The Building Research Establishment (or BRE) is an independent organisation that offers expertise to Government, business, and industry to meet the challenges of the built environment. Through impartial advice, research and knowledge, BRE helps its clients to build safer, more sustainable and more innovative products, buildings and communities. With headquarters in Watford, regional offices across the UK, and a presence in China, Canada, India and Brazil, BRE is continually seeking new talent to make a difference to the world’s building industry.

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Seeking a unique set of highly skilled individuals

With such a breadth of services and its significant role in UK and global building projects, BRE requires a unique skillset, which is not always readily available. Finding the right candidates can be an issue.

As Tara Bishop, Resourcing Manager at BRE explains, certain departments suffer more than others when it comes to filling vacancies.

“Particularly in the Fire Research department, we’re looking at an ageing workforce of home-grown talent. We require a very specific set of skills for these kind of jobs, many of which we need to nurture in-house.

With such a niche requirement and fewer young people pursuing engineering as a career, replacing our experienced and long-term fire research staff can be hugely challenging.”

As a global organisation, BRE can have as many as 30 vacancies open at one time, resulting in a significant number of candidates to process. Before using Hireserve ATS, the HR team tracked all applications using Excel and Word, which was hugely inefficient.

With large numbers of unsuitable candidates applying, one of the greatest challenges of this method was that there was no way to initially screen applicants. This meant that Tara and her team had to manually process hundreds of applications, frequently, all at the same time.


Streamlined solution with Hireserve ATS

Hireserve ATS is a web-based recruitment management application, delivered as a secure solution. It has been designed to save corporations time and money through integration, automation and collaboration across all aspects of the hiring cycle, from job requisition and creation, through candidate screening and onwards, to induction.

Within weeks of implementation Hireserve ATS had made a huge difference in terms of streamlining BRE’s process and provided a much-needed structure to their recruitment. For example, the system’s pre-selection questions feature is of particular benefit to Tara, as she explains:

“There are a number of fundamental questions that candidates need to answer at the initial stage of an application.

Simply by having pre-selection questions I can determine whether a candidate possesses the essential skills, attributes or qualifications the role requires and whether they are suitable to progress to the next stage of the process. When reviewing applicants now I can see at a glance the information I need.”

Hireserve ATS’ automated tracking and reporting feature has also enabled the HR Team to effectively measure traffic to the careers site and monitor where candidates are applying from.

This targeted and analytical approach has proved beneficial in ascertaining which advertising channels are most effective in attracting good quality candidates, in addition to keeping costs low as money is not wasted on unsuitable forms of advertising.

The tracking feature has also been useful to BRE in verifying at what stage of the application process a candidate is leaving the careers site, enabling strategies to be put in place to encourage candidates to complete their application.

“We have also been able to build a talent pool, creating a database of candidates with specialist skills who we can keep in contact with for future recruitment opportunities and establish a positive connection with the BRE brand…In addition, we have added another application form for our graduate and apprentice recruitment campaigns, which means we benefit from a bank of candidates who might not be quite right for the schemes but who may be suitable for a consultancy role in the future.”

Combining all these factors, Hireserve ATS has reduced BRE’s time to hire, ensuring that exceptional candidates don’t lose patience with the process and drop out. With such a need for a highly skilled workforce, retaining talented candidates is hugely important.



The future of BRE’s recruitment

Hireserve ATS has enabled BRE to streamline the end-to-end recruitment process, identify suitable candidates more effectively and to fill vacancies more quickly, which is saving the team both time and money. Such efficiency in all aspects of the recruitment cycle ensures BRE has the right people in the right roles and can focus on its core business and building success for the future.

However, the engineering industry as a whole still faces recruitment challenges in the UK, particularly when attracting graduates. BRE is dedicated to raising the profile of engineering as a career through various initiatives.

Ultimately, the organisation wants to tackle the skills shortage by encouraging and nurturing its own home-grown talent. Through its highly successful graduate scheme and award-winning apprenticeship programme, BRE is committed to creating opportunities for talented young people. As Tara concludes:

“Our apprenticeship scheme is targeted towards school leavers, and I believe it will be fundamental, not just in offering young people the chance to embark upon a challenging and rewarding new career, but also in developing the next phase of engineers that we need in order to continue making a positive difference to the building industry.”

With the support and cohesion that Hireserve ATS provides, Tara and her HR team are better placed to plan for and implement targeted recruitment campaigns, from graduates to those highly sought after niche roles in Fire Research, in addition to offering a superior candidate process.

What’s more, by saving time and resources previously spent manually tracking applications, Tara and her team can focus their time on developing the apprenticeship and graduate schemes, in order to continue hiring the first class talent they need to shape the future of engineering in the UK.


“Simply by having pre-selection questions I can determine whether a candidate possesses the essential skills, attributes or qualifications the role requires and whether they are suitable to progress to the next stage of the process.”


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