Building Strong Foundations

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Background

Pick Everard is an independent multi-disciplinary architectural and engineering partnership. Established in the 1860s the business has nine regional offices in Bury St Edmunds, Derby, Galway, Glasgow, Inverness, London, Nottingham, Sligo and Taunton, with the UK head office based in Leicester.

With over 400 employees spread throughout the UK the staff of Pick Everard includes a wide range of professionals with skills to match the company’s comprehensive range of engineering, architectural and construction management services. They cover concept and feasibility studies through all stages of design, site supervision, project management, cost control & commissioning.

Challenge

As a multi-disciplinary architectural and engineering business, Pick Everard relies on a talented and diverse team of employees. The business operates within a number of industries including health, education, industry, defence, central and local government, leisure, retail and financial services and as a result, demands employees from a variety of backgrounds and skill sets.

Csaba Princz, HR Assistant at Pick Everard comments, “The diversity of skills, backgrounds and experiences within the business is incredible and includes engineers, surveyors, environmental consultants, architects and many other professional services. However, from a human resources standpoint recruitment can be challenging due to the specialist nature of each position the HR team is asked to recruit for.”

Traditionally the Pick Everard HR team has approached specialist recruitment companies or has tried to recruit directly via advertisements within relevant trade publications.
Princz continues “In the past we have used specialist or general recruitment agencies to help fill vacancies. Although the quality of service is reasonably good, the costs for filling each vacancy are very high. A traditional recruitment agency will typically charge a high percentage of an employee’s first year salary. The professional and highly skilled workforce at Pick Everard means this is a very expensive option.”

“As a HR team we have also tried recruiting directly in order to cut out the fee we pay to recruitment agencies. This has also proven difficult due to the depth of specialist knowledge needed to recruit for a specific position, for example, knowing exactly what publication a structural engineer with over nine years experience reads. There are also the associated costs such as the advertisement design which can add up.”

Issues

The architectural and engineering industry is a competitive market and Pick Everard competes for talented staff with a number of multi-disciplinary construction consultancies and smaller independent practices. Due to the specialist skills and experiences needed within the business Pick Everard has traditionally recruited pro-actively due to the long lead times taken to fill vacancies.

“Long lead times are one of the most difficult issues we face in the HR team. Potential employees will often be on three-to-six month notice periods which mean the HR team has to plan well in advance.” Princz commented.

With a total of ten offices, located from Somerset to Glasgow, the geographic spread of the Pick Everard offices is also an important factor within the companies HR planning, as HR is centrally managed and co-ordinated from the company’s head office in Leicestershire.

“Recruiting for regional vacancies outside of the traditional big cities throws up its own challenges. As a HR team we have to think about potential candidates living locally to the office, and how to reach them, as well as recruiting nationally in order to attract the level of talent we need within the business. Helping relocate new employees is common but has an obvious time/cost implication as candidates may decide mid-way through the recruitment process they do not want to relocate. As a result, getting a good short list of potential candidates for any position is crucial, otherwise the HR team can waste a lot of time and effort” he says.

Solution

In 2008 Pick Everard approached eRecruit Solutions, an innovative new flat-fee online recruitment business which helps organisations gain optimal exposure for their vacancies across a broad range of online recruitment resources. At the time Pick Everard was recruiting for a specialist Graduate Engineering role and needed a quick response.

Dave Morgan, Managing Director of eRecruit Solutions comments, “Pick Everard needed to source candidates for the position quickly and effectively. They needed to reach as wide an audience as possible due to the specialist nature of the vacancy and so needed national exposure. eRecruit Solutions were able to take a brief from Pick Everard and write and tailor a web-enhanced advertisement.”

Morgan continues, “The vacancy was on-line within hours and was featured on a range of leading web based recruitment sites including Jobsite, TotalJobs and Fish4Jobs, as well as numerous other generalist and ‘niche’ job sites. Pick Everard were soon sent over 15 relevant, pre-screened applicants and were quickly able to select the top candidates to interview.”

Csaba Princz comments, “The ability to tap into eRecruit Solutions’ specialist on-line recruitment knowledge has saved the business a lot of valuable time. The vacancy was on-line quickly and effective and allowed us to begin receiving applications immediately, rather than waiting for specific publications to be printed and distributed. The number of on-line recruitment sites that our vacancy was advertised on meant we received a fantastic response rate from job hunters who otherwise would not have seen our own advertisement.”

Princz continues, “The time the HR department has saved, and the speed of the responses we have received has been excellent, however the eRecruit Solutions fee structure is the cherry on the cake. For a flat fee of £499 eRecruit Solutions wrote and designed the advert, placed the vacancy on numerous recruitment web sites, managed and screened all of the applications and liaised with us throughout the entire process to make sure the candidates we were receiving were appropriate, offering to amend the process if not.”

Dave Morgan, Managing Director of eRecruit Solutions comments, “Since we first began working with Pick Everard we have filled numerous other positions for the business. We are delighted to have helped such an interesting business and look forward to a healthy ongoing relationship.