talent?

What I look for is curiosity and a willingness to learn. As well as this, people who are prepared to put the hard yards in.

I think, looking at the generations coming up, we’re not recruiting shrinking violets, are we? We’re looking at people with strong values and opinions, and I think that’s a great thing for the workplace.

How do you want to influence this role?

The market is really ready for what we do. So, I want to be the evangelist who plays a part in the team and then goes out and tells the world about what Talent Works International do. I bring a breadth of experience in recruitment and employer brand, as well as creative and digital media. These are all things that are really relevant in solving the problems that employers face today.

What’s your vision for the future of RPO?

I’d like us to redefine what RPO is, rather than being defined by it. Our solutions are relevant to the demands of the organisations that we’re working for. We do RPO differently.

To find out more, you can contact Ken at ken.kane@talent-works.com

Interviews: Techniques to get the best from a candidate

How the right approach to interviews can help your business attract and retain talent

There is no single best way to interview a candidate. Ultimately, all the factors that come together depend on who is conducting the interview, who is being interviewed, and what the job role is. Preferences are entirely subjective. However, there are techniques which can be applied to the process to make it more effective for everyone involved.

So, which are the most effective interview techniques?

Recruiters conduct interviews with prospective candidates every day and, therefore, have invaluable experience in getting the best from candidates. So, we spoke to Talent Works’ own Lead Resourcing Partner, Amanda Harrison. She told us about the interview techniques she uses and how best to implement them into the process.

There are two main interview techniques Amanda discussed. These are competency-based interviews and emotional intelligence (EQ) interviews.

Competency-based Interviews

Competency-based questions are designed to test the candidates’ skills and, of course, their competency. These questions should give hiring managers an idea of the candidates’ ability to complete the role in the future and predict how they might react in certain situations. Competency-based questions ask candidates to reflect on how they’ve approached previous situations they’ve encountered in the workplace. They aim to assess their ability to work in a team, communicate and organise, amongst other things.

As a result, competency-based questions do tend to be generalised towards skills that are required for all jobs. However, they can be honed and made more specific depending on the job role.

Emotional intelligence interviews

Emotional intelligence (EQ) interview questions are designed to assess a candidates’ ability to understand themselves and the people around them. This gives the interviewer insight into whether the candidate is a cultural fit.

People with high emotional intelligence are more likely to be better team players, thus enhancing work relationships and performance. To assess this, an interviewer might ask who the candidate is inspired by. Or, what they have achieved that they are proud of and how they deal with stressful situations. For questions such as these, there is no right answer, but answers should give an insight into who the candidate really is. The candidates’ ability to self-assess should be a reliable indicator of emotional intelligence.

So, which method is best?

Both methods of interviewing have their downfalls. For example, competency-based questions can sometimes put the candidate on the spot or result in pre-thought out responses. Questions designed to assess emotional intelligence don’t gain the interviewer insight into the candidates’ skills and abilities. So, Amanda recommends a mixture of both techniques to obtain the best understanding of the candidate.

Alongside both types of interview technique, Amanda recommends an informal interview set up. Too much formality tends to put the candidate on edge. Uncomfortable candidates never perform their best or show their real personality. Unless, of course, the role is highly pressured and requires the successful candidate to be able to perform in stressful situations.

Should you be asking candidates to complete a task?

Alongside the interview process, many businesses ask the candidate to complete a task. However, Amanda recommends that tasks are only required when vital for a role. Even then, she suggests that what you ask the candidate to do is kept to a minimum.

When asking candidates to complete skilled work on behalf of your company, you are, effectively, asking them to complete work for free. It is entirely possible to ask candidates to complete a skill-based task which does not take up a significant amount of their time. By not respecting their time and capabilities, you risk putting them off the role and losing out on qualified talent.

Ultimately, the purpose of an interview is to get to know your candidate better and establish that they can undertake the job role effectively. So, utilising interview techniques that allow them to be themselves, while also gaining insight on their skill set, is the most effective way to find the best talent for your business. An interview which combines these techniques to produce the desired result is the best outcome for both your business and the applicant.

Candidates want to feel supported throughout the process. These days, businesses need to implement talent attraction techniques to secure the best people for their roles. A good or bad interview can be the deciding factor for a candidate when choosing whether to work with your company.

So, ensure your approach is both welcoming and comfortable, while also getting to the heart of who the candidate is. After all, you’re not just interviewing them. They are interviewing you.

This is the first blog in our interview series. Keep an eye out for the next blog in the series. We’ll be going into more detail about the benefits of structured, unstructured, formal and informal interviews.

Our 10 year anniversary: The people behind the brand

On March 1st, Talent Works International turned 10 years old. At the time, we marked the occasion with an interview with our CEO and founder Neil Purcell. As we’re nearing the end of March, we’re getting ready to celebrate in style, and in person, with all our colleagues. So, we thought it was the ideal time to chat to our employees, both new and old, from Northampton, to Manchester and Boston.

The Talent Works experience connects us. Some longstanding employees have built friendships that extend right through to their children and families. As Global Senior Consultant, Tammy Davies says, “I’ve made friends here I will carry for life.”

Some newcomers are just integrating themselves into the fold and, as such, making their mark. In this blog we’re listening to them all and collating their experiences in one place to give our readers an insight into who the people behind the brand are.

When did TWI start?

Jody Russell, Business Support Manager, is TWI’s longest standing employee, having been with the business since the day of its inception. As she had worked with Neil previously, Jody was excited by his vision to build his own company, and she agreed to join him on the journey.

We started off in a converted barn, on a farm. The countryside was lovely, but it was freezing in the winter, baking in the summer. But we were all in it together. As a company, we still tend to feel like we are all in it together. It feels like family to me because it’s been such a massive part of my life, for the last 10 years. To me, it’s more than a business. I can’t ever see it not being exciting, different or challenging.

So, what happened then?

In the interim between then and now, TWI has both grown and evolved to meet the demands of the ever-changing recruitment climate. Simon Thomas, Brand & Strategy Director, said the business is unrecognisable from when he joined. He said, in terms of continuing development, he’s learned to expect the unexpected.

Talent Works started as pure Talent Mapping and Executive Search, before establishing a team dedicated to Brand & Insight to provide a more tailored solution to our clients. Just over 3 years ago, we established our RPO offering and have seen this strand of our business move from strength to strength ever since. What we’re now providing is a source of difference in the market, combining RPO with our Creative, Insight and Digital offerings to provide flexible strategies for our clients.

We opened our Boston branch over 5 years ago, at a similar time to our Manchester based Creative team, with our VP of North America Jody Robie at the helm. This move established us as an international force. Jody has worked in television journalism, producing and reporting, as well as in recruitment, so she bought a new strand of forward thinking and creativity to the leadership team.

Our services now cover everything sourcing and employer brand related. The diversity of the solutions we can provide has enabled our continual growth over the years and brought us all the way to our 10-year anniversary.

What adventures have we had along the way?

During these 10 years we have maintained a culture of celebration. We have always placed an emphasis on rewarding internal achievements and milestones. This value comes from an innate belief that we should practice what we preach, cultivating an employer brand that not only attracts the best talent, but makes the most of the talent we already have.

We have many examples of how we have chosen to encourage and value our staff over the years. For example, on Geoff Pedder’s (Lead Consultant, Brand & Insight) third day in the business he won a TV on an away day after winning a Go-Carting competition. He was a bit surprised, to say the least, but when we celebrate our staff we do it well.

Over the years we have organised holidays, from Marbella to Las Vegas. Hollie Stiff, Senior Client Partner, recalls business class flights, and VIP tables with bouncers. Tammy Davies remembers attending football games, and The Player of the Year Awards with Neil, who is a dedicated Manchester United fan.

Of course, it’s not all fun and games. We work hard, and we are committed to supporting the growth and development of our people in more personal ways as well. Hollie Stiff, TWI Senior Client Partner, cites her huge respect for Neil, and “what hes done for me in my career.” Sophia, Art Director, joined TWI in the Manchester office as a Junior Designer. After 3 months she was promoted to Art Director and has since taken part in pitches and won them. Alongside the fun and the successes, there have of course been difficult decisions but, as Simon Thomas says…

How has the new office changed TWI?

In 2018 we invested in an exciting office renovation in Northampton. It has resulted in a space we are remarkably proud of. This is not just because it is a beautiful place to spend each day, but because it is a sign of our investment in and respect for our employees. As Geoff Pedder says, the office in Northampton is a huge statement. It promotes collaboration, but also provides space to get away. Jody Russell says, we want our staff to have the best surroundings, to make their days better. You spend so much of your time at work, it’s important to be somewhere that has colour and warmth.

At Talent Works we are so excited for the next step in our adventure, but we are loving being able to reflect on our achievements as we celebrate reaching 10 years old. We have experienced both highs and lows over the last 10 years. However, throughout it all, we are proud to have grown the business and retained our identity throughout. We have ensured our focus remains on our core values, putting our people and our clients first.

Currently, it is an extraordinary time to be in recruitment. Curating a powerful employer brand is essential in a market which is so candidate rich. While we’re interested to see the future of AI and how it affects recruitment, we believe in the importance of human connection and interaction. As always, we remain committed to having the best talent on the job.

(Updated) Employers: How to prepare for Brexit

29th March 2019 has been and gone, and Britain has not yet left the EU. While no outcome has ever been entirely certain throughout the Brexit process, now more than ever, there is a significant sense of confusion. The new key date is 12th April 2019, by which time the UK needs “to tell the EU what it wants to do.” This may mean another extension to the negotiations, although the possibility of leaving without a deal is looking increasingly likely.

So far, there’s been a lot of conversation about what exactly Brexit will look like for recruitment and employment. So, as Brexit continues to twist and turn, at Talent Works we’ve decided to sum up the effect the 2016 referendum has had on the jobs market. As well as this, we’ll discuss how to prepare for the outcome of a potential deal, or the increasing possibility of a no deal Brexit.

Employment levels are at an all-time high, and vacancies have risen to the “highest level since comparable records began.” It’s reported that “deal or no deal, UK jobs will remain hard to fill. So, it seems that no matter how we eventually leave the EU, the market will remain candidate driven. As a result, vacancies are increasingly harder to fill as top talent is harder to recruit.

According to Monster, the number of EU workers actively searching for jobs in the UK has dropped by 11.4% since the referendum. More specifically, Romanian search traffic to UK jobs has dropped by 52%, followed closely by Portugal (42%) and Poland (35%). This decline in Eastern European workers impacts the short-term jobs market, an area of recruitment which is most reliant on EU workers.

So, how exactly can employers prepare for a future that nobody can predict?

In such a candidate driven climate, recruiters become even more valuable. A recruiter cultivates a talent pool of potential candidates by talent mapping in specialist areas. This makes recruiters invaluable when the jobs market is so strong, particularly where there are skills shortages. This awareness enables them to pair candidates with businesses before a vacancy is live. Often, recruiters do this by focusing recruitment efforts on passive job seekers to counter a restricted labour supply.

Resultingly, when the market is candidate-driven, candidates are able to negotiate in their own interests. When talent is so sought after, the competition in the market is between companies. Ultimately, all businesses are hoping to acquire the most qualified talent. This can, in turn, lead to higher retention rates. This is because companies try to hold onto the talent they currently have with increasingly competitive benefits packages.

Business growth becomes more difficult as businesses that wish to expand struggle to find the talent to enable them to do this. Post-Brexit, this could be especially true of entry-level positions. A £30,000 minimum salary cap is potentially set to cause businesses to lose out on newly qualified EU talent. This lack of candidates could exacerbate the impact of Brexit. A salary cap would especially affect areas such as hospitality and healthcare, which typically have a high proportion of EU workers.

So, it seems further post-Brexit skills shortages are perhaps inevitable. However, there are ways to prepare and ensure that, while the market is experiencing teething problems post-Brexit, your company is in the best position possible to handle the disturbance.

Communicate with your employees

Make sure you know which of your employees will be most affected by Brexit so that you can support them. Then, communicate with those employees directly. As well as this, communicate with the whole company so that everyone is informed and aware. It may be that those people not directly affected still need to understand the procedures being put in place to enable them. Regardless, good communication is vital for a positive, transparent workforce and promotes a culture of internal respect which is essential in an unpredictable jobs market.

Ensure you are an attractive employer

Maintain a strong presence as an employer to ensure candidates are actively seeking you out. Upping your game in a competitive market is always a good idea, but with Brexit in mind, it is especially important. Research shows are more likely to apply to a company which manages its employer brand. Therefore, passive candidates will likely keep attractive employers in mind when perusing the job market. Promote the benefits of working for your company through your social media and website.

Support your EU employees with settlement scheme applications

In a no-deal scenario, the Government has already assured employers that any EU employees will be able to continue residing in the UK. However, preparation is vital. EU Nationals who lived and worked in the UK with free movement will need to register under the EU settlement scheme. The deadline for applications is dependent on whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal. Encourage your employees to apply as soon as possible and support them through the process.

Plan for no deal

If the UK is to leave the EU with no deal, free movement will end on the 12th April or thereafter, depending on an extension, with no transition period. While negotiations remain up in the air, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry. So, prepare for this by ensuring that any EU employees you intend to hire have a start date as soon as possible, and preferably before the 12th April. As well as this, encourage them to apply for settled status. In the case of a no deal Brexit, “workers will continue to be covered by the EU Withdrawal Act 2018”. This states that “direct EU legislation that is operative immediately before exit day will remain part of domestic law on and after that date.”

If Brexit has proven to be anything, it’s unpredictable. Current events have thrown up the alternative possibility that the UK could end up staying within the EU after all. The recent decline in EU talent directly correlates with the UK’s decision to leave the EU. So, it would be prudent to presume that any eventuality in which the UK remains within the EU would result in an eventual influx of EU talent back into the UK market.

Skills shortages look to be inevitable for the short-term, whether we leave or remain. Research shows that “the prevalence of hard-to-fill vacancies has continued on an upward trajectory.” But, with a committed recruiter on your side, and a strong employer brand, there is no reason why your company cannot be prepared. Where leaving the EU throws up other uncertainties in the pipeline, there is no ideal solution. However, strong internal communication and a strategic approach to last-minute changes can enable you to ensure your company continues to grow whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal, or not.

In Summary

  • The new key date is 12th April, by which time the UK needs to tell the EU what it wants to do. This may mean another extension, but a no deal Brexit is a significant possibility.
  • Employment levels are at an all-time high, and vacancies have risen to the “highest level since comparable records began.”
  • Due to a decrease in workers from the EU, the market is candidate driven.
  • A salary cap of £30,000 may exacerbate this.
  • So, communicate with your employees.
  • Ensure you are an attractive employer.
  • Support your EU employees with settlement scheme applications.
  • Plan for a no deal Brexit.
  • There is a small possibility of remaining, which may result in an eventual influx of EU talent back into the UK market.
  • Whether we leave with a deal, no deal, or eventually remain, skills shortages look to be inevitable for the short-term.

Our 10 Year Anniversary: A conversation with Neil Purcell

From the very beginning, to now: Talent Works International

Talent Works International turns 10 this March. This is an incredible milestone for us as an agency and a fantastic cause for celebration. As a business, we at Talent Works believe in transparency. So, in such spirit, we decided a conversation with our founder and CEO Neil Purcell would be a fantastic start to a series of blogs celebrating the last 10 years.  

So, grab a cuppa, sit down and take some time out with our CEO.   

What inspired you to start up your own agency?

Talent Works was born more out of frustration than anything else. I was frustrated by the lack of quality being delivered, the lack of innovation, agility and flexibility in some solutions offered by other organisations in the recruiting space. So, that made me feel like, why can’t recruitment be something a bit different? Why does it always have to be the same thing, done the same way? So, that’s when I decided to start a business of my own.

I’d done very well in other people’s organisations, I was running a successful division. So, everyone said to me, why do you want to go and set up on your own? I didn’t need to explain myself, I knew what I wanted to do. There’s always an added motivation when people think you can’t do something. Someone, who will remain nameless, told me I’d be done in 6 months.

So, what convinced you that Talent Works would be successful?

Lots of industry experience, confidence and belief. I didn’t know it was going to work. If I’m brutally honest, I think I back myself with having the right mentality and desire to want to do something. If you set something up on your own, you have to have absolute unwavering trust in your own ability and belief that you can make it happen. Along with great people to work with, and a clear vision of what you want to do.

How has Talent Works changed in that time?

If you look at Talent Works today, it isn’t what it was ten years ago, we’ve evolved and become something very distinctive. We’re a real big point of differentiation in the market now for Employer Branding, our RPO offering, with Creative and Digital integrated into it. I believe more in Talent Works today than I did 10 years ago. That’s not to say I didn’t believe in it in the first place, but I think given the timing in the market and the agile nature of what we deliver, it’s a great time to be offering a brand led recruitment solution.

Probably 80% of candidates now are passive. This means you’ve got to be more creative and deliver a better candidate experience from the minute you go out onto a digital platform. It’s not just when you’re in an interview process, candidate experience starts right at the very beginning, before you even have a physical conversation, and that’s the beauty of digital. Where we are now, we are developing employer brand and putting the candidate experience right at the forefront and heart of everything we’re doing. I love it.

Was the success of Talent Works a surprise?

No! No, not at all. I had absolute confidence in myself, and the people I hired in the beginning. I have huge belief in what we’re doing. If you’d asked me 10 years ago, did I think Talent Works would be what it is today? I would have said no. We’ve been on a long journey and we’ve achieved so much.

In the history of Talent Works, what are you particularly proud of?

I’m really proud of what everybody here has been able to build in such a short space of time. To give you a bit of context, we entered into the market in a recession in 2009. That was the best time to have entered because we were offering an alternative approach, that I felt had more value.

We started with Talent Mapping, so we were effectively an alternative solution to Executive Search. Like when we started our employer brand business and then brought the creative and RPO businesses in, we wanted to do it and deliver it differently to challenge what everyone else was doing. We came into a market that had been dominated by the same organisations for years, but we challenged in every single market and continually reinvented ourselves. So, that’s what I’m most proud of.

So, looking forward, what do you see for the future?

That would be telling! Where we are now I think is the most evolved we’ve ever been. We’ve got RPO, Creative Comms, Digital, Recruitment services. We’re proving ourselves in all those areas, it’s how we move forward again while introducing new things and continuing to add value.

It almost feels like the start again. Every time we get to a certain milestone I can tell you it’s been years 3, 6, 8 and now 10 – we feel like the business is in start-up mode again. I like to think of myself as an entrepreneur. People always say to me, you’ve only had one business, but I say, no, I feel like I’ve had 4 business. I get excited and motivated by seeing the levels of engagement within our people, seeing how excited they are about what they’re doing.

Essentially, what you’ve got to look at is that this started as my dream. So, that for me is where I get the excitement and motivation to keep going. It comes from a combination of seeing the dream materialise and the genuine motivation that comes from seeing other people buy into and help deliver it. The future, for me, is really, really bright. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of it?

Can you think of any special memories from the last 10 years?

I think there’s loads that stand out. If I think back to the day we moved into the barn (our first office), before anyone came in, I went in the barn, cleaned everything out and set everything up. We had my desk at the head of the office, 4 white tables that I bought from somebody for £20 and some chairs. When I set it all up, and everyone came in, there was this minute where we went, woah, here we go. This is it. That was pretty exciting for me.

Then, probably when we won our first big clients. One was Wincanton, and one was PepsiCo. So that was pretty cool. At this point I should really thank Mike Lynn-Jones and Rick Kershaw. They both took a leap of faith and trusted us to deliver for their respective organisations. I’m pleased to say, we did.

You know, it’s a strange feeling when you realise it’s working! I had this complete, unwavering belief that it was going to work, there’s no way you can think that it won’t work, but suddenly we realised we’re doing it! This is the dream. This is what it’s all about. It’s not so much a memory but, seeing everybody choosing to be a part of TWI is a hugely humbling experience. It is a hugely humbling experience for me to know that everybody in this business chooses to be here.

You look back on areas where we’ve messed up, and you learn from these things. It’s okay to mess up! Not all the time, but it’s okay to make mistakes. One not so special memory – we entered the US market in 2011, and for many reasons it didn’t work. Those times didn’t deter me from thinking, right, we’re going to do it again at some point with a different infrastructure, different strategies, different people and it’s going to be at the right time. Having the courage and the resilience, as a collective, to know we can do it better. And we did! And now, we’ve built a multi-million turnover business in the US, as well as the UK. That’s pretty cool.

We’re going to continue chatting to the employees here at Talent Works for our 10 Year Anniversary, so keep an eye out for the second blog in the series!

5 ways RPO can enhance your employer brand

Your employer brand is key to attracting and retaining top talent.

By effectively communicating who you are as a company, you can attract high-quality candidates and improve retention rates. When your employer brand is strong, candidates will want to work for you.

RPO providers can help to develop and build your employer brand. As well as this, they can make sure your employer brand is effectively represented through the recruitment process.

We’ve put together some of the ways working with an RPO provider can help strengthen your employer brand.

Work with a recruiter who specialises in the appropriate area

When outsourcing your recruitment process, you can partner with recruitment specialists who are experienced in the sectors most relevant to your business’ vacancies. Working with an experienced sourcing specialist reduces time and optimises your recruitment process. A recruiter who fundamentally understands the role and its value to your business is best placed to source the right fit.

A recruiter becomes an extension of your business

One of the main advantages of RPO is that the recruiter or recruitment team you partner with becomes an extension of your business. They will spend time getting to know your business extensively so that they can represent you accurately. RPO recruiters are uniquely placed not just to understand your brand, but to enhance it.

Expertly crafted job descriptions

A well-crafted job description is essential in capturing top talent. RPO providers offer support in writing ad descriptions that instil your employer brand, while accurately defining the job role to ensure it attracts relevant candidates. If a job description is too vague it can result in an influx of applications from candidates who are just not right for the role. Most RPO providers have copywriters and content writers who can give your job advert that extra flare to make it stand out. This also ensures the words used are succinct and to the point.

Using social media in your recruitment marketing

Some RPO providers have creative and digital teams. This means they can create specialised social media campaigns, promoting your employer brand to reach the right candidates. Experienced digital marketers can target an audience for your job postings, right down to city and profession. This ensures you are targeting the most relevant candidates and using your resourcing budget effectively.

Quality candidate experience

Candidates want to be confident that they’re making the right decision if they choose to join your business. By utilising recruitment partners, you can ensure that the candidate will get a quality experience throughout the entire recruitment journey, from the application stage through to interview feedback.

Specialist recruitment teams can provide excellent support to candidates, giving them the information they require when they need it. And because recruitment partners are aligned with your company values, they can shortlist candidates that are not only right for the vacancy but also a good fit for your team.

RPO and employer branding go hand in hand to make your recruitment strategy more specialised, and ultimately more successful. To find out more, check out our blogs on RPO FAQ’s and how to improve your employer brand.