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.



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



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



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.