Selecting graduates and apprentices this year?

Share this page:

Selecting graduates and apprentices this year?

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Here are our thoughts on how to get ahead in the race for the best.

With youth unemployment at an all time high, our clients are naturally being deluged with candidates who, on paper, appear suitable for employment.  So how do you avoid making selection a lottery? Is stipulating tertiary examination grades the answer?

The most reliable selection method for most types of recruitment is to use assessment centres which are often preceded by an online psychometric assessment. This allows our consultants to design feedback interviews that can be combined with role-play as well as individual and group exercises from which our assessors can score against your organisation’s competencies.  At the end of the centre we can use standardised scoring processes to rank candidates in order of performance so that high potential is identified.

Whilst assessment centres can be quite expensive if you are recruiting for low volumes, they are ‘the gold standard’ in employee selection at this, and indeed at every, level with proven, high predictive validity.

The alternative approach is to use online assessment.  We were recently approached by a new client who was concerned that one of their new graduate recruits was underperforming and showing very limited cognitive ability.  We tested the candidate using personality and ability tests online and immediately discovered that he scored poorly against his peers.  Our ability to benchmark candidates is a powerful tool which ultimately helped inform the client as to the employee’s potential.  Now they would be reluctant to hire without testing.  The cost of online assessment is less than assessment centres; however it is not quite as reliable as many competencies, such as problem solving using ‘in tray’ exercises or measuring a candidate’s interaction with others, are still best done face-to-face.

Whilst stipulating tertiary academic examination grades can be useful, we find that, unless they are at post graduate level, academic exams rarely effectively assess critical thinking in a work environment.  In any event academic qualifications fail to assess ‘soft’ people skills.  One major, recent study carried out in the US suggested there is no correlation between academic qualifications and future job success. This may be for a number of reasons but it is borne out by our use of ability tests and personality assessment in selection which often highlight mismatches between tertiary exam grades and actual performance in work related ability tests. Furthermore, for apprentices we normally also recommend the assessment of craft related skills such as mechanical comprehension or following instructions.  Such critical skills rarely form part of any formal school study.

If you would like to discuss your own organisation’s plans for this year’s output from universities, colleges and schools, then please do contact our team. Now is the time to start planning for the summer period of assessments.

Approaches Newsletter – July 2012

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Our Approaches newsletter features a roundup of our latest thought leadership and news releases and can be found by clicking here


Ramsey Hall’s Succession Planning Article – Building the Organisation of the Future

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Are you looking at the future of your business? Why not read our article on Succession Planning, published in December issue of Executive Grapevine.

Please click the download button below, or the contact button to request further information.

Download Contact

Please provide your details to download this information

Thank-you for your interest.
Please provide your name, email address and telephone number so we may contact you with any updated information about this and other publications.

Name (required)

Email (required)

Phone number (required)

 Succession Planning Article

Objective Succession Plans Improve Business Performance

Friday, October 21st, 2011


When organisations complain that they cannot get the skills they need and are hampered by their inability to ‘import ‘ talent from abroad, they need to step back and see how they can grow their own capabilities for long term success.  More often than not, CEOs complain to us that their bench strength is insufficient, yet many insist on promoting employees on the basis of ‘craft skills’ alone.  This should be avoided as leadership requires much more than this and invariably organisational performance suffers.

Our tip is to take a futuristic approach by taking a strategic look at the future needs of the business and to identify the key roles and ‘pools ‘of jobs required for organisational success. You need to either design or review your competency framework to provide an objective basis for assessment, development and, if required, recruitment.  Once a pool of potential candidates is identified, we would recommend a capability development centre is designed to assess the participants against your required competencies.

When this objective data is gathered it can be compared against actual performance and appraisal data to identify high potential.  We call this a ‘Bench Strength Review.’ At the same time individual participants can be given their personal development plan from which to begin the capability development process.

Is it worthwhile in such unpredictable times? Well without a succession plan you risk failing to identify and harness your best talent.  Or worse, your competitors reach out and attract your best talent leaving your organisation back at square one!

We have prepared a more detailed paper on succession planning.  If you would like a copy please call, Matthew Davis on 02380 236944 or email medavis@ramseyhall.com

Reducing People Costs Through Improved Performance – white paper

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

With numerous high profile insolvencies having been filed over the last couple of months, now is perhaps a good time to take a look at how your organisation can potentially cut people costs whilst maintaining, or even enhancing, business performance.

To view this white paper, please click here


Talent Management – white paper from Ramsey Hall

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

At a time of unprecedented economic pressure you may feel that investing money in talent management programmes is too much of a luxury. Well, there is strong evidence to suggest that companies who invest are better placed to succeed, when recovery gathers pace. In this paper, we look at some false assumptions people have when considering their talent management strategy.

Cllick here to view our white paper.



Is Ratan Tata right about UK management?

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Global industrialist, Ratan Tata, has reportedly made a blistering attack on UK managers’ work ethic according to reports in The Times (May 21st 2011).  He claims that British managers, “will not go the extra mile.”  The rest of his comments are well documented. As leading talent management experts, we have asked ourselves, “Is he right”?

Having worked with a broad spectrum of managers across the UK, within global corporations to SME’s, our experience proves that the motivation and behavioural competencies demonstrated by those with managerial responsibility reflect the culture and climate prevalent within their organisations.

Indeed our extensive programmes within traditional engineering and industrial sector businesses reflects this as we have identified a direct correlation between those organisations  where investment is made in employee communication, learning & development and succession planning and increased levels of employee motivation as well as engagement. Where employers have not had the resources, inclination or focus to identify and provide the learning & development interventions that enable individuals, teams and the organisation as a whole to meet its goal and objectives, the feedback from employees demonstrates a disengaged workforce and a lack of motivation that will drive the organisation to success.

In many unenlightened organisations it is often to readily able to identify employees who demonstrate behaviours which reinforce company cultures which have not changed for generations and our now unacceptable.  Why? Because they have never been encouraged to behave differently; they have not been given the opportunity to help drive change and complacency sets in. In the worst cases, they do not know better or worse, they hate their job and cannot wait to go home.

Whilst many within the talent management sphere are concerned with over regulation of the employment market, we believe all employers should invest in their people and develop a high performance culture if UK business is to succeed in the global economy.  Discretionary behaviours that drive business success only take place if the company culture motivates teams and managers to have the self awareness and emotional intelligence to grasp a better way of working.

Ratan Tata makes a sweeping generalisation. In truth, I am sure some managers will fit this profile, but in the main I think that Managers within Britain Plc respond with aplomb to a challenge – they just need the development interventions that enable them to realise their full potential.

I would welcome the thoughts and opinions of other Talent Management Experts – drop me a line and let me know what you think?  .