Measuring Job Quality

The first measure of Job Quality has officially been launched. What is it and what’s affecting job quality right now?

Who’s rating your Job Quality?

This measure comes from the CIPD in the form of a new annual survey. This means workers themselves will be rating their own job quality as well as its relative importance across a series of ‘seven dimensions’.

You may recall that the Taylor Review recommended such a measurement approach – and stated its importance across all job roles and arenas.

The results of the inaugural survey show:

  • Job satisfaction is relatively high at 64%. However, ‘low-level’ workers and middle managers are each facing high stress with poor support.
  • Furthermore, ‘low-skilled’ and casual workers are lacking development opportunities. 37% of this group has not received any training over the past year. What’s more, 43% say their ‘job did not give them opportunities to develop their skills’.
  • Middle managers are also experiencing the ill-effects of high stress. 35% report an excessively high workload, while 28% are facing mental health consequences.
  •  28% of middle management respondents are additionally struggling to maintain their personal commitments.

For further findings and the CIPD’s response, please refer to HR Magazine.

Thoughts from a recruitment agency…

It’s hard not to welcome any exploration of job satisfaction. This sits well with our recent report on the measurement of soft skills – something also proposed by the Taylor Review.

Both aspects are vital to the everyday functioning of our national workforce and place workers’ abilities and attitudes right at the heart of things.

The more that this is all discussed, the more employers will become aware of these topics. Hopefully leading to a happier and more productive workforce all-around!

What matters to you in your career or business needs? And what would you like to see more of on our news page? Tell us here.



The candidate shortage continues!

The UK’s candidate shortage continues, says the latest ‘Report on Jobs’. Yet, at the same time, employers are concerned that more staff will leave. What does the latest jobs news mean for you? Advice included!

We often report on the IHS Markit & REC Report on Jobs – a monthly national snapshot of what’s happening in staff placements.

Candidate shortage concerns…

The latest report shows that not only is the candidate shortage continuing, it’s actually worsened over the past month. In fact, Recruiter reports that candidate availability is now at its ‘weakest rate for a year’.

Interestingly, new job placement numbers continue to rise; both across permanent and temporary openings. This fact applies across the whole nation, with the South leading some of the growth on the temp side.

As Tom Hadley (REC Director of Policy) explains, ‘while more people are entering employment, it is not compensating for the shortfall of candidates for many roles’.

Employers fear workers are on the move!

At the same time (and as discussed by OnRec), 61% of businesses are also experiencing greater staff turnover, with more than half expecting this to worsen over the next few years.

Approximately 1 in 7 employees are now ‘likely to seek a new job’.

Returning to Tom Hadley’s comments, it appears many businesses are increasing new starter pay in an attempt to lure candidates from their current roles.  Temporary pay rates are said to have seen the greatest rise.

Hadley suggests that candidates who decide to make a job move are more likely to experience a growth in pay than if they ‘stay put’, noting the disparity between increases in new starter rates and in-role pay rises.

What does this mean for you?

The advice shared in our piece on the UK Skills Shortage very much still applies – both for employers and job-seekers.

  • Managers and business owners reading this news are encouraged to review their staff retention rates. This article explains why – and includes some key resources. Of course, steps to improve staff attraction also remain essential. Perhaps it’s time to review the top benefits that appeal to today’s workers.
  • Job hunting candidates may be at an advantage for now. However, this advantage can soon be lost if you’re not making yourself known in the right way. Refine your approach with these tips.

All parties are encouraged to seek the advice of an REC-accredited recruitment agency with plenty of experience in their field. Expert insights can really help guide you through your recruitment challenges.

Looking for more recruitment and career advice? Let us know what matters most to you.



When you’re both struggling with your careers

Have you hit that point when you’re both struggling with your careers and it’s taking a toll on your relationship? 

This is an issue that commonly crops up in our career conversations. Perhaps this is unsurprising, as we all know how life has that (not so!) funny habit of throwing everything at us all at once. So why aren’t we seeing this problem discussed more in the press?

Thankfully, The Muse has run an excellent article on this topic.

In summary, they recommend…

  • Respecting each other’s job hunting methods; recognising that these can often lead to the same result.
  • Using mutual encouragement to motivate you through the process – and teaming up for valuable interview practice.
  • Working out how best to support each other (as you may each be looking for a different response or support mechanism). Sometimes simply letting your partner vent without input!
  • Seeking external help where needed; whether from a career or relationship expert.

You can find all the advice in full here.

Some tips we’d like to add…

While The Muse piece is focusing on partners’ shared career struggles, experience shows this issue can crop up in other relationships. For instance, with housemates, siblings, parents and close friends. Even among similarly disgruntled colleagues!

We’d say the above advice all still applies…although you’re somewhat less likely to visit a relationship counsellor with your housemate or Jenny from Sales!

  • Buddy up: whatever the relationship, try to make yourself a job hunting ally. Where possible, chat through the elements that you’re each struggling with and where you would like some help and support.
  • Don’t let resentments build. When you’re in the job struggle bubble, you may forget to ask about their challenges. Try to check on them as much as (if not more than!) you vent. Arrange a regular catch-up slot if this works for you both.
  • Consult an expert. Just as The Muse suggests, this can help lessen the relationship burden. Although we’d like to add the idea of contacting a REC-accredited recruitment agency in your field. All member agencies have to adhere to a Code of Professional Practice, which means you get a best practice service along with your expert advice.
  • Find other things to talk about. It can become draining when all you think and talk about is finding a new job. Try to make some time together when you’re doing anything but this. And this doesn’t have to cost a penny – go for a walk together. Watch some shows or listen to some podcasts if you need work-free conversation fodder!
  • If necessary, create some space. This is less easy to do with your partner than in other relationships. However, if the buddy system’s not working you may want to invest your time and energy in other less strained relationships. Dependent on how things are going, you might want to explain your absence as a focused effort to avoid further relationship challenges. Let that person know you’re still there for them if they need you.

Bored of your job hunting strategy?

Refresh your approach. See if there’s anything you haven’t tried from our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips or make like the pros and think like a brand!

Let us know what you want to see more of in future for better-tailored career and recruitment advice.



Career FAQ: what next

What to do when you’re asking ‘what next’ for your career…

This is the latest in our FAQ series – which aims to answer as many of your most common CV, interview, recruitment and career questions as possible!

The question of ‘what next’…

And this question can crop up at any time in your career. Many people encounter this post-studies when they’ve gathered their qualifications and have to enter a career role for the first time.

Yet it also has a habit of popping up when you’re least expecting it. You’ve been working in a particular role, or series of roles, for a while when you get this niggle that there’s something else you should be doing but you don’t know precisely what this is.

The first step towards your answer:

Work out why you’re asking yourself this now. If it’s the post-uni scenario, the answer is usually more obvious (and driven by the necessity of needing to make some money/spark up a career). However, if it’s a more random experience then you’ve got to dig a little deeper.

  • Are you feeling bored of your work? And, if so, is it the role, company, and/or industry that you’re tired of?
  • Is there something you’ve always planned on doing that you haven’t achieved yet? What is this?
  • Is it the case that you’ve got to where you are today by somewhat of an accident and you’re now feeling ready to make a plan?
  • Do you feel you’ve made a mistake with your career decisions to date?
  • Has something changed outside of work that’s pushing you in a new direction?

It can be a combination of factors. Whatever they are, it’s wise to note these down – both for your next steps and future reference.

TIP: if you’re struggling to pinpoint your ‘whys’, try setting a timer (even if it’s just for 10/15 minutes) and brainstorming all the possibilities; without editing yourself. You may be surprised by your answers. You could also chat with one or a few of the closest people in your life and see if there’s anything that they’ve picked up on from previous conversations and decisions. Of course, you’re not obliged to take any advice that ensues!

Once you’ve got your ‘why’…

Don’t put that notebook away or close that spreadsheet just yet! It’s time to whip up your skills and achievements master-list. A shiny gold star to any longer-term readers who’ve already been keeping one of these on the go!

And once this skills list is at the ready, take a look at all of your findings so far. Are there any obvious correlations between your whys and your skills and achievements?

Take the above situations for example:

  1. You’re bored in your role, company and/or industry. Your skills & achievements list can help you see where else you could apply yourself. Look at some current job specs to see what recruiters and employers are looking for and where you might fit. See which of these vacancies most appeals to you and start putting your CV together.
  2. There’s something you’ve always planned on doing & you haven’t achieved it yet. Well, what steps do you need to take to get you there? Again, it’s worth researching some job specs to see if there are any gaps in your skills and achievements list that you could easily fill to improve your chances. See our next TIP section below!
  3. You’ve got to this point in your career by accident and you now want to make a plan. This is similar to the boredom scenario above, yet your route may not be quite so obvious. Follow the advice from Day 3 of our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips and pin down your specifics! Work out the musts of your next role. Then, using your skills and achievements master list, start researching job adverts to see what’s possible and interesting for you.
  4. You’ve made a mistake in your career decisions to date. It’s unlikely to be a major mistake! Take a closer look at your skills list and see what you’ve learned so far. If you’ve struggled to come up with anything, it’s likely that your confidence has been knocked; get someone else to support you in this process. There are always ways to retrain and reroute. Again, job specs are super helpful here, as is speaking to a local recruitment agency that covers your target industry. Make sure you’ve got a CV at the ready for their review.
  5. Something else has changed in your life that’s pushing you in a new direction. Break-ups, bereavements, relocations…there are so many life changes that can prompt us to seek a fresh start. Re-read Day 1 of our 7 days of tips – for this is often one of those times you should think before you leap! Again, use the data you’ve gathered so far to help you work out what else you might be suited to.

TIP: for each of the latter four scenarios our career change advice FAQ is also well worth a read! Plus, following the rest of the advice in our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips could really boost your job search success in general.

So, what next?

Use your findings to take action, even if that’s just more research and consideration at first. As soon as you’re feeling ready, update and tailor your CV to those roles that you’ve identified and then start making your applications.

In need of more advice: let us know what you most want to see here on our News blog. We look forward to sharing it with you!

Got any questions regarding the roles you’ve seen advertised on our jobs page? Email these along with your latest CV today. You can also register your CV as a general applicant. Please note: we primarily recruit for the commercial office industry in Bath, Wiltshire and the surrounding area. 



The first-day rule

About to start a new job? Time to mull over the first-day rule…

This rule, also known as ‘the one thing you shouldn’t do when starting a new job’, comes fresh from the Independent. It’s a conversation starter in itself; one that we’ve not heard from other career experts.

So, what is this first-day rule exactly?!

At its core, it’s making an effort to get to know your colleagues before you launch into the story of your life.

In other words, show your interest, ask questions and all around make an effort to find out about their ‘roles, talents and achievements’.

Wouldn’t it be easier to tell them a bit about you first?

The article describes how easy it is to fall into the trap of promoting your own accomplishments and ambitions upon meeting new people. Apparently, this can lead your new colleagues to feel ‘nervous or annoyed because they don’t know you.’

Our thoughts…

This makes good sense, yet to a limit. There’s a big difference between launching into your every hope and dream, and in offering up some conversational morsels for your new colleagues to work with. Especially if they’ve asked you a question!

Furthermore, first-day nerves could transform your friendly questioning into a machine gun fire of interrogation. Plus not all of your new colleagues will actually want to promote their own talents and achievements to someone they’ve only just met. Also unsettling!

Instead, we’d tend to recommend playing it a little safer. Show an interest but don’t make things too personal – stick to conversations about the role or company itself. Throw yourself into your work. Make an effort to be friendly and approachable.

If you’re asked a question about your previous work, you can keep your answers safe and positive. You don’t need to share everything at once!

For more advice…



How can we help you? Share your thoughts…

How can we help you? Let us know what you most want to see here on our news blog so that we can share more of it with you!

Why we’re asking…

The whole purpose of this feed is to keep you up-to-date with the latest in recruitment and business news that’s relevant to you. It’s always a pleasure to research topics and bring you the latest insights to boost your career – and/or help you create your team.

So, what’s top of your reading list? Let us know your thoughts in this snappy little survey!

Thanks so much for taking part! Now to return to a very special Tedx Talk from one of employment’s leading voices.



Measuring your soft skills

Your soft skills may soon be measured. Here’s why – plus our thoughts on what this means for recruitment…

Soft skills versus hard skills in recruitment

Your CV no doubt already houses a mix of soft and hard skills. Or, at least, it should!

Hard skills could also be named ‘objective’ skills as they’re the ones that you can provide hard, quantifiable, evidence of. For instance, your experience with a particular computer system, an industry qualification, the fact that you can speak French, etc.

In contrast, soft skills are those that are more subjective or qualitative. These are the skills that you can honestly profess to yet may not be able to quantify. For example, you can discuss your excellent team working skills yet you can’t state the exact level of these in relation to your job-hunting competitors.

Yet this may change…

Matthew Taylor (author of the Taylor Review) is calling for a new ’employability framework’ that will allow us all to measure these soft skills. The idea is that employees would be graded on ‘up to 15 broad skills categories’ both in appraisals and wider recruitment processes. And even before these processes begin, in academia.

His reasoning? The fact businesses recognise the importance of soft skills (in many cases saying they matter more!) despite the fact they’re harder to prove.

CV TIP: in the meantime, we always recommend providing evidence for the soft skills mentioned in your CV. Don’t just say you have excellent communication abilities, give an example to demonstrate their use and impact.

What does this mean for recruitment?

This could be a major step forward in-line with recruitment trends. Everything that we’ve been researching about the future of work suggests career sustainability will rely on our individual skills. We’ve recently discussed…

Number one on the list of nine most important skills just so happens to be a soft skill, and it’s not the only one listed either!

It’s great to see Taylor acknowledging the need to help employees find new roles more easily through transferable skills, as well as being able to identify any areas that candidates can work on to facilitate this.

Recognising employees in a more rounded way…

Taylor additionally stated that “it is also important to recognise that employees don’t just pick up soft skills on the job but also outside of their workplace experiences…a framework would encourage employers to see employees in a more “rounded way”.

Again, this is a statement that we can’t help but support. It reminds us of the difficulties candidates can experience when trying to re-enter the workplace after a career break. This is a topic that we discuss in more depth from the business side in the Spring HR Newsletter (coming very soon!). Please drop us an email to ensure your name is on the list for this edition.

Also in the news…

On the topic of the future of work, we were interested to read The Independent’s report on ‘Children of Britain’s ‘digital generation’ aiming for careers in technology‘.

The piece is referring to children aged between five and 16. It clearly highlights the gap between parents’ career aspirations for their children and children’s own.

The top five career choices for kids now include…

Parents’ versus Children’s:

  1. Doctor vs. YouTuber/Vlogger
  2. Teacher vs. Animator
  3. Both: Software Developer
  4. Lawyer vs. Web Designer
  5. Engineer vs. Coder

The post also explores the ways in which parents can increase their confidence in their children’s digital activity, and help them to work safely towards related careers; at a time when the career landscape is so rapidly changing.



Career catfishing: what is it & how can we avoid it?

Career catfishing is on the increase. So, what it is and how do we avoid it?

The term ‘catfishing’ is more commonly associated with online dating. This is the process of falsifying your digital identity; usually, with the aim of tricking someone into a relationship.

Career catfishing…

In the case of recruitment, the catfish is looking to fake their way into a new job. According to HR News, this tends to take the form of using someone else’s CV and qualifications. This is clearly a fraudulent act.

The article contains some great advice as to how to spot these applicants, which we’d encourage all employers to read.

There’s just a couple of items we’d like to discuss…

The piece suggests ‘overqualified candidates’ applying for lower paid roles as a potential warning sign. Now, while this can be the case, we’ve also had firsthand insight into the challenges some candidates can face when they’re legitimately in this position.

For instance, when an employee is looking to step back from a more stressful role; when they’re eager to enter a new sector and are happy to ‘work their way back up’ to achieve this; when they’re new to the area and/or they’ve had a career break and simply have new working priorities.

If you’re in doubt, you’ll definitely want to find more evidence to support your concerns before dismissing the candidate is a catfish.

Be mindful of social media snooping…

We’d also like to remind businesses to be aware of the risks of using social media in their recruitment processes, or at least to consult an employment law specialist before doing so. After all, GDPR legislation could make this risky. Especially if the candidate is authentic.

Use your recruitment consultant

REC-accredited recruitment agencies should always conduct applicant checks. Not only reviewing CVs on your behalf, yet also obtaining proof of personal identity and, in some cases, copies of qualifications.

In addition, your recruitment agency will conduct preliminary recruitment conversations (wherever possible this takes place in person), alongside referencing at the relevant points.

All in all, these steps should help to minimise the risk of falling for a career catfish.



Unpaid trial shifts: the rules & possible changes

Is it OK for employers to offer unpaid trial shifts to potential staff members? And how might this change?

The law as it stands:

Currently, businesses are able to invite prospective team members to attend unpaid trial shifts. These trials, also known as ‘shadow shifts’, are intended to give workers the chance to demonstrate their skills; with the hope of a job offer at the end.

Yet there are fears that these are being used to exploitative gains; leading prospective employees to undertake long shifts without reward. This has led to six times more complaints to (trade union) Unite over the past three years. Consequently, MPs are calling for this business practice to end; as reported by HR Magazine.

But are there benefits to unpaid trial shifts?

While highlighting the need to avoid exploitation, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has also pointed to the benefits of shadow shifts. They suggest these can help increase employers’ confidence in recruiting new staff members. This would allow more employers to grow their teams as they avoid making costly mistakes.

An employment law expert commenting on this issue suggests that businesses should be clearer about the ‘duties involved in an unpaid trial shift.’ A difference is drawn between having the opportunity to shadow other team members while being observed and in actually undertaking the full job role – while perhaps covering for paid staff absences!

Questions surround how these practices are affected by minimum wage legislation.

Is there another way?

In order to avoid these grey areas, employers could easily utilise paid Temps or Temp-to-Perm staff. So, what’s the difference?

  • Temps: temporary workers can be hired to cover paid staff absences and often at short notice. For instance, in times of illness or unpredictable workflows. This is an honest way of filling a void and, for this reason, is a much better practice for PR purposes! Employers can also hire temps in the form of paid trial shifts, allowing each party to ascertain whether the ‘fit’ is right for them. As per the unpaid trial shifts, this may be the case of booking a temp for just a day or two to get a feel of that worker’s abilities. A business could even book a number of temps at any one time.
  • Temp-to-perm: this is a more formal way of offering paid trial shifts with the genuine chance of a job offer at the end for the right candidate. The employer can choose the duration of ‘trial period’ in which the prospective employee works as a paid temp within their company. After this period, the employer has the choice to extend a job offer to the candidate. Again, this is an open practice that holds benefits for both businesses and prospective employees.

In both cases, your recruitment agency can take on the responsibility of attracting and screening applicants. This is one of the most important, and time-consuming, steps in finding a better match for your business. Meaning greater confidence in growing your team.

Your recruitment consultant will also be on hand to support you and the candidate throughout the entire process.

We’ll keep you posted on any legal changes in this area. Meanwhile, we would be delighted to assist local employers considering paid trials.

Also in the news:



Flash decisions & career travel

Why flash decisions go both ways during an interview, plus the reasons workers aren’t wanting to travel…

Flash decisions

We’ve long been told first impressions count and perhaps none so more than when you’re in an interview situation. Your handshake, choice of outfit and ability to hold eye contact can famously sway an employer closer towards a second interview invite.

However, did you know candidates are also making flash decisions? Just over half (53%) of job-seekers have decided whether they want the role during their first interview. In fact, almost a quarter (24%) establish this within five minutes of their arrival.

Find this surprising? 37% of candidates actually decide whether they wish to work for a company right from their initial point of contact. Even if that’s simply making a phone call or sending an information request by email.

Yet flash decisions can take a whole new direction if employers are not quick enough to act in the recruitment process, according to 58% of job-seekers.

These stats come from onrec, who also share tips for interviewers wanting to make a good first impression. This includes good time management, familiarity with the basics of the candidate’s CV, avoiding distractions throughout your time with the interviewee, conducting a well-structured interview, and making an attempt to ‘sell’ the business and role in question.

Career travel

Elsewhere on onrec, we hear that the great majority of British workers (77.5%) do not want to travel for their careers. More than a quarter (28%) would actually decline a role if it required business travel.

So what’s putting these workers off? The top three reasons include not getting to spend time with friends and family (51.9%), the general ‘time it takes’ (14.7%), and jet lag/fatigue (13.5%). The other  reasons cited include the notion of ‘living out of a suitcase,’ and having to give up spare time, including weekends.

If you’re a job-seeker who generally enjoys travel –and you spot a requirement for this on the job spec– this could be a major selling point and is something to promote in your CV. The report suggests this is more likely to be the case among younger workers. The stats break down as follows:

  • 78.1% of under 18s would like to travel for work, compared with…
  • 64.6% of professionals aged 25-35 years.
  • 38.4% of those aged 45-54.
  • And just 33.7% for the 55-64 age group.

As the article suggests, these stats may be affected by the varying levels of responsibility outside of work. Alongside the opportunity of exploring new cultures.

Looking to recruit for roles requiring career travel? The piece recommends offering additional recuperation time for those who’ve travelled on behalf of the business (helping to ease some of the wellbeing worries).

Appoint can also assist you in better sourcing and attracting travel-loving staff. Please call the office on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment needs.  

Read next…

  1. The secret of success: for job-seekers, colleagues, managers & bosses. Kevin Green has officially departed his role at the REC. Thankfully, he gave us all a real gift of knowledge before he left!
  2. Share your staff benefits: a piece for all employers wanting to do more to attract candidates to your company.
  3. Personal branding for job-seekers: how thinking like a brand could improve your job hunting skills.