An Opportunity 4 Employment

On Friday I was faced with a major dilemma – choose just one of three unemployed people , who also happen to be customers of ours , to be my personal assistant for 6 months.

All deserve the opportunity , all desperately need someone to give them a break.

I’m convinced companies need to think and act differently if we are to have any chance of reducing employment and creating jobs for the future.

And nothing needs disrupting more than the way companies recruit people.

I’ll post more on this next week.  For now I want to hand over to Sonja – who was unemployed just 9 months ago.  Sonja helped me have chats (can we lose the entire concept of interviewing?) with the customers.

She was confident ,inspiring and the applicants (awful word , lets lose that too) could relate to her more than me. I , like most people who recruit , have not been in their position for a long time. We use process and language that was created in a different time. A time that isn’t relevant anymore.

I asked Sonja to write a few words:

“I had the opportunity today to sit in with Paul on his interviews for his Opportunities4Employment placement. I was so excited as O4E made such a difference to my life. I couldn’t wait to meet the next candidates! As soon as they walked in I saw their faces and I was transported back to how nervous I felt at my interview – it was all so close to home.

It was amazing to be on the other side of the interview and listen to why they want to come and work for Bromford and what this will do for them! I know that they were probably thinking what I was thinking 9 months ago what do I say? How do I sit? Should I have a drink if they offer? What will make me stand out from the rest?

My journey? I started out homeless without anywhere to go when I had my first connection with Bromford – they offered me a house!!!

Then to top it off after about 12 months they offered me a job!! – I remember being called and told that I had got through to the assessment day and being really nervous almost sick feeling because I thought I can’t do this what will make me stand out??

The assessment day was brilliant and I was made to feel so welcome, afterwards I wanted this job more than anything but with so many candidates making it through I thought I had no chance.

At the interview I remember being so nervous that I was shaking walking up the stairs, I wanted this opportunity so badly! Then I got the call…. I got the job!!!! I was so happy things were going to be so different for myself and my family!! 6 months down the line after working really hard and pushing myself doing things I have never done before and hopefully making an impression on the team I finally got the news that I had my apprenticeship I am now 3 months into it and loving it.”

We need to create hundreds of thousands , millions , of stories like this.  And , along the way , we need to reinvent employment and recruitment for the 21st Century.

  1. Fantastic story about giving someone a chance and watching them grow – I’m sure most of us can remember the time someone believed in us and the difference it made to our lives. Just imagine how powerful that would be if we all gave someone else an opportunity. Oh and find out about the person not chunk em through a process called recruitment!

    Reply

    1. Thanks Sue – Thats a great point. Imagine if every manager in the UK gave a person an opportunity? There are 42,000 managers in the NHS alone! That would cause an incredible positive movement right across the country…

      Reply

  2. Sonja does a great job at getting people to talk naturally.

    So true that when we get senior enough to be interviewers, we forget what the job requires and what trying to get a job is like. Reminds me of my first day in court as a probation officer – I always thought it was important to hold on to that feeling of not really understanding anything that was going on – because that’s what’s it’s like for every first time defendant…

    Reply

    1. Thanks Russell – love the example of the defendant. One of the customers the other day told another colleague that they had been “really scared” of me. I’d like to think I’m fairly approachable and laid back – but it’s easy to forget the effect that perception of seniority can have in a formal environment. It must be truly terrifying for someone entering the world of work for the first time. Thanks again for commenting

      Reply

  3. What an inspirational blog Paul, and the feeling Sonja put into her words – just loved it. Words can be so emotive and in lots of cases, barriers – it would be so great to move into a different era of giving folk opportunities and letting them prove themselves rather than getting them to answer questions in a predefined way.
    Good luck to your O4E !

    Reply

  4. I absolutely love this blog not only because im the one that got the job, But because of the way you have explained about the difficulties in offering opportunities to the #unemployed and also how you brought Sonja into the interview to make me and other #O4E candidates feel more at ease not so nervous. She was great and really inspired me to #be the best I can be! This was also my second attempt at an #O4E opportunity since i was unsuccessful last year but the feedback I got from Jayne@bromford was really helpful and just made me more determined to do better next time.

    Reply

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