Aston University placement student boosts company’s recruitment efficiency

Charlotte Sutton, who is studying for a BSc (Hons) Business and Management, completed her third year placement with Marubeni Komatsu Ltd (MKL), a company which distributes construction and mining equipment in the UK.

Working predominately within the Human Resource (HR) department Charlotte successfully introduced more efficient practices at the company and came up with a way of improving the time it takes hiring managers at the company to bring candidates onboard.



Charlotte Sutton




Placement year at Marubeni Komatsu Ltd

I am currently studying Business and Management, which is quite a broad degree. It was important to me to secure a placement that offered a lot of exposure to different areas of business. In HR, I received an insight into all areas of the business and had the opportunity to work with different managers. I became comfortable in HR very quickly, and the interest I had in this area of business was confirmed soon after joining MKL.

Boosting the company’s recruitment efficiency

When I joined MKL, there were many vacancies and hiring managers would often prioritise other tasks over recruitment. This became evident when candidates would start withdrawing from the recruitment process due to alternate job offers. It was clear that there was a change needed in this process. I began to implement weekly recruitment reports, including data on the number of days a vacancy had been live, the number of applications received per role, and the average amount of time it took a hiring manager to respond to a shortlisted CV. The purpose of these reports were to show hiring managers the delay in the recruitment process that had led to applicants withdrawing.

Hiring managers would take an average of 31 days to respond to a CV, however, after sending out the reports, managers implemented the change and the average time to view CVs went down to 12 days. This average number is continuously reducing, because of the reports I continue to send out.


Placement year highlight

Every day I learn something new, whether that is through my own work or through a co-worker. Throughout the first two years of university, I was taught many different theories, models, and techniques to be used in a business setting. This placement gave me the opportunity to recognise what I had learnt at university and put my knowledge into practise. I can already see how this placement experience will benefit me when I return to university and start my new modules.

I have really enjoyed working with a variety of people, who were all very warm and welcoming whilst helping me adjust to my first full-time role. 

I have also been able to make a difference and grow as a young businesswoman. I was given the freedom to implement real decisions and plans, such as my recruitment reporting and any national awareness day plans. Having this freedom was quite daunting at the beginning of my placement, however, I feel this has boosted the confidence I have in my own abilities, and I now enjoy having the responsibility to take on other projects independently. 

A typical day

Every day is very different. During my week I will have numerous meetings where I liaise with hiring managers, recruitment agencies, and my team. On some days I will be reviewing applications and having update meetings with recruitment agencies, while on other days I will be hosting a national awareness day – usually focusing on employee wellbeing. Further to this, as a member of the Social Charity Committee, my day often includes co-organising employee events such as sponsored walks, fundraising activities, and social events.








Have you faced any challenges whilst on placement?

My placement role was my first full-time office role, so I was quite nervous prior to starting. Initially, I didn’t feel I had the confidence to speak up, especially in a meeting with management. However, I overcame this challenge by stepping out of my comfort zone and making a conscious effort to build relationships with a variety of colleagues, allowing me to build my confidence.

Advice for future placement students?

I would definitely recommend that university students complete a placement year. Not only does a placement improve your professional development, but it also enhances personal growth. I have become more confident since starting my placement year, not just in my communication skills but through increased confidence in my abilities.

I would also advise start getting some work experience as early as you can. Whether that’s through a part-time job, summer internship, or volunteer work. Having this experience helps hugely in the adjustment period and also helps you stand out in a competitive marketplace.