Rob Fryer is head of student recruitment at Deloitte.
Please tell us about Deloitte.
Deloitte is one of the ‘Big four’ professional services firms that provides audit, tax, consulting, enterprise risk and financial advisory services. The firm has over 14,000 professionals across 29 offices in the UK.
What does your role involve
As Deloitte’s head of student recruitment I am responsible for the attraction, selection and assessment, and programme design of our entry level recruitment.
How many apprentices and graduates do you recruit each year?
We recruit approximately 2000 students each year through a range of entry level programmes including the BrightStart apprenticeship scheme, graduate programme, internships and work experience placements.
How are you tapping into talent, while ensuring you're reaching out to all relevant genders, nationalities and age groups?
It is very important to have a multi-channel approach to engage with your target audience. We tailor our approach depending on the talent pool, for example successfully engaging candidates for our apprenticeship programme requires a different approach to engaging candidates for our graduate roles.
We also tailor our messaging depending on a candidate’s familiarity with the firm or our careers sector. An accounting and finance undergraduate is likely to have more of an understanding of our career opportunities than a humanities student who may never have considered a career with a professional services firm. To reach our different audiences we use a wide range of online and off-line methods.
Whats your sorting process to select the best candidates for a shortlist?
Our selection and assessment processes are tailored to specific roles, but broadly speaking involve an online application form and tests, strengths based interviews and assessment centres. We have recently looked to use new and innovative approaches to identify talented individuals, including the use of contextual data, gamification technology and entrepreneurial games.
How are you ensuring graduates know about Deloitte and its values?
Engineering forums for meaningful and insightful conversations between undergraduates and staff is key. As much as online approaches are important (media schedules, social media, direct sourcing, webinars and online chats), on-campus engagement is still critical in building a strong talent pipeline. Whether that is careers service engagement, academic and course liaison with faculty leads, or working with societies, in my experience students greatly value direct contact with recruiters and alumni.
How do you make Deloitte stand out to applicants, against competing businesses?
I think there are a couple of important elements. Firstly, you need to be seen in the right places to gain maximum exposure, but also to ensure a positive association with your brand values. Secondly, you need to ensure your messaging is open, honest, authentic and descriptive. Using case studies, profiles of staff and supporting candidates in their decision-making process and building their skillset for employment to help articulate our values.
What is the biggest challenge youve faced in your role and how did you overcome it?
The continuous change in the marketplace and within our business provides an ongoing challenge. However, the biggest challenge that I have had to overcome was very much a personal one. When I started at Deloitte, it was a new environment for me to learn from –¬ one that I hadn’t experienced before. By working hard and continually pushing myself, I realised that I had value to contribute to the business and I was treated for my input and nothing else. This has really helped me gain the confidence to take on any new challenges that I am faced with.
What are the best and worst aspects of your role?
The best aspects have always been, and I can imagine always will be, supporting young people in getting their first steps into a career. It is incredibly rewarding identifying candidates, guiding them through the selection process and then welcoming them into the business.
One of the first recruits I brought into the business recently became a partner and it is a great feeling knowing the positive impact we have helped make to that individual and the business.
The worst aspects, are the mirror opposite: it is always hard telling candidates that they haven’t been successful in their applications.
What advice do you have for other in-house recruiters?
In my view, we have a tendency in this sector to over complicate things. Fundamentally, recruitment is about people. There are a whole host of ways to attract, engage and select which can inform, but also cloud the journey. At its core is introducing a high calibre candidate to a hiring manager and sometimes cutting away some of our pre-conceived ideas and over engineered processes can make our jobs a lot easier.