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.



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



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.



The worst day of the week?

What’s the worst day of the working week…and which professionals are most likely to suffer from Sunday night fear? 

Mondays have long earned a reputation for being the least popular day. After all, it’s the day that most people are grappling with all of the firsts of the working week. Commutes, refilled inboxes, and task lists included!

However, it appears Tuesday may actually be the least popular day, with only 5% of respondents picking it as their favourite.

Friday is unsurprisingly the most popular working day for 57% of people. 63% also report an overall improvement in their week once they’ve passed the Wednesday ‘hump’.

Mondays are still causing their issues, with more than 1 in 4 professionals (26%) saying they’ve called in sick due to Sunday night fear.

The Sunday night fear (often referred to as the Sunday Scaries or Sunday Night Blues), is a sense of dread, worry and/or anxiety about the working week ahead. It crops up anywhere from a Sunday afternoon to a Sunday evening.

Which professionals are most likely to suffer the Sunday Scaries?

Employees in certain industries report greater levels of this phenomenon, including:

  1. Media (68%)
  2. Electronics (50%)
  3. Legal (50%)
  4. Leisure & Tourism (50%)
  5. And social care (46%)

You can find the full top 9 in the HR Review feature.

The article contains advice for employers to ‘evaluate their company cultures;’ particularly addressing issues of stress, high workload, and poor work-life balance.

Employees may also want to review how often they feel this way. If you’re constantly struggling through your working weeks, are there any small changes you can make to improve things (including anyone you can speak to at work)? If not, a fresh challenge may be welcome.

Visit our jobs page for the latest local opportunities. You’ll also find lots of positive career advice in this post (scroll to the bottom for extra reading links).



Most-wanted employee traits

Introducing the employee traits that could speed up your job search…

As per yesterday’s post, we’re dedicating all of January to positive news items to support your career goals. Today, we’ll take a look at the six top traits that can enhance job search success.

Each of these attributes has been selected by recruiters, so you know they’re qualities that employers are genuinely looking for.

We’ll also share our own pointers throughout this post to help you get the most out of the information provided.

A reminder before you read on…

You don’t necessarily need to possess each trait to find a new job! When reading articles such as these, look out for those characteristics you already have and consider how you can best highlight them.

As for any remaining qualities, there’s always the chance to build these in future.

Six of the most-wanted employee traits

1. Proactivity

  • This quality earned a unanimous vote from the recruiters. It could also be referred to as ‘initiative’ as the description details the ability to prioritise, alongside working ‘independently and unprompted’.
  • Brainstorm examples of when your employers have benefited from your initiative and/or proactive nature. Weave these into your CV and interview responses.
  • Really want to prove your initiative? Consider the ways you can go beyond your job-seeking competitors. For example, by taking your interview research a step further and suggesting ways you can help achieve company goals or overcome business challenges.

2. Adaptability

  • Again, this attribute could come under another name: ‘flexibility’. Employers are looking to see that you can adapt to any changes that occur – whether these are changes to your everyday working role or larger organisational happenings.
  • As above (and for each of our subsequent tips!) start by brainstorming some of your finest practical examples. What changes have you faced and overcome at work?
  • You can also ensure to remain outwardly calm and positive regarding any surprises or changes that occur throughout your recruitment process. Whether that’s being interviewed by additional team members or being set an unexpected task. Often your attitude to taking on the task is a key part of the decision-making process.

3. Communication

  • Effective communication skills are vital. This isn’t just about your workplace conversations, yet rather each of your verbal, non-verbal and written cues. 
  • Convey positivity and respect towards each point of contact you encounter during your job search. That’s everyone from the receptionist you meet while waiting for your interview to the prospective colleagues you’re introduced to.
  • Don’t think your written communications have to stop at your CV and cover letter. Interview thank you emails offer another opportunity to demonstrate your writing skills. What’s more, there’s nothing to stop you from producing a document that showcases some of your recent projects or other working successes.

4. Commercial sense

  • A strong sense of business savvy or ‘commercial awareness’ can set you apart from your job-seeking competitors. This includes, yet is not limited to, an awareness of relevant industry trends and business opportunities.
  • This takes us back to that need to research beyond the business basics. Investigate industry and economic news reports, watch out for patterns and trends, and consider how your skills could be of benefit.
  • Ask interviewers questions about industry opportunities and challenges. Listen carefully to the responses and, where possible, tell your interviewer why you’re best placed to support them.

5. Empathy

  • Who wants to work with colleagues (or companies) who fail to put themselves in others’ shoes? The ability to be tactful and sensitive is prized and may just become one of the most valuable skills of the future.
  • There are many ways to communicate empathy during your interview. It starts by treating your interviewer like the individual they are. Find out more about what they enjoy about working for the company and the primary challenges they face within their role. Acknowledge their viewpoints.
  • Express empathy when discussing former colleagues or business challenges you’ve faced. Your empathy should also extend to your former employer. What’s more, you should remain mindful of giving away sensitive company information. You also want to convey trust!

6. A positive mindset 

  • The ability to focus on the positives of a situation tells employers you’ll always look for the best in things – something that can really help when faced with future challenges.
  • Let’s return to that old adage about never speaking negatively about colleagues or employers during interviews. It can be tempting to speak too freely about tricky bosses or unpleasant working environments. Instead, spin negatives on their head and discuss the positive outcomes. For example, a brief mention of a challenging role which has helped you foster X and Y skills.
  • Remember those non-verbal communication skills; keep your body language open, smile, and tell your interviewer what would excite or inspire you about working for them.

We hope this post has helped you identify some of your strengths and how to express them. Don’t forget to keep returning to our News & Advice feed throughout January for more support.



Christmas: some quality time off or time to job hunt?!

Should you use your Christmas break for some time off or as your prime time to job search? 

With Christmas Eve arriving tomorrow (whether it feels as if it’s arrived too soon or not!), it’s decision-making time.

Are you going to put your job hunt on hold for the duration of the festivities or are you going to step up your search ahead of the New Year? We’ll take a look at both options…

The pros of taking some time off:

If you’re already employed (and unless you work in retail, hospitality or similar), this is likely to be one of your longest breaks in the working year. It’s been a tough year for many professionals, with increasing numbers of people said to be at breaking point. It’s also the year that WHO expanded on its definition of burnout syndrome.

To top this all off, national productivity has plummeted and there’s even more research to prove that happy employees are more successful.

With all this in mind, the option of a break to unwind and enjoy yourself has clear benefits.

What’s more, it can sometimes take a proper break to gain a bit of perspective.

If you’re feeling run down, burned out and/or desperate for a break, it could be wise to use all or at least most of your leave for some time away from thoughts of work and job searching. You’ll likely feel more capable and confident as a result.

Why it could be the prime time to job hunt:

With many offices closed and (hopefully) now having a little more time to yourself, it can be an excellent opportunity to focus your mind on what you want to achieve in the New Year. It’s not uncommon to feel even more motivated as a result.

You’ll get the chance to research jobs more thoroughly, helping you to identify the most appealing and suitable opportunities.

The extra time can also allow you to put together a better quality CV than you’d compile on the average busy evening or weekend. You could even ask any willing friends and/or family to lend some thoughts on anything you might have missed out in your first draft.

It’s also a chance to make sure your CV is one of the first to arrive in inboxes ahead of the January return.

So, which is the best option for you?

This is a tricky question to answer. It’s most likely one that only you can answer – or someone very close to you who knows how you’ve been feeling lately.

Our best advice is to make sure you’re using at least some of your Christmas break to relax and recharge. However, providing as you’re not feeling unwell or burned out, you could also schedule some time for advancing your career. Perhaps following that period of proper relaxation to get the best of both worlds!

Reminder: if your stress is starting to interfere with the quality of your life (in and/or out of work), you should speak to your GP.

Also, if you’ve experienced a sense of career failure recently, please read this post. It may give you more confidence before those festive catch-ups!

Ready to start/continue your job search? Here are the latest opportunities.



Letting go of workplace grudges

Harbouring any workplace grudges? Perhaps you’re struggling to let go of that one thing your colleague did last week…or year?!

This is an important topic for every stage of your career. Your grudges can get in the way of your job search (for instance, making you appear negative during interviews), as well as being a nuisance for your daily tasks, workplace relationships, and even your promotion opportunities.

So what exactly is a workplace grudge?

Well, we all loosely know what a grudge is. It’s defined as ‘a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.’

But really, what is at the root of a grudge? According to psychologist Steven Sylvester, it’s actually when someone is “manifesting their frustration by pointing it at someone else. It’s a defensive tactic to explain away something we fear. If you have serial grudges, that shows a strong desire not to take full responsibility for what is happening in your life.”

This may sound far-fetched to you. Yet it’s worth asking yourself the following question, as posed by Sylvester – what does your grudge say about you?

For example, say your colleague embarrassed you in a team meeting. The colleague is clearly at fault for their actions, yet there’s also fear at the root of your response. You could be concerned about appearing foolish or maybe already worry that your superiors doubt your abilities.

Sylvester goes on to suggest 3 questions for each of your workplace grudges:

  1. What emotions are sparked by the person you’re holding the grudge against?
  2. What does that say about you?
  3. Plus how can you ‘self-correct’ the situation? In other words, what could you do in the future to alleviate the problem or prevent your grudge from taking hold?

If this sounds like too much hard work, it’s worth considering what could happen if you leave your grudges to fester…

The Plum has an article that highlights many of the ways workplace grudges can negatively affect the grudge holder:

  • By limiting workplace productivity
  • Making it harder to concentrate and problem-solve
  • Possibly also contributing to ‘chronic inflammation, high blood pressure and an elevated heart rate’.

They also offer another great piece of advice: “if the grudge relates to your current work situation, let it motivate you to work towards what you want.”

Know you want a new job? You’ll find the latest listings here. Plus don’t forget to keep up with our news page for more career insights and advice.



The recruitment stats that matter

What’s happening in recruitment? How the latest recruitment stats can help you as a job-seeker – and why this is also relevant to anyone looking to recruit for their team…

You may have seen us mention the importance of knowing what’s going in the wider employment market. This sort of information can help you make the right choices for your career, along with gathering more specific data regarding the local market and your chosen industry.

Employers can also benefit from these stats, which can help inform recruitment decisions from salary offerings to interview process considerations.

With this in mind, we thought we’d share a selection of facts from a recent Onrec piece.

UK Recruitment stats – what’s happening in 2019…

  1. Job application figures have risen by 15.9% since 2018. Southern regions have seen the biggest increase. This means you may observe greater job-seeker competition in your industry; all the more reason to prioritise your job search approach (and CV)!
  2. Salaries for new job roles have increased by 17.7% in the most recent quarter, which may explain some of the more recent surges in applications.
  3. UK pay growth as a whole has risen by 3.1%, which is the highest rate in ‘almost a decade’.
  4. National employment is at a record high – 32.69 million people are now employed. This is 282,000 more than in 2018. This poses a challenge for employers who eagerly trying to source candidates with the relevant skills-base. This may offer an opportunity for job-seekers, however, there’s still a responsibility to highlight your skills effectively.
  5. The sectors which have received the biggest increase in applications include the charity sector (72.3%), hospitality (45.7%), IT (36.3%) legal (33.6%) and electronics (26.7%).

Plus…

  1. It’s the arts & entertainment industry that’s observed the biggest increase in job vacancies (up by 12.4% since 2018).
  2. 40% of employees are neglecting other non-work ‘aspects of their life’ due to a ‘demanding work culture,’ risking potential mental health troubles. This has become an increasingly common topic over recent months, with many employees nearing ‘breaking point.’ It’s important for everyone to think about how they’re spending their time in and out of work.
  3. Flexible working may be the future. 70% of small companies say they have ‘some form’ of flexi-working available. Plus 73% of employees believe this has increased their job satisfaction levels. In reality, however, it appears that many flexible working requests are still being denied.
  4. The average ‘job interview process’ stands at 27.5 days – almost a full month.
  5. 75% of candidates take the time to research a prospective employer via websites, social media and company reviews, which has caused many employers to increase their efforts in these areas. This knowledge should also serve as a nudge to the 25% of job-seekers who are not making such an effort!

Please call the office on 01225 313130 for further recruitment advice. You’ll also find the latest job opportunities listed here.  



The group fuelling employment growth & pursuing career progression

Can you guess which age group has fuelled 90% of UK employment growth over the past year? 

You’ll see that we always cover a mix of career news affecting employees across all age groups. From the young professionals driving the flexible working movement to the over-65s leading the way on the wellbeing front…and the working parents juggling everything in-between!

In many ways, each item is relevant to us all. We’re now experiencing greater age diversity in the workplace than ever before (thanks to our longer and healthier working lives). This means we each need to gather insights from different professional groups, so we can all learn from each other and create greater business success.

Now, back to our opening question – have you guessed which age group is fuelling the UK’s employment growth?

According to Aviva’s research, it’s the over-55s employee group that has contributed to 90% of UK growth over the past year.

It’s especially interesting to read the rest of their data…

  • Almost 1 in 5 employees aged 55-59 plan to move jobs to further their career progression.
  • This figure falls to 1 in 10 for the 60 to 64-year-old age category. However, most of these participants plan to make their move within the next year.
  • What’s more, professionals want to keep learning and deepening their skill-set. More than 1/3 of the 55-59 group hope to participate in employer training and 1/5 want to pursue their own course or qualification.
  • 14% are additionally shadowing other employees to gather more knowledge and experience.

Commenting on our nation’s working lifestyles, Aviva’s Alistair McQueen says: “forward-thinking employers will respond to this changing world, and they will be rewarded for doing so, securing and retaining the best of this booming population”.

We agree; it’s also about overcoming stereotypes regarding which employee groups want to receive training and progression opportunities. Getting to know and support all team members can only benefit your employee attraction and retention rates, alongside your business success.

Please call 01225 313130 for further recruitment advice, including how to attract the best team members to your business.



Do connections matter more than talent in recruitment?

Do your personal connections really make all the difference to your career success?

2,000 UK employees aged 18-65 have been surveyed regarding possible routes to career success and the results are illuminating:

  • 37% of employees think that they must know ‘influential’ business people in order to be recruited or promoted.
  • Conversely, only 26% see their ‘work ethic’ as bearing an influence on these decisions.
  • And only 21% say talent is key.
  • 7% of the group believes that ‘social background’ contributes to their promotion opportunities or lack thereof.

About this study…

These findings come from The Social Mobility Pledge, a group working to promote social mobility in business.

Their founder, Justine Greening, is quoted as saying “…how can our country move forward as a whole when so many people feel they’re excluded from making the most of themselves because they don’t know the right person or belong to the right network? Family or personal ties have no place on the list of considerations when recruitment or promotion decisions are made.”

How much do your connections really matter?

It would be a lie to say that nobody in the UK has ever benefited from their family ties. However, please be assured that there’s more than one route to career success!

We’ve been recruiting for more than 20 years in Bath. Our clients don’t come to us asking for well-connected individuals, rather they come to us asking for the best match for their roles.

When saying the ‘best match’, talent and work ethic should feature much higher on those stats. Clients are looking for people with relevant experience and transferable skills and who’ll bring the right attitude to their teams.

How to increase your confidence when you’re lacking so-called ‘connections’…

  1. Re-read the above! Sometimes our assumptions get in the way of our choices. If you’re not putting yourself forward for a role that you know that you’re suitable or qualified for, you could be seriously holding yourself back.
  2. Remember there are many forms of connections in business. For instance, as recruitment consultants, our clients value our candidate insights and expertise. Not all agencies work the same; look for an REC-accredited company in your field (we’re on the list!).
  3. Increase your knowledge. Make sure you’re aware of what’s happening in business and your industry. Our news articles are a great starting point for general business news and career advice. You can also connect with us via  Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to receive links to the latest features.
  4. Increase your effort! Make sure that your CV is doing all it can to ‘sell your sutability’ to prospective employers and recruiters. As ever, tailor the content to match your individual applications. Here’s some simple CV advice and what to include in your cover email when contacting a recruitment agency for the first time.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask. Your recruitment consultant can support you with any questions you may have regarding your suitability for a vacancy. Once again, don’t let your assumptions stop you from putting yourself forward!

Ready to apply for a new role? Visit our Jobs page for opportunities throughout Bath and Wiltshire.