New Starter at Deverell Smith? Here's what you can expect!
So, you’ve just graduated from university and are looking to enter the big wide world of employment. But where do you start? The prospect of entering an office environment for the first time in your life can be daunting enough, especially if it’s in a big city like London.
Renowned for its very supportive, social and fun culture, Deverell Smith has grown exponentially since its launch back in 2006. As well as moving up seven places to take position 46 on The Sunday Times Best 100 Small Companies to Work for list in 2017, they are also one of an elite few to make Property Week’s Best Places to Work in Property shortlist.
As they look to double in size over the next three years, there is an abundance of recruitment career opportunities currently available for all types of graduates looking to work in an exciting, fast-paced and growing property recruitment business.
Here, Deverell Smith’s Talent Development Director, Chris Long, explains more about Deverell Smith’s new starter Training Academy and what new employees can expect as they embark on an exciting career with the company.
How do you get a place on the Academy?
Our first round of interviews is organised in a speed dating type format. Between six and ten new candidates come in once a week and meet with the same number of Deverell Smith’s. Each manager is from a different area of the business and the trainees move round in turn to spend ten minutes with each person, with each Deverell Smither assigned a different topic area to question you on, whilst also allowing you to ask questions about their individual areas of the business. At the end of the session, the managers sit down and feedback on each of the trainees and select the highest scoring candidates. They are then invited back for a 2nd, more formal, interview with two of our hiring managers whose role it is to decide where they would be best placed within the business.
What can you expect during the Academy?
The academy is four weeks long and the end goal is turn all new starters into a Deverell Smith recruiter! Your days are split in 2 – mornings of training followed by afternoons ‘on the job’. The first half of the day will usually involve a combination of classroom-based sessions, group work, e-learning and a demonstration of some of the processes needed to carry out your day to day job function, such as how to generate and qualify great candidates and how to win new clients. The afternoon is then spent practicing what you have learnt or shadowing a member of the team that you will be working with.
The first day is an induction into the company, where you will learn all about our history, our brand, our values, our incentives and the structure of the company.
One of the other key things we explain are the opportunities for progression at Deverell Smith from day one. We run through your job description in detail, but also the job descriptions of the people working above you so you can immediately see where your career can go and what the gaps are to get there. We are very transparent about progression from day one, as we feel it’s important that graduates are very clear about what they need to do to progress and the opportunities available to them.
Once you know what your role is and where you fit into our team, over the rest of the week we start to introduce some of the technical skills you will need – a good example of what you might learn in week one is how to qualify a candidate, i.e. how do you hold that initial phone call with somebody to gather enough information to ascertain if they’re relevant and suitable for roles that you have on? What is their current salary, notice period, reasons for leaving? These will be asked in conjunction with more technical questions for your particular area/desk.
Every morning on the second and third weeks, we have a manager from one of the different teams doing a thirty-minute presentation on their particular desk, which we call a ‘Spotlight’. This helps to provide a very holistic overview of the whole business and highlight where there are opportunities to cross-sell and work with other desks. It also gives insight into the wider property industry and how your particular vertical sits within it.
Trainees are also taught how to use our internal database of 140,000 property professionals so they can ‘power’ search and extract key leads and candidates from it. They then learn how to manage the full recruitment process – this includes how to conduct face-to-face candidate meetings which, at first, would be done under the guidance of a colleague. Our hope is that after two or three of these supervised meetings, they would be able to get more involved and, ultimately, lead the meeting themselves.
They also learn the candidate management process i.e. how to take them from that first phone call, prepare them for an interview, how to pitch a job to them, pitch their CV to a client, all the way through to negotiating an offer. Often in the first two weeks, trainees will arrange several candidate meetings and our top performers will have already secured their candidates interviews with clients!
This takes trainees to the next level, showing them candidate generation techniques including how to write a job advert, how to use LinkedIn effectively and how to headhunt candidates. By the end of the third week, they should have their so-called ‘recruitment toolbox’, and be armed with all the tools they need to find relevant candidates.
At the end of week three we then hold a Resourcing Challenge – over a day, trainees are given a vacancy to work on and their task is to find three candidates from all the different sources they have learnt about to put forward for that position. Whoever wins gets a bar tab as their prize, which is a great way to make new friends quickly!
By the end of the four-week period, the focus is on clients. We discuss how to approach and engage with clients, how to explain our terms of business including fees and contracts and how you can start developing your own client base. Trainees are also often putting the previous three weeks learning into practice, perhaps booking candidates in for interviews, and some even making successful placements.
At the end of the forth week trainees must also do a presentation in front of their direct line manager and me. The presentation is their opportunity to showcase what they’ve learnt, describe what their biggest challenges or obstacles were during the Academy, say what their highlights were and explain what they know and understand about the market they will be working in. They also have to set a 100-day plan outlining their KPI’s, their key actions and they want to achieve in those three months. We then have a meeting three months later to see how they did in reaching those targets.
Having successfully completed the Academy, what perks do Deverell Smith employees enjoy throughout their career?
We offer three trips abroad each year which are all based around performance. There is a European trip, a Super European trip and then the ‘ultimate trip’ which is usually America, the Caribbean or similar. Each level of the business has a different target you need to reach to qualify for each trip. Obviously the better the trip the higher the target will be but, essentially, everyone in the business can aim to go on any of them.
There is the ‘Consultant of the month’ award, which is not just based on what someone bills but around the activity of that person over the month – so any one can win again if they work hard. This is voted for by the management team. The prize is a £100 voucher and entry into the hat for one of the trips abroad. We also have a quarterly lunch club, which is for all high achievers who hit a predetermined sales target.
We have weekly incentives too which are often linked to annual events. For example, during Wimbledon, we were all split into groups and allocated a court number, from Centre Court down to the outside courts. Based on your activity during the morning and the afternoon, you moved up or down a court. If you were on centre court at the end of the two-week championship, you won some amazing cash prizes. We also have annual summer socials and Christmas parties.
Aside from the incentives, Deverell Smith really is a very friendly, social and supportive company to work for. It’s not your traditional, merciless sales environment, more friendly competition. If you need to ask a question, anybody will help you.
Deverell Smith welcomes graduates from all subject disciplines. Its core values are to be honest, bold, loyal, determined and fun and to seek candidates that are driven, resilient, adaptable, willing to learn and have strong communication skills. If this sounds like you, please contact Ella Beese on 020 3823 4397 or firstname.lastname@example.org.