Is Your Recruitment Strategy Rubbish?

Mine was.

Whenever I worked in a hiring role within the Builders Merchant industry, my strategy (and many others) was to do things as cheap as possible, and I normally exhausted a familiar list as per below:

  • Who do I know I can approach?
  • Who do my colleagues/customers know that we can approach?
  • Who is at a competitor we can try to tempt to join us?
  • Let’s place the cheapest advert on social media & some Job Boards and get the world and their dog to share it in the hope we get a good candidate respond!

I went through the above steps, in this order, and then would hire ‘the best’ from the talent pool that we had (or hadn’t) amassed – pretty poor really and was basically anything to avoid paying a recruitment fee. However, this is still the strategy of many.

Now that I work at a recruitment business of course I am going to bang on in this post and sell you the benefits of using an agency like GCS Associates. However, having been both sides of the fence in this narrow sector I have since learnt some key points…..

What I didn’t realise is recruiting the best talent is a full-time job that involves processes, technology, and experience. When I was a Branch Manager/Area Sales Manager etc. I didn’t have all my time to commit to recruitment. I had my full-time job already, so I tried my best to do both and normally the recruitment suffered. Also, just because someone with a good CV applies/responds to your advert doesn’t mean they are best suited to your role/business – there needs to be an alignment for both client and candidate.

So, what is the solution? 

Work with true, proven, experienced sector specialists who can help you and take this problem away and present you with quality solutions.

It won’t cost you money, it will MAKE you money by hiring the best talent in less time who add value, not to mention all the other benefits having the industries best talent working for you will bring.

GCS Associates are true sector specialists, not just because I say so – they are, that is why I chose to join them. Having worked within the industry ourselves for decades we are best placed to source the best talent, we can also offer so much more than just fee based, contingency recruitment with many tailored service options available to benefit and suit your business needs.

If I had my time again in the Builders Merchant sector, I would have partnered with a specialist agency from the start.

About GCS Associates

From 2 UK offices in the North-West and Midlands, GCS Associates provide specialist recruitment services to the Construction Supply, Manufacturing, Builders Merchant & Hire Sectors. With over 15 years’ experience partnering with a wide range of businesses from FTSE 100s to SME’s & smaller independent businesses – put simply, we provide the right talent to the best organisations.

At GCS Associates, we work with our clients to find the best recruitment solution for them. If you’d like any advice on recruitment or retention strategy, please get in touch with Andy.

e: andy.chambers@gcsassociates.com
t:  0161 660 2548


How to Attract the Best Talent in a Candidate Driven Market

According to Indeed the number of job vacancies across Builders Merchants in the UK is at an all-time high with over 2000 jobs advertised this month alone. This is an increased of 20% Y0Y.

With businesses across all sectors struggling to fill roles, it is certainly now a candidate driven market. Over 50% of businesses reporting a shortage of workers say they are struggling to meet their talent demands due to not only skills/ experience gap but also due to problems with candidate expectations. With benefits like home working, bonuses, flexible working, and higher salaries constantly being discussed, how can businesses ensure they are attracting the right people into their organisation?

Why is it a candidate driven market?

The construction and merchant sectors were one of the few areas of industry which didn’t shut down completely over the COVID-19 lockdowns. It wasn’t exactly business as usual but organisations took this time to digitalise and relook at their strategy. And due to increased spend on construction supplies, our sectors thrived.

However, candidate expectations have also changed. Talented candidates are now seeking better benefits, flexible working, and greater work-life balance. In conclusion, candidates are refusing to go back to long commutes, long days, poor benefits packages, and unclear routes of progression. Businesses haven’t caught up yet that the old processes, benefit packages and not having the ability to adapt to candidate expectation isn’t going to cut it if they want to attract AND retain the talent which will drive their business growth.

How to make your business more attractive to candidates?

To succeed in meeting talent demands in a candidate-short market, employers must concentrate on developing strategies for both attracting and retaining talented employees.

Here are five ways to make your business more attractive to candidates and fulfill changing employee expectations.

1. Review your hiring processes

Hiring processes that may have worked effectively in the past may not be sufficient for today’s market. Revamp your job postings with clear and concise job titles and realistic requirements and expectations. Ensure application forms are simple and easy to fill out and consider removing unnecessary tests and evaluations. Above all, communicate with candidates, respond and schedule interviews quickly.

2. Offer the benefits that employees really want

Employee expectations are changing. Whilst salary remains important, candidates are increasingly seeking other benefits alongside pay. Remote and flexible working practices, health and well-being programmes and subsidised childcare are all popular and can make you stand out as an employer of choice. Employees are more productive and engaged when they are happy. Research what your competitors are offering and put together an attractive package that can persuade talented candidates to apply to you over them.

3. Build a positive and inclusive company culture and tell people about it

Your company culture and employer brand should showcase your values across all your public-facing channels. 68% of millennial’s visit an employer’s social media channels to evaluate their brand, check out their blog, their careers page and are interested in what current and previous employees have to say. Today’s candidates put time into researching the companies they work for and 86% use reviews and ratings on sites like Glass-door to judge a company’s reputation among employees. Utilise testimonials from current employees to articulate to potential candidates that you offer a positive, inclusive, and fulfilling place to work.

4. Invest in your people

Training and development opportunities are critical for attracting and retaining talent. According to a recent survey by CIPD, 59% of millennial’s think that development opportunities are important when deciding to work for a company and a staggering 94% would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. Ensure you have a robust onboarding process and that you clearly define paths to advancement for new starters. Launch training and mentoring schemes to upskill employees in the skills they’ll need for the future and encourage continuous learning as part of your workplace culture.

5. Invest in Employer Branding

It can be challenging, but developing a smart, forward thinking employer brand will not only attract and engage potential employees but motivate and retain current employees too. These days it’s not enough to just invest in marketing products and services, developing a robust employer brand will put your ahead of the competition and make your business really stand out to potential employees.

About GCS Associates

From 2 UK offices in the North-West and Midlands, GCS Associates provide specialist recruitment services to the Construction Supply, Manufacturing, Builders Merchant & Hire Sectors. With over 15 years’ experience partnering with a wide range of businesses from FTSE 100s to SME’s & smaller independent businesses – put simply, we provide the right talent to the best organisations.

At GCS Associates, we work with our clients to find the best recruitment solution for them. If you’d like any advice on recruitment or retention strategy, please get in touch.

e: enquiries@gcsassociates.com
t:  0161 660 2548


Meet The Team: Liam Tolan, Account Manager at GCS Associates

Tell us about your career journey so far?
I’ve worked in recruitment for nearly a decade now. I started in retail where I learnt the ropes, then chose the construction sector as my specialist area.

Whilst working for some household names I progressed through to senior account manager from trainee consultant before taking over my current position with GCS, working onsite as Recruitment Account Manager at Beesley & Fildes, a leading independant Builders Merchant.

Why did you join GCS Associates?
Joining GCS was clear career progression and it meant undertaking a long-term recruitment project where I thought I could really add value. Because of the location and flexibility of the position it meant I get to see a lot more of my family AND the position and the project were just too good to turn down.

What does your job involve?
I work onsite for Beesley & Fildes, one of GCS’s RPO clients within the Builders Merchant sector as an “Internal Recruitment Manager”. Based in their head office near Liverpool, I oversee and manage all our client’s recruitment and sourcing, from advertising to interviews and onboarding.

It’s a varied role where I get full autonomy which I love, we are also starting to work on more strategic projects for Beesley like Employer Branding and video creation to attract and engage more talent into the business.

How do your help your stakeholders and candidates?
I’m honest and upfront from the get-go. I think honesty and realistic expectations are paramount in our profession.

Also, biscuits, everyone loves donuts and biscuits!

What are you working on at the moment?
I think an easier question to answer would be what I’m NOT working on.

I’ve got a large long-term project at Beesley – with the mission to streamline their recruitment processes and benchmark salaries across a rapidly growing business that already employs around 350 people.

Day to day recruitment also fills my time to ensure all the branches & our HQ have the right talent in place.

What do you do outside of work?
Two young kids take up a lot of my time, but that’s time that I’ll never get back so I’m keen to spend it wisely with them now.

I’m Irish, so perhaps obligatory to say I don’t mind a pint of stout from time to time. I still play 11-a-side, albeit as a proverbial pensioner, but I still enjoy the odd worldy strike, although it’s becoming few and far between these days.

I am also a HUGE football fan – viva Ronaldo!

For more information on GCS Associates retained recruitment and RPO solutions, please get in touch.

e: enquiries@gcsassociates.com
t: 0161 660 2548


Meet The Team: Simon Cain, Recruitment Consultant

Tell us about your career journey so far?
My early career was spent working at Reeds Rains Estate Agents in Manchester City Centre. For 8 years, I worked across various offices with a focus on the rental market, and by 2009 I ran the Middlewich Branch over-seeing both sales and rentals.

In 2012 it was time for a new challenge, and I moved to Illingworth Ingham Timber Merchants into the position of Assistant Branch Manager. I then had the opportunity to run the Crompton Road branch in Macclesfield where I increased turnover 2.5 times until moving back to the Hurdsfield branch in 2019 to run the branch.

Why did you join GCS Associates?
After being at Illingworth’s for 10 years it was time for a new challenge. I knew of GCS Associates as they recruit into the Merchant sector and I knew I would have a lot of sector knowledge to bring into the team, as well as sales experience. I started at GCS Associates in Feb 2022 as a Recruitment Consultant covering the Construction Supplies sector.

It’s a refreshing change and a great team to work with every day!

What’s your role at GCS?
Currently my main role is the ‘resourcing’ side of the job which is basically learning the best ways to attract and engage with potential candidates. We use in-depth online searches and relevant advertising to attract the right kind of person for our clients, taking into consideration not just skillset but also culture fit.

The main thing I’ve learnt about recruitment is that job isn’t just waiting for people to reply to adverts – the vast majority of our time is spent actively headhunting for the best candidates.

What kind of roles are you working on at the moment?
Variety is the spice of life and as GCS Associates recruit for every type of position within the Construction Supplies sector, I’ve already recruited for lots of different roles – from Branch Management positions to internal sales and trade counter roles.

What’s the best thing about working at GCS or what gives you job satisfaction?
It’s very satisfying when you know you’re putting the right person into a role that will suit them and the employer.

I am also pleasantly surprised how people are happy to speak to us about their career goals and what might be a good next move for them. This job has changed my perception of the value a good recruitment consultant can bring to both employers and people looking for new jobs.

Tell me about how you help clients and candidates?
Regarding clients, it’s important we build up a picture of exactly what kind of person the client requires. This is crucial and saves a lot of time in the long run as we can then only put forward candidates which are the best fit for their organisation.

This really works – as if we find someone who fits in well to their new job then they will be happier in the role, if they are happier then they will be more productive and if they are more productive then that’s exactly what the employer wants.

It’s just about being helpful, informative, and really listening to our clients and candidates.

What do you do outside of work?
Spending time with my family and I am particularly passionate about most outdoor pursuits like hillwalking and cycling.

My house also needs a lot of work which also keeps me very busy in my spare time!

For more information on how GCS Associates can help your business recruit the best talent in the market, please get in touch.

e: enquiries@gcsassociates.com
t: 0161 660 2548


Meet The Team: Bradley Hannah, Senior Recruitment Consultant

Tell us about your career so far?
I originally started my career as an amateur golfer. At the age of 21 after spending 3 years in the USA, I turned professional and traveled to Europe & the Middle East to compete professionally.

I then spent 5 years in the UAE working within Real Estate progressing through the ranks, learning my trade in sales before moving back to the UK. After returning to the UK, I wanted a role that represented the harder I worked the more potential there is, and Recruitment was just that.

I instilled the work ethic I had developed in Dubai into the UK recruitment industry and quickly came to grips with the market. After joining an agency and really enjoying working in the Recruitment sector, I made the decision to work for myself. I focused on Construction and Engineering and really immersed myself in those sectors, gaining a wealth of knowledge which I now gladly bring to the GCS Associates team.

Why did you join GCS?
I joined GCS because I believe in what they’re doing. Their focus on Engineering and my background within Engineering is a great match. I look forward to finding jobs for as many people as possible and bringing onboard my existing clients plus introducing new ones.

What’s your role at GCS?
My job as GCS is a Recruitment Consultant, specialising in Construction and Engineering. My role is to really get to know my clients & their teams then match the best candidates to their business, ensuring not only a skills fit but a cultural fit as well.

This approach really helps with our client’s retention rates and means their new recruits stay with them for a long time!

The absolute best part of my job though, is making the phone call to the successful candidate and telling them they have secured a new position.

It gives me job satisfaction to know I’m helping someone with their career goals!  My hope is to be making those calls more than ever this year and at GCS I have no doubt this will happen.

How do you help Clients & Candidates?
I believe in honesty when it comes to my clients. A lot of recruiters tell clients what they want to hear which in turn leads to failure in the partnership. Transparency is key and it’s important to provide accurate information on the current market.

I also help clients by securing the perfect candidates for their business. This, in turn, means I build long term partnerships and take on the role as trusted recruitment advisor for my clients. It’s important to me that I build long term relationships.

What do you do outside of work?
I continue to play golf. I regained my amateur status upon returning from Dubai and look forward to arranging a GCS Golf Competition for our clients and candidates soon (when COVID allows, of course!).

For more information on how GCS Associates can help your business recruit the best engineering talent in the market, please contact Bradley.

e: bradley.hannah@gcsassociates.com
t: 07515 553 468


Meet The Team: Andy Chambers, Business Development Director

Tell us about your career so far?
I began my career as a Yard Assistant at Jewson, straight from school when I was 16. I worked there for 12 years in total, progressing into roles such as Yard and Transport Supervisor, Counter Sales, Internal Sales, External Sales Executive for several branches.

I moved into a Branch Manager role for Build Centre, who Jewson then acquired, then moved to Wienerberger driving sales of brick into Builders Merchants. Then I went to EH Smith in a national specification sales role for their Porotherm division.

I returned to Jewson as a Business Unit Sales Manager looking after the external sales team then most recently, I was a Group Sales Manager for a local independent family business where I implemented and ran the external sales team whilst looking after key accounts.  After many years working in the Merchant sector I’ve now taken on a new challenge as Business Development Director at GCS – the leading recruitment company within the Merchant and Building Supplies sector.

Why did you join GCS?
I’ve known Mike Parry & GCS in general for many years. GCS are the recruitment specialist in the sector I worked in, and we had discussed potential career moves in the past.

What really drew me to GCS was the fact it’s a smaller, fast-growing, and ambitious business where I can really make a difference. My new job as Business Development Director at GCS is an exciting opportunity plus means I can change careers yet retain and utilise the knowledge I’ve acquired within the Merchant & Building Supplies sectors.

What’s your role at GCS?
My role as Business Development Director is to speak to new and existing customers about their long- and short-term recruitment plans. Whether it be one-off Executive level hires or a retained recruitment solution to make sure businesses always have access to the best talent in the market. We also offer services like Employers Branding and Video services to help our clients retain and attract new people.

I am not only working in the Merchant and Building Supplies sectors but also Manufacturing and Engineering, as those are the key areas GCS specialise in.

How do you help Clients & Candidates?
I help clients by getting know and understanding their business. By visiting their sites, meeting them and their staff and drawing from my experience so truly understand the exact person required for a certain role in terms of skillset and culture it – this approach saves time and money for all!  Also help to help highlight and offer the other recruitment options we can offer – there is massive benefit to businesses by partnering with a specialist recruitment business such as GCS

I help candidates by being able to talk from experience and helping them to understand the next steps in their career – helping with interview and presentation prep etc.

What do you do outside of work?
I’m passionate about fitness, particularly strength training. I’ve trained since I was 11 and have coaching qualifications in boxing, self-defence & calisthenics.  I am also a football coach and have football and goalkeeping FA badges plus coach my two young boys football teams.

After that I enjoy spending time with the family, good films, and great holidays!

For more information on how GCS Associates can help your business recruit the best talent in the market, please contact Andy.

e: andy.chambers@gcsassociates.com
t: 07826 653 724


Meet The Team: Tony Llewellyn, Commercial Director

Tell us about your career so far?
I can’t really remember doing anything other than recruitment! My mother tells me my early career was in the RAF followed by a stint in financial services – but maybe she’s just covering for me?

Why did you join GCS?
I was impressed by Mike Parry’s integrity and enthusiasm for the business and his passion for the clients he’s working with in the building products sector. For me, it is important to be working in a business where I feel I’m making a difference and one where I can utilise all the skills and experience I’ve picked up over many years!!

What’s your role at GCS?
As Commercial Director, I am responsible for the opening of our new office in the East Midlands and the continued growth thereafter. I am still dealing with select clients too, some of whom I have know for many years and some new ones that generally come through word of mouth and referrals.

The majority of my roles are executive positions in either the building products industry or the food manufacturing sector. However, most executives have highly transferable skill-sets and so the sectors I work in can vary immensely, I’ve even been asked to place a CEO in a Veterinary practice in the past… the brief was to find a strong ‘commercial’ leader who could double the turnover in a five year period –  I believe he did it in three.

What kind of roles are you working on?
Most of the roles I am asked to work on are highly confidential.

What I can say is that I’m also working with some highly talented executives at the moment, assisting in their search for a new challenge. Leaders that are either transformational leaders and ‘turnaround’ specialists or business builders; highly experienced at increasing the EBITDA through innovative ideas and processes. I also have some very talented Sales, Operations and Finance Directors that currently work in either the food manufacturing or the building products sectors and are looking for a new opportunity.

Tony Llewellyn, Commercial Director

What’s the market expectation at the moment?
There are multiple vacancies at some levels but very few at others. People are surmising that Brexit is to blame for a lack of candidates, others that the pandemic has caused people to migrate away from certain roles and who are not now prepared to return to them.

There is still some uncertainty in the executive market but we are seeing an improvement already with a lot of investment being considered by both business groups and venture capitalists.

At GCS, we are always happy to go that extra mile for our clients and candidates – sourcing the best talent and helping people further their career is what we do!

For more information on how GCS Associates can help your business recruit the best talent in the market, contact Tony.

e: tony.llewellyn@gcsassociates.com
t:  07809 433 882


Labour and Product Shortages putting Pressure on Construction Industry

This month has been a tale of two halves. With merchant’s value sales up 79.6% in May 2021 compared to May 2020 according to the BMBI report, & plumbing & heating sales doubling in May, sales and demand in the sector is certainly looking positive.

We have recruited into the Construction Supplies Sector for over 15 years, and right now we are seeing unprecedented demand for talent and people looking for new roles. It’s an exciting time for the sector and people looking to advance in their careers.

However, labour and product shortages are putting pressure on the construction industry. With the unprecedented demand for building products which has been reported throughout the year and now a lack of labour, partly due to employees having to self-isolate when being ‘pinged’ by the NHS test and trace app, is a rising concern.

John Newcomb, CEO, Builders Merchant Federation commented in the Builders Merchant News

“The basic trends of the last six months remain, with global demand far more than supply leading to product shortages, rapid and sustained price inflation, long lead times and uncertainty regarding deliveries. It is also clear that the global shipping industry is far from recovered from the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with congested shipping routes, container cancellations and higher costs still evident.

The products most affected are those used in housebuilding and domestic repair maintenance and improvement, including roofing products, timber, insulation, landscaping products, blocks, sealants/PVA, PIR Insulation, kitchen carcassing and products that use plastic, for example drainage, some windows and bagged cement.”

Newcomb added: “The supply chain is extremely stretched on all fronts but our members are pulling out the stops to keep supplies in branches and deliveries out to customers in very challenging circumstances.”

With the expectation supply shortages will continue due to the on-going uncertainty, the other pressure on businesses is the labour shortage exasperated by the ‘pingdemic’

Frank Elkins, Group Chief Operating Officer for Travis Perkins, said “We are disappointed that our colleagues have not been included on the list of workers that can be made exempt from full self-isolation if they are alerted by NHS test and trace.

“Having worked hard to put in place measures that safeguard our staff while they have played such a vital role in helping to maintain essential services that are so crucial to keeping us all dry, warm, safe and secure, we urge the Government to look again at the broader construction supply chain and its importance to the country at large.”

In addition Martyn Coffey, Chief Executive Officer for Marshalls, said: “After the challenges in 2020, no one could have accurately predicted the shape of demand in 2021. This demand continues to grow and the effects of Covid the ‘self-isolation’ practices are now beginning to bite within the Marshalls business.

“Health and Safety has always been our number one consideration throughout this pandemic. We have gone above and beyond government guidelines to keep our people safe.”

Businesses reported that on average 15% of their workforce were pinged last week and had to self-isolate leaving business leaders with an inability to plan for cover for these workers. A sector already pained by labour shortages, business leaders are seriously pushing for the Construction and Building Supplies sectors to be deemed ‘essential’ so double vaccinated workers who are ‘pinged’ by the NHS Test and Trace app won’t need to self-isolate. Hopefully, the changes to the isolation rules this month but improve the labour shortages.

Need more talented people in your business? We can help.

e: enquiries@gcsassociates.com
t: 0161 660 2548


Promote your Business & Attract Top Talent using Video Marketing

Video marketing can be used for everything from building customer rapport, to promoting your brand, services, or products. Additionally, video marketing can serve as a medium to help recruit the best talent in the market.

A video will bring your business to life by explaining your products & what it’s like to work in your business. It’s such a powerful tool to use when looking for new business or employees. – video will help your business connect with potential customers & employees instantly.

Video is the bridge that links what you say to who you really are, allowing potential employees to peer behind the curtain and get to know you, your business, and your teams.

  • Videos boost information retention. If your potential customers hear something only, they’re likely to retain about 10% of that information three days later; by contrast, if what they hear is accompanied by relevant imagery, they’ll retain an average 65% of that information three days later.
  • In 2022, video content will account for an estimated 74% of all online traffic. Video content engagement has skyrocketed in recent years. Would-be customers love video, which means good video marketing will engage and attract more customers.

 

  • Email subject lines that include the word “video” see a 19% increase in open rates, and a 65% boost in click-throughs.
  • Four times as many candidates would prefer to watch a job video than read a job description.

If your business or team is growing rapidly or you simply want to explain to potential customers & employees what your business does, creating a company video is the answer.

Contact GCS and we’ll create videos that will bring your business to life and engage & attract new customers and employees.

Need more talented people in your business? We can help.

e: enquiries@gcsassociates.com
t: 0161 660 2548


Meet The Team: Steve Schaap, Head of FMCG Recruitment

Tell us about your career so far?

I spent my early career in print advertising working for major newspapers in the US.  I was a territory manager looking after geographical areas in Colorado, Texas and Omaha, Nebraska – where I was born.

When I moved to the UK in 2008, after settling in, I decided to make a career change to recruitment.  I started working for a generalist agency and really liked the work, however it was clear to me that a specialism was the way forward.  In 2016, I started with an agency specialising in food manufacturing, recruiting interim and permanent managers up to Managing Director level, and I have enjoyed working in that market ever since.

I joined GCS earlier this year, in the newly opened office in Loughborough. I am very pleased to join the business at this exciting time of growth and look forward to contributing to its continued success.

What are your specialist sectors at GCS Associates?

I am currently Head of FMCG. I recruit manufacturing roles, specialising in food manufacturing and have experience across other consumable manufacturing. I specialise in both interim and permanent placement and typical roles I recruit are Development Technologists, Process Managers, Business Unit Managers and Shift Managers (to name a few!)

Tell me about how you help clients/ candidates?

I help my clients by offering them simple, honest and knowledgeable solutions. My clients usually call me because they have an immediate problem that needs an immediate solution.  They expect me to understand their problem whether it be related to Operations, Engineering, Process or anything else related to their manufacturing site.

Steve Schaap, Head of FMCG

My candidates benefit from working with a consultant that knows the industry and has a history of working with integrity.

What do you do outside of work?

When we are not fighting a global pandemic, my wife and I like to travel and spend time with our family and friends.

If you are looking to recruit or considering a new job within food manufacturing, I’d love to hear from you!

CONTACT STEVE IF YOU ARE HIRING IN 2021 OR WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS FINDING A NEW ROLE. 

e: steve.schaap@gcsassociates.com
t: 07309 659 339