Remote-first workers: how businesses must adapt to attract the best talent
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

COVID-19 has undoubtedly caused a huge range of challenges for businesses across the country – but not everything about this pandemic has to be seen as a negative for companies. One thing that it has shown is that many roles can actually be done remotely, without the need for a member of staff to come into the office.

It may well be the case that remote working is finally going to become very mainstream, and this has led to the idea of ‘remote-first’ businesses – companies primarily made up of remote staff. This can have a huge number of implications, perhaps notably cost. It removes the need for expensive offices and lightens companies finances enormously.

But if your business is going remote-first, there are plenty of things that you will still need to think about; not least, how you will attract staff and keep them happy in the changing working landscape. Here we take a look at how companies should adapt to attract talent for a remote-first business.


Offer useful perks

The first thing to think about here is that remote staff are typically looking for something a little different to workers who are happy to work in an office. Flexibility is key to remote staff, but they also want more from their working environment. Consider the fact that in an office environment you might offer a range of perks: carpools, cycling schemes, free tea and coffee, fresh fruit etc.

You, therefore, need to be doing everything you can to incentivise remote staff too. Homeworkers could benefit from businesses providing them with office equipment such as an ergonomic chair, or a work laptop. You could go further and offer things such as gym memberships or work perks memberships.  This is actually an important point for those considering a more permanent move to remote working. They must ensure that they have a healthy working environment. Making do with inferior equipment will ultimately lead to more long term health issues.


Wellness and Mental Health


Ensure remote working is not a career drawback

It is important to understand that many people who like the idea of working remotely can be put off the concept because they think it will hinder their career. It has typically been the case that companies have not been so good at keeping track of or reward the hard work put in by remote staff. This is something that has to change in a remote-first environment.

It is up to managers and those in positions of power in remote-first businesses to closely track and monitor the successes of staff, as well as finding ways to analyse performance. Remote staff may be working very hard and wish to progress in the company, so it is up to managers to notice this.


Bringing teams together can be an event

If your company is going to have a large number of staff members who work remotely, it is important to bring them together on occasion. There is still a lot to be said for shared social interaction. It can help with team bonding and create a better atmosphere in the business, which can ultimately be a huge boost to productivity.

There are already examples of companies who are choosing to find ways to connect their remote staff after lockdown.

“Since COVID-19 we have seen a rise in the number of businesses looking to book venues,” says the team at Best Conference Venues London “whether it is for training, celebration, meetings, or staff days, a high prestige venue can really help to motivate teams and encourage staff to give more to their company”.


Look for the right behaviours

You also need to consider changing your interview process. Many people look at the benefits of remote work and think that it would be positive for them. However, not everyone is cut out of for this kind of change. When you are recruiting for candidates you need to really think about the sorts of behaviours that these members of staff exhibit, and consider whether it is going to be right for the business.

Remote staff need to understand how to get on with work without supervision. They must be trusted to motivate themselves through their working day. It can be the kind of thing that is suited to workers who are typically happy to work alone. But this might not be the best solution for those who thrive in a team atmosphere.


Final thoughts

Post-COVID-19 businesses might be more willing to make changes to the way that they operate. As long as they perceive that there are enough benefits.

It has been essential to embrace remote working as a consequence of the pandemic. This has enabled most companies to trial it and establish whether it is right for them to consider remote working as a longer-term solution.

It is important to understand, however, that not all companies will retain remote working as an option. For some it is impractical and for others, being in an office, working in a team and having the office infrastructure around them, helps to improve productivity significantly more than working from home does.

However, we can still see remote working benefits, even if it is to support the employees in times of need. When children are off school or ill while being at home to receive a delivery or meet a tradesperson and during periods of bad or dangerous weather. As we now know that people do have the capacity to do a good day’s work remotely.

One final word of caution on this topic. Working within the office, brings people together, socially interacting, collaborating and communicating. We must monitor the health impact on remote workers closely. The early signs are already showing a significant increase in mental health-related issues arising from the lockdown. Remote working could mean significant isolation for some people. This is an area that isn’t given as much consideration as perhaps it should be when discussing this subject.

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Annie Button

Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie has written for various online and print publications, she specialises in business, recruitment and career development.

Smart Recruitment Is Making Legal Hiring Easier
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

The legal profession is a rapidly growing one, both in-person and online. According to The Global Legal Post, there has been a 22% rise in British legal professionals working entirely online, with more and more agencies devoting time to their online presence. With this greater focus on digital working, the digital skills of legal professionals have come into sharp focus. Now, more than ever, recruitment agencies are adapting their methods to make sense of what legal firms need when recruiting and how to meet that need. Ultimately, it’s making hiring easier.


The international market

First and foremost, law is now an international profession. While laws are still directly applicable to their host states, people can practice from anywhere in the world with the right knowledge. Recruitment must be international, then, and law firms are adapting their approach to suit. Much of this lies in how they approach search engine optimisation (SEO), both to match Google’s algorithms and those of recriminate websites. Essentially, they are needing to refocus what they can offer candidates to appeal to any corner of the planet. This tweaking is done in combination with cutting-edge legal recruitment outlets; as noted by legal experts Thomson Reuters, newer more flexible services are being preferred over more localised old-school websites.


Talent attraction


A focus on qualifications

Nepotism has historically been rife in the legal profession. As far back as 2009, the Financial Times (amongst others) was calling for an end to the sponsorship system that reigned in many British law chambers. With firms noting the potential and skills of international candidates, it may be that the system of patronage that exists in some law firms comes to an end and a truly skills and qualifications based system comes into play. With many better quality recruitment platforms now offering validation systems for diplomas and the like, it will become more streamlined and straightforward for law firms to look at what a candidate has to offer.


Digitally native to the fore

All of this comes down to digital technology, and law firms will be looking to recruit people who are digitally native. This will be especially useful as more and more lawsuits become focused on digital matters. The Guardian reported in early April that UK councils were facing complex lawsuits over the provision of education during lockdown, and noted the complexity posed by the digital nature of this provision. Legal professionals will have to contend with more and more of these cases as society becomes, by nature, more online. As a result, recruiters will need to see evidence and demonstration of digital skills, creating a matrix in which legal qualifications and skills are mixed with an inherent understanding of the digital world.

As the world becomes more digitalised, industry will move to reflect this. This is true for the legal profession and the recruitment that it will require in the coming years. For recruiters, adapting will be important in riding the new wave of modern legal professionals and finding those roles in the job market.


Are you considering a fresh approach to your hiring strategy? To discuss what we can to for your recruitment process, and find out more about our fully integrated screening tools, book a demo by clicking here.

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Lucy Wyndham

Lucy Wyndham is a freelance writer and editor.

The 5Ws Of Being A Technical Recruiter
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019


When it comes to digital transformation and technology adoption, the burden lies on the recruiter’s shoulders. Because every organization is trying to build a strong and knowledgeable tech team.

Surely it is a piece of good news for applicants but for recruiters, nothing less than a problem to solve. The job market has become candidate driven these days where demand for tech talent has increased. The potential candidates have multiple opportunities in their hands. It begs the question of:

How to identify, assess, and hire the best tech talent

Here are the 5Ws you should consider to design your tech recruitment strategy.


Who are you looking for?

To succeed in your recruitment game, awareness of what type of talent you want on board is imperative. If you have no clear idea about your ideal candidate persona. It becomes difficult to find and attract good candidates.

So, to define your ideal candidate persona you can consider the following tips:

  • Know the job role and duties thoroughly
  • Focus on how experienced you want the candidate to be
  • Set a qualification limit
  • Talk to your current employees to build a picture of the ideal candidate
  • Describe the candidate that would fit in your organization
  • Define your ideal candidate’s skills and competencies


Talent attraction


What makes it difficult to fill technical roles?

As a recruiter, you need to gear yourself up when you are asked to hire a software developer, software engineer, data scientist, or any other technical job role. These days the demand for tech skills is high and so is the competition.

Every recruiter is running behind the best talent to get them on board. These candidates are probably happily working with another employer or already have a good offer in hand. It makes it even more difficult to attract these tech talents. You need to have a new, updated, or fresh recruitment strategy. You can consider the following tips:

  • Make the most of your social media network
  • Build your employer brand by marketing your company online
  • Create and distribute unique, interesting recruitment content that interests your ideal candidate persona
  • Ask for referrals from your current employees
  • Source good candidates from university recruitment
  • Sometimes overcome skills gaps and train potential candidates


When to start a talent hunt?

When it comes to technical hiring do not wait for the right time to start the talent hunt. Whether you have an open job position or not you should always be on toes to make your talent pipeline ready for future needs.

For the technical roles, there are fewer candidates actively looking for the job despite the high demand for technical job roles that need to be filled. So to win the recruiting game and overcome this challenge you need to be in touch with the passive candidates as well.

As per a study by Deloitte, it requires companies 52 days to fill a position. And in tech hiring, the most mundane task is to find and attract the right talent for your organization. Try considering below tips to start your talent hunt well in advance:

  • Align with the hiring manager well in advance to get an idea about candidates he/she wants to hire
  • Re-engage the previous candidates
  • Try to reach out to passive candidates through social media or connections
  • Develop a relationship with the candidates in a personalized way
  • Reach out to candidates by hosting social and networking events
  • Join virtual communities- reach out to talented candidates, engage them in conversation and make a job offer
  • Ask your existing employees for referrals


Where you should find them?

Gone are the days when tech jobs were considered boring or a cup of tea of nerdy computer experts. But now it is considered as the most sought-after job roles. It is vital for every organization to have the best tech talent working for them. We all are too aware of how necessary for recruiters and hiring managers to deal with tech talent, know their expectations, speak their language, and much more.

However, It will not be fruitful to us if we cannot find the tech talent in the first place. The tech jobs ex. software/mobile development, data science, data analysis, etc. are in high demand. Employers are offering great compensation to ideal candidates. But on the other hand, the rising demand and talent scarcity you may find it difficult to reach out to potential tech talent.  Try considering the following tips:

  • Be a part of thriving tech groups or communities to connect with tech talent and passionate people.
  • Make your own local network of people who also work in tech. It will be an added advantage for you to support your recruiting efforts. Repay them by helping them as and when needed.
  • Make the most of LinkedIn- use LinkedIn alumni feature to find out the tech talent from a specific university or school. It tells you, alumni details with an option to filter them by their skills, location, etc. You can directly approach them there itself.
  • Conduct a virtual career fair to source tech talent in a cost-effective way and assess the shortlisted candidates with tech skills assessment platform.
  • Make the most of referrals, hackathons, and other developer events


What makes a successful technical recruiter?

Even if you have a technical background or you do not, you may face many challenges and want to avoid obstacles to become a successful technical recruiter. Whenever it comes to hiring for a tech position the key tactic that a recruiter should implement is ask relevant questions and assess technical skills using a valid and reliable talent assessment tool.

The best tech recruiter focuses on evaluating candidates first and forwarding the qualified ones for the further process. Because separating the wheat from the chaff is the most crucial aspect of the tech hiring process.

Does this sound difficult? That’s because it is!

Do not worry you can consider the following tips to be a successful technical recruiter.

  • Sharpen Your Networking Skills to build a rapport with developers and programmers
  • Keep yourself updated with new technologies and their usage to understand the candidate’s previous work and the technologies they have used to do it.
  • Reach out to the experts in your field and get valuable insights from them to win the tech recruitment game
  • Dig deeper to know the techies, their expectations and what they want
  • Invest in recruitment assessment tool to save time, money and better productivity 



To become a good technical recruiter doing research and understanding your ideal candidate persona is utmost important. Spending more time on identifying and resolving the tech recruitment challenges saves yours as well as the candidate’s time. Be ready with tech hiring strategy by gathering all the knowledge about whom, where, and when to approach well in advance.


Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To discuss what we can to for your recruitment strategy, and find out more about our fully integrated communication tools, book a demo by clicking here.

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Pankaj Deshmukh

Pankaj Deshmukh is in the field of digital marketing. He works with Interview Mocha and produces content for the variety of blogs that cover topics from recruitment, social media hiring & candidate assessment. He believes that learning is never-ending process and stays updated with the latest trends that are useful for producing valuable content.

The Impact Of Coronavirus On Recruitment In The Travel Industry
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Depending on where you get your data from you will see that jobs in the travel industry have recently fallen.  By as much as 60-85% across the UK, as coronavirus lockdown measures force people to stay at home. Yahoo Finance reports estimate a 61% reduction in job vacancies, while the major UK job boards paint a more accurate and far gloomier picture.

Unsurprisingly, the pandemic is having massive ramifications across the travel industry, which in turn affects the recruitment industry. Businesses and recruiters are quickly finding themselves having to adapt to how they operate. As they prepare for changes that may end up being permanent.


Dramatic drop in vacancies

The latest job board data details just how dramatically recruitment has dropped in the UK across all industries. As firms stop hiring in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. In particular, recruitment in the travel industry is down by more than 60%. Recruitment in the hospitality and catering sectors meanwhile have dropped by as much as 85%.

In total, job adverts in the UK have declined by more than 70% in the last 10 weeks.

It’s thought the country can expect to see a significant increase in unemployment as the lockdown continues to impact the business economy.

Recruiters should, therefore, expect to be working in an entirely different landscape with much fewer vacancies and far more competition in the Post-COVID world, with many turning to online recruitment tools and services in order to adapt. Agency recruiters will potentially need to reinvent themselves and diversify, in order to survive.


Talent attraction


Online communication tools

Some recruiters are implementing the use of modern online communication tools. Allowing them to hire talent in the travel industry safely while avoiding unnecessary travel and adhering to social distancing guidelines. In particular, a range of video conferencing tools, such as Skype, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams are now allowing recruiters to talk with clients and conduct interviews with job applicants remotely with no in-person contact. In fact, Zoom was downloaded 2.13 million times on March 23, the day the government announced the lockdown — up from 56,000 a day two months earlier. It’s therefore advised for recruiters to download these conferencing tools and learn how to use them. So you’re able to work in this kind of online capacity if necessary.


The future of the travel industry

Airline and cruise ship staff are currently focusing on providing customers with support to navigate cancellations and refunds. Customers are being encouraged to postpone trips rather than outright cancel their travel plans. A recent report found people are even using their time in lockdown to plan future holidays. Good news for the recruitment industry. 55% of people who travel five or more times every year say they will likely book a future holiday during the coronavirus pandemic, while this number increases to 61% for business travellers.

Once lockdown measures are lifted, demand for travel will increase, along with the need for staff industry-wide. Of course, people will naturally be more concerned about staying safe and healthy while travelling than ever before. Recruiters who travel for work will need to take steps to strengthen their immune system to avoid falling ill.

However, online recruitment may continue to become the norm for many businesses moving forward even beyond when people are confident that the threat of coronavirus has passed. 

The travel industry has undoubtedly been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. By working with online video conferencing tools, recruiters will be able to fill available vacancies while following safety guidelines. It’s hoped these uncertain times will be followed by an eventual boom in travel and a brighter future.


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Lucy Wyndham

Lucy Wyndham is a freelance writer and editor.

5 Tips to Improve Communication in the Recruitment Process
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

HR professionals need to balance a couple of very big essentials during the recruitment process. Speed and proper communication are two of those that can be challenging to implement at the same time.

Effective communication, however, plays a role in boosting effectiveness. By zooming in on the right candidates and making the onboarding process seamless.

Talent shortage is a massive issue today and almost 73 per cent of employers report difficulties in filling positions. At the same time, employee engagement is lower than ever before. Disengaged employees cost businesses up to 550 billion dollars per year – a massive amount that can be reduced through better communication about expectations and roles on both parts.

So, what does it take to make the recruitment process more informative, more tailored and more effective? Here are some of the strategies that HR professionals can rely on to improve their communication efforts.


Data Collection

Good communication is heavily dependent on going into every meeting fully prepared.

Luckily, various technologies can be employed today to gather relevant data.

The recruitment process needs to be digitized and optimized, reducing the paper clutter that HR professionals go through. When the right HR software is utilized, it can also analyze current metrics and candidate trends. This will ensure better preparedness over the course of the recruitment process.

Gathering information about candidates to advance is equally important and there are multiple strategies to employ for the purpose.


Online Communication Is More Important Than Ever Before

Everyone is online – a fact that recruiters need to account for when communicating.

If seniors can meet each other online on dating websites, recruiters also have to be present across platforms to streamline and speed up the collection of information.

Social media platforms like LinkedIn have already pretty much become the standard in the recruitment realm. It’s also common for companies to employ live streaming and video calls, making it easier for candidates to schedule interviews in a comfortable way.

The current worldwide situation and the coronavirus pandemic are changing the way we live and the way we work. It is anticipated to have a profound effect on the ways that interviews are being carried out and onboarding is occurring.

Making use of digital technologies right now will exponentially maximize communication capabilities in a cost-efficient, tailored way that all businesses can benefit from.


Maximising candidate engagement


Automation for Some Immediacy

Certain aspects of recruitment process communication can be automated, freeing up human resources for the more strategic tasks at hand.

When a human being has to go through every single step, some processes can be needlessly prolonged. This is why tech can be employed once again to automate a few steps and give HR professionals a breather.

Here’s a very simple example of how communication automation can occur.

After a person has sent in an email with their application, they could receive an automated response. The automatic email can shed a bit more light on the company culture, the onboarding process and the additional steps that the candidate will have to go through in case they’re considered relevant for the position.

While this is a very basic example of how recruitment communication can be automated, it paints a clear picture of how everything can be sped up and simplified for the purpose of simpler, quicker and more efficient processes.


Always Have a Timeline for Replies and Processes

Many people who apply for specific positions complain that they never hear back from recruiters or that they hear back too long after the initial contact.

Every recruiter needs to set strict timelines for responding and for staging out the recruitment processes.

Having automation in place will take a lot of the administrative burden off your shoulders. This way, you can focus on setting a timeline for responding and completing every single step of the candidate filtering out process.

While such timeframes are more or less guidelines, they create a sense of urgency and move the communication forward. Our minds are wired to perform better when a deadline is in place and the rule does apply to corporate communication.


Clarifying Roles within the Hiring Team

The final tip is purely organizational but it can have some impact on the quality of communication within the recruitment team itself, as well as with candidates.

It’s very important to clarify the role of every single member of the human resources department.

Very often, there are implied roles and responsibilities that may be taken on by more than one person. Not only are such processes ineffective, but they can also lead to reduced productivity and serious mistakes down the line.

If there’s a lack of clarity, the department will need to address this internally before a recruitment campaign is initiated. What’s the role of the hiring manager? Does the team have a senior leader at all? Who’s leading the interview process and how are they communicating with everybody else?

These are just a few of the key questions that need to be addressed for proper responsibility allocation. When recruitment team members have a clear idea about their role in the department, they can start communicating more effectively with everyone involved in the process.

Improved communication can speed up recruitment and save a company tons of money. The recruitment team must work to address any ambiguities as soon as possible. Such processes are far from expensive and when carried out correctly, they can contribute to profound operational efficiency in the future.


Author’s bio

Ben Brown is a freelance writer and a content manager at dating site DoULikeSenior


Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To discuss what we can to for your recruitment strategy, and find out more about our fully integrated communication tools, book a demo by clicking here.

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Ben Brown

Ben Brown is freelance writer and a content manager at dating site DoULikeSenior with top notch communication  skills. He enjoys learning new things and learning more about people from all over the world. His passion and diligence enable him to consistently grow and improve both himself and his career.

Are You Too Old? Overcoming Ageism At Work
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

When you think of a typical tech worker, what mental image comes into your head? If the image was of a man in his late 20s, wearing designer clothes, trainers, and maybe goofing about playing ping-pong or snooker on his lunch break — then you might have just experienced a subconscious nod to ageism.

At the same time, you can be forgiven. Because this mental picture is also largely correct. Most tech workers really are that young. In fact, they are even younger. Apart from Google’s average working force at the ripe old age of 30. Other tech giants have demographics with median ages as young as 27, 28 and 29 years of age (that is AOL, Facebook and LinkedIn respectively).

So, why do tech companies only seem to favour the very young?


Ageism as a narrative 

The tech companies have long been suspected of ageism. But the truth is this discrimination isn’t so much of a suspicion as it is an overt mentality. As the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg put it so succinctly back in 2007: “young people are just smarter”.

The overarching philosophy among tech companies appears to be that millennials are the cultural epicentre for Big Tech. Ageist discrimination is, according to Gareth Jones, the CEO of the UK-based tech company Headstart, even worse when it comes to the computer coding side of things. For some reason, ageism flies under the discrimination radar. The reason the sort of ageing culture described here is allowed to persist is, is because it just doesn’t seem as sensitive of an issue next to other discriminations — such as those to do with gender and race.

The apparent ubiquitous nature of ageism in our tech culture — and our wider working culture at large — has even prompted the director of operations at Age Diversity Forum, Paul Owen, to refer to it as “the biggest area of bias [today] receiving the lowest level of attention”.


Ageism as a ticking time-bomb

Ageism might be pervasive, but it cannot last forever. It is an unsustainable discrimination. The reason being is that our society is ageing. In order to remain functional, Big Tech will not only have to open its doors to older employees, it will also have to fight to retain them.

The UK government’s own figures predict that by 2025 a third of the workforce will be 50 years or older. By the end of the decade, they will actually be the largest demographic. In some areas, we can already see the ageing demographic creeping up. For example, the average age for workers in mining and quarrying is a few decimal points shy of 45 years old. While the median age for a UK engineer, in general, is 42.

Fortunately, some businesses are starting to get wise of the impending tsunami of older workers. They are reconsidering age-old preconceptions about what it means to be young and old in a place of work. In a sobering series of surveys, the company Aviva discovered that about half of its 60-years-and-older employees did not want to retire. They only considered retiring because they felt pressured to do so, due to their age. On top of that, nearly 40 per cent reported ageism to be a real barrier to progress.

But there was some good news. In fact, the most interesting statistic the Aviva surveys picked up was this one: that people in their 60s generally appear more motivated at work than their 40 and 50-year-old counterparts.


Ageism and the “missing million” workforce

New studies, like the Aviva surveys with their surprising conclusions, are helping to open new doors on how we look at the bigger picture. Of how society, age, and work all interact with one another. An important cultural shift occurred in 2017 with the government’s “Fuller Working Lives” report from the Department for Work and Pensions.

In the report, it was recognised that nearly a million unemployed over-50-year-olds would be keen on returning to work if the right support mechanisms were in place. That is, a standing army of a million people ready to fill skills shortages and bring invaluable corporate memory with them back into the economy. “Corporate Memory” being a buzzword for the lifetime of knowledge that older workers no doubt have.

This “missing million” might even be a necessary lifeline for some sectors. For example, the UK engineering sector has been haemorrhaging employees for over four years and is facing a steep recruitment crisis.


Talent attraction


Strategies for overcoming ageism 

The recruitment crisis might explain why some engineering companies are already one step ahead of the game. They have actively changed their working hours and recruitment policies to attract veteran employees.

One example is Tideway, the company currently building a ‘Super Sewer’ under the Thames River in London. Tideway established a so-called ‘Returner’ programme back in 2015, that allows over-55s to transition slowly back into work. Another example can be found with the company Landmarc, which sources a quarter of all its labour from over-55s. It mostly recruits former military workers who already have a good knowledge of engineering. Both Landmarc and Tideway utilise flexible hours and transition phases to draw in the older crowds.

Another, more universal option, might be to bring in what’s known as a “Midlife MOT”. This phrase has its origins as a seemingly unremarkable comment — with barely a paragraph of its own — in the government’s Independent Review Of The State Pension Age report of 2017. A Midlife MOT basically gives over-45s a mixture of face-to-face consultations, lectures, access to e-learning tools, and even financial advice to prepare them for the next career-phase of life.

When Aviva introduced the Midlife MOT to its own staff, it was an enormous success with a 94 per cent enrolment rate. The enthusiasm here speaks volumes. It suggests that ageing workers really are looking for support to help orientate themselves for better working prospects.

Other strategies involve further challenging our preconceptions. At the beginning of this article, you were asked to think of a typical tech worker. Now think of a typical apprentice. The chances are, you thought of someone barely out of school. But actually, most apprentices tend to be a fair bit older. Over 40 per cent of them are 25 years or older, for example. It is now becoming more common for apprentices to be in their 50s or 60s. In fact, learning as an apprentice can be a great opportunity for an older worker as they start to ease their transition out of full-time work. Allowing them to learn new skills in other or similar job roles.

Finally, we should learn to avoid certain buzzwords that are ageist in nature. Sometimes without us even realising it. Terms such as “recent graduate” or “digital native” in job descriptions, for example. They are essentially a way of saying if you are old don’t bother, we haven’t even thought about you.


Undoing ageism

Like all societal struggles for change, confining ageism to the history books will not be easy. It also won’t disappear overnight. But by educating ourselves to the challenge, spreading the message to others, and showing our support and encouraging strategies like those listed above, ageism will be undone quicker than we might realise.

This article was written by Neil Wright, a writer and researcher for RJ Lifts, an lift engineering and maintenance company located in Stoke-on-Trent, UK. 


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Neil Wright

This article was written by Neil Wright of Webster Wheelchairs, one of the NHS’s leading suppliers of wheelchairs, rollators, and other elderly and disability-friendly eq

Recruitment planning – Post-Pandemic-Crisis
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

People often say that everything in this world happens for a reason. Well, sometimes it’s hard to understand and often it can feel very unfair when you are the one that feels the full impact. Covid-19 indiscriminately affected so many of us. It all happened so quickly, that most of us had little time to adequately prepare. And now of course, many of us are already starting to contemplate, what happens next?


Looking ahead

The eternal optimist in me says that we need to start planning and to prepare for life after this crisis, because if we were a good company going into this situation, then we can potentially be an even better company coming out of it too.

This disruptive situation has provided most of us with an opportunity to reflect on everything, and assess our strengths and weaknesses. We at Smart Recruit Online will be making some fundamental operational and strategic business changes as a result of what has happened, that is for sure, and I have been looking at new tools and systems that we will need to help make that happen.


What’s next for Smart Recruit Online?

Our strengths and areas of expertise will certainly remain within Online Recruitment. Specifically, in talent attraction strategy and recruitment management and selection process and delivery.

Our credentials going into this crisis, saw us consistently outperform every other online recruitment service when it comes to key recruitment metrics, such as application volumes, quality of applicants, time and administration efficiencies and successful fulfilment rates from direct applications and we intend for it to stay that way.


Talent Attraction


Future challenges

There will be significant challenges ahead when it comes to post-pandemic recruitment of staff over the coming months, as we get back to some degree of normality. With unemployment predicted to skyrocket, impacting application numbers and quality, having efficient systems in place is going to be crucial.

Having the best possible recruitment solution in place to assist you post-pandemic, when the upturn arrives, doesn’t actually require a massive investment of time or cost. SRO have been helping dozens of hospitals all over the UK to recruit front line staff during the crisis and have onboarded entire teams in less than an hour. We also have a free version of our platform and very competitive, low cost options, for paying customers that want to activate a wider range of tools and services.

Anyone can trial our full suite of products and services free of charge for 3 months and use this opportunity to build a business case that is based on evidence and facts, not a fancy sales pitch.

I would like to invite you to join us for an online demonstration, on how you too can quickly and easily get ahead of the game and prepare for the post Covid-19 era.

You can take a tour and then delay the start of your trial until you have your first campaign ready to go, so there is nothing to pay now, just 30 minutes investment of your time to join one of our system specialists and do something that will potentially enable you to deal with the recruitment challenges that lay ahead far more effectively.

Good luck to you and your business, we hope that you and loved ones stay safe and well.

Mark Stephens



Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

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Mark Stephens

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.

Are you concerned about your future as an independent agency recruiter?
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Will COVID-19 influence fundamental changes to the traditional agency recruitment model?


Even if we push aside the extreme market conditions that we are currently experiencing, most industry experts will agree that an overhaul of the way that the traditional independent agency recruiter works is long overdue. Contingency recruitment, in particular, has encouraged bad practice in many areas. This has subsequently lead to ‘the recruiter’ receiving its unfair share of bad press.

To appreciate how radical this transformational change could be, we need to quickly go back to basics. Starting with the genuine pains, challenges, frustrations, bottlenecks that clients say they endure and the recruitment objectives of what our prospective clients say they want to achieve.


Agency reseller



Analysis of over 10,000 completed client surveys by the team here at SRO, highlighted the following items firmly and consistently in the corporate clients top 10 recruitment objectives:

  1. Recruit more efficiently – less time and less effort for better results
  2. Attract more quality Direct Applications to Jobs (Not via a 3rd party)
  3. Deliver a better user and applicant experience
  4. Keep recruitment hiring costs to a minimum
  5. Fill more jobs first time and in less time (<20 days)
  6. Apply better due diligence hiring decisions to reduce attrition
  7. Centralise & control recruitment processes whilst enabling hiring teams
  8. Be more agile in adopting new technology, products and services
  9. Improve reporting and better understand what is working and what isn’t
  10. Recruit ethically, improve diversity and remove bias from the recruitment process

The consistent elephant in the room for many professional recruitment companies is that their clients see them as the lesser of two evils.  Simply put – they use them because out of necessity, not because they want to. This strains the relationship at its foundation and any positive transformation must involve a radical shift in perception.


Repetitive rhetorical conversations need to dissolve, and real conversations backed up by actual change need to emerge.


This does not mean that there isn’t a role for the ‘independent agency recruiter’. In fact, according to the CIPD, REC, APSCO and the Office of National Statistics, UK business during the last 10 years, have consistently recruited around 20% of its staff via 3rd party service providers. This includes temporary and permanent staff.

Another more recent global report by AI market leaders, Burning Glass, confirms that around 80% of all hires now come via applications made online. That statistic reflects the increasing number of job-related searches taking place each month via Google. This is now in excess of 17m searches coming from unique UK IP addresses each month.


That’s more than 50% of the working population doing a job-related search online every month.


Subsequently, ‘prospective applicant’ behaviour is making the trend of recruiting online easier and more effective and when done properly, can dramatically reduce a company’s dependency on using agency recruitment services with a contingency fee model.

When we factor in the current market conditions there is a very strong business case for independent and agency recruiters to consider making that adjustment to their business model now.


independent agency recruiter


So, what is the plan?

If the independent agency recruiter is going to successfully reinvent themselves, they need to provide solutions that accurately reflect client demands first. Savvy entrepreneurs & investors will tell you that you must solve a real problem worth solving for customers first and develop your business model second.

That may sound straight forward and logical but that does not mean it’s easy. There is a good reason that most disruption comes from start-ups; they simply do not have the baggage of incumbent ideas and are not entrenched in yesterday’s models.


 If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down

(even if it has made you money in the past)


Of course, it’s hard to change the way we do things, especially when we have been doing things a certain way for a long time. That is why Smart Recruit Online has made this our mission – our raison d’etre is to devise solutions that accurately reflect client demands.

We achieve this by continuously innovating at the intersection between technology and phycology, between computer science and behavioural science. Whereas the recruitment ecosystem evolves constantly – this intersection remains the frontline.

As developers of recruitment technology solutions, we have drawn significant inspiration from the marketing sector in the last 10 years. Digital Marketing Consultants and Recruitment Consultant work in very similar ways. One is generating leads, while the other generates candidates. However, the marketing sector gets a lion’s share of investment and can rapidly embrace the fluid changes and uses of technology so much more effectively and quickly.

They are masters at developing evidence-based approaches and evolving creative new business models born from real data and focussed on true ROI.

Think Hubspot, Marketo or Infusionsoft for Digital Marketeers. These platforms and their advanced tools and methodology have become an integral part of the marketing arsenal, to the point that they simply would not be able to perform without them now.

Professionally presented dashboards, segmented with layers of detail and evidence validating each stage of the process are the norm. They highlight areas for improvement in real-time, enabling those real conversations we talked about.


This is how you can transform your business and elevate above reactive tactical recruitment and into strategic talent acquisition.  


Also, we must think about the one-dimensional commercial terms that an independent or agency recruiter typically offers. It’s a major part of the reason that only 20% of jobs go to this sector of the recruitment supply chain.



independent agency recruiter


So, how do you access the other 80%?


With some adjustment to your commercials and delivery models to reflect the level of difficulty and the work involved, you can quickly access the other 80% of jobs and increase your probability of commercial success.


You must be able to provide clients with a full suite of services to meet their needs on attractive commercial terms.


Here is the full range of services that you COULD be offering. They cover every possible type of job and all the transactional options that the client has:


  • ATS or Recruitment Platform: provide a low cost, yet highly effective technology solution to the client, that allows them to do everything else for themselves.


  • Recruitment Advertising Media: The client possibly has an ATS or recruitment solution in place, but is interested in buying media more intelligently and to get better value for money against their limited recruitment budget.


  • Applicant screening: The most time-consuming aspect for internal recruitment teams is the screening and selecting of the applications, especially on high volume roles. If you had effective AI tools that accurately rank candidates for relevance, against the job details, this time can be reduced by around 80%.


  • Fixed Price Solution: Most companies can attach a value to each recruitment campaign, but for 80% of jobs that doesn’t support an agency fee. Getting paid for the work you do, is a sound business model, so if you can make £300-500 profit on each campaign for what is typically between 1-3 hours of your time, then the cumulative effect, when you do this 12 times each month, is between £3600-6000 in guaranteed revenues.


  • Contingency & Retained work: When you can provide the full range of services outlined above each time that the company needs to recruit, you will always have advanced or exclusive visibility of the jobs that are struggling most and that presents you with the opportunity to gain either an advantage or to negotiate an exclusive or retained arrangement with your clients. Your successful fill rate will subsequently go up and the overall revenues that you generate from success fees will potentially double or treble. You already know this model of course 😊


  • Agency & Vendor Management: If the client still wants to use a network of 3rd party suppliers, perhaps you can provide a solution that outsources and removes all those unwanted agency sales calls? There are going to be a lot more of them over the coming months.


So what is stopping you from adapting your current model?


To get started you will need a technology partner, that can provide you with an advanced recruitment delivery platform (not a CRM) with a suite of best-in-class tools so that you can deliver the full range of services that actually meet the clients need. Services that have been developed around the 10 objectives highlighted at the beginning of this article.

Select a partner with the right technological capability and an understanding of the talent acquisition ecosystem and wider recruitment industry.


Every journey begins with a single step, but the best journeys are those you embark on with the right partner in tow. Even the best climbers in the world don’t attempt Everest without a trusted team of Sherpas. With that in mind, we have done the heavy lifting for you.


independent agency recruiter


We are a technology partner that can support you, develop the skills required and adapt to this more advanced way of working, with on boarding, training and ongoing support.

We will also help you access better online client branded media advertising packages, that you can resell media to clients, and that will ultimately help you and the clients to fill more jobs from direct applications whilst making you a profit.

It is important to note, that this is not an abandonment of the old ways, or a discarding your existing client relationship style. It’s a reinvention of your business and the services that you are prepared to take to market, in order to not just survive, but thrive within the Post CV19 world.

The first movers in this space will undoubtedly be the major players in years to come, so getting a head start in this traditionally slow to respond sector is an opportunity for those who want to capitalise on the inevitable rebound.

Remember the 3 types of people in this world, those that make things happen, those that get on board with what is happening and those that wonder what just happened.

Steven Covey states clearly in the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, that the most common trait amongst highly successful people, is that they tend not to procrastinate once they identify something that makes sense.


Click here to find out more and to arrange a call with one of our systems experts. Ask about our 3 month Free Trial package, to help get you started.

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Mark Stephens

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.

The benefits of video technology for recruitment (and how to make the most of them)
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

The advance of technology has created major changes for the world of recruitment, making it easier than ever for employers to search for and connect with potential candidates and prospects around the world.

The growing use of video technology has been one of the biggest developments, giving companies a fresh new channel to communicate their brand values and conduct interviews with talent more conveniently than ever before, regardless of geography.



At a time when the world is facing major disruptions to travel and business norms, innovations like this are proving indispensable to organisations looking for the best ways to carry on regardless.

However, the benefits of video technology shouldn’t be taken for granted; as with any new technique, businesses will need to learn and get used to the specific quirks and requirements of using video for recruitment in order to get the most out of it.

Some companies have been using video interviewing methods and recruitment techniques for years, and they have proven its worth many times over, both in periods of disruption and in our day-to-day activities.

Here, we will share some of what we have learned about getting the best out of video technology in order to help you unlock all of the benefits available.


What are the advantages of video technology for recruitment?


As online video content has become increasingly common, the advantages it provides have become very clear. Video offers a flexible, immediate and highly accessible medium for corporate communication, providing much greater scope for engagement and intimacy than emails or static written content.

Recruiters are currently finding all sorts of uses for video, including:

  • First-stage interviews
  • Video job advertisements
  • Preparation and training videos
  • Candidate success stories and video case studies
  • Candidate promotional videos

Of these, the ability to carry out interviews remotely has arguably had the greatest impact, providing hiring managers with a way of meeting and getting to know applicants that’s more versatile and convenient than ever before. Instead of needing to block out time to organise a face-to-face meeting, all of the parties involved can simply dial into a video conference call as soon as it’s convenient, and get straight into the process of getting to know each other.

A well-organised video interview can deliver the following benefits:

  • Businesses can organise interviews with candidates working on busy schedules, including those who have existing professional commitments. This is particularly beneficial for companies looking to access top-level talent who already have jobs within their chosen market
  • Recruiters and candidates can avoid the need to travel and book time away from other projects to attend the interview, creating productivity and cost saving benefits
  • Employers can meet a higher number of candidates in a shorter amount of time, helping to accelerate the overall recruitment process
  • Having a formalised video interview process creates a more consistent interviewing experience for candidates, putting applicants on a level playing field and helping the recruiter make decisions in close calls
  • When compared to a phone interview, video-based options are a much better option, as they enable you to see a candidate’s body language, facial expressions and overall appearance. This helps you piece together a picture of how they would fit into your business

In our experience, most candidates go straight into a final interview after a successful initial video interview, highlighting the effectiveness and proven benefits of this process in the world of corporate recruitment.


What are the potential pitfalls of video interviewing?


As with any kind of technology, video interviewing comes with its own potential issues, and getting video interviewing right requires companies to be aware of these. Of course, technical hiccups can’t always be avoided, but there are certainly steps that can be taken to avoid the most common pitfalls.

For the employer or recruiter, poor planning can lead to a video interview feeling disorganised or chaotic. This may be because efforts weren’t made to create a presentable professional space to host the interview, or because your network connection cannot cope with the demands of the live video stream, resulting in a glitchy or laggy conversation. This can be disastrous for the interview, resulting in both parties being unable to hear each other, so it is vital to make sure the connection has been properly stress-tested in advance.

Meanwhile, candidates also need to be properly prepared for the specific conditions created by the video interview. Some will naturally feel nervous about looking into a camera or seeing themselves on screen, meaning they do not perform at their best, while others will find their home internet connection is not up to the task. As such, ensuring that applicants are mentally ready for the video chat – and have the equipment they need to make it happen – should be a top priority for recruiters.


How should participants prepare for a video interview?


Getting the most out of a video interview means that applicants and employers alike need to take the right steps to get ready, bearing the unique requirements of the video technology in mind.

This means:

  • Making sure both parties have a strong internet connection, which may require relocation to an area with the best possible signal. This should include encouraging other people on the same network to avoid taking up too much bandwidth with other streaming programs and services during the call
  • Both the candidate and the interviewers should set up an appropriate space for the meeting, with a plain, clear background, good lighting conditions, a lack of glare and shadows, and low background noise
  • Any devices used during the video interview should be properly charged, or plugged in where possible, to avoid a low battery interrupting the conversation
  • Participants should come up with a backup plan for any problems that arise. This may mean having a secondary device or software program on hand, just in case

In most other ways, preparing for a video interview should be basically the same as getting ready for any kind of interview, as the conversation itself won’t be too different from an in-person meeting. After all, the goal of the process – to find out about the skills, values and personality of the candidate – remains the same, so the topics of their questioning are unlikely to change.

Similarly, most of the tips offered to applicants ahead of a face-to-face interview will apply equally to a video call. No matter whether the interviewer is there in person or appearing on a screen from another country, it remains just as important for candidates to maintain eye contact, plan out structured answers, ask the right questions and provide a good sense of their natural abilities.

Essentially, video technology ultimately doesn’t change what’s most important about the interview process: namely, its value as a tool for employers and talented professionals to get to know each other. However, by properly harnessing the advantages that streaming technology can provide, you can ensure your recruitment processes are as flexible and convenient as they need to be to handle all the challenges 21st century life throws at you.

Written by Carlo Miller, Recruitment Partner at The People Pod, for Smart Recruit Online.


Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

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Carlo Miller

Carlo Miller is a Recruitment Partner at The People Pod.

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