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Implementing recruitment technology - training, software and techniques for the education sector

Ashton 6th Form College is located in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester and has around 2000 students.  In 2016, the college was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted and achieved a 99% pass rate for A Levels.

The 6th form college has a small, core HR team that overseas recruitment; we spoke to Dawn Parrott, one of the main users of the system about her experience with Vacancy Filler. The 6th form college currently employs around 240 members of staff and hire approximately 20-30 times a year.


Prior to Vacancy Filler

Previously to working with Vacancy Filler, Ashton 6th Form College were in talks with various job boards; however the college had certain needs such as reducing the amount of paper and photocopying and the job boards were unable to do this.  After back and forth discussions with Ashton 6th Form, Vacancy Filler were able to perfectly mirror their application form and include the functionality that the college needed.

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Implementation was set out and executed in stages so that the process was manageable and that all parties understood the progress of the project. With that, training was given during the implementation of the software so that the team were ready when the project went live.

Dawn explained: “It seemed intimidating at first; there was a lot to get our heads round, but after the training we were in a position to bite the bullet – since going live, we’ve never looked back”

The responsibility of shortlisting candidates falls on the senior management team (SMT) who are all required to have a qualification in recruiting. To train the SMT, Vacancy Filler’s training manager shared screens with the group with Dawn present. The training that was previously given to Dawn meant that she was knowledgeable about the training that was given and was able to assist where needed.

Bringing on the Whole Team

Before bringing on Vacancy Filler, the recruitment team were heavily reliant on paper and were reluctant to move away from their old methods of recruiting.

Dawn explained: “No one has a choice now; we’re not going back to the old ways of recruiting. Vacancy Filler has centralised our process and made us more efficient. It’s saved us money, it’s been kinder to our printer – Vacancy Filler has delivered what was promised”

Previously to Vacancy Filler, Ashton 6th Form College’s hiring managers were required to physically tick off qualifications and qualities of candidates on a grid. Now, information is demonstrated digitally and the process is simplified by a scoring system within the Vacancy Filler system.

Using Trello

Ashton 6th Form College and Vacancy Filler used Trello, an online collaboration and project managing tool that allows users to track and communicate throughout implementation. Dawn used Trello each morning to see what progress had been made and look for any actions that were required by the HR team.

Dawn said: “At first it was difficult to learn more software but it really helped us keep track of the whole project.”

By monitoring the progress of the project, both parties were able to see what was needed of each other and if there were any questions, they were easy to answer by sharing solutions either on Trello or over the phone.

Second Stage of Implementation

As reporting is a large part of recruiting for colleges this was an essential feature for Ashton 6th Form. Prior to implementation, discussions took place where the implementation team got an understanding of what was required so they could make a personalised reporting plan.

Dawn explained “For colleges like us, it’s crucial that we can report on all parts of the recruitment process and be able to demonstrate who we are hiring.”

After the team were trained on using the system, reporting was introduced. As the team were already clear what the college needed in terms of reports, a tailor made dashboard was installed that allowed HR to create visual representations on all parts of the recruitment process that were needed.

Additional Comments

When asked if Dawn had any further comments on her experience with Vacancy Filler, she talked about how efficient and beneficial the Live Chat feature had been.

“By using Live Chat, I can get in contact with the technical support team quickly and easily. Any time I ask a question the replies are there in seconds. It’s a really valuable feature”


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