Starting a new job working remotely

If you’ve managed to secure a new role mid pandemic, take a look at our top tips on starting a new job working remotely.

We’ve been pleased to see many employers continuing to actively recruit during this strange period. But many workers starting a new job during lockdown may find their first weeks or months are home based. Here’s how to approach that tricky first day and week when you’re joining a new team without meeting anyone in person.

1. Sort out your tech and workspace

Starting a new job while working remotely, with the uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak hanging over you, may be one of the stranger experiences you go through. But it’s fast becoming a new normal in the world of work. If it’s your first time working remotely it might seem a little daunting. Ahead of your first day take some time to set up your work space and follow our tips and you’ll be up and running in no time.

  • Test your home internet speed. If you live with other people, find out what their internet usage is to make sure your connection isn’t affected.
  • Check your computer camera and microphone are working well to avoid awkward first calls with your new team.
  • Choose where you’re going to work then check you’re happy with whatever is going to feature in the background of any video calls.

2. Keep it professional

Trial periods will still apply, so stick to the same standards you’d use in a physical workplace. What you wear is still important, so start off smart – although you can then be guided by how casually your colleagues are dressing at home. Set yourself a strict daily routine, giving you plenty of time to prepare for each working day.

3. Make time to settle in

The induction process is going to feel quite different for virtual workers, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be welcomed and trained up on company systems. Keep your HR and IT contacts handy for questions and support, and make sure your manager or another team member is putting in enough time with you to get you off to a smooth start. Be proactive and ask questions as they arise, instead of trying to work everything out on your own.

4. Start building relationships

In your first couple of weeks, it’s a good idea to book informal meetings with some of your new colleagues. You might be waiting a while for that water cooler moment or office lunch, so start paving the way for positive relationships from the beginning. You’ll get to know people and learn about the culture of your new organisation. Do people appear to be on good terms with management? Is this the sort of team that likes a work social? Are your coworkers family people with flexible or part-time hours? Find out who your key contacts are and when they’re available to collaborate.

5. Find the best ways to communicate

Video conferencing is common now, but you may find you get better interactions out of certain people using other methods. Find out how your colleagues like to stay in touch – maybe your direct manager prefers the phone, perhaps your wider team shares most of their updates via Slack. Whatever method of communication you use when starting a new remote job, maintain a friendly, professional tone at all times.

If you’re unfamiliar with video tools, have a go in advance if you can. Check you know how to end a call, turn your mic and camera on and off, and share your screen to show your work.

What if you’re starting at a shared office?

Things are likely to look a little different in every reopened workspace. Speak to your manager or to HR in detail about what the setup is. If you have concerns, share them. After all, your safety is more important than your physical presence on day one. Good employers should have sensible protocols in place to protect workers, maybe supported by video or text guides on how to access and use the site. Make sure you have all the info before heading off on that first commute.

Remember, handshakes are probably off the table for the foreseeable future and hand hygiene will be top priority. If a new colleague forgets, it’s ok to gently remind them that you’re not being rude by keeping your distance.

Still looking for new opportunities in Bath?

Take a look at our current vacancies in Bath and the surrounding areas. Even if you don’t see what you’re looking for, call us on 01225 313130 to speak to an Appoint consultant who can assist.



Is your potential being squandered at work?

Do you believe you’re fulfilling your career potential? What the latest findings say about the nation’s confidence levels…

A recent City & Guilds survey of 5000 working-age people has revealed a number of concerning trends.

  • Firstly, only just over 1 in 3 employees (33%) feel ‘positive about their future career prospects’.
  • 60% say they have skills that are not being used ‘at least half of the time’.
  • Furthermore, only 53% have had any form of training at work within the past three years.
  • 34% of the group has never received any training at all or their last training took place more than five years ago.

Altogether, the findings suggest that large groups of employees are not being given the chance to fulfill their potential at work.

Advice for managers and employers:

These findings are positive for business leaders – providing as they act on the issues raised! You likely already employ individuals who can bring additional value and expertise to your business. They just need to be given the opportunity to do so. Why not ask your team about the skills they think you’re missing out on?

City & Guilds is calling on employers to help address this problem by:

  1. Exploring each job candidate’s ‘underlying skills profiles’ to find new talent for your business. In some cases, prioritising this potential and a solid skills match over sector-specific experience.
  2. Introducing flexible working practices to attract and retain these talented individuals.
  3. Additionally providing training opportunities to employees at ‘all ages and stages of their career’.

Advice for employees and job-seekers:

The survey’s authors also share some useful advice for you:

  1. Where possible, ‘put yourself forward’ for any training opportunities that arise.
  2. Explore out-of-work training to ensure you’re upskilling yourself for your future career prospects.

To add to this, you could also discuss your current unused skills with your management team. Offer practical examples of how your abilities could benefit your department/company and ask to take on new tasks and challenges.

Of course, there may also be other job opportunities that better employ your full skill-set. 



Understanding & overcoming imposter syndrome

Do you suffer from imposter syndrome, plus which industries are most affected?

Imposter syndrome is defined as “the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.”

It’s such a common phenomenon that almost 40% of UK employees may be affected. What’s more, a small number (2%) constantly experience such doubts.

Employees generally say they’re unsure they’re able to ‘fulfill all of the requirements of their current jobs.’

Certain professions experience this more often. For instance:

  1. Creatives, including artists and designers (52%)
  2. Finance professionals (47%)
  3. PR, Media, and Marketing employees (46%)
  4. Doctors, Nurses, and Dentists (44%)
  5. And IT professionals (43%)

Conversely, the professions exhibiting the greatest confidence levels include:

  • Sales professionals (78%)
  • Plumbers, electricians, and builders (72%)
  • And retail employees (68%)

In addition to these professional divides, men are more confident in their abilities than women (67% of men say they’re 100% confident in their abilities, versus only 58% of women). Older employees also express the greatest confidence levels (88% for over 65s versus 57% for 18 to 24-year-olds).

Job security fears are additionally causing some concern:

  • Only 54% of employees feel fully secure in their work.
  • 24% cite recent industry job losses as the reason for this, alongside:
  • A ‘competitive job market’ (17%)
  • And the effects of Brexit (14%)

How to overcome your imposter syndrome…

Considering its prevalence, it’s no wonder that this is such a popular topic. Thankfully, this also means there’s a lot of advice out there regarding how to overcome this affliction. Some of our favourite articles include:

  • Scott H. Young’s post on Medium. It’s a 7-minute read described as ‘a guide to living with the fear of not being good enough’. It explores some of the causes of the syndrome alongside some steps you can take to beat it.
  • Forbes’ 15 ways to overcome the syndrome. As the name suggests, this is a highly practical and tip-filled feature.
  • Mindful’s article, which includes a brief TedEd video alongside three simple steps.

Don’t be afraid to discuss your imposter syndrome with your friends and family. It really will help you to see how common this issue is.

Finally, keep an eye on our News page to ensure you stay up to date with all the latest career tips and news.



The worst management traits

Do you or your business leaders possess any of these worst management traits?

Many managers never really set out to become managers at all. As no doubt you’ve witnessed in your own career, it’s common to simply climb the ranks as new opportunities arise. It’s also common to enter team leadership roles without any formal management training.

Yet, at the same time, we know how valuable effective teams are to successful businesses. Which means it’s also vital to regularly assess our management skills – whether they’re our own or those of our employees.

HRnews has published a post detailing some of the poor management traits to watch out for.

The worst management traits include:

1. Micromanagement

Or becoming overly ‘involved’ in tasks that have been delegated to others. This has negative consequences for all – from wasting the manager’s time to undermining the trust of your employees and/or failing to give them the chance to build skills and confidence.

2. Taking the credit

This is when someone merrily accepts praise for what others have done. There can also be overlaps with not accepting blame for personal mistakes or offering up ‘scapegoats’ to save themselves! This can result in the team failing to present their ideas and/or taking a ‘cover your back’ approach to their work.

3. Hypocrisy

In this case, ‘enforcing rules that the manager fails to follow themselves’. The article offers an example of expecting high timekeeping standards when the manager is routinely late. Of course, this could apply to a whole host of business situations and the results remain the same – it reduces management ‘credibility’.

4. Poor listening skills

It’s not just about listening to employees, yet also the ability to process and respond to their feedback and ideas. The best managers also actively encourage such input. When this is absent, the team may start to doubt their manager’s efficacy.

5. Losing your temper

A short fuse places everyone on edge and can make a team feel wholly uncomfortable. This can lead to a walking-on-eggshells response and generally stunt everyone’s personal development. It can also lead to a culture of fear.

The good news…

  • Even if you identify with some or all of these management traits, you can further develop your skills. Many of the solutions are pleasingly simple, as detailed in the HR News post.
  • What’s more, as you develop your management abilities, you’re likely to generate greater success for your business.
  • Reminder: you don’t automatically have to become a people manager to progress in your career! Sometimes people simply need permission to explore other options.
  • There are plenty of natural team leaders out there and you can prioritise those with proven management experience when recruiting. You can also train your new managers to ensure that they’re continually developing their abilities.
  • If the above describes your manager, and they’re making no efforts to change, what’s to stop you working for a new management team?! Explore the latest local openings today.


New job considerations

What tops your list of new job considerations? Here’s what the rest of the UK is saying…

Today marks the start of National Careers Week. In honour of the occasion, a new survey has explored the most important elements people consider when making a job change.

The top new job considerations are said to include…

  1. Salary level (64%)
  2. Working hours (55%)
  3. Location (50%), tied with personal interest or enjoyment (also 50%)
  4. Job security (40%)
  5. The working environment (37%)
  6. Progression opportunities (26%)
  7. Training/skills development opportunities (23%)
  8. The opinions of your family or partner (12%)
  9. Status (9%)

What makes this survey stand out?

Firstly, it’s interesting to see some research that explores the holistic nature of work. At first glance, you may think this is simply a list of work perks. However, the study also encompasses some of the more psychological and interpersonal elements, such as the opinions of others and our perceived status.

This is refreshingly honest, although it’s also great to see that some of the more individual elements such as job enjoyment come much higher.

It also supports other recent recruitment news findings. Examples include…

How is this data relevant to you?

  • As a job-seeker: it’s another example of the questions you can ask yourself ahead of your job search. Understanding your own priorities can really help you decide where to focus your attention – and, of course, which jobs to apply for. For instance, if you know personal enjoyment sits far higher than salary for you, then there’s little point in applying for a role that doesn’t spark some interest. Or if your work is all about paying the bills, you’ll want to stay loyal to your initial salary range.
  • As an employer: it’s always helpful to remember what candidates are looking for. Each candidate will have their own order of priorities and these can change throughout their careers. While you may not be able to lead the way on every front, see which of these aspects you can highlight throughout your recruitment activity and, for that matter, which aspects you could introduce or build on in the future.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on our News page for regular recruitment news and advice features. You can also connect with us over on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and/or register your CV for local opportunities



Coping with job search setbacks

What to do when you encounter job search setbacks…

While it would be wonderful if everyone had a smooth job search experience, some disappointments are likely. It could be anything from finding out that a position has already closed to not being selected for an interview.

However, if you’re mentally prepared for such happenings, it’s easier to stay on track and maintain some motivation. If this talk of mental prep sounds familiar, it’s something we discussed in this feature on the four job search phases last month. The four phases were identified by Kourtney Whitehead, whose advice we’ll be discussing again today – this time regarding the three ‘unavoidable job search setbacks’.

The three job search setbacks include:

1. Being rejected for a ‘position you’re clearly qualified for’ 

There are some great insights here, including three core messages that particularly ring true:

  1. Many applicants encounter this
  2. It doesn’t reflect your individual ‘market value’
  3. You won’t necessarily “experience predictable outcomes throughout your search”

Interviews can be like exams; sometimes the ones you think you’ve failed are actually the ones you’ve passed with flying colours! Of course, this can apply in reverse and sometimes it’s the jobs you think that you’re a shoo-in for that you don’t get.

This is a topic we’ve covered in more depth on our post about handling interview rejection; even if it happens multiple times.

2. Finding a great opening that doesn’t meet your salary expectations

Whitehead’s advice stands out here because it’s so realistic to everyday job market happenings. Whereas many articles will tell you to ask for more than an advertised salary, Whitehead points out that if you’re not willing to work for the advertised salary range you should be upfront from the start.

She’s not saying that companies won’t ever pay more for the right person. However, some budgets are fixed for a reason and you don’t want to waste anyone’s time, including your own.

This issue can be easier to raise when working via a Recruitment Consultant – allowing you to have a frank conversation outside of the pressures of an interview setting. Your Consultant can help manage your expectations and let you know whether there’s the possibility of flexibility or not.

3. Not getting a job you feel ’emotionally attached’ to

Not many people discuss this common issue. Perhaps before you’ve so much as attended an interview (or even submitted a CV!) you’re envisaging life in your new role…and you really like your visions of the future.

But then you get the rejection and it’s far worse than usual because you feel as if something has actually been taken away from you.

In this case, Whitehead recommends making some rejection plans. She suggests speaking to your closest friends and family and letting them know what you need from them during these trickier times – whether that’s time alone or some extra company and conversation.

Even if you don’t feel you have a support network around you, you can plan some activities to help pick yourself up in the case of bad news. Again, you should hopefully feel able to confide in your Recruitment Consultant during these times!

You can read the rest of Kourtney Whitehead’s advice via Forbes.

Get your local job search started via our jobs page and/or submit your CV via the website.



The most motivated age

When do employees reach their most motivated age? And what’s wrong with these sorts of findings?

The Independent’s latest careers news headline caught our eye. It states that ‘people are most driven aged 33.’ The article, based on research by Bupa Health Clinics, suggests that this is the age when people are likely to be more motivated, confident, energetic and positive.

This apparently applies to all of our goals from career intentions to healthy lifestyle plans. While the article and research are clearly well-intentioned, it’s important to note that these findings are also highly generalised and don’t reflect other research data.

Earlier studies have found that it’s the over-55s employee who is the most motivated. Plus it’s likely that we’ll soon hear Gen Z is leading the way on this front!

In reality…

There are extremely motivated individuals of every working age. Working closely with candidates across all career stages has shown us this time and time again.

Fear not if you’re only just embarking on your career and want to prove your motivation – or if 33 is a long distant memory – your individual drive can peak at any time. What’s more, there’s nothing to say you’ll only have one peak in your career.

What motivates you?

More detailed studies have suggested that the drivers that motivate employees may change throughout the career cycle.

For instance, older workers may be more inspired by roles that feature ‘autonomy and personal principles’ whereas younger employees may desire greater ‘competition and career progression.’

Even these drivers will naturally vary individually. With all this in mind, there are a few important questions to consider…

  • How motivated do you feel right now?
  • What actually motivates you?
  • And is there anything you need to change to increase your motivation at this career stage?

One example change is finding others to support you – something said to help 70% of respondents in the first survey piece.

A new opportunity may also prove to be an important driver for you.



Job searching from work?

Are you guilty of job searching from work? How some employees are being caught out, plus the impact this can have…

It’s long been a problem in offices throughout the UK. Some employees are so keen to get going with their job searches (or so dissatisfied with their current roles!) that they’re hunting from work. This can include everything from searching for job openings to amending CVs, printing related documents, and even making applications.

If you’re doing this, there’s a good chance that you’re breaking your contractual agreement with your employer. Many contracts specifically stipulate how you can spend your working hours, which also includes how you can use office equipment. This is before considering the fact that you’re being paid to work – not to search for work elsewhere!

How some people are being caught job searching from work:

One survey (conducted by Cartridge Save and reported by HR News) has uncovered a unique way that people are being caught out for this practice…

  • 50% of office professionals print their CVs at work;
  • With almost 1/3 (30%) having been warned or even dismissed after their actions were discovered.
  • Conversely, the demeanour has ‘paid off’ for 1/4 of employees, who say their employer actually offered them a pay rise as a result. Still, this is clearly a risky and inadvisable practice.

Even those more innocuous uses of the workplace printer could have disastrous consequences. You could still be breaching your contract if you use the printer for personal use. On this topic, the next most common reasons for using the work printer include:

  • Event tickets (42%).
  • The not so innocuous other interview documents (38%).
  • Personal photos (16%).

For some employees (38%), this is a daily habit that could be contributing to a cost of more than £4,250 a year for medium-sized companies. But back to your job search…

Top tips for conducting your job search when you work full-time:

  1. Remember that your company may also monitor your computer and/or web use. Avoid using the company network (wiFi included!) for personal purposes.
  2. Always use your private contact details on your job applications!
  3. Let your recruitment consultant know your working hours and how and when it’s easiest to reach you.
  4. Return messages early in the day (before work), over lunch, or just after work where possible. Note: we’re open right from 8.30am Monday to Friday to give you the chance to contact your Recruitment Consultant before your 9am start.
  5. Lunchtimes are often your best bet for more detailed activity, including searching for vacancies and longer conversations. Get out of the office and, ideally, find somewhere relaxing to do this.
  6. Visit a print services shop or library to run off copies of your CV and/or interview materials if you don’t have access to a printer at home. Or else, ask a friend to help you out with this.
  7. Avoid sharing any details about your search via social media.
  8. Make sure your recruitment consultant and/or any prospective employers know that your referees should not be contacted until a job offer has been made.

Ready to look for jobs in Bath and Somerset? Here are our latest client openings



New year, new career? Career change advice.

Is 2020 your year for an entirely new career? Advice for anyone looking to make a change of direction…

This post marks the last in our January special – completing our series of 8 features (plus an extra LinkedIn post!) designed to inspire and support your 2020 career goals. You’ll find all the links to the rest of the features at the end of this article.

Today, we turn our attention to career change advice. Or how to pave your way into a totally new role or industry!

Our top tips to help you enter a new career…

  • Start where you are: create a list of all your core transferable skills. These are the skills that you’ve developed that can easily be transferred over to your target industry. If possible, ask former (or trusted current!) colleagues and associates to describe your skills. You may discover a few additions for your list.
  • Look at what’s needed: have an ideal job in mind? Regularly read job ads to see what employers are actually looking for. Revisit your transferrable skills list to see if there’s anything else you can add.
  • See what you can brush up on: spot a core skill or insight that you really need to develop? Consider how you can swot up in your spare time. For instance, there may be a particular qualification or short course that’s respected in your prospective new field. Always keep your budget and time constraints in mind.
  • Get practical: perhaps there are additional responsibilities you can take on in your current role, some voluntary work you can do, or even paid weekend and/or evening work available in your ideal industry. Not only will this help enhance your CV, yet it’ll also demonstrate initiative. Remember to pace yourself and respect your mental and physical health needs if you’re already working.
  • Top things off: there’s nothing to stop you from conducting your own research project in your target field. Create case studies and recommendations and show prospective employers you’ve considered some of the problems they’re facing.

Once you’ve done this, it’s time to…

  • Update your CV: weave all of the above into your CV which, as ever, should be tailored for the individual roles that you apply for. Highlight each skill, course, responsibility, and achievement that makes your application relevant to the employer’s role. Furthermore, detail real-life examples that illustrate each point.
  • Watch out for simple steps: often, there’s a logical ‘next step role’ that will take you closer to your destination. For instance, a position that merges some of your current responsibilities with those you’re looking to develop. Or a position along a similar career path yet within your target industry. These simple steps often offer your most accessible route into a new career.
  • Seek the support of a professional: 85% of UK businesses specifically value agency expertise when recruiting in their sector (according to the REC, January 2020). Plus the best recruitment agencies will offer you honest and valuable advice regarding your suitability for their vacancies. The REC Member directory tool is a great place to start; we’re proud to be accredited REC compliant members.
  • Allow yourself some time: remember, career changes are rarely immediate. Prepare to consider your steps and possibilities and allow yourself to look forward to the opportunities ahead!

Read the rest of our January series:

  1. The series introduction, including why this focus has been so essential
  2. 6 personal traits that could speed up your New Year job search success
  3. Promising news for beating the New Year blues and SAD
  4. How and when to ask for a pay rise in 2020
  5. Answering that big question – do you really need a career plan?
  6. 4 signs that you’ve found, or are, the right candidate for the job
  7. How to mentally prepare for each job search phase
  8. And, over on LinkedIn, how to develop Gravitas whatever your job level

Just because this series has come to a close, doesn’t mean you have to miss out! We’ll keep sharing expert career news and advice via our News page. You can also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and/or register your CV for local opportunities



How to prep for each job search phase

How to mentally prepare for each job search phase…

As we enter the last week of the month (which also brings the final posts in our special January series), it’s time to prepare for each phase of your job search. Today’s advice comes from Kourtney Whitehead, via Forbes.

Most career advice articles largely focus on the practical side of job hunting, from CV writing to interviews. All very necessary! However, it’s rare to find articles that explore the emotional and mental aspects of your search.

After all, as Whitehead suggests, job searches can be long and stressful at times. Particularly if you’re searching for roles in a new field or you work within a particularly competitive industry. Yet a little bit of mental prep can help you feel far more in control and may minimise some of the stress along the way.

Prepping for each job search phase…

1. Getting started

This is described as the easiest phase, due to your increased levels of energy and optimism. As Whitehead says, “few things in life will transform your daily experience faster than finding a new job.”

The first phase starts as soon as you’re actively working on your job search, for instance updating your CV and LinkedIn profile.

Your first mental challenge: fighting the urge to procrastinate. Fear of rejection may stop you from getting going as quickly as you could. The advice is to get started ASAP so as not to extend your search. Don’t let your CV efforts delay you either – focus your attention on tailoring your CV to the most appealing roles, as well as checking for errors.

Tip: don’t get too bogged down in how your CV looks either. A clean and classic layout is often far more reader-friendly than a heavily designed format. Visit our downloads page for more straight-forward CV Advice.

2. Finding leads

This is the most time and energy-intensive aspect phase of your job search. It’s now that you’ll be making contact with prospective employers via jobs boards, recruitment agencies, and similar. You may also soon be fielding calls and juggling interview requests.

Your second mental challenge: reaching out to others for help and being prepared for applications and conversations that don’t lead to results. This phase can leave job-seekers feeling ‘vulnerable’, yet it’s also the stage that Whitehead describes as “the bridge between dreaming for a new job and having your chance to sell yourself during an interview.”

She reminds that this is also the longest stage for most job-seekers. Again, the advice here is to prepare for these feelings and press on.

Tip: finding an expert recruitment consultant that you can really trust and open up to may help reduce some of that vulnerability (as well as giving you access to industry insights and some of the best local employers in your field!). The REC member directory is a great place to start, alongside checking Testimonials and Google Reviews.  

3. Converting opportunities

It’s now that you’re attending interviews, which can prove stressful for many candidates.

Your third mental challenge: second-guessing every aspect of your interview performance. This may include replaying your interview questions and answers on repeat in your mind and picking yourself apart for every perceived wrong.

Whitehead suggests that before each of your interviews you “promise yourself that you will do your best and then choose to be satisfied with wherever that leads you.”

Tip: remember, even if you’ve just been rejected from a role, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. Seek feedback where you can (your Recruitment Consultant should assist with this) and move on to the next opportunity.

4.  The negotiations

This is the stage where you’ve received a job offer yet may be faced with a negotiation. You’ll see that many job vacancies indicate a salary range as opposed to a single salary figure. The end offer tends to depend on your experience level.

Your fourth mental challenge: facing negotiations when your salary worth perceptions differ from your prospective employer’s. You may feel pressure and anxiety around your abilities to negotiate and/or the fear of losing the opportunity.

Whitehead advises against undervaluing yourself and failing to negotiate at this stage.

Tip: before applying for roles, it’s worth having a really honest discussion with your Recruitment Consultant about your salary expectations. They can advise what’s realistic for your skills and experience to date and will, in many cases, do much of the salary discussion on your behalf, dependent on individual client arrangements.

We hope you already feel better prepared to start your job search. For further advice, catch up with the rest of our January series so far…

Don’t forget to keep popping back to our News page for more tips. You can also connect with us via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and/or register your CV for opportunities