Membership bodies and business development: AAT’s Olivia Hill

Anthony Haynes writes: FJWilson Talent Services (FJWTS) have worked with the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) since 2012, initially focusing on a number of new, regional and field-based business development roles.  In a previous post we looked at effective practice in recruiting a new team at AAT.  After further expansion that team is now ten strong, nine of whom were found by FJWTS.

Olivia Hill
Olivia Hill

Here, we’re delighted to have Olivia Hill’s perspective on effective recruitment. Olivia, who’s worked for AAT since 2008, became Chief HR Officer in 2014. She’s responsible for AAT’s reward and benefits strategy, training and development, and employee engagement as well as recruitment and retention.

What does your organisation do?
AAT is a professional membership body that awards skills-based accountancy and financial qualifications. It is a major international organisation, with over 130,000 members and an annual turnover of over £27 million (2015).

Its members are represented at every level of the finance and accounting world, including students, people already working in accountancy, and self-employed business owners.

AAT awards approximately 90% of all vocational qualifications in accounting and is sponsored by professional accounting bodies (CIPFA, ICAEW, CIMA and ICAS).

 

What kind of recruitment needs does the AAT have?

Given the nature of the business AAT is in, there are a wide range of recruitment needs, from editors within the Assessments Team to our web developers.

 

What is your approach on using agencies?

We work with preferred suppliers and they are selected on the basis of providing an excellent level of service to both AAT and the candidates.

FJWTS have recruited a number of our field sales roles, starting with a brand new team in 2012.  Since then we have also engaged FJWTS for other roles such as ‘Conduct & Compliance Team Manager’, ‘Membership Manager’, ‘Engagement Manager (Members)’ and ‘Head of Awarding Organisation Compliance & Regulation’.

 

Why did you engage FJWTS?

FJWTS were approached as they seemed to provide a high level of customer service, and demonstrated an ability to find candidates that matched both the job description and the culture of AAT.

 

And how did it work out?

As we were recruiting a whole new team there was a lot of organisation required between both FJWilson and the internal HR team. This went incredibly well and excellent communication was key to this being a success.

 

What were the benefits of using FJWTS?

They used a blended approach of head hunting and advertising, they briefed the candidates incredibly well and worked to quite tight time scales.

 

What’s your advice on using recruitment agencies?

It’s always good to remember that when you are using an agency you are paying for a service and therefore you need to be clear as to what your expectations are.

The service should make your life easier – as FJWTS did and does. Getting the agency to obtain references as part of the process and manage all the contact with the candidates are processes you should consider getting them to do.

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