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. 



How to showcase your achievements

Whether you’re looking for a job promotion or a brand new role, you need to know how to showcase your achievements to employers…

We’ll focus on targeting recruitment agencies and prospective employers today. However, if you’re reading this from the promotion perspective, simply use the tips to tailor your notes for an upcoming management meeting or appraisal.

Showcasing your achievements throughout your job search: 

The best CVs are those that spotlight your skills and successes – and manage to link these back to the position you’re applying for. Of course, when faced with a blank document, this can be much easier said than done.

Some of the best advice we’ve read on this topic comes from The Balance Careers. They explain how to:

  1. Define your past successes: looking back over previous roles and making sure you know ‘what success looked like in each position.’
  2. List your achievements: considering those moments in which you’ve excelled in your role and noting specific examples.
  3. Quantify your performance: using numbers to illustrate your achievements.
  4. Highlight any awards: as it sounds; we’ll come back to this shortly!
  5. Weave your findings into your CV and cover letter: suggesting powerful keywords, and how and where to reference your successes.

They even share some examples of their tips in action on a CV, cover letter and during an interview.

Please note: the above article comes from an American website, so watch that you don’t let any American-English slip into your CV. This can frustrate prospective employers!

Some extra tips for the list…

  • Even if you’re not actively looking for a job, get in the habit of following items 1-4.  It’s so much easier to recall your achievements when they’re fresh. Keep a dedicated list, so you’ll be able to select the most relevant examples for each job application.
  • Don’t worry if you’ve not been nominated for any awards! There are other ways to show recognition. Perhaps you’ve received praise from a boss or colleague, a promotion, or some form of prize/incentive for your work. Note these examples too.
  • Remember, the UK CV is ideally only around 2 pages long. It may be a single page for those with less work experience, or a 3-page document for more experienced professionals. However, there’s no reason you can’t get a bit creative and incorporate further details into a separate document to submit to your interviewer. Keep this snappy, using bullet points and graphics.
  • Remember, employers want to know how you can help them. Always draw your examples back to your company research. There’s more about this here.

Further reading:



The competition for graduate talent

Employers looking for graduate talent are facing extraordinary competition. Yet, at the same time, grads fear reduced job prospects…

As competition increases:

Candidates are now making an average of 29 graduate scheme applications at once. This has created an application boom. The ‘finance and professional services’ industries have gone from receiving 50,000 applications to more than 250,000.

Not only is this keeping the employers rather busy (and forcing them to compete against each other), it’s also spiking competition levels among the applicants.

While 3/4 of candidates have expressed an interest in graduate programmes, only 1% of applicants were recruited last year.

There are some positive findings though, including those relating to the reduced gender gap and increased ‘race equality’.

Why candidates are worried:

78% of graduates surveyed by Milkround fear that Brexit will ‘negatively affect their career’.

More than 1/2 foresee a struggle to find a graduate job – believing the economy could reflect the patterns observed during the 2008 financial crisis. During this period graduates spent an average of 8 months trying to secure their first role. Many applicants also changed their career plans or entered different sectors due to job scarcity.

Despite these concerns, there are some promising stats. The Office for National Statistics reports continued record employment, while Milkround has observed a 104% increase in graduate openings ‘year on year’.

Soon to graduate or already done so?

Don’t forget that there are multiple routes into your first career role. Alongside the traditional big-firm schemes, there are many SME employers looking to recruit and develop graduates.

The Bath area has a wealth of high calibre employers looking to do just this, especially among the finance, financial services and professional services sectors. You’ll often find great examples on our jobs feed. As well as looking at the general listings, you can search by ‘graduate’ to see some of the latest opportunities.

Remember to also keep in touch with your Recruitment Consultant so that you are aware of the latest vacancies that match your career skills and goals.



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



A positive recruitment agency relationship

How your recruitment agency relationship affects your job search. Plus the latest news regarding the UK jobs boom…

Your recruitment agency relationship:

HR News has just released some great data surrounding the benefits of working with recruitment agencies. They report that:

  • The majority (64%) of candidates surveyed worked with a recruitment agency to ‘find at least one job’ last year.
  • 88% of people most value the communication received from their agency. This includes support, reassurance and guidance throughout the recruitment process.
  • Around 1/4 of respondents additionally appreciate the prospect of a long-term recruitment agency relationship. They understand how the insights garnered by their consultants can help to support their later career progress.
  • A similar number of people look for specialist recruitment agencies who will understand the intricacies of their industry – and, consequently, provide valuable insights for candidates.
  • Poor agency communications understandably cause job-seekers to utilise alternative routes.
  • However, more than 2/5 of candidates stated that they found their job search ‘easy’.

The UK jobs boom continues…

Over on Recruiting Times, we hear that the UK jobs boom remains in ‘full force’ and that the women’s unemployment rate has reached a record low.

The article, which cites stats from The Office for National Statistics (ONS), reveals:

  • National employment has now reached 32.6 million people.
  • Unemployment fell to 1.36 million – 100,000 fewer people than last year.
  • The women’s unemployment level has dropped below 4% for the first time.
  • Yet, job vacancy numbers have risen by 16,000 to a total of 870,000 jobs. Which is also a record figure – and a sign of the ongoing skills shortage.

It’s interesting to note that zero-hour contracts can also contribute to high employment rates and growth figures. In other words, there may still be many people who are recorded as employed yet not receiving regular work assignments (or, for that matter, a regular income!).

We’d always recommend finding a recruitment agency who specialises in the types of vacancies that you’re searching for. The Recruitment & Employment Confederation offers a handy guide to help you to choose an agency. This includes a member directory, which we’re proud to be a part of.

Working with Appoint:

Did you know we specialise in commercial office jobs in Bath and the surrounding Somerset and Wiltshire areas? We recruit for an array of openings, including (yet not limited to!):

  • Administration
  • Customer services
  • Finance & financial services
  • Sales & marketing
  • Project management
  • IT & technical

This includes everything from temporary assignments to contract bookings and permanent roles.

We opened in 1999, so have garnered a wealth of industry expertise. We’re privileged to be able to share our insights with our candidates and clients throughout the region.

You can learn more about us on our Candidates page. You can also take a look at our jobs page to see and apply for our latest vacancies. We look forward to hearing from you.



The ageing workforce news roundup

The government is calling on businesses to do more to support the ageing workforce. There has been a wealth of news regarding this topic, in addition to age discrimination, over recent months. Time to explore the leading themes…

Do you feel your age is ‘holding you back?’

Source: Personnel Today

  • Around 1/2 of employees aged 50 and over believe their age could ‘hold them back’ in their job applications.
  • Almost 1 in 7 additionally believe they’ve already been declined a role due to their age.
  • In addition, 1/3 say they’ve not received as many training and promotion opportunities as younger colleagues.

These findings come from a survey conducted by the Centre for Ageing Better. They believe the UK could create up to £20 billion more GDP annually simply by “halving the ’employment gap’ between workers aged 50 to state pension age and those in their late 40s.”

The article also cites a number of positive suggestions to aid the inclusivity of older employees.

A diverse workforce presents benefits

Source: HR News

The older workforce is also a growing workforce. In only a decade, the number of over-50s workers will expand by approximately 27 million people.

However, unfair and incorrect biases could indeed be halting the recruitment of this employee group. Yet when recruited, a number of benefits are actually presented. Some of the discussed include:

  • Access to established skills and valuable experience
  • High commitment to roles
  • Learning from previous lessons
  • An ability to lead less experienced team members
  • And the opportunity for ‘intergenerational mentoring’ – with a mutually beneficial relationship.

Overcoming the myths

Source: People Management

We mentioned bias above and it appears a number of stereotypes have formed around the older employee. These include concerns around the ability to learn, productivity levels, sickness absence and impending retirement.

Businesses clearly need to re-evaluate their assumptions. You can find evidence-based responses to each of the primary stereotypes in the original post.

Looking at the laws

Source: HR Magazine

It seems an appropriate time to mention that age discrimination is illegal. Age is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act. However, this isn’t doing enough to change business behaviour.

To this end, the Women and Equalities Committee has made a number of recommendations. These cover everything from age reporting to appropriate discussions around career decisions, employment terms, ‘performance management’ and ‘insured benefits’.

Looking to the future

Source:  HR Magazine

We opened today’s post with a mention of the government. They have called upon employers to be more flexible in a bid to support the ageing workforce.

Research from Saga Populus includes a number of suggestions. These primarily explore part-time roles and flexible working opportunities, which may encourage people to stay in the workforce longer.

Furthermore, they advise employers to explore their upskilling and retraining schemes.

And, finally, entering the world of AI

Source: HR Magazine

While some might fear artificial intelligence will displace the older worker, experts suggest otherwise.

As long as employees express empathy, and are willing to continually refresh their skills, they should remain highly employable.

Naturally, this topic concerns employees of all ages. Some say that 70% of today’s workers lack the career skills they’ll need in future.

For further recruitment advice, whether you’re looking for work or for a new team member, please call the office on 01225 313130.

Remember, we regularly update our news blog with advice that will help you to keep your skills current. 



GDPR: are you unknowingly breaching the law?

What does GDPR mean to you? Perhaps you thought your role in it all ended when you received your last ‘we don’t want to see you go, please stay on our mailing list’ request last summer. Well, you could be unknowingly (and regularly!) breaching this legislation in and out of work…

How employees risk breaching GDPR legislation…

What’s the issue here?

GDPR requires personal data to be secure at all times. Personal data refers to all ‘information about a particular living individual. It doesn’t even need to appear especially private in nature; if someone accessing the data could identify its subject then you are most definitely dealing with personal data.

For this reason, it’s suggested that pseudonyms and encryption, and other such measures, are used to secure all personal data.

Transferring data to phones and laptops, which can easily be lost or stolen, and email accounts and apps, which could be hacked or accessed by third parties, increases your risk of a data breach.

It’s not just employees overlooking GDPR. The Independent reports that many small businesses remain ‘clueless’ about the legislation.

Could you be dismissed for breaching GDPR?

Serious breaches could indeed lead to dismissal; your employer’s disciplinary procedures may state this.

GDPR requires more serious breaches to be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (‘ICO’). The ICO has a helpline which will guide you through the necessary measures to ensure the data breach is contained.

This isn’t to say that every breach must be reported to the ICO. Rather, it’s those that are higher risk.

What to do next…

  • Stop using personal accounts and tools to deal with work communications and/or data! If your employer is actually asking you to use these, direct them to the above links to ensure they are aware of the data breach risks.
  • Consult your employer’s GDPR guidelines and training materials.
  • Speak to your HR team or a manager if you have any additional concerns.
  • Visit the ACAS and ICO websites for legal information regarding GDPR.
  • Any employers would be wise to provide adequate training to all team members. Both to ensure you’re being responsible and to support your ‘learning culture’.


Is voicemail dying in recruitment? Advice included!

Why you might want to rethink your attitude towards voicemail when it comes to your job search…

It’s great that there are so many ways to get in touch with recruitment agencies and prospective employers these days. This may be via social media, email, a text, or call. However, research suggests that one method of contact might be dying out. Yes, the title gives this one away, it’s the voicemail!

According to the research (published by HR News):

  • Only 20% of respondents choose to leave a voicemail if they can’t reach their contact by phone.
  • There’s a distinct age divide: middle-aged and older people are far more likely to both listen to and leave voicemails promptly versus their younger counterparts.

What stops people from leaving a voicemail?

  • The primary reason (22%) for not leaving voicemails is that people don’t like to receive them themselves! In other words, they’re trying to do the prospective recipient a favour of sorts. This was closely followed by:
  • The fear of making a mistake that they can’t delete (21%),
  • A belief that it won’t even be listened to (17%),
  • Disliking their own voice (17%),
  • And embarrassment that they’re not speaking directly to someone (15%).

The article also cites a number of reasons that people dislike receiving voicemails.

Advice for job-seekers…

Perhaps it is the case that voicemails are a dying breed of communication. However, whatever your viewpoint, you’d still be wise to brave them for the good of your job search for now!

You never know which HR manager, employer or recruitment consultant might be calling you – nor for that matter their preferred method of contact.

It’s savvy to make sure you’re as accessible as possible and you’re actively listening to and responding to any form of communication regarding your job applications. After all, you don’t want to miss an urgent interview invite or temp assignment. You certainly don’t want to be that one candidate who is always super tricky to get hold of.

Alongside this, leaving voicemails yourself where appropriate allows you the opportunity to impress an employer with your professionalism. Our advice?

  1. If you’re nervous about leaving a message, be proactive. Before you even pick up the phone, jot down a few points that you’d say. Say them aloud to yourself if needed.
  2. Always state your name and number clearly and slowly, repeating any details as appropriate.
  3. If you make a mistake, most voicemails offer the facility to re-record the message. If not, apologise for the confusion and move on…just as you would in regular conversation. Remember, the recipient is also human!

What to do if your voicemails don’t work:

Don’t leave this to guesswork! Make sure that your contact knows in advance that this is the case and ensure you provide alternative routes to reach you.

Additionally, always respond in as timely a fashion as you can. If you’ve asked for emails or texts, be sure to monitor them.

The more proactive you are, and the more you use your initiative, the more points you stack up against your job-seeking competitors!

Looking to contact a recruitment agency for the first time by email? Here’s what to include in your cover message



7 days of employee attraction tips!

Are your employee attraction strategies up to scratch? Check your progress against our top tips – we’ll be sharing something daily over the next week…

The latest skills shortage stats show just how vital this information is to employers. After all, you’re currently competing against a greater number of companies for a smaller number of candidates.

Ready to get started?

DAY 1: your culture and ethos

Could you (and your existing team) describe your company culture and brand values/ethos? If so, how do you promote this to prospective employees – is it on your website? Do you include any blurb on your job descriptions? If you answer ‘no’ to any of the above, it’s time to get brainstorming!

Working for brands with a positive purpose is becoming increasingly important to emerging generations of professionals.

Communicating your company culture can also help attract like-minded individuals to your business. And we all know the value of a positive team fit!

What’s more, well-aligned values also appear to boost later productivity and workplace relations. Please note: the ‘well-aligned’ is key here! It’s important that anything you communicate is truly reflected in your workplace. Whether that’s comments about the positive atmosphere, your people-centred approach, or your attitude to progression and diversity.

DAY 2: building your benefits package

You might not think you’re in the position to create much of an employee benefits package, however, you really don’t need to have a vast budget in order to do so. It could also be a costly mistake not to at least explore your options.

Where possible, detail some of your employee benefits in your job descriptions. 85% of candidates are more attracted to organisations that do this. Or, at the very least, make sure candidates know that there are a number of benefits on offer.

Do your competitor research to see what other companies are offering their employees. Also, swot up on the latest research surrounding job-seekers’ priorities. We reguarly share such news findings, including our recent post on what most employees want and need in 2019.

DAY 3: be more flexible

It’s time to discuss flexible working. Yes, this is featured in some of the staff benefit discussions, yet it more than deserves its own employee attraction spotlight.

People are increasingly drawn to companies that provide flexi-working opportunities. There are multiple plus points to consider here:

  1. It may help you attract large and in many cases untapped talent pools, such as maternity returners and working parents.
  2. Again, emerging worker groups are also more attracted to jobs with flexible and home working potential.
  3. Your team may become happier and your business may better keep up with rapidly changing workplace needs.
  4. What’s more, as the UK lags behind other nations in this respect, you may gain a distinct competitive advantage in your field.

DAY 4: be a rarity!

In order to attract the most valuable employees, you need to offer and promote something that few companies ever even consider.

Something that will also help retain your employees once on-board – and help overcome some of the most worrying national workplace trends (the employee performance crisis; high levels of disengagement and a general sense of unhappiness at work)…

This something is only offered by approximately 19% of businesses and is best described as ‘an experimentation culture’. It’s all about enabling your employees to share their ideas without criticism, actively encouraging innovation and creativity, and all-around greater team and individual involvement. You’ll need to have the right management approach in place to make this possible. You’ll also need to communicate this message to prospective employees. However, just think of the possibilities for your business!

DAY 5: make a path

Again, this is somewhat touched upon as an employee benefit. Yet did you know that 90% of UK employees deem training to be ‘vital to furthering their career?’ All the while, only 25% of HR professionals say their employers provide a ‘learning culture’.

You may not have the sort of business that enables a clear route of progression, yet you can certainly help your employees to see a path of personal progression and development. What a helpful tool to include in your job adverts.

As we’re now deep into a ‘skills economy’ period, it’s great to consider all training avenues – from online learning and knowledge sharing to in-house coaching and external courses. This is all discussed in the above-linked post.

DAY 6: now for the salaries!

It’s hard to deny that salary levels are important. UK employees are more motivated by pay than those of any other European country, with 62% of professionals saying that their salary is their primary driver to work.

In addition to this, average national salaries grew by 7.6% last year. This is driven by the skills shortage and saw a boost in December when candidate availability numbers fell again.

Make certain that your salary levels are as competitive as they can be to attract more job applicants. Monitor your competitors’ job adverts and be sure to seek salary guidance from your Recruitment Consultant.

DAY 7: bringing it all together

You’ve put in all the work to create an attractive employer offering, now you need to make sure you’re reaching out to as many candidates as you can; as effectively as you can!

This means crafting an appealing job description – and making sure that this is actually getting in front of your target audience.

Contact an expert recruitment agency in your industry for support with both elements. From job description guidance, through to regional industry insights, and ready access to the most effective candidate attraction tools, there are so many benefits to working with a dedicated recruitment consultant. They may even have the perfect person on their database waiting for a job such as yours!

Thanks for joining us for this week of tips. We hope you’re feeling ready to execute your newly refined employee attraction approach! To discuss your recruitment needs, please call Appoint on 01225 313130.



Ghosting in recruitment

Why ghosting may be a growing recruitment issue – and why you really want to avoid being a part of it!

Mostly, ‘ghosting’ refers to dating. It describes the act of ending a personal relationship suddenly and without any explanation…or further communication whatsoever!

This cultural phenomenon actually entered the Urban Dictionary back in 2007 and is now regularly discussed online.

The act of ghosting is also increasingly being discussed in relation to both recruitment and employment.

How candidates are ghosting employers:

In this case, a growing number of job-seekers are failing to get in touch to explain that they will not be attending job interviews or their first day of work. Some are even using this practice to leave their jobs!

Why is this phenomenon growing?

Sources suggest that there are a few factors at play here. Firstly, the fact the ongoing skills shortage has created what’s known as a ‘candidate-driven market‘. As the name implies, this is when there are more jobs than there are appropriate applicants to fill them. In such periods, applicants can enjoy a greater sense of choice and may feel less pressure to impress each prospective employer. We’ll come back to this in a moment.

The digital nature of many recruitment processes could also be facilitating this problem. Candidates who have had little if any real-life contact with prospective employers might perceive ghosting to be a more ‘acceptable’ practice.

Applicants who have already experienced or used ghosting in other areas of their life may additionally feel that it is normal.

Why you really want to think twice about ghosting prospective employers…

The employment market will not always be candidate-driven. Throughout our many years in recruitment, we have also observed lengthy employer-driven periods. During such times, candidates compete against vast quantities of applicants and must stand out to succeed.

Your reputation really is your currency. Prospective employers and recruiters are looking for candidates that they can trust. It’s far better to get in touch and explain you’ve had an alternative offer, or that your plans have changed than to simply disappear. This shows that you respect everyone’s time and all efforts invested in you to date.

Employers, managers and recruitment consultants may also move around. The person you ghost at one company that you don’t care so much about may very well become the person recruiting for a role that you truly want.

Keep those doors open – those five minutes needed to pick up the phone or tap up an email could make all the difference to your future career!

Are you the sort of candidate who always wants to make a good impression? Here are the latest jobs that we’re recruiting for! You can also register your CV via the website.