News : Domestic & General Launches Recruitment Drive
Nottingham, UK, Feb 23, 2016 -- Domestic & General has launched another recruitment drive for 161 people to join its contact centre in Nottingham. Rebecca Smith-Dawkins finds out more about the positions on offer and the company's new 'skills over experience' approach to hiring.
The 60,000 plus students in Nottingham provide the perfect talent pool for one of the city's biggest private-sectors employers. Appliance care provider Domestic & General employs more than 800 staff at its contact centre in Talbot Street.
The Nottingham branch is currently recruiting 154 contact centre agents and seven 'non-agents' senior positions – and is looking to the two universities for talent. The permanent roles are a mix of full-time and part-time.
Head of HR contact centres Brona Ratcliffe says it is "critical" for the firm to remain competitive if it is to attract the best and the brightest.
"We are in a city that has one of the highest employment rates in the country, so we can't afford to rest on our laurels. We want to be the employer of choice and the best way of doing that is reaching out to the local community.
"One of the best examples of that is this year we've started pushing a lot of part-time work. The recruitment team have done a really great job at engaging with the university and connecting and making sure our opportunities are available to them.
"People can join us as students and then if they are interested in furthering their career at D&G, hopefully there can be other opportunities for them as graduates."
A change in approach to favour skills and personal qualities of the applicant over experience could favour the city's student population.
Brona says the firm has worked with psychologists to come up with a list of strengths-based questions.
"We realised we wanted not only to bring in great people, but people who would be really energised by the job and would stay. And that was one of the things that attracted us to the approach. We've actually modelled what we are looking for on the people who have already been successful in the organisation."
Resourcing business partner Kate Reid adds: "We are looking for opportunity spotters and rapport builders who are sales focused and can deliver good customer service – and people that are passionate, show drive, enthusiasm, are energised and keen to learn.
"We used to look at past experience and results but we don't look at that now, potential employees have to answer a few strengths-based questions; it's more about the person. It's opened up the diversity of the applications, so if you've got the right personality and you want to do the role you will be able to get through.
"The questions are yes/no answers. The kinds of questions they would be given include 'would others describe you as thick skinned?' and 'change can be difficult, would you agree?'. It's the initial gut response we are looking for.
"After that they will go through a telephone interview process and then they are brought in to the centre. In the centre, they do a very brief ice breaker where they are asked three questions about a specific goal they have.
"We then do one-to-one interviews and group exercises. We have a standard group exercise which is meant to reflect a contact centre environment.
"We give them an amount of customer profiles and then we give them insurance plans, and we ask them to match what they think that customers would want to buy. But actually, we're not looking for the correct answers, we're actually looking for their interaction and how they react."
Hiring top talent is half of the battle won – but how do you make sure they stay long-term?
It's a combination of things, says Brona; staff must remain motivated and energised and feel like they have a chance to progress.
She says: "We understand that not everyone wants to stay in the same role, whether that's a colleague on the phone or somebody in one of the other functions, so the opportunity to grow, develop and progress, is something we're very actively focused on and we do quite a bit of work around career paths."
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Employees receive a number of benefits and the longer they work there, the more holiday they are entitled to. Those that have been at the company for ten years are given an extra two weeks' annual leave.
Staff are also rewarded through incentives, and receive a bonus for exceeding sales targets and delivering good customer service.
Brona says: "When we do lose people we look at how long they've been with us, and try to identify if there are certain times at which people either decide they want to leave or it's not working out and see what things we can do to intervene.
"We also have an exit survey for anybody leaving, so we encourage people to be really honest and frank in their feedback so that we can use that to improve things in the organisation, and we have an annual survey, which we use as a lot of organisations do, to identify things we need to work on and improve.
"We have a more regular survey that we do with our colleagues in the contact centres because we recognise it's a fast-environment, so waiting a year to find out what people think just doesn't make sense."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Domestic & General:
Providing extended warranty quotes, Domestic & General is a UK warranty provider with 5 million UK customers.
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