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10 tips to master virtual interviews

By Randy Lamotte
Posted on

Covid-19, as we all know, has completely changed the game in many aspects of people’s working lives. More specifically, it’s no secret that in recent years a massively increasing number of interviews and meetings had to shift to a virtual setting to make sure everyone involved would be safe. We have all been in countless meetings both internal and external to our working lives over the years. Whether they relate to a professional environment, personal get togethers, or even parents evenings, we have all been exposed to meetings but for the most part on a face to face basis. However, we have all had video calls with friends and family or even with a manager attending a conference. The reality of this shift is that we have all had to adopt the new virtual standard imposed by the pandemic’s consequences in a very reactive manner. Of course, job interviews were and still are far from exempt from this paradigm shift.

The problem that lies with this is that many candidates, whilst potentially well versed in the art of face to face interviews, are perhaps not so used to attending interviews virtually. Furthermore, even though we have come out of the pandemic and no longer have restrictions on face-to-face interactions, virtual interviews have become a standard for many companies and industries. So, we thought we would give you a few tips and tricks on how to feel comfortable and on top of your game during your next virtual interview.

1. First impressions matter

Interviews, unlike a lot of virtual meetings, are a one off chance to make a lasting first impression which could positively change your life – or at least your career. Because of the ubiquitous nature of these calls and encounters, the importance of an interview can be lost in familiarity.

2. Dress to impress

Think about your outfit and attire; would you wear this if the interview were taking place at the business’ headquarters where you would meet with a multinational’s CEO? At the risk of sounding cliché, it is always better to overdress rather than underdress. It shows the interviewer that you care, even if you’re sat at home.

3. Check your virtual background

Is your virtual Teams or Zoom background appropriate or is it still set to that goofy aquarium effect from the last time you had a virtual drink with your friends? In essence, this comes down to simply being prepared before joining the interview and checking your settings.

4. Tidy up your real background

Is your real background neat and tidy? Remember, neat and tidy doesn’t necessarily mean plain white or bland. It can very much highlight your personality, especially if the company’s “vibe” is similar to yours, as long as it’s not overdone and tasteful (maybe take down your Metallica posters though).

5. Make sure you will not be disturbed

Are you likely to be disturbed? We have all seen this video of this consultant appearing on national television from his home office set up and his kids barging in only to be swept away by the other adult in the house. As funny and good natured as this was, let’s make sure something like this doesn’t happen to you and avoid the embarrassing blushing that will inevitably ensue. Make sure to let anyone else in the property that you have an interview lined up at a particular hour in the room you choose to set up shop in. Even a do not disturb sign on the door should do the trick!

6. Know your tech

Do you know the technology well enough? Let’s face it, there’s nothing more annoying than malfunctioning tech, especially in such an important setting. Dropping a call due to an unreliable internet connection or being unable to use the software properly during an interview can hinder your chances of getting the role due to appearing potentially unprepared.

7. Test your tech

By extension; always test the tech! Before you hop onto the interview call, make sure that you have a reliable internet connection, functioning webcam, decent speakers,  a good mic, etc. All of which should be standard in any modern laptop.

8. Display your real full name

Is your correct full name listed on the video conference software? Make sure that your full name is being displayed rather than a nickname. This small detail does show to the hiring team that you are professional and separate your personal life to your working life.

9. Watch your body language

This is just as relevant for video interviews as it is for any face-to-face interview. Your body language is an indicator of many different factors such as confidence, intent, and presence. Use it to help communicate what you want to say; frame yourself properly, adopt a good posture, smile, use your hands, all of the things you would naturally do in a face-to-face interview.

10. Do your research

Just like any interview whether this be face-to-face or virtual, you should know what the company you’re applying to does, their values, products/services, etc. as well as the role you’re applying to; what would be expected of you, how you match the required skills, etc. The good thing about virtual interviews however, is that you can have some Post-It notes set around your screen which can act as prompts without the interviewer being aware of them.

Key takeaways

Overall it’s important to remember that even though virtual interviews seem and feel different to traditional on-site interviews, good practice remains very similar in both instances. It never hurt anyone to be prepared. Arguably, virtual interviews can be seen as easier than face-to-face ones as there seems to be less pressure due to being able to remain in a comfortable setting during the interview i.e: your home. However, some elements might be trickier in a virtual interview due to their intangible nature; it’s arguably harder to make a lasting positive impression on interviewers when attending remotely as there is limited human contact between the parties. Overall, remember preparation is key and take an interview as being a conversation. If they offered you an interview, this means they are already interested in you on paper, now it’s just a matter of figuring out whether you as a person fit in their idea of the role and organization. So be natural, be yourself, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself, just have a conversation like you would in other settings and you’ll be just fine.

Get in touch!

At ASC Connections, we make a point to help every candidate to feel as prepared and comfortable as possible for any interview as we know how much of a big deal they can be. Feel free to get in touch with us either via email or give us a call on 0121 236 1662 and ask us for any tips or advice regarding your next career move!

Lisa Wright participates in a Wolf Run for Fibromyalgia Action UK.

By Randy Lamotte
Posted on

On the 5th of June 2022, Lisa Wright, Business Support Manager at ASC, will be participating in a Wolf Run and asks for all proceeds to be given in support of Fibromyalgia Action UK.

The Summer Wolf Run is taking place on the 5th of June this year in Leicestershire. Now, you may ask, what is a Wolf Run? The word WOLF, on top of depicting a majestic creature, is an acronym for Woods, Obstacles, Lakes & Fields. From this, one can easily deduce that the difficulty of such an event is high and, as a result, not for the faint hearted due to its extremely physical nature. Participants must complete a course of either 3 (youth), 5 or 10 kilometres and brave the woods, mud, and obstacles in order to progress through the terrain. In essence it does sound like a fun weekend activity to spend outside for the sports and fitness fans out there. However, Lisa’s goal in participating resides in raising awareness and funds for Fibromyalgia Action UK as she has been diagnosed with the condition back in March 2018.

When Lisa was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, similarly to most people in the UK, she had never heard of the condition or had any idea of what it meant for her. It is therefore very dear to her heart that awareness about the condition and what it implies be raised around the UK. So, what is Fibromyalgia? Simply put, it is a long term condition which causes chronic pain all over one’s body coupled with extreme fatigue, difficulty sleeping, muscle stiffness, and can cause problems with mental processes. These are the physical symptoms, however there are some significant impacts on mental health and one’s daily life.

In order to learn more about the condition, we decided to sit down with Lisa and ask her a few questions relating to it, how she deals with it on a daily basis and her drive behind participating in such a physical activity.

How did you react when hearing the diagnosis?

“When I was first diagnosed in March 2018, I had never heard of the condition. I ran quite a few Google Searches and as we all know when doing so for illnesses, immediately found the worst case scenarios! I was frightened of what was to come and how the condition would impact my life. I’m a very active person both at work and in my personal life and I thought that Fibromyalgia would halt this. The problem was that I couldn’t afford to stop working or decreasing my hours as like many other people in the UK, I’m a mum, Nanna, have bills to pay, and a mortgage, so taking a break was not an option!”

Why participate in such a physically demanding activity as a Wolf Run when suffering from Fibromyalgia?

“It started off as a thing you’d mention in a passing conversation really! Long story short, my friend Wendi heard me mention that I thought it would be fun and that I wished I could participate in a Wolf Run or a Colour Run but couldn’t because of my condition and she said let’s just do it! Before I knew it, I was signing up to the Wolf Run. Mind you, I haven’t gone into it blind. Since the 1st Covid lockdown, I’ve been trying to exercise more and go for runs with the Couch to 5k app. I’ve had amazing support from my family doing this as we’ve ended up all running together to motivate each other. While I was exercising, I figured out that I actually felt so much better after a run! I feel energised and accomplished. Even though the physical pain is still there, my mental health has drastically improved from regular exercise! All in all, it’s also for me to see whether I can do it, where my limits are, how high I can push them, and most importantly to make it fun! It’s definitely a challenge, but one I am excited and happy to take on!”

What message would you like to communicate about Fibromyalgia?

“I would like people to know more about the condition. While Fibromyalgia is quite common in the UK and the awareness of the condition exists, the understanding of what it entails can still be misconstrued. I would like people to understand that Fibromyalgia is not a visible condition, and has different levels of affliction which can vary depending on the day. If someone with the condition seems fine on one day, it doesn’t mean that the condition is not there or that they are faking it on worse days. In essence I guess I’m trying to ask people not to judge a book by its cover.”

We at ASC are extremely proud of Lisa and her commitment to this cause. If you would like to support her in her adventure, she has asked that you go through her JustGiving Page. She has set a target of £250 and all proceeds will be going directly to Fibromyalgia Action UK.

We are very supportive of employees who want to support charity or community initiatives. If this sounds like a place you’d like to work, contact Neil McNally today or visit our work for us pages.

6 Tips For Job Hunting During The COVID-19 Outbreak

By Hannah McNally
Posted on

6 Tips For Job Hunting During The COVID-19 Outbreak

While Coronavirus is the hot topic amongst your family, friends and colleagues, it is not only affecting the health of hundreds of people, it’s also affecting the workplace environment and job security of people across the UK.

Despite the uncertainty, it is important to remember that a lot of companies are still recruiting. Social distancing has become the new norm but this hasn’t made it impossible to apply and interview for the roles that are still available thanks to easy online applications and the possibility of phone and video interviews. So, here are a few tips to help you if you are job searching at the moment…

Multi-channel approach

Don’t just rely on the same types of job searches you’ve been doing time and time again if these tactics aren’t getting you anywhere. Use a multi-channel approach to make sure you’re covering all the bases! A simple Google search will bring up tons of online job boards where you can search for jobs by location, salary, keywords and more. This is always a good starting point but there are other avenues available to you.

Have you been keeping a list of contacts from previous jobs, networking events or other relevant forms of communication? Start emailing these people to see if they have heard of any job opportunities! Do you know of any specific companies you’d love to work for but aren’t sure if they’re hiring? It can’t hurt to send them your CV and an explanation of why you believe you’d fit into the company and what you can do for them!

Finally, don’t forget about checking in with recruiters directly. Here at ASC we can do a lot of the hard work for you. We have our own jobs portal where we post all the latest job opportunities from our clients, and you can also upload your CV to receive job updates and career advice directly to your inbox. We can also help with restructuring your CV, tailoring your interview skills and providing you with industry insights.

Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone

Yes some companies are still recruiting, but others have chosen to pause their search for new employees due to having to send staff to work from home. This means there may not be as much variety within the specific industry you are wishing to work in. Therefore, it’s definitely worth keeping an open mind as to the kind of job you’re searching for and perhaps researching other industries to see if there’s more vacancies elsewhere.

Really take time to evaluate the experiences you have had before, what skills you have learned and which of those skills are transferable. Transferable skills are your secret weapon to opening up opportunities for yourself in areas of work you may not have thought about before and could be the difference between you successfully stepping out of your comfort zone or staying put in an industry where you have exhausted all avenues for employment.

Switch up your CV

Your CV is the most important document you have when applying to jobs. But did you know that you should be adjusting it every time you apply to a new role? It’s good practice to read the job description thoroughly for any job opportunity and then tailor your CV to highlight the skills and experience relevant to the opportunity. This makes it easier for the employers to see why they should hire you over someone else.

Anticipate delays and keep searching

While companies are dealing with the ramifications of Coronavirus, there may be delays in responses to your applications. Don’t let this get the better of you and make sure you keep searching and applying. The more research you do and applications you send out, the more likely you are to get a response. It also doesn’t hurt to follow up on an application just to say that you hope they received it, thank them in advance for taking the time to read through it and give them a short reminder of why you applied in the first place.

Vamp up your LinkedIn profile

Did you know that more than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn? It is the best social media platform at your disposal when it comes to job searching but it is also an opportunity to create your brand. Once an employer reads your CV, they may be tempted to look you up online and if your LinkedIn profile matches the information you’ve given in your CV they are more likely to see you as a trustworthy candidate.

If you already have LinkedIn, make sure all the information is up to date and make the effort to connect with people relevant to your experience and the industry you wish to work in. If you haven’t got LinkedIn make sure you create a profile now! It really can boost your chances at not only finding job vacancies but also the likelihood of being asked for an interview.

Practice your phone and video etiquette

If you manage to get to the interview stage of an application process this is now likely to take place over the phone or over video platforms like Skype due to the social distancing advice from Government. If your interview is over the phone, this can make it more difficult to get your personality across as the employer will solely rely on the tone of your voice and range of vocabulary. Try doing some mock interview questions with friends or family over the phone and get them to be honest with you about how you could improve your speech.

If your interview is over Skype or a similar platform, make sure you are camera ready! It can be off-putting using these platforms as you can see yourself at the same time as the interviewer – make sure you keep your eyes on your interviewer instead of staring at yourself as this could mean you’re tempted to fidget or get distracted from what is being asked. It’s also good practice to make sure you have a go-to space in your home where you can do these interviews. It certainly wouldn’t look professional sitting in your bed in your loungewear!

Looking for a job can be tiring work but that’s where ASC can help. We take that stress away, supporting you to not only find a job and company that is right for you, but we can also help you achieve your career goals! Find out more about how we can help here.

Women In Logistics: How To Attract Female Talent To The Industry

By Rebecca Crowther
Posted on

Women In Logistics: How To Attract Female Talent To The Industry

With the logistics industry still behind in terms of diversity, Yvonne Noble, Operations Manager at Balloon One, shares her insight into what companies can do to encourage more women to apply for roles in logistics.

Research suggests that a higher level of diversity within an organisation contributes to higher financial returns and performance. Yet, according to recent research, 85% of the logistics workforce is made up of male employees, and 70% of companies even admit to paying men higher salaries compared to women, so there’s still a lot of work to be done.

On a smaller scale, if you create a more diverse and inclusive company culture, you’ll enhance your business’ ability to attract, recruit, and retain the best possible talent. Below are my tips for attracting more female talent.

Start campaigning early

Sourcing female talent starts with inspiring girls to pursue a career in logistics from a young age. You can preserve the future talent pipeline by helping to encourage them to take STEM subjects at school. 

STEM subjects equip young people with many of the skills they need to succeed in logistics, from data analysis to problem solving. While on the rise, girls are still less likely to take STEM subjects like science and maths at GCSE, as well as at A-Level. 

So, we need to establish a more balanced proportion at school level, which can be achieved by planning and hosting outreach programs and events. You can do this alone or by teaming up with an organisation such as STEMettes who specialise in these experiences.

Gen Z are more likely to consider STEM career paths than millennials or boomers (Best Colleges), so you should also work on attracting female talent through apprenticeships that target this generation, who are currently school leavers and recent graduates. 

If you don’t have an apprenticeship scheme in place, develop one and attend careers fairs at schools and colleges to engage with potential candidates early on. That way, you can hire more female candidates straight out of education rather than having to convince an older generation to switch careers.

Change perceptions of the industry

For some industries like logistics and warehousing, out-of-date perceptions can be a big obstacle to overcome if you want to attract a more diverse range of talent. That’s why it’s important to highlight the varied roles within logistics to show there’s a job to suit every strength and weakness — from management to planning and operations — in your marketing. 

It’s also important to show that there are plenty of opportunities for development and progression within the industry, and that roles in logistics can make you a desirable candidate in careers up and down the supply chain. So, women who learn key transferrable skills in logistics can move on to anything from manufacturing to buying roles later on. 

Some women may also think they won’t be able to physically ‘keep up’ with some of their male colleagues, particularly if they’re working at a warehouse operative level, for example. So, it’s worth making it clear that modern warehouses are full of high-tech machinery and state-of-the-art software to improve productivity and efficiency, and that a high level of physical strength isn’t necessarily important.

Get the hiring process right

Word travels fast, and women will be less likely to apply for a role in logistics if the hiring process puts them off. It’s important to review your job profiles and descriptions to get rid of gendered language that could make them feel the position isn’t for them. Try to avoid using aggressive or competitive language in your adverts, such as “lead”, “analyse”, and “confident”, and favour words like “support”, “understanding” and “responsible” instead.

Mentioning an inclusive culture and offering flexible working schedules is a must for diverse companies, as they are far more appealing to candidates both male and female. Plus, a good work/life balance can have an amazingly positive impact on productivity and staff retention, so you’ll benefit from these perks too. 

It will also help to increase the visibility of women in your workplace, including having female staff present in the interview to demonstrate the diversity at your company and help put candidates at ease. This will also prove useful should the candidate have any gender-specific questions, as the woman interviewing will be able to provide valuable insight. 

Then, once you’ve hired a new female member of staff, make sure she has access to female mentors and role models within your company who can show her the ropes.

Hiring more women can be a challenge if you aren’t receiving enough applications. The tips in this guide can help you attract more women to your logistics company, so the industry can benefit from a more diverse range of talent.

Yvonne Smith is Operations Manager at the supply chain technology consultancy, Balloon One. Having been with the company since 2006, when it was a fraction of its current size, Yvonne has sat on the management team since 2012. She has leveraged her career in administrative roles to bring in both company-wide and functional process improvements. Whilst managing the Service team, Yvonne was credited with driving customer satisfaction to new levels.

If you’re looking for a job or star candidate within the Supply Chain, Procurement or Logistics industry, our ASC Connections team go the extra mile. You can find out more about what we do here.

Recruitment Careers: What Makes a Successful Recruiter?

By Rebecca Crowther
Posted on

It’s never been more important to understand how to be a successful recruiter. Why? The UK recruitment industry is competitive. There are currently circa 40,000 recruitment agencies and 115,000 people employed within it and it keeps on growing. If you think that 84% of recruitment agencies set up between 2008 and 2018, it’s critical to ensure you are standing out in a crowded market place.

The Key To Being a Successful Recruiter

This article aims to help you understand the qualities of a successful recruiter, factors that impact your success as a recruiter and tips from real-life recruiters.

Qualities of Successful Recruiters

As mentioned, it’s a competitive marketplace. It can be a very rewarding career but it is also very hard work as successful recruiters will tell you. To stand out and be successful you need to have certain qualities. Take a look at the list below and see if you have what it takes to make it to the top:

  • Resilience – You’ll have good and bad times in recruitment, but you have to be resilient to get through the bad patches.
  • Confidence – if you don’t believe in your candidate, client or your ability to do the job, no one else will.
  • Driven – Recruitment is a target driven industry, you need to be driven to meet those targets and goals.
  • Motivated – Without this quality, you will not make it as a recruiter. You should be buzzing to come to work every day and if you’ve had a bad day, draw a line and start a new day with a fresh perspective.
  • Good Communicator – you’ll be dealing with various people and will need to adapt your communication style to suit. This is to ensure you’re getting your message across loud and clear.
  • Multitasker – you wear many hats as a recruiter. You need the ability to find candidates, book in interviews, arrange start dates, liaise with clients, bring on jobs and the list goes on.
  • Problem Solver – thinking on your feet is needed in this job to resolve issues. Such as why you can’t find a candidate, or why a candidate should take your job and not another.

Factors that impact your success as a recruiter

As well as having the right qualities, you also need to ensure you aren’t doing what everyone else is doing in recruitment. Here are some factors that can impact your success.

How personal are you?

Customer experience is everything now. This means you need to make every interaction with clients and candidates personal. Instead of asking ‘are they interested in ‘x job’ or ‘x candidate’, ask them more about themselves.

People love to talk about themselves so take the time to really listen. What this means is don’t be a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ person. Understand what they are saying, ask more questions and make the job or candidate personal to them. For instance, a client tells you they are struggling to find someone who is the right cultural fit. Instead of agreeing and advising you’ll look to find someone who is right, keep asking questions about the culture. Not only what type of person but why weren’t the previous hires right, was there anything in the interview stages that they could have picked up on etc.

In addition and if possible, offer something of value too such as free advice. i.e this might help you because. It will help you build relationships better.

Can you tell a good story?
A girl sitting on a floor wearing jeans, trainers and brown top with a notebook and pen in front of her, a laptop on her lap and the words your story across the image
Your Story

People buy from people because they can relate to certain scenarios or situations. As well as making your interactions personal, turn them into stories people can relate to. For example, you are speaking to a candidate who is telling you they want to leave their current job because of their Manager. You tell a story of another candidate in a similar situation and the success they have had in their career since moving and working under a Manager that is better suited to them.

Being Human

It sounds so simple but is easily forgotten when you get into the day to day tasks. As a recruiter, you will be under pressure to meet targets, such as phone time, jobs on, CVs screened and the list goes on. A successful recruiter always remembers that the person they are speaking to is a human not a target.

Therefore, be empathetic and understanding. Never be rude if it doesn’t go your way. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself how you would like that conversation to go. There is enough misconception about the recruitment industry and recruiters, don’t be one of those ‘typical recruiters’ that people talk about.

Your Reputation

A big factor that impacts your success as a recruiter is your ability to build a strong reputation. To do this you need to think outside the box and do things differently.

The words take time to build your brand written with a fountatin pen on paper
Take time to build your personal brand

When building your reputation think as yourself as a brand. You need to raise awareness about who you are and what you do. Don’t just post jobs on boards and social media or email with jobs and candidates or phone asking if a company has a job. Provide value.

As a recruiter, you speak to people every day. Without realising you find out what’s going on in the market, find out common questions or themes from candidates and clients. Use this information to your advantage. For example, is there a common issue coming up when you speak to candidates?

Recently one of our recruiters who works in the controls and automation space found many of his candidates were advising how easy it was to transfer skills between PLC platforms. However, employers were unwilling to consider this. He used this as a talking point, created a debate about it on social media and wrote a LinkedIn and website article. All of which started to build his credibility as a recruiter and the knowledge within the market.

How narrow is your market?

To really build your credibility as a recruiter, you need to develop your knowledge. The best way to do this is by focusing on a niche or vertical market. The less broad it is, the more success you will have.

Are you getting too complacent?

When you start reaching your targets every week, month, quarter and for the year, you start reaping the rewards, financially and through sense of achievement.

However, sometimes when things are going well, it’s all too easy to sit back and let things happen. Never become complacent. You never know what is around the corner, your biggest client could pull the plug. What then? Always strive for more and push yourself to achieve harder targets.

Tips from Recruiters

What a better way to understand how to become a successful recruiter than taking tips from real recruiters.

business man, recruitment consultant

Don’t just send cv’s to jobs for the sake of fulfilling a KPI. If you cannot find what they are looking for, take a consultative approach and discuss it with them. You will come up with ideas and alternative options in which to be successful in finding them the talent they need.

Mark Dawson, Managing Consultant

Business woman, Internal Recruiter

Get to know your candidates, keep in touch with them regularly and be aware of their other activity. They will buy into you as a person and this can sometimes be the difference in them taking your role over someone else’s.

Marie Weston, Internal Recruiter


Focus on selling the opportunity to the candidate, whether it’s via an advert, over the telephone or face to face.  Understand the strengths of your company and the position and then sell, sell, sell. Don’t just focus on what the candidate can bring to the business because in a candidate led market (like the one we’re in), you need to stand out from the crowd.

Neil Edwards, Business Manager


What Next?

If you feel you are doing all of the above and you’re still not achieving, maybe it’s time to consider moving to a company that will help you to become a successful recruiter.

Have a chat with Marie Weston and let’s see if ASC is the right company to support your recruitment career.

Articles you may be interested in:

Recruitment Careers: The Importance of Company Culture
Recruitment Careers: Your Market Sector
6 Key Signs it’s Time To Leave Your Job

External Sources
Recruitment Agency Statistics

The Importance of Work-Life Balance

By Marie Weston
Posted on

The importance of work-life balance has become high on the agenda for the majority of working people. However, most don’t seem to be able to get the balance right for them.

According to a recent study by Investors in People, 22% said they are looking for a job with a better work-life balance. Furthermore, a whopping 77% said they felt stressed at work suggesting their work-life balance is out of sync.

I was recently speaking to someone to potentially join us here at ASC. They were working 12 hour days to get their work done. They felt pressured and stressed and thus this was having an effect on their home life. Although work-life balance is subjective to the individual, it’s crucial to get it right.

That’s why I’ve written this article, to give you an understanding of the importance of work-life balance on your career and personal life.

In this article you will learn:

  • What work-life balance is
  • Why it is important
  • The impact of a good vs poor work-life balance
  • Tips to get the balance right for you

What is Work-Life Balance?

scales

HRZone (an online platform for HR Professionals) defines work-life balance as:

Work-life Balance


The level of prioritisation between personal and professional activities in an individual’s life and the level to which activities related to their job are present in the home.

They also mention the reason why the importance of work-life balance has become more prominent in recent times is because of technology. If you think back to a time before the internet, smartphones and cloud-based tech, why would anyone have a need to bring their work home? Now people are given work mobiles, laptops and can remotely work from anywhere.

Whilst this can support flexible working arrangements, it can become a grey area. Technology shifts the boundaries of clear work time and personal time.

That is why it’s critical to get your work-life balance right for you.

Why is it important?

Work-life balance is important for many reasons including your health (physical and mental), your happiness, your relationships in and out of work and your ability to do the job well.

Although you may think it’s pretty obvious why it’s important, not everyone realises their balance is out of sync.

Some of us are workaholics. Just because you enjoy your job, it does not mean you should constantly be working. The key ingredient to work-life balance is the ability to relax, switch off from work and re-charge the batteries. There is more information on how to do this later on in the article. The next section focuses on the impact of a good vs poor work-life balance.

The impact of good vs poor work-life balance

A Poor Balance

angry business woman

Earlier, I referred to the person who was working 12 hour days, this is an example of poor work-life balance. So, what are the impacts of this?

  • Increased Tiredness: This could cause you to make mistakes. Thus, leading to questions about your ability to do the job and in extreme cases, loss of your job.
  • Increased Stress: Long hours impacts your mental and physical well-being. For example, it can cause a lower immune system which may result in more sick days. Not something your employer will be happy about.
  • Breakdown of relationships: Lack of work-life balance means you will see family and friends less. They may question this, leading to losing friends, breaking up with your partner or not seeing your children. Is this what you want?
  • Working Expectations: If you don’t have the balance right and always put in the hours, this then becomes the norm and your employer will expect it. You then fall into a trap of long hours with no or little downtime and ultimately burnout.
  • Risk of Health Issues in Later Life: According to Medical News Today, a poor work-life balance can increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, and anxiety/depression in later life. Is that how you envisaged retirement?

A good balance

On the contrary, getting work-life balance right has many added benefits. You see, a good work-life balance isn’t just about the division between work and personal time. It’s actually about a sense of fulfilment in the key areas of our life; work, family, friends, and self.

You need to ask yourself if you feel satisfied with all four of those areas. Balancing these means you feel you have achieved and are enjoying life. However, the balance can change from day to day or even year to year. Your balance when you are single will be different if you are married, hence advising it’s subjective to the individual.

Regardless of your situation, finding a good balance provides you with increased happiness, motivation, feeling of being valued, productivity and focus. These all lead to better health and wellbeing, reduced stress, better sleep, and personal and career development.

Tips to get your work-life balance right

As mentioned previously, getting the right work-life balance is about understanding your own needs. Below are some tips to support you with this:

  1. Listen to your body. If you’re feeling tired and stressed, it’s time to take a break. Book a holiday or some time off.
  2. Find something you enjoy for you. This could be as simple as reading a book or watching a movie. You may have a hobby such as riding your motorbike or the gym. Whatever it is, it should be about making time for yourself and no one else.
  3. Be strict with yourself. Decide how many overtime hours you’ll do a day or a week and stick to it. Don’t say I’ll just stay for another hour at work, go home and make time for your friends and family. This also means not looking at your work emails on your mobile outside of these hours.
  4. Find an employer who wants to support your work-life balance. Find a company that is right for your needs.
  5. Prioritise the important stuff. This is at work and home and don’t let other things get in the way.
  6. Understand when you are most proactive in the day. Use this to your advantage to get things done that need doing.
  7. Be firm. Don’t be the person who says yes to every request, manage people’s expectations or you’ll be a walking doormat! That is in and outside of work.

Work-life balance benefits your employer too

Understanding if you’re achieving a good work-life balance allows you to see if you’re employer is supporting you. Work-life balance doesn’t just benefit you, it also helps your employer. If you’re happier, more motivated and focused, you’re going to be more productive, have improved performance and take less sick days. You are also likely to want to stay there which reduces the cost of finding a new hire.

What Next?

So, there we have it, the importance of work-life balance. Hopefully, you now understand what it is, the benefits and tips on achieving it.

If you feel you’re not getting a good work-life balance and your employer is unwilling to support you, maybe it’s time to move jobs. Register with us and we’ll contact you to discuss what you are looking for. You can also search through all of our live jobs at any time.

If you think ASC could be a good place to work then please contact me, Marie Weston, to find out more.


You might also find these articles interesting:

How Do You Like To Be Managed?
6 Key Signs it’s time to leave your job
5 ways a recruitment agency will boost your job search

External Sources
Investors in People Work-Life Balance Study
Definition of work-life balance: HRZone
Medical News Today

How Do You Like To Be Managed?

By Marie Weston
Posted on

The Ultimate Guide To:

Understanding Which Management Style is Best for You


How do you like to be managed? A question that is often asked in job interviews. Could you answer it if put on the spot?

Having a Manager that doesn’t suit your way of working can affect your career and self-confidence. As the Internal Recruiter for ASC, I regularly have conversations with people who aren’t happy with the way they are being managed. Understanding how they like to be managed in the first place may have prevented this from happening.

It not only supports you to answer this question in an interview, it ensures you are working under a Manager that gives you what you need to develop.

In this article you will learn:

  • Signs of a good Manager
  • The consequences of being incorrectly managed
  • Management Styles
  • To answer ‘How do you like to be managed?’

Signs of a Good Manager

woman in front of laptop on table, man sitting in front if her

Not all Managers are bad. You may not like your Manager but others might. This is because different management styles suit different ways of working.

Let’s start by looking at key traits all Managers should have, regardless of management style.

Provides Reassurance

This could be anything from letting you know you’re on track to focusing on the small wins to get to the bigger picture

Trust

Feeling that your Manager trusts you is a good sign. After all, what do you have without trust? There are varying degrees of this but ultimately, if you don’t feel trusted, how can you perform well?

Appreciation

A simple thank you can go a long way. The level of appreciation is subjective from person to person. Therefore it’s important to think, do you feel appreciated or undervalued?

No Blame Game

Even Managers do things wrong sometimes. A good Manager will admit this and not pass the blame onto others.

They are Approachable

What you think is approachable another person may not. What’s important here is, are you able to approach your Manager with personal issues, work-related problems and your ideas?

They Don’t Show Signs of Stress

Any Manager could be under pressure to perform. Good Managers, no matter how they manage will not pass this stress onto their team. They will remain calm. After all, if they are passing the stress onto you, you get stressed and then work isn’t as focused or productive.

No Office Gossip
grayscale photo of woman doing silent hand sign

We all fall into this trap at some point, in reality, it’s human nature. Nevertheless, a Manager talking to their team about other members of the team or company is a bad sign. To put it another way, if they talk about others to you, what are they saying about you to others?

All of the above is subjective to you. Above all, it’s important to remember, how does your Manager make you feel? If you feel untrusted, low or lack confidence in your ability to do the job, it’s time to look at finding a Manager that suits you.

The Effects of Bad Management

If you continue to work with a manager that doesn’t suit your style of working it can have damaging effects. Your career and personal life could suffer.

Working for the wrong manager can drain you physically and emotionally. You could lose confidence in your ability to do the job causing your productivity levels to drop. This then leads to more pressure and stress on you.

It has been proven that stress can lead to physical issues such as fatigue, headaches, lack of sleep and muscle-related problems. When you are stressed you can also become withdrawn and you may have more time off sick. You then bring your work home and this can affect your personal relationships.

This is why it is so important to understand what type of manager is best suited to you. You need to find someone who works with your strengths to help you be the best version of you!

Management Styles

This section focuses on types of Managers and what type of people they suit. In the hope that it will support you to understand which management style you should look for in a Manager.

Transformational

Also known as visionary leaders, these types of Managers are seen as inspirational. They have big ideas and a clear vision for the future. In as much as they focus on the end game and inspire everyone to do the same. Furthermore, as a Manager, they will push you out of your comfort zone and constantly challenge you but in a positive way by leading by example.

grayscale photo of woman doing silent hand sign

In other words, they don’t adopt a hierarchical position but see everyone as equal. Everyone has strengths to help meet the end goal.

It’s a well known and well-liked style across the world. At the same time, this style does not suit everyone. It works really well if you need little supervision. This is because these types of Managers are so focused on the end goal, they lack the ability to look at the small actions to support it. Therefore, if you want to work in an environment with a Manager who provides inspiration and knows you can do a good job but leaves you to it, this is the style for you. On the other hand, if you need more support and guidance, it may be better to look for a Manager that adopts a different style.

Key Traits

Inspires, engages, challenges and develops employees.

Laissez-Faire

Unlike the transformational Manager who aims to inspire through vision, a Laissez-faire style, delegates tasks, provides you with resources and puts all their trust in you to get the job done. They are very hands-off Managers, leaving you to make decisions.

It works well with employees and teams who are highly skilled, only checking in with the leader to update when required. It is used a lot in the creative industry for projects such as product launches.

However, similarly to transformational if you need more support and guidance, this may not be for you. In contrast, if you are able to develop your own schedule and you’re happy to work under no supervision, this is definitely for you.

Key Traits

Resourceful, offer support when required and have a relaxed approach.

Transactional

One of the oldest and most common ways of managing. It is very compliance led, meaning, there are clear rules, structure, and process to follow. Your Manager adopts a hierarchical position and you get rewards for following rules and punished for not.

Although this sounds very black and white, it works well in a lot of businesses. It can motivate employees as they know where they stand and what they need to do to do a good job. Therefore, if you’re the sort of person who works well under clear rules and structure, this is a good style for you.

On the contrary, if you prefer more autonomy or enjoy coming up with ideas/solutions to make things better (i.e. a process), you may find this management style too restrictive. That is not to say it is a bad management style or you won’t receive any support from your Manager but you need to understand how you like to work to know if it is good for you.

Key Traits

Provides supervision and direction, a structured working environment and rewards good behaviour and performance.

So, How Do You Like To Be Managed?

Now you have an overview of the signs of a good Manager and various management styles, it’s time to understand what suits you.

Firstly, think of all the Managers you’ve worked with. Which ones have stood out (for the right or wrong reasons)? List the traits they have. For the ones you enjoyed working with, do any of their traits match any of the styles above?

Secondly, work through the list of questions below and see if there is a theme that emerges.

  1. Do you prefer to be left to get on with your work or do you require a more structured approach?
  2. How often do you like to be praised?
  3. How often would you like to have check-in meetings with your Manager?
  4. Do you need support/guidance on a daily/weekly/monthly or ad-hoc basis?
  5. Do you need to know why you’re doing a task?
  6. Is being part of decision making important to you?
  7. Is regular face to face contact needed?
  8. Are you someone who likes to come up with ideas and solutions to problems?

Once you have a clear picture of what you like and what you need, you can then look at if the way you are currently managed is right for you. Remember, you may need a Manager that is a mix of two styles, there is no right or wrong, it’s finding the right way of working to get the best from you.

What Next?

Hopefully, you can now answer, how do you like to be managed? And, if it’s time to move to a job with a Manager that brings out your best side, have a chat with us and let’s see if we can make it happen.


You Might Also Like:

External Source
Comparing transformational, transactional and laissez-faire styles

Workplace Culture: The Ultimate Guide

By Marie Weston
Posted on

Find out why workplace culture is important and how you can ensure you choose the right company culture with our ultimate guide.


According to a 2018 report by BreatheHR on workplace culture, a third of British employees quit their jobs due to poor workplace culture. As a result, it’s costing the UK economy £23.6 billion a year! Thus, it’s no surprise that employee communications platform Speakap revealed 87% of organisations cite culture and engagement as a top priority.

Company culture impacts your overall happiness, it’s therefore critical to choose one that’s right for you. A huge pay rise might make you happy in the short-term but it’s the company culture that will determine your future satisfaction.

Our guide aims to help you understand:

  1. What workplace culture is
  2. Why it is important to your success
  3. Different types of workplace cultures
  4. How to determine what business culture is best for you
  5. Ways to find out about a company’s workplace culture

What the Heck is Workplace Culture?

colleagues giving a fistpump as part of a team bonding exercise

Firstly, let’s take a look at what workplace culture actually is.

The Management Study Guide (an online education portal providing topics on management) define company culture as:

The beliefs, thought processes and attitudes of employees and ideologies and principles of the organisation

Essentially, it’s the personality of the organisation combined with the behaviour and attitudes of the people within the business that determine the workplace environment that is experienced.

Without a doubt, a positive workplace culture increases productivity and efficiency and improves retention of the workforce. Therefore, Job satisfaction, collaboration, and work performance are all enhanced. Above all, a positive work place environment reduces stress in employees.

Whereas a toxic workplace culture causes dishonesty and distrust amongst employees and between management and lower-level staff. A higher turnover of staff is often seen in these types of cultures due to lack of communication, engagement and accountability.

So, why is it important for you?

We spend more time at work than we do at home for most of our lives. Therefore, you need to be happy where you work as happiness is the key to success.

Hence, working at a company that doesn’t align with your own morals, needs and values can impact on your wellbeing. In turn, this will influence your personal life, at the end of the day, you can’t just switch happiness on when you get home.

For that reason, the culture of a company is more important to consider than anything else like big salaries, pensions, healthcare or any type of employee perks. In addition, a culture that makes you happy enables you to do your best work, perform better and develop your career at a faster rate.

Workplace Culture Types

It’s important to remember, different types of cultures suit different ways of working. What might make one person really happy at work, might make another very de-motivated. These 4 types of culture are a good place to start understanding what might work best for you.

1 Collaborative Culture

In this case, the culture encourages collaboration and inclusion. It’s all about working as a team to meet the wider company goals. This type of company sees employees as family, tackling big decisions together and putting time aside to bond.

This type of culture might be good for you if: building working relationships motivates you to do well and you like to socialise with work.

2 Innovative Culture

Different from collaborative, companies that want to make waves in their industry through innovation adopt this style, think, Google and Apple. Employees in this culture think outside the box and constantly challenge the status quo. However, they are expected to put in the hours to achieve the company’s high growth strategy. It’s high pressure but high reward.

Good for you if: You are happy to work longer hours for a higher reward and work well under pressure.

3 Flat culture

The name does not mean it is a boring place to work. Instead, the focus is on equality. No employee is seen as having any more privileges than anyone else. From the CEO to the Junior Admin Assistant. However, this also means employees are expected to come outside their normal role duties to help the business when required. It’s a very hands-on culture but you do have a say in how the business moves forward. You are also unlikely to experience micro-management in this type of culture.

Good for you if: you like to work under minimal supervision, want your suggestions taken on board and acted upon and can see your work is making a real difference.

 4 Traditional Culture

A working culture that has been around since the 1900s. It has a clear management hierarchy with strict guidelines and processes for employees. The company will focus on the profits made and doesn’t take too many risks.

Good for you if: you like a clear working structure, lines of decision making and accountability.

How to determine what workplace culture is best for you

welcome to the new asc blog ASC Connections

In order to find out which culture would be best, you first need to understand your own personal values and beliefs.

To put it another way, what you stand for in everyday life will affect the decisions you make daily. For example, if you are very conscious about the environment, you may check if products are eco-friendly when you’re out shopping. Meaning you’re choosing certain brands over others depending on your personal preferences. The same applies when choosing a place to work; you like to be managed, the noise level or the support you need will all have an impact on your success.

The best way to work out your personal values is to ask yourself the following and write down the answers:

  1. What makes me happy?
  2. What would I want to change in the world?
  3. What’s important to me?
  4. What are my ultimate career and personal goals right now?
  5. Put in order of importance for you: customers, employees, profits

Once you have these answers, then consider the traits a company would need to align with your own personal beliefs and values.

Examples include:

  • High pressure
  • Flexibility
  • Employee wellbeing focus
  • Relaxed atmosphere
  • Collaboration
  • Innovative
  • Support and feedback
  • Development
  • Employee investment

Ways you can review a company’s workplace culture

a blackboard with a smiley face in green, neutral face in orange and sad face in red written with chalk. A tick is next to the green smiley face.

Firstly take a look at their website and social media pages. Particularly see if they have a clear set of values and goals. Then, ask yourself do they align with yours? How does the way they come across online make you feel? Is it approachable and welcoming or cold and too corporate?

Secondly, find reviews from past and present employees from websites like Glassdoor. This will enable you to understand if what they claim to be is a reality. Don’t forget to also look at reviews on Google and sites like Trust Pilot, this will allow you to see how they treat their customers and again if they are acting as they say they do.

Communication

Whether you apply for the job or you’re approached by the company, take note of how you are communicated to verbally and in writing. For example, how do they sign off on emails, do they answer your questions when you ask or how long do they take to get back to you?

At your interview

If you are successful in securing an interview and everything related to their culture so far looks good, this is the final test.

When you arrive, how are you treated? This includes everyone you come into contact with from the receptionist to employees who may pass by you. If they are rude to you or aren’t expecting you, this could be a warning sign about the overall culture of the company.

Additionally, if possible get a feel for the office or place where everyone works. For instance, what does the atmosphere feel like? Is it buzzing or really quiet? What is better for you? If you prefer an upbeat atmosphere, a quiet office might not be right for you.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions to determine if the culture is a good fit. It is just as much about you interviewing them as it is about them interviewing you. Possible questions to ask include:

  • What are your long term plans for the company?
  • What is their vision as a company? (if you couldn’t find them beforehand)
  • What do they value in employees?
  • What is their organisational structure?
  • As a business what is their number one priority?
  • How do they promote health and wellbeing in the workplace?

Whatever stage you are at in your profession, choosing a company that fits with your personality and allows you to achieve in your career (and ultimately your personal aspirations) is crucial to your overall wellbeing and happiness.

By following our guide, you should gain a good understanding of what to consider and how to review your current and future workplace culture.

What Next?

If you’re looking for a workplace culture that is better suited to you, register your details and a consultant will contact you to discuss what you’re looking for.

If you’re looking for a new role within recruitment, contact Marie for an informal chat.

You might also find these articles interesting:

4 Steps to Interview Success
Common Interview Questions & Answers
Why is Personal Branding Important For Your Career?

External Sources used in this article:
2018 Workplace Culture Survey
Speakap Survey
Management Study Guide

Should I Leave My Job?

By Marie Weston
Posted on

6 Key Signs it’s time to leave your job

Should I leave my job? Sometimes this can be an easy decision to make and you’re looking for a chance to progress in your career. Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re looking for other reasons it may be time to move on to pastures new.

There are many factors that can contribute to considering ‘should I leave my job?’ Sometimes these can be negative and you’re trying to understand if it’s you. Other factors may not be as obvious and require you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

I speak to people every day who tell me about the reasons they wish to leave their current role but I find there are common themes. I want to share these with you to help you make a decision about your current job situation. So, here are 6 key signs it’s time to move jobs…

1. Your Work Environment

Just like you can’t get on with everyone in life, you can’t fit into every type of company culture and the working environment it provides. It is not to say that the company you work for has a bad culture but the way they operate doesn’t align with what you value in a working environment.

It’s therefore important to understand what you value when you work for a company and if your current employer is living up to this. It may sound silly, but you’ll excel in an environment that allows you to be the best version of you.

If you’d like to know more about understanding if you’re in the right culture, read this handy guide.

However, sometimes the culture isn’t because you don’t fit in but it’s simply a toxic culture. This could be due to various factors including:

  • The colleagues you work with aren’t friendly and you don’t feel part of the team
  • Your Manager is causing issues between you and your colleagues
  • You don’t feel appreciated
  • You don’t receive direction or feedback to help your career development
  • The culture is de-motivating

If you find yourself saying yes to any of the above, it is a real warning sign you need to get out of there. It’s not you!

2. Your Commute

car in traffic jam

You enjoy your job but find the commute a miserable experience. It’s no surprise to learn studies find our commute to work has become longer over the past decade. This impacts our health. Longer commute times are linked to increased stress, higher blood pressure, lack of sleep and gives us less time to do things that are good for us.

You probably find yourself asking, should I just stick this out as the commute is the only issue or should I leave my job? There is light at the end of the tunnel, this can be resolved in a less drastic way than moving jobs. Why not discuss your commute with your employer and ask if you can arrange a more flexible arrangement where you come in later and work later or earlier and leave earlier. There’s also the option of working from home a few days a week.

If you really enjoy your role, reducing your commute means you become more productive which only helps your employer. If they are not willing to discuss this, maybe they don’t value you as much as you thought. Is it, therefore, time to move to a job closer to home or that offers hours to suit you?

This does all depend on what your job involves as not all roles could accommodate this. Hence, do think very carefully before rushing in to ask your Manager to change your hours. If this is you, you may want to reconsider the type of job you do and if it’s for you.

3. The Job has changed for you

When you started your current role, everything was great, your Manager, your colleagues, and the culture. Now things aren’t the same because of changes within the business outside of your control.

Some of the things I come across include:

  • A re-structure within the business has meant your role has changed
  • The business has become financially unstable, leaving you worried if you’ll even have a job
  • You just feel it’s time to go
  • Your Manager has changed and you don’t get on

With all of the above, I find people are struggling to see how they can reach their career goals in the current situation. It’s at this point I always discuss the potential of moving to a new company that could support their ambitions.

Have things changed for you?

4. You’re Procrastinating

Do you find yourself

clock watching?

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re lazy or a bad employee. It could simply be, you’ve outgrown your role, you know it inside out and it’s no longer a challenge. Basically, it doesn’t make you want to jump out of bed in the morning!

The problem with this situation is you become too comfortable and that’s when you start making mistakes. Anyone who is driven to succeed in their career knows they need to be motivated. How do you do that? By constant learning and understanding. It keeps you on your toes but when this stops, you become less alert.

There are 2 ways of dealing with this:

  1. You speak to your Manager and see if there is room to progress or take on more responsibility
  2. You move on to a new role with fresh challenges

Your employer (although they may want to) may not have the resources to promote you or there may not be the extra work for you to take on.

It’s important you assess why you’re procrastinating and decide if moving jobs is the right thing to do.

5. Your Wellbeing

There are times when everyone’s job becomes stressful, especially when meeting deadlines. However, it should not be like this all the time. If you find work is becoming too much, it can have serious effects on your physical and mental wellbeing.

A recent Health and Wellbeing at Work Report by Simply Health and the CIPD revealed over 50% of people are stressed at work. This is caused by high work volumes, bad management, and poor working relationships. In turn, this results in people working when ill or when on holiday which should not be the case.

It’s important to have a balance between your work and personal life to ensure our wellbeing is at a good level. This is different for each person but you need to know what is right for you and find an employer who can accommodate what you’re looking for.

Are you suffering from stress? If its work-related, is it time to move on?

6. You aren’t working to your full potential

sky, clouds, ladder

It’s important to review this. Especially if you’ve been in your current role for a while. You know you’re doing well, could do much more but you’re not being given the chance. For example, maybe you’ve got a solution to a problem but no one listens to you.

For some people, it’s about confidence, they can do it but are unsure if it’s a leap too far. We are the biggest critics of ourselves. The next time you feel you can’t do it, say you can, write down everything you’ve achieved and don’t listen to the voice in your head.

For others, it’s not quite so obvious they aren’t reaching their potential. Ask yourself, does your job give you satisfaction even for the smallest of tasks? Do you feel excited about the future at your work? If the answer is no, it’s time to address this either by moving or speaking with your Manager. Even if you really enjoy the people you work with, it’s not always enough. Don’t feel bad for considering leaving, it’s your career! Make sure you are making the most of your potential.

What Next?

Do any of these signs ring any bells? Has it helped you answer, should I leave my job? If, yes, have a chat with us about potential roles.


External sources:
Commute Statistics
Health and Wellbeing at Work Report

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