Category: LinkedIn


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By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

We wrote previously about the importance of maintaining your Linkedin profile to ensure a consistent brand message as employers are increasingly reviewing candidates’ social media presence. We have compiled the following points for those of you who are less familiar with the functionality or indeed what recruiters look for. There are a couple of key points to remember as you build your profile; Firstly you should have a clear idea of what your personal brand is ahead of writing the profile and secondly to ensure you are easily ‘found’, you need to optimise your use of key words.

  • Customise your Linkedin URL

Set your LinkedIn profile to “public” and add a unique URL to your profile (for example www.linkedin.com/in/jezstyles). To do this click on ‘edit profile’ and next to where it says ‘public profile’ click edit again. This also makes it easier to include your LinkedIn URL in your email signature, which is a great way to demonstrate your professionalism. It will also ensure you rank higher in search engines such as Google.

  • Use an informative and accurate Profile Headline

The default setting is the last position you held. There has been much debate on various forums and there are two opposing views; your headline should reflect your last position; Or, your profile should reflect where you see your ‘brand’ being positioned ie “Operations Director for FTSE 250 Retailer.” You will often see “Looking for opportunities.” While this may reflect your employment status it creates a negative impression. Andy Headworth, at Sirona Consulting wrote a great blog about this – read here.

  • Upload an ‘appropriate’ Photo!

This may be obvious but do keep this professional. It should also reflect the brand you are keen to portray. Fashion candidates should ensure they are dressed in a manner that reflects their current or target market. An ex colleague of mine recently, and to be fair temporarily, uploaded a picture of himself sporting a rather impressive pair of spectacles despite the fact that he rarely wore them (you know who you are!). It is best to ensure your photo reflects what you look like in real life!

  • Provide Contact Information?

You can provide contact information on your profile (either on the summary page or in the specific communication fields) so that people can get in touch with you outside of the parameters of LinkedIn. It is worth doing this if you are active in your job search and you wish to reduce the barriers to simple communication. If you are nervous about doing this you can amend your privacy settings so that this is only visible to first degree connections.

  • Add relevant websites

You can add up to three websites and it is worth utilising this function. I would suggest adding your company website particularly if you work for a niche brand, your Twitter link, your blog or any other website that you are personally invested in.

  • Complete your Education

Get as much detail in here as you are comfortable with and do not be shy about including any summer courses or distance learning. If you work within a functional specialism such as property, it is worth mentioning that you are chartered and the year you qualified.

  • Develop a professional Summary & Specialities statement

Your statement should incorporate a short paragraph summarising your experience to date. It is worth highlighting some unique experiences, what differentiates you from your peers or any outstanding awards or achievements. Overall, it should be a clear and concise representation of your ‘brand message.’ It has also become common place to add a list of keywords or phrases to the bottom of this section. The keywords are crucial as this is often what recruiters search for when looking for prospective candidates ie. if your job title is not an industry standard term you could add appropriate key words to ensure you can be easily ‘found’.

  • Ensure your Experience (Career) is fully complete

As we mentioned in our previous blog, recruiters are beginning to cross reference LinkedIn Profiles with CVs. It is essential that the dates and job titles are consistent. It is worth detailing responsibilities, accountabilities and achievements where possible. This is another opportunity to add keywords thus ensuring you optimise your search position. However…your LinkedIn profile is not a replacement for a CV, so if you are looking for a new position you will still need to put one together.

  • Languages

Don’t be shy about adding languages. British retailers are increasingly expanding overseas and language skills are increasingly in demand. Similarly, international retailers looking to move in to the UK will be very keen to identify candidates that can communicate in their native language.

  • Add Applications

It is worth checking adding useful applications (via settings) such as WordPress (for your blog if you have one), Box files (any documents you may wish to add such as a recent presentation) or Slideshare for any presentations you may wish to upload. These applications will often reveal a side of you that your CV does not such as how you think or feel about certain topics. Again, ensure that anything you add is consistent with your ‘brand message.’

  • Ask for recommendations from a diverse selection of contacts

This doesn’t come naturally for some people however it adds a high degree of credibility. I found myself, by accident rather than design, looking at two candidates last week for a position I was recruiting for. Instinctively I was more interested in the candidate with good quality recommendations from people I respect than the individual who had none. It is worth including at least one recommendation per position.

It is also sensible to call your contacts to let them know you are planning to send a request and giving them some steer as to what you would like them to focus on, once again to ensure a consistent brand message.

  • Join ‘Groups’

It is worth joining a number of groups on LinkedIn, particularly groups that are relevant to your Industry, Specialism or Job function. Not only are the groups useful in terms of information but they will also add to the brand message you are keen to portray. They will also provide you with a vehicle to further develop your profile over a period of time (further blog to follow!). You can find our group here

  • Add Skills & Expertise?

This functionality was added to LinkedIn in the UK last year (2012). Essentially you are ‘self coding’ yourself in the way recruitment firms do within their databases. The only drawback with the functionality is that there is a temptation to add skills that are aspirational rather than experience led. Having spoken to a few colleagues and other contacts in the industry it would seem that the search functionality which accompanies this is rarely used. On the flipside it will improve keyword searches. In my opinion this is not essential but perhaps worth doing to once again strengthen that all important brand message.

  • Honours (Honors) & Awards

This section allows you to highlight specific achievements. It is worth adding one or two elements to this section although it isn’t essential!

  • Privacy Controls

You can find this under ‘settings’ via a drop down box from your name in the top right of the screen. Depending on your account type you can set varying levels of privacy. Bear in mind that if you go for the highest settings you will be difficult to find, although clearly, this is not a problem if the purpose of the account is to stay in touch with colleagues etc. Via the settings function you can also become a member of the ‘openlink network,’ this enables other non first degree connections to send you direct messages. This is of particular use if you are actively looking for a new position.

  • LinkedIn Today

The news function on LI Today has changed quite dramatically in recent months with a greater influence being placed on Influencers and the larger news sites. LinkedIn are automatically opting people in to following specific influencers. If you find your timeline is filling up with articles that are not of interest you can amend who you follow by; click Interest from the top toolbar, click influencers, click all influencers and then click the tick button to ‘unfollow.’

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By Russell Adams, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

In a market where organisations are increasing their proportion of direct hires, do you still need to be talking to recruiters and what are they actually doing for you?  Are they really adding any value and what are they doing that you couldn’t do yourself? Indeed with LinkedIn it is now easier than ever before to be found by organisations looking to hire. So are recruiters really adding any value? The answer to that question will definitely depend on who you are talking to. Sadly the industry is lightly regulated and with no formal qualifications it is very easy for poorly trained individuals to operate without much scrutiny or redress. As we are all aware, the market is still tight. With strong competition for most roles it is likely that you will need to engage the services of recruiters in order to try and access the best opportunities in the market.

So what should a good recruiter be doing for you?

Career Advice

A specialist recruiter should be able to give expert career advice and both challenge and assist you in your career goals and objectives. They should be highly knowledgeable in your field and very well connected.  Your recruiter should be a career partner and not just an agent that will place you in a role.

Recruiters can and should provide impartial career advice. When paid commission you need to appreciate that some may have a short term attitude and advise what is best for them and not for you as the candidate. However, the best recruiters will take a look term approach, appreciate that people will remember great advice and certainly never forget bad advice. Although in the short term they may lose out on a fee, longer term if they do the right thing then you are much more likely to engage them when you are looking to recruit. So look out for the signs that they are thinking long term.

Recruiters can if they are willing provide advice across a range of areas including advice on CV’s and Interviewing. They typically do not change for these services but do it as a way of adding more value to the candidates. Again they are likely to only provide in depth advice to those individuals who they have built a relationship with.

Job Search

In addition to some of the added value areas, fundamentally you want your recruiter to give you access to the best jobs in the market. So, do plenty of research and ask plenty of questions; what roles are they recruiting? Who are their key clients? Are they recruiting the types of roles you are interested in? The competition out there is fierce and through building a strong relationship with key recruiters in your sector you can try and ensure you gain access to these roles. A good recruiter should always call you back. In the current market, recruiters are incredibly busy, there are large number of candidates on the market chasing relatively fewer roles, however if you agree up front how to communicate and how frequently then you should be able to find a way that works for both parties.

 Process Management

A good recruiter should “coach” you through the recruitment process.  They should be using their in depth knowledge of the client and the individuals within it to guide and advise you on how to position yourself. They should be able to give you a strong insight into the culture and how you will fit.  The are also likely to get in depth feedback from the client after each stage so make sure they are sharing this information with you, so you can understand what you may need to do more or less of.  In fact a really good recruiter will always think long term. The better ones will coach you through a process even when they aren’t representing you but it is with a client they know. They will appreciate the long term benefits of doing this and the potential for the future.

 Offer Negotiation

Whilst there are a multitude of reasons for moving jobs, increasing your salary and benefits is often an important aspect.  Your recruiter should be instrumental in negotiating the right salary for you.  They should know the client well and will have a real feel for what the client may be willing to pay for someone with your skill set.  But make sure they are clear about your parameters because as much as you want to receive the best offer you also don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you are jeopardising a potential offer because the recruiter is demanding an unachievable  salary on your behalf. Also make sure you understand the full package. The benefits on offer may vary considerably from your current role and other roles you are considering and it is wise to look at the package as a whole. This will both influence your thoughts around basic salary but also may give you some leverage. Make sure you have this information early in the process. Like any negotiation the Recruiter will be aiming to find middle ground that is acceptable to both you and the client. It is ok to push but get a feel for where those boundaries lie.

Post Placement

A good recruiter won’t just place you and collect their fee, they will support you through your notice period and then though your induction into the business. They should provide you with an insight into the key players in the business you are joining, the culture and advice on how to integrate into the business. They should keep in touch and ensure that your induction runs smoothly, feeding back to the client where appropriate.

Conclusion 

Identifying and then building a relationship with the right recruiters will be critical if you are determined to make the best career move possible.

So how can you ensure your recruiter is doing all these things for you? Firstly please choose wisely. It is best to get recommendations and check their credentials.

Secondly to gain this level of advice, support and opportunity you need to invest time in building a relationship with the recruiter. This is easier said than done when working in a demanding and consuming role, so select a small number of well connected recruiters. For some additional advice on job hunting please read our recent blogs Looking for a job in 2013and How to avoid joining the wrong business.

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By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development

15 questions you need to ask before accepting an offer.

This year we have seen a significant increase in the number of candidates returning to the job market, albeit relatively passively in a lot of cases. Surprisingly, while the reasons can be poles apart such as redundancy or a lack of career progression, it can often drive similar behaviours amongst candidates. I have commented previously that a significant number of candidates have made the wrong decision about a career move because they have not completed their due diligence. While this list is not exhaustive, considering the following points before accepting an offer may help you in your decision.

Why is there a vacancy?

Ask this question when you are briefed by an agency, ask this question in your first interview and ask this question in your final interview.

How often is this position recruited?

This is a very difficult question to ask in an interview but you need to know the answer. Linkedin provides a good opportunity to do some research and it is worth making contact with a couple of past employees to informally ask them about how often the role has been / is recruited.

Why do people leave the business?

Ask everyone!

How many people have been promoted internally at my proposed level in the last 2-3 years? Who was the last person to be promoted and what did they do to achieve this?

How is the business performing financially?

Check out the last set of company accounts. This is particularly important if the business is small and relatively unknown.

What is my prospective Line Manager like to work for?

It is crucial you work hard to informally reference your new boss. Speak to people you trust to seek their opinion. Check out their Social Media (Linkedin/ Twitter) profiles.

What does your Sponsor(s) think?

It often takes someone without prejudice to give you some simple and much needed honest advice.

What was the average bonus payment in the last financial year and what was the average pay rise?

Do I fit the company culturally?

Look at the company’s values and working culture. Do you like what you see? Does the reality match up with what is described in their marketing material? Again, talk to employees past and present.

Why do they want me?

This is a difficult question to ask as you will want to believe it is because you are the best candidate. However, are there other reasons, for instance your inside knowledge of one of their competitors?

Does my consultant sound convinced that he/she is recruiting for a great business?

It is worth working hard to build a good personal relationship with your consultant as they will provide the odd snippet of information that could help you to make your decision.

Does the offer of employment and/or contract match what I have been told verbally?

Don’t be afraid to dig deeply in to the Terms &Conditions of the contract however be careful how you position your resulting queries.

When did the company last restructure and are there any plans to do so in the future?

Look for a pattern, you will be amazed by how often retailers restructure from one working model to another.

What impact will this move have on my personal brand or future career opportunities?

Am I taking this job because I want it or because I think I have to take it?

Think about the longer term implications of taking a job for the wrong reasons.

This is of course not an exhaustive list, and would welcome any thoughts and additions to the above.

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By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

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By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

I have always been a big fan of Maslow (click here to learn more) and despite modern Psychological doctrine having exposed flaws in this theory of motivation I cannot help but feel that it has a great deal of relevance to how many candidates manage their job search today. I believe that the recession has fundamentally changed how many candidates view their future job selection and crucially what is most important. Having spoken to a number of colleagues within recruitment, and admittedly this evidence is purely anecdotal; we have seen a very real shift towards a ‘hierarchy of needs.’

Having spoken to many hundreds if not thousands of candidates over the course of the recession the first question that the majority of candidates will ask is; does it pay enough? Interestingly, prior to the recession the same question was probably being asked with a slightly different emphasis; how much can I earn? The key difference is that candidates are now focused on whether the salary will cover their costs rather than enabling them to invest. Arguably, it amounts to the same thing but it does indicate a rather different mind-set. I have found that salary has acted as a much smaller ‘barrier to entry’ than prior to the recession when candidates were more focused on achieving a significant uplift in package rather than merely covering their costs.

The second most important element is Job Security. Prior to 2008 the majority of candidates barely talked about security. Unsurprisingly, and against a backdrop of numerous business collapses this has become the second most important criteria.

The third element that most candidates will tend to want to judge is their cultural fit. One key consequence of the recession is that many people have taken jobs under duress (whether that is financial or emotional) that they might not otherwise have done so. Often, these individuals have been perfectly capable of doing the job but for whatever reason have not been a good cultural fit. In the early to mid part of the recession that led to further turnover and as a result, increased anxiety in the market.

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These first three elements, in blue in my pyramid, are I feel the most essential for candidates today. The next two elements tend to be asked by fewer candidates but interestingly they are perhaps the most important for future financial, intellectual and emotional prosperity.

The fourth element is a two way street! Will I be valued and will I value them (employer & colleagues)? Many candidates tend not to think about this prior to accepting an offer as the first three elements can often be all consuming in importance. However, this will often determine the longevity of the role. It has a particular relevance for Gen Y candidates whom often place this as a key requirement for future positions.

The final element, the famous ‘self-actualisation,’ in my pyramid is; will I grow?

Many candidates will ask what the opportunities for progression are but I think they are missing an opportunity here. In truth most companies will, during a hiring process, indicate there is room for progression without committing to anything specific. The more savvy candidates will ascertain what the company does to ‘grow’ their people. What is the performance review process, what support and development is there, do they even have an L&D team post recession, how much money are they prepared to spend on external education?

So what does this mean for recruiters? The way in which we attract candidates through technology and social media continues to evolve at a dramatic rate.  I believe that most candidates seek to satisfy the first three elements early in their job search with the further two elements being a focus further in to an interview process. Given the lack of confidence in the current jobs market it has become crucial that employers and their recruiters seek to address these basic needs early in any recruitment campaign. A failure to do so will only serve to reduce the pool of available talent!

NB: You will note that I haven’t placed any emphasis on whether candidates question their level of capability / competence to do the job. The reason behind this is that I believe most candidates have a much higher level of self-confidence in today’s market and to some extent rely upon the employer’s ability to select on capability.

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By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

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Russell Adams, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

With the changes in accessible technology the way in which candidates can search for a new job has changed immeasurably in recent years. Fortunately, whether it be networking, applying for roles or getting advice, smartphone applications are making it easier and more convenient to conduct our job search. So which of the apps out there will really give an advantage in your job search?

Evernote – a fantastic App to help you organise your job search

This app allows you to collect and organise everything to do with your job search. It is very easy to use and you can store everything from online clippings, interview notes and contact information all in one organised and accessible places. Managing your job search and keeping track of opportunities and interviews and agencies etc. is a task in itself. This App allows you to set up different folders for companies you are interviewing with and is a great way to stay organised and focused.

Twitter – a great way to keep updated on what is happening in your target companies

Twitter is used differently depending on whether you are a business, an individual and whether it is a personal or a professional account. For candidates, Twitter can be used in a number of ways. First and foremost it is a great way to follow and keep on top of what is happening within the target companies you would like to work for. However do not underestimate the power Twitter has as a networking tool within your industry. You can easily engage with leaders and colleagues within your industry and raise your profile through intelligent comment and debate. If you are fortunate enough to be able to attend conferences and seminars within your industry, using twitter is a great way of engaging and communicating.

Business Secrets – great business advice from this App

This app provides great business advice and is organised under 18 easily accessible areas. It provides useful insights in to how companies operate.  It is somewhat generic but might help you to broaden your outlook.

Salary Checker – are you being paid the market rate?

This app was developed by a large multinational recruitment company but is one of a number of such apps available.  Most tend to focus on particular sectors but will allow you to understand the likely salary paid for the roles you are targeting. Although only a guide this can be helpful to understand where you are positioned in the market.  My advice would be to try and find a salary checker with a specific focus on your job function as this will give you the most accurate guidelines.

Foursquare – Is any of your network close by and do they have time to meet up?

This App really comes into its own once you have started to build a sizeable network.  Foursquare allows you to see the locations of your contacts and can help in organising ad hoc or chance meetings. If you are attending industry awards or conferences it allows you to understand who else in your network is present and can be used to gain time with people working for your target companies. The downside of foursquare is that it is currently only used by a minority of individuals and although this is on the increase it will only really come into its own once further penetration occurs.

Cardmunch – A great App that allows you to scan business cards.

During the course of your job search hopefully you will have the opportunity to meet lots of contacts and as a result you are likely to build up a collection of business cards. This App is great in that it allows the information on the card to connect to LinkedIn allowing you to connect and keep a clear track of people in your network.

Glass Door – provides insight into companies looking to hire and reviews of those companies.

To be honest the reviews of this App are mixed. Most agree that the principle and concept of this App is excellent but it doesn’t have a currency changer (dollars to sterling) and has not reached a level of penetration that makes it really useful yet.   I would suggest however this is one to watch. Having jobs, salaries and company reviews in one app is very powerful for job hunters and I am looking forward to some further development of this App.

LinkedIn – a great networking tool and way of keeping in touch.

As we all know LinkedIn continues to be a major social media platform used extensively by both Corporate Recruiters and agencies alike. LinkedIn is great for networking, recommendations and endorsements. The functionality of this App in my opinion still needs further work and it does tend to ‘freeze’. I am sure with the growth of LinkedIn they will continue to invest and make this a more user friendly App.

I hope this helps and please add your comments if you are using other Apps that support candidates in their job search.

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By Russell Adams, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

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By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

Last year I wrote about the lost generation of middle managers in retail whom face limited progression opportunities as a result of the recession. Since that article the redundancies have continued to flow thick and fast with all sorts of rumours about which retailer is going to collapse next. One might think that with all the doom and gloom in the market that the opportunities to develop your career are few and far between. However…

If you are ambitious and do want to avoid this scenario you have two very simple options, either ensure you are promoted in your current business or move to another organisation where there is genuine opportunity for advancement.

How to progress your career within your current business:

  • Does your Line manager, Head of Talent, HRBP know you have ambitions to progress? Sounds simple but don’t assume so. Be explicit about your career targets. Clearly you will need to judge when and how to position this conversation but it really is the starting point.
  • Are you getting the results? You know in your heart of hearts if you really are delivering, if you are not you need to address this.
  • So, you are doing well…does everyone else know that? It is all well and good if you run the most profitable part of the business but if the board / functional heads don’t know this you will have few sponsors when the next round of restructuring starts. I have met a lot of candidates with relatively modest results but who were fantastic self-publicists and as a result they were promoted!
  • Seek feedback. The old 360 appraisal can be painful but it will do two things; firstly it will highlight what you need to do to improve and secondly it says a lot about your focus on self-development. This is a competency that is being increasingly measured in assessment of stretch potential.
  • Work harder, it sounds old fashioned but to be blunt it makes an enormous difference to your senior stakeholders. Admittedly there has been a societal push towards work/life balance (and rightly so) but once again those who do more…achieve more.
  • Get involved in project work. If you are Head office based get in to stores, if you are operations based get in to Head Office. A key determinant of progression is breadth of experience. Your Operations Directors, Managing Directors and other board members will have done this at some point in their career. This will also expose you to other stakeholders and will give you a chance to self-publicise!
  • Socialise. Get to know the senior team on a more informal basis. Once again, the people whom are liked by the board tend to get the better jobs.
  • Identify sponsors, people whom have a vested interest in you doing well and will fight your corner / put a good word in when necessary. It’s an ego boost for the other party and you will also get good career advice.

You need to look elsewhere…what do you do?

  • Put together a ‘campaign’ plan with short, medium and long term objectives.
  • Identify what you want to do next. It is worth sense checking with your contacts that this is realistic. A major salary increase and a promotion are highly unlikely.
  • Call your contacts in the recruitment firms. While we recruitment consultants are often grouped together with estate agents, double glazing salesmen and those chaps whom knock on your door to kindly inform you they have just tarmacked your drive and you owe them 200 quid… However, we do on occasion add real value. There is an art to working your relationship with consultants – in short, what you put in you will get back. Behave transactionally or with contempt and expect a mirrored response. Similarly, if you want to get the best out of a consultant, treat him like a human being and they will do the same.
  • Speak to your sponsors. If you have built a few up throughout your career they should be able to put you in touch with their contacts, hopefully with a recommendation.
  • Call old bosses. If you did a good job for them before they will be inclined to give you another go.
  • Fire up your Linkedin profile. It is beginning to position itself as a job board these days and most internal and external recruiters use it as a secondary database. While you are there delete any old profiles on the job boards – they are very much aimed at the junior end of the market. Bear in mind that this is your shop window and as every Operations Director will tell you, customers won’t go in and buy if it isn’t well cared for.
  • Don’t be afraid to invest in some external support and advice this may be as simple as a CV rewrite or career/life coaching. A good quality CV rewrite will cost between £300-£500…roughly the same amount as a new set of wheels for your car…
  • Finally, do your research before accepting an offer. A large number of candidates have found their CVs becoming very patchy over the course of the recession as they have hopped from one business to another. The one factor that generally underpins any mistake in a career move is a lack of due diligence. Would you buy a house without having it surveyed?

Good luck…

Jez Styles

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Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

“So you are well networked are you? Do you know Ade Moore?”

Slight pause…

“Oh yes, I know Ade Moore very well. He has just changed jobs. I mean, it hasn’t been officially announced but he told a few of his closest friends on Facebook, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me mentioning it. It’s not a big surprise that he was headhunted given that he had just posted a 10.45% increase in sales…roughly £114.63 million. It certainly explains why he put his house up for sale last week……..

…..No, no need to show me out – I know your office like the back of my glasses, ahem, I mean hand.”

It is most (sane) recruiters’ nightmare – being tested on your network knowledge. Do you know as much as you have claimed in the last 30 minutes – after all, you based your pitch on the strength of your personal network. We have all been put on the spot and although it is unrealistic to expect someone to have an encyclopaedic memory of all their contacts, there is always that niggling doubt that if you don’t seem ‘on the ball’ you won’t win the pitch. So how did the above recruiter know all that information…on the hoof?

Google Glasses. Well, for those of you who have not heard about this potential technological wonder, Google Glasses are being tipped as the product that could out-wow the not yet released iWatch. They are described as ‘augmented reality glasses’, if i have lost you now, watch here to learn more. In essence, you would wear the glasses as normal but with the handy addition of various applications streaming within your vision: maps, calendar appointments, text messages, targeted adverts…it would be voice activated and would theoretically respond to certain commands and key words.

So how else could Google Glasses aid recruiters? Here are some of my suggestions – tongue firmly in cheek of course!

  • Assessment of body language and verbal cues.

During an interview, the glasses could potentially give you an instant assessment of the mood and/or reaction of a candidate to a question. Did their reaction suggest you should probe deeper? It could also give you an instant assessment of a candidate’s frame of mind before the interview. Better brush up on Top 10 tips for creating 10 great first impressions in the first 10 seconds of an interview

  • Confidential retainer interviews.

It has been suggested that the glasses would be able to film and stream in real time. A client could watch a consultant interview a candidate and where appropriate ‘text’ a specific question during the interview to the consultant. Equally the client could ‘disengage’ once they have seen enough or rewind/fast forward the interview as desired. The candidate may have signed an NDA and never know who they were being interviewed by.

  • Social media history.

What have they said about a subject previously? If they are genuinely passionate about using Twitter for engaging customers, how come they haven’t tweeted for a few weeks? What did they say on Facebook yesterday…hmm they did post a photo from a pub in Soho rather late last night.

  • Name checking.

If a candidate drops a name or two during an interview, simply repeating the name back, could bring up a LinkedIn profile. Bingo!

  • Compliance.

Admin has never been a favoured task for your average recruiter. If connected to your database the interview could be recorded and uploaded. No more event entries and interview notes.

  • Rapport building.

Good recruiters do their research but the blaggers tend to rely on their ‘wit, good looks and charm.’ Yes…I do the research. If the rapport building is proving hard work, how about a quick question about which team they support…Ahhh Arsenal…dialling up BBC sport…….I hear they have put a bid in for blah,blah,blah.

  • IQ & EQ testing.

Could the glasses run a real time check on the grammar, tone, diction, accent, keyword use of a candidate and give a score? Might be worth wrapping the interview up early – this one’s a winner! In fact I’ll send her CV and Psych results to the client now, I might get a reply in time to arrange the next stage before she leaves.

  • Fashion Police!

Hmm, my Google glasses are telling me that her dress is sooooo 2012 (not that I would have noticed). Time to call a halt to the interview? Hopefully, the tech wont be based on QR codes…getting access to the tag on the inside pocket of their jacket could get awkward!

  • Automated verbal questions.

Big night out yesterday? Don’t worry, just choose one of your pre-recorded interview sessions, turn up the speaker and away you go. You are present…kind of. Just review the interview at a later date.

We would love to hear your own ideas – click here to continue the discussion on our LinkedIn group.

Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

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By Russell Adams, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

Over the past 5 years, Retail has had a torrid time navigating through one of the longest and hardest economic downturns. Rising costs of living, low pay awards and a bleak economic outlook have led to consumer spending being put under a huge amount of pressure.  Sadly, as we have all seen, a number of retailers have been unable to survive due to a whole host of reasons whether that be structural changes in their market sector or indeed the growth of online. As I discussed in my recent blog about the future of retail, there is a bright future but businesses need to continue to evolve.

One debate I have had recently was around the impact this has on the retailer’s resourcing needs. Over the last few years, cost cutting has been central to most retailers’ tactics as they fight to survive and prosper  in such challenging conditions.  The question is, how long can you just continue to cut controllable costs, what happens when you reach the end of this road and what impact does this have on the skills you need in your business?

WH Smith are a great example. Kate Swann has, without doubt, done a phenomenal job. The results released in in January were typical of those over the last few years – i.e. sales are declining but profits are up.  But, like most retailers over the last few years this has impacted the look and feel of the stores, and has come at a price. A lack of investment and aggressive cuts will ultimately have a negative impact on both the quality of your estate and the resource you have to manage the business. At some point, once you have driven your costs down as low as they can feasibly go, the strategy will need to refocus on really driving sales growth.  Look at the appointment of Matt Davies at Halfords – having been through a sustained period of cost cutting, clearly part of the attraction was his track record at Pets at Home in driving sales growth.

From a leadership point of view this requires a different skill set and arguably, a different profile of individual.  As we look towards recovery and with little cost cutting opportunities left, many businesses will be seeking those individuals with a track record and strength in driving top line sales. The only way to prosper for most businesses is by driving these top line sales.

As I discussed in my blog last week – the market in retail recruitment continues to be very challenging and setting yourself apart from those around you is critical if you are to be successful in your job search. Part of this must be around how you present yourself both on CV and at interview. 

So how can you ensure your CV remains on trend with these changing market conditions?

Assuming you have a well written CV, then you have a great starting point however you do need to consider what your current CV says about you. Do you come across as a sales driver or a cost cutter?  What does your executive summary say about you and your style? Look at the key statements – is the language you use positive, does it indicate the ability to spot commercial opportunities and realise genuine sales growth?

Your executive summary is important to describe and characterise you in the right way however this must be supported by your achievements. Go through your bullet points – do they show your strengths in the right area, is it balanced? Are your opening bullet points cost focused or opportunity focused? Have you described how you have utilised Social Media to drive footfall? Have you highlighted your ability to recognise and motivate talent in your team that is focused on growth? Have you led development initiatives that encourage commerciality? Many middle to senior managers will have been promoted and cut their teeth in times of austerity, how have you developed their capability to move their business units forward? Do you mention KPIs concerned with waste, loss, payroll reductions…or do you highlight footfall increases, £ per Sq Ft increases, Top line L4L sales, new product development, design initiatives etc.

Don’t rip your CV up and start again…just ensure it is in line with the market trend.

By Russell Adams, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

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Giles Gallimore – Director, AdMore Recruitment

January done. How was it? How many interviews were cancelled because of the snow? How many sledging days were taken advantage of? How many client meetings were cancelled because of the inclement weather?

February is now here, phew,  I hear you say. The mornings are getting a bit brighter – with a hint of day light appearing through the window as you down the first cup of rocket fuel of the day.

Now February, the shortest month of the year. Not good news for those of us that could always do with a few days added onto the end of the month to get those last fees in….anyway, what do we think the key foci this month should be?

Firstly, do everything you can to complete your current assignments before the end of the quarter. Do you have the right candidates in the right processes and enough of them? Have you checked everyone’s holiday dates – client and candidate? Holidays, whether they are winter skiing, sun or half term with the kids, can be a real pain when you are trying to manage a smooth process.

Candidate applications will start to become more specific and the volume will recede slightly. January and February are key bonus times of the year, either with payments being made or visibility of what the bonus is likely to be. As such candidates will now be thinking more lucidly about whether they are going to change jobs or not. They will have clarity over what bonus they will receive and when it will be paid, giving them the incentive or encouragement to accelerate their search. Incidentally – it is VITAL that you are asking when their bonus is to be paid, how much it will be and what happens if they resign before payment. I have seen many offers turned down and many a process go awry, due to these criteria not being understood, and openly acknowledged early in the process by all parties concerned.

We all know that as people do resign and move that the opportunities then become vacancies. Are you ready to replace those candidates? Do you know who is leaving where and do you have the contacts details of the client to be quick off the mark and put yourself in contention for filling the role when it goes ‘live’?

Clients will generally be more receptive this month to meeting and to explaining their longer term plans (weather permitting…). April will still represent a key cut off for financial budgets and as such the planning starts now about how and where this is going to be spent. Which key positions are they looking to strengthen in their team? What new roles are being implemented?  Where do they foresee challenges in particular ie. skill-set wise or geographically? Most candidates at senior level will be on four week to twelve week notice periods and then you need to factor in an eight to twelve week interview process so the process for that key appointment for the new structure needs to start fairly soon.

This is a good month to be really adding value to your key clients: educating them on the market, understanding their challenges over the next six to nine months and trying to get ahead of the curve. What market research have you got that would be useful to them? How did their competitors fare over Christmas? What businesses are likely to be losing talent this year and why?

The knowledge and experience that recruitment consultants have is so often under utilised, being taken for granted by the consultant themselves or not leveraged properly by the clients. Set yourself apart and actively organise meetings with key clients to show them what extra value you can add to their business. Package this information in a manner that ‘gives’ the client something they are not getting anywhere else. If you are an expert, then show people and back it up with tangibles. If you are not, then think very carefully about what they are actually buying from you and why they should continue to do so?

February is also a good month to meet candidates. Either to update since the last time you met or to assess candidates who are new to you and the market. They have more time in February and more flexible diaries and so this will be easier to organise.  At the very least you should be continuing January’s push on updating your key candidates to see what is on their agenda this year, how you can assist them with their move and give any career advice they require.

Business Development. Who else is in your sector have you not made any contact with? What is your methodology to get yourself known to them and to make them aware of your ability, knowledge and expertise in your sector?  The pointers suggest that we will have a slow economic start to 2013 with the ‘triple dip’ tag hovering over us at the moment. All the people we have been speaking to in the industry expect a steady first half of the year to be followed by a much more buoyant back half of the year. Businesses will be looking to hire as we move into a brighter economic climate throughout 2013 and now is the time to be making these ‘cold’ clients aware of your services. Well-timed introductions at this time of year may create plenty of opportunities later on. Are you devoting the time now to broadening your sector and reach and are you setting yourself up for success in the back half of the year?

February is a short month, so no more rambling. Time to get on the phone and arrange those meetings. Now where is my Business Development Diary?  I am sure there are some PSL renewal discussions coming up…

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By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

Moving on from our terrible rhyme…Most business professionals in the UK now have a LinkedIn profile (if you haven’t got one click here) although begrudgingly so for some! LI is being utilised for a number of purposes however the primary focus is about creating a publicly accessible profile. Also, recruiters are now using LI as a secondary database: 53% of LinkedIn’s revenue now comes from ‘talent solutions,’ and candidates (active and passive) are reacting accordingly. However, the increase in the volume of profiles has made using LinkedIn as a database harder rather than easier. The ‘coding’ criteria on Linkedin, such as skills, are not particularly useful for recruiters so unless you are working to a very narrow brief and searching on specifics such as Job Title and Company it can tend to be rather laborious looking for suitable candidates for a vacancy.

If you are an ‘active’ candidate or just keen to maintain an up to date profile, then it would be sensible to ensure that recruiters notice you through your activity on LI rather than merely hoping you will be found. Of course this can be a time consuming process so please follow the guide below to ensure maximum exposure with a minimal investment of time.

Minute 1

People You May Know; spend one minute checking through this feature for anyone you feel would be appropriate to make contact with. Ensure you personalise your invitation requests, particularly if it is a person you have had limited contact with in the past. When you connect with people this will come up in their connections activity feeds. It is a great way of flagging your profile to second degree connections!

 Minutes 2-3

LinkedIn Today; you may never have looked at this before but it is growing fast and is a great source of interesting information. On a desktop it is under the News tab on the second row from the top. LI today is a blend of news stories from various media outlets in addition to Blogs and other business articles. You can follow specific topic areas such as ‘retail’ or ‘human resources.’ You can also save articles or follow specific blogging sites (Click here to follow ours!)

As with all activity on Linkedin you need to be proactive. Start with adding a comment to an article that is close to your passions / interests. This will flag up in other individual’s (who have commented) activity feeds.

Minute 4

Groups; there is a vast array of groups available on LI now with most specialisms catered for. It is worth checking for the groups with the highest levels of activity and most relevant to what you do. Again, the key here is commenting on discussions that genuinely interest you. I would focus on just a couple of groups. I personally use Retail Week predominantly as it is our industry publication.

Minute 5

Notifications; this is the flag icon next to the email icon on the top row. Having conducted a straw poll it would seem most people do not use this functionality. This is essentially a summary list of your activity, including who has looked at your profile, new connections and most importantly follow up comments to your own. If you spend one minute checking this you will ensure you do not miss anyone that has replied to you or shown interest in your profile. Try to keep the ‘conversation’ going. Hover your cursor over the specific notification, and then click to go straight to the relevant discussion.

Hopefully this will ensure you are able to do a little on LinkedIn every day to maintain your profile.

By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

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