Node4 seeks the cream of the crop

Despite high numbers of unemployed people, leading companies are still struggling to find the right calibre of staff.

Official statistics out today reveal unemployment at 2.45 million and people claiming unemployment benefits at a two year high of 1.52 million. However, despite the large numbers of people seeking work across the country, many employers still find it tough to find the best personnel to complement their existing workforce.

No one knows this challenge more than data centre and communications specialist Node4. After entrepreneur Andrew Gilbert began the company in 2004 at age 23, it rapidly expanded to become an £11 million company in only seven years, with data centres in Derby, Wakefield and Northampton with another opening in Birmingham soon. Node4’s goal is to become the UK’s premier provider of data centres on the doorstep.

Recent statistics from the Association of Graduate Recruiters have shown that 83 graduates are applying for each job but despite this, Andrew Gilbert says he isn’t spoilt for choice.

He said, “Today’s competitive job market means that qualifications alone are not enough. Currently, graduates are flooding the market but I don’t want to employ them if they don’t fit with the ideals of the company. The key thing we look for is attitude and whether we think the people will fit within the culture of the business.
“I think it’s generally hard to employ people full stop. You have to find someone who has the right aptitude and willingness to learn and an outlook that works well with current staff. Companies might find good people but it’s not an easy process to find special, valuable people. Typically, the best people are already being well looked after by their current employers.”

In the formative years of Node4, the company experienced a growth rate of 150% per year and even in today’s tough market still manages to grow at a rate of 60% per year over the last three years. The company won 1st place for fastest growing Midlands Technology Company in the Deloitte Fast50 and 22nd in the UK. Andrew says the success of the company has been down to the loyal staff. He says managers have the responsibility of helping their staff to settle into their new surroundings quickly so they can function at their best.

He continued, “As an employer, you might not get it right all the time but every manager should know very quickly whether their new recruit is going to be right for their company going forward. We have a number of procedures in place to aid that initial process of joining the company. We have a really strong induction programme which enables the person coming into the company to be equipped, giving them all the tools to succeed. We really try to embrace everyone we employ.”

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