Interview thank you letters – should you send them?

Should you send interview thank you letters when working with a recruitment agency?

It’s always great to see careers and recruitment topics featured in the mainstream media. One of the latest examples is Cosmopolitan’s focus on whether it’s appropriate to send job interview thank you notes.

There’s some really helpful advice within the piece. However, this particular article only applies to those interviewing directly with employers.

What about when your interview has been arranged via a recruitment agency?

In this case, it’s not appropriate to communicate directly with the interviewer/s, unless your consultant has specifically asked you to do so.

The client (your prospective employer) has chosen to work with a recruitment agency for a number of reasons. This is often partially due to time restrictions and wanting to ensure that there’s a dedicated person who’s committed to you throughout the selection process.

They will have arranged specific check-in points with your consultant, who remains your primary point of contact for interview feedback and similar.

So when will you receive your interview feedback…and when can you provide yours?

The specific timings will vary by business and agency. Most reputable agencies will take a proactive approach and want to hear from you soon after your client interview.

They’ll be interested to hear your perspective; this may include aspects such as…

  • How you felt the interview went
  • Your perceived connection with your interviewer/s
  • Any concerns you had regarding challenging questions or items that arose
  • Your interest in accepting the role if offered

Your consultant will also be in touch with the client at the soonest opportunity; as dictated by the employer’s availability.

Alongside relaying your feedback and interest in the role (where applicable), they’ll also gather the employer’s feedback. At this stage, it may be a case of awaiting further updates regarding second interviews or other selection processes.

Your consultant should advise you of the above. In certain circumstances (for instance, client holidays/travel or the need to await in-house meetings) it may be the case that there’s a bit of a wait before the client will enter their decision-making process. Your consultant should also keep you updated on this.

But what if you’d still really like to send interview thank you letters?

Even though it’s not appropriate to contact the client directly, there is another option! Why not email a thank you note via your recruitment consultant, detailing those aspects you would like to send on to the client? Revisit the Cosmopolitan piece for advice regarding the contents of this.

That way, your agency can relay your feedback via their email or phone conversations with the client.

This will still enable you to highlight your interest in the role and could help you stand out from your competitors.

Ideally, this should be sent to your consultant soon after your interview so that the experience is fresh in mind…and your feedback reaches the client before their decision is made.

Of course, before you get to the interview stage you need to apply for suitable vacancies! Here are the latest local opportunities.



Future career changes

Young people expect to make multiple career changes in their working lives…

You won’t be surprised that the majority of young people expect to change jobs at least once during their careers. After all, it’s incredibly rare for large groups of people to work in the same roles and for the same companies forever.

However, almost 1/4 (23%) of young people also expect to make multiple career changes; in other words, also switching professions and/or industries rather than just jobs.

Considering their future career changes…

The above findings have been shared by Survation on behalf of the AAT. The pool consisted of just over 1000 16 to 24-year-olds (all considered as ‘Generation Z’).

They reveal that:

  • Nearly 1/3 (32%) of young people expect to make one to two job changes during their careers.
  • In addition, 23% expect to change their career path twice in future.
  • 14% of respondents think they’ll experiment with a greater number of professions, making three career changes.
  • Only 9% of people think they’ll work for the same company for their entire career. While 16% think they’ll at least remain on the same career path.

How they’ll prepare for their future roles:

  • It’s great to see that these respondents are prepared to take a proactive approach, with 52% saying they’d undertake a new qualification in order to progress their careers.
  • What’s more, 61% believe they’ll have to ‘upskill’ throughout their working lives. This is especially important as it so closely reflects the experts’ thoughts on the future of work and automation. Please see below for articles that further explore this topic.

The relevance of this data for employers:

As HR Magazine discusses, business and HR leaders will need to work hard to retain Generation Z employees. Especially the 43% that say they’d like to create their own business one day.

This may involve nurturing the creative potential of employees, so they feel able to challenge themselves and pursue their own ideas within the business.

Further reading for your future career and job skills:

  1. Future job skills & work portfolios for all: find out whether you possess the three most vital future job skills. Plus why you may want to create a work portfolio regardless of your job role.
  2. What employers want: six key skills that employers want to find in their future team members.
  3. Are you being upskilled at work? What to do if you aren’t receiving the opportunity to refresh your job skills.
  4. The top most wanted trainee skills: 10 abilities that will benefit trainees…and everyone else!
  5. The future skills framework: the major new taskforce set to decide which skills we’ll all need in future. Plus why students sre feeling unprepared for their careers.

Ready to discover your next job? Visit our vacancies page to apply for the latest openings. You can also upload your CV here.



The skills shortage continues

Employers struggle to recruit, as the skills shortage deepens…

Businesses are facing some major recruitment challenges, as revealed by ‘The Open University Business Barometer 2019‘.

At present, the UK is experiencing its highest total employment rate since 1971. The unemployment rate is also at its lowest level since 1974. This means that while there are still job-seekers out there, most of these candidates are conducting their job hunts from the relative comfort of an existing role.

This also means that it can take a lot longer for organisations to secure the right people with the right skills for their vacancies:

  • 63% of businesses report an existing skills shortage (up by yet another percentage point versus last year).
  • Companies are taking 1 month and 27 days more than expected to fill their vacancies.
  • Elsewhere, SmallBusinessPrices.co.uk has created a ‘Skills Map‘ to demonstrate regional differences in skills and job demand.  This reveals that the Financial Sector has the greatest vacancy demand in our local South-West region.

All of the above data is highly timely, with The Confederation of British Industry having called on the government to do more to tackle the national skills gap in this week’s spending review.

How are employers overcoming the skills shortage?

Returning to ‘The Open University Business Barometer 2019,’ businesses are taking a number of different approaches to their recruitment crises.

  • Almost 1/2 (48%) of companies have made use of temps to fill skills gaps.
  • 44% have increased their spending on recruitment services.
  • 38% have offered higher salaries in a bid to lure more applicants.
  • While 31% have felt forced to recruit lesser skilled candidates.
  • 61% of employers believe they will need to focus on internal talent development skills to increase their productivity and efficacy.

Advice for candidates and employers…

Skills shortage advice for candidates:

  • This remains an opportune time to apply for new jobs. Dependent on your industry, you may find yourself competing against smaller candidate pools. This naturally increases your chance of securing an interview.
  • However, don’t rest on your laurels! It is misguided to think that a skills gap creates a pure ‘candidate market’ in which you don’t have to make any effort in your applications. Businesses are still looking for the right skills, personalities and attitudes for their openings and it’s your job to prove that you possess them!
  • You’ll find a regularly updated list of local openings here.

Skills shortage advice for employers:

  • Ensure you’re investing your time and budget in the best recruitment approach for your business. We’re proud REC members, which means that we’re working to the highest industry standards. In the REC’s words, it is about “making sure that employers get the best talent and right people to help their businesses grow”.
  • Don’t be afraid to join the 48% of companies working with temps while searching for your permanent team members. This offers a myriad of benefits, including the chance to tap into local talent, spotting candidates that may provide longer-term solutions, and even the opportunity to refine your search needs as the result of your insights.
  • It can help to review your candidate search criteria. Are there skills that you’re overlooking or candidates who could easily adapt to your needs?

We would be delighted to discuss your temporary, permanent and/or contract staffing requirements. Please call the office on 01225 313130 or email us today. 



Doing more of what you enjoy

Why we could all do with discovering what we really enjoy in life. Including how to discover your next hobby and find more enjoyment in your work…

How much of your day do you spend doing something you find truly enjoyable? A worrying new stat suggests that the average person only experiences this 42 minutes per day, which equates to just 3% of your daily life.

What’s to blame for our low enjoyment levels?

According to the study’s authors at City Lit (a London-based adult education college), this could be due to several lifestyle factors:

  • UK employees work an extra 2.5 weeks a year compared to the average European worker.
  • Our daily commutes have also increased, meaning few people believe they have enough spare time to pursue a hobby.

However, psychologists remind us of the importance of using hobbies to relax and de-stress.

City Lit additionally notes how many people don’t know quite what they enjoy. To this end, they’ve launched a new ‘Random Course Generator’ to help you track down your next hobby.

It’s rather like a quick magazine quiz in that you’ll answer a series of personality questions which will help identify your most dominant trait (from the Big Five OCEAN list). You’ll then be offered a list of courses that could suit your character.

You may see this as just a bit of fun, yet perhaps it’s a timely reminder to work out what you enjoy and how you can do more of it. This brings us to another thought…

Why should you only enjoy your hobbies?

It’s a fantastic idea to find more enjoyment out of work, though what about that large chunk of your day spent at work?

If you’re relatively happy with your job and not looking for anything new just yet, you may still benefit from making some small changes to your days.

  • TheMuse has a list of 37 ideas to get you started. Number 19 is particularly useful and achievable.
  • Number 37 is also incredibly important. There are certainly times that a new job is necessary for your ‘mental and emotional wellbeing’.

Why not add more enjoyment to your days and start your job search here?!



The future skills framework

A future skills special: from a new task force, to students’ concerns, and the employment market’s major currency…

The new task force & its future framework…

  • A number of leading education and employment organisations have come together to form a major new task force. Together, they will draw up a framework of core job skills that we will all need in the future.
  • These skills will help businesses to establish what they’re looking for in their recruits (particularly in a time of increasing automation). For example, this could include problem-solving, teamwork and presentation abilities.
  • The framework will resemble the ‘Skills Builder Framework’, which is already used by teachers. In addition to helping identify required abilities, this enables users to establish ‘measurable steps’ through which to obtain them.
  • This project could help the nation to move closer towards the recommendations made in Matthew Taylor’s 2017 Taylor Review. You may recall that this was a ‘Review of Modern Working Practices’, which aims to help the government adapt to a rapidly changing world of work.

Students feel unprepared for their careers

  • 44% of A Level students fear that a university degree won’t help them prepare for their careers.
  • 20% think an additional two to three years of paid work would provide greater preparation, with 8% saying university will merely delay their entry into employment.
  • Despite these findings, only 10% of students intend to go straight into work.
  • The researchers at AVADO are calling on educators and employers to work more closely to ensure students develop essential career skills.
  • Of course, the future skills task force may prove useful to this quest.

The employment market’s major currency

  • Both of the above-quoted sources understand that job skills matter to future career success.
  • Few organisations understand this better than the World Economic Forum, which places skills at the centre of its ‘Strategies for the New Economy’ white paper.
  • They go so far as to describe skills as the ‘currency of the labour market’. You can read the white paper in full here. It comprises a number of recommendations on how such a skills-based employment market can be created.

Looking for candidates with the right skills for your job vacancies? Email an Appoint Recruitment Consultant directly or call the team on 01225 313130.

Searching for jobs that match your skillset? You’ll find the latest openings here



Bath is one of the UK’s most woke cities!

Bath is one of the UK’s most woke cities in which to live and work…

For those less familiar with the term, the word ‘woke’ originates in American slang. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines this as being “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).”

To this end, it’s often used interchangeably with other words that describe progressive attitudes and behaviours.

How do you measure a city’s woke status?

Bankrate has ranked 50 cities across seven specific categories, which include:

  1. Google search trends: how frequently the city’s web users have searched for the followings terms over a 5-year period:  ‘LGBT’, ‘Fair Trade’, ‘Volunteering’, ‘Climate Change’, ‘Feminism’, ‘Protest’, ‘Sustainability’, ‘Charity’, ‘Human Rights’ and ‘Politics’.
  2. The gender pay gap: the disparity between wages for men and women.
  3. Recycling rates: the quantity of household waste that is recycled.
  4. Voter turnout: comparing ‘the size of each electorate with the total number of votes in the 2017 General Election.’
  5. Vegan & vegetarian: from the perspective of a reduced carbon footprint; counting the number of exclusively vegan and vegetarian eating establishments.
  6. ULEV registration: the number of vehicles registered as ‘ultra-low emission’, which usually refers to ‘electric or hybrid cars.’
  7. Council diversity: exploring the representation of women and minority groups in local government.

Full details of each category and data sources can be found on the Bankrate site.

How progressive is Bath?

Bath is officially the third most woke city in which to live and work, according to this assessment scale. The city receives a total score of 22.31.

Only Oxford and Brighton & Hove achieve greater progressiveness scores, reaching 23.82 and 23.33 respectively.

Bath performs especially well for its:

  1. Recycling rates: achieving a score of 4.6/5. This surpasses Oxford’s 4.2 and Brighton’s 2.4.
  2. Vegan/vegetarian establishments: 4.5/5. Brighton achieves a perfect 5 for this aspect, however, Oxford falls behind with 3.5.
  3. Voter turnout: 3.9/5. Mirroring Oxford (3.9) and only just behind Brighton (4).
  4. ULEV registration: 3.7/5. Beating Brighton’s 2.6 and scoring only marginally less than Oxford’s 3.8. 

However, Bath still needs to work on its:

  1. Council Diversity: 0.6/5: the city’s weakest ranking. Oxford and Brighton, however, each only achieve scores around 2/5 for this element. Wolverhampton, in contrast, receives a 4.3.
  2. Gender Pay Gap: 2/5: this was a low-scoring area for each of the top three cities. None of which even reach a 3/5. Swansea, however, receives an impressive 4.1/5 for its minimal pay gap.
  3. Google Search Trends: 3.1/5: Bath residents and professionals could use the Internet for more progressive means! Brighton & Hove achieves its second perfect score (5/5) for this aspect, yet Oxford also has work to do with its 3.4.

Interestingly, if it wasn’t for the Council Diversity ranking, Bath (21.8) would beat both Oxford (21.4) and Brighton & Hove (21.3). Please note: we haven’t totted up the scores for the rest of the cities to see how else the rankings would change.

Want to work in a woke city?!

We’re proud to have recruited for businesses in Bath and the surrounding area since 1999. You’ll find the latest local job openings listed here.



More holidays and a pay rise

The New Economics Foundation is calling for more holidays and a pay rise for the good of the British economy!

This recommendation (and its accompanying report) focuses on ways in which to improve national productivity.

The idea being that if consumers are able to spend more money, and have more time in which to spend it, the demand for products and services will increase. This, in turn, will help bolster business productivity and the wider economy.

Do we need more holidays?

Few employees would decline the opportunity to have more time off. Especially on hearing that Britons receive fewer public holidays than many of their European counterparts.

While the UK minimum stands at 28 days, EU employees receive anywhere from 30 to 40 paid public holidays each year.

This report also reflects employees’ priorities, according to a separate study

When looking for a new job, British people prioritise:

  1. Their salary (98%)
  2. Holiday allowance (91%)
  3. A pension plan (89%)
  4. Promotion opportunities (78%)

Talking of holidays…

Therefore, while the ideas sound welcome, there may be additional issues to tackle in practise! In the meantime, don’t forget to use your jobs research as a chance to review your personal priorities. 



How secure are today’s jobs?

How secure are today’s jobs compared to those of twenty years ago? Plus to what extent do these findings even affect employees and job-seekers?

Before we delve into the latest stats, there’s one important question we should be asking…

What does job security really mean?

There was a time when job security was closely correlated with a ‘job for life’. Something now considered to be a feature of the distant past – and not expected to return, either!

In more recent decades (and as per the Oxford Dictionary), job security has become “the state of having a job…from which one is unlikely to be dismissed”.

How secure are jobs in 2019 versus 1998?

Due to the discussions surrounding the gig economy, you won’t be surprised to hear that most people think national job security is diminishing.

However, CIPD research suggests this is untrue:

  • The total share of non-permanent jobs has ‘not increased since 1998’.
  • Nor has the ‘under-employment rate’ of people requiring additional work.
  • The vast majority of national employees are in fact in ‘regular’ 9-5 jobs.
  • Any fluctuations that have occurred throughout this twenty-year period are additionally temporary in nature and relate to specific events, such as recessions.
  • While largely positive, the CIPD has called on the government to do more to tackle poor pay and discrimination issues.

Does it matter how secure your job is in 2019?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the growing gig economy and increase in ‘side jobs’ are signs that professionals are less concerned about job security…

Advice for those worried about job insecurity:

MindTools has issued advice to help people cope with the uncertainty of their work.

Two of the best tips from this piece also apply to your job-seeking process…

  • ‘Show your value’: not only does this approach help you stand out as an employee, yet it also helps set you apart from your job-seeking competitors.
  • ‘Stay current’: upskilling is sure to be a continued theme in recruitment news, as technology advances alter the jobs landscape. The way you market your skills should also be current…including regularly refreshing your CV!

Looking for a new job? You’ll find the latest temporary, permanent and contract openings listed here



What employers want – key candidate skills

What do employers want to see in their future team members and how can you demonstrate these abilities?

It’s always helpful to remember that (for the most successful companies!) the recruitment process is about far more than checking experience boxes. Business leaders are also looking for candidates that possess the appropriate skills to enhance their performance and complement the rest of the team.

One study has uncovered six such skills that employers want to see in their recruits:

  1. Adaptability (71.5%)
  2. ‘Resilience’ (57.5%)
  3. Being prepared to ‘upskill’ (39.7%)
  4. Being able to change (31.3%)
  5. Striking a ‘balance between work and personal life’ (29%)
  6. And networking skills (16.4%)

The first four skills all relate to the rapid pace of change now facing employers, as discussed on HR News.

This focus on change also cropped up in our recent post on the most wanted trainee skills – which is also relevant to non-trainees; especially those looking to enter a new sector!

How to demonstrate these skills:

As ever, you don’t want to treat these skills as CV or interview buzzwords so much as useful starting points.

Brainstorm examples that demonstrate how you’ve used these skills and what you’ve achieved as a result. Use these examples in your CV where relevant and practise discussing them in an interview scenario.

‘Relevant’ means you’re also tying your examples back to the skills and attributes required by each individual employer. I.e. you’re carefully reading individual job advertisements and specificiations and then tailoring your approach to match.

An interesting note on skill number three…

You’ll see that being prepared to upskill came in third place and this was discussed further in the HR News piece…

  • It suggests that 89.3% of employers are taking a ‘proactive approach’ to employee skills development for a variety of positive reasons. All sounds fantastic, yet this response is not supported by other research conducted on employees themselves.
  • In reality, only around 46% of professionals believe they are receiving adequate training. Advice for employees in this position can be found here.
  • Business owners may benefit from conducting some internal reviews to ensure that they’re not overestimating their skills development efforts. After all, this has long been a powerful staff retention tool.


Leaving a job within the first year

Why have so many people left a role within their first year – and how could this affect their job search?

Let’s start with the latest facts…

  • More than half (55%) of people have left a permanent role within the first 12 months, according to a study by Citation.
  • The male participants in this group were most unhappy at work and, perhaps contrary to common opinion, also reported higher levels of anxiety in their last role (63% of men versus only 38% of women).
  • These findings also contradicted recent research with older workers found to be the least happy.

What was at the root of this unhappiness?

The article only cites two reasons for leaving a role within the year:

  1. Poor management (69%).
  2. ‘Hostile’ work environments (62%).

It’s interesting to see that both reasons relate to the ‘people’ elements of work. This does reflect recent research surrounding the importance of strong working relationships.

A number of core employee values are shared, including:

  • Supporting individuals’ mental and physical wellbeing.
  • The strength of good annual leave, bonuses, and sick pay programmes.
  • Flexible working opportunities (which is a popular theme in recent surveys).

Citation additionally recommends a number of tools that employers can use to retain new team members.

How does leaving a role within the first year affect your job search?

There’s no clear-cut answer to this one, it really depends on your CV as a whole…

If prospective employers see a slew of ‘permanent’ openings that have all been left within a matter of months, you may want to rethink your recruitment approach.

  • It could just be bad luck. However, it’s likely that you’re not applying for the right roles and/or you’re accepting jobs that you don’t truly want. After a time, businesses may consider you to be a serial ‘job hopper’ that won’t commit long enough to warrant their time and/or financial investment.
  • It may be worth having an honest conversation with a recruitment consultant who specialises in your industry. What’s more, temping could be a better option for you while you figure things out (see below!). Please note: you’re never advised to leave a permanent role to temp, as you can’t guarantee that you’ll always find work.

It’s a different story if you’ve been undertaking a variety of temporary assignments and your previous employers can vouch for this.

  • Naturally, you should clearly communicate this fact on your CV too. Business leaders will be interested to learn more about your choices during your interviews.

Some industries are also less phased by their high staff turnover levels (and the CVs that reflect this) than others.

  • One popular example is that of the technology industry. As this LinkedIn piece states, employee “turnover can be a sign of a very healthy, very unhealthy or changing industry”.
  • You may want to do your research to understand more about what’s normal or expected in your sector.

Of course, it’s also a very different story for those who have a strong record of commitment.

  • In other words, when job-seekers have only rarely resigned from a role within a shorter time period.
  • It’s much less likely that this will negatively affect your career as a whole. It’s worth discussing what went wrong with your recruitment consultant, and what you’ve learned from your experience to date. Is there a particular type of environment that you don’t want to work within? Is there something you’ve experienced that suited you far better?
  • As ever, during actual job interviews, it’s recommended that you focus on the positives of your prior experiences…and employers!

Keep an eye on our News page for further career tips and insights. You can also see the latest job vacancies here