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.



The job skills special

As ever, we’re keeping a close eye on the job skills news. It’s vital that everyone involved in the recruitment process (candidates, clients and consultants included!) remains aware of the nation’s changing skills needs. Information that becomes all the more vital as the UK skills shortage becomes all the more prolonged…

What exactly is the skills shortage?

Quite simply, it’s the shortfall of suitable applicants for the number of job vacancies that the nation has to fill. It’s an issue that we’ve been exploring for more than 18 months.

The latest job skills news reveals that…

  1. Most businesses (79%) plan to increase their higher-skilled roles within the coming years. However, the majority of employers (66%) worry that they will struggle to find suitably matched employees.
  2. A Barclays LifeSkills survey shows that almost 60% of UK adults ‘lack core transferable’ job skills, including leadership and creativity. Differences are reported among demographic groups.
  3. 2/5 of people are being recruited for roles before discovering they do not have the right ‘soft skills’ required. More than 1/2 of workers have left a role on realising their personality or work style does not suit the position.
  4. SMEs face the worst of the skills shortage, with underperforming recruits costing an annual average of £39,500.
  5. Even when sources disagree on job vacancy figures, they agree upon these ongoing recruitment issues!

What are the solutions?

According to the reports, changes must be made at a formal education level. All future workers should be equipped with adequate skills for the modern workplace.

Alongside this, employers need to provide continued training opportunities. Therefore enabling existing workers to upskill on the job; aiding staff retention and business growth.

Businesses must also review their recruitment approach to ensure…

  • They are managing to attract enough applicants.
  • Employers also know how to best identify suitable skill-sets.
  • The job offering is additionally appealing enough to compete with those of other (perhaps better known) organisations.
  • Decision-making processes are swift enough to retain interested applicants.
  • While ample onboarding is provided to welcome new staff members.
  • Plus the list really does go on..!

What should you do now?

  • Employers & employees: keep reading articles such as these! We regularly share posts discussing the most sought-after job skills – useful insights whether you’re the one looking to fill these or the businesses competing to attract them! Re-read our skills shortage advice post.
  • Especially for job-seekers: do all that you can to ensure that you’re searching for the right jobs for you and you’re doing everything possible to highlight your skills. Follow these tips as closely as you can.
  • Especially for businesses: start working through that bulleted list above! Your Recruitment Consultant is the perfect person to call on to support you with this. For tailored recruitment advice, please call the office on 01225 313130.


Job vacancies: record highs or figures falling?

What does the number of job vacancies tell us about the state of the employment market? Well, the answer could depend on your chosen source…

Two different news items published only a day apart suggest that:

a) Advertised job vacancies are falling and reflect a ‘cooling off’ period 

Source: Recruiting Times & Adzuna

Adzuna has been recording its own data since 2012. However, it will not have access to the same quantity of data as our next source.

That said, it’s still of national interest as it considers the UK as a whole. Perhaps most interestingly, these findings also report on competition levels; stating that application numbers have fallen to an all-time low since Adzuna’s records began 6 years ago.

b)  Job vacancies have reached a record high since 2001

Source: HR Review & the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Conversely, the ONS reports that job vacancy numbers have reached the highest level recorded in 17 years. Although these figures are taken from the August to October 2018 period; Adzuna’s refer to the ‘latest data’ which may well be exploring the past month.

This report also reflects a talent shortage, stating that ’employers across many sectors are continuing to experience fundamental challenges in finding the staff and skills that they need.’

What the REC has to say on this topic…

As you may well know, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation also conducts regular research.

Their latest press release explored October’s figures and found:

  • Staff appointment numbers rose at their fastest rate last month.
  • Job vacancies ‘expanded at the softest pace’ for almost two years in October, yet staff demand was ‘historically sharp’.
  • Overall candidate availability fell at its steepest rate in nine months.

Considering all these findings, it appears that there is greater consensus across the sources than it might have appeared at first glance.

Certainly, each agrees that businesses are facing skills shortages, with HR Review reporting that “employers can expect to face continued recruitment and retention pressures and need to prioritise workforce planning.”

Looking to overcome the skills shortage?



Timing matters in recruitment!

Further proof that timing matters to job-seekers, right from the application stage through to interview feedback. A must-read for candidates and companies alike…

We’ve all heard it said often enough, time is our most precious commodity. The job searching process can take up a lot of time. Especially if you’re trying to go it alone in your search, you’re hunting in a competitive industry, applying for specialist roles, and/or you’re not quite looking in the right places. We’ll come back to this point shortly!

Meanwhile, we wanted to share two news items on the subject of recruitment timing.

Timing matters: at job application stage

Almost 3/4 of candidates are said to walk away from a job application if it takes longer than 15 minutes to complete. This is according to large-scale research, as reported by HR Magazine.

The article cites ‘lengthy processes’ and ‘too many requirements’ as the primary factors that cause applicants to abandon ship.

There are several ways to look at these findings. Firstly, too many organisations are putting barriers in place that may drive job-seekers away. Not the wisest move when the nation is facing an ongoing skills shortage! Yet it could also be said that few candidates would abandon an application if they were truly drawn to the job in question. In other words, perhaps it’s only driving away those who aren’t overly interested in the first place.

As with many studies of this nature, the reality likely lies somewhere between the two.

Advice for candidates:

  • Before you walk away from a longer job application, take a moment to consider your true level of interest. If 73% of people will tend to abandon that process, there are likely to be fewer applications than for the average job. This gives you more chance of standing out. It can also demonstrate determination and dedication. Still, if you’re not drawn to apply, you can invest your time in other more interesting applications.
  • Let’s return to the point of whether you’re looking ‘in the right places’/for the right roles. If you keep applying for positions because they’re the only positions you’re really finding, or you just feel you might as well, then you may want to read these job hunting tips. They’re designed to help you invest your job search time in the most rewarding places.

Advice for recruiting businesses:

  • Where possible or appropriate, divide lengthier job applications into stages. Meaning only candidates already shortlisted as potentially suitable have to enter into any extended (time-consuming!) processes. A CV and cover letter commonly still makes for the best initial shortlisting tool.
  • In addition, find a recruitment agency who specialises in your field. This allows you to tap into all of an agency’s candidate attraction tools. This usually includes their own online job application systems, as well as the use of any external jobs boards. It also allows you to utilise their expertise in candidate screening and selection. The REC Member Directory is a great place to start.

Timing matters: when it comes to interview feedback and job offers!

Yes, it’s not only in the job search phase that timing matters. 1/3 of job-seekers have also accepted their second preference role due to timing. Only, in this case, it’s due to ‘delayed interview feedback’.

This separate study, shared by HR News, also found that job applicants who’ve had delayed (or absent!) interview feedback may share their negative experiences with others, and could even cancel any services they hold with the company.

The South-West was the second slowest feedback region (after Scotland). Interviewers take an average of 29 days to provide interview feedback in the South-West, which is almost two weeks longer than the South-East region. Regional and sector differences have been illustrated on this map.

Advice for candidates:

  • If you’re working with a recruitment agency, your consultant will keep in touch with the recruiting client and obtain any interview feedback on your behalf. While some clients will still have an extended decision-making process, this will increase your chances of knowing where you stand sooner. It’s never recommended to contact the client directly without prior permission from the consultant, as it can undermine the agency’s approach. Should you wish to drop a thank you for your interview, or have any questions, simply contact your consultant. Remember, they will also be rooting for you so will be trying their best to keep you up-to-date!
  • When making direct applications, you may wish to drop a thank you to the organisation and/or contact the company to seek feedback. The Balance Careers has shared some advice on doing this in a professional manner.

Advice for recruiting businesses:

  • Don’t want to lose out on an excellent candidate? Keep them in the loop and don’t forget that your consultant is there to help and discuss your options! Update your consultant on your decision-making process and allow them to take all the work out of feeding back to the candidate. Even if your update is simply to say decisions will be made on ‘X’ date, this is helpful to hear.
  • See what you can do to shave off some of the decision-making time. Just an extra day can make all the difference to an applicant who is considering several vacancies. Especially if the applicant is currently unemployed and cannot afford to wait when another great offer is presented.
  • Sometimes it helps to introduce a final round of interviews, allowing you to make a decision between two closely matched candidates. These can also be used to introduce applicants to another interviewer.

Ready to recruit? Call an Appoint Consultant today on 01225 313130. 



Top job search fears

What currently tops the list of job search fears? Plus what can you do to beat yours?

We understand how daunting the job hunting process can be. It’s often especially nervewracking for those who are just embarking on their first career roles, as well as professionals who’ve been in the same positions for some time, and/or people facing unexpected redundancies.

But what is it about the process that fills people with apprehension? While the answer is likely highly individual, a survey of more than 1,000 UK professionals has revealed some core themes…

The top five job search fears are:

  1. Rejection (58%)
  2. Interviews (42%)
  3. Tasks and tests within interviews (40%)
  4. Conversing with both recruitment consultants and prospective employers by phone (35%)
  5. Being required to submit a video as part of an application (34%)

Over 1/2 of the respondents felt some sense of fear, with almost a 1/3 completely opting out of applications that would require them to undertake their most-worrisome aspects!

You can find fears ranked 6-11 in the original article by OnRec.

What can you do to beat your job search fears?

We think it all starts with normalising each aspect of the job hunt. Let’s take the top five concerns in turn…

1) Rejection:

The word ‘rejection’ itself probably doesn’t help the way you feel about it. The definitions of rejection include the terms ‘dismissal, refusal and spurning.’ However, it’s usually far more the case that you’ve simply not been selected as the closest match for the role on this particular occasion.

There are a lucky few people who’ve not experienced this at least once in their career. Plus, there are many more who’ve encountered it multiple times.

When it’s repeatedly happening, it may be that there’s particularly high competition or that there are other vacancies that you’re better suited for. Make sure you’re doing your research and targeting the best roles for you.

Wherever possible, find a trusted recruitment agency within your field. The best recruitment consultants will only submit your CV for vacancies that you are a close match for. While this doesn’t guarantee you’ll be accepted for every role, it could increase your chances.

2) Interviews:

We aren’t surprised to see this is ranked high among the common job search fears. Interview nerves often go hand-in-hand with the fear of rejection or making a fool of one’s self.

Yet often the idea of an interview is so much worse than the reality. A good dose of interview preparation can go an awful long way to settling some of these nerves. We frequently share interview tips on our Recruitment News blog and have some great interview advice on our downloads page.

Much of the advice included under point 4 below also applies here.

3) Interview tasks and tests:

Where possible, prepare and practise! If there are unexpected tests, just give them a shot. Tasks aren’t always used to test performance/results so much as attitude.

There are even occasions when you may not achieve your highest score, yet you’re called back in future due to your willingness to learn/give things a try.

Even if it’s an industry where you have to obtain a ‘perfect score’ in order to proceed through the interview stages, this real-life practise can prove invaluable for next time.

4) Discussing your job search by phone:

Is it the act of speaking by phone in the age of WhatsApp, Snapchat and Instagram, or is this an extension of the interview fear? Either way, remember that the person you’re chatting to is just that…another person!

However nervous you’re feeling, you have the chance to actively listen to what the recruitment consultant or prospective employer is saying/asking of you and express your enthusiasm accordingly.

Try to smile to trick your brain into thinking it’s happy for that (usually fairly brief!) time. Try telling yourself that what you’re feeling is excitement/intrigue and remind yourself that a flutter of nerves often enhances performance. Speak as clearly as you can and see how things go.

5) Videos within applications:

As you’ll likely appreciate, out of all the job search fears, this is a fairly modern one. While still not the norm for job applications in Bath, there are certain industries where these may be used.

We’d be inclined to seek the sage advice of The Muse’s accessible 7-step guide.

Can you tell there’s a bit of a theme here?! Lots of following the best advice and practising what you can. We’re also viewing each of these fears as a fairly normal part of a job search. Something that doesn’t have to be as scary as it first appears.

Naturally, this approach isn’t to belittle the experience of anyone who has been out of work for an extended period of time. However long you’ve been looking for work, we’d once again encourage you to seek out a great recruitment agency that specialises in your target industry/ies. Knowing you’re able to discuss your fears with your consultant can help reduce some of your worries.

Did you know we primarily specialise in commercial office openings throughout Bath and the surrounding area? You can find and apply for our latest job vacancies here, or upload your CV as a general applicant here. Best of luck with beating those fears and finding your next role!



Training as an incentive

Why we all need to see training as an incentive at work…

Currently, HR Review reports that only 25% of HR professionals believe their employers provide a ‘learning culture’ for their staff. The remaining three quarters say:

  • They’re still working towards creating a learning environment (59%:).
  • Such a culture is completely absent (11%).
  • This isn’t considered a business priority (5%).

Yet these businesses may want to rethink things. After all…

Employees see training as an incentive to stay in their roles!

In fact, in an HR News post, we hear that 90% of UK employees consider training as ‘vital to furthering their career’.

  • 42% go as far as to say they ‘strongly agree’ with its importance.
  • 95% of respondents aged 55 and over deem this to be ‘crucial’.
  • Alongside this, 86% of people think that continued training will reduce staff turnover levels.

Time is the main barrier for team members choosing whether or not to attend a course. Many employees express worry about having to be away from their desks for too long.

Which takes us onto the question of training strategies…

It seems that out of those who actually offer staff training, many businesses are predominantly focusing their attention on:

  • Trainee level programmes (38%).
  • Coaching style training (35%).

Conversely, the following training types are considered to be ‘low priority’:

  • Online training courses (32%).
  • Onboarding initiatives (27%).
  • ‘Knowledge sharing’ (29%).

But are these businesses making a mistake? The article would suggest so. Referencing the continued focus on the ‘skills economy’ (and the fact 2/3 of employees have resigned due to the absence of training opportunities!), it calls for companies to prioritise ‘modern training practices’.

It’s not only the digital courses that are promoted within this, yet also the need to encourage knowledge sharing so that vital information isn’t lost when employees move on to other roles.

You may also see training as an incentive to attract new staff members in the first place. We can help you shout about the learning and development benefits offered to employees. For further support, please call the office on 01225 313130.

Related reading:



Psychology for career success!

Understanding some simple aspects of social psychology could make all the difference to your job search. Not to mention your future career success and relationships!

Today we’ll explore two such elements: the type of confidence you should aim to display at work, plus how the ‘liking gap’ could already be affecting your career.

Psychology essentials: the ‘right’ sort of confidence

Our first focus comes from Thrive Global, quoting research from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Arianna Huffington founded Thrive Global to help people boost their personal and business performance while avoiding burnout.

What we learned from this piece:

  • Perceived confidence is at the root of success. People choose to work with those they deem more confident. This is because a sense of confidence “increases our belief in someone’s competence.”
  • However, this isn’t to say that over-confidence wins. In fact when confidence appears unfounded, and actions don’t reflect words, it actually has the reverse effect. In this case, people choose to work with those who appear “more cautious but realistic”. You could say that this is the real takeaway from the article. But you’d be missing one major point…
  • Confidence (whether unfounded or not!) always wins when it is communicated through nonverbal cues as opposed to spoken means.

Nora Battelle, the post’s author, goes on to explain why. It all comes down to the fact that the nonverbal indicators don’t make any precise promises. Meaning one infers confidence without the risk of letting anyone down.

This can prove powerful at every stage in our careers. Knowing how to project confidence non-verbally can boost your interview success and make people want to work with you more often. This, in turn, could lead to further promotions and ongoing career opportunities. So how do you display this confidence?

Battelle shares 4 non-verbal psychology basics in her post. While these may not be new to you, you may observe new benefits from employing them!

Psychology essentials: are you victim of the liking gap?

How often do you meet someone new and come away convinced that they don’t like you? Perhaps you feel you didn’t show yourself in the best light, causing their first impression to be less than favourable?

Well, according to another team of psychologists hailing from Cornell, Harvard, Yale and the University of Essex, this is by no means uncommon.

In fact, when we meet someone new…

  • They actually tend to “like us and enjoy our company more than we assume.” They also come away with fewer negative impressions than our post-conversation ruminations would leave us to believe.
  • Furthermore, it’s normal for people to believe that they like their conversation partners more than they like us. This is the ‘liking gap’, as reported by Stylist.

So what does this have to do with careers? Potentially a lot, for those worst affected. After all, how keen are you to put yourself forward to those that you feel perceive you negatively? Will you willingly seek out that person and spark up another conversation, share an idea or volunteer for a project? Could you be put off from returning for an interview, already negatively predicting the outcome?

This is a powerful message to keep in mind at every stage of your job search and career. Re-read this post every time you find yourself dwelling on first impressions and that person you’re convinced didn’t warm to you!

Used together, these insights could be just what you need to boost your self-belief ready for your next round of interviews. We’re fascinated to hear your thoughts on these psychology findings; you can always keep in touch via TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Further reading:



Career priorities: what matters most?

What are your career priorities? The Oxford Open Learning Trust has researched the factors deemed most important when looking for a new job…

The top five considerations currently include:

  1. Salary/pay (64%)
  2. Working hours (55%)
  3. Working location / Personal interest or enjoyment (tied at 50%)
  4. Job security (40%)
  5. Working environment (37%)

You can find the full top 10 over at HR News.

Career priorities: working hours

The second place spot particularly caught our attention. Not only because it was discussed by more than half of respondents, yet also the way it chimes with other research on this topic.

Over on the Independent, we hear how more than 1/2 of British workers would prefer to move away from the standard ‘9 to 5’ job. Instead, they would welcome the opportunity to either:

  • Start work before 9am, enabling them to finish before 5pm (57%)
  • Work longer hours in order to shorten the length of the working week (48%)

As HR News suggests, professionals would clearly like to carve out some extra time for themselves in a bid to achieve an improved work-life balance.

Looking outside the UK

Have other countries managed to achieve this balance? The stats would suggest so, with countries offering the most flexible working opportunities also scoring higher on employee happiness and engagement ratings.

Identifying your own career priorities

This is an aspect we highly recommend spending some time thinking about. Especially if you’re ready to search for a new job, or think you may be ready to do so soon.

Knowing your priorities really helps you refine your job search; especially if you’re considering one of a few possible career paths.

You’ll see this topic is discussed further in our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips…an essential guide for anyone wanting to stand out from the (candidate) crowd!



Skills of the future: do you have them?

Do you have the career skills of the future? For that matter, do you have the skills you need right now?

70% of employees lack both, according to research by Gartner.

In a report published by Personnel Today, concerns primarily centre around an inability to keep up with the pace of digital development. Development considered essential for continued business progression.

The article does not explore specific skills (we discuss these below!). Yet businesses are more generally advised to ‘determine the skills their market and clients are calling for’ before finding ways to meet these.

They also break the process down into three core stages.

Skills of the future: what job-seekers should look to develop

Prefer to dig into some specifics?

  • These are the 9 most important career skills of the future, according to the World Economic Forum. This link is also an essential read for anyone considering how to better promote their existing skills.
  • Empathy has separately been singled out as a valuable asset. In fact, we’re apparently already living through the ‘Empathy Economy’, a business era characterised by the strength of this uniquely human trait.
  • You may recall that the ability to continually ‘reskill’ could also take you from 3 possible career paths to your choice of 48.

Companies are already paying more to source skilled employees

We recently shared a brief mention of this feature when discussing the REC’s September jobs report. However, it feels fitting to raise this point again.

With unemployment levels notably low, businesses are struggling to find the right candidates to fill their vacancies. This is pushing companies to increase their starting salaries to attract candidates with the appropriate skill-set.

If you’re a job-seeker struggling to find work, are you doing enough to highlight the skills that you have? Are you even applying to the right people in the first place? You may benefit from a more focused strategy.

Businesses have so many opportunities to create an appealing staff attraction approach. For some expert employee attraction and recruitment support, please call the office on 01225 313130.



Delegation at work: what would you hand over?

Delegation to colleagues can be tricky, but would a workplace robot help you hand over more of your tasks? If so, which tasks would you most like to see the back of?! Plus how are UK employees currently handling those elements they most dislike? The answers are eye-opening!

There are many reasons we can struggle to delegate work. The Wrike blog endeavours to answer the main ‘whys’, categorising these into three common areas.

Yet more than 3 in 5 UK workers (or 63%) would happily hand over some of their tasks to a robot if they had the opportunity to do so, says HR news.

Delegation…if your robot was on hand!

Somewhat surprisingly, it’s not the least liked responsibilities that people most want to pass on.

Sitting through meetings, reviewing lengthy documents and customer communications are the tasks least enjoyed by the majority of workers surveyed.

However, the tasks that sit highest on people’s robot delegation lists include:

  • Data entry (16%)
  • Minute and note-taking (14%)
  • Electronic filing (12%)
  • Time tracking (11%)

How are workers currently handling the roles they most dislike?

This is very interesting indeed! Currently, 26% of people wait for another colleague to remind them to complete the task. While 15% attempt to steer clear of the duty entirely!

Is there another (/better!) approach to delegation?

Well, there has to be a better approach than simply avoiding tasks!

The Muse has some tips on how to delegate when you’re in an entry/assistant level role.

If you’re in the fortunate position to recruit and manage others, you may wish to consider who else is more suited to certain roles. After all, there are many employees and job-seekers who’d relish the chance to gain some extra administration experience and excel in the duties mentioned above.

For those ad hoc spells when tasks get out of hand, or there a fewer staff to call upon (summer holidays included!), temps can also be a wonderful solution.

Have some tasks you’d like to delegate? Call the office on 01225 313130 to discuss your recruitment options. For more information regarding our service offering, please visit our Clients page