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Cox Purtell: RCSA 2016 Excellence in Candidate Care WinnerAt
the RCSA Gala Ball on 26 May, Cox Purtell was announced as the

winner of the RCSA (Aus) 2016 Excellence in Candidate Care Award


This week Cox Purtell Managing Director,
James Purtell, took time out of his day to answer a few of my questions
about Cox Purtell’s approach to candidate care.


Ross: Congratulations on your win, James.
Firstly, can you give me a bit of information about the origins of Cox Purtell
and the services it currently provides?  


James  :
Thanks Ross. Cox Purtell was founded by Jill Cox and Liz Purtell in 1994.
Mum (Liz) started on the reception desk at Centacom, Chatswood (now Adecco)
when she was 19. After about 30 years each at Centacom, Jill and Liz set
out on their own. Originally, our core business was temp & perm business
support. In 2004, Trish Nugent and I took over the business and introduced
some new service lines including Sales & Marketing, Accounting & Finance,
Legal & Government. Sadly, Trish passed away from Melanoma in December 2014.


When did you decide to elevate the importance
of candidate care at Cox Purtell? Was there any specific motivation, incident
or cause that prompted this step?  


When I first started as an employee in the
business, in the late 90s, it was always drummed into me that it is all
about the candidate. At that time, that was contrary to conventional wisdom.
Most agencies focussed mostly on the client. This attitude is probably the
cause of our high client and candidate referral rate.


Late last year, we really ramped up our
attention on candidates by introducing a Talent Management Team to reduce
the chance of candidates slipping through the net.


How did you go about instilling the elevated
candidate care ethos in the CP staff so that it became automatically part
of what they did every day?  


We have a Quality Assurance accreditation
and one of the critical measures is candidate satisfaction. All candidates
who register are surveyed. Our QA target is 85%+ candidate satisfaction
and we monitor it monthly. It’s currently sitting at about 91% “Highly recommend”.


What specific things did you decide to
start doing or stop doing, with respect to candidate care?  


I think a key but simple thing is committing,
as an agency, to “do what we say we are going to do”. Often it’s
as simple as that.


What has been the most effective candidate
care initiative CP has undertaken? Why do you think it so successful?  


Being genuine; one of our aspirations is
to be the most courteous recruiter. It sounds a little fluffy but it does
set the tone for how we interact with clients or candidates. It’s important
for us to remember that even though most recruiters are swamped with applications,
many of which are totally unsuitable, that work is a serious and important
part of most people’s lives. Work adds meaning to people’s lives therefore
it’s important that we treat people with respect and care – even if we are
unable to assist them.


What sort of metrics do you use to measure
the success of the action you have taken? How are these metrics communicated
to the CP staff?  


Any positive feedback from candidates in
our surveys or otherwise is communicated to the whole business and celebrated. As mentioned earlier, we are quality assured and independently audited
so any negative feedback is responded to personally and then if necessary,
we make some process changes or conduct some internal training.


What sort of feedback from the CP candidates
have you received that would indicate that CP is successfully distinguishing
itself from its competitors in the candidate market?  


As our social relationship with our candidates
has grown, we have seen these candidates start to share their Cox Purtell
experience with their own networks, mostly via Instagram and Facebook. Content
of this kind is the most powerful endorsement we can receive. When candidates
share these positive experiences with their trusted networks we believe
this indicates they are genuinely engaged with us as an agency. Some recent
candidate feedback that gives us encouragement that our approach is differentiating
us in the market is as follows:


“Cox Purtell is my fourth agency in Sydney
and by far the best. The consultants are constantly looking for work for
me and when one door closes another one opens.”


“I found both consultants very helpful
and honest with their answers. I haven’t found any other agencies that really
take the time and I have spoken to quite a few of them the last few weeks.”


These comments are representative of many
other comments we regularly receive.


Given the level of success with candidate
care that CP has had to date, how do you keep raising the bar?  


We keep putting the candidates first. Just
by talking to candidates and being genuinely interested in what they have
to say (as well as through surveys), we continually evolve our service offering.
  Also, of course, you have to hire the right people for your
own business. It’s critical to have people on board who share the values
around treating candidates well and understand the pay-off from doing so.


What have been the most important candidate
care learnings you can offer the industry in general from the CP experience?  


Aspiring to get the candidate part right
is the first critical step. I acknowledge that we don’t always get it right
but we aspire to get it right and that’s very important. As I mentioned
earlier, work is important to people and it’s easy for Consultants or agencies
to lose sight of that fact.


Cox Purtell Award: Worth the Hangover
did CP celebrate the award win?  


Well, the three of us at the awards had
a bit of a headache the next day! Outside of that, it was champagne in the
office and a big personal thank you (and small gift) to the candidates who
helped with our submission. Actually, the most work on this is still to
come. It’s quite a heavy responsibility to win this Award. We are, of course,
showcasing it everywhere we can and we need to continue to aspire to what
it represents.


Thanks very much for taking the time
to answer my questions, James. Congratulations again and I look forward
to seeing how Cox Purtell stays a leader in this field.  


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