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;

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“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 a bright future.”

2018 Graduates can apply for a one off cash injection, that doesn’t need to be paid back, from a £20,000 pool of ‘free money’ to make attending interviews more affordable. The grant can be used on travel, accommodation, interview clothing and training and development resources for upskilling.

 Written by Jenny Headington

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

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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.

4.Flexibility

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.

7.Adaptability

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.

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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

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. interview

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 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway Website: www.procorerec.com

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: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway Website: www.procorerec.com

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..

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

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway Website: www.procorerec.com

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

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

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway Website: www.procorerec.com

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

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

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway Website: www.procorerec.com

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

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

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

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: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website:  www.procorerec.com/

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

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: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

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

Continue reading here: https://www.cv-library.co.uk/career-advice/interviews/how-decline-interview-without-burning-bridges/

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

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

Lee Narraway Phone: 01925747712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway Website: www.procorerec.com

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

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

Lee Narraway Phone: 01925747712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway Website: www.procorerec.com

You Don’t Climb Straight Up The Mountain

If you want to reach heights that few others have reached, you have to realize that the path will not be a linear one. There is no well-worn track to reassure you, and the ghosts of those who have failed dance in your footsteps. You have to be content to take two steps forward, a few steps sideways and one step back to ensure that you have a chance of success.

Man climbing mountain

When momentum stalls, your willpower is the only thing you have left.

Life is not meant to be spent at 100 miles-an-hour, careering from one amazing achievement to the next. It is an adventure, and, to my mind, it is very similar to scaling a mountain (or a series of mountains).

Unless you have a Yoda-like mentor, very few of us can be certain what is around the next corner. If it is a deep crevasse, the choice is to risk the jump over or walk to where it gets thinner? If bad weather is forecast, do you abandon the climb until it has blown itself out? Do you stop at the third camp for the night, even though the summit is tantalisingly in reach?

On a climbing expedition, you have to balance the risks and the rewards. Sometimes, the going will be easy, and the decisions will be clear. At other times, you will be tearing your hair out with frustration.

After a successful career in Engineering, many of my friends were surprised when I went into recruitment. I have always enjoyed the “people” aspects in my roles, and deep down, it felt right if not a little scary. When you start a new transition, it is almost like coming around that mountain pass, only to see a yet higher peak ahead of you. Daunting, but exhilarating.

Heading up the engineering division of Procore Solutions is the best thing that I have done in my career. It took a leap of faith, and yes, that faith is still tested daily, but I am still climbing. I am not sure that I will ever get to the “summit” – it would be boring to imagine that this is even possible. For me, the climb is the enjoyment.

man mountain

So many people are now making transitions to new careers, using their transferable skills to scale new heights. 20 years ago, this would have been unthinkable, but in the dynamic new world of work, it seems to me that breadth of experience is more valuable than depth of experience. No one trudges along the same boring career path for 30 years anymore. There are mountains to explore, and sometimes it makes sense to go backwards if you want to go forwards.

If you view every step of your journey as a step closer to your destination, then every step is valuable. Every mistake, every wrong turn, they are all part of your way to the top.

You don’t climb straight up the mountain. Simply make sure that you keep climbing, and you will get there!

Written by Lee Narraway edited by Paul Drury 

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

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925747712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway Website: www.procorerec.com

How to successfully ask for a raise

Asking your boss for more money isn’t always an easy conversation. And unless there is a well-structured review system in place, it’s likely that you’ll need to proactively broach this topic. It can be a tricky topic to discuss so to help you successfully ask for a pay rise; here are our top tips for preparing yourself for the conversation. man throwing money

 

Research the market

While it’s not advisable to openly discuss salaries with your colleagues, arming yourself with as much information about what others in your position earn is the best place to start.

Instead of prying into your co-worker’s earnings, look on comparison websites and job boards to get an idea of the market salary for your industry and experience level. This will help you decide on a number before speaking with your manager – you need to be specific about what you want.

Build your case

Think about why you’re asking for a raise. Have you recently had some big successes in your current job? Do you believe you’ve taken on some new responsibilities? Perhaps you’ve consistently delivered exceptional work since accepting the job.

Whatever your reasons, it’s important that you build your case by providing clear evidence as to why you deserve a raise.

Prepare specific examples and provide solid reasoning to prove that you deserve more of the business’ profits. Wherever possible, tie your successes to business results – increase in sales, solutions that save money, etc. Adding a monetary value to your success can provide irrefutable evidence.

Find the right time

Be strategic about when you speak with your manager – avoid catching them when they are busy, against a tight deadline or about to pack up for the day. Try and find a time when they will be able to give their full attention and really focus on the conversation.

If you can, set up a meeting in advance to ensure you manager will be available. This also gives you time to prepare your case!

Get to the point

When you finally do find the right time and have your manager’s attention it’s critical that you get to the point without going off topic or beating around the bush.

A couple of ways you can kick off the conversation include: ‘I’d like to talk about reviewing my pay’, or ‘In light of my performance at work, I wanted to ask you about a pay raise’.

Give your manager a chance to respond, and then tell them the amount you’re looking for – this is your opportunity to present your case and back up your request.

Focus on business

A raise might help you save up for a house, or buy a new car, but try not to discuss these during the meeting. Your personal reasons for wanting a raise are completely irrelevant.

Keep the conversation focused on your contribution to the business and why that warrants a higher reward than your current salary.

Control your nerves

If your manager isn’t entirely warm to the idea it’s likely that a negotiation will come to life – negotiations around money can often be tense so it’s important to keep your nerves in control.

Don’t back down under pressure, never take back your request, or suggest a lower amount. Stay calm and wait for your manager to respond to your initial request.

Whatever you do, do not leave the meeting without knowing the next step. If your manager says they cannot talk to you at this time, or they’re not the best person for you to be having the conversation with, ask them directly what the next step will be and when you can expect this to happen.

About the guest author: 

Laura Slingo is Digital Copywriter for the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.

Please leave your comments.

Who You Gonna Call? Ghostbusters!

Your attempts to build a professional presence on Social Media are at risk! Don’t worry, Slimer isn’t about to burst out of your laptop or smartphone and cover it in Ectoplasm. That would be mildly amusing, if not a little scary.

No, I am talking about the Social Media “ghosts” who lurk in the shadows. The people who view your profile anonymously, the false profiles which decide to troll your blog and ruin your credibility, the competitors who set up false profiles on feedback websites to bring down your ratings.

These are just a few examples, but as your social media profile becomes even more central to your business, these “ghosts” could turn from a mere annoyance to something far more serious.

Let’s turn on our proton packs and tackle them in turn:

The anonymous viewers

Firstly, the anonymous viewers. Some people (especially recruiters) would argue that they don’t want to be seen “stalking” prospects. Others (maybe jobseekers) could say the same about checking out a hiring manager.

This is understandable if there is likely to be an element of repetition, but otherwise, why would people do that? I am fascinated by who has viewed my profile and their possible motives for doing so. I always check out their profiles and this in turn gives them more visibility.

Surely that is a good thing, both for recruiters and job seekers. There are some LinkedIn users that even use viewing lots of profiles as a growth tactic – they know that they will get the reciprocal views.

Faces of anonymous groups

False profiles trolling your blog

Now, to the false profiles trolling your blog. This is a tricky one. I have just started blogging and have not been the target of a troll just yet, but I can imagine how powerless you must feel.

It is very easy to set up a false LinkedIn profile, and as soon as one is banned, you can set up another one.

This is perfect for the cowardly trolls, and there may be a future where trolling comes out of the shadows. That is a worrying thought. “Hire me, I’m a professional troll – your competitors won’t stand a chance.” Some scumbags will find that attractive.

Websites

Thirdly, websites, which measure customer satisfaction are still worryingly easy to influence. The plethora of small businesses that are springing up at the moment will rely on these sites for new clients, and again, leaving nasty comments is not so hard. These sites will develop means to weed out the ghost comments, but they should not mass delete the negative ones, or their credibility is lost. The ghosts will find their way around any restrictions.

It is about time that something was done about online anonymity. Yes, there will be huge concerns about hackers accessing personal details, so I doubt that there will be extensive changes in terms of having a “personal” login, but there should at least be a orchestrated campaign to name and shame those caught.

Someone should set up a website with the details of the culprits….

Ghostbusters.com would be a great name, but I’ll leave that one to Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston.

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: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

A Case Study in Automotive

I've written a case study to share with you from one of our projects, this particular project continues to add significant value to our client and it is one that we are particularly proud of. Manufacturer auto industry car

 

The challenge we faced:

Our client is a global Tier One manufacturer within the automotive industry, turnover in excess of $25 billion annually and they design, manufacture and test a diverse range of automotive systems, assemblies and components for the OEM market and have over 250 sites manufacturing globally as well as many R&D and development sites.

One of the groups UK site had been loss making for a number of years and had picked up a bad reputation within the automotive sector as being a “revolving door,” with new employees coming in and leaving quite swiftly. This didn't reflect the ethos of the company, or other sites. A change of management and site culture was needed.

Senior directors from the company came over to the UK to look at the site and to consider all options for its future. They quickly realised the potential the site had and truly believed they could turn it around to become profitable. They noticed that some processes and behaviours within the site needed to be changed and a new senior management team was required to make this happen.

Manufacturer auto industry car

 

The most important things needed for the new team were structure, process, and a background within the automotive industry; individuals that had turned non profitable sites into profit making sites and sustaining that change. A belief in the culture and ethos of the group was essential. They consider themselves to have a very dynamic and employee led culture.

 

The difficult thing the client acknowledged was going to be the issue of trying to sell opportunities to potential individuals in the sector as they would probably be aware of the problems at the site, and would likely be stable within their current positions.

The obvious concern was that candidates could view moving to a company that had a bad reputation and perceived job insecurity, and the potential that the site might not being there in the next 12-18 months very negatively.

This would need to be carefully addressed and the genuine future plans, resources and commitment of the client effectively communicated at the very earliest stages of the search.

OUR SOLUTION

After a further meeting with the senior directors, we set up a plan of action and prioritised the positions they were looking to recruit, with the General Manager being paramount. We took details briefs from the directors to understand each of the roles in more depth, as well as the company culture.

We then went to the market to find relevant individuals for them. We used the ProCore four way methodology to full affect, as we knew we would have to approach the passive market to find the right people.

Once we had identified a long list of potential candidates through our research team, our consultants then contacted them confidentially and headhunted the relevant individuals, qualifying them against the roles in great detail.

Within a couple of weeks a short list of thoroughly vetted candidates was presented to the client; after a round of interviews the General Manager was hired, with other key individuals added to the team over the next couple of months.

Manufacturer auto industry

As part of our engagement we also helped the company draw up organisation charts, establish future vacancy requirements and to implement a structured recruitment process. For a short spell one of our consultants spent a day each week with the company to help embed these processes and concepts.

THE RESULT

The client was exceptionally happy with the quality of the candidates we provided, and the manner in which we worked. They particularly commented on the professionalism and the discreet way we handled the process, separating the ‘wheat from the chaff’ and the way in which we positioned the client’s plans and objectives.

With the new senior management team in place, the site quickly moved to profitability, the first time in twelve years, and staff attrition rates dropped dramatically. We are very proud of our involvement with the site and were very excited to learn that the GM we placed had been promoted to a wider more responsible role with the company and we wish him very well for the future.

If you would like to discuss this short article in more detail then please connect with me and let's chat.

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

The Future of the CV…Another Dimension…

The workplace is becoming more creative. Personality and cultural fit matter more than ever. A business lives and dies by the strength of its relationships. Work-life balance has become work-life blend. For some people, their colleagues are their family.

Photo of a video job interview

It has never been more important to dig deep into someone’s personality in the recruitment process. You want to get a window on their soul, their motivations, their hopes and dreams. The twinkle in their eyes is what sells them to you, that extra “je ne sais quoi” when they talk about their passions. They are the sort of people that you want to work with for the foreseeable future….

All this great stuff is the gold dust of recruitment; this is why we do our jobs.

I would argue that this cannot be reflected in even the best CV.

There is currently something deeply wrong with the first stage of the recruitment process. During that infamous 10-second “scan” of your resume, there is no way that the reader can understand what sort of a person they are dealing with. They may be able to read the words, try to decipher the meaning behind the adjectives, but there is no way of seeing the person behind the words.

There is another way. There will be a real alternative at some point soon.

https://youtu.be/XJICiQPjSfw

Before I go on to outline my thoughts, I would like to mention something about the nature of change. Sometimes it takes years or decades for an idea to replace an accepted practice, but when circumstances conspire, the change can come swiftly.

People are now getting more open to sharing their lives on social media. They are uploading videos onto YouTube, sharing selfies on Facebook and writing blogs on LinkedIn. The next stage of the technology revolution is wearable technology. People are happy to share themselves with society like never before.

Now finally getting to the recruitment angle….

Video interview

 

I can see a world where impromptu video (taken from their phone or watch) will form a key part of the recruitment process. The perception of video as an impersonal and inflexible medium is starting to disappear. Companies could request a Snapchat style introduction based on a couple of key questions, they could view introductory videos on LinkedIn profiles, or entire interviews could be conducted via their smartwatches.

 

This won’t replace the CV completely, but the smarter companies will quickly realize the value of this interactivity. The video interviewing industry is growing quickly. It has not yet reached the mainstream, and I expect that there will be a good few sceptics responding to this article, but it is definitely the successor of the CV in my view.

What do you think?

If you would like to discuss this short article in more detail then please connect with me and let's chat.

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/