Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
29 Feb 2016

Insights into in-house recruitment: AECOM

29 Feb 2016 • by Changeboard Team

Adam Rawlings Smith is head of talent acquisition at AECOM.

Please tell us about AECOM.

AECOM designs, builds, finances and operates infrastructure assets for governments, businesses and organisations in more than 150 countries. The company has nearly 100,000 employees — including architects, engineers, designers, planners, scientists and management and construction services professionals.

We help clients solve their most complex challenges by connecting knowledge and experience across our global network of experts. From high-performance buildings and infrastructure, to resilient communities and environments, to stable and secure nations, our work is transformative, differentiated and vital.

What tasks does your role involve?

I am responsible for recruitment across AECOM’s European offices. My main focus is to ensure the delivery of high quality end-to-end recruitment processes and operations that support the company’s demanding business requirements.

How many apprentices and graduates do you recruit each year?

We have seen a real increase in our graduate recruitment over recent years. In 2014, we recruited around 450 graduates and apprentices and we hope to continue increasing the number of graduate and apprentice hires.

How are you tapping into talent, while ensuring you're reaching out to all relevant genders, nationalities and age groups?

Recruitment is not complicated. It is about identifying what you need, and then ascertaining what the most effective technique to find these people will be.

This can be achieved through using our own careers page, employee referrals, advertising and networking, social media, job boards, careers events and milk rounds [university tours to spread brand awareness and speak to potential recruits].
 
Ensuring a diverse talent pool is always a challenge and it is an area where we are constantly striving to improve. From a recruitment perspective, it is a matter of making sure that you cast the net as widely as possible, trying to make your roles visible and attractive to diverse groups of individuals.

All applicants are asked to complete equal opportunities and this data is used to monitor the effectiveness of our campaigns.

Whats your sorting process to select the best candidates for a shortlist?

Our selection process depends upon the role in question and we have various techniques including online ability and psychometric testing, application screening questions, video interviewing and assessment centres.

How are you ensuring potential recruits know about AECOM and its values?

We use every opportunity to share our company values with potential applicants. They are present in our recruitment marketing, our careers events and interviews, as well as in our day-to-day interactions with candidates. They are also promoted via social media channels using our #lifeataecom hashtag on Twitter and instagram.

How do you make AECOM stand out to applicants, against competing businesses?

It is important to tell people what it is like and what it means to be an employee at AECOM. It is an exciting time to work at the company and regardless of background and role, we are all working together to make a positive and lasting impact on people’s lives. We share a single purpose: to deliver a better world. This is where we start, with the aim of attracting like-minded individuals who really want to make a difference and have the opportunity to work on some really exciting and challenging projects.

Our current ‘Where do you see yourself’ graduate campaign shows prospective graduates what we do, what AECOM can offer and what it is really like to work for the company from the perspective of our existing graduates. We are operating in an environment where supply greatly outstrips demand in many areas, so it is really important that prospective employees understand what AECOM is all about and what we offer.

What is the biggest challenge youve faced in your role and how did you over come it?

In 2014, AECOM acquired URS. This resulted in a significant increase in our graduate requirements. We overcame this by integrating early and combining our two recruitment teams and campaigns. The change was communicated externally so that we could explain how the integration would benefit our graduate community. We proactively communicated positive messages in the media and ensured that all relevant universities and advertising channels were covered to account for the increase in demand. This had a very positive impact and resulted in the highest number of graduates ever hired into our UK and Ireland business.

What do you think are the best and worst aspects of your role?

I really enjoy being able to make a difference, particularly the challenge of driving a resourcing strategy that enables AECOM to achieve its strategic objectives. I also still get a buzz from making a hire. On top of that, I really enjoy seeing that hire go on to grow and develop their own career at AECOM.

Do you have any advice for other recruiters looking for graduates that youd like to share?

Plan your campaign well and start early. There are no shortcuts with graduate recruitment; if you want to attract the best, then your target audience needs to know about your company and relate to your values and what you have to offer. Make sure that this is clearly understood – and shout about it!

How do you make your organisation stand out to applicants, against competing businesses?

It is important to tell people what it is like and what it means to be an employee at AECOM. It is an exciting time to work at the company and regardless of background and role, we are all working together to make a positive and lasting impact on people’s lives. We share a single purpose: to deliver a better world. This is where we start, with the aim of attracting like-minded individuals who really want to make a difference and have the opportunity to work on some really exciting and challenging projects.

Our current ‘Where do you see yourself’ graduate campaign shows prospective graduates what we do, what AECOM can offer and what it is really like to work for the company from the perspective of our existing graduates. We are operating in an environment where supply greatly outstrips demand in many areas, so it is really important that prospective employees understand what AECOM is all about and what we offer.