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Member Interview: Stuart Amies, Kenect Recruitment – Going Beyond Just Filling a Post

Written by Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce | 30 Mar 2023

Bedford-based Stuart Amies, of new Chamber member Kenect Recruitment, has a very clear vision of his role. It is not to shoehorn candidates into positions, but to understand and solve employers’ underlying recruitment problem – something they may not themselves be fully aware of.

With over a decade’s experience in recruitment, initially in the specialist education sector, he runs and manages the entire business - covering Commercial, Industrial, Travel, and Recruitment Consultancy.

We met with him over a virtual coffee to discover more about his business, what makes his approach to recruitment unique, what the current recruitment challenges are for employers, and how can they tackle them - all in the wake of Covid and the ongoing skills shortage.

Detailed insight, better outcomes

Contrary to what he sees as the approach of many in the recruitment industry, Stuart is focused on factors that go way beyond simply filling a vacant position with an available person.

He visits employers’ offices, for example, to learn more about the company works, and how the candidate will fit into its plans for growth. Often, these conversations turn the employer’s perception of the recruitment need on its head.

“One of the recruitment issues facing employers is that there can be problems or opportunities hiding behind what the employer thinks are the problems and opportunities,” he says. “If an organisation has a high staff turnover, for example, and is approaching me for candidates regularly, I’ll advise them on whether they could be doing anything differently to retain candidates for longer.”

“Or if they’re typically looking for short-term workers, they’re often bringing in people almost randomly, so I’ll advise them on how they can build targeting and loyalty into this temp base. Nurturing temps today can help solve longer-term recruitment problems tomorrow.”

Interviewing: a lost art

Stuart makes the point that candidate interviewing is pretty rare these days in the recruitment industry, and that, consequently, many recruiters are missing a trick.

“Our careful interview process enables us to identify both transferable skills and lifestyle factors that will mesh with the roles on offer,” he says.

He cites the recent example of a warehouse worker who had never worked in any other role, but was rich in skills – organisation, time management, teamwork – that suited him to an alternative logistics role.

“My business is recruitment consultancy, so I consult!” he says succinctly.

Skills shortage: the value of training

Stuart believes the Covid pandemic has compounded an already painful skills and labour shortage in many sectors, and that this is one of the greatest challenges facing the sector and its clients.

To remedy the latter problem, one word looms large: training. But on this front, businesses need both to stop playing their cards so close to their chest – and they also need to, as he puts it, “come back down to earth.”

“Employers need to place more emphasis on building their recruits’ careers,” he states, “but one of the challenges with employees who invest in training is that they often tend to run programmes that are not recognised outside their own company.”

“You get a few thousand businesses doing it this way and it’s not surprising that there’s a perceived skills shortage on the open market. Employers need to ensure their training has value outside their organisation, otherwise its lack of recognition in the skills market just hurts everyone!”

Equally, though, he observes that some employers are actually creating obstacles to successful recruitment. “For some roles,” he says, “it simply isn’t necessary to put an individual through the same background checks or rigorous interview processes that accompany some other roles. Recruitment should be diligent, but you need to know where to draw the line. We help with that too.”

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of Chamber membership, call us on (01582) 522448.

Topics: member interview

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