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InterTradeIreland Acumen Graduate Recruitment

InterTradeIreland is the only organization which supports SMEs across the island to develop North/South trade and business development opportunities for the mutual benefit of both economies. They encourage better use of the North and South’s collective resources to accelerate trade and business growth across the island and create an environment where it is easier to do business. InterTradeIreland achieve this through co-operative business, policy and research program, partnerships and networks.

  • 17,000 SMEs have benefited from our cross-border information
  • 2,000 have taken part in our cross-border programs
  • £556 million worth of trade and business development generated
  • 930 new jobs created

The InterTradeIreland Acumen Graduate Recruitment program provides SMEs with funding to employ a graduate for one year.

The successful graduates also have the opportunity to undertake a Post Graduate Diploma in Sales Development from UCD Michael Smurfit Business School. Client companies are from both the Republic and Northern Ireland and are varied across many sectors. Although the role is a sales and marketing position, graduates from all disciplines apply for the program reflecting the sectors/industries of the SME companies.

The InterTradeIreland Acumen Program was advertised in the National press, relevant job websites and GradIreland.

Recruitment Process
The recruitment drive involved a two-tiered process. First, applicants were vetted by the internal panel of three InterTradeIreland Acumen staff and then by the SME Client companies who ultimately made the final hiring decision.

Initially, applicants were shortlisted to attend an Assessment Day and to complete a video interview (they were encouraged to complete the video interview prior to Assessment Day).

A short face-to-face interview was also conducted on Assessment Day.

Graduate Recruitment Process in numbers:

  • #Interviewers on InterTradeIreland Acumen Interview Panel (internal): 3
  • #SME Client companies (external panel): 21
  • #Applications: 276
  • #Shortlisted to Assessment Day/Video Interview: 93
  • #Shortlisted to Face-to-Face Client Interview: 45
  • #Placements Offered: 18

“Sonru was heavily supported by the Acumen team and its primary use was to identify who to bring in for a face-to-face interview.” – Willie H. Maxwell , Program Director, InterTradeIreland Acumen

“Sonru was very user friendly and made it easy to communicate with other viewers and interviewers.” – Aisling Meleady, Client Executive, InterTradeIreland Acumen

3 Ways Sonru was used
Given that the recruitment process involved an internal InterTradeIreland Acumen team and over twenty SME client companies who were making the hiring decisions, our video interview solution proved to be a very effective way of handling these many and geographically dispersed interviewers.

Our solution proved very useful in three key areas:

  1. It enabled the internal team to “see” applicants before meeting face-to-face thus enabling them to design tailored interviews.
  2. It provided a ‘record’ of the candidates, which was used to ‘jog the memory’ after the Assessment day as so many applicants were interviewed face-to-face in rapid succession.
  3. It enabled the SME clients to view the video interviews remotely and shortlist candidates to face-to-face interviews.

“Sonru was an excellent means of getting an idea of who the person was before you met and it certainly helped to refer back to videos afterward. It is probably even more beneficial for our SME clients – being able to assess applicants remotely thus relieving some of the time and resource restraints common to many SMEs.”  – Aisling Meleady

A flexible recruitment solution
The flexibility of our tool proved most useful as one of the three internal InterTradeIreland Acumen interviewers was not based in the Dublin office. He watched the video interviews remotely and a phone conference enabled the team to arrive at a shortlist.

Furthermore, given that the video interviews were on record and were not scheduled at a particular time, this enabled the interviewers to fit the viewing of the videos around their busy schedules.

“Sonru was very user friendly and easy to communicate with viewers and interviewers.”

“I watched the videos in spare time after the work day – with another colleague – so it gave us great flexibility, allowing us to focus on our day-to-day activities.”  – Aisling Meleady

A time saver for SME clients
Time savings and efficiency were found to be the key benefits among the SME clients using video interviewing. Carson Mulholland of Fast Engineering personally shortlisted five video interviews to one face-to-face interview thus offering huge time savings  given that all applicants were from Southern Ireland.

“Hugely innovative in terms of its ability to save us time in organizing meetings, waiting for people to come along and saving travel time for our interviewees. Sonru definitely saved time, we were able to make decisions based on the video interviews.”  – Carson Mulholland, General Manager at Fast Engineering (Acumen Client)

The InterTradeIreland Acumen program, through their strategic use of technology, facilitated a large number of geographically dispersed interviewers to effectively screen candidates without compromising on the quality of their graduate recruits with time savings being cited as the number one benefit.