Something great is being put back into recruitment.
Process wise, it has never been easier to apply for a new career. In ten minutes or less you can download an app, upload your CV and be searching thousands of positions in your area. Want to relocate? Why not search jobs in another country? You want to change industries and maybe refocus on something new? Why not apply for a few hundred jobs in an industry you’ve never heard of? All this at a touch of a button, without having to speak to a single soul.
The convenience presented by recruitment apps do come with the cost that you are completely at the whim of those companies receiving hundreds of CVs from the same sites. Apps may have simplified the recruitment process, and up to 66% of people will apply through them according to recruitment giant Reed. But is this what recruitment has become? A task of reducing both job role and job seeker to a collection of boxes needing to be ticked?
Andy Pitt, Managing Director of Service Service, one of the best known and well-respected names in Norfolk recruitment, is on a mission to change this.
“Having worked in recruitment for twenty years, I feel that the personal connection has been lost, that candidates have become a commodity and that they’re being treated as a product with a price, rather than human beings with feelings and personal requirements.”
He says, “Of course, such systems are useful and we use them ourselves, but we believe in communicating and building a relationship with people, and that it takes more than just a short phone call and a template checklist to learn about what makes a person suitable for a role.”
Service Service was founded in 1980, and Andy finally took the reins in after building the brand with them for a number of years. One of the trademarks of his career is how quickly candidates warmed to his personable and caring approach. His reputation for fearless negotiation on behalf of his candidates, and his willingness to take on interesting roles and filling them with the ‘right sort’ of person, is something that many businesses have come to rely upon.
“We are in a David and Goliath world, and I believe that the principle of Service Service hasn’t changed too much over its many years of existence,” he explains. “The business has always focused on providing a better service than anyone else possibly can. We have shaped ourselves around a ‘treat those as we expect to be treated’ ethos, which I feel is working well, especially in this increasingly automated, algorithm biased sector.”
While Service Service is often called upon by candidates and businesses from the whole of the UK who turn to them first, Andy’s primary focus is recruitment in Norfolk.
“This is where we are based and we take our personal approach very seriously. We cover most sectors, as we have the tools and the internal knowledge to be able to do so well, as the requirements are quite transferable from different sectors. However, we do have a couple of ‘specialisms’ here, covering Financial Services, Manufacturing/Engineering and Property.”
The team that Andy works with are very carefully chosen for their attributes, skillsets and people-centric outlooks. It is this careful selection process, and being sure that his own people are the ‘right sort’, that makes the business strong. “You can only be as strong as your team.” Andy testifies.
A strong team is especially important in changing markets. According to him social, political and economic movements do not change the requirements of his industry to provide opportunities, but it does mean you have to be on the ball. He says that businesses are affected by external influences, but there is always a need to service the local business community. Even through 2008’s global recession, Service Service was still busy, possibly helped by the fact that the company covers so many different requirements from a wide cross section of sectors, and are able to reveal transferable skills in many of their candidates.
THE RECRUITMENT INDUSTRY
Recruitment, like any industry, has to have a proactive approach to its own ebbs and flows. Over the years Andy has come to appreciate how markets, seasons and psychological factors can affect recruitment year in and year out. According to him it is all about understanding the fundamentals.
“Recruitment is both exciting and challenging. But to be good at it you have to love it, or at very least love what it can do for people. There is a lot of opportunity and jobs on the market currently as many industries are having to look at new areas of development. The main challenge is the current low unemployment and low mobility of existing job holders.”
When unemployment is rife, the job is focused on finding roles. Be this temporary work to keep a candidate busy and help plug that wage-gap until a permanent, more suitable role is available, or opening up an opportunity in a business where a candidate’s unique experience and skills can be best used. Conversely, when unemployment is low, his team need to switch their mindsets into headhunter mode.
“The role of a consultant,” he continues, “has become quite search specific, with constantly trying to identify and find new talent in this low unemployment era where available people can be quite limited, coupled with fewer people wishing to move as savvy employers look after their existing staff more and more, making leaving less desirable.”
Andy explains further that this situation is not always understood by new candidates. Too often candidates are not aware of what is happening and are not involved in the process, which can be extremely disheartening to a person, especially in more pressing times such as redundancy. Managing the psychological aspects of job hunting, Service Service makes sure that they’re being more communicative with people than ever, being honest, upfront and transparent whilst offering advice and help where possible, says Andy. “Communication is key. Explaining the situation fully and simply and making sure that there is a solution or at least a plan in place. Sometimes people who are desperate for a new job cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, so you have to turn on a torch for them and lead the way.”
Norwich is the largest city in Norfolk and is one of the oldest cities in the UK. It’s population of just over 170,000 people is only a fraction of the bigger cities like London, and Norwich does have a reputation of being fairly isolated from the rest of the country. However, Andy absolutely loves this city.
“After living in the land-locked Midlands for just over 20 years I needed to feel some freedom and space around me,” Andy explains of his move. “I love the coast and the calling of the sea has always been strong. So, whilst staying in Happisburgh for a few days, I made a snap decision to sell up and move here.”
It is a decision that many people, who are excelling in roles today thanks to Andy, are grateful for. And what better testimony can you have that there are many more who have only entered Service Service’s humble offices at 5 Queen Street Norwich because a friend or colleague has given them a number and said, “Speak with Andy.”
GOING ONTO YOUTUBE
Not one to be left behind by important trends, Andy is setting up a Youtube channel and taking the plunge into offering something unique and special to potential candidates.
“Written job specs can be for some people, for want of a better word, boring,” he explains. “On either side of the bridge, be it employers or potential employees who are looking, recruitment is about engagement and excitement.”
The Service Service Youtube Channel, launching shortly, will not just focus on job specs and opportunities but also give Andy the chance to talk about the recruitment industry as a whole. It will offer advice and guidance to candidates about how to match their CV with the job they are applying for and the Dos and Don’ts that will help candidates get noticed faster.
“There is such a vast and diverse scope of talent, skills and experience out there,” he says in conclusion. “It’s our responsibility to do everything we can to reach it.”
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