Agenda1 has very much enjoyed the recent process of recruiting to its first Graduate Recruitment Programme.

Historically, vacancies at Agenda1 have been filled in the traditional way; that is, by candidates who have already been in work and who are able to demonstrate competence for the job required. However, as the company continues to evolve and new roles are created, there is increasing recognition that the recruitment of graduates is the cornerstone of a growing business. This is a shift in focus; there is a big difference between hiring to do the job and hiring for potential to do the job (i.e. talented graduates!).

So, how did we go about recruiting the talent we want working at Agenda1? Through senior-level discussion and debate, we were able to agree the skill-set we’d like to see in the ideal candidate. This included, for example, confidence, intelligence and a genuine willingness to learn.

Applicants were initially asked to apply for a role by writing a letter describing how they would meet the skill-set we were looking for. They were also given strict instructions not to send a CV or to apply via a job website.

164 applications were received; however, notably, a large percentage of these applicants did not adhere to the application instructions and were immediately disregarded. Future applicants, take note! By a process of calling and speaking to applicants, remaining candidates were first reduced to 12, and then 6, who were invited for interview.

Candidates were subjected to a deliberately orthogonal interview process; this gave the interviewers scope to review and assess skill-set, personality, enthusiasm for the job and initiative in an objective and rounded manner. The interview process included giving a presentation to the interview panel, a tour of the Agenda1 site, undertaking a team exercise with fellow candidates and finally, a formal interview.

All parts of the interview process provided interviewees with the opportunity to exhibit their strengths in one form or another (and to recognise that all parts of the day were part of the interview process!). The team exercise proved to be of particular interest to the interview panel; the exercise involved the necessity for candidates to first compete with each other to get their ideas heard, convince other candidates that their ideas were the best, then demonstrate their decision-making skills.

In the end there were two stand-out candidates; both bursting with intelligence, personality, grounding and enthusiasm for a role at Agenda1. The process left us feeling inspired about the calibre of young people ready for the industry and we look forward to welcoming them to the company on 9th April 2015.