Are you suffering from vocation frustration?

UK office workers are suffering from a serious case of vocation frustration, says a recent Staples report…

The report, available in full on the Staples website, opens with a description of how most people want to feel. When office life runs smoothly and “it all just works”. However, it soon explains that the national workplace presents a far more frustrated picture.

An ideal situation:

  • 89% of people look to feel fulfiled in their jobs. Professor Sir Cary Cooper of the Alliance Manchester Business School states that both “the physical and psychological environments are critical to achieving this.”
  • 2/5 of professionals additionally want to ‘feel like a boss’ regardless of their job role.
  • What’s more, 83% wish they could head home after work feeling they’ve ‘made a difference.’

The realities of vocation frustration:

  • Sadly, the above aims don’t ring true for many office workers. 97% of people report to feeling frustrated in their jobs!
  • It doesn’t take long to feel this way; 37% grow frustrated in a new work setting within just six months.

This frustration causes…

  • 89% of people to consider changing jobs. 10% report to ‘constantly’ thinking about this.
  • 35% of people moan to someone else.
  • 24% dream up a beach escape!
  • And 22% head straight to job advertisements. You may well have already visited our jobs page before reading this post?!

The Staples report goes on to highlight more on the link between the physical environment and a sense of fulfilment, alongside productivity, positive mental health and staff retention.

This topic may feel familiar to anyone who read our previous article on creating a happy workspace, which features a separate Staples report.

If you’re constantly feeling frustrated at work, it might be time to have a chat with a recruitment consultant who specialises in your industry. The REC website has a Member Directory to help you find reputable recruitment agencies in your area. 



Job hunting this lunch break?

Are you using your lunch break to job search? Why so many professionals are, plus some considerations to be aware of…

The lunch break job hunters:

  • It turns out that 1/4 of UK professionals are now job searching at lunchtime.
  • 1/3 of people aged 22-35 even apply for job vacancies during working hours.
  • In comparison, the over-55s are more likely to conduct their job search after work (58%).

What’s behind these figures?

  • The majority of respondents hope to increase their salaries (41%). This actually contradicts other recent research findings.
  • There’s also the aim of making a ‘fresh start’ (31%);
  • Plus simply wanting to know what else is out there (over 25%)
  • Alongside an eagerness to work for a different company (23%).

Some hints and tips…

  1. It’s definitely wise to save your job hunting for your lunch break rather than during office hours. You’re entitled to a break. For most, this will include an hour-long lunchtime. For others, it’ll simply be the 20 minutes that you earn for working more than a 6 hour day. Either way, this break should ideally be ‘uninterrupted’ and is yours to spend as you wish…within reason, of course (your contract may stipulate certain limitations, such as the amount of alcohol that can be consumed during the day. But that’s a different topic)!
  2. Avoid using any work devices to conduct your job search; even if it is during your lunch break. Your employer may monitor computers, laptops/tablets and phones. This is a private endeavour that should be limited to your own technology.
  3. On a similar note, always use your own email address, rather than your company’s. Again, company emails may be monitored.
  4. Private devices operated on company Wi-Fi might not be so private after all. Where possible, take yourself out of the office where you can conduct your search in peace.
  5. Don’t rush your applications. You want to make sure you can give your CV and any cover letters proper attention. Use this time to research and bookmark openings and make any initial enquiries. Only send your CV if you’re sure it’s ready to be sent (keep a copy in your email drafts for this purpose). Also be sure to proofread your cover note and check that you’re not emailing it to your boss/colleague by mistake!
  6. Lunch breaks are fantastic for contacting and/or meeting with recruitment agencies. Let them know if you’re only available for a certain period of time so you feel more relaxed. For further advice about your search, please call an Appoint consultant on 01225 313130. Here’s what to include if you’re emailing your CV to a recruitment agency. And, finally, here’s where you can upload your CV via our website.

Best of luck with your job search – we look forward to hearing from you regarding jobs in Bath and the surrounding area. 



Fantastic reasons to work in finance

How the finance and financial services industries are leading the way, according to three recent news reports.

This is promising reading for anyone considering a new job or career within these sectors – which have long served as prominent local employers.

1) Training and development potential

The finance sector currently tops the list for professions providing training and skills development opportunities.

  • Finance scored 88%
  • The rest of the top five included: HR/recruitment (82%)
  • Civil servant roles (81%)
  • Law (78%)
  • And Accounts (77%)

In addition, you’ll see that other great commercial office employers receive top ten scores.

This is all the more impressive when you consider that almost 1/3 of businesses do not offer any employee training or development. We discuss some of the reasons why this is the case here.

2) Fastest growing sectors for women

Finance and financial services also appear in the ‘top ten fastest growing industries for women‘.

This data explores the rate of growth over the 20-year period from 1998 to 2018.

  • ‘Support for finance and insurance’ has increased by 124.18%, which places these industries in 9th position.
  • Other high-scoring roles, such as head office management (showing a 191.27% increase) and Information services (up 146.15%) could be conducted both within and outside of these sectors.

3) Workplace happiness

The industry once again scores in the top ten of the ‘Workplace Happiness League Table‘.

  • Finance achieves a 68% score for employees who rank themselves as ‘happy or very happy’ in their jobs.
  • Legal, IT and telecoms, property, media/communications and the medical industries all also score impressively.

80% of people rank happiness as ‘important’ at work, versus 58% for salary, according to the survey. Another fantastic reason to work within this sector!

You can find our latest finance jobs here and financial services roles here. Do keep an eye on the jobs listings page in general, as it’s regularly refreshed with new opportunities. 

Read next: is salary the most important factor in your job search?



Building your transferable skills

By now, you’ve probably heard a lot about transferable skills. Yet how easily can you identify yours and do you know how to build them?

What makes a skill transferable?

The term applies to any key skill or attribute that you can carry from one job to the next.

While vital for us all, they become especially imperative for those that are…

  • Only just embarking on their career
  • Entering a new industry
  • Looking to make a major job change
  • Returning to work after a career break

Each of these groups may have to work that bit harder to demonstrate their suitability for a job role. So, rather than describing the skills gained from a recent job, they will illustrate their transferable skills gathered from elsewhere.

Example skills include:

All those personal attributes that spring to mind when highlighting the best of your abilities, including:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Perseverance
  • Project management
  • Reliability
  • Organisation
  • Budgeting
  • Record keeping
  • Research
  • IT and technical

As you can imagine, this list could become extensive and will certainly vary by individual.

Where do you develop transferable skills?

You develop these attributes over time and through a variety of professional and personal duties. For instance:

  • Your career roles to date
  • ‘Non-career’ jobs, such as part-time positions undertaken during your studies
  • Professional associations
  • Work experience placements
  • Voluntary roles
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Training courses
  • Travel
  • And caring responsibilities

Communicating your skills:

If there’s one tip that you take away from this piece, it’s this: make it relevant!

Employers want to see how closely you match the needs of their business and how well you’d ‘fit’ within their job role.

Spotted a job you want to apply for?

  1. Highlight the skills that the employer is looking for, then brainstorm all the ways that you’ve used these to date. Refer to the list above to prompt your recall.
  2. Compile specific examples to illustrate how you’ve used these skills in practice – and how you’ve used them to someone’s benefit. How has it helped your employer or voluntary organisation, colleagues, teammates, peers or personal/career development? Have these skills led to any specific achievements? Revisit our last post for more advice on how to showcase these.
  3. Weave your findings throughout your CV; include these in your personal profile, key skills summary and employment history. You can even highlight some of the most relevant skills in your cover letter or email.
  4. Finally, get in the habit of regularly reading job listings so you can quickly identify the most common key skills needed within your industry. See how you can build more of these both in and out of work.


The creative & innovative employee

How creative or innovative do you get to be on a daily basis? It’s important to remember that these words should apply to all industries and jobs, not just the artistic!

Creativity and innovation allow us all to work in new ways, formulate new ideas, and progress. However, employers and managers are overestimating just how much room they give their teams to use these skills.

Employees don’t feel able to be innovative at work…

  • 76% of business leaders believe they ’empower their employees to be innovative.’
  • However, only 34% of professionals feel encouraged in this way.
  • Yet 95% of businesses see innovation as imperative to their business growth and 91% of employees want the opportunity to be more innovative in their roles.
  • Employers are also misreading those tools that inspire creativity. They over-prioritise financial incentives and under-prioritise the role that ‘purpose’ plays in our work.
  • These findings (from Accenture, reported by HR Magazine) also reveal that staff specifically want appropriate skills development, flexible working opportunities, and a healthier work-life balance. Each aspect is believed to nurture greater innovation.

Tips for employers: each aspect features in our ‘7 Days of Employee Attraction Tips.’ See Days 3-5 for more advice. Make sure you’re also gathering genuine feedback from your employees. You don’t want to be among the managers who think they’re creating a culture that they’re not!

Good managers can spark creativity

It’s interesting to hear that managers can also increase creativity by using one essential skill – attentive listening.

  • In a separate international study, also shared by HR Magazine, employees expressed greater creativity when they felt listened to. Their workload was also of increased quality.
  • Conversely, distracted managers failed to promote such a response.
  • The article additionally highlights several flaws surrounding common brainstorming activities. Many people fear ridicule in response to sharing their ideas. Employees also worry about being the person that constantly offers up ideas in fear of annoying others.

There’s some sage advice for all managers; much of the focus needs to be paid to creating a more relaxed and informal culture that allows for ideas to be developed over time.

A brief note for stifled employees…

Where possible, share your ideas with your manager or a trusted colleague. You may be letting your fears get the better of you. Hopefully, your confidence will soon increase alongside your enjoyment of your role.

However, in instances where you’ve repeatedly tried and still feel stifled, or you simply fancy a change of scene, your skills may be better used elsewhere. You can read and apply for the latest jobs here.



Interview etiquette: expert tips!

How would you rate your interview etiquette? This post contains must-read advice for anyone who has not been interviewed for some time, those who keep being interviewed but are struggling to find a job, and even those who are due to be interviewing someone soon!

Interview etiquette: the rules of engagement

There are a number of rules of thumb when it comes to your general interview approach. Our first source clearly covers the basics:

  • Doing your interview research – from the job spec, to the company website, its social feeds, and any recent news reports.
  • Preparing to ask your own questions.
  • Letting you know how early you should be.
  • Anticipating the ‘greatest weakness’ question (tip: prepare something other than ‘I’m a perfectionist’, which is the most common response).
  • And watching your body language.

As we say, these are the basics. They are expected of all interview candidates and they signal that you’re taking the process seriously.

You can also use these tips to go beyond the basics and set yourself apart. For instance, using your research findings to prepare a document that demonstrates how your experience and/or skill-set suits the company’s mission or needs.

With many candidates spending just 30 minutes on their interview research, your efforts can really pay off.

Interview etiquette: questions to avoid

We’ve mentioned being prepared to ask your own interview questions. Some questions can naturally arise throughout the conversation and it may feel appropriate to ask these at the time. However, you’ll also usually receive an opportunity to ask any outstanding questions towards the end of the interview.

It’s best to spend a bit of time brainstorming this aspect in advance. What do you really want to know about the company or role?

If your prospective salary is the first thing to come to mind, think again! This was one of the five worst questions to ask at interview.

Instead, it could be wiser to think along the lines of asking the interviewer about their own experiences working for the company, their primary goals, expectations or similar.

Where possible, you can use their answer as a final opportunity to ‘sell yourself’ by drawing a connection between their response and your suitability for the role.

Interview etiquette: what you really want to say

The Independent has shared a number of handy insights for anyone who really wants to brush up on their interview technique.

They called it ‘The Four Most Important Phrases to say in a job interview’. It’s a longer-form piece, which outlines…

  1. The best way to respond when asked ‘tell me more about yourself’.
  2. How to show the interviewer that you know the challenges they’re trying to address and how you can help resolve them.
  3. Clearly expressing your ‘value and relevance’, alongside your greatest accomplishments.
  4. Finding a professional way to ascertain your possible suitability for the role.

The Independent also has a second article (already linked above regarding why not to say you’re a perfectionist) highlighting some other interview etiquette tips. These include not making a dig about your current or previous boss, being honest if you’re interviewing elsewhere and not asking about your holiday entitlement.

Interview etiquette: as an interviewer

Prospective interviewers will also want to check their interview etiquette – and the law! – when considering their upcoming questions. It turns out that 85% of interviewers are regularly asking inappropriate, and off-limits, questions. These include asking about:

  • A candidate’s accent
  • Date of birth
  • Year of graduation
  • Marital or relationship status
  • Plans to start a family

For more interview guidance and support, please call your Recruitment Consultant on 01225 313130. Looking for CV advice? Download our free PDF



Is your salary the most important factor?

Investigating whether your salary is the most important of all the job benefits. What else appeals to today’s job-seekers and what’s so important about this research?

Let’s start with the importance of this topic. As we mentioned in our last post, job vacancy numbers have reached an all-time high. This means that each employer has to work all the harder to impress suitable applicants.

This also means that there are regular surveys to ascertain which factors are most likely to attract a candidate into a new role. Surveys such as the one behind the ‘Attracting the Right Talent – Meeting Demands through the Job Offering Report.’

Salary isn’t (necessarily!) the most important factor…

  • At present, just over 1/3 of the nation’s professionals say their ‘career expectations are not being met’. They most prioritise…
  • Working for an employer that ‘values you’ (25%)
  • The opportunity to gain experience (17%)
  • Creating a strong work-life balance (18%)
  • And developing personal technical skills and abilities (11%)

Those that had worked for their employer for more than five years were even more likely to rate feeling valued and work-life balance as most important.

Alongside this, 60% of people prioritise the chance to develop their career within their job role.

You’ll see salary is yet to be mentioned. However, there is some regional variation here. In the South, workers are more likely to prioritise the career and lifestyle factors mentioned. Whereas the majority of professionals in the North East and Midlands valued their salary above all else.

There’s also some sector difference. The banking and financial services industry was the only sector that specifically regarded a pay rise as their primary career priority.

The report says there’s been a marked shift in attitudes due to the ‘millennial impact’. This group of workers is placing greater importance on lifestyle elements beyond pay rates.

What does this all mean?

We can see that attitudes are changing. However, it’s not long ago we heard that the UK is more salary-minded than any other European country and that 62% of people primarily work for this reason.

It’s worth considering the research as a whole. Salaries are incredibly important to many workers, yet there are also plenty of other factors that are relevant to job searching…and the acceptance of job offers.

  • As a candidate: it’s useful to consider your own priorities. What matters most in your career right now? Be sure to let your Recruitment Consultant know what you’re looking for. You can include some of this information right from your first email to your agency.
  • As an employer: take a look at your employee attraction offering. Are you making your team feel valued, do you help to create a positive work-life balance, and are you ensuring your staff receives regular skills development? What’s more, are you communicating these messages in your job advertisements? This post will help you to sharpen your employee attraction strategy.

For specialist recruitment support, please call the office on 01225 313130. Further details are available on our Contact page



Using the 80-20 principle in your job search!

How to apply the 80-20 principle to your job search…

Happy New Year to you all! Perhaps you’re simply catching up on some careers and recruitment news after the festive break, or maybe January has inspired you to launch a fresh new job search. Whatever brings you here today, this post endeavours to save you some time…

We’ll explore a rule of thumb that you can apply to all aspects of your work. Including your efforts to secure that new role.

Introducing the 80-20 principle…

This popular business concept is more formally known as the ‘Pareto Principle’. Which just so happens to be named after its founder, Vilfredo Pareto – a notable economist and philosopher.

Forbes provides an excellent explanation of the 80-20 principle. However, let’s get straight to the core finding: 80% of the results you generate at work (and in your job search) will come from just 20% of your total efforts.

Let’s imagine you spend 100 hours (just over 4 days) searching, applying and interviewing for new roles. The average person would undertake 80 hours (3.33 full days) of action without achieving many results. It would be the 20 hours of work (less than one full day’s efforts) that would provide 80% of the pay-off.

How accurate is this?

This is a rule of thumb. So, it may be that just 15% of your hard work gleans the most results or it may be that it takes a spot more effort on some occasions. However, it does appear to broadly apply across life and business.

As for the 100 hours to find a job part, this is just an example. It’s incredibly challenging to predict how long it takes to find a job due to the number of variables – for some people it takes only a matter of hours or days, for others it’s a far longer process.

The Pareto Principle also appears to apply to the choices we regularly make. We tend to pick the same 20% of options 80% of the time. So that’s the same few lunch options on regular rotation, the same tasks we’ll select from our daily/weekly lists, and the few outfits we’ll most often pick from our wardrobes.

So how does this knowledge benefit your job search?

The trick is in the application of the 80-20 principle. Rather than throwing all of your waking hours at your job search, invest your time where it will truly count. For instance…

  • Identifying your core search requirements before you get started vs. applying for every interesting vacancy you spot and then later realising they’re not right for you anyway.
  • Ensuring you’re contacting recruitment agencies who definitely recruit for your target roles/industry.
  • Generally doing your research at every stage – from thoroughly reading job specs (vital for CV writing) to interview preps.
  • Making sure your CV clearly demonstrates your suitability for each job; even when skimming.

You won’t always know which job vacancies will generate interview offers. After all, you’ll rarely know who you’re up against or exactly what the employer is searching for. But you can still save yourself a lot of wasted time.

Eager to get started? You’ll find our jobs vacancies listed here.



Reputation matters to job-seekers

Why any business looking to recruit new team members would be wise to take a good look at their reputation.

Today’s discussion rather neatly follows on from our last post. If you haven’t read it yet, it highlights the importance of job skills in relation to the ongoing skills shortage.

With many stats pointing towards both high staff demand and low application numbers, employers must appraise their staff attraction approach. And this is where brand reputation comes into the conversation…

Never more important than now:

It’s said that a brand’s online rep is more important now than ever before. Alongside the recruitment climate we’ve outlined above (and over the past few articles!), we all clearly possess the digital means to thoroughly investigate our prospective employers. The stats suggest:

  • 70% of people will always research an employer’s reputation before applying for a job.
  • 56% would not go on to make an application if the business had ‘no online presence’. 57% say they would distrust these companies.
  • As for what the candidates are searching for, employee satisfaction and how staff are treated top the priority list.

The power of word of mouth…

It’s not only low job application numbers that employers should be concerned about. Future buying behaviour may also be affected by their recruitment reputation.

Perhaps understandably, candidates who’ve been through an unpleasant recruitment experience are less likely to support that employer’s products or services. What’s more, word of mouth could further harm wider purchasing choices.

  • 69% of candidates would discuss their negative experience with others – 81% would do so through one-to-one conversations and 18% via social media broadcasting.
  • 47% who heard about such a negative encounter from a friend would be less willing to purchase the brand’s offerings.
  • The experiences most likely to influence buying behaviour included poor interview encounters, and ‘lack of transparency’ regarding salaries or job descriptions, alongside non-existent interview feedback.

A reputation for the positive:

Thanks to HR News, we’ve observed the importance of employer reputation and the consequences of a poor recruitment rep. Now, we turn to Recruiting Times and the draw of a positive impact.

Employees feel that working for these companies would increase their individual happiness and productivity. In addition, staff members would be willing to leave roles that didn’t prioritise a positive or meaningful ethos.

How companies can work with recruitment agencies to improve their employer reputations

  • As well as ensuring you have an up-to-date and easily found website, why not provide some extra details that support your employer reputation profile? This could include links to any awards you’ve received (especially those for staff management), links to review sites, and HR provisions you’re proud to offer.
  • If you have had any negative reviews as an employer, it may be worth discussing these with your Consultant. Perhaps it came from previous management and new methods are now in place. Honest conversations can help your Consultant to communicate openly with prospective candidates.
  • Sometimes it helps if candidates can meet with one or a few employees during the interview process. This also proves a useful tool for ascertaining potential team fit.
  • Recruitment consultants can advise on how to best conduct the interview process, support you in creating the most appropriate job descriptions and help provide interview feedback/updates.
  • The above can also include a focus on your impact statements and brand purpose. This must be authentic though, or else an excited applicant could soon become a disgruntled employee!

Please call the office on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment needs.