Citywire - The Talent Group
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Bringing recruitment in-house

Citywire is a small but growing company that specialises in providing media and information services for the financial services sector and arranging events to connect fund managers and other industry players.

When they contacted us in 2015 they had a staff of around 200 based at their head office in Vauxhall and satellite offices in Munich, Milan, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The challenge

Citywire’s COO, Gareth Williams, came to us for help consolidating their approach to recruitment. At the time they had a preferred supplier list of 30 recruitment agencies to find all their new staff.

None of the agents took the time to truly understand the culture before advertising roles so they didn’t grasp Citywire’s unique style, making it difficult to match candidates effectively. Citywire also had no control over the way the agencies presented the company.

The HR administrator was spending a lot of time liaising with agencies and the company was paying substantial placement fees amounting to around £200k per year.

Our original remit was to help Citywire work with the agencies more efficiently, however we soon agreed on a more transformative solution that would enable them to handle their recruitment needs in-house.

The solution

“First we needed to get under the skin of the company and understand its DNA – its culture and values, We started by spending time speaking to existing employees, asking them what it’s really like to work at Citywire”

“It quickly became clear that it’s a fun place to work. Staff feel really valued as individuals, thanks to perks like free breakfast, fruit, gym access and showers and opportunities to take part in charity events. Employees also mentioned a strong sense of synergy and collaboration between different departments and even countries.”

This enabled us to build up an employer value proposition (EVP) for Citywire. The EVP would influence the way the company portrayed itself to potential new recruits, helping them attract candidates with the right characteristics and values for the business environment.

Working with our creative partners we developed the Citywire careers website, which tells the real story of what it’s like to work at Citywire and what people love about it. We seamlessly integrated this with the existing company website and brand.

Working with a technical partner, we also embedded a simple but effective applicant tracking system (ATS), which would enable candidates to apply for roles directly through the website. This intuitive system would make it easy for Citywire staff to manage the recruitment process end to end.

Citywire already used psychometric tools, which we integrated into the careers microsite and ATS, incorporating suitability testing into the online application process.

The final piece was to train the staff, equipping them with the essential recruitment skills they would need. We also helped Citywire recruit two new HR team members to manage the new in-house direct sourcing solution.

The results

To take Citywire from recruiting 98% of new staff through agencies to doing it almost entirely in-house took just three months.

The 2016 figures from speak for themselves:

Direct hires: 96%
Agency hires: 4%
Cost saving: 80%

HR manager Bianca Parker-Beckett commented, “Louise was an absolute pleasure to work with and to learn from. She built relationships quickly and left us with a fantastic end product – a direct recruitment model including an effective careers microsite and ATS.”

“They came up with a radical approach to completely transform the way we recruit,” confirms Citywire’s COO, Gareth Williams. “They went on recruit a complete HR team who successfully maintain the new model and are achieving great results.”

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