4 signs you’ve found (or are) the right candidate!

How to know whether you’ve found (or are!) the right candidate for the job – a post for employers and job-seekers…

Last week, Onrec published a post that we knew we had to feature in our January series. It’s titled: ‘Think you’ve found the right candidate? 4 signs every employer should look for.’

While the piece is clearly targeted at employers and HR Managers, it also offers valuable reading for job-seekers. After all, one of the most vital tools in your job search is the ability to understand what businesses are looking for – allowing you to demonstrate your suitability for the role.

Onrec’s advice is perhaps surprisingly simple. You may think that each of these four signs would be a given when attending interviews. However, it’s the people who can do these things particularly well (and most genuinely!) who really stand out.

The 4 signs that you could be the right candidate are…

1. Exuding enthusiasm:

True enthusiasm can really help you set you apart from your competitors. This includes an enthusiasm about your experience to date, alongside the opportunity to bring your experiences into the role you’re discussing. The best bit? The Onrec article highlights how achievable this is, regardless of your interview nerves.

Tip: before attending any interviews, spend some time considering what you’re most enthusiastic and excited about at this point in your career. What’ve you most enjoyed about your previous work and what are you looking forward to doing next? Make notes and discuss with friends if this helps you to become more comfortable in expressing your positivity.

2.  You’ve swotted up:

You need to show that you’ve swotted up on each business you’re interviewing for. This isn’t just about proving you understand the company and its purpose, yet also showing you’re proactive and prepared.

Tip: even if it’s a last-minute interview request, you can have a good look at the company website. Keep a close watch for any mentions of company goals, aims, working ethos or similar. Got longer to prepare? Visit social media feeds, research news items about the company, industry trends and more. This tip also ties into the ‘Proactivity’ point in this post.

3. Seeing flaws as growth opportunities

The most well-rounded candidates can take an honest look at themselves and see how their downfalls can be used as areas of improvement. It helps if you can give real-life examples of times you’ve turned a flaw or failure into a learning and development opportunity.

Tip: try to brainstorm something other than perfectionism (the most popular weakness that’s become something of an interview cliche!). Think of a challenge you’ve overcome, which trait this represented, and how you overcame it and/or the steps you’re currently taking to improve. Again, express enthusiasm for your personal development rather than shame for being human in the first place!

4. Communicating well

Onrec’s final point also ties in well with the ‘Empathy’ trait in this article. You want to communicate clearly and positively with every person you encounter throughout your recruitment process.

This goes beyond your interview conversations and extends into any emails, calls and/or texts you exchange. Not to mention those non-verbal communications with anyone you pass in the interview building.

Tip: always give yourself space to re-read any written comms before firing them off to a prospective employer. You can also stand out by sending interview thank you notes – here’s some advice on how to do this if you’re working with a recruitment agency.

Catch up with the rest of our January series so far…

Don’t forget to keep popping back to our News page to see the latest instalments. You can also connect with us via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn



Beating the New Year blues & SAD

Essential advice for anyone who suffers from the New Year Blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD)…

The first weeks after the Christmas break can be a challenge for many employees. Yet certain groups are more likely to suffer at this time of year; especially those affected by SAD.

Wondering how this fits into our positive January focus? There’s good news within!

How do you know if you have SAD?

According to the NHS website, SAD can encompass:

  • Persistent low mood
  • Loss of pleasure/interest in normal everyday activities
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • Lethargy (lacking in energy) and daytime sleepiness
  • Sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight

These symptoms can become severe and anyone struggling to cope is expressly advised to contact their GP.

Why this time of year can be especially hard:

As Personnel Today describes, there are many triggers that can make January a tricky month.

Gloomy days, financial worries, train delays and fare increases, alongside trying to get back into your work, and the pressure to get fit are all featured.

The good news:

Your solution to beating the January Blues and SAD doesn’t have to be complicated. This can include:

  • Making sure to get out in the daylight each day
  • Using SAD lamps in dark offices
  • Taking regular and ‘real’ downtime
  • Making efforts to reduce your stress levels
  • Consuming a balanced diet and having healthy snacks on hand at work
  • Reconnecting with friends and colleagues

Think it takes a more dramatic wellness plan to beat those New Year blues?

You might want to go easier on yourself. GP Margaret McCartney reminds that “achieving a healthy lifestyle should not be a complicated consumerist puzzle involving expensive memberships, diet books and deference to gurus”. Conversely, “some space, a pair of trainers and a bit of time may be all you need. If you are neglecting your family or work because of the need to do it, that doesn’t sound like wellbeing”.

All in all, the advice suggests that it’s the simple steps that can really help you feel better this January – and all the more ready to launch into your 2020 career plans! 

Let yours begin with a visit to our jobs page.



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.



Social media: a reminder to check your feeds!

Another reminder to check your social media feeds if you’re looking for a new job…

No doubt you’re already using your social media within your job search. It’s such a convenient way to watch out for new and urgent vacancies and to keep up-to-date with the latest in career news and advice.

(Tip: you can find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for all of the aforementioned!)

However, even if you’re not actively using your feeds to research new jobs, your prospective employers may be using them to research you! What’s more, there may be multiple ways you’re putting them off…

When social media stops candidates from getting the job:

The Muse has shared 8 times that real-life candidates have been rejected from a role due to something they did or said on their social feeds.

In summary, the examples include:

  • Social media arguments
  • A clear case of lying
  • An offensive profile picture
  • Resharing items from inappropriate feeds
  • Swearing and expressing anger about personal interests
  • ‘Antithetical’ viewpoints (those in contrast to the company’s)
  • Derogatory doodles
  • And sharing plans to ‘party all summer’…having just accepted a summer job

Each example is elaborated upon in the piece. It’s also important to note that these aren’t the only reasons someone could lose out on a role due to their social persona.

That’s the key:

Your social media profiles offer a glimpse into your public, personal and professional personas. As for the good news, this means that there are also ways that you can use your feeds to create a positive impression:

  • Take another look at your profile photos. Even if your account is set to ‘Private,’ prospective employers may be able to see this part. What do your pictures say about you?
  • Consider using the Private mode for your more personal accounts. Particularly if you’re yet to review these.
  • Review and delete any conversations that could be taken offensively or out of context. You could always ask a trusted friend or associate to help you with this part.
  • Watch out for contradictions: for example, if you always promote your energy and enthusiasm in interviews yet regularly post about your exhaustion and boredom.
  • Try to use your social feeds to share more meaningful content that better represents you within your target industry. This could include sharing business and/or cultural news, promoting positive projects, discussing your personal development activity (books, courses, etc.), supporting others, and generally engaging in helpful or beneficial conversations.

We’ll leave you to review your feeds! Don’t forget to regularly check in with our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn posts, alongside our jobs page



Career advice: how to handle job rejection

Have you faced more than your fair share of job rejection? Or have you been rejected for something that you thought was an absolute given? Sharing some insider insights and advice…

Recognise that there are many reasons for job rejection.

It’s hard not to take any form of rejection personally; particularly when you’re given all the cues that you’re a good fit for a role. However, rather than dwelling on what you’ve done wrong (which might not be anything!) focus on what could have gone right for someone else this time.

You see that we haven’t said what someone else has done right yet rather what’s gone right for them? For instance…

  • You could be super qualified and/or experienced, yet the selected candidate could be even more so or simply have one skill or bit of experience that you don’t (yet!).
  • You might have indicated that you’re looking for career progression when the interviewer knows that they can’t offer this and thinks you’ll soon be bored.
  • Your interviewer may really like your personality but feel someone else will slot in better with certain team members.
  • Your interview could have been great. But someone else’s interview may have flowed better.
  • It could be that there was barely anything between you and your competition and your interviewer simply went by instinct. In this case, perhaps you would have been the one selected on another day.

We could go on – and it could be a complete mix of the above/other factors!

But what if it happens over and over again?

This still doesn’t necessarily mean it’s personal. You could be looking for jobs within a particularly competitive industry or picking roles with unusually high application numbers.

Keep applying and keep applying well! Make sure you take the time to work on each application and interview. Plus, where possible, make sure you’re always seeking feedback on those roles that you didn’t get.

Your recruitment consultant should assist you in gaining interview feedback to help you with your future applications.

Ready to look for your next role? Visit our jobs page



Job Search September! Is everyone looking for a new job?

Will this new season also spell the start of a new job frenzy throughout the nation? Some of the latest findings suggest so…

Wix (the web development platform) has conducted its own research among professionals. They’ve found that:

  • 49% of British professionals intend to leave their job on return from their summer holiday.
  • September is one of the most popular times to change jobs, next to January.
  • A number of workers are deliberately missing return flights and hiding their holiday social media updates so their employers won’t see!
  • There is also data regarding the desire to set up new businesses, the industries people want to specialise in and the type of breaks that inspire a new job search!

Why are professionals feeling so fed up?

  • 69% of respondents experience a sense of ‘dread’ about returning to the office.
  • 42% of people crave more flexibility in their working lives.
  • 39% state that they feel ‘undervalued’.
  • In addition, 37% believe they’re underpaid for their role.
  • 34% say they either don’t like their boss or colleagues.
  • And 31% cite poor management at work.

Will we really experience a Job Search September?

It’s unlikely that the whole study pool will hand in their notice this month! While holidays often spark a period of reflection, many people won’t follow through on their ideas on return from their break.

That said, some of the group will, and the fact remains that this is a popular time to make a change. Other findings reflect some of the above sentiment, yet less dramatically(/imminently)!

For instance, a separate study suggests that just under 1/3 of office employees are ‘considering’ finding a new job within the next year.

Many of the triggers are the same…

  • 39% hope to achieve a better work-life balance, with 32% specifically wanting flexible working options.
  • 38% are looking for a pay rise.
  • This group also believe that their skills will be ‘more desirable in the coming months’ (32%) – and that they’ll still receive ‘multiple job offers with competitive salaries’ (33%).
  • The youngest age group (comprising 16 to 24-year-olds) appears most likely to search for a new role, with career progression and work-life balance the greatest incentives for this demographic. They also prioritise corporate culture over pay rates.
  • Employees aged 35 and over are 10% less likely to job search, yet place an increased value on salaries (42% versus 17% for 16 to 24-year-olds). This is unsurprising if you consider career stage and life factors, including average household and/or caring responsibilities.

Both articles mention the need for employers to prepare themselves for a period of change. Alongside exploring staff retention strategies, this may naturally include an increased recruitment focus.

Please call the office on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment requirements or email the team directly. Job-seekers can apply for the latest openings via the jobs page, CV upload, or by email. Here’s what to include in your cover email if you’re looking for a new job!



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.



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?!



Create more joy at work – for you & others

What are the top ways to create joy at work? Essential reading to support you and your colleagues…

Work and joy aren’t necessarily synonymous in your thoughts. Yet understanding what creates most happiness could help you to step closer to this notion. What’s more, knowing what makes most people feel happier could help you to become a better colleague – whether you’re managing employees or simply working alongside them.

It’s time to turn to a recent survey of UK professionals, which reveals that…

The greatest work joys include:

  1. Completing tasks without mistakes (52.6%)
  2. ‘Helping others’ (41.9%)
  3. Challenging your abilities with a tricky task (30.5%)
  4. Praise from your manager (27.7%)
  5. Compliments from colleagues (24.8%)
  6. Being awarded the ‘leading role’ on a project (18.8%)
  7. Leaving work each day! (17.3%)
  8. Arriving at work on time (15.3%)
  9. Taking your allocated breaks and heading home on time (5.4%)
  10. And not having too much work to do (3.8%)

Is this a good sign?

It’s promising that the most popular responses are those that pertain to doing a good job and being a great colleague, rather than escaping from work! Not that there’s anything wrong with looking forward to your personal time when you consider that most people are experiencing some work-life balance challenges.

If you do find yourself solely identifying with items 7, 9 and 10, it’s likely you’re not doing a job that aligns with your skills and interests. Perhaps you’d like to take a look at the latest job opportunities.

Additionally, if you identify with a mix of these factors but really don’t get much opportunity to experience them, you may also want to do some research to see what else is out there.

How to bring more joy & be a better colleague

  • One of the benefits of this list is that it’s relatively simple to experiment with. While you may not be awarded any leading roles right now, you can more easily offer others your help; challenge yourself to really use your skills; offer genuine compliments to colleagues and make more of an effort to arrive and leave on time.
  • Of course, your colleagues are likely to appreciate those genuine compliments and your assistance. Yet they’ll also appreciate something you may not so readily do – accepting their offers of help.
  • And you never know, the more items you tick, the more likely you are to receive that praise from your manager and/or be assigned a more senior role or project.

Feeling happy at work yet ready for a new challenge? You’ll also want to head straight to our jobs page!