Potential candidates joining a West Bridgford recruitment firm were put through Apprentice-style tasks in order to land jobs – after the company cited a lack of talent in the sector.

360 Recruitment, along with sister company Code Red Associates, held an assessment centre for 20 applicants as an alternative method for hiring new staff.

It has now taken on six new recruits, who will undergo a 12-week training programme with the chance of securing a permanent role in the company. Director Leigh Osborne said: “The reason we did it was because there’s a shortage of talent with recruitment experience in Nottinghamshire. There’s a lot of over-promise and under delivery in this sector. “So we took a view of how to drive talent into the business if talent is relatively limited, by developing our own staff. An assessment centre was the mechanism in achieving this. It’s revolutionary – I haven’t seen it before.

“It’s about putting in place a robust process that allows us to attract talent. We’re trying to do it in a different way to see if that can give us the edge.”

The two recruitment companies – formed more than five years ago – include 360 Recruitment, which works in the construction, retail, meat processing, and engineering and technical sectors, and IT specialist Code Red Associates. They are both based in the same office at Landmark Business Centre, in Tudor Square, employing about 20 people before the new intake. In January, a subsidiary company called Recruitment Training Academy (RTA) was set up in a bid to drive the next generation of recruiters. The first step in developing its own staff was to hold the assessment centre, which was part of a multi-layered recruitment process.

About 400 people initially applied for the trainee jobs. After some were selected for interview, the candidates were whittled down to 20 people to attend the assessment day at the City Ground’s executive suite on Thursday, March 30. They were given four pitching tasks, which included trying to sell a random object in two minutes, similar to those seen in BBC One TV show The Apprentice. The group was cut down to 12 halfway through the all-day event.

But only six people were eventually chosen by the assessors – made up of company bosses – for the positions, and will now undertake a 12-week work-based training programme towards a level three NVQ certificate in principles of recruitment practice. They will be split between 360 Recruitment and Code Red Associates, earning £18,000 salary pro-rata, and will be offered a permanent job if they complete the scheme.

Mr Osborne added: “The application form sifted out about 40 percent of people because there were so many people who couldn’t actually fill one out properly. “There’s a lot of different elements to recruitment so we want to see if they can sell, stand up and present, as well as analyse information. “The course is bespoke and happens real-time inside the business. It’s not classroom-based but in the office so they can see a fully-working recruitment company and understand how it works – all while being paid.”

The assessment centre will now be run once every three months over the next year and, once the company doesn’t need any more staff, will try sell its assessment centre service to other recruitment companies.

Amber Ford, of Clifton, was one of the successful candidates after enjoying the insight she gained into the recruitment industry. The 19-year-old said: “This was actually the first time I had ever attended anything similar so the whole process was very new to me. “I’m from a retail background but in search of a change so the training element is perfect for me and massively beneficial.”

Originally published by: Liz Prest, Office Manager
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