TDM Academy – Week Nine – It’s the final countdown

Well, the last third of our academy is under way! Here we go, that final countdown. With four weeks left to go of the academy until that big week 12, everyone here is thinking about what happens next. Watching the transformation has been amazing. In celebratory news, one of our trainees passed her probation early this week. She is more than capable of standing on her own two feet and has astounded us so far with how well she has done, including winning Employee of the Month, voted for by all of the senior members of staff for her first full month within the business. Congratulations! The rest of them are well on their way to joining the ranks.

So, my nest is slowly getting smaller as they grow their recruitment wings and fly away! In fact this week I’ve really turned to my firstborn academy (oh recruitment motherhood!) to find out what they think could have been done differently, in order to garner new ideas for the next run, to see mainly if we can improve on anything or add anything into the mix that might be a bit alternative!

That’s the thing – whilst I say final countdown, we are now actually gearing up to start the next academy. The wheels have been slowly set in motion over the past couple of weeks, bumping along in the background, and now it’s time to come to the forefront, to ensure a smooth transition period between the two academies, with no overlaps but everything set up and ready to go. At the same time, Academy 2 will be starting as the next phase of training, so it is imperative that everything is organised and ready to go, the T’s crossed and the I’s dotted. Everything has to be worked backwards from the point at which we want the academy to start, backwards from there to consider notice periods, availability, first and second stage interviews, telephone interviews and candidate sourcing. Everything, and everyone, has to be given a fair chance and fair run – so basically I need to go back in time and start again in January to get going!

As I sit and write this, I’ve been sitting with Chris, our Marketing Manager, and discussing next steps, plans for marketing the next academy and how to attract the best talent pool. There’s a funny kind of pressure when the academy does so well. Don’t get me wrong, I never wanted the academy to fail or anyone not to do well, but when EVERYONE does so well, it’s a high expectation to live up to – to then attract the best candidates available this time, and for them to join the ranks and do as well as the current team.

This week I’ve been out on foot, spreading the word and meeting universities career teams to discuss the graduate scheme that we run and the best way to go about attracting their graduates. What I’ve definitely realised is that for each quarter that the academy runs, it attracts a different kind of consultant, a graduate in a different stage of their lifecycle and career. A September intake is likely to be a more recent pool of graduates, hungry for their first job, a winter intake will be those who may have missed the first round of graduate schemes and so are considering options, or their first choice hasn’t worked out so we have to really make an impact to counteract their first bad experience, and a spring intake may be those who are looking for a career change (or like me trying to get ahead of the game before they graduate!).

I started in recruitment in the April of the year I graduated. I hadn’t actually graduated yet and ‘fell’ into recruitment – yes, that classic line! My fond memories of that is firstly – wanting to run before I could jump and just get going straight away, but secondly that the girls in the office and I spent lunchtimes going over exam revision on flashcards as my exams approached! Lectures had finished by then so I had nothing stopping me in going to work (and I was desperate to leave my part time job at the time, so jumped at the chance!). It felt like a rat race to get out to work and secure a graduate job from university before everyone else around me took all the good jobs. My other half had a friend who worked in a recruitment company and they needed a Sales Administrator and it went from there. Within a year I had moved on to work as a Recruitment Business Partner within a local start-up agency (although it had great backing from their parent company) and the training I had was second to none. My boss was a bloody good recruiter through and through, and that definitely helped as an introduction. I felt like I restarted my career again, actually learning what recruitment was, how to do my job and most importantly, why recruitment is so vital as an industry.

This is something I try to carry across with the trainees that come into TDM. This time, we will be starting in September. The likelihood is that we will have the majority of the academy as ‘fresh graduates’ and the remainder as those with a little work experience who are looking for a career change. The two differing experiences that I’ve had not only open my eyes to the importance of understanding what you do before you begin to flounder and get bored, but how vital it is to look up to those around you. I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t have respected the recruiter that two years ago taught me how to recruit. She was damn good on the phone every single time, and likewise my MD now is just as good. I look around our office and we have some bloody excellent recruiters in our midst, and I want to ensure that this chain carries on; that in two years’ time a trainee will come in and recognise that we have tremendous talent and hard working within this office and visualise themselves there. I want to look around in two years’ time and see these academies at the helm – that’s what’s so important to us, that we home grow our own talent.

The guys here are more than capable. Each trainee at the moment has their own little bit of amazing – something that makes them stand out from the rest. Be it their resilience, their get up and go, through to their confidence and malleable nature, they each have an edge which sets them apart and each and every one should be proud of how far they’ve come. It’s been tiring and at times a slog – believe me. With the retention rates of trainee schemes sitting at 50%, every day I thank my lucky stars that we will have a full house each day! Touch wood it will continue…