Participation in social action, by which we mean practical action in the service of others that creates positive change, for example volunteering or fundraising activities, has risen up the political and social agenda in recent years.

A recent CIPD survey found that many employers recognise some of the key skills that can be developed as a result of participation in social action, with 67% reporting that entry-level candidates who have voluntary experience demonstrate more employability skills. The top three skills cited by respondents were teamwork (82%), communication (80%) and understanding the local community (45%).

However, despite these findings, very few employers reported that social action or volunteering experience was asked about during the recruitment process. Less than one fifth (16%) of employers reported that they asked about volunteering at the application stage and only a third (33%) asked about it at interview stage. As a result, many employers will be failing to pick up on candidates with these valuable skills and experience and risk missing out on key talent.

This guide, produced jointly by the CIPD and Step Up To Serve, the national charity that co-ordinates the #iwill campaign, is here to help. The guide not only outlines why employers should integrate social action such as volunteering, fundraising or campaigning, into their entry-level recruitment processes, including highlighting some of the key business benefits, but also explains how it can be done. Drawing from in-depth interviews with 11 case study organisations the guide brings together a range of practical tips from employers. These are designed to cater to organisations of any size, from starting the journey of embedding social action into recruitment to completely revolutionising recruitment practices.

"Organisations that specifically ask about extracurricular activities and volunteering or social action during the interview also often see it helping certain candidates to stand out from the crowd."

Content of the guide:

  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Why integrate social action into recruitment?
  • Practical tips: how can you embed social action into your recruitment practices?
  • Next steps

This guide is available to download below.

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