Sarah Taylor is our Resourcing Manager. In this interview, she explains how OSL helps students and hires contractors.
How does OSL work with universities to take on graduate engineers?
We like to work closely with a university’s careers service. The way that we work with them varies and it depends really on how much we’re allowed to collaborate with the university. However, a starting point for us is to attend all of their specialist careers fairs, which are a chance for me to promote OSL and meet students face to face. This is really key, as we don’t want to be at a stage where we’re looking for our graduates a month before they’re due to start and I’m depending solely on CVs. Essentially, I often keep in contact with people that I meet at these events and grow the relationship over time.
Another way that we connect with students is to deliver presentations, so I work a lot with Hull University, which is on our doorstep. I’ll go along on an evening or during an afternoon and give a talk on how to write a CV or prepare for interviews. These little tips help students to evolve their key skills and provides another opportunity for me to meet budding engineers in person.
What relationship does OSL have with contractors?
The relationship has developed over several years. We’ve meticulously built up a network of contractors and consultants that we work with locally and throughout the UK. Since I joined the business two and a half years ago, one of my remits has been to significantly expand that network. We have strong links with our contractors, recruiting either internally for people to work on our projects, or externally in the form of secondments to an end client’s site. In both of these situations, we maintain regular contact, checking in after the first week, then keeping in touch on a monthly basis for a while, followed by once a quarter.
It’s crucial that an externally placed contractor still feels a part of OSL. Wherever logistically possible, we will invite them to visit our offices, meet key people in the business, and talk to the lead engineer that manages their discipline. This way, if they do have any problems or questions when out on site, all they need to do is pick up the phone and speak to someone who is able to help. This is also of great benefit to our clients, as they can rest assured that there’s home office support available at all times.
What does OSL look for in potential members of staff?
We need people to match our values and culture. Obviously we’re going to look for technical expertise – we need intelligent, innovative, technical people to join our team – but we’re searching for soft skills too, such as interpersonal proficiency. As a consultancy, 80-90% of our team has direct client contact. As a result, we need them to be able to communicate effectively, combined with strong influencing skills.
Meanwhile, our culture of Clever Thinking is based on creating solutions by voicing ideas, so we have a very open sharing structure. It’s important for us that people feel comfortable in this type of environment.
How can people keep up to date with opportunities at OSL?
The best way for people to keep their finger on the pulse of developments is via the Careers section of our website, as all of our permanent roles are advertised on there. However, when it comes to contracting it’s best to keep in fairly regular contact with myself, so people are invited to email me at email@example.com.
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