Managing the recruitment of apprentices

As a Mum to teenagers, I'm very familiar with the laid-back attitude that this generation can have, says Teresa Fisher

I’ve added sourcing candidates for apprenticeships in Recruitment and HR to my areas of expertise over the last few weeks – its using a very different skillset of mine! Although some applicants are more mature, the majority of candidates are probably under 22 have little or no work experience, and a very limited experience of trying to get a job.

As a Mum to teenagers, I’m very familiar with the laid-back attitude that this generation can have, but it’s been a frustrating, and enlightening time for me, with the extra support and encouragement that I have had to give.

The most re-occurring theme, when extra info is needed, a cv isn’t written correctly, an application needs completing, is ‘Will you do it for me’. I’m as harsh with the applicants as I am with my own children -‘No’. I will explain exactly what is needed and why, but I won’t complete it on behalf of a candidate.

I was never the Mum who delivered the forgotten lunch or the forgotten violin to school, or who cleaned the rugby boots, nagged about homework or packed the swim kit – my children are self sufficient and aware of consequence. Hard work, extra effort and striving to get things right does pay off, so I’m proud to say that I have supported some of these candidates like I would my own child!

I advise , support and encourage all my candidates – and often nag a little , but if the candidate for an apprenticeship scheme quotes within their initial application all those cliché phrases like ‘ works to deadlines’ and ‘IT literate’ and ‘ Can follow instructions’, I expect that they then can demonstrate that by following the advice that I give by phone and by email, which may involve a rewrite of their CV and personal profile content, inclusion of information that they didn’t think relevant and perhaps using a more traditional templated CV layout. It will take some time from them but will greatly assist their chances with this or any role – any is likely to be the basis of their CV for years and years to come .

I have been making sure that I give thorough explanations of why I’m suggesting that they put in the time and effort – I’m not able to make any assumptions about their previous experiences using a recruiter or job hunting, like it’s possible to do with mature candidates.

It seems that many will quote phrases that are old and tired, that they can’t substantiate as they haven’t thought through the process – ‘I work well in a team’ but when asked to provide examples they aren’t even able to tell me of a sports team that they have been in.

I’ve interviewed some amazing candidates – educated, eloquent, friendly, funny and motivated whose increased understanding of how it works has greatly improved their chances of their CV truly representing them throughout the process until they can get in front of an employer to be able to truly impress and get them on the way to the career that many of them will flourish in.

Written by Teresa Fisher Director of Grant Recruitment

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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