About me

 
Do you have problems finding the right students or graduates? Receiving too many unsuitable applications? I can help. Graduates can also be a solution where there is a lack of experienced candidates. Or if you have a problem with  diversity, or succession-planning. Or of you need temporary help with something that current staff don’t have the time or specific skills for.

Thank you for visiting my website. I specialise in recruiting graduates and students for small to medium sized businesses (SMEs – which is where my business name comes from, though by a happy coincidence it’s also the initials of my wife, daughter, and I). I cover most industry sectors and job types, including niche ones.

Before entering recruitment, my background was in customer services. Firstly as a retail shop manager, where my team and I regularly scored 100% in mystery shopper visits. Then dealing with queries and complaints for a leading bank. I have carried this customer service ethos over into my recruitment work.

I began my career in recruitment in 2005 and I have been doing it since. Apart from 18 months working with a university in an employer liaison role, where I got a great insight into many of the reasons why university careers services can find it difficult to engage with students and graduates. And also the difficulties that SMEs can have in accessing these students and graduates.

My recruitment roles have been varied and I have used my adaptability skills to fill roles across a wide range of industry sectors, and a huge number of job types. I have filled positions at up to CEO level.

I have now found my niche and have been working in undergraduate and graduate recruitment since 2016. I started my own business in December 2020.

Some of the businesses I work with have less than 10 staff; others have hundreds. What they all have in common is that they can offer great opportunities, but are often overshadowed by the huge graduate employers who have teams who visit the universities to promote their graduate schemes, and are featured in books of ‘top graduate employers’ that have a high visibility in university careers departments.

Graduates can add huge value to SMEs. But they aren’t always aware of the benefits and opportunities that a career with an SME can offer, nor where to find them.

So, we have SMEs who do not have as high a profile as the bigger graduate employers, and skilled graduates who would love to work for them but aren’t aware of the opportunities.

Which is where I come in.

If you work with me I offer: great customer service, knowledge, ethics, good judgement, reputation in the market, adaptability, and pride. And all at a very competitive price – with nothing to pay unless I find you someone who starts work with you.

On a personal level, I am originally from north London, but now live in Nottingham with my wife and daughter. I am a season ticket holder at Arsenal, and an annual member at Nottingham racecourse. 

Matthew Parry, Director SME Graduate Employment

Interested in hearing more? Please email me at

matthew@sme-graduates.co.uk

or call me on 0370 774 9500

Here are a selection of testimonials from delighted clients that can be viewed in full on my LinkedIn profile (including details of the person who gave it).

  • We worked with Matthew to recruit 5 graduate engineers. The standard of applicants was excellent. He had clearly listened to our requirements. We were only presented with the best candidates at the interview stage and the recruitment process did not take up too much time. All have now been working with us for a number of months and are progressing really well. We could not be happier. (Operations Director)
  • A joy to work with and my first phone call when I next need a graduate. (Finance Director)
  • Matthew takes time to understand what the business needs, keeps you updated with progress and provides quality candidates to review. We have made two excellent Graduate hires recently (HR and Marketing) and it was easy. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Matthew. (HR Manager)
  • Matthew listened to my verbal brief – which was less than comprehensive – asked some questions and then went away to start his search. Following this initial interaction, my experience with recruitment agents has rarely been positive but Matthew produced three candidates, all of which were well suited to the role and all were invited to second interview.
    Communication with Matthew was good throughout the process. He certainly doesn’t fall into the trap of deluging the hiring manager with unsuitable CVs. (Director)
  • Matthew recruited a new starter for my organisation. He was incredibly diligent, organised and attentive. From my perspective, he supported the recruitment drive well – he sent high quality applicants, responded quickly and asked for honest feedback. It was a pleasure and I would absolutely work with Matthew again.(Senior Marketing Executive)
  • Matthew provides a tailored service and I can recommend. One of the good guys! (Director)
  • As a growing and developing company, recruitment is high on our list of priorities. We are very selective about the agencies who we work with as we believe that forming the right relationships, based upon shared objectives and behaviours in extremely important to us. We have worked with Matthew and SME for almost a year now and Matthew has recruited for and filled a number of our future critical roles. Aside from the shared success, I find Matthew professional and helpful. Matthew really listens to our needs and the type of candidates we want and I never feel as though Matthew is sending CVs to me for the sake of it. Matthew is also very adaptable to our developing needs, when the goal posts move. Matthew follows up on a regular basis, once a candidate has been placed and demonstrates a genuine level of interest in how the candidate is settling in and developing. This is a great after service which helps us to develop the induction and evaluation of employees during their first few months with the company. Due to the great service and the standard of candidates Matthew has provided, SME Graduate Employment will be our go to agency for our Graduate needs for the foreseeable future. (HR Business Partner)
  • I contacted Matthew as our business was looking for a graduate from a bioscience or business background looking for an entry role within medical sales. Working with Matthew was very simple and after going through the job spec and candidate profile I was sent a number of relevant CV’s. As an employer, I cannot stress the benefit enough of a recruiter listing to the brief, and only sending CV’s which fit the profile we were look for. This saves an enormous amount of time and builds long lasting relationships. The rates for the recruitment were very reasonable and fixed at the outset. I am pleased to say we have offered the first candidate we received through from Matthew and he has mad a great start to his career with us. I have already gone back to SME Graduate Employment for assistance in filling our next role (Sales Director).
  • If you are looking at recruiting a graduate then please speak to Matthew. I could not fault Matthew’s expertise in this area and he has helped me recruit many graduates over the years. He listens to your brief to ensure that he finds the right graduates to suit. He doesn’t rush in, he takes his time to understand both the needs of the graduate and of your business to ensure you get the right match and don’t waste valuable time. He also follows up after you have recruited to ensure that both you and the graduate are happy. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Matthew and recruiting a graduate makes good business sense. (Sales and Marketing Director)
  • Matthew was quite possibly the easiest recruiter I have worked with in some time, he understood our requirements when looking for the right person to fit into our team. Listening to the pace we needed to go at without forcing timescales which was really important and was a pleasure to talk to. Overall a pleasant and professional service. (Head of Client Services)
  • The service is aimed at SME’s who are looking for graduates and placements. Due to the timing of our requirements we decided to go for a placement. The investment we have made into the service has been fruitful and we have a brilliant addition to our team thanks to Matthew’s hard work and University connections. (Director)
  • We’ve been mulling over the idea of Summer Internships for some time but without the time or resources to spend finding the right candidates we’d all but given up. Matthew Parry took no time at all to provide a great short list of students. Matthew was super-fast, found ideal candidates and took out all the hassle. I can’t recommend him enough. (Operations Manager)
  • Matthew helped me secure an excellent intern. He listened to what I needed and found me someone who was a great fit for the role. I couldn’t have done this independently, I did try but was unsuccessful. Matthew made it an easy and cost effective experience. (Executive Director)
  • We worked with Matt to help locate a student placement. He really went the extra mile to understand our needs, deliver constant progress communication and eventually find us some stellar candidates. During the interview process, it was also great to hear all of the students we met talk highly of Matt and the support he had offered. We hope we get the chance to work with Matt again in the future and would definitely recommend him! (Director)
  • We worked with Matthew Parry on a couple of occasions and I can recommend him for any future client. Matthew is highly professional in his approach to advertising, selecting and recruiting processes. It was an ultimate pleasure working with him – great communication, quick response, precise information and every step of the process is organised perfectly well. We found a fantastic candidate for our role with Matthew’s help. (Senior HR Generalist)
  • Matthew understood exactly what type of person we were looking for and put forward an excellent selection of candidates. I would not hesitate to work with Matthew in the future (Group Marketing Manager)
  • Matthew was very helpful in finding an excellent graduate to work with us recently. He was helpful, prompt and professional. Very happy with his service. (Director)
  • I reached out to Matthew recently to help fill a position within my team. Matthew was great to work with. He very quickly understood the role and requirements and within a very short time frame was able to provide a highly qualified list of candidates. He saved us an immense amount of time and we were able to find the right person for our team. I won’t hesitate to work with Matthew again. (Data Science Director)
  • Very grateful to have worked with Matthew. I am delighted that his recommended candidate has embedded themselves so well into the team. (General Manager)
  • Matthew has been extremely helpful in finding me great staff to enhance my team. His approach has been fantastic and he took time to understand what skills I required for my new staff. I would highly recommend him to anyone! (Sales Support Manager)
  • In a challenging recruitment environment Matthew provided us with a number of great candidates for our role. With the quality of candidates being so high this allowed us to quickly recruit the right team member and have them begin adding value to our business straight away. Would definitely recommend Matthew (Commercial Director)

SERVICES AND COSTS

 

PERMANENT EMPLOYMENT For graduates. This can be at any time of the year, and does not need to be a formal graduate scheme. Also an option worth considering if there are no experienced candidates available, particularly as the graduates I work with will all have some kind of work experience, and many will have something directly relevant. Graduates can also be a solution for diversity, or succession-planning related issues. Cost: £2,700+VAT

GRADUATE INTERNSHIPS / FIXED-TERM CONTRACTS Again, can be any time of the year. These can last anything from two months to a year and are useful if you have a piece of work that permanent staff don’t have the time, or even specific skills for. Also a good way to see if there is scope for a permanent role.Cost: £1,600+VAT (plus 1k if made permanent)

STUDENT INTERNSHIPS These are generally during the summer break from university, so between 2-3 months at some point between June and September.  £1,000+VAT

SANDWICH PLACEMENTS These last for around a year from June or July. They form the third year of a four-year university course, and are only available for certain courses; there are a good variety of courses, and I will do the research for you to see if this option is feasible for your needs. Cost: £1,400+VAT

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

 Is there a cost?

Yes, see above. But I am confident that it offers excellent value in relation to how productive the students and graduates can be, and the value they can bring to a business. There is a huge amount of work that goes into sourcing and screening candidates. I have quite a high profile, so there are generally dozens to hundreds of applications for each job, but they aren’t always the right ones for you. So I also invest time in proactively finding others. It is not always easy to find the right candidates, but it’s what I do, and there is nothing to pay unless one of my candidates joined you.

What if it doesn’t work out?

I take pride in my work, and throughout my recruitment career I have had an outstanding record in finding the right candidates for my clients. Very seldom has it not worked out, and most candidates I have placed have gone on to have successful careers with their employers. My job is to send you candidates who are the best available and most interested. You can then interview them and see who is the best match for you, and support them when they start. If we get this right between us then then there shouldn’t be any issues. But, when working with people it will not work out 100% of the time, so for your peace of mind there is a rebate period included in my terms: if they did leave within the first 12 weeks you would get a full or partial refund, or a replacement (depending on when they left).

There are a lot of graduates who apply directly to us:

Is the quality there, and are you 100% certain that there is not someone even stronger who is not aware of your opportunity? I don’t charge a fee unless one of my candidates joins you, so it won’t cost you anything to find out.

We only want people who apply to us directly, it shows they want to work with us:

Graduates aren’t always aware of the benefits and opportunities that are offered from a career with an SME, nor where to find them. These graduates are skilled in their own area, their skill is not generally in uncovering work opportunities; and apart from very niche areas it may be a bit unrealistic to expect that a graduate will have heard of an SME by name. 99% have not, and this does not affect their suitability.  In terms of proactivity in a candidate, I do my bit to measure this as part of the process.

We don’t have time to train graduates:

You might be surprised by how much they already know. All of the graduates I work with already have work experience of some kind, and I regularly receive feedback from employers that they have picked things up very quickly. While they do need some kind of training and coaching, most of the employers I work with don’t have a training department. Nor do they have a formal graduate scheme- and this is ok. Having said that, you do need to invest some time in your new hires, and this will be richly rewarded.

What industry sectors and job types do you cover:

Too many to list. My area of specialism is students and graduates, and this covers most sectors and job types including technical roles. I am adaptable, and know enough to find the right people- then you can question them further on the technical aspects at interview stage.

Do you have any charity partners?

Yes, and I make a donation to all 3 each time a placement is made.

IntoUniversity helps young people growing up in Britain’s least privileged areas to make the most of their education,  by offering a safe space to learn, explore, and succeed. https://intouniversity.org/

 

Max’s Foundation funds research into the screening, detection, and treatment of genetic heart conditions in children. https://www.maxsfoundation.org.uk/

Tourettes Action: over 300,000 children and adults are living with Tourettes Syndrome in the UK, and the severity of symptoms can vary. The charity does great research, and offers support to those with this much misunderstood condition. https://www.tourettes-action.org.uk/

SME Graduate Employment is also a partner of the Womens’s Engineering Society. The WES supports and inspires women to achieve as engineers, and scientists; and encourages the education of engineering. https://www.wes.org.uk/

We don’t pay fees for graduates:

Why not? It’s equally important to get the right person when hiring a graduate as when making an experienced hire. If you get the right one they could be with you for years.

Which universities do you work with?

I can access students or graduates from any of the UK universities, and have placed graduates from all in jobs at some point.  Around 6% from direct university links, but over 90% of the time using a variety of other methods that are tried and tested.

We have links with a university:

These links can be great and I know of many employers who have had positive experiences. But also many others who haven’t. I myself have found the service can vary significantly depending on the university. Some are very switched on and helpful. Others are not.

Either way, there are some things you need to be aware of. And even if you are receiving an excellent service, you could use me alongside your chosen university to make sure you are not missing out.

There are over 140 universities in the UK, and many students will travel to another city to study then return home to work after graduating. If only concentrating on local universities you risk missing out on these.

Also, you will only have a set number of graduates in the pool, and the skills and overall employability and work-ethic can vary significantly between them: a particular issue once the strongest ones have been snapped up. A common complaint I hear from businesses is that they have not received any suitable applications (but lots of unsuitable ones). A university’s priority is to get all of their graduates jobs, while my priority is to get you the best graduate out there. 

Many universities have long-standing issues with student and graduate engagement; particularly once they have finished their courses and left the university. 

This is a historical issue that most, if not all, universities have to varying extents. And something I have seen myself during my time working with a university. 

I know of some cases where less than 10% of students had even logged on to certain university job portals. Meaning that they would not see any job adverts.

I have often spoken with businesses who have relationships with specific universities, but not had any suitable applicants for a vacancy. Through using various other methods I found them graduates, including ones from that university who were unaware of the opportunity.

In many cases there can also be delays in getting applications. Again, the service can vary greatly, but I have seen it take up to a month for a job advert to be approved, after I have taken the time to upload it to certain university portals (by then the role is often filled).  Whereas I will start work on a role as soon as I get it, and take a proactive approach in finding suitable candidates, not wait for them to come to me. 

Can you send me CVs now from your database?

I don’t work like that; it doesn’t offer you or my candidates the best service. And I would never sent a CV without speaking with the candidate first.

Firstly, I need to know more about your business and the ideal profile you are looking for, so I don’t send you unsuitable CVs. I also need to know why the opportunity is attractive. The best graduates will have various offers, so it’s important to show them why they should join you. It’s a two way process, and I want to find a mutual match, not least because I want them to be with you for the long-term.

Each role is unique, and although I am already in contact with many graduates, it doesn’t mean they are the best for you. So I conduct a proactive search from scratch to see who the best candidates are who are available now. This may be ones I am already in contact with, but I use various other methods; one being searching specialist job-boards for which I pay an expensive premium.

 

 

 

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