Do your employees feel valued?

New research conducted by CV Library has found that 39.7% of Brits dislike their current job. The survey of over 1,000 UK employees also revealed that of those who aren’t happy at work, almost two thirds consider quitting on a daily basis.

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When asked the reasons why they were so unsatisfied with their job, 34.8% felt there was a poor culture within their business, and 28.6% were bored by their role, however an overwhelming 48.8% said they dislike their job as they felt undervalued by their employer.

As leaders, making your team feel valued needs to be a up there with your top priorities. Research shows that employees who feel valued tend to be much more engaged in their work and performance.

Not only will it benefit your organisation on a financial level by reducing absence and boosting engagement and productivity, it will also have a positive impact on employee well being.

Here are a just a few of the many ways you can make your employees feel valued at work…

  • Genuinely Care

Spending time with your employees and getting to know them is probably the easiest and most effective way of engaging a team. Learn about their families, interests and goals in order to develop a strong rapport. This is a simple thing that can make your employee feel like their presence in the workplace is known and that you care about them as an individual.

  • Communicate Goals

A recent Perkbox study revealed that just 41% of UK employees feel aligned with their organisations goals’, yet only 87% wanted to become more aligned.

By engaging your team with a common goal and feeding back how they are helping to achieve it, your workers will feel not only a sense of accomplishment, but you will be laying the foundations for a dedicated and loyal team.

  • Listen

Taking time to listen is a vital skill when it comes to good leadership.

If you are able to listen with an open mind, your employees will be more willing to have important and honest conversations.

Staff are vital when it comes to producing ideas for improving a business and making your organization more productive. Remember to follow through on any promises you make though, as this will reinforce that your work place promotes a culture based on trust and honesty.

  • Create new opportunities

Pay attention to employees’ interests and aspirations; if someone is eager to learn about another department or area of the business try to accommodate their ambition by organising an opportunity for them to get involved. This could mean spending some time shadowing a member of the department they are interested in, or encouraging them to take up extra responsibilities where possible, in order to open up a new path for progression.

  • Be Approachable

The tone of a workplace is set by leaders, and a good way to make sure that it is a positive one is to be approachable.

Productivity can come to a grinding halt and a small hitch can become a big problem when employees are unsure of what to do or how to handle a mistake and don’t feel comfortable asking for help. When a Manager is approachable and understanding when the team need help, loyalty and honesty tend to increase as well as productivity.

  • Say Thank You

This sounds obvious, but it is surprising how often saying a simple “thank you” for a job well done can be forgotten. Remembering to acknowledge employee’s achievements can go a long way and is an easy way of reminding your employees that they are valued.

 Written by Jenny Headington

Find out how ProCore Solutions can help your business here 

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The most asked job interview questions (and how to answer them!)

Need some help preparing for those tricky interview questions? We've listed the most commonly asked questions, with best answers and red flags


Tell me about yourself

This is a really common question, and is often the first to be asked.

Stick to a work related answer – never go into your personal life unless the interviewer asks you. Give a brief summary of your career history, how your career has developed focusing on your achievements.

Why did you leave your last job?

You should always try and give a positive response to this question, it’s a good idea to highlight that you are now ready for a better opportunity and a new challenge.

However tempting it may be, never ever bad mouth your current employer.

What are your strengths?

This is a question that you should always be prepared for when going into an interview. Be ready to give several examples of your strengths and have instances where you have demonstrated them ready. Don’t list strengths that aren’t relevant to the job you are interviewing for, and don’t be shy about your accomplishments!

What’s your biggest weakness?

We all have weaknesses – recognising them is what’s important.

A good trick for this question is to make sure you highlight how you’ve addressed any issues you’ve faced; perhaps you’ve attended a training course or worked with a mentor.

For example;

“I get quite nervous giving presentations and talking in front of a room of people, so I enrolled on a course to improve my public speaking.”

Don’t mention any faults that would directly affect your ability to do the job.

What do you know about our company?

Make sure you do your homework by browsing every part of the company’s website as that is the most authentic source of information to answer questions like these. If you happen to know someone who already works there ask them for some specific information.

Key points to make a note of are;

  • Industry/sector.

  • Goals.

  • Major competitors.

  • Culture and values.

Why should we hire you?

Make sure you have used the job advert to figure out the employer’s most sought-after skills, and come up with a brief example that explains how you have acquired that skill.

This question should be answered with a sense of bi-party need. Speak in a balanced tone to send the message that company needs you just as much as you want the job. Stay clear of comparing yourself with other applicants though!

How would your co-workers describe you?

You don’t want to merely give a list of adjectives your colleagues would say about you. Instead- focus on one attribute that describes your work ethic, and think of a time when you have demonstrated it in the workplace. When telling a story- it is crucial that you do not just make something up, and don’t be dishonest.

Try to use the STAR method for delivering your answers to questions you are asked:

The beauty of this is it allows you to elaborate in context and it opens the door for further questions about the topic you have chosen to respond with.

It’s a clear, structured and concise method and the best way of minimising the amount of questions that you just "don't know" so here is a recap:

Situation: The position I was in

Task: What I was asked to do while in that situation

Action: What I did after I was asked to do what I was doing in the situation

Result: What end product of the action.

 Written by Jenny Headington

Lee's latest blog: “With office work saturated, how do you find good Engineers?”

I was out with a few friends over the weekend, and I was asked what I did for a living.  I explained that I have worked in Recruitment for over 11 years and typically recruit Engineering and Manufacturing candidates into FMCG, Paper and Packaging, Oil & Gas and Petrochemical.  My friend asked me quite a pertinent question.

“With office work saturated now, how do you find good Engineers - there seems to be very few of them around?”

Now I know the Engineering and Manufacturing sectors are candidate driven but I hadn’t thought of it in the same context as my friend;

“With office work saturated” 

I thought about this over the weekend, it also reminded me of a client meeting I had recently when the MD of the business said “there is no money in products anymore, it’s all in service”

Business is clearly heading in the services direction but what does this mean for our Engineering and Manufacturing sectors!  Certainly a worrying thought and with Brexit around the corner it is likely we will have less support from our European friends too.


We all know that industry hasn’t invested in getting the youth into Engineering and Maintenance and you may say it’s too late, but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do anything about it.

I have seen the odd company talking about visiting schools locally and I applaud this approach but it can’t be restricted to the odd company here and there; it needs to be a common goal for the Engineering and Manufacturing sectors to stand a chance of brining the next generation of skills in to the market.

We must find fun ways of making our sector interesting to the young and also develop ways of preventing skill leakage into other industries. 

It needs to be a collective effort, and at ProCore we sponsor a young Kart driver with the aim of getting him and his friends excited about what engineering can do and what an incredible learning experience it can give.

Written by Lee Narraway

To find out about Luca Motorsport, sponsored by ProCore Solutions, click here

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Is it time to find a new job?

Leaving your job and finding new work can be terrifying, but if you’re facing any of these scenarios it could be time to consider looking for a new role…

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The Sunday feeling

That feeling of panic that it’s almost time to go back to work – you can’t face another week and you’re already willing the next weekend to begin.

We all get a case of the Mondays from time to time, but if even thinking about your job fills you with dread, it’s probably time to leave. Don’t keep telling yourself you’re having a bad week if what you really have is a job that’s a bad fit.

Your expectations of your position are not being met

It's really unfortunate when you work for a company that doesn't deliver on their promises. The requirements of the job should be clearly outlined by your boss beforehand.

Employees need to know why they are there, what they are supposed to do and should be excited to do it. If the role and expectations are not outlined properly, this could be a sign that better management is needed.

You’ve lost your motivation         

We all have days where we might be a less productive than we would care to admit, but have you been struggling to shake off the feeling of no motivation lately?

While you might not feel like it all the time, for the most part, you should feel inspired while you work at your job.

Even if you love the company, your boss, and your co-workers, it’s not worth the effort if you hate the work. Passion is a necessary ingredient for success. If you’re unenthusiastic or even indifferent about the work you do, it’s time to reassess your career.

You’re undervalued/there is no opportunity for growth

When you’ve worked really hard to hone a plethora of skills but they don’t fit the role, maybe you need a job where you can use your core skills. Remember, if you don’t use it, you lose it.

It isn’t wise to stick around in a company when they can't help you grow professionally - especially if you're an asset to the company. This could mean moving into a more senior position or growth in terms of learning and engaging in new challenges.

If you feel stuck in a holding pattern, where you constantly feel bored and disengaged, it might be a sign you've outgrown your position. If there's no opportunity to move up, it's probably time to move out.


You don’t get on with your boss.

While you don't need to be best friends with your boss, it's important to have a respectful relationship with him or her. There needs to be trust and you need to feel valued as an employee.

Bosses come and go, which is why conventional wisdom says that it’s best to just wait a bad boss out. But that’s not always the right move.

If you have a bad boss who’s well-liked by upper management, it may be time to leave. In addition to making you miserable every day, a two-faced manager who’s loved by the higher ups can wreak havoc on your career by taking credit for your work, bad-mouthing you to others, and blaming you for things that go wrong.

Your health is suffering.

A job is simply not worth affecting your health for; there are plenty of workplaces out there that care for their employees.

You want to work for a company that not only cares about your professional life, but your well-being as well. Going to work should not bring on a feeling of nausea and panic. An unhappy professional life can affect individual’s physical and mental health. If you feel regularly stressed out by work, it’s time to take a hard look at the environment and other options.


Your personal life is suffering.

As well as your health, your workplace can also have a negative impact on your personal life. Whether you work too many hours or you’re stressed and miserable when you come home, it’s time to leave when your job starts affecting your personal time and relationships.

Your values and the company’s values don’t match

You feel that there are ethical or moral differences in how the company and you believe the firm should operate; cultural differences; work ethic clashes, and so on. Perhaps its latest product is bad for the environment for example, and you are an avid environmentalist. Whatever the issue, you're morally misaligned with your employer, and it's an uncomfortable workplace setting.

You’re reading this article

The average person spends 90,000 hours at work during their life time. That’s TEN continuous years. So your job has to be right for you. As JFK said:

“For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.”

Written by Jenny Headington

To have a look at our latest roles click here

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Interview Horror Stories

We’ve all been there; it’s time for the big interview for that job you’ve been waiting for and nerves have got the better of you.

We have found some interview horror stories that will make you feel much better about yours this Halloween…..


Too hot for socks

“A candidate complained during the interview that she was hot. She then said ‘excuse me’ and proceeded to remove her socks. After placing them on the desk, she continued as if everything was normal”

Mother Cupboard

“My mum’s story is better: she went for an interview at a prestigious law firm. All went well and she was confident she’d given her best and so shook the interviewers’ hands and exited the room. Only, she hadn’t exited the room, she had walked into a small utility cupboard. Instead of just popping back out and laughing it off my mum decided to stay in there!

“Quite clearly the three interviewers had watched her walk in there. It took a few minutes (probably as the interviewers expected her to emerge) until they opened the door and asked if she was okay. Instead of admitted her mistake at that point, she instead stuttered: ‘I was exploring my potential new company’ and then bolted out of the real exit. She got the job, too!”

References Pending

“One applicant handed over a list of three references, but then pointed to the first guy and said, ‘but don’t call this guy’. She paused for a moment and then indicated the second reference and said ‘You’d better not call this one either’.”

A leading fashion designer said I had ‘the wrong star sign’

“I was a fresh design graduate and had had two interviews already at a leading fashion designer. Their business partner loved my portfolio, so I thought I had the job. Third interview was with the designer’s husband, who came in the room and asked one question: “What’s your star sign?” After hearing my reply he turned around and walked straight out. I was stunned, turned to the business partner and asked what went wrong. He shook his head and said: “Same as his wife. He won’t have anyone who shares her star sign.” And that was that.”

Camel Woe

“During an interview they said they were going to do word association. It’s where they say a word and you say the first thing that comes to your mind.

For example… They said fruit, I said apple. They said transportation, I said car.Everything was going rather well until they said camel and instantly… Toe was my response.

Yes… I said Camel Toe in the interview.

Then tried to correct myself and say hump quickly. One of the men was trying not to laugh but the other didn’t find it entertaining.I, however, thought it was hysterical and started laughing. I excused myself and left the interview.

Let’s just say, I never received a call back but took a great story away with me.”

Story Time

“I was hiring for a position in my office. It was a final-round interview, and if I liked the candidate, she’d get the job.

I meet her and, like most candidates for jobs, she brings in a copy of her resume. I sit her down and ask as an opening question, “So, what caused you to take interest in this position?”

The girl smiles and says, “Well, I have a lot of experience that I feel I could bring to the table, which is on my resume.”

She then looks down at her resume and proceeds to read it to me in its entirety. For 15 minutes straight. No eye contact. She reads word-for-word every bullet point, every detail, every award and leadership position that she had in college, what she did at her last internship … most of which had absolutely nothing to do with the job.

After 15 minutes of her talking, I still did not know why she was interested in the job. In fact, all I knew about her was the information on her resume, which I had received and read prior to the interview. And she knew I’d previously seen it because I’d mentioned reading her resume before we sat down. I didn’t bother asking all the questions I was supposed to. We talked for a little bit after that, and then I thanked her for her time and called it a day.”

 Written by Jenny Headington

For advice on what to (and what not to do) in that all important interview head over to our Candidate Corner

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Barclays launch graduate grant scheme to tackle interview costs

Being a recent graduate can be daunting. Not only are you trying to get your foot on the career ladder and attending every job interview possible in a bid to do so, but according to new research by Barclays, UK graduates are spending an average of £550 attending job interviews before securing a job.

The poll of 1,000 graduates conducted in August 2018, found that a staggering 54% have turned down interviews or decided not to apply in the first place as they were unable to afford to attend the interview.

48% of graduate jobseekers borrow money, go into overdrafts or take out credit cards to fund the expensive costs of commuting to interviews. Despite this making finding a job inaccessible for many, 61% of prospective employers admitted they wouldn’t cover the basic costs of an interview.

Jobseekers frequently spend around £80 on buying appropriate clothing, £90 on travel and accommodation, £205 on resources to boost employability and £175 on software to enable upskilling, meaning the costs just for finding a job can quickly escalate.

Having uncovered the problem, Barclays are launching a Graduate Fund scheme to help Graduates take their first steps into their chosen careers.

Josie Clapham, Managing Director, Community Banking at Barclays says;


“We understand how stressful and challenging this time can be for new graduates, and we want them to be able to focus on finding the job that's right for them - rather than fretting about whether they can afford to attend an interview.

We hope the Barclays Graduate Fund will go some way to support graduates as they take their next steps and look forward to

Written by Jenny Headington

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Do you have the essential skills for a career in the Manufacturing Industry?

Manufacturing is a diverse industry that offers opportunities to people with a wide range of backgrounds. Whether you’re interested in production, installation, logistics or engineering, it’s important to understand that businesses seek a specific set of skills from potential employees.

We have put together a list of the essential skills that we believe manufacturers are looking for


1.Attention to Detail

With speed and precision being a high priority in manufacturing, it’s essential for workers to be focused and detail-oriented. When operating heavy machinery, a lack of attention can spell danger for you or your co-workers.

Attention to detail is also critical when it comes to completing work to a high standard, small details can make the difference in measurement and fittings and if these are completed incorrectly it can cause faults and flaws in the end product or service.

2.Critical Thinking

To succeed in the manufacturing industry the individual has to be able to think on their feet and troubleshoot and resolve problems as they arrive.

Workers must be able to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions or approaches to difficult situations.

3.Interest and Aptitude for Technology

Technology is constantly evolving and changing the way manufacturing workplaces operate and coordinate. Advances in technology have altered the way manufacturing is operated.

By demonstrating an interest in technology and a strong desire to learn it, you’re sending a message of your long-term potential to employers.


Many manufacturing positions now require knowledge of a wide variety of processes and procedures, so an employee who has been, or has the ability to be cross-trained is hugely valuable to a company.

Today, companies look for candidates that have the ability to be cross-trained in numerous functions, as they will be greater assets to the business.

5.STEM Skills

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills play huge roles in Manufacturing; being able to apply the right principles and techniques to the design and production of many goods is essential.

Many people are not fully aware of their math skills. All they know is that they think it’s not always fun. And admittedly, math and science can be acquired tastes. A career in manufacturing can lead you to discover the true value and potential of these skills.

6.Working effectively on a diverse team

Manufacturers need their colleagues to work together towards a common goal.

Being a good teammate is a good step towards becoming a good leader. The type that can disagree without being disagreeable is the people who can succeed in a team environment.

You should also offer problem-solving skills and ideas and be conscious of others ideas.


During a time of political and economic change, the ability to adapt to changing work conditions is essential.

Being able to work efficiently during times of increased workloads and pressure, or the ability switch to a different role when required is fundamental as unexpected situations may arise.


For a confidential discussion about how we can help your business source top manufacturing talent, or if you are eager to develop your career in manufacturing, please get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants who will be happy to help.

Written by Tom Greaves, edited by Jenny Headington

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Feed me… Feed me! More Feedback Please



Feedback, such an insignificant word on the face of it. Yet, it is the biggest element that makes any process improve. This could be an automated process right through to a service process. Without the feed-back to the input of the system there isn't any way to know how and where the improvements can be made.

When I worked in industry the process systems would use the feedback loop in order to change the input of the process. This would automatically make changes to various valve positions in order to control flow, speed changes on pumps to control volumes, and heating systems to dry the paper a little more or less depending on what the feedback loop had found during the process.

This relates to recruitment is a similar way apart from the valves of course!

When a brief is taken for a role, the skilled recruiter would typically send a benchmark CV to the hiring manager to create a gap analysis. This is then fine-tuned in order to improve relevancy. Without the feedback loop in this case, the gap towards the right skill sets will not be closed in a controlled fashion meaning a lot of wasted time for the client in reviewing candidates that do not hit the mark.

The same thing applies to interviews. Feedback is a real must following an interview to gauge how the candidate performed and to also gauge how the client performed. This then allows for changes to how the interview is conducted or how the candidate presents themselves at a future interview. In essence it allows the gaps to be closed and an accurate fit to be sourced.

The real benefits can be numerous, from candidate development right through to improving the interview process and hiring manager’s interview skills, along with the brand of the company. Everybody likes to get the feedback whether it’s good or bad (mainly good of course) as it allows the loop to be closed one way or another.


I had a candidate who was struggling at interview in terms of illustrating his skills and experiences in a clear and efficient manner. Through learning form the feedback, we are able to introduce him to some techniques to deliver examples in a clear and concise manner. With just some small changes to his approach, he was able to secure a great position at a forward thinking company that provided the opportunities he needed to progress his career to the next level

We also worked with a client in the automotive industry who was receiving a negative image due to the way it treated its employees. By sharing this feedback and educating our client, we were able to open their eyes to some different approaches that allowed them to manage their employees in a more positive and upbeat manner. This resulted in a rapid change in behaviour and a significant increase in the happiness and motivation of the workforce.

In short and it it's simple. Provide feedback in a timely manner and keep it clear and constructive.

Written by Lee Narraway

If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments:

Phone: 01925 747 712Email: lnarraway@procorerec.comLinkedIn:

Risky Business. Don’t Go Back.

Your stomach? Been there, done that. It didn’t work, don’t do it again.

Conscience: “You really shouldn’t be doing this. It didn’t work before, why would it work the second time?”

You: “Well, let’s give it another go. Maybe things will be different this time. We have to make sure that they are. It will all work out fine.”

Cartoon of a man running, a sign resign job

Some of us have experienced this in our personal lives, others may have experienced it in our professional lives – there are even a few poor souls out there who experience this loop over and over again. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Just as returning to an ex-partner is often ill-advised, accepting a counter offer from your company after you have resigned is equally bad judgement. It is universally recognised that once you have decided to leave a company, there is no going back. No amount of persuasion, financial incentive or extra management responsibility should be able to persuade you otherwise.

However, it is ever so easy to be lured into the emotional trap. After the last few months of hell in your company, culminating in your resignation, suddenly they are being nice to you again, telling you how essential you are and how they can’t do without you. This is designed to make you think twice, and it plants a seed of doubt in all but the strongest of minds.

exit sign with a cartoon man leaving the place


You never knew that they cared about you so much? Well, I’ll let you into a secret - they don’t. Just as a shocked partner might insist that they “really love you” at the point of no return, so might a company do anything to persuade you to stay, at least until they have found a suitable replacement.

89% of people that accept a counter-offer leave within the next year. You have broken the bond of trust and, like a jilted partner, the company will very seldom forgive. Once a trust is broken, it will never be fully restored. Nagging doubts will always linger.

So, when you resign, be resolute in your intentions. Do it in writing. Don’t enter into discussions about a potential rethink. Be consistent in what you tell management and your colleagues. You are moving on; it happens all the time, such is life. Don’t let it get personal, remain professional and make a smooth transition to your next role. You’ll be respected as someone that knows their own mind, and you won’t be burning any bridges.

The decision to leave part of your life behind is never an easy one. Embarking into an unknown future is a far more difficult path than keeping the status quo.

Yes, making a change is risky. However, how much riskier are the consequences of deciding to stay?

Written by Lee Narraway

If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments:

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: LinkedIn: Website:

Evaluating the Recruitment Solutions That’s Right for You

Within the recruitment world there are many offerings all aimed at making the fee valuable, palatable and worthwhile and they are all variations on a theme of contingent and retained recruitment. This article attempts to explain how the methods differ and which model to select for a particular role. We will start with contingent recruitment and then move through to retained recruitment, which sets the context for some alternative models. Enjoy the read.

graphic of retained contingent recruitment

This diagram shows you what solution would be suitable depending on the assignment that you have, remember it’s the balance between generic, specific, supply and demand which determines what approach you should use.

You should also check on the experience of the Recruitment Company and consultant before embarking on a retained or contained project as with any kind of head hunting the training and skills are paramount in the outcome.

Contingent Recruitment Solution

For the uninitiated; contingent recruitment could be considered a success based fee, in other words once the successful candidate has started in the role then a fee based on a percentage of the salary is paid to the recruitment consultant, this typically involves a rebate payable should anything happen to the placement during a pre-determined period.

Retained is the other most common approach to providing a recruitment solution and is typically employed when the role is of a high value nature. The recruitment consultant in this case is usually referred to as a head-hunter and the process is known as paid search. There are benefits to this and there are some disadvantages.

In essence there shouldn’t be any disadvantages at all as the process is aimed at ensuring the depth of search will be sufficient to source the candidate and the search company shouldn’t take on an assignment, which they believe is a paid search process unless they are certain that the role will be filled.

If we were to look at the two processes in terms of fee then it would look something like this:

graphic comparing recruitment contingent retained


The contingent approach is an effective model, high supply in a balanced demand makes this approach a sensible way to provide a recruitment solution. The client company will typically be working with a number of recruitment companies and the consultant who provides the most suitable candidate in the quickest time wins the race for the placement.

This approach drives quantity and lowers quality over the longer term. You can also expect to have the same CV from a number of the agents as the contingent world is mainly focused on the job seeker in the active market. Fee levels in this market are usually around 10% to 22%, there is little risk to the client in terms of cash outlay but there is risk in terms of time as if the role demands any kind of niche skill or trait then contingent will not resolve the process.

When a role demands a niche skill, culture or trait then contingent recruitment becomes much less effective as the number of candidates is reduced with each and every specific demand. This is in fact the method that head-hunters use to disqualify people, the tighter the search the more definitive the recruiter can be. We now enter the world of the retained search.

Retained Recruitment Solutions

Retained searches have a mixed reputation within the market place; the reason for this is poor delivery of service and management of expectations on the client and candidate sides. To carry out a headhunt takes skill and experience and isn’t something that should be taken on irresponsibly by the recruitment consultant.

The types of challenges the recruiter  faces would be a very narrow market, difficulty in contacting the suitable candidate with PA’s and gatekeepers and high expectations from the client, as promises made to secure the retainer and justify the fee are high.

Significant training should be given before any of the recruitment consultants can embark on a fully retained search and the job role should be analysed in depth to ensure the retained route is the most suitable solution.

One aspect of retained searches, which usually baffles the market, is that retained searches are a much higher fee than contingent despite the fact that the search is much more targeted and the client is working on an exclusive basis. The reality is that the search is very in depth and gaining traction in a particular part of the market is difficult.

For example; I once carried out a retained search for a major FMCG company, the search led me to Italy, as I don’t speak Italian I needed some help with getting past the gate keepers so I employed a local waiter from the Italian restaurant to open the doors for me and get me through to the potential candidate at which point the level of candidate was able to speak English.

So retained searches do take much more time than a contingent CV race hence the higher cost. The fee is structured as 1/3rd on assignment, 1/3rd on short list and 1/3rd on success. The structure of the assignment is such due to the high level of research required to source the candidates and the time required by the consultant to open the market up gently and in a thorough manner.

Contained Recruitment Solutions

Our experience within recruitment led us to develop the contained solution in a demand from our clients to end the CV race, repeat CV’s and low quality that they had been experiencing from their other providers at the time. They wanted a different result and as such they needed to find a different approach in order to change what was happening to them.

graphic contingent contained recruitment

The way in which Contained differs from Contingent is the ‘Contained’ search allows more depth of search than contingent would, this allows the consultant to deal with the more niche elements of the job and person specs which contingent recruitment does not allow.

If you can imagine a pond out in a field, around the pond are a series of fishermen all using their hands to reach into the water to try and catch a fish, the fish they would typically catch would be those fish that swim near the surface, it’s possible that the same fish would be approached by different fishermen and which ever fishermen dipped their hands in the most would probably find the most fish.

Now consider what would happen if another fisherman came to the pond and were to use a fishing rod? This would allow the fisherman to send his line out further and his bait down deeper meaning the fisherman would be working with different fish than those feeding on the top, his approached would be more controlled and the other fishermen wouldn’t bother the fish.

This analogy would try to explain the difference between contingent and contained recruitment. To add Retained to this then the analogy would be a diver and a harpoon, this approach would be expensive and very targeted.

With regard to the fee in a Contained search, the structure is a mix of the two previous solutions, an assignment fee (typically 1/3rd) is applicable to allow for the more in-depth search technique and the balance (2/3rds) is payable on success much the same as a contingent role.

As this type of assignment means exclusivity with the client and consultant the fee level can mitigate this meaning that this method is much more cost effective than retained and usually competitive with contingent. As the balance between candidate and client is specific but not actually niche then the search is more efficient in terms of time which is reflected in the fee charged.

In Summary:

  • The contingent assignment is useful when the role is more generic and the market is balanced well in terms of demand and supply.
  • Contained is very useful when it comes to a candidate driven role when the demand and supply is balanced more toward demand. This method allows more depth of search and some head hunting along with some of the other methods such as DB and boards.
  • Retained is a pure search assignment when the market is totally candidate driven and demand is far greater than supply.

I hope you have found this informative and if you have any questions or if you would like to clarify anything please do not hesitate to call us..

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When Was Your Forrest Gump Moment?

Whenever I come to a moment in my life when I realize that something has to change, I remember the scene from the film Forrest Gump where he finally stops his trans-America mega-marathon run.

Forrest Gump running movie

In the film, he was running to forget the past hurts in his life, but the metaphor could equally be extended to anyone’s treadmill. We set ourselves on a certain course and often it takes a jolt to the system to make us realize that we need to stop and change direction. Keeping running is the easy option – deciding to stop and change something takes real courage.

When Forrest Gump stopped and decided to get on with his life, he did exactly that. There was no way that he could know how his life was going to work out after he stopped running, he probably worked through every possible scenario in his head multiple times, but until he stopped, he couldn’t be sure which path his life would take. When he was running, he was running. When he stopped, he had to do something different instead.

At these times of change in my life, I have found that there is always a short moment of pause when you stop doing something before you start doing something else. When you quit your job, there is always a small pause before you start a new one. When your wife becomes pregnant, there are the months of pregnancy before the baby arrives. You might decide to go an a diet, but there is always that pause before your first “proper” day on the new regime.

Forrest Gump movie Tom Hanks sit bench

It is that moment of pause that dictates your new direction. If you have thought enough about your situation, about what you want to change in your life and why you want to change it, then the way ahead should be clear. If you haven’t dedicated the time to think before you stop, it will often be the case that you could run off into blind alleys, run around in circles or just stand transfixed by the complexity of the decision before you.

No, when you stop running, it is useful to have an idea of your new direction. You don’t have to have the exact co-ordinates and you can sill alter your path on the way, but a rough heading is helpful.

Forrest did a few laps of the US to work out his problems. Before you think about making a change in life, it is always worth thinking through the possibilities and ramifications first. When you do stop running, it is vital that you have an idea of what you want to do next, otherwise it will be very hard to start running again, let alone in the right direction.

Written by Lee Narraway and edited by Paul Drury

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Engineering Remuneration

I'd like to share an interesting article I read written by Stephen Harris at the Engineer. Engineers’ salaries took a battering in the recession. Then something exciting happened. Engineering graphic

Official data shows some encouraging news for engineers - especially those with Chartered status.

It’s well known that salaries aren't what they used to be. The recession put a major halt on pay rises and some people were even forced to accept wage cuts. All the while the cost of living kept on rising, meaning everyone was left feeling a little poorer.

Given the much talked-about skills shortage, you’d expect engineers to have not done too badly when it came to maintaining their pay packets. But when The Engineer took a look at the data, we found some surprising results.

From the start of the recession in 2008, engineers’ median salary increases were less than the national average. And in 2010, the median engineering wage actually fell, meaning the so-called cost of living crisis had a particular impact on many engineers.

Graphic UK median salaries

What has happened since, however, tells a much more encouraging story. While in 2011, the national median salary was flat, engineers got an average boost of over two per cent. And last year, this increased to around four per cent – double the rate of inflation. So engineers should finally start to be feeling richer.

The big question that remains is how are engineers doing now compared to the 2007-2008 peak. Since that time, the cost of living has gone up by around 16.2 per cent, according to the RPI measure of inflation that includes housing costs.

The national median salary has only gone up by 12.4 per cent – less than the cost of living increase – meaning most people are now poorer. The median for engineers is only a little better at 13.4 per cent.

Graphic UK median salaries for engineers

But what about those engineers who have completed accreditation schemes, which purportedly offer a significant salary boost. According to figures from the Engineering Council (which regulates accreditation), Incorporated Engineers haven’t kept up with inflation either, with a median salary increase of just 12.5 per cent.

Chartered Engineers, however, are on to a winner. They've seen their median salary rise by an inflation-busting 25 per cent since 2007, from £48,000 to £60,000. So while most people, including most engineers, have become poorer, those with Chartered status are much better off.

Great article Stephen and thanks for the information.

Written by Lee Narraway

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Things We Think And Do Not Say

In the film Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise plays a high-powered sports agent who has so many clients that he doesn’t really care about them. I bet that you can see the recruitment angle already….

Tom Cruise - Jerry Maguire

However, one night he has a panic attack in a lonely hotel room, and writes a memo titled “The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business.”

One of the things he writes is that agents should be less concerned about money and more concerned about their clients. That gets him a standing ovation in the office, but a few days later, when he's fired, he understands why agents do not say those things they think.

He sets up his own agency but loses his entire client base, apart from the wide receiver Rod (Cuba Gooding Junior). Jerry is also joined by just one of his former colleagues (Renee Zellweger), whom he promptly falls in love with, and he builds a fulfilling relationship with Rod, where money is not the only object.

Rod learns to play from the heart and in the final scenes it is clear that their success only came because they cared about each other as people. Rod trusted Jerry with his future.

There are too many parallels with recruitment to mention in this short blog, but in the tradition of Jerry Maguire’s memo, here is one thought from me (that we don’t often say):

Recruitment is transactional because candidates don’t trust recruiters, and recruiters don’t do enough to earn their trust.

Clients in formal meeting

I don’t know where to start, apart from the obvious place…. It is thought that most recruiters are in it for the money. Place a candidate, get a fee, the production line of new “meat” rolls on and that is how it works.

Jerry Maguire felt that he was in the same place. Send a CV, get an interview, manage the negotiation, place the candidate. It is a process – the involved parties either agree on things or they don’t, and you move on. Sounds pretty transactional, doesn’t it?

Yes, it does, but there is always another way. As an industry, we don’t do enough for our candidates to trust us. Clients trust us because we invest time in building a relationship with them, but there are so many candidates coming through our doors that it is seemingly impossible to develop that personal connection with any of them.

Without this relationship with the candidates, it will always be a transaction – recruiters will never be able to foster a true dialogue to find the best possible fit for everyone.

For me, it is all about the small steps. It starts with truly caring about them as human beings. They are coming to a recruiter at a time of great personal upheaval – the least we can do is to make every effort to understand the person behind the CV. If we show them that we care, they will open up that little bit more.

This relationship may not last for longer than the duration of their job search, or even longer than the duration of an initial interview, but if a recruiter tries to care, then the candidate’s trust will be all the easier to earn.

Written by Lee Narraway and Edited by Paul Drury

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The Difference Between Worrying and Caring

Pressure is an ever-present factor in our working life. It would be easier to handle if everything were under our control, but there are so many times when we are at the mercy of events. The future in such a situation is rarely clear and you have two basic choices: Worrying about the outcome, or caring about the outcome. There is a big difference between the two. woman with a box loose job

Of course, you can choose to do nothing, but for the sake of this article, let’s say that this situation is something of huge importance to you. Let’s say you have heard that 100 people are going to be made redundant in your company. Your department have been told those scary words: “you are at risk.”

There will be those who will immediately worry about the potential consequences. They become terrified about losing their jobs, they go into their shells and start to take the “safe” business decisions rather than the right ones.

They spread fear and negative energy wherever they go, gossiping, speculating, feeding on any opportunity to make themselves feel a little better. A colleague didn’t hit their sales target? “Good, maybe they will be fired instead of me.”

Worrying is a stealthy emotion – you think that you are being productive by thinking about the potential situation, but it rarely leads to action…. In these circumstances, the worries merely get deeper and deeper.

Then, there are those whose first thoughts are caring. They wonder who might be worst affected and what they can do to help their colleagues in the situation. For them, action is going to be the solution to their problems. They think positively and consider what they can do to influence the situation.

frustrated young business man loose job

They don’t lose sight of the opportunities in the situation and continue to hope for the best. They will be supportive of their colleagues and in return be supported by them. In a difficult situation, they will stand out as being the glue that binds their team together. Nine times out of ten, they will not be the ones to lose their jobs.

Worry is fear-based. It is a projection of negative energy. Caring, on the other hand, is a projection of positive energy. When you care about situations or people, you're hopeful that things will get better. When you worry about them, you're afraid they won't.

Clinical psychologist Chad LeJeune, Ph.D, talks about the idea of worrying versus caring in his book, ‘The Worry Trap’ “Worrying is an attempt to exert control over the future by thinking about it,” whereas caring is taking action.

“When we are caring for someone or something, we do the things that support or advance the best interests of the person or thing that we care about.”

In another example, worrying about your finances does nothing but give you sleepless nights. Caring about your finances means being proactively about creating budgets, paying bills and saving for future issues.

May we should all care a little more and worry a little less!

If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments:

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: LinkedIn: Website:

When Was Your Moment of Fury?

One of the most poignant scenes in recent cinematic history is when the camera pans up from the tank in the film Fury, and you see the hundreds of scattered German bodies around a single Allied tank.

Brad Pitt movie Fury

To give some background, the American tank crew (led by Brad Pitt, who else?) were ordered to hold a crossroads to stop a huge German SS battalion from getting to a supply chain of Allied medical and support personnel. Their tank “Fury” was disabled by a landmine, so they had the decision to leave the civilians to certain death or do their best to stop the Germans in their tracks.

For the five-man tank crew, the decision to stay and fight was in the best Hollywood  tradition, but it captures the heroism of war and what people are prepared to do to when they believe in a cause (or hate a cause – in this case the Wafffen SS). Much of the action in Fury was based around real-life accounts of events in the Second World War, and I would like to briefly remember those who perished. May they rest in peace.

With the utmost respect to those who laid down our lives to defend us, I would like to focus on the one quality of any solider that continues to leave me in awe whenever I think about our guys defending our freedom all over the world. From the elimination of Osama bin Laden to the current fight with Islamic State, they are determined to “get it done.” They won’t stop until it is done.

Fury movie ad with actors

I sometimes wish that, in my own little way, I could have a little more of this determination in my life. I profusely apologise for the glib comparison with someone who is putting their life on the line, but at the end of the day, it comes down to the same thing – how much do you believe in your cause?

How many of us are truly passionate about what we do? Who keeps going through the bad days and the good? How many of us are glad of an excuse to give up or to take an easier path? The answer I would guess is most of us, as unlike the amazing heroes who fight our battles for us, we are “only human” after all.

Am I saying that to be human is to be fallible, well, yes, I probably am? We all make mistakes, we all let people down, and we all fail – with varying regularity. The key for me about determination is the will power to keep going until the very last moment, to keep believing that you can do it until that fallibility overtakes you at the very last minute. However, there is always the chance that it might not overtake you.

There was one American survivor of the Fury tank battle. Everyone has the chance to be superhuman if they are determined enough. The odds may be stacked against you, but if you have courage in the face of adversity, anything is possible.

Written by Lee Narraway and edited by Paul Drury

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Lee Narraway

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How to decline an interview without burning bridges

We all know circumstances can change when searching for a job. As a result, it’s quite common for job hunters to be invited for an interview, but realising that they no longer want the job for various reasons. If you want to decline an interview but are not sure how to do it humbly, here’s some advice that will keep your professional reputation firmly intact. woman holding a phone

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Come On……Give Your Brain a Break

Our brains are pretty special things. They hold a lifetime of memories, process thousands of subconscious commands every minute and help us navigate the optimal path through our days. From the moment we are born, to the moment we leave this world, they offer us a capacity for learning that sets us apart from every other species on this planet.

Human Brain blue lights

They will attempt to absorb everything that our busy lives throw at them, but, for them to remain in top-notch decision-making form, we need to give them regular periods of “chill-out” time to refresh their energies. That is rather unscientific language, but you can be assured that there is a huge amount of science behind the thought that regular “rest periods” allow the brain to catch up and get ready for renewed action.

If you use your brain’s refresh button on a regular basis, you will feel so much more in charge of your day and more able to meet the challenges that come your way.

Research has shown that our brains have two “modes” of operation, a “focused” mode when we are learning something new, thinking about a problem or working, and then a “daydream” mode where random thoughts flit in and out of our head with no real urgency. You might think that the first mode is the only one to impact our productivity, but you would be wrong.

Studies have shown that brain activity actually increases when our brains wander – we make connections that may not have previously been contemplated, and breakthroughs seemingly come out of nowhere. You know that great idea you had in the shower this morning? Yes, you’ve guessed it – “daydream mode.”

Worker drinking coffee

The “refresh” button doesn’t have to be pressed for long. You can go and make a cup of tea, have a stroll outside for 15 minutes or maybe even listen to some music with your eyes closed for a while. It needs to be enough for your brain to forget about your previous task (as it is not very good for concentrating on something for much longer than 45 minutes anyway), and after the break it will be ready to get back on track and at the same time ensuring that you are heading in the right direction.

I personally find that the 80/20 rule works particularly well for me. 80% of my working day is spent in hardcore work mode, the rest (split up through the day) is spent at an entirely more leisurely pace.

Giving yourself permission to do this is the first hurdle – you shouldn’t feel that your day should be a madcap race to the finish. You’ll be exhausted before mid-afternoon if you don’t add refresh breaks into your routine.

It may seem strange to say that to get any work done, you should choose not to work for part of the time, but it is firmly my experience that this is a the case.

Give your brain a break – it will repay you for it.

Written by Lee Narraway and Edited by Paul Drury

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A Short Example of Managing Larger Scale Recruitment Projects

On many occasions I have been asked to provide teams of employees of various levels in order to facilitate the opening of a new site, on one of these occasions our client was building a new paper and packaging machine based in the North West. We were asked to provide all of the level 1 and level 2 operators along with the engineering teams for the facility. man planning

The added complication was that all the level 1, level 2 and the engineering teams then had to fly out to Spain to carry out 12 months of training.

This resulted in really narrowing the market making it very demanding to find the right skill set in the first place and then to add the availability for to travel to Spain really cut the market tight. However it just two months we were able to supply them with 60 level 1 and 2 operators and nine engineers to fly out to Spain to carry out the training.

Since, the relationship with the client has developed and we have been responsible for placing around 80% of the people on site, we have an ongoing relationship with them which means as and when the company grows we are then asked to provide new different skills to accommodate the new demands that the company faces.

construction workers

This isn't the only occasion on which we've done assignments like this, the Engineering and Maintenance Company that won the maintenance contracts for the paper machine was a very large Finnish Engineering company.

The Engineering company needed a team of 40 people on site to run their contract for the OEM and we provided everybody for the project apart from the site manager who was an internal candidate. From technicians, engineers, administration, planning, reliability, condition monitoring and predictive maintenance we provided the whole team.

I think in recruitment you are only as good as your last job so to have kept these important clients for many years is the perfect testimony for our business.

recruitment picture cv

We're still providing the same company with engineers for different sites and facilities that they win maintenance contracts for.

When looking to complete project work like this the benefit of using one company to provide the whole solution is the ability to see the whole picture and blend culture and skills together. Bringing different levels of experience to bear alongside the type of cultural fit that a client may have a need for can only be achieved with this wholesome view.

Check here our Recruitment Solutions and Client Services.

Written by Lee Narraway

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