Recruiter May/June 2024

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How recruiters can spot those double-jobbers SPLITTING TIME? INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters Business intelligence for recruitment and resourcing professionals May/Jun 2024


05 Fraud prevention boss urges recruiters to tackle double jobbing

Recruitment firms, as well as employers, need to take the fight to time-theft and recognise when an individual is double-jobbing

New consultancy looking to help recruitment leaders Fledgling consultancy

Satori wants to give leaders the opportunity to optimise and revolutionise

Chantal Gautier on the issue of feeling like an imposter in the workplace, and Tara Ricks on why AI is here to stay in recruitment

Recruitment businesses need three key cornerstones to help the business flourish

Tech & Tools

The latest recruitment technology and services

COVER IMAGE | ANDREW LYONS R WWW.RECRUITER.CO.UK 3 10 E COMMUNITY 36 Social 37 My Brilliant Recruitment Career: Andrew Welsh 40 Movers & Shakers 41 Recruiter contacts 42 The Last Word: Alan Furley INCORPORATING Recruitment Matters 42 20 28 18
18 Viewpoint Steven Ingram, Neurodiversity Together 19 Soundbites
it? 28 AI’s revolutionary impact in recruitment A Recruiter
jobs at the same time
working, or double jobbing, seems to be on the rise due to the cost of living
but how do
learn to spot –and ultimately – stop
investigation into the rise of artificial intelligence and how to best work with it to improve the recruitment process
Contracts & Deals B
14 Insight


A“The meeting I was attending was all about digital hiring and hiring fraud – fascinating”

trip to Parliament several months ago was an exceptional experience. The meeting I was attending was all about digital hiring and hiring fraud –fascinating. A variety of experts revealed disturbing insights into new ways that our technological evolution is creating nightmares in the workplace. Clearly, Recruiter needed to tell these stories. With journalist Rachel Masker now on the case, and with the help of CiFAS, a not-for-profit membership association representing organisations from across the public, private and voluntary sectors which detects, deters and prevents fraud in society by harnessing technology, we present what we’ve found to you this issue. Our news and feature stories on hiring fraud are ‘must reads’. A story that captured my imagination was the tale of an industrious professional operating from the UK who managed to hold down a second full-time role across the pond in North America at the same time. This ‘time theft’ was only discovered when the individual was the subject of a major article in a North American publication – and it was caught by colleagues in the UK. Amazing!

Let me also signpost you to a story about a new company for the recruitment industry that takes its name from a Japanese word for “enlightenment, awakening, comprehension and understanding”… Visit our news section for your own enlightenment!

Enjoy early summer!

Tips for recruiters to spot the double-jobbers

A FRAUD PREVENTION boss is urging recruitment agencies to be vigilant amid a rise in cases of so-called ‘double jobbing’. Tracey Carpenter, insider threat manager for Cifas, says workers caught moonlighting while on sick leave or juggling two full-time remote jobs are often agency staff. Many of those secretly working two jobs, also known as polygamous working, were employed by local authorities and the NHS, including doctors, social workers and accountants. In addition to being sacked for gross misconduct, some have been hauled before professional misconduct hearings and barred from their professions while others have faced criminal prosecution and ordered to pay back sick pay, in one case running to £10,565.



AS OF 23 APR 2024

Recruiters who knowingly facilitate polygamous working are also committing fraud, says Carpenter – a claim backed up by legal expert Howard Robson.

Carpenter says: “If any agency was aware an employee is going to be working multiple roles with the same core hours or being paid whilst off sick at another job but still allowed them to take the role they are offering, they are facilitating fraudulent activity. This is legally and morally reprehensible.

“Also, employers could claw back wages if multiple jobs were undertaken during the same hours, as the employee couldn’t be doing two or more jobs at once. If there is any suggestion from a jobseeker that they are planning on working multiple roles, then recruitment agencies should tell the candidate they’re engaging in fraudulent activity.”

One way for recruitment agencies to identify polygamous working is if a candidate is reluctant to allow a reference from a previous employer even after accepting a new role. In addition to legally required checks, such as Right to Work, organisations can check Cifas’ Internal Fraud Database, which records instances of dishonest conduct by job applicants and employees. Cifas is a not-for-profit fraud prevention service with more than 700 members in both public and private sectors. Members are encouraged to share incidences of fraud that occurs within their own organisations.

But Carpenter notes it can be harder for recruitment agencies to spot polygamous working than employers. And her top tips for employers include: Ensure that line managers and HR teams are aware of polygamous

working so that any concerns – such as lack of productivity, frequently missed deadlines, not attending meetings on a regular basis despite it being with their working day (with no legitimate clashes) are investigated.

Review sudden instances of regular sickness and investigate further if necessary.

Work with finance and HR teams so they are aware of double jobbing and can flag any changes to tax codes for further investigation.

Carpenter adds: “Eradicating dishonest actions by employees sits with all areas of the employee’s recruitment and employment journey, which includes recruitment agencies, pre-employment checks, due diligence and investigating any concerns raised by colleagues or other companies.”

Howard Robson, employment partner at solicitors Warner Goodman, agrees in “certain circumstances where deliberate steps are taken to mislead/defraud end users”, agencies may be liable to civil and criminal fraud claims. For example, an agency might face criminal prosecution for conspiracy to defraud “if they knowingly supply a double-jobbing candidate who is working for end user A while supposedly working for end user B and doubling up fees charged to clients”. Recruiters who are found guilty could face a range of criminal fraud penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

In addition, agencies “may be at risk of a breach of contract claim by the end user client, hence liable for losses the client incurs as a result of the candidate’s failure to perform the services or acting negligently as a result of double jobbing”, says Robson.

• For more on polygamous working, take a look at our cover feature on pp20-26 of this issue.


Satori Partnership launches to better optimise operations for recruiters

ENTREPRENEUR Steve Carter (above) has launched a consultancy to serve recruiters, bringing to the table creative thinking from outside the industry.

Comparing the new Satori Partnership to a professional services consultancy, such as Accenture, Carter has gathered a team of experts specialising in data analysis, research psychology, innovation and design thinking, among other disciplines, that recruiters can access to explore new solutions for contemporary business challenges.

As Carter tells Recruiter, sometimes recruitment leaders think they are experiencing one type of problem in the business, but a specialist skilled in novel ways of thinking can bring a new perspective, help to identify what the actual challenge is and look ‘outside the box’ to address various aspects of improving and evolving

their operations and offers.

“If you talk to the owner of an agency, a lot of them want to let go and think about this stuff, but they just haven’t got the luxury of time or the knowledge or the experience,” Carter says.

Whilst he acknowledges that the recruitment industry has a plethora of former leaders who are capable and qualified to serve as non-executive directors and board chairs, Carter believes that fresh perspectives from outside are a definite advantage. Online retailer Wayfair and software giant Microsoft are two of the innovative companies where Satori team members have worked.

The Satori business model enables recruitment businesses to buy one or more or a package of specialist services. An initial ‘discovery’ meeting is held with clients to understand the issue. “Then we scope it out like a consulting firm, and we’ll give people an estimate of time required – what kind and level of

expertise do we need? We might need to call on a lot of different people for one projects, and they all have different day rates and skill levels, so we would price it out,” Carter explains.

A project might be simply coaching a firm on how to set up their database to unlock the analytics they need or how an organisation could future-proof their technology with the advent of AI. Or, Carter says, “it can be much more holistic – a tech programme, a data programme, a branding and marketing programme, or combinations. We’ve got a few change and project managers on the team as well”.

Carter emphasises that “we’re not aligned” with any suppliers. “We’re not taking backhanders from any tech companies. Otherwise, we can’t give you the best advice. So we’re agnostic when it comes to tech; we just want it to work.

“Optimising operations begins with the right intent.”


Maria Cosgrove (inset), Satori partner and lead on design thinking, explains how her specialism works: “There are a lot of phases in the design thinking process. Design thinking is all about solving a human-centred, complex problem, something that has multiple layers, and it’s not easy to find a solution. You start with the ‘understand’ phase… you take a lot of time to think about who your users are, to map out your stakeholders to understand the environment around the problem that you’re trying to solve. So, you spend a lot of time during this phase looking at mega trends, micro trends, internal data you have to hand within the company, metrics, anything you can that relates to the problem. And as long as you keep an open mind, then you move on to the ‘observe’ phase.”

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Workplace training company

Multiverse has bought AI talent intelligence and skills assessment platform Searchlight for an undisclosed sum. Co-founded in 2016 by Euan Blair (son of former UK prime minister Sir Tony Blair) and Sophie Adelman as WhiteHat, Multiverse was originally based in London but soon expanded across to the US, opening an office in New York in 2021. California-based Searchlight was founded in 2018 by twins Anna Wang and Kerry Wang. It is claimed that Searchlight’s technology can identify new hires four times more effectively than traditional techniques.

Meridian Business Support

Recruitment specialist Meridian Business Support has opened a new branch in Rochdale, following its acquisition of Northern Employment Services (NES) in February. The acquisition sees national account director Phil O’Hara, operations manager Kirsty Wilkinson and their team of recruiters add their experience to the company’s knowledge. Meridian is an employee-owned recruitment company established in 1989 with a nationwide network of 50 branches and a National Recruitment Centre.


Workforce solutions and recruitment specialist Hays has been chosen to administer a managed service programme (MSP) for Your Housing Group, a landlord in the North. Through the Cirrus Framework, Hays will oversee the contingent workforce within the group, offering tailored recruitment services for various job roles including housing management, asset management, maintenance trades, finance, business support, technology, HR, and legal positions.



Somerset NHS Foundation Trust has partnered with talent acquisition technology firm Oleeo to enhance its recruitment processes, aiming to improve experiences for both managers and candidates. With 14,000 employees across various healthcare facilities, the trust plans to implement Oleeo’s recruitment, applicant management and reporting software in May. This collaboration seeks to streamline recruitment, catering to a diverse pool of potential applicants through personalised job adverts and enhanced candidate information.

Sirona Medical

Healthcare recruitment agency Sirona Medical has secured a £1.5m invoice discounting facility from asset-based lending (ABL) specialists Cynergy Business Finance (CBF). Following an uplift in new business in the last few years, Sirona Medical said it wanted to further expand its operations and required a refinancing facility to fund the next stage of its growth journey.

WhiteCrow Research

WhiteCrow Research has acquired fellow talent research provider Armstrong Craven. The acquisition sees the two industry giants merge to create a new global player. Armstrong Craven will operate independently within the WhiteCrow family of companies. Their combined global footprint covers the US, UK, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Dubai, India, Singapore and Hong Kong. The partnership combines expert industry knowledge with AI tech which connects clients to a network of 800m+ professionals.

HeadFirst Group and Impellam Group

HeadFirst Group and Impellam Group have joined forces to become one of the world’s leading STEM talent and managed service providers. With what they are calling “a distinctive HR tech platform for professionals”, the expanded group has €8bn (£6.87bn) spend under management, 2,100 expert colleagues and more than 75,000 professionals serving customers across the globe.

The deal has created an unparalleled force in digital, IT, data, life sciences, clinical and engineering talent, and leaves the expanded group well-placed to drive growth and to deliver increased value for colleagues, customers, professionals, suppliers and shareholders. There will be no immediate changes to the day-to-day operations of Impellam Group and HeadFirst Group, the announcement said.

More contract news at

Helping employees overcome imposter syndrome

Anew role can trigger ‘imposter syndrome’, the feeling of self-doubt experienced by over 60% of UK workers about their work accomplishments. They believe they don’t deserve their jobs or success or that they can never meet others’ expectations. As a result, they feel like imposters or frauds at the workplace – and it doesn’t matter how high you’ve risen in the organisation or if your achievements are staggering. In fact, it’s experienced commonly

as we take on more responsibility. Globally, imposter syndrome is said to affect 82% of the workforce, according to a 2020 review published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine

In a UK study by printer Solopress using Google search volume data, the average monthly searches for imposter syndrome per 10,000 people in the UK’s most populous cities were made by Mancunians, who seem to have the greatest concern around imposter syndrome, with 22 average searches per 10,000 people every month.


Manchester was followed by Leeds (15), Birmingham (13) and London (13). The remaining six in the top 10 were Edinburgh (12), Glasgow (12), Milton Keynes (11), Bristol (9), Belfast (9) and Coventry (8).

One contributing factor is the intricate interplay between local demographics and socio-economic circumstances. Cities with higher imposter syndrome rates might exhibit a greater representation of women and minority groups in their labour force, the study suggests. It’s worth mentioning that London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds double as prominent University cities and research shows that imposter syndrome is not only confined to the professional realm, but students, too, are susceptible to its effects, particularly those from minority backgrounds.

Both businesses and employees can work to eliminate imposter syndrome within organisations and individuals by taking direct action.

Five tips on how to overcome imposter syndrome (for individuals)

1 Recognise that you’re experiencing imposter syndrome

This will help you to identify negative thinking traps. Once you realise that imposter syndrome has caused you to become stuck in an unhelpful cycle of thoughts, you can use cognitive behavioural therapy techniques to help challenge those negative thoughts and turn your mood around.

2 Learn to ask for what you need

Asking for support is actually a sign of strength. Struggling in silence can be very lonely in the workplace. Break the silence and seek out support as soon as you can to avoid a build-up of work and worry.

3 Be kind and compassionate to yourself

Remind yourself of successes and wins. Keep a list of your achievements, and


UK cities population data: Research was collected using Google Analytics. The search term ‘Imposter Syndrome’ was inputted into the tool and the total average monthly searches per city was recorded.

Average monthly searches per 10,000 people was done using the following formula: average monthly searches/population x 10,000 (people).

nice things and compliments people have said about you and your work –dig it out when imposter syndrome sets in.

4 Focus on self-validation versus external validation

When praise from others isn’t forthcoming, it can be time to look inside for some encouragement. Set realistic goals that challenge you and reward yourself for completing them.

5 Reframe negative self-talk

No one’s perfect, and mistakes do not equal failure. Try to regard learning experiences as growth, rather than a shortfall or skill deficit. This will help to validate feelings of self-worth.

Five tips for businesses to support employees experiencing imposter syndrome (for leaders and managers)

1 Create psychologically safe working climates

Colleagues will be more likely to open up about their vulnerabilities in a space where judgement is suspended in favour of a nurturing environment. Encourage conversations at all levels –often people who struggle with imposter syndrome will often appear lonely, and will benefit greatly from social interaction.

2 Encourage healthy work/life balances

Work is a big part of many people’s lives, but it should always be balanced with the individual’s need for rest and relaxation. Feelings of inadequacy spawned from imposter syndrome can

lead to a vicious cycle in which individuals overwork, miss out on rest and struggle to perform.


Celebrate successes and avoid a blame culture

Foster environments that encourage growth, and succession planning. Don’t blame or punish people when they make mistakes.


Adopt mentoring and coaching practices

One-to-one guidance from more experienced colleagues can help those new to the workforce to feel supported.

5 Spotting imposter syndrome

Keep an eye on colleagues who seem to be struggling or show signs of anxiety. Look for warning signs such as withdrawal from team interactions, a tendency to overwork, or habitual procrastination. Recognising these red flags can be the first step in offering support and addressing the issue.

The city searching for imposter syndrome the least is Newport, with less than 1 search per 10,000 people a month, followed by Blackpool (2 searches) and Sunderland (3 searches).

It’s interesting that these three cities are port cities – known for their heavy industry, rather than service-based jobs. Thus, imposter syndrome may be less common in manufacturing and logistics sectors where workers can see the physical result of their efforts –unlike in office work where the outcomes are often more abstract. ●



IGNORING AI TODAY is like ignoring the internet in the early 90s – and, similarly, it is not a trend, it’s a transformational force and we ignore it at our peril. AI can support sales managers in all the areas listed below – and allowing innovation in this space has a direct commercial response. It is a key value driver, and while adoption is quickly becoming a competitive advantage, ignoring AI will very much become a competitive disadvantage.

Sales forecasting – one of the areas that I see companies often struggle with, finding it difficult to access and fully utilise their data. AI can generate sales forecasts by analysing all relevant historical data, market trends and candidate behaviours, enabling managers to set realistic targets and allocate resources efficiently.

Predictive analytics –another area where AI will truly transform our ability to predict future trends. Allowing AI to use all the historical sales data in the CRM will mean managers have, at their fingertips, analytics to determine hiring, marketing spend, investment areas, pricing. Going one step further, if a business has enough data, you will support your clients with visibility on areas such as the future career moves a candidate will make – often before the candidate has even considered it themselves.

Lead scoring and prioritisation – AI algorithms will analyse client data to prioritise leads based on their likelihood to convert, allowing the sales teams to focus efforts on the highest quality prospects. Continued manual processes here will limit a business’s ability to scale, particularly as prioritisation leads to sales volumes and customer interactions increasing.

Customer insights – analysing all client and candidate interactions along with feedback from all channels (social media, calls, emails) will provide highly valuable insights into your client preferences and your candidate behaviour patterns. This intel will afford managers the ability to tailor sales strategies accordingly. AI can analyse vast amounts of data to identify trends and opportunities that may go unnoticed by human analysis alone – leading to missed sales leads, insights and revenue opportunities.

Automated communications – you may, by now, have experienced some of the mind-numbingly irritating chatbots several of our service providers are currently deploying. But rest assured, the levels of sophistication here are gaining significant momentum and AI

Tara Ricks

Non-executive director, co-owner of Elite Leaders

communication solutions can enhance candidate experience hugely. AI chatbots can handle – at the very minimum – routine candidate sourcing, screening, inquiries and scheduling appointments, moving to the use of NLP [neurolinguistic programming] and machine learning to analyse interactions and provide real-time recommendations. Voice analysis software can use AI to listen to and analyse sales calls and identify the patterns in tone, pitch and language that correlate with successful outcomes –supporting as an invaluable coaching tool. Sales managers and their teams will regain time to focus on high value and more complex tasks and interactions.

Performance management and coaching – AI tools can track sales team performance in real-time, identifying areas for improvement and creating personalised coaching and training recommendations to help sales managers optimise their team’s performance.

Dynamic pricing – algorithms analyse your data set to determine market conditions, competitor pricing and client buying behaviours, all to dynamically adjust pricing strategies and maximise your revenue and profitability. Leveraging AI technologies is a no-brainer. The really smart businesses will be trialling, researching and adopting now. Deeper business insights, streamlined processes, the reallocation of lower value tasks, and predicting market trends and behaviours are all the ‘why’, along with the inevitable commercial gains of freeing up your talented consultants – to consult! ●



A good recruitment business operation hinges on three keystone applications – CRM, billing and a financial management system

The term that has become the most important thing in the world of IT and business are the two words ‘digital transformation’.

It’s everywhere, but what is digital transformation? Put simply, it’s the use of digital technology to automate or modify processes and drive efficiencies across a business. Digitally mature businesses are more resilient, more adaptable and better placed to survive in a fast-paced challenging economy. A survey of European business leaders by

DocuSign in 2023 found that “organisations with ‘very high’ digital maturity are three times more likely to have transformative resilience –that is to say, they are able to not only adapt to disruptions, but also to innovate and thrive in the face of disruptive challenges”.

And one of the low-hanging fruits in the world of digital transformation is the integration of disparate computer systems to remove the tedious task of manually rekeying data. By integrating applications across the business, you

are not only creating a more accurate, streamlined and efficient business management solution, you are also creating a better working environment for your staff, which in turn leads to better staff retention.

Nowhere is the integration of ‘best of breed’ business applications more important than in the world of recruitment.

For most recruitment businesses their operation hinges on three keystone applications: a good CRM platform to manage candidates, clients


and drive placements; a powerful time and billing platform; and a solid, best of breed, financial management system to provide the necessary insights to drive the business forwards. For many recruitment businesses, providing tight and efficient integration of those three systems has allowed the company to select the best solutions for its specific requirements and by doing so enabled and driven significant growth.

But integration of these systems is not as simple as just finding a platform

or a partner to do the job. Integration, like any part of the digital transformation process, is, in reality, a journey. A journey that needs careful planning and consideration from all involved stakeholders. It’s not good enough to say, I’m in London and I want to go to New York. The obvious answer is take a plane. But you need to get to the airport, so where are you in London? Can I take the Tube? Do I need to walk or should I get a cab? Equally important, where exactly do you want to get to in New York? It’s a big city and Times Square isn’t the only available destination. All of these details will determine how and when you will arrive at your desired end point.

Just as thinking that you only need an aeroplane to get you to New York, simply deciding on the platform won’t get your systems integrated. You need to really focus on the detail. If, for example, I’m integrating my CRM system with my finance system to allow me to post customer data between the two, do I have a common identifier for the account and is that data in the same format in both systems? You will find it difficult to post a 12-character alphanumeric value from one system into an eight-character numeric field in another! The devil really does lie in the detail. So to begin with, a significant effort is required in identifying the source data and ensuring that the target system has the relevant fields for that data to be written to.

Finally, always ask two key questions: “Do I need to do this, or am I doing this because I can?” And “is there any value in automating the process?”. All too often we see data being moved between systems unnecessarily, delivering no real benefit to the end user in its final destination. Don’t clog the process with too much chaff when we only need the wheat. And we often see companies automating very simple tasks, at some expense, when the

manual process not only offers some benefits but also costs very little. Where is the value in creating an automated posting of a simple monthly journal when the manual process only takes 15 minutes once a month?

Especially when some manual intervention is needed to review the data before its posted!

For many companies an integration project is a daunting prospect that they would rather avoid. But given the benefits that integration can bring to a recruitment agency of any size, it is something all should consider without fear of failure. Plan carefully, allocate the right resources and above all, take your time.

The final destination really is worthwhile and will deliver huge gains to your business. ●


1 2


Digital transformation is key in today’s fast-moving economy. Digitally mature businesses retain staff and are able to adapt to economic forces and change faster and more efficiently. They are robust and resilient. Staff spend less time doing mundane tasks, deliver greater value to the business and enjoy a higher level of job satisfaction. They are consequently less likely to move on

Integration allows you to deploy “best of breed” solutions to drive and grow your business

Properly planned integration will get you where you want to go and deliver great value to the business. The planning needs to be detailed and needs to involve all stakeholders across the business



IN FOCUS: The rise and rise of video interviewing

While the return to in-person interviews after Covid was welcome, video interviewing has more than made the shift to mainstream recruiting practices. HireVue, a major player in the field, reports significant increases in volume in video interviews in the first quarter of 2024 in several sectors, including government (up 146%), hospitality & leisure (up 40%) and communications (up 244%).

As Euan Cameron, CEO of video interview screening platform company Willo, points out, with video calls fully integrated into every aspect of work life, video interviews are now expected. “And that’s a big part of why the market has grown and the number of vendors operating in the space has almost doubled in recent years,” he says. “For some, there’s no going

back, and their use of video interviews has increased significantly. This is because of the flexibility it provides, which allows candidates to shine. That’s better for everyone involved.”

Recorded and on-demand videos are proving most popular. HireVue chief evangelist Dina Taylor says this is due in large part to the number of applications its customers get for each position. “For example, Emirates [airline] had 400,000 applications for 11,000 jobs – numbers like these would be impossible to vet with in-person or real-time video interviews, so the majority of our customers use an on-demand video interview for the beginning step in their process,” she says.

Neil Armstrong, chief commercial officer of recruitment technology developer Tribepad, agrees recorded “one-way” interviews are typically used early

in the recruitment process as a screening tool when employers have many more applications than they need. But he adds that live, two-way interviews are used later in the process, in a more personalised way.

In its ‘Salary, Security & Purpose’ report, Tribepad found that 67% of people said an in-person interview is essential but this dropped to 51% in 18-24-year-olds. “It’s a good way to be more inclusive – you’re bringing interviews to people rather than making them come to you,” he says.

Cameron agrees and adds:

“Hiring managers are under more pressure than ever before and it’s not fair to ask candidates to speculatively pay out of their own pocket to attend in-person interviews, potentially missing out on work in the process,” he says. “Recorded interviews solve those problems.”


It is most likely, though, that the pairing of video interviewing with other tools and technologies to screen and assess candidates is how value will be delivered in the future.

“Employers are thinking about how to improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) outcomes and minimise bias in the recruiting process. Video interviews offer an opportunity for consistency and accountability, which isn’t seen in phone interviews and CV screening,” says Armstrong. “So, combining gamified assessments and video interviewing is increasingly seen as a fairer way to hire – particularly for early careers and volume recruiting.”

Cameron highlights advanced analytics and reporting features, including interview scorecards, as tools that empower recruiters and hiring teams to assess and compare candidates in a fair, consistent and objective way after candidates have


completed interviews. “By enabling data-driven hiring decisions, we mitigate bias, creating a faster and better decision-making process.”

For video interviewing, much like most other tools and technologies used by recruiters, there is likely to be no escape from artificial intelligence (AI) integration.

Armstrong says AI is increasingly being used to provide text transcripts from interviews and spot keywords used but adds that AI certainly shouldn’t be used to take hiring decisions out of human hands. The role of AI in recruitment is discussed in detail (see pp28-33) and video interviewing is likely to be referenced in the forthcoming UK ‘AI in hiring’ guidelines.

Taylor says that HireVue is seeing an interesting convergence of trends in the video interviewing market. “First, comfort with AI more generally is exploding,” she says. “Second, talent leaders in HireVue’s ‘Global Trends Survey’ report that while topline budgets have decreased, their HR technology budgets have actually gone up. The result is we’re seeing more companies integrate AI-backed interviews into their process.

“In addition to interviews, we see more adoption of AI-backed game-based assessments and conversational AI.”

Even as a standalone technology platform, there is little doubt of the ability of video interviews to change the recruiting landscape. Cameron describes them as representing “a shift towards hiring people, not paper”. “We believe we can start a movement to end CVs, which often fail to capture the true potential of a candidate,” he adds.

“Harnessing tech like video interviews is emblematic of a fundamental shift in the recruitment landscape, offering efficiency, accessibility and a way better candidate experience.” ●


Bringing WhatsApp to CRM software

Recruitment technology developer

Nodex has developed a solution to integrate WhatsApp messaging directly into its Recruitment CRM software. It means recruiters can send and receive WhatsApp messages seamlessly through the CRM. Nodex says its platform ensures all communications are secure and compliant with data protection regulations.

Advancing ethical AI

HireVue is joining the US Artificial Intelligence Safety Institute Consortium, established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), as part of its drive to advance the creation of ethical artificial intelligence. The company, which has developed a range of solutions, including video interviewing and assessment platforms, said it is part of its ongoing commitment to develop ethical AI that “connects talent to opportunity”, while improving fairness.

Embedding AI into recruiter workflows

Recruitment and staffing software provider Bullhorn is launching its AI solution, Bullhorn CoPilot. It will embed a set of AIdriven capabilities directly into recruiters’ workflow in three categories: Generative AI will help recruiters write content and messages; Source and Match AI will help them surface the best candidates for a job; and Directive AI will help them identify the most appropriate next step in their work.

AI job board internationalises brand

An AI-based job board that aims to put university student and junior profiles in front of major corporations has launched in the UK after a €1.7m (£1.45m) investment round. Joinrs analyses hundreds of job descriptions on behalf of candidates and shows the ones closest to their requirements and aspirations. It also reconstructs job offers and generates two percentages for each one: one relates to the affinity with the requirements expressed and the other to the compatibility of the candidate’s profile with the company.


Neurodiversity in recruitment

It’s the time to make a change

The recent Neurodiversity Celebration Week offered a chance to reflect on how far neurodiversity has evolved at work but it’s also a reminder of how far individuals and organisations still have to go every other week of the year. Effort must continue consistently– the following statistics must be made a thing of the past:

● 65% of neurodivergent people fear discrimination at work

● over 70% of autistic people are unemployed

● only 55% of managers (between the ages of 25-64) felt confident to have discussions on neurodiversity.

Despite these shocking figures, neurodivergent employees can be up to 140% more productive and quite often, approaches put in place for neurodivergent people will have a positive impact across an entire organisation – on culture and on productivity. So, how can recruiters, whether agency or inhouse, progress the neurodiversity journey and help their candidates, organisations and clients?

Remember, every neurodivergent person is different Neurodivergent people, regardless of their condition, can be in any industry, working at any level, doing any type of job. No two neurodivergent people are the same, even if they have the same condition.

Some might choose to disclose their neurodivergence, whilst others might not. Some might request adjustments as part of a recruitment process, others might be fine without.

Approach neurodivergent candidates with an open mind and no preconceptions.

Recognise that successful neurodiversity recruitment processes are a team effort At Neurodiversity Together, we are constantly emphasising the importance of recognising the role that everyone can play in growing successful neurodiversity recruitment processes. Here are some examples of how this might work in practice:

● Recruiters work with hiring managers to make ads more appealing to neurodivergent candidates.

● An HR team or recruiter ensures that interviewers are aware they will be interviewing a neurodivergent candidate and provide additional information to help better inform the interviewers.

● An interviewer is nervous about saying/doing the wrong thing in an interview with a neurodivergent candidate. Openly admitting this at the start of the interview helps the candidate and interviewer work together to both have a better interview experience.

Getting the right adjustments for candidates during a recruitment process

STEVEN INGRAM is the founder of workplace consultancy Neurodiversity Together.

As standard practice, recruiters should be asking all candidates if they need adjustments during a recruitment process and companies have a legal duty to implement the adjustments if they are reasonable. As a recruiter, when a neurodivergent candidate requests adjustments, think about the following: Does the candidate and the client know all available adjustments and understand the potential benefits of them? If a candidate is unsure of what adjustments to ask for, might a short call between the recruiter, candidate and client be beneficial? Do you, as a recruiter, know what you can do to help the candidate throughout the recruitment process? These are just a few ways recruiters can play their part in making processes more inclusive. When speaking with candidates and clients, help them understand that inclusion must continue throughout the employee life cycle, such as onboarding, benefits and career development. ●



Recruitment specialist

Ascent Group, with brands ranging from IT technology, digital, executive search to eCommerce, has achieved carbon neutrality.

The 12-month Carbon Neutral Britain accreditation covers all brands under the Ascent Group umbrella –TechNET IT Recruitment, TechNET Digital, TechNET Immersive, TechNET CxO, Cranberry Panda & ITR Partners, underlining the company’s comprehensive approach to sustainability across its operations.

The company says its journey towards carbon neutrality involves calculating and offsetting the total emissions of its business, while also supporting verified carbon offsetting projects worldwide. From promoting electric vehicles within the team to implementing various sustainability initiatives, the company is actively contributing to a greener future.

“This achievement signifies our role in a global movement towards sustainability and inspires both our team and partners to prioritise environmental excellence,” Shayne Simpson, group MD of Ascent Group, explained.

The recruitment group remains dedicated to its mission of environmental stewardship and hopes to share further updates on its sustainability journey.

• Send your news to recruiter.editorial@redactive. with the subject line Sustainability News and we’ll share it with our readers.

“What benefits do you offer to attract new talent and retain the talent you have?”


“At Oakleaf Partnership, we pride ourselves on our comprehensive benefits package designed to attract and retain exceptional talent. This includes flexible hybrid working, up to 35 days of holiday, and a long service award offering a four-week paid sabbatical after five years. We support health and well-being with private medical care, dental cover and life assurance from day one, alongside pension contributions. Our ‘Work Smart to Earn Smart’ philosophy, cycle to work and electric car schemes, commitment to diverse talent communities, and regular social events underscore our dedication to our team’s success and satisfaction.”

“As a global executive search firm known for its collegiate approach, partners collaborate in international teams, and we believe our working environment and culture are important differentiators when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. As a result we offer structured career development programmes, continual learning opportunities, internal mobility programmes, recognition & rewards programmes, and work-life balance support initiatives to bolster standard benefits. Going forward, as the first cohort of Generation Alpha prepares to enter the workforce, at Kingsley Gate we recognise that benefits will need to adapt to their unique characteristics and needs.”

“Some of our most impactful benefits revolve around nurturing our team’s health and wellbeing. Each week, we introduce a new health initiative in our offices, alongside complementary exercise classes to energise and connect, such as on-site boxing with our own trainer. Additionally, our kitchens are stocked with healthy snacks and breakfast options to ensure a nutritious start to each day. We also stand out with robust mental health support, offering 24/7 internal and external services to foster an environment where everyone feels valued and heard. These initiatives not only attract talent but cultivate a culture where wellbeing is paramount.”



With people turning to a second job to help with the cost of living, will companies have to deal with more staff moonlighting or double-jobbing?

If you could do your full-time job with time to spare, what would you do? Perhaps you’d start a new side hustle or, if you were conscientious, ask your boss for more work. But nowadays remote working has made it easier than ever for staff to moonlight: take second jobs. Second jobs can be extremely well-paid. Just look at the MPs who gained £10m collectively from their side gigs and freelance work last year, largely due to Boris Johnson’s £5m earnings from his extra work. It’s not just MPs earning extra income from ‘double jobbing’ as council workers have been caught in the act. And these aren’t just taking on roles that might require a couple of days’ work a month like MPs. Rather, they are juggling two full-time jobs and keeping it secret from both their employers. Among them is a social worker who submitted timesheets for the same core working hours at Hampshire County Council and Southend-On-Sea Borough Council.

The deception was only discovered when the social worker was on a Teams meeting with HCC and was heard, via an unmuted mic, to answer a call: “Hi, you’re through to Southend Children’s Services.” In a written representation to a Fitness to Practise hearing, the social worker says: “I was working two jobs. However, it must be noted that in Hampshire I was only in my second week and doing training/ induction. It was never my intention to maintain two jobs.” She adds: “I had also told my agency that I would like to do the two jobs and then decide which of the two I preferred.” The social worker was sacked by both councils and barred from the profession, reports Social Work News. Cases of “multiple contract working” are being looked at by the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative (NFI) to combat fraudulent claims on the public purse. According to Tracey Carpenter, insider threat manager at industry fraud prevention


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body Cifas, moonlighting “is starting to gather pace in the UK”. She says: “The polygamous working trend has been seen across both permanent and temporary staff and several role types in local authorities.”

What is time theft?

The boom in home and hybrid working brought on by the pandemic has led to a rise in moonlighting, according to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The council’s annual fraud report reveals how a solicitor, among others, was caught working full-time for another public body. Working from home creates new types of risk when “during a cost-of-living crisis, a second income becomes very alluring”, the report adds. Moonlighting is not a breach of the council’s code of conduct. However, staff must obtain consent from their head of service for a second job. The report explains: “It is not unusual for an employee who works office hours to have a part-time evening or weekend job so long as it doesn’t affect their contractual working hours. However, it becomes theft of time when an employee knowingly

collects two full-time salaries but splits the hours, so they only work 50% of the time for each one.” Four employees have been caught with secret dual positions since April 2022, says a council spokesman.

Meanwhile at Wakefield Council, three employees are alleged to have been working in second jobs while on sickness leave from the council, according to a report to the Audit and Governance Committee in December 2021. At Enfield Council, five people were found to have undertaken undeclared secondary employment in 2022-23.

How do people working two jobs cope with clashing meetings or keep their double life a secret from their bosses? And how do they avoid burnout? There are online forums advising people looking to moonlight in two or more remote jobs, also known as

“overemployment”. The website promotes this deception as a way to pick up two salaries and achieve financial freedom in the near future. The US-based website offers advice on everything from avoiding getting caught to tech set-up and taking Sundays off. Top tips include separate laptops for each job and a mechanical “mouse jiggler” that makes it look like you are working when you’re not. As the name suggests, the device moves the physical computer mouse to prevent sleep mode. The idea is that the device can trick any surveillance software on company-issued computers to track employee screen time. Of course, it won’t help with lack of productivity.

“The ability to work remotely has fuelled an abuse of company time,” warns Carpenter. “For example, if someone is working in a physical office, it is unlikely they would have multiple laptops on their desks to work their multiple roles at once.” Some experts argue double jobbing is a myth arising from fears around remote working, based on newspaper headlines arising from one or two cases. Asked for hard evidence,



In Suffolk, a council worker narrowly escaped jail after claiming more than £10k in sick pay while secretly working a second job. The youth support worker dishonestly claimed the fivefigure sick pay sum between December 2022 and May 2023, a magistrates court heard. A care agency tipped off a fraud squad that she was working for them despite being officially signed-off sick. An investigation uncovered the council employee had worked for a private agency during five spells of absence – the longest was two months. She was sentenced to six months in jail, suspended for two years. The council worker was ordered to pay back more than £17k in cost and compensation.

Carpenter says polygamous working comes under “abuse of company time” recorded on the Cifas Insider Threat Database. The number of incidents of abuse of company time (an umbrella term which can also include falsifying time sheets and sharing log-in details to appear to be working) increased from eight in 2021 to 14 in 2022 and 19 in 2022. With more than 700 members in the public and private sector, those aren’t exactly huge numbers. Cifas was unable to provide a breakdown of the figures to show incidents of fraudulent moonlighting.

However, Carpenter says the issue may be underreported. “That’s why we’re working closely with members (and wider stakeholders and authorities) to encourage more data sharing so that we can help

organisations to better understand, detect and report incidents, and put in place preventative measures.” Red flags include underperformance and poor attendance. Cifas has received reports of workers “outsourcing to a third party, so they can manage multiple full-time jobs at one time”, adds Carpenter. Key risks include data security.

One case that hit the headlines in 2013 was a software developer in the US who spent workdays surfing the web and watching cat videos online. He allegedly paid just a fifth of his six-figure salary to a firm based in China to do his job.

“Authentication was no problem. He physically FedExed his RSA (security) token to China so a third-party contractor could log-in under his credentials during the


workday. It would appear he was working an average nine-to-five day,” Andrew Valentine, of Verizon, told Help Net Security, an internet security website. The firm called in Verizon to investigate what it suspected had been malware used to route confidential information from the company to China.

In 2019, 1.2m people in the UK had a second job, according to the National Population Survey, the latest figures available. This predates the pandemic and includes those with part-time jobs. It’s impossible to know the scale of fraudulent moonlighting as some have never been caught, others advised to resign without further action or whose dismissals have been kept quiet by their company for fear of reputational damage.

Is it against the law to secretly hold two jobs?

There is no law that makes secretly holding two jobs illegal. In most cases, it is classed as employee misconduct and a disciplinary matter. Getting caught could lead to instant dismissal for gross misconduct, making it difficult to secure another job in future. As solicitor Howard Robson, employment partner at solicitors Warner Goodman, explains: “So-called double-jobbing is not unlawful. The employee’s contract may require consent to be given (for a second job) by an existing employer, failing to do so may be misconduct. Problems arise if one job impacts the other, such as inadequate rest periods, excessive working time or poor performance.”

But some employees who secretly work two full-time jobs may face criminal charges. In addition to disciplinary action or loss of both jobs, if the individual carried out the deception by falsifying time sheets or some other fraudulent activity it could lead to time behind bars. “Fraud carries a penalty of up to 10 years prison and a fine if sufficiently

“This is a complex area of law: there is no specific right to monitor or prevent it”

serious,” says Robson.

Qarrar Somji, director of Witan Solicitors, adds: “Fraud being both a civil and criminal offence, it can be dealt with by the police once the employee is reported to them. Alternatively, the employer can take direct civil action against the employee, which would be in addition to terminating their employment.” Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, wages can be clawed back if there has been an overpayment. From a tax standpoint, if the employee pays PAYE on both roles, there would be no tax offence, says Somji. How can employers guard against double-jobbing? Robson suggests a ‘whole time and attention’ clause in contracts, requiring permission for second jobs, performance and welfare

reviews. Electronic monitoring is allowed to monitor a remote workforce. Robson says: “This is a complex area of law; there is no specific right to monitor or prevent it. The situation is governed by UK Data Protection laws under GDPR, issues such as Human Rights Act may also be engaged. An employer should adopt a clear and unambiguous electronic communications policy.”

Ultimately, the freedom and flexibility of remote working involves trust, so the employer and employee benefit. What does polygamous employment signal for the future? Is traditional nine-to-five working with just one job at a time on the way out? Might the issue be tackled by bosses paying gig workers per project instead of taking on full-time staff ? As Scott Belsky, chief project officer for Adobe, predicts in a piece for Business Insider, “one’s profession will be a portfolio of projects, whether you’re a designer, engineer, salesperson or investor.” ●



Ma ers


Good reasons for recruiter op mism p2


Why mid-size tech recruiters are thriving p4


Clarity on agency workers’ rights p6


Helping marginalised people find jobs p7

Firms focus on flex future

Flexible working was heralded as the ‘new normal’ before the pandemic accelerated awareness of it, and it is set to remain an integral part of our economy, according to a global survey.

The World Employment Confedera on (WEC) and FT Longitude interviewed 715 senior execu ves around the world for their ‘The Work We Want’ project. They found that 83% of respondents believe employees now value exibility over where and when they work as much as other factors such as compensa on, while 92% said they will need a more exible workforce in the next two years and 88% planned to increase their use of agency workers.

The survey results were published shortly before new legisla on to support exible working arrangements came into force in the UK in April. This includes a new right to unpaid carer’s leave and changes to paternity leave and pay.

“The global survey shows senior execu ves understand that more and more workers and jobseekers want exible work,” commented Kate Shoesmith (pictured), REC Deputy CEO. “For many individuals, it helps them to gain experience in a new area of work and earn money quickly. Flexible

working also offers older workers and career returners a way back into employment and is welcomed by many others, including young people and parents,” she said.

Recruiters are experts in all this, she added. “They explain different models of work and the associated workers’ rights to their clients all the me, and the change in legisla on in the UK is another opportunity to promote the benefits of exible working in a ght labour market.”

The REC examined the UK responses to the WEC survey and found about 90% of UK senior execu ves said they will have to create a more exible workforce that can adapt to rapid changes to the labour market.

They said they were looking at the following strategies to create a more exible workforce: 96% were se ng up sectoral talent pools; 90% were hiring talent from abroad; 96% were offering more remote/hybrid roles; and 91% were increasing their employment of agency workers.

When UK senior execu ves were asked for their top ini a ves to expand the talent pool, 40% said remote and hybrid working; 40% said sourcing talent from under-represented sectors; 36%

said shortening the working week; 28% said increasing agency workers’ employment; and 28% said offering specialist support to refugee and asylum seekers.

The three most popular reasons for UK respondents to hire agency workers were to increase the agility of their workforce, to access specific digital skills that they are struggling to gain via permanent recruits, and to bridge unexpected recruitment gaps.

“That so many respondents are looking to increase agency work shows the responsibility of our members to find solu ons for clients in an uncertain economic period and with con nuing labour shortages,” Shoesmith said.

Issue 109 MAY JUNE 2024 @RECPress
Making great work happen

the view...

ABe op mis c, but take me to plan for future growth, says Neil Carberry, REC Chief Execu ve

ll the vibrancy, entrepreneurialism and warmth that is the sector’s calling card was on show at the Spring edi on of Recruitment Agency Expo at Excel in March. Given the tough markets of the past year, that may be a surprise, but for those who know the industry well, it is less astonishing.

That said, there is no doubt that “long 2023” – as we have dubbed it at the REC – has taken its toll. Shrinking demand in permanent placement markets and cost pressures in temporary work created a di cult period that has extended well into this year.

But hope was in the air at the Expo (beyond our sector’s normal op mism) – in a on is dropping, interest rates will come down and our poli cal impasse will be unlocked. Clients are already far more op mis c about their prospects than those of the wider economy. They are wai ng for a signal to invest.

When that growth arrives, the best in our sector are posi oned to be key partners for clients and candidates. Overall labour shortages, fast-changing skills needs and developments in recruitment technology all play to the strengths of a skilled, specialist, professional service sector. Perhaps the only barrier that remains is client percep on – but we can tackle that too.

As I iden fied in my presenta on at Expo, we are the worst offenders when it comes to talking or bidding the sector down. That needs to stop. We must walk away from bad business that doesn’t make us money and sell to clients on value. The REC’s new Aim Hire guide will help you to do that.

The turning of the economic cycle will not raise us up automa cally. There is plenty to do – from technology change, to Net Zero adapta on and the agenda of a prospec ve Labour government. Spending me thinking, with our support, will help your business in the long term.

With that in mind, our annual conference on 25 June is just around the corner. I hope to see you as we tackle the challenges for our industry together. For all my op mism about the future, there is s ll much to do!

If you want to keep up to speed with all things recruitment then follow me on X (formerly known as Twi er) @RECNeil


Tips for manifesto runners and riders

The Scout hall I can see from my home o ce window will soon form part of the biggest democra c exercise this country o ers the public – a general elec on. But the second biggest exercise that poli cal par es o er the public is already under way, as they take submissions for their respec ve manifestos.

Amanifesto is a party’s promise to the electorate about what they will do if they win. We have already sent our sugges ons to the poli cal par es in our ‘Dynamic labour markets for growth’ manifesto.

Our key message is that the prosperity of the UK rests primarily on the talent of our people. If we don’t get this right, exchequer receipts will be inhibited and the cost to the UK economy in lost wages and profits could be up to £39bn each year.

Picking winning sugges ons requires all the canniness of predic ng winners in The Derby Fes val.

At this stage, we are pushing our sugges ons to every party, which is akin to keeping all our horses in a race. We can bet at reasonable odds on the ideas at risk of falling as we get closer to the publica on of the par es’ manifestos. This will be because they do not quite match the par es’ closely guarded ‘sell’ to the electorate this year.

Picking the winners from the also-rans is tougher. Ideas that don’t quite make the manifesto are likely to be robustly debated within par es and may be le out of the final dra only to get a second airing and become policy once suppor ve MPs come to power.

Our poli cal insight and rela onships with poli cians means some sugges ons may make it into print and form part of the par es’ pitches to the electorate (although these will be dressed up as their own ideas).

By ac ng as the voice of the recruitment industry and encouraging rigorous debate among members at our events, we can provide poli cal par es with firstrate feedback on the labour market and workable policy solu ons. This leads to be er policies and be er government, which is the whole point. What we say this year really ma ers in poli cs.

Recruitment Ma ers May-June 2024 2
the industry

the intelligence...

A government’s first 100 days are as important as ever

The strength of the recruitment sector in the UK is, as we know, closely ed to the broader economic landscape and government policies. And, with a general elecon imminent, we know the first 100 days of a new government could have a huge impact.

The 100 days concept goes back to a period in 1815 between Napoleon’s return to Paris from exile and his final defeat at the Ba le of Waterloo, a er which King Louis XVIII regained the French throne. More recently, Franklin D Roosevelt made the meframe notable when he took o ce in 1933 and took swi ac on to calm the USA’s crippling financial problems. Poli cians and the media con nue to scru nise the first 100 days for indica ons of a new government’s priori es and strategic direc on of travel.

The REC has surveyed 167 UK employers this year about what they want from a new UK government in its first 100 days.

A total of 51.4% of respondents want the new government to tackle low economic growth and high borrowing in the first 100 days of government – 33.1% of the sample saw this as their top priority. Small employers (0-9 people) and medium-scale employers (10-49 people) believed it was par cularly an issue for them with 55.3% and 46.2% respec vely saying it was their top priority compared with 28.7% of respondents in large-scale (250+ people) organisa ons.

51.4% of respondents want the government to tackle low economic growth and high borrowing in the first 100 days of government.

Large-scale organisa ons are more interested in reform of the Appren ceship Levy – 49.3% cited this and 32% said it was their top priority. They said the key to success was to reform the levy system to make it more exible and to include shorter and modular courses, as well as streamlining bureaucracy around accessing it.

In addi on, 34.9% of respondents want the new government to work with businesses to develop a proper industrial strategy within the first 100 days. Such

strategies are more important for private sector employers (38.2%) than for those in the public sector (19.4%). They are also a higher priority for small organisa ons (37.4%) and medium-sized (35.9%) organisa ons than for large employers (17.1%). Those surveyed want to see labour market reform, including umbrella company regula on and the crea on of a Single Enforcement Body for employment rights (28.1%).

Immigra on policies have a profound impact on workforce dynamics, par cularly in sectors facing skill shortages. Around 29% of respondents emphasised the need for a exible and balanced approach that ensures access to global talent while safeguarding job opportuni es for domes c workers. Clear, transparent, and e cient immigraon processes are essen al for businesses to a ract and retain interna onal talent.

Employers want a new UK government to spend its first 100 days crea ng an enabling environment for economic growth, stability and job crea on, while ensuring that the recruitment sector operates fairly and e ciently to match individuals with employment opportuni es. This would require a combina on of policy measures, targeted investments, and collabora ve efforts with various stakeholders to address uncertain es in the economy and promote growth and labour market sustainability.

3 May-June 2024 Recruitment Ma ers
Leading the industry

big talking point

Tech tactics

Why mid-sized recruitment companies are well-placed to support a booming tech

Tech-sector recruitment is booming – crea ng huge opportuni es for specialist mid-sized tech recruitment firms. What is behind this trend and how is it likely to develop in the future?

Demand for tech skills is growing. According to the CompTIA State of the Tech Workforce UK 2023 report, 75,280 net-new posi ons were created in the UK workforce between 2017 and 2022. By 2022, there were an es mated 2,043,622 people working in the UK tech workforce.

Evidence that tech sector recruitment is benefi ng can be found in Recruiter’s HOT 100 list of the most e cient and profitable recruitment businesses. People Source Consul ng topped the list, with other tech recruiters also featuring strongly, including CD Recruitment (number 4), Durlston Partners (number 5), Next Ventures (number 6), The Bridge IT (number 8) and Trilogy Interna onal (number 9).

In January this year, the World Economic Forum ranked ‘AI and machine-learning specialists’ as the fastest growing role between 2023 and 2027 in its Global Risks Report 2024. Other jobs in the top ten list

included business intelligence analysts (3), informa on security analysts (4), Fintech engineers (5), data analysts and scien sts (6), robo cs engineers (7), electro technology engineers (8) and digital transforma on specialists (10).

This growth has been accelerated by the rapid development of large language model AI programmes since early 2023. Businesses in every sector are now exploring how AI could help them to boost produc vity. While AI may be a threat to many jobs, companies need people who understand and can implement the systems.

Further impetus has come from increasingly exible workforces that use technology for mee ngs and communica on.

The arms race with cyber criminals con nues, meaning that skills in cybersecurity and tech inves ga on are s ll in great demand. Furthermore, jobs that were tradi onally not seen as part of the tech sector are increasingly needing tech skills, either as a standard part of every employee’s toolkit or as an extra resource within the team.

Last, but not least, new tech roles are developing in the Fintech and cryptocurrency sectors and in the green


technology sector. Many poten al solu ons for reaching environmental targets depend on technological innova on, so this sector is likely to con nue to grow.

In the longer term, the trajectory of tech jobs is less clear. AI, while crea ng new tech jobs now, may take them away when more AI systems programme new AI themselves. This will come, but whether it will lead to a decline in tech roles or whether these will migrate to cybersecurity and further innova on is debateable.

Tech-sector growth is good news for mid-sized recruitment firms that are in a strong posi on to capitalise on growth generated in emerging sectors and highly innova ve firms. Such firms seek people with specialist skills and o en begin as small start-ups. If things go well, they expand rapidly and will look for recruiters who understand their par cular needs and have a strong overview of the market and a network of contacts within the current limited talent pool, as well as an eye on emerging talent.

“We are looking to move our consultants more into the lucra ve Fintech space and much of this

4 Technology jobs
Recruitment Ma ers May-June 2024

is centred in London,” says Clive Hutchings, execu ve director and founder of STR Group. “Some of the so-called ‘unicorns’ [start-ups valued at $1bn] are founded by ex-bankers who spo ed a gap in the market and knew how to get funding, but they don’t always have much tech experience.”

He has been working as ‘entrepreneurin-residence’ at the University of Portsmouth and has been helping to connect highly skilled tech people who have marketable ideas with the people who can turn these into a business.

Recruiters who understand the skills that are needed and know the people who need them can play an important role pu ng the right people in touch with each other. “It’s about spo ng the skills that these organisa ons need before they need it,” Hutchings says.

And you need to move fast – which favours specialist firms. “AI projects may have only three years before they are outdated,” Hutchings points out.

“There’s a lot of money chasing people with the right skills, and businesses may have a rapid growth trajectory – they can go from three people to 300 in a couple of years.”

Job turnover is equally rapid. People with tech skills tend to move on quickly

as projects develop and to keep their skills up to date. A recruiter who can understand and further individual career ambi ons is in a good posi on to gain repeat business when that person wants a new challenge.

“It’s about being a really good middleman – and that means not being transac onal, but thinking more deeply about the sector and wider opportuni es,” Hutchings advises. “This area is going to develop fast, so you need to stay ahead of market developments and keep contacts current if you want people coming back to you.”

Flexibility and personal service are also the quali es cited by People Source Consultancy as a reason for mid-sized firms’ success in tech recruitment. Specialist recruiters can stay ahead of rapidly evolving skills requirements and can offer tailored insights to clients and candidates.

“Technology companies offer specialised posi ons and it can be challenging to find candidates with these precise exper se via conven onal job adver sing channels. This is where mid-sized firms are valuable, as we have the resources to use targeted headhun ng and maintain connec ons with top talent in the industry,” says Izzy

Babbage, Senior Sales Director at People Source Consultancy.

Her colleague Andrew Pryce Jones, Senior Managing Consultant at the firm, adds that, as the tech sector booms, mid-sized firms can “tap into various niches within the tech industry, offering a diverse range of opportuni es.

“It’s the adaptability, personalised service and diverse job opportuni es mid-sized tech recruitment firms can offer that makes them so successful in this current market,” he says.

Recruiters in this field should be aware that the sector has diversity challenges, according to a recent report by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The State of UK Deep Tech report found that 77.1% of founding teams of deep tech firms are all male, while 15% are mixed gender. Government sta s cs suggest that only 17% of senior Fintech roles are held by women.

Furthermore, most deep-tech and Fintech firms are based in the London area. Of the 3,500 ac ve deep-tech firms in the UK, over 87% are in England.

However, recruiters should look further afield than London to benefit from this sector’s rapid growth.

According to Deloi e, there are over 2,500 Fintech firms in the UK and, although London is a Fintech superhub, there are also significant Fintech clusters in other regions including Manchester, Birmingham and Scotland, with poten al clusters emerging around Bristol, Cambridge, Newcastle and Durham, Northern Ireland, Reading and Wales.

Around 76,500 people currently work in the Fintech sector, according to the UK’s Department for Business and Trade, which expects this to grow to 105,500 by 2030. However, 2023 proved a di cult year for Fintech funding globally. KPMG found that “total UK Fintech investment dropped to £4.6bn in the first half of 2023, down 57% from £10.8bn in the same period in 2022”.

Despite this downturn, Karim Haji, Global Head of Financial Services at KPMG Interna onal, is confident about the future of the sector. “While the investment numbers are so now – due to broader market condi ons –2024 could be a very exci ng year for innova on in the Fintech space,” he writes in KPMG’s latest ‘Pulse of Fintech’ report.

5 May-June 2024 Recruitment Ma ers

legal update

Employment Appeal Tribunal judgement provides guidance on the legal status of agency workers between assignments

Arecent case should help agencies and hirers facing claims rela ng to agency worker en tlements a er assignments are stopped. In Donkor-Baah v University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) dismissed an appeal by an agency worker a er a Tribunal dismissed her claim for suspension pay.

The claimant (DB) was a staff nurse engaged as a temporary agency worker. She was supplied to the hirer hospital trust on a shi -by-shi basis. A er an alleged incident during her shi on 10 February 2019, DB was instructed to end her shi early. She believed that she was suspended from then un l 6 November 2019, when she was told she could resume booking shi s.

DB argued she was en tled to suspension pay under the Agency Workers Regula ons 2010 (AWR). Under AWR, a er 12 weeks on an assignment an agency worker is en tled to the same treatment as the employees engaged directly by a hirer to carry out the same work. DB argued that the hirer’s employees would have received suspension pay in the same circumstances.

Right to Work checks: trends and insights

An Employment Tribunal found that DB’s assignment was terminated when she was sent home on 10 February 2019. As a result, her rela onship with the hirer was not suspended, and her claim under the AWR lacked reasonable prospects of success. On appeal, the EAT confirmed that no overarching ‘agency rela onship’ existed between the hirer and DB between the date of the termina on of her assignment and the date she was allowed to resume booking shi s. The EAT confirmed that the equal treatment en tlements provided to agency workers under AWR relate to the period of an assignment when the agency worker is actually working for the hirer and do not create an ongoing obliga on if the assignment is terminated. The Tribunal’s original decision was affirmed.

Despite the judgement, the REC warns that similar situa ons should be considered on their own merits, because there could be nuanced regulatory provisions and agreements that mean workers in certain sectors are en tled to be paid when assignments are stopped.

Two years since the post-Covid Right to Work (RtW) updates, implemen ng a robust RtW process remains as important as ever. As a leading Iden ty Service Provider (IDSP), we’ve observed three key trends in the RtW market.

1. Fraudulent Documents. TrustID processes 500,000 iden ty checks a year for recruitment agencies and we con nue to find fraudulent applicants. In 2023, 68% of the fake documents seen by our customers were a Bri sh passport or an Irish ID card. This mirrors the eligible documents processed in a Digital RtW check. The ‘imposter’ trend has accelerated with fraudsters using genuine share codes that do not belong to them. This reinforces the importance of matching the person presen ng the evidence with the owner of the iden ty document, either face to

There may be cases where the agency worker can establish that assignments are stopped for discriminatory reasons, or because they have blown the whistle, in which case they may s ll be able to seek a remedy for losses. Agencies supplying temporary workers should check their standard terms to ensure that there are appropriate protec ons to minimise the risk of a Tribunal finding an overarching contract between assignments. Agencies should avoid open-ended assignments and should have an end date on the assignment details form – an openended assignment may be seen as an ongoing rela onship between agency worker, hirer and agency between assignments. Employment businesses should ensure that all relevant en tlements, such as holiday pay and wages, are paid at the end of an assignment.

face, via video link or using a biometric face match through an IDSP.

2. Increased integra on. Recruiters look to remove complexity, avoid duplicate data and ensure compliance and accurate repor ng in their onboarding process. This is driving demand for integra on between RtW services and ATS and/ or HRIS systems to help reduce the administra ve burden for both recruiters and candidates.

3. Tripling fines. In February this year, the maximum fines for ‘knowingly employing’ an illegal worker tripled from £20,000 to £60,000 per worker. This civil penalty increase, coupled with the risk of brand damage and business disrup on, has seen organisa ons of all sizes and across all industries turn to technology to support their onboarding processes and drive compliance. Agency worker rights 6 Recruitment Ma ers May-June 2024

Growing by removing barriers to employment Q&A

What is Big Issue Recruit?

We are the newest business launched by Big Issue Group in 2022 to support people who face barriers to employment to find work and thrive.

During the pandemic, Big Issue magazine vendors had to stop selling, losing a key income stream just when more people needed support. We also had to consider new revenue streams, so we built a recruitment business based on our 30-year legacy of suppor ng marginalised people to

Katy Wright is programme director at Big Issue Recruit (BIR)

remove their barriers to employment and generate an income. We worked with experienced job coaches to develop a comprehensive, person-centred workreadiness programme incorpora ng one-to-one coaching, confidence and skills building and employability support.

How are you doing?

We have now helped more than 100 people into jobs and have had a 96% reten on rate. Our end-to-end service supports both candidates and employers

pre-, during and postplacement to ensure success. We step up support for successful candidates, recognising that returning (or star ng) to work is a huge life change that can present unique challenges. We seek to build partnerships with employers who require mul ple candidates over me and this long-term rela onship enables us to maintain links with past candidates. We can also advise employers on all aspects of inclusive employment and we offer bespoke solu ons,

such as buddy or transport schemes.

What next?

Now we have proved that the service works, with every £1 we spend genera ng £2.80 of social value, we are growing. We are seeking more employers to work with us to fill their vacancies and bring new candidates into the labour market.

Anyone who wants to know more about out our work can email jobs@bigissue. com or can read our Impact Report at bigissue. com/big-issue-recruit

New business 7 May-June 2024 Recruitment Ma ers

MWork is a win-win fix for the asylum system

any of us ask ourselves where we would like to be in five years’ me. We ask it in the knowlege that we have a large degree of control over our personal journeys.

People seeking asylum do not have this agency. They can ask themselves, “Where will I be in five years’ me?”, but they can only guess. The asylum system? Deten on? Banned from work? Rwanda? Status?

Asylum seekers live in a system of chaos created by a tranche of bills and rules which, over the past 25 years, have eroded their rights and their agency. We’ve seen that once a government starts to remove people’s rights, it is unlikely to stop. In 2002, the right to work was taken away. In 2023, the Home Secretary wants to detain and deport refugees who have reached the UK by boat.

The Illegal Migra on Act (IMA) barred anyone who entered the UK “without permission” from claiming asylum. It has created an “inadmissible” group of people, predicted to reach 250,000 by 2026, who are held in permanent limbo. They cannot get asylum, cannot be returned to their country, and – at the me of wri ng – can’t be deported to a third country, such as Rwanda.

To opera onalise the IMA, the government must reach deals with countries to which they aim to send “inadmissible” people. It has such a deal with Rwanda and a bill to legalise this is ping-ponging its way through Parliament.

The Li the Ban coali on, which campaigns to give people seeking asylum

the right to work a er six months of wai ng for a decision on their claim, is keeping a close eye on when and how this law is enacted and how it will affect our work.

The coali on consists of more than 300 businesses, recruiters (including the REC), economists, trade unions, faith groups and asylum chari es.

Campaign challenges keep coming. In April, the government further restricted people’s right to work when it scrapped the Shortage Occupa on List (SOL) and replaced it with the Immigra on Salary List, which includes fewer roles.

Un l then, people who had waited for

longer than a year were allowed to work in jobs on the SOL. The government rejected the Migra on Advisory Commi ee’s follow-up recommenda on to let people seek asylum work in any profession a er six months.

Despite this, we must maintain a posi ve vision for the asylum system.

The right to work is one of many common-sense fixes, because it will give people more agency, more control of their lives and their futures and be er help them answer the ques on, “What would I like to be doing in five years’ me?”.
8 The official magazine of The Recruitment & Employment Confedera on 20 Queen Elizabeth St, London SE1 2LS Tel: 020 7009 2100 Membership Department: Membership: 020 7009 2100, Customer Services: 020 7009 2100 Publishers: Redac ve Publishing Ltd, 9 Dallington St, London EC1V 0LN Tel: 020 7880 6200. www.redac Editorial: Editor Ruth Pricke . Produc on Editor: Vanessa Townsend Produc on: Produc on Execu ve: Rachel Young rachel.young@redac Tel: 020 7880 6209 Prin ng: Printed by Precision Colour Prin ng © 2024 Recruitment Ma ers. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, neither REC, Redac ve Publishing Ltd nor the authors can accept liability for errors or omissions. Views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the REC or Redac ve Publishing Ltd. No responsibility can be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts or transparencies. No reproduc on in whole or part without wri en permission. Ma ers Recruitment Recruitment Ma ers May-June 2024
Refugee Ac on

Since its launch in 1980, the Awards have continued to provide reward and recognition for excellence and professionalism in recruitment marketing and talent management. Check out the 26 categories open for entry this year and submit now for your chance to be recognised as a pioneer within your profession for the results you have created—whether that is the best team, project, or agency in the business!

What does hiring look like when we take the human out of the loop? Sue Weekes investigates best practice with the rise of AI in the recruitment process

The cliché “There are more questions than answers” has often been applied over the years to how we feel when trying to get to grips with a new technological development.

With artificial intelligence (AI) and its own ability to learn at high speed in our midst, we are likely to continue looking for answers for some time yet as we figure out what it all means in our daily lives today and in the future.

Developments over the past couple of years, and certainly the rise of generative AI, means the recruitment industry is at a critical

juncture with its use of AI. Keith Rosser, director of Reed Screening and director of group risk, and chair of the Better Hiring Institute, sums up the challenge perfectly, saying, “AI needs a good parent” to help with its development, especially if the industry is to embed its use into the recruitment processes fairly, responsibly, ethically and transparently.

AI in hiring was the focus of discussion at a recent All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Modernising Employment, which brought together industry experts, employers and representatives from academia and the legal world.

The aim is to compile a set of best practice guidance, which will be published later this year.

Rosser, a member of the APPG, explains that these will be distinct from the ‘Responsible AI in Recruitment’ guidance, recently published by the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, which focuses on good practice for the procurement and deployment of AI systems for HR and recruitment. “The best practice for AI in hiring we are developing will cover usage and abusage by both employers and jobseekers, and will be industry-grounded and less about procurement,” he says.


The APPG keynote was given by Lord Chris Holmes, sponsor of the Artificial Intelligence (Regulation) Bill, who set the tone perfectly by saying the “stakes couldn’t be higher, nor the opportunities greater”.

“We had a really good turnout of more than 120 people, which is important as we need a broad church to create principles like these rather than it just being from a pro-business or legal standpoint,” says Rosser.

Expert speakers giving evidence and who are instrumental in creating the principles include Dr Huw Fearnall-Williams, lecturer in organisation, work and technology, Lancaster University; Russell White, recruitment specialist and director of Future Work; Tamara Quinn, intellectual property and data privacy partner at legal firm Osborne Clarke; and Estelle McCartney, chief growth officer of task-based psychometric assessment provider Arctic Shores.

Around 100 hiring organisations also took part, many of whom will be providing feedback on the best practice guide.

Speakers covered the uses and abuses of AI in hiring by both employers and jobseekers. For example, jobseekers could use AI to enhance their CVs or apply for jobs automatically, but they could also use deepfakes. Employers can use AI to be more efficient but need to ensure there is no algorithmic bias. As expected, the importance of transparency, regulation, the issue of dehumanising recruitment, how we guard against bias, as well as how we ensure we keep up with the sheer pace of development of AI were all topics of discussion and are likely to feature in the recommendations.

White, from Future Work, believes there is no doubt that AI will have a revolutionary impact on hiring in terms of speed, efficiency, communication and employee performance, and is confident it will learn who are the most appropriate for roles. However, he stresses that we are at the start


of this journey. “There are still a number of hurdles to overcome with its use,” he says. “It can be prone to bias as a result of what it’s ‘taught’, so consequently it will need to be regularly audited and checked. AI brings automation, across all aspects of the hiring process, this can be dehumanising.”

Appropriate use

Moving forward, he says, both government and companies have to set policies that ensure applicants for roles have certain rights and are aware their application is being considered by AI: “It should be very clear from the outset that an application is being assessed by AI. Equally, if an applicant is rejected by AI, they should be given the reasons why and should have the right to appeal.”

Fearnall-Williams said the hope is that AI technologies (particularly machine learning or deep learning algorithms) are used appropriately and ethically to improve the hiring process and experience for

“AI brings automation, across all aspects of the hiring process, and this can be dehumanising”

recruiters, employers and candidates. When asked about his fears, he says that they relate to how the hiring process could become “reorganised around” AI technologies: “Problems can arise as they are anthropomorphised or understood as ‘objective’ and ‘unbiased’ computer systems.”

The problem with anthropomorphising AI technologies is that it creates the fallacy that the machine is performing the same role as the human recruiter when it is doing an altogether different job, he points out. “There is no like-for-like replacement since these technologies are searching for probabilistic statistical patterns in the data, compared to a human

recruiter who is socialised and embedded in the world.”

AI certainly brings into question the role human beings will have in the recruitment process in the future. One of the areas that struck Rosser as potentially game-changing for the industry is the rise of tech start-ups developing tools that find out what kind of jobs a candidate is interested in, mass-apply on their behalf and tweak their CV each time to tailor it to the role.

“If you think about the level of support that would offer some work seekers, it’s revolutionary. Individual people could end up with a bot that acts like a personal recruitment agency on their behalf,” says Rosser. “Used in the right way, it could be a leveller for people who maybe struggle with applying for jobs, aren’t as computer literate, or are a time-poor mum or dad who haven’t got time to apply for jobs.”

Of course, this potentially would lead to a huge increase in job applications for hirers – so do they then turn to AI to sift through


candidates? “And does that mean you have AI bots on behalf of the candidate talking to AI bots on the hiring side?” says Rosser, questioning at what point a human enters the loop. “Is the human in the loop just at the interview stage because when it comes to, for example, mass application, I feel we would struggle to have humans assessing the initial job application.”

Emergent biases

Indeed, where AI solves a problem, it can also create another set of dilemmas. In a similar way, it is simultaneously credited with helping to eliminate bias as well as being accused of creating it.

Fearnall-Williams says treating such technologies as “cold, calculating, rational and objective machines” that can reduce or remove human biases in the hiring process requires serious scrutiny. “This is down to how machine learning algorithms can learn and infer patterns from historical data and even develop ‘emergent biases’ unbeknownst to the original

designers and programmers.”

For example, machine learning algorithms programmed to objectively rank candidates can amplify pre-existing biases. He adds that it can learn statistical correlations between groups that are dominant in certain sectors, such as men in STEM, and then develop a preference for male candidates and even actively filter out women applicants.

“Emergent biases are more troublesome since they can be more difficult to spot, this is because they are ‘algorithmic biases’ that we may not be aware of as they are unexpected from how the machine learns and what it is focusing on in terms of its probabilistic pattern recognition processes.

“For instance, you could ask a machine learning model to analyse video recordings of successful candidates and, in this dataset, all the successful candidates coughed during the interview. The machine learning algorithm may determine that coughing makes the candidate more suitable for the position. It


Responsible AI in Recruitment, published by Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, which specifically focuses on procurement and deployment of technologies used in the hiring process, such as sourcing, screening, interview and selection. publications/responsible-ai-inrecruitment-guide

The European Parliament has passed the landmark EU AI Act, which Recruiter reported on in the January-February issue. The agreed text is expected to be finally adopted in April 2024. For latest updates, see below link. https://digital-strategy. regulatory-framework-ai


could discover and find similar correlations such as blinking. A human interviewer would disregard this and not see it as relevant to the candidate performance during the interview as it is a natural part of human-to-human interaction.”

Rosser fears that unless we train AI properly, people who already find it difficult to get a job or an interview – due to prejudices and preconceptions or other diversity & inclusion issues – will have an even tougher time. He welcomes the approach put forward by Fearnall-Williams that uses the principle of ‘red teaming’ (a form of cybersecurity testing), which involves frequent testing and checking of outcomes and retraining the AI if necessary. “How we address this is critical, or the worry is it will just amplify the problems we have now on a bigger scale,” he says.

In general, Rosser would like to see more reporting around the use of AI by employers and recruiters much like organisations have to do with annual accounts and environmental and modern slavery statements. “Such as producing a short summary of how it is using AI and checking it every quarter – so along the lines of: ‘We’ve processed 10,000 applicants and we found it to do A, B and C, or we found there to be no bias or whatever’,” he says. “There needs to be an obligation on companies to act in a fair way.”

It is also worth noting that the AI (Regulations) Bill (at the Committee Stage in the House of Lords, at the time of writing) does call for an AI regulator and for companies of a certain size to appoint an AI officer in the same way they have data protection officers.

Employer attitudes

Another area that needs to be taken into account is employer attitudes to the use of AI. As already stated, some candidates may abuse the use of AI but for others it will be a genuine leveller. Research carried out by Arctic Shores found that

“Employers and recruiters need to have a position on the use of AI in hiring and for agencies it certainly needs to be an issue discussed at board level”

seven out of 10 candidates will use ChatGPT in an application or assessment within 12 months and that neurodiverse candidates, those from lower socio-economic households and black and mixed heritage students were all heavier users of generative AI.

“I hope we are all supported, coached and empowered to enjoy those benefits and the opportunity AI brings to level the playing field,” says Arctic Shores’ McCartney. “But I fear that companies will brand candidates using GenAI as cheats, and candidates will see companies using AI as irresponsible and uncaring – and the trust, confidence and relationship

between candidates and companies will be damaged.”

Arctic Shores has published ‘The ultimate guide to managing candidates’ use of GenAI’, which provides context, advice and templates to help them understand how to define and communicate their position on candidates’ use of GenAI. It’s curated from best practices in the TA Disruptors community and insights from the likes of Siemens, HelloFresh, The Institute of Student Employers, the Government Skills and Curriculum Unit, UCAS, and many more.

Rosser believes more employers and agencies need to put guidance in place for how jobseekers should use AI. There’s no shortage of media reports on the number of companies that would consider banning its use and in March this year, the Telegraph reported that the Big Four accountancy firms had banned graduates from using AI tools for writing job applications.

“Employers and recruiters need to have a position on the use of AI in hiring and for agencies it


certainly needs to be an issue discussed at board level. For example, do employers/recruiters ask candidates to declare whether they’ve used it and set out what they can and can’t do?” says Rosser, who also warns that younger members of the workforce see the use of AI as part of a modern company and banning it might impact employer brand.

Whatever the decisions of individual companies, Rosser believes how we select candidates will change in the era of AI – even if it isn’t clear precisely how now. “If we assume that the candidate and AI has made sure the qualifications and skills for the job are met, do we need to start thinking more about assessing people for soft skills and ability to fit into the organisations and more human things at the interview stage?” he says. “Either way, I think we need to rethink how we choose candidates in the future.” ●

At the time of writing, the AI in Hiring guidance from the APPG on Modernising Employment is at draft stage and will be published later this year.


Russell White of Future Work posed AI (in this case ChatGPT) the same questions as Recruiter asked him: “What are your biggest hopes but also fears for the use of AI in hiring?” These are the responses…


Fairness and bias reduction: AI has the potential to reduce bias in hiring processes by focusing solely on relevant qualifications and skills rather than extraneous factors like race, gender or age.

Efficiency: AI-driven hiring processes can streamline the recruitment process, making it faster and more efficient for both employers and jobseekers.

Improved matches: AI algorithms can match candidates with roles that align closely with their skills, experience and career goals, leading to better job satisfaction and performance.

Data-driven insights: AI can analyse vast amounts of data to provide valuable insights into hiring trends, candidate behaviours and organisational needs, helping companies make more informed decisions.

Diversity and inclusion: By removing human biases from the hiring process, AI has the potential to promote diversity & inclusion by ensuring that all qualified candidates are given fair consideration.


Bias amplification: If AI algorithms are trained on biased data or developed without careful oversight, they can perpetuate or even amplify existing biases in the hiring process.

Lack of transparency: AIpowered hiring systems may lack transparency, making it difficult for candidates to understand why they were or were not selected for a particular role.

Loss of human touch: Over-reliance on AI in hiring could lead to a loss of human connection and empathy, which are important aspects of the recruitment process.

Privacy concerns: AI systems that collect and analyse large amounts of personal data raise concerns about privacy and data security, especially if that data is misused or mishandled.

Job displacement: There are concerns that AI-driven automation in hiring could lead to job displacement for human recruiters and create barriers for certain groups of jobseekers who may not have access to or be comfortable with AI-driven application processes.

It concludes: Balancing the potential benefits of AI in hiring with these potential risks requires careful consideration of ethical implications, ongoing monitoring and evaluation of AI systems, and a commitment to fairness, transparency and accountability.



Amiqus maximises hiring efficiency with automated reference checks

The challenge of traditional reference checks

In today’s competitive hiring landscape, recruiters are under pressure to swiftly and efficiently identify top talent. However, traditional employment reference checks have often been a bottleneck in the hiring process, described as time-consuming and frustrating by many recruiters. This manual task not only prolongs the tiring time but also increases costs and adds unnecessary administrative burdens.

According to the Hiring Trends Index for the first quarter of 2024, three in five (59%) businesses are experiencing increased competition to find talent with the right skills, resulting in higher hiring times and costs. In response to this challenge, recruiters want fast and simple solutions for pre-employment screening and candidate onboarding.

Leveraging AER checks

One solution that has gained a lot of traction is partnering

with digital providers offering automated employment reference (AER) checks.

Using automation technology, recruiters can streamline the hiring process and save valuable time and resources.

Natasha Sarwar, Senior People and Culture Manager at Amiqus, attests to the transformative impact of AER checks as seen on the hiring efforts at Amiqus: “From manually emailing three referees per candidate, trying to keep track of who's come back and

who hasn’t, to having reference checks automated and done alongside other onboarding checks has been a breath of fresh air.

“It takes about 30 seconds to kick off an Amiqus background check for a new employee and this now includes the option to ask for references, which is a huge time saver. The system also automatically chases referees, so you don’t have to.


“This not only positively impacts our People team in terms of time, energy and financial savings but it enables a much smoother, efficient process for onboarding new people, which as we all know can directly impact turnover.”

Benefits of a digital provider

The benefits of using a digital provider for AER checks extend beyond time savings.

Tailored insights: Recruiters can tailor the ‘reference request’ forms to meet their hiring needs. The customisation capability allows for a more targeted approach, leading to better hiring decisions.

Enhanced organisational efficiency: A digital provider enables recruiters to consolidate all pre-employment checks, including reference checks within a single, centralised platform. They no longer need to navigate between multiple systems; instead, they can access all necessary information and documentation

in one place, streamlining the entire onboarding process.

Compliance assurance: By partnering with a reputable digital provider, recruiters can ensure that candidate data is stored and managed according to data protection regulation.

Automated follow-ups: Carrying out AER checks via a digital provider eliminates the need for manual follow-ups and reminders. This proactive approach minimises delays in the hiring process and ensures a smooth experience for both recruiters and candidates.

How Amiqus can help

As a UK government-certified digital provider for Right to Work and DBS checks, Amiqus offers an innovative AER check that generates high-quality, secure references. Recruiters can configure and send requests to candidates, specify timeframes and employment gaps, and receive verification from referees – all within minutes.

On average, recruiters can save between 15 to 30 minutes per candidate reference verification with Amiqus. Watch a short demo video (below) to see how it works.


By embracing automation technology for employment reference checks, recruiters can expedite the hiring process, reduce costs and improve overall efficiency. With the right digital partner, recruiters can unlock a smoother, more streamlined approach to pre-employment screening and candidate onboarding, ultimately enhancing the recruitment experience for both recruiters and candidates. Book a demo with the Amiqus team (below) to find out how to introduce and implement AER checks at your organisation.



Charities all over the UK are reaping the benefits from the efforts of recruitment organisations since the last edition Recruiter…


Thanks to Cambridgeshire-based Busy Bee Recruitment, businesses across Newmarket, Burwell, Soham and Ely held charity bake sales on behalf of the recruiter’s Charity of the Year, Just George, raising more than £2.5k on the day. Just George was set up in memory of four-year-old George Radcliffe, who died in October after a 17-month battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma (a soft tissue tumour).


South-West CMD Recruitment remains dedicated to its mission of community support. This year, the agency will be sponsoring football kits for four schools (above), supporting two school events, donating to two food banks, and continues to participate in charitable cycling events, among other initiatives.


Workforce solutions provider Guidant Global is the new sponsor of the Sitting Bucks Volleyball Club. The sponsorship aligns with Guidant Global’s commitment to promoting diversity and fostering under-represented talent within the workplace, and comes at a time when Sitting Bucks is preparing for the ParaVolley of d ur)


The City Recruiter is sponsoring the GB Police Rugby Team, which is made up of officers from forces across the country, as they travel down under to take part in a competition against their Australian counterparts. As a part of the sponsorship, The City Recruiter’s logo is featured on the front of the police team’s shirts.

Construction and built environment recruiter Daniel Owen held a Hike for Heroes charity event on behalf of UK armed forces and military veterans charity Help For Heroes. Members of the team braved snow and ice to reach the peak of Pen-Y-Fan in Wales’ Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons). The intrepid hikers raised an impressive £1.5k+ for the charity through this one hike.

The ‘faithful’ winners: MD Mike Shorrock and recruitment consultant Kaylah Henderson


Public and private sector recruitment agency Spencer Clarke Group took on their most adventurous fundraising task to date by recreating hit BBC reality hit show

The Traitors. Recreating the iconic game was the brainchild of lead consultant John Shorrock, who took on the role of TV host Claudia Winkleman. The team raised £500, split between Lymphoma Action and Dementia UK charities.

“In recruitment the tendency is to feel you are only as good as your last month, which isn’t healthy or productive”


What was your earliest dream job?

To be a journalist. I love good journalism, particularly investigative journalism, and watching good political interviewers hold power to account.

What was your first job in recruitment and how did you come into it?

The financial services temp desk at [financial recruiter] Joslin Rowe. They sponsored the rugby team I played for and were kind enough to give me a start in recruitment.

Who is your role model – in life or in recruitment?

In recruitment it would be Martin Krawjewski, who owned Joslin Rowe. He sold that business to Randstad and has since gone on to be a success in both the wine and gin industries! A serial entrepreneur and great guy.

What do you love most about your current role?

I love the markets we are in and the clients we work with. It is dynamic and always changing. Hearing how the talent we provide is having a direct impact on our clients’ success is always satisfying.

What would you consider to be the most brilliant moment of your career?

I think the day we signed our first big client after setting up Meraki. A start-up with no clients, no revenue


and no candidates is a fraught time. Once we signed this client, I had a calming sense that things were going to be OK.

Laugh or cry, what did your most memorable candidate make you want to do and why?

I think everyone who has been a temp controller has one temp who sticks in their mind. Mine was a chap called Stuart, who was a great worker but seemed to have about 10 aunties and five grandparents whose funeral he had to attend nearly every Monday.

What would you regard as your signature tune?

I would say I don’t have one, but my friends would say Here Comes

The Hot Stepper by Ini Kamoze. I may have cut some shapes to that tune back in my youth.

The last few years have been a bit of a rollercoaster, due to Covid-19 and various global crises – what have you learnt about yourself during these turbulent times?

I have learned that I am more patient than I used to be. The tendency is to feel you are only as good as your last month. When you look at progress over quarters and years you are more appreciative about what has been achieved.

What personal qualities do you think are needed to lead through change and uncertainty?

Being able to set and communicate a vision is key. If people are connected to a bigger picture, the day-to-day disappointments that recruitment inevitably delivers don’t seem so bad. That and a sense of humour. ●

Andrew Welsh, CEO of Meraki Talent, spoke with Roisin Woolnough.

ANDREW WELSH CEO and founder, Meraki Talent

From humble beginnings to pioneering leadership

Thirty years ago, TEAM was launched to forge a supportive network for independently owned recruitment agencies. From a modest assembly of visionaries, TEAM has flourished into the UK’s premier network for independent agencies, with each member embracing the philosophy ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’. This founding ethos has steered TEAM from its inception to becoming a thought leader within the industry for its members.

Over the years, TEAM’s dedication

to fostering a collaborative environment has allowed numerous recruitment agencies to broaden their capabilities, reach and market presence. TEAM has successfully levelled the playing field, empowering small and medium-sized agencies to utilise the collective might of the network on a national stage. As TEAM has grown, so has its services, evolving to offer innovative solutions that keep members at the cutting edge of industry trends and best practices.

Strategic leadership enriching the recruitment tapestry

In 2020, Simon Bliss, who once made use of TEAM’s network to

Celebrating three decades of innovation, collaboration and community


grow his own business from a team of two to 40, took the helm, injecting his unique vision and deep understanding of the sector into the network. “The recruitment landscape is changing post Covid,” said Bliss, chairman of TEAM. “Clients and candidates have changed their behaviours for engagement. Recruiters have to be more nimble, creative and personal to gain traction with both communities. TEAM is here to help our members navigate these changing markets and maximise their ambitions and potential.”

In 2023, Andy Dunne joined as Managing Director, bringing insights from seven years as a TEAM member and the experience of managing a solo recruitment enterprise. His leadership is poised to drive TEAM’s mission forward, focusing on the strategic enhancement of member services.

Innovation and collaboration: The cornerstones of growth Innovation is the lifeblood of TEAM. Early adoption of digital technologies has been pivotal, with the Xchange platform exemplifying TEAM’s ethos, facilitating more than £6m in split fees for members every year. This technology has become a cornerstone for co-operative success within the network, matching clients and candidates on jobs that would not have been filled.

TEAM’s innovation extends to bolstering professional development and operational excellence. From hosting industry experts to providing specialised training and webinars, TEAM ensures its members are primed to tackle the challenges of a dynamic job market. Over 100 Networking events each year foster connections and collaboration, reinforcing TEAM's commitment to mutual growth and support.

Job board discounts

One of TEAM’s USPs is the huge


discounts it provides to its members for a portfolio of job boards including Indeed, REED, CV Library, Jobsite, Total Jobs and Monster. Ideally suited for start-ups and smaller businesses expanding their portfolios, these huge discounts of up to 70% allow these agencies to compete against more established enterprise businesses.

Enriching connections: The supplier network

An integral aspect of TEAM’s ecosystem is its expansive supplier network, carefully curated to provide members with access to the finest suppliers in the industry. TEAM is dedicated to onboarding leading suppliers, from tech innovators and funding solutions to pioneers in AI, training and coaching. This proactive approach ensures that members have access to services at discounted prices that add substantial value to their businesses.

The power of networking and the spirit of community

Networking remains the vital force of TEAM. Regular events and conferences act as crucibles for innovation and professional development, fostering a community where independent agencies can share goals and triumphs. As TEAM celebrates its 30th anniversary, the focus on community is more robust than ever, with diverse agencies united in a rich ecosystem that fosters collective advocacy for the benefit of all.

A future focused on collective achievement

Looking forward, TEAM renews its pledge to its founding principle, ensuring that together, members continue to achieve more. Bolstered by a 30-year legacy, TEAM is set to deepen its influence, driving forward with innovation and a mission to empower the independent recruitment industry. The 30th-anniversary celebration is

not just a milestone but a stepping stone towards a future where TEAM and its members redefine excellence in recruitment.

Bliss sums up: “It’s tough running a small agency. It’s a lonely space for any boss. At TEAM we’re here to help. We can make you more money and save you thousands too. Without TEAM, my two-person business would have failed, and not grown to 40 and exited with a successful sale.”

Reflecting on TEAM's ethos and the road ahead, MD Dunne comments: “At TEAM, we’re looking far beyond the immediate horizon. Our current efforts are entirely dedicated to laying the groundwork for the sustained and progressive growth of our members.

“In a recruitment world that is evolving at an unprecedented pace, we stand as the reliable cornerstone that can make a tangible difference – by driving success, spurring innovation and weaving strong collaborations as the recruitment industry transforms. Here’s to embarking on the next 30 years of TEAM, where we don't just grow together – we thrive together.”


TEAM’s 30th anniversary is a significant juncture, marked by the most ambitious and inclusive conference yet. It’s a celebration of decades of leadership and a strategic look into the future. With over 36 talks, interactive workshops and speakers including Olympian Sally Gunnell OBE, recruitment guru Hung Lee, the REC’s Neil Carberry and more, the conference on 7 June 2024 encapsulates TEAM’s commitment to excellence and member advancement.

L-r: TEAM chair Simon Bliss and MD Andy Dunne


Anthony J D’Ambrosi has been appointed CEO to the managed services provider to alternative investment firms. D’Ambrosi brings more than three decades of global IT and service provider industry experience, and has a background in managed services, cybersecurity and finance. He succeeds Chris Grandi, who has transitioned to the post of chairperson.


The Scottish-based international recruiter in the energy and maritime sectors has announced a series of promotions and new hires.

Paul McAlpine, David McGarrigle and Ross Thomson have been promoted to managing consultants within its expanding energy division, along with new hires Conor Toal and Rory Cleat. Stuart Geogh has been appointed as a managing consultant to lead the petroleum team.


Kevin Stone is appointed as director of sales and marketing at the global provider of compliant background checks. Stone will lead Accurate’s sales, marketing and client services divisions in the UK, reporting to Accurate’s chief revenue officer Dan Shoemaker.


The specialist buy and build investor focused on SME support services businesses

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Kelly Kendall has been appointed chief operating officer at Rotherhamheadquartered recruitment specialist Nicholas Associates Group (NAG).

Kendall has 24 years’ experience in recruitment and joins NAG from Kelly Services UK, where she was vice president country manager

UK & Ireland. She started at Adecco in 1998 as a temps consultant, where she worked her way up to operations director, before moving to Cordant People as managing director.

In her new role, Kendall will work alongside the NAG board to drive the vision, strategy and people initiatives to ensure NAG is best positioned for growth.

has appointed John Antunes as group CEO for its technology transformation and resourcing investment.


Patrick Worthington has joined the executive search firm as the company’s first head of marketing. As head of marketing, Worthington will focus on developing the marketing function to support further growth of the Anderson Quigley brand, as well as increasing the support and additional services the firm provides to its clients and candidates.


International recruitment trade body the Association of

Professional Staffing Companies has appointed two new senior hires. Jackie Torr joins as member services director, a newly formed role, responsible for driving outstanding member services. She is joined by Maxine Hart, who takes on the role of head of stakeholder engagement as APSCo.


Tara Ricks has become co-owner and co-CEO in the recruitment networking and leadership group. Ricks shares ownership and CEO responsibilities with Sid Barnes.


Joan Moore has been appointed as the new chair of the Institute of Student Employers (ISE). Moore was previously treasurer on the ISE board of directors and has been a member for more than a decade.

use online and in print, including a short biography,


The recruitment network has made a number of appointments to its board of directors globally. Pam Robison, J. Gifford (Tulsa, Oklahoma, US), acceded to chairman after completing a one-year term as chair-elect. Jenn Anderson, Prestige Recruiting Firm (Largo, Florida, US), was elected to a two-year term as a director for the Americas. Melanie Johnson, Sunrock Recruitment (London, UK), was elected to a two-year term as director for EMEA. Parvathy Krishnan, Cucumber Consultants (Hyderabad, India), was elected to a two-year term as director for Asia.


The specialist HR, reward, payroll and human capital recruiter has made a number of promotions. Senior managers Alice Hamp and Rebecca Lancelles-Foskett become director – commerce & industry and director –Europe respectively. Consultants Robbie Matonti and Zoe Gibson become senior consultant – financial services and senior consultant – commerce & industry respectively. Alex Wright is promoted to senior manager – regions.


The UK recruitment giant has appointed Michael Way as manager in Edinburgh’s recruitment team. Way will

focus on the professional services division for Scotland East and support financial sector clients across the UK.


The Midlands-based catering and hospitality recruiter has appointed Kasia Krieger into a new role of business manager.


Paul Don has been appointed to the executive search firm, which specialises in the food, beverage and ingredients and flavours sector, to lead its global ingredients and flavours practice.


The professional services recruitment specialist has promoted Daniella Pye to associate director. Pye has been at the company for 15 years, working her way up to her current role on the senior management team.


Global talent solutions provider has appointed Charlotte Roberts as chief people officer to oversee the organisation’s people and culture function on a global scale. Roberts joins The IN Group’s board.

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In March, I chaired a panel at an International Women’s Day event. To be more precise, it was an event about inclusion that was held on International Women’s Day.

OK, full disclosure: the experience made me realise how I had never actually been to an IWD event at all.

As a man in business, I judged them on many areas and decided, ‘no, thanks’. But I had a choice. I am not viewed as a minority and my privilege means my voice is often heard.

Aside from this, however, it does seem to me that preaching to the choir on EDI [equality, diversity & inclusion] is causing a bit of a backlash. So, as someone leading a business that recognises the need to improve inclusion, we asked: how can we create transformation in practice?

The event, and a subsequent ‘hackathon’, where we partnered with software firm Ghyston, has

made inroads into deep learning and tangible outcomes around how to create an inclusive workforce.

And it was fantastic to see a truly mixed-gender crowd because we need everyone at the party to make it happen. When you think about the opposite of inclusion – exclusion – it’s an interesting point of view.

In the recruitment industry, in particular, I think viewing things with this lens can be helpful. Because the probability is that most people deal with intrinsic issues rather than purposeful exclusion – the oft-cited unconscious bias or what is termed as ‘groupthink’ where people hire others like them because they believe it will be easier to get stuff done.

I’m going to raise my hand and say that, based on this belief system, over the years I have been exclusive in how I hire. I can now see my own tendency to lean into people who I think are ‘like me’.

“I wonder still at the lack of inclusion within recruitment businesses themselves”

Alan Furley


as agents of change we must create braver spaces

In recruitment, we’re in an important position, a gatekeeper of choosing who is put forward for roles and, on some level, I wonder still at the lack of inclusion within recruitment businesses themselves.

But this is also at client level. You may as a recruiter be looking at the bigger picture, yet when a client needs 100 bums on seats and says, ‘Let’s think about the school engagement programme and the re-designing of the job specs later’, there are hard decisions to make.

So, how do we continue to build on creating a better ecosystem for people to not only speak their truth but also speak hard truths to their own team as well as clients and candidates?

Psychological safety and environments need to not just foster safe spaces but also brave ones.

When one of our team left, a key piece of feedback was ‘My voice is not heard’. From

there we built in a monthly meeting to really air the places that were good and bad – asking questions like, ‘if we were 10 times bolder what would we do differently?’.

We must work harder to create workplace ecosystems where people feel they can be understood, even when it’s tough feedback. This does not mean that you have 20 people making business decisions – in fact, my mantra is ‘everyone has a voice, not a vote’.

But we must at least listen and learn.

I’d love to see a future where recruiters are a part of the solution to inclusion, not part of the problem, and am dedicated to helping make this happen.

Get in touch if you’d like to join me! ●


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