Category: Search


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

 

For those of you who are as yet unaware of glassdoor.com, it is a US based site whose aim is to create a community providing a source of information about prospective employers, job roles and salaries based on anonymous reviews from employees. They have recently launched their UK site, glassdoor.co.uk .

The format of each review comprises Pros and Cons and Advice to Senior Management along with star ratings given for the following criteria: Compensations & Benefits, Culture & Values, Career Opportunities, Senior Leadership, Work/Life Balance and CEO Rating.

It is a simple format and undoubtedly can prove a useful resource when researching companies or preparing for interviews.

Under each company profile, it includes a Recent News section which is useful for ensuring you are up to date with latest Press Releases, results or general news.

Understandably, the large, global businesses have the most reviews (often in their thousands) with some sectors being more broadly represented than others, particularly the Management Consultancies, Technology companies and Financial Services. I would guess therefore that reviews on these businesses are a pretty accurate reflection of working life within those companies.

Within Retail, the major UK brands are represented although many have a limited numbers of reviews – I’m sure this will change as more people in the UK become aware of its existence. Until there is a significant body of material on each company, I think it will be a while before it provides enough insight to accurately reflect what it is like to work for a particular company.

In their Community Guidelines, glassdoor are clear that participants should write balanced reviews without reverting to bitter or overly personal accounts of their own experience. Reviewers must be current or former employees of that business within the past 3 years and so there is reason to assume that the integrity of the reviews is good.

As always with reviews, you must take each contribution in context and look at the overall theme which emerges from a number of reviews. Other factors to bear in mind are the level of the person reviewing (junior candidates will have a different perspective than senior managers although their opinion is no less insightful or valid). Equally with the Interview section, where people provide sample interview questions and insight into their application process, it is wise to be cautious. Interview processes can change and your preparation still needs to be thorough enough to deal with any unforeseen eventualities.

We are all becoming increasingly reliant on reviews whether that is before booking a holiday or buying something and they can be an incredibly powerful tool. Recently, before leaving on holiday, I accidentally stumbled upon some Tripadvisor reviews on my destination. They were so bad that I was tempted to cancel, however I kept an open mind and sure enough, I had a lovely time albeit with my eyes wide open and expecting the worst! With something as important as your career, the more research you can do the better, and as long as you keep an open mind, glassdoor.co.uk should prove to be a useful addition to your ‘career toolbox’.

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How to avoid joining the wrong business

8 great smartphone apps to 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.

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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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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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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By Russell Adams – Director, AdMore Recruitment

Tradition suggests that January is one of the best and busiest times to start your job search and looking at my phone log and inbox this week, that certainly appears to be the case.  But is January, potentially the busiest and most competitive month, really the best time to start your job search?

Arguably why would you want to be job hunting when the candidate flow is at its peak?  It is all too easy to find times in the year when not to search though. What about December when people perceive the market to be quiet or August, when everyone is on holiday ? Indeed any time when there will be fewer vacancies and more candidates. You can read more about our thoughts here

We cannot deny that activity does vary from month to month due to some of these factors however I don’t believe it has anywhere near the perceived impact.

A phone call at 8.30am on Monday reiterated to me the incorrect perception candidates have, when I was asked about the state of the 2013 market and what new opportunities had come up on the first Monday of a new year!  In the first week of January the market isn’t suddenly flooded with new vacancies and, let’s face it, in the current market we are rarely talking about brand new roles so the labour market is reliant on people resigning to start the musical chairs.

The job market and your job search are not linear. Simply waiting for the absolutely perfect job search ‘moment’ then jumping in with full determination and gusto before landing that dream job rarely happens.

So when is the best time to look for a new role?

Many would argue the best time to look for a position is when you need one.  I don’t totally agree with this statement – actually the best time to look for another position is when you are happy at work but anticipating that in the future, your career aspirations will not be met.  I think that good candidates manage their careers proactively, which is not about always looking out for the next role, but making sure that, both internally and externally, you are spending enough time on developing and building your network. Which businesses you would like to work for, what research can you undertake on that business, how can you network with existing employees? Starting your job search ISN’T SIMPLY SENDING OUT YOUR CV, it is about planning your job search and looking at what activity to undertake – Our How to create a successful campaign offers some handy pointers

Job searching is a time-intensive activity and it is important that individuals allow enough time. Launching your job search when you are about to move house or are in the midst of a renovation project for instance, isn’t the best idea. Your job search will take time and commitment so you need to make sure it is the right time for you.

It may be common sense however the reality is, that it is about you and your own situation. It is not just about timing and if timing becomes your only rationale you will more than likely not find the right opportunity. So don’t let the market dictate but take control and enter the job market when it is the right time for you.

What you should however start doing this month is thinking about your job search, your career management and those activities that will support your career development in the coming months.

Taking the time to invest in this strategy before you really need a new job takes the pressure off and allows total objectivity. Even more importantly, you won’t be seen by prospective employers as really needing a new job and from that perspective; you will be in a position of relative power.

My advice is to be process-centric rather than results- centric. In doing this, you may just discover that now really isn’t the right time for you to send out that CV.

Russell Adams

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

What Media Should You Use In 2013 To Find a Job?

It has become increasingly clear that with inexorable rise of Social Media that the art of looking for a job has become more complicated than ever before. The methods you decide to employ when looking for a job will depend on your industry, job function and level of seniority. Here is a quick round up of what Social Media sites and media  you should consider using when looking for a job in 2013. It is worth bearing in mind that our advice is focused on the UK Retail market.

Linkedin

Linkedin has become the recruiter’s (in-house & agency) tool of choice for ‘identifying’ suitable candidates. Most recruiters treat it as a secondary database.  It tends to suit people on at least their second job rather than entry level. While it is great for enabling you to be found, it doesn’t work particularly well as a ‘job board’ yet. Therefore you need to be very proactive to put yourself in the shop window. What Linkedin has enabled professionals to do is to load their ‘CV’ on to a platform (which is ostensibly a job board)  in a socially accepted manner. It is worth bearing in mind however, that you have limited control over how third parties use your details as the new profile (when printed via a PDF) mimics a standard CV format. That said, it is great for passive and active professionals. You can find a handy ‘how to create a profile’ guide here

Twitter

A lot of companies have set up Twitter feeds for vacancies however this tends to be a continuous stream of updates of new vacancies and is, as a result, not particularly targeted. Recruiters use Twitter to identify new candidates for specific searches but on the whole it is very time consuming and as a result not overly used for recruitment purposes. I suspect that there will be some innovative advances in how recruiters and candidates use Twitter in the next couple of years. In my opinion, if you are time restricted it is not worth investing significantly.

Facebook

Despite Facebook’s best efforts, it is unlikely that it will become a significant platform for job seekers in 2013. A number of recruiters have used FB prolifically at entry/graduate level but as yet it lacks the credibility of Linkedin. What is interesting though, is how recruiters are using it in the US to gather personal information about applicants. In our opinion it is not currently worth investing time in FB however if you do, you should carefully consider any content you load up.

Job Boards

Recruiters are investing less time in searching for CVs on the job boards than they did previously and it has been suggested that if you are mid-senior management level that loading your CV up could damage your credibility. Even the specialist boards are struggling to compete with Linkedin for new candidates. However, it is still a great place to look for a new job. The simplest approach would be to sign up for alerts (set your criteria) for several of the key websites. There are several decent generic boards with specialist boards servicing specific job functions. Feel free to email us directly if you need any specific advice (Retail & Hospitality markets only!). This remains a useful tool for the active candidates.

Publications (print & online)

The cost of advertising in print has become prohibitive for most volume based recruiters. While it does make sense for some specialist vacancies the reality is that recruiters will tend to use a combination of online adverts and targeted searches. If you have traditionally relied upon your trade publication for browsing vacancies, 2013 is the year to move your search online.

Pinterest

A very specific tool for visually led employers. We have seen the beginnings of a trend for recruiters to search for candidates and advertise positions within fashion, design or creative led positions. It is still very niche however well worth considering if you want to try something innovative.

And finally….Agencies

Clearly I have a bias here, but there is a growing trend for companies to move their recruitment mix from larger corporates to boutiques. More often than not, this is service and knowledge driven. With this in mind it is worth thinking about your network across the agencies. Boutique agencies will tend to be relationship and referral driven so it is worth speaking to a couple of trusted peers to get some recommendations.

I hope this helps and as always we would be keen to hear from anyone with any other suggestions.

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

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

So you have been successful in securing an interview, you have passed the Telephone Interview with flying colours and you are fully prepared for your first face to face interview. It’s all plain sailing from here right? What can go wrong? Speak to anyone who has ever interviewed and they will tell you that there have been numerous occasions where the interviewee has made the worst possible first impression at the start of the interview and that it was hard work from there on in. Perhaps worst of all, the interviewee is often oblivious to this fact. Here are some basic suggestions to ensure you hit the ground running and that the interviewer is excited, not disappointed, by their first impression of you:

1. Make eye contact immediately. This may seem incredibly obvious. However all too often a nervous candidate will fail to do this. This is the biggest killer for first impressions as it raises a number of sub-conscious doubts including the impression that the person is rude. Look a these tips if you are aware it is a personal weakness and would like some ideas on how to improve.

2. Once you have made eye contact, the next thing the interviewer will often notice is footwear! So, and again this is obvious, ensure you have clean, polished and ideally ‘on-trend’ shoes! If you are interviewing with a fashion or design-led business ensure you are dressed appropriately for their brand.

3. Wear clothing appropriate to the interview. As per the previous point, a poor choice of the right attire can be a killer for first impressions. Without wanting to specifically highlight my own gender’s shortcomings…try to ensure you haven’t picked out a suit you bought 20 years ago! This can create an impression that you are old fashioned and lack attention to detail. Also, it is important that you accessorise appropriately. For women, too much jewellery can be off putting and similarly an eyebrow piercing is probably not going to do you any favours in a corporate interview! It is also vital to dress appropriately for the company culture. For instance, in the Retail sector, we have some clients for whom it is imperative to arrive suited and booted. However, we also have some clients who don’t want to see candidates in a tie and in some cases, a suit would be positively frowned upon as the interviewer themself is likely to be wearing jeans and a fleece.

4. The handshake! Clearly there are a number of cultural complications here. However, in the UK, this is incredibly important. A weak handshake is a real first impression killer. If you are applying for a leadership role this can be one of the most important things that you must get right. However, be careful not to be too firm, as this can imply that you are attempting to assert control. I interviewed for a role with a firm many years ago and received feedback that I had done well but the lady I met was unimpressed by my handshake….I had failed to let them know that I had broken my hand a week before and was in significant pain! My learning from this was to pre-warn people if you have a problem!

5. Greet the person by their name. This can be one of the most psychologically influential actions you can do to create an immediate positive impression Read here if you are sceptical!

6. Greet the person confidently and ask ‘how are you xxx?’ I am always amazed by how little interest an interviewee shows in the interviewer. This is not only a polite question but it also demonstrates a certain degree of emotional intelligence, a quality increasingly sought after in modern leaders.

7. The second question you are likely to be asked (and yes this will generally happen in the first ten seconds) is whether you would like a drink. It is crucial that you accept this offer of hospitality. A refusal can be considered rude in most cultures around the world. As an aside, greet your interviewer with a large energy drink in hand and this really will create a terrible first impression!

8. Smile. A smile can mean lots of things however to put it simply it implies you are social, you like people, they like you, you are confident and you are pleased to be at the interview.

9. The first impression will often start before you have seen the interviewer. Switch off your mobile phone in the reception area and do not be tempted to read emails etc. You will be much more relaxed and will come across as being in control of your personal/working life. As an alternative, take a serious newspaper, appropriate trade magazine with you and ‘be seen’ to be reading this. This will give the impression that you are ‘well read’ and intellectually curious.

10. Interact with other interviewees / receptionist. If you are in an animated conversation with another person when the interviewer enters the reception area their first impression will be that you are confident and sociable.

I hope this helps and as always, please add some suggestions to the comments below.

To continue my ‘Jekyll and Hyde- esque’ musings  about my experiences in-house and in agency, I thought it only fair to write a follow up to my recent post “How to win the heart of an in house recruiter“. Having reflected on the frustrations experienced on both sides of the fence, I tried to think what advice I would have given myself when I first moved in house in order to most effectively manage my agency relationships.  I should point out that these points were relevant to my personal experience where I had full autonomy over my part of the PSL – I understand that this is often not the case.
Firstly, you need a PSL

By this I mean a genuine list of preferred suppliers that are proven, vetted and that you actively want to work with rather than an unwieldy list of anyone who has ever sent a CV.

I know this is hard to manage. A random speculative candidate that a Line Manager wants to meet often results in agencies being signed up to the TOB leading to a random selection of agencies who you have no relationship with and who you will never actively brief again. We all know that this is an effective way for agencies to get on the radar and can sometimes result in uncovering a gem of an agency (and candidate) who can really add value. This is easy to control. Sign new agencies up for a trial period and make it clear to Line Managers that this is the case. If the agency then proves their worth, you can extend the agreement.

If you have a PSL, respect it. Trust the agencies on your PSL and give them the opportunity to really support you. To do this they need visibility of vacancies and an understanding of the wider business and your recruitment priorities. If you want to focus on recruiting some vacancies directly, tell your PSL and get your agencies working on those difficult vacancies which you won’t have time to work on. If agencies know they have a strong (and fair) chance of earning a fee, they will move heaven and earth for you and will be spreading positive messages about your employer brand in the process.

Ask for recommendations

Most of your Line Managers will have been placed by an agency or will have used them to recruit in the past. Choosing agencies that they like and respect will ensure they are engaged in the recruitment process from the start. Most agencies will say they are great so ask for testimonials and ask for details of other placements they have made either in your wider business or with your competitors. In the brave new world of Social Media, it is so easy to cross-check with In-House recruiters in other businesses. Agencies need to be aware of this and ensure they deliver a service which will stand up to scrutiny on LinkedIn Forums and Groups.

Meet the agencies you are working with.

I know how hard it can be to find time to do this but it will pay off and if you are genuinely committed to finding recruitment partners for your business, this is the place to start. This is your opportunity to lay down the ground rules and most importantly for them to buy in to you and your knowledge. If you want agencies to deal with you rather than accosting your Line Managers at every opportunity, they have to feel confident in your abilities and trust that you are there to facilitate a mutually beneficial result. By showing that you are willing to commit to them, this will be rewarded by better service and more flexibility. Also, I actually found my meetings with agencies a welcome relief from the constant conference calls, internal meetings and process management.  It was good to talk to commercially minded people who are focused on results, particularly in larger organisations which by their very nature can be stifled by bureaucracy, lengthy decision making processes and internal politics.

Behaviour breeds behaviour.

It is a real shame that agencies are so often tarred with the same brush, inevitably the same brush that paints the whole industry in a negative light. Let’s face it, we all understand where this comes from. There is no excuse however for treating any supplier the way so many recruitment agencies are treated. Starting off any relationship with the attitude that your expectations are so low that the other party goes away with limited incentive to represent your business well, is counter-productive to all involved.

Reward good behaviour.

Good agencies so often lose out to their less scrupulous peers. Take the case of a duplicate candidate. One agency has clearly spent time selling your business to the candidate and understanding the candidate’s suitability for the role. The other has clearly sent the CV without covering the candidate first. I know this puts you in a difficult position but in cases where the candidate confirms which agency is representing them correctly, it would be great to see this acknowledged fairly or at least with a 50:50 fee split.

If you can get to a point where you have a group of agencies who you trust and in whom you have confidence in their ability to fill your vacancies and represent your brand effectively, you can then concentrate on delivering the best and most cost effective recruitment strategy to your internal stakeholders.  Surely, a recruitment ‘nirvana’ worth fighting for!

This list isn’t exhaustive and I would love to know your thoughts:

What are the key ingredients for having an effective and motivated PSL?

What tips would you give someone taking on their first in-house role?

What is the best example of an agency relationship you have experienced – what does excellent look like?
Sophie Mackenzie

Far from being a passive way of looking for a new job, getting the most out of working with a recruitment agency requires input from the candidate’s side too. Agencies will give you access to industry knowledge, market information and jobs that aren’t advertised directly, as well as support and advice with your general career management. We have included some generic advice here in relation to what to do and what not to do to enable a recruitment agency to assist you in the most effective and efficient way.

  • Send an email and ideally include the reference number of the role that you are applying for.
  • Keep your CV format simple, ideally using ‘Word’, so that the recruitment agency can upload it into their system easily. If suggestions are made around improving your CV then take the feedback on board and make the amendments.
  • Have a short summary of what skills you have that make you marketable, what achievements you have that make you stand out from your peer group and be very clear about what type of role you want.
  • You should also be flexible. A good recruiter will suggest roles that you hadn’t thought about and that could be ideal for you, while remaining in the parameters that you have originally stipulated.
  • Rapport with a recruitment agency is paramount and requires effort and input from both parties. Be honest at all times in terms of your background and your activity levels when looking for a new role.
  • Keep your key contacts updated on your progress in the market but don’t be overly persistent in terms of frequency of contact. Good recruiters repay loyalty with loyalty and will put you forward for their best opportunities. Look on your consultant as a career partner, not just an agent.
  • How you handle your job search is a key indicator of your organisational skills and your planning ability. It is absolutely critical that you keep control of your CV at all times. You must keep a record of which companies you have applied to directly or through an agency and when that application was made to ensure that no duplicate applications are made
  • Never let an agency send your CV to a company without them telling you who that company is or without signing a Non Disclosure Agreement first.
  • No matter how keen you are to move on in your career, try not to register with multiple agencies that you do not know or trust at once. Most big employers are currently placing vacancies with more than one agency, as they feel that creating competition between agencies in the same sector will give them a better result. This creates the opportunity for you to be put forward for the same jobs by several recruiters if you are not controlling your CV. Employers will be concerned if they receive your details from multiple agencies.
  • Respond promptly to any communications and check your email as well as your phone. This can sometimes be tricky if you’re still employed elsewhere but let the agency know the best times to contact you and always be available then. Unfortunately the right career move can be like waiting for buses – nothing for ages and then several roles come along at once. It is then often a case of the client being under pressure to fill the vacancy quickly, meaning you need to be in a position to respond when needed.
  • Research thoroughly before any interviews, the company, the role and the type of person that they are looking for. Remember that you are not only representing you but the agency as well and that what you do and say is a direct reflection of both.
  • Call the recruiter after any interviews to give feedback on how you view the opportunity. Remember, the more specific the feedback then the easier it is for the agency to represent you and your interests.
  • Keep in contact if things change on your side and let the agency know straight away. For example, you have an offer or employment or you’ve decided to change your search parameters for example by moving house or area.
  • In summary, show that you value the service that your recruitment consultant is giving you and be a good ambassador for them whenever they introduce you to one of their clients. If recruitment agencies have doubts about how well you will perform in an interview, they will be reluctant to introduce you to their client
  • Remember that a recruiter needs to place the right people in the right roles to get paid, so it’s in their interests to overcome any objections the employer may have. For this reason, don’t try to disguise or cover up your situation if there are historical work issues that may cause problems with a new employer. Good recruitment consultants will have a number of years experience in the market and will know when things are not quite right. Your best hope is to be scrupulously honest, no matter how difficult, and let the agent handle things with the employer.
  • Most importantly, if there is anything else that you obviously should be telling the recruiter, don’t wait to be asked. Never leave the recruiter in the position of having to say: ‘I don’t know’ to their client.

It does take time to build up trust with a recruiter and it is a two way relationship. Pay attention to your instincts. If you feel that a recruitment agency is not putting you forward for enough vacancies, or is putting you forward for jobs that don’t seem to match your criteria, question them. Let them see that you are fully engaged and that you expect them to live up to your standard.

For more detailed information please visit our career centre

Good luck with your career move.

Russell Adams

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