A woman with blonde hair and glasses smiles widely at the camera. Her two colleagues sit at their computers behind her. They are in an office.

"We're here for their whole journey"

“We’re an applicant’s first port of call”

Have you ever wondered what happens when you apply to work with us?

Last week, we met up with Cordelia, Callum, and Anyelina, Southdown’s HR Administrators in the Recruitment Team, to find out!

What does an HR Administrator do?

Callum: “We ensure a smooth recruitment process for applicants from the closing date of an application to the person’s first day.”

Cordelia: “Yes, we’re an applicant’s first port of call. Each applicant is assigned an HR Administrator. Our role is to support people from the very start of applying for a position all the way through to getting them into post. We’re here for their whole journey.”

How important is relationship building in your role?

Cordelia: “Relationship building is important. It’s important to have a good rapport with an applicant. The process can take some time so we stay in touch with applicants so they don’t feel forgotten about. Sometimes we hold someone in mind for a more suitable job later on, even if they’re unsuccessful in the role they initially applied for.”

Callum: “We’re building a relationship with the candidate not only from an HR point of view, but from a business angle too – we want them to be comfortable here and to understand how Southdown works and what it’s like to work here.”

Cordelia: “We also build relationships with Managers. We’re absolutely the middle man in the recruitment process. If it’s a question about filling in a form, we can assist with that. If it’s about what the role entails, we open the conversation with the Manager to get more details on what they want and we can relay that back to candidates at the application or interview stage. Maintaining morale is very important. We have a ‘we can’ attitude. We really do our best to offer the best service to candidates, managers, and services.”

What are your main challenges?

Cordelia: “I would say the biggest challenge is candidate engagement and getting them to provide us with the relevant documents and reference details we need. It can slow the process down and sometimes we have to get the Manager of the service involved – that’s one of the skills we possess, working with different people to get the outcome we need.

“All our services have different processes within recruitment and we have to know them all. We also find that a lot of candidates want a timeline but we can’t always give a specific start date at the beginning.

“It does feel pressurised. Some days are really busy. There are always things that need doing, but it’s a good team – we can always ask for help. There are only three HR Adminstrators! Stacey is our Line Manager and she also manages Jane who recruits the Learning Disability Bank Workers as well as carrying out 60-80 contract changes a month. She has so much to do! Doing all our job adverts, working with all the recruitment law updates, Brexit, and going to recruitment fairs.”

Anyelina: “She is a busy lady. I don’t think people realise how much she does! She’s so approachable and manages us really well.”

Anyelina, you’re a new starter here, can you tell us what attracted you to Southdown?

Anyelina: “Yes, it’s my third week! I was attracted to this job because it’s a not-for-profit organisation. Previously, I’d worked at Citizens Advice. HR was a career I wanted to go down and so this was the perfect mix.

“Mental health is really important right now, so working in the heart of that is really good. I wasn’t expecting to work in learning disabilities or the mental health sector so I’m learning new things like working with DBS checks.”

What would you like someone to know if they’re thinking about applying to work at Southdown?

Cordelia: “When you work at Southdown you become part of a community and build relationships, not only in your team but in the wider organisation. We can also be very flexible at every stage of the application process. If you have any questions, especially on anything that might deter you from applying to a role, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be more than happy to answer your questions and talk it through. You can contact us at any time throughout the entire process. We are here to help you.”

To find out more about what it’s like working at Southdown, the current vacancies, and how to apply for a role, click here.