Aon Hewitt and Entrepreneurs in Action, Non Traditional Recruitment, Starting Out

Derek Browne, founder of Entrepreneurs in Action, approached the CEO of Aon Hewitt shortly after the London riots of 2011.  As Aon have offices in Croydon, Derek suggested to the CEO that they could show commitment and belief in the local area by recruiting unemployed young people into their business. EiA and Aon discussed an alternative approach to recruitment, which moved away from the mechanistic on-line recruitment process to identify potential young people. This was a big move away from “old fashioned” recruitment and selection company processes and a move towards recruitment based on an “informed” decision. Derek offered an innovative approach, which did not focus on CVs, but sought to get to know the individual and to see them in action and that this was the best way to identify “talent” for the business.

EiA partnered with Croydon Council and Job Centre Plus to identify unemployed young people for 10 administrative assistant roles:

  • Over 1000 young people applied
  • 125 were shortlisted for the one day assessment day
  • 25 attended the EiA Classroom to Boardroom programme
  • All 25 participants presented to the Aon leadership team
  • Aon were so impressed by the quality of the candidates that they offered 15 jobs in total
  • The other 5 roles were in other areas of the business based on the skills demonstrated.

The statistics for this programme were interesting:

  • Gender split was almost 50:50.
  • 47% had been unemployed for 3 – 6 months
  • 53% had been unemployed for more than 6 months
  • 73% of the 15 jobs offered came from the most deprived wards in Croydon

When interviewed 4 months into the role, each candidate said they would never have had the confidence to apply for a role at Aon without the intervention and support from EiA. Almost 15 months on, 13 of the 15 remain employed by Aon.

Too many young people are being overlooked because they are being judged on exam results taken at 16, 18 and 21. UK plc faces a very difficult and interesting future if businesses only recruit based on academic qualifications, rather than also seeking to identify and recruit talented individuals who are not academic successes!

Can we move away from a purely mechanistic approach to recruiting and identifying our future talent?

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