World of Online Recruitment Part Four
Author: Kate Earnshaw, Senior HR Business Partner (Consultancy)
Kate has been with Prospects Online since September 2016 and has seen many changes over the years but the biggest change came in the last 12 months when the new Prospects Online website was launched. Up until September 2019, Prospects Online was produced as a weekly paper bulletin and electronic publication alongside the old website, but in 2019 the paper-based version ceased and a shiny new website with additional functionality was launched.
I thought this was a good time to ask Kate about those changes, to reflect on the last 10 months and to see what she thought the affects of the current Covid19 pandemic might be on recruitment and advertising habits in the future.
Route into Recruitment and Advertising…
I have worked for Bradford Council for 16 years and all my roles have been connected to children and young people. My move to Prospects came in 2016 after deciding that it was time for a change I saw this job and thought “that’s the one”. I was attracted to the fact the role was still linked to improving the outcomes for children and young people. I was also excited to take on a new challenge and learn new skills. Luckily I got the job, even though I limped in to the interview with a broken toe (waterslide incident in Spain 2 weeks prior!) and 4 years in I’m still here, still developing and growing Prospects Online, and most importantly still loving it.
The last 12 months have been pretty hectic for the Prospects Online team with some very long days, late evenings and occasional sleepless nights. It has all been worth it though, seeing the new website and what a difference it is making to our users. No one disputes that the first couple of weeks after the launch were a little rocky, but it was worth the effort for what we have now which is a far superior, easy to use and visually appealing site.
The major benefits to customers are the revised pricing and ease of use; we were able to reduce the cost of advertising significantly and create an intuitive customer portal, giving instant access to application data and reports. Customers no longer have to worry about publishing deadlines either; submitted adverts are turned into live vacancies swiftly and with ease.
The latest exciting news from Prospects Online is the introduction of Trust Licences and advert bundles which further increase our customers’ ability to make significant savings.
As well as the benefits to customers, the new site has also massively improved the candidate experience. A candidate can now have a full web based profile which; once completed; becomes their ‘virtual application form’. This means that as soon as they see an ‘apply online’ they can apply in just a few clicks, saving them time and reducing the chances of missing out on a position due to lack of time to complete the application form.
Applicant numbers have grown and grown since introducing the new site. Since the new website launched in September 2019 there have been over 4,000 online applications for vacancies in Bradford and West Yorkshire; one teaching vacancy in April 2020 received 97 online applications!
The biggest challenge for advertising…
One of the main challenges in the world of education recruitment is filling those roles that are notoriously harder to fill. Examples of these include technician positions, (Science, Art and Design Technology for example) cleaning positions and caretaking posts. The team at Prospects Online are fully aware of this difficulty and are always on hand for advice and guidance in attracting interest in a position. We also work closely with the PACT HR Consultancy Team who can offer more detailed and specific support in recruitment and selection processes.
The impact of Covid-19…
We have all found ourselves in unchartered territory with the Covid-19 pandemic; it’s simply something that we have never experienced before and that has caused many challenges in every day life, for every one. The pandemic didn’t come with a manual to help us navigate through it so we do what we can, in the best way we can. I consider us fortunate to have been able to maintain a continuous service to our customers and candidates throughout.
Unsurprisingly, at the start of lockdown we had a drop in the number of adverts being placed. Quite simply because no one knew what was going to happen and most education establishments were either fully or partially closed. Things quickly began to pick back up however and seem to be getting back to the usual numbers: Vacant posts still need to be filled, maternity needs to be covered and careers need to begin.
Luckily with Prospects Online, customers can place an advert from anywhere, candidates can apply from anywhere and on any device, and the Prospects team can fully support them whilst we are also working from home. A number of schools have moved away from traditional interviews, utilising technology and successfully doing video interviews and virtual school tours. I do wonder if this will become the “new normal” in some way.
The future of advertising and recruitment…
One thing Prospects Online is very aware of is that budgets are; and will continue to be; stretched within education. We continually monitor our pricing and strive for excellent value for money. As previously mentioned, the recent introduction of the advert bundles and Trust offers is a example of one of the ways we can help to keep advertising costs down, whilst maintaining the same great level of service.
We know that Prospects Online is attractive to candidates. We have 3,500 registered candidates, and this number grows week on week; averaging around 50 new registrations a week. We have a strong reputation as the first place go to search for jobs in Bradford schools; that is something I’m very proud of. We have a large and growing social media presence on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin and before lockdown we were regularly attending local jobs and careers fairs to attract further talent into the education sector; this is something we are keen to continue when we are able to. Put simply, I’m feeling really positive about the future of Prospects Online!
Want to know more?
You can find out more or register for a free customer or candidate account (or both!) by visiting prospectsonline.co.uk
- For part one of our series of articles, 'The New World of Online Recruitment', read here.
- For part two of our series of articles, 'The New World of Online Recruitment', read here.
- For part three of our series of articles, 'The New World of Online Recruitment', read here.