Have you ever considered that you may be missing out on valuable contributors to your team by narrowing your thoughts as to where to look, or who fits your company profile? I am not a recruiter, I am an MD of a software house who has faced the typical pains of finding the right fit of person and skill, particularly technical.

Tim Cook of Apple Inc commented that "Apple is open to all" in light of the recent travel issues for people coming to the USA, and there has also been TV coverage of "Adam vs Mohammed" resulting in different response levels to job applications. Perhaps your company has a specific, tried and tested route to securing the "kind of people" you need, but do you reflect and change the profile of that "kind of person" regularly enough?

Our track record has seen far greater success from free adverts, and applicants approaching us directly, than any appointed by a recruitment agency. That isn't meant to slate the good work of recruiters, but for a team of developers (all of whom presumably know how to search for jobs on the Internet!) it seems a little wasteful to spend out an average of £5k per appointed individual. In addition it can take 3 months to establish whether the individual is able to contribute or really has the skills needed in our company, by which time (sadly) any refund of fees has long since been exceeded their refund date.

But what about our efforts to encourage "the young"? What do we mean by "the young"? It seems if you ask various Associations for the age at which students can join, it's after they have enrolled as an Undergraduate; in one case I noted this was a prerequisite "Student (Undergraduate only)". Does that mean no Apprenticeship Students? Are we creating a confusing message to our next generation that work starts at twenty something? What happened to the life skills and exposure to "what lies ahead" that can be gained during school holidays, for example? It seems we are trying to confuse growing up with doing nothing. 

I happen to have two offspring; one aged 19 currently at University, the other aged 17 currently studying for 'A' levels. The cycle of CV production for different purposes, and then treading the streets dropping them in at cafes, restaurants, shops and pubs, has focused the mind that without additional guidance, the support they receive in school is simply not enough. Contrast that with a twenty something who has had less parental support, and it is obvious we still see candidates from a very narrow source - and possibly we miss out on potentially great candidates that would not normally make it across the HR desk.

We like to look at the person; the adaptability, the personality, the preparedness to learn - not just the exam results already achieved but its mandatory to be enrolled in one or more courses as soon as they start. Most importantly - Work experience rather than qualifications! We have a team that spans ages 19 to 75, a 50/50 gender split and a variety of working patterns from night owls to early birds, and the laid back to the "Duracell bunnies". It's a fascinating mix, and almost all sourced through keeping a completely open mind about every applicant or contact that approaches our company.