TelcoSwitch Transforms the Search for Telecom Talent with BrightSparks
TelcoSwitch searches for new skill with their "Graduate Academy"
On November 16th, 2017, Cloud Communications provider TelcoSwitch decided to change their hiring strategy with the help of BrightSparks, an innovative recruitment agency. The company launched their TelcoSwitch Graduate Academy with an assessment day, hosted in a marquee on the roof terrace of their office, to find potential candidates for the two openings they had for Internal Account Managers.
I spoke to Lee Reuben, the Chief Operating Officer for TelcoSwitch, about the decision to launch the new graduate programme, what it entailed, and what the UC brand will be doing next to tap into new talent in the Telecom industry.
What Is the TelcoSwitch Graduate Academy?
When TelcoSwitch teamed up with BrightSparks to find new graduates for their new Internal Account Manager roles, BrightSparks began by bringing together a list of around 500 potential applicants for the positions. That number was quickly refined down to around 20 candidates, who were all pre-screened, prepped, and invited to the TelcoSwitch offices under the guidance of managing director Sam Fields.
“After about 500 telephone interviews, we ended up with 20 candidates in a marquee on the roof. We began the day by asking them to share some information about themselves. Along with an interesting fact, each candidate was asked to provide the name of a famous character they wanted to represent. Once that was done, the group was split into three smaller teams, and each individual within their team was asked to argue why their chosen character should be allowed to stay in a metaphorical life raft.”
Lee told me that once the first 15-minute task was over, the teams were presented with another challenge, where they had to act as the chairman of a university society, and explain why they should receive access to a £10,000 budget. “This was very revealing for us, as it showed us that some candidates spent too much time focusing on the wrong things, like why other applicants shouldn’t get the money.”
The final step asked each candidate to provide a three-minute presentation on the subject matter of their choice. “It was very interesting to see how each person presented, whether they were confident, and whether they could respond well to pressure. On the back of that, BrightSparks had a scoring system which allowed them to create a list of 6 top candidates based on 6 core values. We also made a list, and five out of six of the people we chose were the same.”
What Are You Hoping to Get from the Programme?
TelcoSwitch decided to invite BrightSparks’ Top 6 candidates back for a one-to-one interview where they could hopefully decide on the 2 people they wanted to bring onto their team.
“I think we ended up with six very strong candidates – it will be very difficult for us to pick just two graduates to work with.”
The jobs up for grabs are for the role of Internal Account Manager. Lee told me that while TelcoSwitch are initially looking for people to come and join the team at a basic level, the important thing to remember is that this is just a stepping stone to even bigger and better career opportunities. “We’re looking for ways to develop and manage new accounts with these graduates, and improve the client relationships with the existing accounts we have.”
Lee also noted “If you look at that 80/20 rule that businesses like to talk about, we’re hoping to use our new recruits to work with the 80% of our client base that might only represent 20% of our revenue. The idea is clearly to help these clients sell more of our product.”
What’s the TelcoSwitch Academy About?
For the people who are brought on board out of the TelcoSwitch graduate programme, the first 6 months of their career will be spent within the Academy. Lee explained that most of the people that they’ll be welcoming onto the team will be making their first steps into a proper career.
“They need to learn what hosted telecoms means, what we have to offer, and how we want to approach sales for our product. The academy is a 6-month programme that provides our recruits with the information they need to sell successfully, before we let them loose on the resellers properly. We’re going to be teaching our new hires the tricks of the trade, so that they can come into the channel feeling confident.”
Lee noted that it can be difficult for people to really find their place in the Telecom industry these days if they’re just getting started.
“When I first came on board into the Telecom world, I spent a lot of time just trying to understand acronyms and what everything meant. There’s a definite challenge to consider coming into an industry like this. We feel that we need to teach people about this world before they can go out and sell to people who might be veterans in the sector.”
Is This the Start of New Growth for TelcoSwitch?
It’s easy to argue that the UK might not be creating enough telecom professionals in the tech world. Though there’s a great deal of buzz around the possibilities that technology has to offer, some graduates still don’t look at communications and consider it to be the start of a technology career. Lee told me:
“I think when people talk about technology today, they’re thinking about things like Facebook and new apps. I don’t think you directly look at telecoms when you want to get started in a tech job.”
According to Lee, the TelcoSwitch graduate programme has been a positive experience for the company.
“I think what was really encouraging for us, is that we ended up with 20 candidates who were passionate, and interested in getting involved with the telecommunications world. We had 20 really smart young people, ready to start a new career with us.”
Perhaps pathways like these are the best way to bring new people into the Telecom world. After all, by 2020, statistics predict that around half of the workforce will be made up of millennials, and businesses need to change the way they attract recruits. TelcoSwitch have done something fresh with their growth plan, combining an apprenticeship strategy, with a new solution for attracting graduates.
It will be interesting to see how the brand continues to grow in the years ahead.