Are you committing CV fraud?

No doubt you’ve heard at least a little something about the College admissions scandal. Well, recruitment is facing its own scandal…

The growing case of degree and CV fraud:

It turns out that almost half a million fake degree certificates have been purchased over the past 8 years alone.

Many of these come from entirely counterfeit institutes, with 243 such businesses now on the Prospects list (Prospects being the organisation that has teamed up with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to investigate this problem).

Alongside this, some organisations pose as genuine universities in order to obtain personal details and, of course, payments.

The cost of these fake qualifications…

This global ‘industry’ makes in the region of  £37.5 million a year, according to the BBC. One British man actually spent £500,000 on fake qualifications.

Yet these aren’t the only costs to consider. As per the BBC report, “degree fraud cheats both genuine learners and employers.”

It also places the buyer at risk.

What are the legal implications of CV fraud?

It’s not the act of purchasing or possessing the fake documents that is unlawful, but rather the act of using these documents within your CV and/or job applications.

This is considered a criminal offence and falls under the Fraud Act 2006.

If convicted of this offence, you could face up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Even if your actions aren’t considered gross enough to warrant imprisonment, you may be at risk of dismissal from your job and even the chance of being sued for compensation.

What about ‘white lies’ on your CV?

Unsurprisingly, it’s far more common that people fudge their grades or work experiences than they pretend they’ve studied somewhere or something they haven’t. However, what you perceive as minor lies could still cost you your job and your reputation.

With this in mind, it’s worth having another look at your CV to ensure that everything you’re presenting is a true picture of your skills, education and experience.

You can find straight-forward CV advice on our downloads page. We also share hints and tips regarding what to include in your cover email to recruitment agencies in this popular post.



The average weekday morning routine

What does your weekday morning routine look like? If it features alarm snoozing, multiple cups of tea, and a few cross words (unsurprisingly that’s angry words rather than puzzles!), you’re very much in line with the average Brit…

As a nation, each workday morning we:

  • Snooze our alarms five times
  • Consume two teas
  • Swear four times before 9 o’clock
  • Have at least two rounds of ‘cross words’ with our partners
  • And break up two or more fights between our children
  • We also hunt for both our mobile phones and keys twice over before leaving the house

This is all according to research conducted by Dunelm. You can compare your morning against the rest of the nation’s data in this recent HR News post.

How media features in our morning routine:

The article also cites some fascinating details when it comes to how else we’re using our time. Collectively we…

  • Spend 3 million hours ‘browsing social media’ from the bed, bathroom and breakfast table.
  • Respond to 97 million emails before we’ve even got up.
  • And watch 16 million hours of morning TV.
  • Breaking this down into minutes, the average working person spends 6 minutes on checking their work emails and another 6 minutes on posting to social media from their beds. Yet we only allow 7 minutes to eat breakfast (with more than 1/4 doing this while rushing around the house). That’s also less time than spent on styling one’s hair and reading the online news.

The morning mood…

A number of potential ‘morning downers’ are identified, including missing public transport, traffic jams, arguments, and not knowing what to wear, among others.

With all the stats combined, it’s no wonder that more than 1/4 of professionals feel stressed as soon as they wake up, with 76% of people finding weekday mornings worst of all.

Are there any solutions?

Weekday mornings are always going to present their challenges, especially for anyone with additional caring responsibilities or health needs. Anything you can do to manage your stress levels is going to help improve your morning routine. Or, at least, how that routine makes you feel!

Prepping whatever you can the night before, prioritising sleep, and avoiding the lure of social media first thing in the day could be a great place to start.

Alongside this, ask yourself whether there’s anything else contributing to your morning stress load. It’s said that 97% of people are frustrated in their work. Frustration can lead to nitpicking (and an all-around shorter fuse with those around you!) as well as more of a desire to procrastinate.

If job frustration is ruining your morning routine, and the rest of your working week, why not take a look at the latest job vacancies?



Fantastic reasons to work in finance

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

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

1) Training and development potential

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

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

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

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

2) Fastest growing sectors for women

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

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

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

3) Workplace happiness

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

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

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

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

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



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.



Are you married to your job?

Does it feel like you’re married to your work? If so, you’re among more than a ¼ of British employees who feel this way…

Research led by Perkbox (and shared by Recruiting Times) shows that:

  • 45% of people routinely work more than an hour beyond their standard day – with weekends included.
  • Almost ¼ have cancelled a personal commitment, such as a date or a party, due to their work.
  • 1 in 10 say that being married to their job has caused a relationship breakdown.
  • 30% of respondents feel “like they’re always at work, even when they’re at home”.

Technology once again bears some of the brunt of the blame. 70% of employees have received out-of-hours communications via email, text or phone call. 25% even think they send more messages to their colleagues or boss than they do their friends.

A number of health implications are additionally discussed. These findings support People Management’s report, which states that: ‘always on employees are more engaged but also more stressed.’

An overworking culture…

The Perkbox study only has 2,000 respondents. However, it closely reflects wider research. For instance, the TUC’s exploration of 5 million UK workers. This reveals that a total of £2 billion worth of unpaid overtime was undertaken in 2018.

While acknowledging that many people are prepared to work some overtime when needed, the TUC suggests that there are employers who are taking advantage of their teams. As a result, they’re calling for new rights that will make such employers more accountable.

Once again, the health impact of these working practices is discussed, alongside the reduced productivity that results from a culture of overwork.

Appearances may be deceptive!

Over on HR Magazine, a separate report explores the productivity issue in more detail. This post cites research from Maxis Global Benefits Network, which found that 79% of UK office professionals work an extra three days of overtime each month.

  • 79% of people also report to a ‘desk time’ focus, meaning that they’re ‘expected to be seen at their desks’ most of the time.
  • It may be thought this would boost productivity. Yet, conversely, many employees (almost 1/3) are spreading out their workloads to appear more productive than they truly are.

You won’t be surprised to hear that this article also finds a connection between long working hours and anxiety, stress and poor work-life balance.

So, is it time to divorce your job?!

If you’re no longer enjoying your work, or you feel it’s having a negative effect on your personal life, you may want to reconsider your options. Review the latest jobs and be sure to discuss your priorities with your recruitment consultant.



What employees want & need in 2019

Do you know what most employees want from their employers?

It’s always interesting to see how your daily hopes differ from those of your colleagues. Of course, if you’re the employer it also becomes rather beneficial to know those factors that could be getting your team down.

Sometimes, the least expected concerns may be those that top the list. This could be said for the leading ‘want’ in Viking’s data, compiled from nearly 14,000 respondents…

What most employees want:

  1. Greater information regarding the possible health implications of their daily ‘display screen equipment’ use and sedentary working ways.
  2. Increased mental health and work stress support.
  3. Mental health training for all managers.
  4. Remote working opportunities.
  5. Protected lunch breaks…so employees actually get to take them.
  6. A four-day working week; working longer days Monday to Thursday to accommodate this.
  7. More artwork throughout the office space – to lift moods and reduce stress.
  8. Guidance on social media policies.
  9. Efforts to reduce ‘annoying office habits’.
  10. And for employers not to ban social media use (believing that this would actually hinder productivity).

It’s well worth reading the full piece on the Viking Blog to see all the supporting stats. Alongside those irritating office habits that make 41% of people want to leave their jobs!

Elsewhere, employers are reminded of another specific need…

HR Magazine has a thought-provoking post regarding the impact of fertility issues on employees. A conversation that is rarely discussed in HR and recruitment media.

The feature highlights the emotional challenges experienced, as well as the logistical problems posed by treatment appointments and medication needs.

It also provides some well-informed suggestions for employers and HR professionals.

Now, what do you really want or need from your job?

This is a fantastic question to ask yourself at the start of a New Year. What would make your Monday mornings brighter in 2019? Do you look forward to a new challenge or setting? Have you outgrown your existing role and/or do your skills exceed your salary?

If the answer is ‘yes’, you’ll want to keep a close eye on our news and jobs!



Using the 80-20 principle in your job search!

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

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

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

Introducing the 80-20 principle…

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

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

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

How accurate is this?

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

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

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

So how does this knowledge benefit your job search?

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

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

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

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



Reputation matters to job-seekers

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

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

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

Never more important than now:

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

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

The power of word of mouth…

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

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

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

A reputation for the positive:

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

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

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

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

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



FAQ: Do I Need a Cover Letter?

Research suggests younger workers resent writing them, yet the majority take the time to. Do you need a bespoke cover letter to apply to a recruitment agency? 

The above references an onrec piece, in which we hear:

  • 2 in 3 applicants aged 18-24 resent having to create bespoke cover letters for each job application
  • However, 56.7% of workers always do so
  • And 2 in 3 believe ‘that cover letters benefit a job application’

Let’s start with how you’re applying

When you say ‘cover letter’ we’d recommend that this is always a ‘cover email’ for recruitment agencies. Not only will it reach the agency much sooner, it helps your recruitment consultant to process your information. I.e. easily saving your CV and being able to swiftly format this for any client applications.

So, does that mean you always need a cover email for a recruitment agency? 

Yes it would be recommended for your initial introductory email. Although that’s not necessarily as detailed an email as you might expect!

Recruitment agencies usually receive many CVs each day due to the number of roles that they’re actively recruiting for (as well as from candidates who simply wish to be considered for any suitable role that becomes available).

To this end, your goal is to ensure your covering email succinctly communicates the basics of your search needs and availability.

You’ll want to include:

  • Position type: whether you’re looking for temporary &/or permanent work. Plus whether this is part time or full time.
  • Nature of role/s: the types of roles that you are hoping to apply for i.e. Account Management, Office Assistant, PA, Administrator, Finance Manager, etc.
  • A salary guide: at least the minimum that you would realistically commit to.
  • Your working availability – whether immediate or with X number of weeks’ notice
  • If applicable: job reference numbers & titles for any roles of specific interest (you can find these at the bottom of each job advert on the Appoint website)

If you’re applying for a specific vacancy, you may wish to add a brief line regarding your associated experience. However, be certain to ensure that this is also clearly conveyed in your attached CV.

Talking of CVs…

If you’re applying as a general applicant (i.e. not for a specific vacancy) you can use your standard/basic CV. This should be one that highlights your skills and achievements from the point of view of most of the roles that you’d be looking for right now.

When applying for a specific vacancy, it’s wise to update this CV to include examples that pertain to the job specification.

What if you’ve included 6 job references in your cover email, do you need to send 6 CVs?

No, that would be CV overload! The likelihood is that there will be a theme to these jobs – that is if the references relate to positions that you are likely to fulfil the advertised requirements for, as opposed to those that you have no experience/qualifications in yet just catch your eye..!

Perhaps two CVs would be most suitable: each to demonstrate one of the core themes. Name the CV files to reflect this and –to be super efficient!– list the reference codes under the related CV header.

You’re welcome to use this copy & paste template…

[See above for a reminder as to what each bullet point refers to!]

Dear X,

Opening line or two of your choice…

  • Position type:
  • Nature of role/s:
  • Salary guide:
  • Working availability:
  • Job reference numbers & titles (if applicable):

Closing line,

Name

Mobile number

We hope this helps take some of the stress away from writing your cover email – and we look forward to receiving your application! You can also submit your CV via our website here.