Employers might be missing out on the best talent as they are not recognising volunteering and social action experiences when recruiting, new research claims.

The report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the #iwill campaign suggests that changes to the process are needed to ensure the best candidates are found.

It is suggested that incorporating volunteering, fundraising and campaigning into recruitment practices provides candidates with an opportunity to discuss skills that are developed outside of work experience and education.

Soft skills such as teamwork, leadership and communication could be highlighted by such discussions during an interview or test.

The report – titled ‘Unlock new talent: How can you integrate social action into recruitment?’ – was carried out after a CIPD study revealed that 67% of employers said entry level candidates with social action experience were more employable based on their skills.

An improved ability to work as part of a team was identified in 82% of cases while communication skills were better amongst 80% of candidates.

Those that had undertaken social actions were more likely to understand community issues too – identified by 45% of respondents in the research.

Changing recruitment processes

Despite this, just 16% of employers were found to ask questions about social actions during the application process and less than a third addressed it during an interview.

By integrating this into the process, the report claims that employers can see part of the talent pool that might otherwise be overlooked.

This would also encourage young people to consider taking part in more social actions due to the influence it could have on their employability.

The report draws on comments from many leading employers, including PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Barclays, British Gas and National Grid.

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, said he believes there is a “strong case” for social action to be integrated into the recruitment process.

He suggested that many candidates fail to highlight their social action experiences, adding that employers should do more to encourage them to do so.

Mr Cheese said voluntary work and experience can help to develop skills that set people apart from others but are missed out or overlooked in many cases.

If you are an employer and are looking to enhance your recruitment processes, get in contact with Discovery Graduates and see how they can assist you