Exciting futures

Jane Cosford looks at recruitment and retention in this industry’s diverse talent pool, beginning with a short insight into the UK jobs market.

As I write staff at the Earls Court Brompton Hall are breaking down stands and hard working exhibitors are starting to assess their time spent at Screen Media Expo; two days of strategy summits, drinks receptions and constant networking. Amongst them, first time exhibitors, DOOH Jobs and its recruitment partner WOOP! are visibly tired but in buoyant mood.

‘We received an excellent response to our recruitment offering at the show, says Steve Morahan, Director, DOOH Jobs. ‘The quality of visitors at Screen Media was reflected in the amount of decision making staff coming to discuss their strategic recruitment needs both now and in the next two quarters.

Denise Flahey, Director at WOOP! Ltd, is in a cautiously optimistic mood when I talk to her on the stand. The Report on Jobs published that day by the REC and KPMG has highlighted further marked increases in both permanent and temporary/contract staff appointments during April. Permanent staff placements continued to rise strongly in April, albeit at a slower pace than March's peak. As a barometer of what’s happening in the DOOH sector exhibiting at Screen Media has proved an excellent market measure for WOOP!. “I am pleased for my customers and candidates that the economic situation has begun to move on, they can now start to implement succession plans that have previously been put on ice.” comments Flahey.

With broadcast giants such as Harris investing heavily in its support of its push into the Digital Out of Home market, elsewhere higher staff appointments are being underpinned by a further expansion of demand for staff.

The availability of staff to fill job vacancies continued to rise in April and recruitment consultants report another increase in permanent staff salaries.

Kevin Green, the REC's Chief Executive, says:

"This Report on Jobs highlights continued growth in both temporary and permanent employment, although the rate of growth has slowed slightly compared to previous months. The first test of the new administration will be to nurture the slowly improving but fragile jobs market.

"The incoming Government must address two immediate priorities – stimulating jobs growth and reducing expenditure without creating a public sector recession through shedding thousands of posts. Private sector employers have used short-time work, sabbaticals and pay freezes as a means of reducing costs whilst retaining high-performing staff. Innovative resourcing strategies will be equally crucial within the public sector."

Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG comments:

"The latest figures show that the jobs market is continuing on the road to recovery albeit at a slower pace than the previous month. While the UK's gradual emergence from recession is starting to lead to better job prospects in the private sector, many public sector employers have finally woken up to the scale of the financial challenge that is coming their way. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the long predicted public sector recession has started to hit the jobs market and therefore the upwards trend we have seen over the last couple of months may come to a halt."

So where do companies thinking of expanding their teams begin?

Identifying and recruiting the right candidates

Its beneficial to establish key information before you start recruiting, whether this is a new or exisiting role, through observation of the job holder, questionnaires and interviews, or an expert panel. Which tasks make up the job, what is the objective of the position, what does the person need to achieve in the role, how does it relate to others in the organisation and externally. Personal qualities and skills will inform on which candidates can best deliver on your objectives. Taken together all of this analysis should form the basis of a job description and person specification/job profile.
Should you choose to select an agenct or consultancy to assist in your search examine the market carefully before making your choice. Different services are provided by different agencies. It is important that an organisation selects an agency which reflects its aims and objectives and has experience of its labour market.
The REC provides the following advice in its factsheet on recruitment when using an agency
  • Be clear about what is required from an agency. Provide a brief in writing, ensure it is fully understood and that all information given is current and accurate.
  • Always provide accurate, detailed and up-to-date job descriptions and/or person specifications/job profiles.
  • Agree, in writing, the responsibilities of the agency and the organisation (for example, who will be responsible for checking qualifications or handling references).
  • Agree the selection tools to be used and the criteria against which applicants will be selected from the initial approaches, to the short-list stage. Ensure these are consistent with the organisation's recruitment policy.
  • Ensure equal opportunities standards are adhered to consistently and are in line with the requirements for in-house recruitment.
  • It is important that agencies develop a good understanding of the organisation and its requirements.
To ensure the agency is meeting the good practice requirements set out in this factsheet and adding value to the organisation’s recruitment activity, it is essential that they monitor agency performance. Those employers and agencies committed to collaborative partnerships are more likely to achieve positive results.
Flahey says, ”At WOOP! We place an emphasis on finding top calibre people and it is crucial to the success of finding the right individual to really understand the company’s requirements. We do this by taking a thorough job profile, person specification and gain an understanding of the company culture in order to ‘match’ the person to the company. As a member of the REC we take a structured approach to candidate selection.
Recruitment assessments, such as psychometric testing can help organisations boost performance by improving recruitment, retention and training processes. Their tools can give you the recruitment testing and selection tools needed to identify the ‘right person’ for the job.

By defining the behavioural requirements of a job role it is possible to ‘match’ candidates with jobs, using a behavioural assessment to predict how an individual will act in a work environment. You might want to find the behavioural characteristics specific to good sales people – they need them to be outgoing, confident and persuasive with real drive and determination. So, how do you identify this? How can you, as part of your recruitment selection, tell if the person you are interviewing has the ability to close or a passion for people?

Recruitment assessments will tell you a person’s strengths and limitations, their communication style, how good an opener or closer they are, what kind of relationships they build with clients and their presentation style.

It’s a great way to simply and reduce the risk in the selection process.


So as the market moves forward and staff begin to move around more how do companies hold on to their key people? “In our experience many of the candidates looking for work in the current climate feel they have been undervalued during the recession or have reached a ceiling in their career prospects with their current employer,” says Denise. “We suggest incorporating the following processes into your business to really get the best out of your new hires for the long term”.

  • Offer a training and development programme to continue to grow an individual’s skills and abilities.
  • Provide a career path and work together to set career goals.
  • Appraisals and performance reviews help employees feel valued and facilitate a regular dialogue with the line manager.
  • Psychometric testing is a valuable tool in retaining staff through profiling strengths and limitations so training and development can be tailored accordingly.
  • Incentivise and motivate staff with employee reward schemes / bonuses.

Ilona Klevansky, Managing/Creative Director, Nova Versa Cross Media Marketing Consulting Agency advises “Look at your staff as partners and incentivise them to do well for themselves and the organisation.”

Locomoda, the US Based international provides work that is rewarding and interesting for its employees. Many of their clients projects are screened in world famous locations such as Times Square New York, Steve Randall, CEO, believes this high profile visibility of their work is undoubtably very motivating to team members. However, Steve adds, ‘I am also mindful that no one has a job for life any more and must keep moving on both for themselves and the company’.

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