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Keeping it Personal – The Human side of Digital Agility

Keeping it Personal – The Human side of Digital Agility

Agility isn’t only applicable to insurance – it’s cross industry and in our industry etc etc… job search on the go, flexible working, tailor made careers …

It’s not only Insurance that needs to limber up! Our world has changed – we are digital. We expect digital. The world is at our fingertips and we can’t see why everything shouldn’t be done on the move.

Gone are the days of plain old library books – even the task of choosing a real physical book is now something that requires an online presence.

We don’t do waiting. We do google.

And recruitment is one of those areas that agility is crucial in. The downtime during the daily commute = job searching.  Scrolling through a FB feed = personalised Ads.   Flexible working patterns can relate anywhere as the City truly needs never to sleep now the online world is global. The old rules need not apply anymore – jobs can be truly mobile and work can be done anytime, any place, anywhere..

Recruiters need to harness this mobile world and use it to bring a truly agile service to the industries they serve.

Luckily – Recruitment lends itself to digital agility easily. A strong online and mobile presence , the ability to search and be searched for from all devices, a social media savvy frontage are all the precursors to providing a personalised recruitment offering.

Networking sites, job boards and online applicant systems are all ways that technology has revolutionized recruitment; radically changing how employers and recruiters find potential candidates. Applicant tracking systems and new AI software can help HR departments manage the massive influx of resumes that online digitally agile job hunting leads to.

AI-powered systems can do a great job sorting through candidates, but the risk is that non-traditional candidates or candidates with unusual experience that could offer an alternative perspective on a role could fall through the rules-based system, even such a one that can”learn” and therefore improve with ‘experience’,

Applicant tracking systems might be the most noticeable way technology has impacted recruitment ,however behind the scenes there are more changes afoot. Technology has changed recruitment forever, and how the industry has had to adapt – and become agile , just like the candidates it is trying to recruit!!

Data Data

Big Data is certainly a useful tool in the world of recruitment and many other businesses can’t get enough of it. The old adage of “knowledge is power” certainly seems to be being applied to the collection of data. But what good is that knowledge is it is applied incorrectly, or worse, not applied at all?

More data can mean more confusion, allowing tiny details to “skew process and drive people to take action on things that don’t matter, while ignoring the real underlying problems with the recruiting function.”

Analytics and AI are becoming increasingly sophisticated and “intelligent” – with some able to sort CVs at a thousand paces. But with Big Data comes big responsibility – which is where the human touch still maintains a critical role.


Going Digital can also help businesses not only remove unconscious bias by removing anything from a resume that might identify gender or race. However it can also help bring a specific positive bias into the recruitment process; for example, if a company looks at their workforce and realizes they have predominantly male developers, they can use technology to target female developers in the recruitment process. This can be as straightforward as helping companies to rewrite their job specs to remove any biases in the phrasing. Studies have shown that even unconscious gendered wording can bring about a hiring bias.

AI based systems(assuming the algorithims are correct!) don’t have any selection biases involved!

Global Search Capacity

Geography is no longer the boundary it once was. Global job boards and online application have made job search a truly global affair.

Telecommuting and true agile working mean that recruiters can draw from a candidate pool they may have previously had to overlook. A more diverse talent pool enables recruiters to find professionals with far more specific skill sets than ever before. This talent diversity and ability to provide agile working environments helps drive competition which in turn raises the innovation and service that a company provides.

Flexibilty vs Control

Companies don’t relinquish control easily – and it is probably this aspect of agile working that has been found the most difficult by many! However a company that is prepared to truly embrace a more flexible approach to the traditional world of work is likely to reap the rewards. If we are prepared to accept a 24 hour society in other aspects of our lives then it stands to reason that the world of a basic 9-5 may well have seen its heyday.

Allowing employees the freedom to work however and wherever they work best – whether from home, in an office or from a coffee shop – creates a paradigm shift where employees work from a position of “desired duty” instead of “required duty.”

This mindset shift creates an overall sense of ownership; employees feel like they own their own career pathways. Technology presents endless tools and resources for agile working and the best way to utilise them is to start with a scientific approach : Observe, question, hypothesize, experiment and analyze. Look at new sourcing channels, try new regions, or leveraging social media to build mindset and trust. If employees can (and should!) work in new ways then change your recruitment approach to match!

The new rule is that there are no rules…

Agile is now!

Agile is now!
The Insurance Industry needs to play catch up.
Considering the size of the sector – the fact that Insurance regularly falls behind other big players such as banking and retail shows a degree of stagnation.
The digital revolution has truly placed the customer experience and satisfaction to the fore. Yet the insurance industry still reports relatively low levels of customer satisfaction, despite the technology existing to rectify this situation. And the desire to utilise these digital communication channels is high – particularly amongst the Y generation. Big Tech such as Google and Amazon are waiting in the wings ready to vie for a place in the insurance market – and many consumers are so used to the offerings of these global giants – that they would now consider an insurance purchase through them.
The time for change is now – and the benefits are multifold.
Business longevity for the insurers will require a degree of agility and responsiveness like never before. Consumers are increasingly knowledgeable, demanding, tech savvy, and time strapped. They are inclined to receive proactive, personalised insurance offerings and these proactive service were found to strongly correlate to positive customer experience. Self service through the internet is widespread and almost imperative in our society.
But it isn’t all about the customer experience; there is also the bottom line to consider. Improvements in digital agility and maturity will mean that insurers morph almost into becoming “risk preventers”; able to provide a highly personalised offering that enhances experiences as well as improving operational efficiencies.
The ability to use real-time data analytics to predict and respond to customers needs and market opportunites will provide greater access to customers – more “touchpoints”. And these touchpoints give an opportunity for value-added services – which leads to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty. A so called digital Eco-system enabling a digitally agile company to have a seamless flow of information, partnerships and services.
In the days of internet shopping – customer loyalty is hard to retain.
The time is now to change how insurance is perceived – and change from the days of the Insurance guy knocking on the door to a slick, agile operation that offers insurance and services to Me! And only me..
Agile – is now.
December is the month of Preparation

December is the month of Preparation

Its hard to believe the end of 2017 is racing towards us.

December – Advent Calendar time. And it’s the concept of preparation that strikes me today.

It seems as though a lot of changed during 2017 and that the pace of this change is getting ever faster. Yet some of the key issues we faced in 2017 haven’t actually gone away.

Finding and retaining good quality talent is just as relevant in the final few weeks of the year as it was at the beginning. In fact – if anything its more critical. The skills gap and shortage of tech talent is still there – It is time to listen to the rhetoric. In turbulent political and economic times it is challenging to find a way to plug the leak that is the high attrition rate amongst good staff. And yet when we break down what actually makes an employee stay – it would seem that Christmas is an excellent time to make a start on doing just that. Money is less important than you might think, (which is good in today’s climate!) and in the season of goodwill – it is easier to focus on giving – which for the most part is what contrbutes to an employee’s feelings of satisfaction at work.

So for today – in this festive season – let’s take a moment to review – to prepare – to make sure that 2018 truly does become the year that good people feel valued and appreciated at work.


Some key facts to consider:

IT professionals get twice as many recruitment mails than other professionals!

Contributing factors to employees leaving range from lack of career advancement to culture to lack of recognition. Money is a factor – but get the career aspiration loop right and recompense becomes a much smaller problem than you may think.

It costs your business about half an annual salary to find a replacement employee.

And those new employees are far less engaged and therefore more likely to move on faster which creates cultural uncertainty and higher stress in those remaining employees.

The bottom line is that there is very little point in having an excellent hiring strategy if you then forget all about the employee the minute they sign on the dotted line. Recruitment needs to come hand in hand with retention. And that strategy needs to fit your unique company culture. We know the talent is out there – but the competition is fierce. If your organisation won’t look after its key assets – someone else will!!


Top Tips:


Have an optimal onboarding process

Promote your company culture

Develop Effective Leaders

Recognise and Reward

Train and Develop

Provide Challenges

Offer Flexibility

Pay attention to top performers

Offer an attractive compensation package (think past purely salary here!)

Work – Life balance

Be fair

Be honest about change

Foster good teamwork

Not your average Recruitment Company

Not your average Recruitment Company

IS Recruitment (ISR) prides itself on offering a service that is truly is second-to-none; and that is an ethos that is demonstrated daily by every single member of the ISR team. True vision has to come from somewhere – and so this week we are starting at the top. In a series of articles – we will introduce you to members of the ISR team and show you a bit more about the people behind the service!

Iain Brassell – MD – to give him his official title – but Iain is, and has always been about much more than just a job title and a role description. After graduating from the University of Keele, he joined British Car Auctions as a Graduate Management Trainee and completed the program in record time. This was a fantastic grounding in sales – but not the “career” that Iain was looking for. After approaching several employment agencies as a job seeker – he became the sought after one! Three of the agencies suggested to Iain that a career in recruitment may be a better fit for him – and so – with an enviable degree of foresight, Iain took a salary cut to start out on the road to running a highly successful agency himself.

Recruitment isn’t the easiest of career choices. All too often you are caught between the needs of the candidate and the needs of the client – and it can be a tight place to sit. Nearly 20 years after that first move into the world of work placement – it is really obvious to see that the reason Iain has been so successful is that he has a true passion for changing people’s lives – with the RIGHT job and company.

It has been this passion that led Iain to set up ISR 10 years ago. “Setting up on my own has enabled me to do even more towards helping other people achieve the kind of career satisfaction I have. I can affect the people who work for me directly – as well as those candidates and clients that use ISR to provide their staffing solutions. I wanted to be seen as a partner of choice for the right reasons and for our focus to be on the quality of service provided to both our clients and candidates alike and the journey they both experienced; as opposed to winning new business and building account delivery teams to service those needs. I felt it was the direction in which the Recruitment Industry needed to be heading and I wanted to champion the relationship elements to our business founded on personal trust and genuine honesty and hard-work.”

More recently ISR acquired Saxus Solutions to create a larger company with a shared vision and values. The acquisition is providing Iain with new and interesting challenges every single day – to step away from the coal-face and work at a more strategic level as the overall MD of the new company! Iain has always led from the front in terms of his passion, hard-work and his approach to continuous learning and personal/professional development.

What strikes me as perhaps the most interesting aspect of the new MD is the level of loyalty that he has inspired; it is true to say that more than half the current staff have been with ISR for longer than 5 years! Making the right career and personnel choices is crucial and it is obvious to everyone who works for, and with Iain, that he puts this at the forefront of everything he does.

So please take an inside view of Mr. Brassell – just don’t hold his football team choices against him!! :)

What are the most/least enjoyable aspects of recruiting?

Most = changing people’s lives with new careers.

Least = candidates who don’t work out once placed.

What is the biggest challenge of the job?

My biggest challenge at the moment is being forced to change my working practises of 19 years and start to “work on the business and not in it”!

What has been your most memorable moment in the job?

The day I decided to leave Manchester and spend 6 years in London – this proved to be my biggest single step in Recruitment, even bigger than setting up ISR 10 years ago.

Where do you see IS Recruitment in 10 years?

Hopefully with as many of the team that are with us today still working for us; an office in Europe and additional offices across the UK.

Any top tips for candidates?

Be responsive and engaging at all times. Spell-check your CV before submittal, prepare thoroughly for interviews and feedback as much as you can following your interviews.

Any top tips for clients?

Work in partnership with your recruiters and they will give you a better service than you can ever imagine – give them the information they need, your time to review CVs and conduct interviews and you will see the results.

Life’s biggest challenge?

Getting from Monday to Friday and then having to switch off at the weekend.

Two hobbies – and why?

Poker and music – I find poker challenging and music relaxing – the two together works very well!

Two pet hates and why?

Arrogance and lies. I came from nothing and appreciate everything I receive and achieve; I don’t understand those that don’t! Integrity and trust are the core foundations on which I engage and build relationships.

What’s one quote that you live your life by?

“Never ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself”

What is your guilty pleasure?

MCFC away days.

ISR opened their new office in Sale, Manchester last week and celebrated their 10th anniversary

Blog Picture Office Opening

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