Recruitment: Applicant Tracking Systems – pros and cons

Recruitment: Applicant Tracking Systems – pros and cons

Diversity and Inclusion

An applicant tracking system, or ATS, is a software application that helps manage your recruitment workflows.

It streamlines the entire recruitment cycle from posting jobs onto numerous websites, to receiving, filtering and screening applications, sharing candidate details with multiple stakeholders, communicating with candidates, scheduling interviews and giving candidate feedback.

Some ATS can also integrate with other HRIS to generate new employee records, prepare employment letters and contracts, start online induction processes and add new starters to payroll, thus reducing the admin workload and ensuring that all the proper hiring steps are followed in a timely and accurate manner.

ATS have mostly been used for volume recruitment, but an increasing number of SME’s are now using them to facilitate their recruitment activities.

When all works well, an ATS can make life much easier for recruiters, saving time and reducing costs.

In recruitment, speed is of the essence, and a good ATS can help speed up the hiring process by reaching out to candidates more quickly, retaining their interest and motivation so you don’t lose out.

It can also produce a shortlist of candidates with screening tools that enable you  to set out skills, education and skills requirements, allowing you to focus on candidates who meet the necessary criteria.

However, be aware that this process can also run the risk of missing out on good candidates who have a different accreditation that is equally valid but may not be recognised by the system.

Other faults may be caused by applications being rejected if the scanner is unable to fully read CVs or fails to recognise the format.

If the system malfunctions or times out when the candidate is completing their application, is incompatible with certain browsers, is difficult to access from mobile devices or is tedious to navigate, candidates may become frustrated and give up altogether.

On the plus side, interviews can be scheduled easily and more promptly, follow up emails sent in batch and reminders set, reducing the number of hours spent in labour intensive and repetitive processes, freeing you up to focus on interviews.

If your hiring process involves multiple stakeholders, the ATS can facilitate communication and collaboration by allowing users to access candidate profiles, make notes, leave ratings or check where they’re at in the pipeline.

Crucially, an ATS allows to you to immediately contact those that have not been successful, helping you to follow best practice and promote your reputation as a good employer.

The metrics produced by the ATS can help you to measure and analyze your recruitment statistics such as time to hire, cost per hire, most successful job sites and acceptance rates. This will enable you to make continuous improvements in your search for talent.

It can act as a repository for storing all your recruitment-related information and retains candidate records for the future in the form of a talent database.

You can create a GDPR-compliant talent pool of good candidates who may have been unsuccessful first-time round, enabling you to reach out to them as soon as another suitable position becomes available.

However, be aware of your candidates’ rights in relation to their personal data and ensure that your team has the right processes in place to manage candidate requests effectively and in line with the GDPR requirements.

Under GDPR, recruiters need to respond to candidate requests, such as updating or erasing their details, within one month and be able to prove when or how they have actioned a request.

Provide candidates with your privacy notice explaining how you process personal data when collecting information. This also applies to all candidates, including those who apply indirectly via recruitment agencies or social media.

Under GDPR, candidates will have the following rights of access:

  • To obtain confirmation that their data is being processed
  • Access to their personal data
  • Access to any other information relating to their data.

Any requested information must be provided free of charge unless otherwise stipulated in the ICO guidance, and within one month of the request being submitted.

If a candidate asks you to correct or update their personal data, you must do so within one month. If you have shared the personal data with other parties, you must also inform them of the update.

Candidates can also request the deletion of their data although you can refuse the request in accordance with ICO guidance.

Transparency is the key principle of the GDPR and an ATS can build an audit trail of when candidate requests have been met, providing a clear history of all communications.

Storage limitation is another core principle of the GDPR, and proper steps must be taken to ensure you don’t retain your candidates’ data for any longer than is necessary. An ATS can set up an alert system warning you when a candidate is approaching their data retention limit. Their details can either be archived (if appropriate) or completely removed from the system.

Should you ever be audited or receive a candidate complaint, you need to be able to access the associated data quickly and simply and an ATS can make this process fast, simple and reliable.

The right ATS will also provide confidence in where and how your data is hosted, ensuring you do not breach any significant data storage requirements.

If this all sounds too complicated, remember that the pros can easily outweigh the cons, and a reputable ATS will provide you with the necessary tools to manage your recruitment processes effectively, professionally and ethically.

Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment

Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment

Diversity and Inclusion is at the heart of every business agenda. Now more than ever, HR professionals need to demonstrate the ability to develop D&I strategies to attract, recruit and retain a diverse workforce.

In addition to the moral importance of adopting an inclusion strategy, a study conducted by McKinsey and Company found that businesses with a diverse workforce performed 15 -35% better than the national industry median. In another study, they also found that companies with gender diversity at the executive level were 21% more profitable than their less diverse competitors.

 According to a white paper prepared by Robert Walters, 85% of employers said that increasing diversity in the workforce was a priority. Yet only 46% do not have programmes in place to attract diverse candidates.

When attracting and recruiting a diverse workforce, posting the company’s policy on D&I is simply not enough. Actions and results speak louder than words.

So, what can businesses do to ensure that they are not just paying lip service to D&I and taking positive action?

 

Recruitment tools, resources and techniques

When working with recruitment consultants, ask recruiters to provide a diverse network of candidates. Team up with consultants who have an awareness of current diversity and inclusion best practice and who can demonstrate a credible track record of building diverse candidate pools. Including diversity in your SLA with clear objectives and outcomes and highlighting the commercial implications if these are not achieved, is also a powerful lever in ensuring your diverse recruitment needs are met.

Job ads can be more carefully worded to ensure that the language targets a diverse background of candidates. Proofing tools such as Textio or Unitive can help ensure your job posts and recruitment material covers all social groups, by identifying words or phrases that may subconsciously put off professionals from certain backgrounds from applying.

Using social media as well as LinkedIn to promote your recruitment can also expose you to a wider and more diverse audience.

Other tools such as gamification can help identify skills that may not normally be assessed through traditional techniques. It can also attract skilled candidates who may otherwise be discouraged from applying.

Extending recruitment fairs to non-graduates will expose your company to a wider range of potential talent that may not have academic experience but can demonstrate the right skills, capabilities and behaviours to successfully fulfil the needs of the role.

Consider how accessible your business website is to disabled users. One way to do this would be to have it tested by a group of users with different disabilities such as visual or hearing impairments, motor and cognitive disabilities, then make any adjustments where necessary.

Referral schemes offer a good incentive for existing staff to refer new candidates to the business. However, whilst this is a cost-effective aid to recruitment, be aware that it could also add a risk of unconscious bias through the perpetuation of a particular candidate type or background.

Unconscious bias is an unquestioned or automatic assumption about an individual, usually based on positive or negative traits associated with a group they belong to. In recruitment, unconscious bias prevents the recruiter from treating candidates as individuals and making automatic assumptions about the suitability of the candidate based on factors that are non-role related such as age, gender or background.

Some techniques for overcoming unconscious bias during recruitment involve providing anti-bias training for recruiters and hiring managers. Helping recruiters and hiring managers to identify areas where they may have their own unconscious biases, will help them to approach recruitment in a more fair and objective manner.

Removing certain information from CVs that are not relevant to the role, such as the name and gender of the applicant or the name of the school, college or university, channels the recruiter’s attention to focus solely on the candidate’s qualifications and experience.

Having CVs assessed by a wide range of stakeholders across the business, including staff at the same level of seniority as the candidate, provides a broader and more objective range of perspectives on the candidate’s suitability.

Avoid hiring decisions being made by one individual as this will allow unconscious bias to subtly filter out certain types of candidates who may be capable of performing the role. Include a range of stakeholders in the process to ensure fair and objective decision-making. Ensure any hiring decisions and rationale are clearly documented and transparent so that they can be easily reviewed, challenged or defended.

Finding diverse candidates for senior-level roles can be more challenging as the skills and experience required at that level is more specialised and the membership of certain professionals can be less diverse.

This creates a significant obstacle to achieving a diverse leadership team and there is a clear lack of diversity in business leadership as a whole. In order to create a more diverse workforce at senior levels, recruiters should be open to considering candidates from a variety of professional, industrial and national backgrounds who possess transferable skills, as well as considering candidates from overseas.

Mentoring can help junior employees from all backgrounds to develop into senior-level roles and encourages the nurturing of future talent from within the business. Providing training and development opportunities to all employees for future leadership roles is also an essential long-term solution.

Mentoring schemes that partner with other organisations can help improve diversity for senior management by allowing high potential staff from diverse backgrounds to connect with mentors who are also from diverse backgrounds and who can offer advice and support for their professional career development.

Onboarding can easily be overlooked as a key component to promoting D&I. Communicate your D&I goals to new employees and share any survey results, targets and action plan to demonstrate the company’s commitment.

Invite a diverse line-up to deliver the induction programme so that new joiners feel more welcomed and can see where they can succeed.

Finally, collating, preparing and analysing accurate and relevant metrics can help pinpoint any issues in recruitment and diversity. Hard facts will build support amongst stakeholders and assist in the implementation of any necessary changes in recruitment processes to ensure best practice measures.

Post-pandemic Accountancy support and HMRC changes for 2022

Post-pandemic Accountancy support and HMRC changes for 2022

finance designated

Over the past few years, it has been difficult to keep up with the ever-changing landscape that is, business finance. There have been several schemes announced by the UK Government to support both businesses and their employees but staying on top of all the changes and keeping everybody informed hasn’t always been easy. There have been several changes that come into effect this year, from the end of the Coronavirus working from home tax concessions to the commencement of tax digital and an increase in HMRC’s late payments interest rates. Not to mention 2021 IR35 announcements. We have discussed some of these changes before but we thought as we are hitting a busy time of the year for accounting, it might be useful to share information and resources about these upcoming changes.

Coronavirus working from home tax concession to stop in April 2022
If you or your teams have spent some time working from home since the start of the pandemic, you probably already know about the Coronavirus working from home tax concessions. From April 6 2020 employees have been able to claim some tax relief if they have needed to work from home because of the pandemic. The tax relief is worth between £62 and £125 pa. This is based on 20% of £312 pa or 40% of £312, depending on whether the employee was a basic rate or higher rate taxpayer in the tax year. The allowance can be claimed in both tax years 2020-21 and 2021/22 if an employee was required to work from home at some point during each of the two tax years. By concession, whilst the amount is defined as £6 per week, it allows the full £312 pa to be claimed for the full tax even if the employee only spent a single day working from home. If an employee chooses voluntarily to work from home then they are not entitled to the concession allowance.

As the UK government are no longer recommending businesses to ask their staff to work from home, the scheme will be ending on 6 April 2022. After 5 April 2022, if an employee wishes to claim tax relief for employment-related expenses they will need to comply with the well-established strict traditional tax rules, and only if they have to work from home. Furthermore, claims can only be made for the actual time they have to work from home and the concession that even working from home for one day permits a whole year’s claim will stop.

HMRC says that to be able to claim tax relief, if applicable, an employee can only consider costs like gas and electricity, metered water business phone calls, including dial-up internet access etc.
HMRC say that you cannot claim for the whole bill, just the part that relates to your work i.e. the extra costs incurred by working from home and that you’ll need evidence, such as receipts, bills or contracts, to be able to claim tax relief.

Making Tax Digital for VAT affected companies
From 1st April 2022, all VAT-registered businesses will have to submit their financial accounts information via software that is compliant with the UK governments Making Tax Digital scheme. Since 2019 only businesses which exceeded the VAT threshold of £85,000 have needed to submit their tax details in this way. From next year, however, an additional 7,000 registered VAT businesses will be eligible.

To comply with the new HMRC Making Tax Digital rules, these businesses must have a cloud computer software package – one which is compliant with the government’s Application Programming Interface (API) system. It will no longer be possible for VAT-eligible businesses to submit via the HMRC website.

You are probably wondering whether the government is recommending a particular piece of software, they are not. But businesses that don’t have an accountant will be required to find their own third-party provider to provide the appropriate software and meet the new regulations. The majority of current desktop accounting software won’t be compatible with the government’s system and will likely need to be updated. The same applies to older accounting software packages. Cloud-based software packages should automatically update for HMRC’s Making Tax Digital system. At Designated Medical we are already helping our clients transition to Tax Digital. If you would like accountancy and compliance support, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team at Designated Medical.

The changes to IR35 and how it could affect you or your employees
Not necessarily a change for 2022, however, it is something we are still being asked about and something people are still getting their heads around. IR35 is tax legislation that ensures that contractors who are knowingly or not working as ‘disguised employees’ pay the correct tax.
You may have applied for contract jobs in the past where the company said they wanted to pay you under an ‘umbrella company,’ i.e., an agency. This is because it is more tax-efficient for them to do so. You become what is termed a ‘disguised employee’, and the company doesn’t have to pay your National Insurance contributions, nor do they have to offer sick pay or holiday leave. That’s because the agency pays it.

Equally, when you’re a contractor working as a limited company, you can pay corporation tax at 20 per cent on your profits, claim business costs against your tax bill and avoid making National Insurance Contributions (NIC) by paying yourself through dividends.

Gordon Brown introduced IR35 back in 2000 when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. That’s because when working as it should, HMRC IR35 tax can protect both the contractor and company. Crucially for the government, it also means HMRC won’t lose out on tax. This year though, changes to the rule have come into place.

When you are determining whether or not IR35 applies to you, you will either be found to be ‘inside IR35’ or ‘outside IR35’. These phrases are crucial to defining and understanding your status, and considering whether or not the legislation will impact your future contractual work.

At Designated Medical, our objective is to allow you to focus on growing your business whilst we provide the business support services you need. We offer a full range of services including Medical PA, marketing, accountancy HR and Recruitment.

We provide you with the expert financial support you need for your business, flexibly and cost-effectively, so that you can ensure you deliver the greatest client experience. Our team of Designated Medical Accountants are fully qualified and licenced and will take responsibility for the professional management of your finances. They will be supported daily by our team of qualified bookkeepers who will handle the day-to-day transactions.

If you would like to know more about our Accountancy services, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly finance team who will be more than happy to answer any enquiries you may have.

 

Finding the perfect personal assistant

Finding the perfect personal assistant

EVP

I need to employ a PA, but I have never employed anyone before. What are my responsibilities?

Becoming an employer is an exciting part of your journey and creating good processes as an employer from day one will ensure a positive experience. As an employer, you have responsibilities from a financial and accounting perspective as well as from an HR and management point of view. You must register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as an employer before you are able to pay your first employee. You will need to decide what salary to pay and ensure you adhere to the Government rules regarding minimum wage. You will also need to check if you are responsible for registering your employee for a pension. Check that your employee has the right to work in the UK and also arrange any checks; for example, a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.  All employers must have employers’ liability insurance with a minimum cover of £5m.  

Employment contract

Every employee must have a written statement of employment or contract of employment. This should confirm salary, holiday entitlement, sick pay arrangements and all other relevant terms and conditions. You must state clearly if the offer of employment is subject to any checks, which may include qualifications and reference checks. It is very important to ensure the contract is signed by your emp­loyee as soon as possible. Many employers produce a solid contract but then fail to follow through to the signature. 

As an employee and manager, you are legally responsible for providing a safe and secure working environment and you should check whether you are responsible for having a first aider. You must also ensure all of your employee’s personal data is stored securely. 

Given all of these responsibilities, you might wonder whether you are better to employ someone on a self-employed basis, but be aware that you need to take care to avoid falling into problems.

Employed or self-employed?

HMRC advises that you must check whether an individual is self-employed in both tax law and employment law. You can be held responsible for unpaid tax and penalties if a mistake is made. According to the HMRC website, an individual is probably self-employed if most of the following statements are true. 

The individual is:

 In business for themselves, responsible for the success or failure of their business and can make a loss or a profit;

 Able to decide what work they do and when, where or how to do it;

 Able to hire someone else to do the work;

 Responsible for fixing any unsatisfactory work in their own time;

 Paid a fixed price for their work by the employer – it does not depend on how long the job takes to finish;

 Using their own money to buy business assets, cover running costs and provide tools and equipment for their work;

 Able to work for more than one client.

The use of the words ‘probably’ and ‘most’ by HMRC make it hard to have 100% clarity and so it is best to proceed with caution. If you are in any doubt, please take professional advice. Becoming an employer for the first time is an involved process and it is important to make sure you get everything right from day one to avoid issues later on. 

If you are uncertain about the best way forward for you, then you would be wise to take expert advice which could save you time and money in the long term. 

How do I interview for the role of medical PA? What questions do you suggest I ask?

When interviewing for a medical PA, it is important to ask questions to understand experience and expertise.

You need to ensure an individual is qualified to do the role, but also to focus on the softer skills relating to dealing with patients, working with others on the team and dealing with the wider community, including insurance companies and hospital booking departments. 

Interviewing a PA

Ideally, you are looking to find the best medical PA to suit your practice, with the skills that you need and the attitude and behaviours that fit well within the culture of your team and in line with your values. 

Every individual in your team has an impact on the quality of patient experience that you deliver and choosing the right team members is of the highest priority.

Prepare for the interview by re-reading the candidate’s CV, highlighting any areas where you would like to explore in more detail or any gaps between employment that you would like to understand. 

Write a set of questions that ensure you explore the candidate’s CV. This will also provide a gentle opening to the interview by focusing on the individual’s past experience. 

Secondly, consider your job description for the medical PA role and highlight areas that have not been addressed by the CV. 

Start by ensuring the candidate has an adequate level of expertise and experience to undertake the role. Is there evidence of working in equivalent roles? 

Does the candidate know the systems you use? 

If typing is required, has the candidate confirmed their capabilities? You may want to test typing skills separately. Create a list of questions that allow you to check thoroughly for experience and expertise. 

Are your values aligned? I believe the best way to assess this is to use the competency-based interview technique. You should ask relevant questions about past experiences and how the individual handled them.

How does writing your Employer Value Proposition helps to create a healthy workplace culture?

How does writing your Employer Value Proposition helps to create a healthy workplace culture?

EVP

What is an Employer Value Proposition (or EVP) and what does it mean? How does it differ from the Employer Brand (or EB) and why is it so important for companies to define and promote their EVP?

One way of defining the difference between the EB and EVP is to imagine the EB as an outward-facing marketing proposition and the EVP as an internal exercise that outlines the offerings provided by the company in return for the skills, experiences and capabilities an employee brings to the business.

The EVP is a strategic statement that defines how your business wishes to be perceived and outlines the company’s vision, mission and values. These are supported by the company’s offerings in terms of learning and development, career progression, benefits and remuneration thus shaping, supporting and giving credence to the EB.

The EVP and EB go hand-in-hand so that the experience matches the promise. Any mismatch between the two would undermine employee trust and engagement and no doubt lead to poor reviews on review sites such as Glassdoor.

A well-defined EVP can give employers a competitive advantage in the war for talent as candidates become more selective and discerning in their choice of employer. This is especially helpful if the business doesn’t have the budget to compete with the remuneration offered by its larger competitors. The EVP can promote other unique qualities that differentiate the business from its competitors, thus attracting the right talent.

An EVP should provide incentives that reward hard work and create a supportive, inclusive working environment.

According to research from Gartner, “Organisations that effectively deliver on their EVP can decrease annual employee turnover by just under 70% and increase new hire commitment by nearly 30%”

So how do we go about developing an EVP?

This should not be a top-down exercise dictated by senior management since leadership teams will see things differently from employees. Developing an EVP should be an inclusive activity involving HR, management and employees to ensure that strategy, vision and working philosophy tie in with reality.

Use works councils where they exist or create focus groups that represent a fair and diverse cross-selection of all employees. Ensuring inclusion across different levels, functions and disciplines, will help to make sure that any subsequent messaging resonates within each target group.

Start by identifying all the benefits of working at your company and the unique strengths of the organisation versus its competitors in terms of remuneration, working environment, career progression, learning and development and culture.

This could be done as a focus group exercise and/or through the use of a simple questionnaire. Alternatively, consider using the results of the questionnaire as a basis for your focus group discussions.

When considering remuneration, it’s worth bearing in mind that a generous remuneration package does not always compensate for a poor working environment and a lower-than-average remuneration package will need to rely on other unique selling points to attract key talent. A pleasant and welcoming working environment is as important as remuneration. A comfortable workplace with good facilities, bright open spaces, breakout zones and stylish furniture can be a very attractive feature. Supplying free healthy foods and snacks is also a welcome offering.

Covid has changed the face of the working environment and more companies are adopting a hybrid working solution. Where this is not possible (i.e., in customer-facing roles such as leisure, fitness and hospitality), businesses are providing more flexible working solutions such as job sharing and condensed hours to attract target audiences who value flexibility and a healthier work-life balance.

Opportunities for career progression is also an attractive proposition for high potential individuals who are looking for challenge and growth. Many employers like to showcase success stories of people who have risen in the ranks and who have been encouraged and supported throughout their career journey from entry-level positions to senior-level roles.

Examining the company’s policies on training, performance development and promotions will give clarity on the company’s attitude towards career progression and growth and how the company supports this by providing opportunities for learning and development and supporting good performance management and development practices.

The culture reflects everything from human, social and even political issues. Identifying with the corporate culture can help candidates determine whether or not their values and beliefs are aligned with those of the company. If candidates share the same beliefs, attitudes and behaviours as those identified by the company, this gives them some reassurance of a harmonious working environment which could lead to a longer-term working relationship.

Other benefits can also cover aspects such as financial strength and constant growth, unique products and services and a strong commercial footing, reassuring candidates in terms of security, stability and longevity.

In each stage of the EVP definition process, consider how the company fairs against its competitors in terms of remuneration, working environment, culture and career progression. This will help to establish the company’s USP against the competition and promote aspects that are more generous or attractive than its competitors.

These exercises will help analyse and define the company’s strengths which will form part of the EVP and give it more honesty and credence.

Where can you go from here?

For inspiration, take a look at EVP statements from corporations such as Nike, Airbnb and Starbucks who have invested time and effort in establishing strong EVP statements, testimonials, quotes and blogs providing a diverse and varied view of life at their organisation.

By giving detailed descriptions that support a few key points, you can present realistic and honest EVP statements that support the recruitment, retention and motivation of employees and unite current employees under a common manifesto.

 

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