How failure can benefit your career

Think your early career failure will ruin your future? Think again, it could be the making of your success!

December can be a trying time of year for anyone who isn’t where they want to be in their career. This could be due to missing out on a promotion, not getting invited for a second interview, or even accepting the wrong opportunity.

It’s one of those months where you’re more likely to be meeting up with people you haven’t seen in a while – and answering all sorts of questions about your life and work!

Don’t let this play on your mind. Instead, think about how your recent failures could benefit your future.

How failure can lead to success:

A University study has found that early-career failure can lead to greater success in the longer term. Providing as the person who’s experienced the setback makes the effort to give things another go!

The research pool consisted of scientists about to embark on their careers. Each participant had previously sought funding and the pool was divided into two groups based on their outcomes. One group had just missed out on funding, while the other group had only just achieved the funding.

Each group was followed for a 10-year period, which greatly enhances the validity of these findings.

The ‘near-miss’ group went on to publish as many research papers as their ‘just-made-it’ counterparts. However, most impressively, the near-miss participants also went on to have more hit papers.

Even though this study focused on early career failures, we hazard a guess (from many years of working with clients and candidates!) that the findings will apply broadly throughout the work context.

What is failing forward?

We learned of this study via Stylist magazine, who also explore the concept of ‘failing forward’. This is when you use your failures as a chance to ‘learn and progress’.

As the article suggests, we’ll all fail at something at some point in our career. We just need to learn how to keep going. Hopefully, you can keep this in mind throughout your Christmas conversations.

Struggling to get over a spell of job rejection? Here’s another must-read post.

Ready to find success in a new role? Visit our jobs page.



What is meaningful work?

What does meaningful work really mean? Research suggests it could be much more accessible than you might think…

The term ‘meaningful’ often brings to mind jobs that save lives or at least make a great difference to the community and/or the environment. This is probably why so few people perceive their role as meaningful.

A 2019 CIPD report stated that almost 1/4 of people don’t think their job ‘contributes to society’ and 1 in 10 don’t even think it ‘contributes to their organisation!’

Yet most people can obtain meaningful work in reality…

ServiceNow has found that the top three factors that contribute meaning actually include:

  1. ‘Being part of a team’ (43%)
  2. ‘Learning new skills to advance your career’ (42%)
  3. And ‘having your contribution to the business recognised by colleagues and managers’ (39%)

Employers may feel reliant upon their business leaders to create this sense of meaning – a great reminder for anyone who is managing a team.

Currently, only 28% of respondents believe they’re part of a team, 17% think they have the chance to progress, and 18% feel ‘recognised’.

What can you do to bring more meaning to your job?

There are some changes you can make to improve each of the above factors.

  1. Unless you work entirely alone, you can take a look at the way you work with others. Are you open to receiving offers of help or ideas shared by colleagues? Do you remember to offer yours in return? Could you ever create a small project group or duo (management approval allowing!)?
  2. Where possible, approach your manager/s with suggestions for skills that would benefit your role and -vitally- the organisation. If you receive a firm ‘no’ but there’s something you really want to work on for the benefit of your career, see how you can build this skill in your own time, while respecting your personal time and budget constraints. You can always take your new skills to your next employer!
  3. Seeking recognition is perhaps the hardest element to ‘DIY!’ It can help to remember that your managers may be noticing and appreciating more than they share; it could just be their personal style. That said, there may also be times that they don’t know quite what you’re working on. If you suspect the latter, don’t be afraid of using small opportunities to share your progress and achievements. After all, your progress and achievements also directly benefit the company.

Still seeking greater meaning at work? Visit our jobs page to see 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



Are you experiencing burnout syndrome?

What is burnout syndrome and how do you know whether you’re affected by it?

This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) expanded on its definition of Burnout – which they only officially recognised last year.

Please note: it is listed in the ‘International Classification of Diseases’ as an occupational phenomenon or syndrome rather than a medical condition or disease.

WHO defines burnout as:

“A syndrome…resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” It comprises three aspects…

  1. ‘Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.’
  2. ‘Increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job.’
  3. And ‘reduced professional efficacy.’

In this case, burnout only applies in an occupational context. In other words, any non-work overwhelm or exhaustion isn’t taken into account.

WHO will soon develop guidelines to help boost mental wellness at work.

Career considerations:

Certain roles and working environments place you at greater risk. Harvard Business Review describes a number of possible factors. These include:

  • ‘Unrealistically high workloads’
  • A poor sense of job control
  • Bullying and ‘incivility’
  • ‘Administrative hassles’
  • Poor social support
  • Reduced business resources
  • Stressed business leaders
  • Alongside negative ‘leadership behaviours’

If this all sounds far too familiar, you may want to read their article in full. After all, it includes a number of questions to help you decide whether to stay in your role. As they suggest, sometimes a new job is the best solution.

Further burnout resources…

  1. More symptoms (alongside the many ways burnout can affect your health and relationships).
  2. Four prevention tips.
  3. How remote and flexible working can contribute to the syndrome…
  4. And burnout’s relationship with ‘guilty vacation syndrome.’

Feeling there may be a better role to suit your career goals and lifestyle needs? Start your job search here.



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



The recruitment stats that matter

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

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

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

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

UK Recruitment stats – what’s happening in 2019…

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

Plus…

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

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



The group fuelling employment growth & pursuing career progression

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Do connections matter more than talent in recruitment?

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

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

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

About this study…

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

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

How much do your connections really matter?

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

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

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

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

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

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



The happiness, productivity & success connection

Your job happiness is directly linked to your career success. Here’s another big study to prove it…

If you’re trying to stick things out in a job that makes you absolutely miserable in the hope of becoming more successful, you may want to reconsider.

There have been many studies that prove happiness precedes job success, as opposed to the reverse. We discussed this back in the summer – when featuring the 1/5 of parents who want their ‘child to seek success over happiness, kindness or honesty‘.

What’s so different about this new study?

The research (which comes from Oxford University’s Saïd Business School) explores many of the same topics. However, it’s the first to provide an ‘exact measure’ of the relationship between job happiness and productivity and success. Their research finds that:

  • Happy employees are 13% ‘more productive and successful’ than their less happy counterparts.
  • The pool of call centre employees both performed faster and made more sales conversions when happier.
  • Multiple elements contribute towards workplace happiness, including higher salaries, secure work, and jobs that prove ‘more interesting and meaningful’.

How significant are these findings?

13% may not sound all that dramatic, yet it is a meaningful figure. Not only would most businesses be pleased to see such an increase in sales conversions, yet this may represent a vital clue as to what’s going wrong in many businesses.

It could be a great time for employers to review how happy their team truly is and take steps to support employee wellbeing.

Of course, employees can also take measures to review their own happiness in and out of work. You can always explore the latter while searching for your next role!



The most irritating office habits

Which office habits do employees find most irritating? Interesting reading for anyone with colleagues!

It’s time for the third and final post in our Vanquis Bank ‘Professional Gripes Survey’ series – and this post really explores those daily gripes. Don’t forget to catch up on the first two installments, which include…

  1. How many professionals would accept a promotion without a pay rise? Including which groups are most likely to do this and whether you should ever consider it.
  2. And would you recommend your employer to another job-seeker? Plus what stops people doing this and why it matters.

A bit of background…

As mentioned in the first post, the Vanquis survey is designed to explore ‘what makes UK workers tick and what ticks them off!’

They raise the old adage that many of us spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our families, which means we really get to know their ‘quirks and behaviours’.

As well as wanting to understand what’s most likely to upset colleagues, they were intrigued by which grievances linger longest on the mind.

Office Habits to avoid:

  1. Rotten food left in the fridge/kitchen (85%)
  2. Colleagues leaving a mess in kitchens, bathrooms or other communal spaces (83%)
  3. Discriminatory or rude language, including swearing alongside racism and sexism, etc. (81%)
  4. Passive-aggressive notes left in communal spaces (74%)
  5. Loud music on work computers (74%)
  6. Colleagues changing heating or aircon settings (67%)
  7. People cooking ‘smelly food’ at work (66%)
  8. Colleagues being promoted ‘over you’ (61%)

Interestingly, the order changes when it comes to how long people spend feeling ‘bothered’ by each of these irritations…

  1. Other people being promoted (57.36 hours)
  2. Discriminatory & rude language (36.72 hours)
  3. Passive-aggressive notes (22.8 hours)
  4. Rotten food in fridges or kitchens (18.72 hours)
  5. Messy kitchens, bathrooms or communal spaces (15.84 hours)
  6. Loud music on work computers (14.64 hours)
  7. People changing heating/aircon (13.44 hours)
  8. Cooking smelly food (11.76 hours)

How do you mitigate irritating or offensive office behaviour?

The survey respondents engage in a number of responses; most of which are highly concerning…

  1. Verbal confrontation – directly to your colleague (40%)
  2. Complaining to your boss (32%)
  3. ‘Bad-mouthing’ colleagues and their work (27%)
  4. HR complaints (21%)
  5. ‘Embarrassing them’ in front of colleagues or clients (14%)
  6. Physical acts of confrontation, i.e. violence (12%)
  7. Deleting or adding mistakes to their work in shared documents (11%)
  8. Revealing personal information about them to their family/boss (11%)
  9. Career sabotage attempts (9%)
  10. Harassing them on social media, outside of work (9%)

You may recall that some of the same respondents also take nefarious routes to obtain their promotions at work. This may be a rather unusual pool and does not necessarily reflect the behaviour that’s normal in your office or industry!

Any irritating office habits should, of course, always be handled politely and professionally. Remember, your reputation is at stake.

Are you someone who truly values your reputation and is keen to explore a fresh environment and team? Please visit our jobs page