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Testing the Market

Recently we have been doing a lot of work on recruitment, both for some of our clients and to add to our own team. In particular we have been looking, via an international student placement organisation, for a student to join us on an internship to do some marketing.

As part of the recruitment process we asked the students to produce a report of 1,500 words for us. All of us in the office – non-marketeers – consider to be fairly straightforward and would take about an hour to research and maybe an hour to write tests suitability in a number of ways. We use this type of testing for the following reasons.

  • To determine the quality of the research
  • To get an understanding of the logic and way in which the information is laid out.
  • To assess presentation skills.
  • To gain an understanding of the quality of English.
  • To assess intellectual capability.
  • To understand the individual’s personal commitment to quality of their own work.
  • To see how willing the candidate is to make an effort to get the role.

The above are all important elements in the role. Interviewing alone is the least effective method of recruiting. Any individual can attend an interview and say the right things. We need evidence of the above, not just a candidate’s say-so. The difference is between someone who just turns up for work and someone who is hungry to learn.

We were quite amazed that the students who expressed interest in the role thought what we asked for was hard work. If these students think something as simple as this is hard they will sink without trace here, as they would in many other working environments. This is common throughout recruitment, once we ask for a candidate to do a bit of testing, it all goes quiet. If a candidate is not willing to evidence he/she has the skills we need, how can we be sure that candidate is right for the role?

We have incredibly high standards. We give really excellent training and whoever comes here will be fully supported and learn an astonishing amount, as well as working in a very dynamic, interesting and generally fun atmosphere. To give you some examples, last week one of my junior HR Consultants spent a day with one of our clients, a logistics company. It’s not just a great way to get closer to clients, she gets more work experience of an industry she doesn’t know well and also gets to know a bit more about the types of people who work there. This week our HR trainee is going to spend the day with a contract cleaning company. Another one of my team is currently running the HR role at a large local academy.

We offer considerable creative opportunities and once we are satisfied that a person can do so, we empower them to use their own initiative – far more than most businesses do.  I have trained all three of the young people mentioned from scratch in employment law this year to the point where they are able to advise unaided in quite complex matters and are doing meaningful interesting work. But you have to have the right raw materials. We spend time getting that right and I know that here the wrong person will be utterly miserable and the right one will do exceptionally well because my team reflect my standards. The same is true in any company.

We’re interested in students who will make a bit of an effort, not for us so much as for themselves. We want someone who will absolutely love the way we work, the type of work and will blossom in the surroundings. There’s a lesson here for anyone who is applying for a job. Show you can do the role. If you can’t don’t apply for it!

If you know a student who wants to get some really practical marketing experience get in touch.

Russell HR Consulting provides expert knowledge in HR solutions, employment law training and HR tools and resources to businesses across the UK.

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