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.
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!
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
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…
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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 CultureRecruitment Careers: Your Market Sector6 Key Signs it's Time To Leave Your Job
External SourcesRecruitment Agency Statistics
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 isWhy it is importantThe impact of a good vs poor work-life balanceTips to get the balance right for you
What is Work-Life Balance?
HRZone (an online platform for HR Professionals) defines work-life balance as:
Work-life BalanceThe 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
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:
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. 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. 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.Find an employer who wants to support your work-life balance. Find a company that is right for your needs. Prioritise the important stuff. This is at work and home and don't let other things get in the way. Understand when you are most proactive in the day. Use this to your advantage to get things done that need doing. 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.
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.
Register Your Details
You might also find these articles interesting:
How Do You Like To Be Managed?6 Key Signs it’s time to leave your job5 ways a recruitment agency will boost your job search
External SourcesInvestors in People Work-Life Balance StudyDefinition of work-life balance: HRZoneMedical News Today
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 ManagerThe consequences of being incorrectly managedManagement StylesTo answer 'How do you like to be managed?'
Signs of a Good Manager
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.
This could be anything from letting you know you're on track to focusing on the small wins to get to the bigger picture
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?
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
Inspires, engages, challenges and develops employees.
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.
Resourceful, offer support when required and have a relaxed approach.
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.
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.
Do you prefer to be left to get on with your work or do you require a more structured approach?How often do you like to be praised?How often would you like to have check-in meetings with your Manager?Do you need support/guidance on a daily/weekly/monthly or ad-hoc basis?Do you need to know why you're doing a task?Is being part of decision making important to you?Is regular face to face contact needed?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.
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.
Register Your Details
You Might Also Like:
Should I Leave My Job?The Ultimate Guide To Workplace Culture5 Ways a Recruitment Agency Will Boost Your Job Search
External SourceComparing transformational, transactional and laissez-faire styles
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:
What workplace culture isWhy it is important to your successDifferent types of workplace culturesHow to determine what business culture is best for youWays to find out about a company’s workplace culture
What the Heck is Workplace Culture?
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
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:
What makes me happy?What would I want to change in the world?What’s important to me?What are my ultimate career and personal goals
right now?Put in order of importance for you: customers,
Once you have these answers, then consider the traits a company would need to align with your own personal beliefs and values.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Register Your Details
You might also find these articles interesting:
4 Steps to Interview SuccessCommon Interview Questions & AnswersWhy is Personal Branding Important For Your Career?
External Sources used in this article:2018 Workplace Culture Survey Speakap SurveyManagement Study Guide
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
The colleagues you work with aren’t friendly and
you don’t feel part of the teamYour Manager is causing issues between you and
your colleaguesYou don’t feel appreciatedYou don’t receive direction or feedback to help
your career developmentThe 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
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
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 changedThe business has become financially unstable,
leaving you worried if you’ll even have a jobYou just feel it’s time to goYour 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:
You speak to your Manager and see if there is
room to progress or take on more responsibilityYou 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
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.
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.
Register Your Details
Search For a New Job
External sources:Commute StatisticsHealth and Wellbeing at Work Report
In this Recruitment Careers article, we look at the importance of company culture within your recruitment job and how it affects your career progression. There are many factors that can influence your success as a recruiter but if you’re working within a recruitment company whose culture and values don’t align with your own, it can be detrimental.You could be a good recruiter who has had success, you then join a company and you don’t seem to be doing as well but you can’t understand why. Sometimes, it’s not you, it’s the environment you’re in, the people you’re surrounded by, the way you’re managed, the attitude the company has towards certain tasks and instead of thriving, you’re finding a way to survive.
Don’t let your recruitment career stagnate because of factors you can’t control.
We chatted with one of our longest-serving consultants, Mark Dawson about why he has stayed at ASC long term and the importance of company culture for recruitment careers.
You’ve been in recruitment for a long time, where did it all start?
My recruitment career started in 2001 when a friend introduced me to a rec to rec as they felt I would suit the recruitment industry. I met with a Branch Manager of a leading industrial recruitment business in Birmingham. I was soon offered the chance to join them as a Trainee Consultant placing shop floor and industrial temps into businesses across the city.
What happened next?
I worked my way up to Senior Recruitment Consultant level and then felt I needed a change. I started working for a large global recruitment organisation as I wanted to experience a corporate culture. This is where I found my passion for the Supply Chain, Procurement and Logistics sector and worked for various corporate agencies recruiting senior people within this market. I even worked for a large corporate beverage business as an internal recruiter.However, after a number of years in the corporate world, I felt this type of environment wasn’t for me anymore. After various interviews and three offers, I decided to join ASC. After spending time with the Directors, I connected with them and felt they were the best fit.
What made you choose ASC?
Firstly, I was used to working for large, corporate agencies and the restrictions they can place on Consultants to operate. I didn’t want to just be a number anymore. A smaller business with no red tape and a direct line into the powers that be where I could make a difference suited me better. I met their Managing Director, Neil Mcnally first and the first interview lasted well over 2 hours. During this, I felt a synergy and a common ground to the business, its direction, and values. At a later date, I met with the Operations Director, Jane Storer and again it was a long interview with a lot of common ground. I felt that ASC could offer me a fresh challenge and provide a great working environment where I could excel!
Why did you want to move recruitment agencies?
Having worked for some of the largest recruitment companies in the world, you are just a number and you can sometimes feel a little lost in the size. These organisations can also restrict your growth somewhat by placing geographical restrictions. I was not able to operate in postcodes where most of the big businesses in my market operated which reduced the size of my market. This meant that career progression wasn’t moving forward the way I had envisaged and I felt stuck. I wanted to move to a business where I knew the Directors, I was clear on the direction the business was taking and had no restrictions allowing me to thrive. Where basically, your career progression was all on you rather than factors outside your control.
Before moving to ASC what were your career goals and why do you feel you didn’t achieve them?
I wanted to move into a management position with a team. It is difficult to do this in a large, corporate agency due to the restrictions mentioned earlier, the way they promote people or what you can apply for internally. I just felt to reach my goal would take longer than I wanted.
Have you now achieved your career goals at ASC?
Yes, I started here as a Senior Recruitment Consultant developing a Supply Chain and Procurement desk, a market the company had not ventured into before. Using all of my knowledge and a few old contacts I was able to make an impact quickly. Within 12 months I had employed a Trainee Resource Consultant to assist me in candidate generation. From that point, I continued to develop and pick up more responsibility for a wider team covering Business Support roles. I got promoted to a Managing Consultant responsible for a team of 3 consultants and myself.
My aim is to now develop and grow the team further and become a real recruiter of choice for a range of Supply Chain businesses. My long term goal is to grow and train my own replacement enabling me further growth at ASC.
How has ASC supported you to reach your goals?
I feel without the early support and freedom provided it would have been difficult to grow my desk . ASC provided a personal development plan with bespoke training for my needs. Unlike corporate companies where it’s company-wide training in groups, this was more one on one. This enabled me to train, mentor and develop another consultant, proving I was doing well and lead to my promotion.
Why do you feel the culture at ASC is better for you than previous companies you’ve worked for?
At ASC you can have more of a say in how the business and your desk are run. You can choose the direction it takes and have a real input into this. Having the Directors so close to hand aids this greatly.
Why do you think finding the right company culture is important?
You need to not only enjoy the work you do but also enjoy
the business you work at. If you have aligned values and goals, and the culture
is one that provides this then it can only really provide you with the
potential to succeed.
Hopefully, this is an interesting way to understand why choosing the right company culture for your recruitment career is important.
Find out if you're recruitment career is on the right track with our Recruitment Career Checklist.
A great way to understand where you are and what you need to do to achieve your career goals.
Download Your Recruitment Career Checklist Today
If you have any questions about this, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Find out more about working here and if the markets we recruit for would be of interest to you.
We know interviews can be a daunting experience, even if you know you can do the job you are applying for. However, regardless of the role, there are common interview questions that are regularly asked by employers to understand who you are and if you will fit into their culture. They assess your motivations, aspirations and work ethic.
Common Interview Questions
Here, we give you a guide to common interview questions and how best to answer them with examples.
Why do you want this job?
This has to be one of the most common interview questions asked. We suggest thinking carefully about this question. Stress the positive aspects which have attracted you to applying for this position. Do not mention the negative aspects of your current job or the job in question.
I have heard lots of good things about your company and that combined with my research has really got me enthused about working for you.I am looking to work for a company that I can further grow and develop my skills and my experiences and I feel that this role and your business will enable me to do that.
I'm looking for a job closer to home.I looking to move to a job that offers me more money.I'm not getting on with my current manager and need to get out.
What qualities do you think will be required for
Their advertisement for the job may help you a little bit, but you should also think of the other qualities that may be required. These may include leadership ability, supervisory skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem-solving, analytical skills, etc.
I think you will need someone that can effectively manage your customer’s expectations and deliver a high level of service. I feel that my years of experience and numerous examples of where I have done so put me in a strong position to perform well in the role.
What can you contribute?
This is your chance to shine. Tell them about your achievements in your previous position(s) which are relevant to the new position you are applying for.
I am cool under pressure and I am able to find a positive in any situation to overcome the challenge. For example, in my previous role, I had a deadline to organise x project. I decided to utilise the expertise of those around me to support me in completing the project on time.
My years of experience in x industry will support the growth of your business. In my last role, I managed to bring on 10 new clients from my connections within the industry, resulting in x revenue over x years for that company.
Why do you want to work for this company?
Emphasize the positive reasons why you want to join their company, but avoid aspects such as more money or shorter hours. These would not endear you to a prospective employer.
You have a really strong reputation in the market and I want to be a part of this.
I feel that your company values are in line with my own such as your focus to become more sustainable as a business.
What do you know about this company?
This is your chance to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of their company. Give them a rundown of their products/services, sales figures, news, company figures, customers, etc.
History and Structure:
You were founded in X and Operate in X countries and are a leader in the market. You have X employees across X sites.
You are number x in your industry and have x products that are big sellers in your market.
What interests you about our product (or service)?
Again, your research into the company should aid you in answering this question. Have they won any awards for their product innovations or service?
You have some of the most innovative products within your market and this has been proven with your industry award for xxx. I am interested to understand more about the thinking behind the products and achieving such good standards.
What can we (the new company) offer that your
previous company cannot offer?
Tread carefully here! Again do not mention money. In other words, stress opportunities for personal growth, new challenges, etc.
I want to work for a company long term where I can progress. You offer various progression routes and you really invest in your employees. I feel I have gone as far as I can in my current company.
You have a leading product that I am really excited to work with and support with its development.
What do you like and dislike about the job we are
Likes: stress things such as a new challenge or the opportunity to bring fresh experience to the company.
Example: I like that I will be able to take on more responsibility and welcome the challenge
Dislikes: Imply there is nothing to dislike about the job, which is why you are so interested.
Example: There is nothing that I dislike the sound of at all. If that was the case I probably wouldn’t have applied and accepted an interview.
Why did you choose a career in …?
Be positive about your reasons. If you have changed careers make a logical argument as to why you did so.
I decided t pursue a career in x industry because I had a real passion for it personally. This has only fuelled my ability to develop my career.
How much does your last job resemble the one you
are applying for? What are the differences?
The interviewer is trying to see how well you would fit into the position you are applying for. So you should stress the similarities rather than the differences. When it comes to discussing the differences it will help your case if you can show that either you have done something similar in the past or that you can quickly pick up the new skills.
It is a very similar role, just with a different process and software. I will be able to learn quickly and be up to speed and operational in a short time.
The products are very similar, however, yours are different in terms of quality and innovation and I feel that I can perform even better in the role due to this.
Why did you join your previous company? Did they
live up to your expectations? Why are you leaving now?
Always be positive about your reasons for joining and leaving a company. Be very careful that you do not say anything negative about your present employer. If you do, the new company will wonder what you will say about them when you leave. You might want to stress that you are looking for a new challenge and that you feel that the company that is interviewing you fits the bill!
My previous company gave me a great opportunity to develop as a manager and are a great company to work for, however, I feel I have progressed as far as I can and it's time for me to take on a new challenge at this stage in my career.
Explain the organisational structure in your last company and how you fitted into it?
It's important to realise, this sort of question may be used to find out whether your old job is at a comparable level to your new job. If the new job being discussed would be a step up the ladder you will need to show that you are ready for a more demanding position. You may be able to show that you have already had many of the responsibilities and the necessary skills which would be required for the next step.
In my current role, I work in a team of 10, we all report to one manager who reports into the director of the company. I also have one person who reports into myself. As part of my role, I have on occasions stood in for my manager and have provided updates on team performance and project progression to the director.
How long have you been looking for a new job?
If you have been unemployed for a long time this may be a rather tricky question to answer. But be honest. If you have been away on holiday or done some voluntary work you could mention this.
If you are still employed
I don’t want to take a job just for the sake of it so am waiting for the right career opportunity to come up.
If you are unemployed
Whilst I have been looking for a new job, I have been studying for x qualification to strengthen my knowledge of the sector.
I have been volunteering at x company which has supported me to develop management skills.
What are you looking for in a new job?
Make sure your answer fits in with the company who is interviewing you. A suitable reply would be that you are looking for a new job where you can apply your existing skills and learn new ones.
In my current role, I have developed competent production planning skills. I am looking for a role where I can add to my current skill-set through being given the responsibility of more complex production planning requirements.
Are you considering any other positions at the
If you are say so, but do not give too many details away - it will weaken your negotiating position later. If you do not have any other job offers at the moment just say that you have a few interviews in place.
As I am actively looking, I am considering a few select roles that meet my criteria’
What did you think of your manager/supervisor?
Say that he/she was the sort of person you could learn from and you communicated well, which meant that the task in hand was completed on time.
My manager gave me support when I needed it, knew when I needed to be put under pressure and provided constructive feedback which helped me develop my skills.
What did you do on a day to day basis?
Stress the positive things you did including your achievements. Even if some or much of it was paperwork, you can still show your interest in the way it was tackled.
As my role as Sales Administrator, my day to day duties included processing sales orders, answering queries from our clients and stock control. I really enjoyed building relationships with our clients and learning about how the companies products were used for their business.
How would you describe yourself or How would others describe you?
Choose characteristics that fit with the role you are interviewing for. If it is a sales role, talk about soft skills such as communication. If it’s a finance role, perhaps attention to detail. Either way, keep it relevant. There is a tendency from people to only focus on the positive traits but it shows a good level of self-awareness if you can balance the answer perhaps with an area of development that you or another has identified for you to work on.
I am extremely approachable and put people at ease when they talk to me. However, I'm not afraid to challenge a difference of opinion or rejection.
What was your greatest success? How did you achieve
You should pick an achievement which is related to their needs and talk through it using the STAR method.
S – Situation – explaining this initially will give context to the example T – Task – give details of your responsibilities in the situation A – Action – demonstrate how you responded or took charge R – Result – Explain the impact you made or the lessons you learned
There are great examples of this here.
What has been your biggest failure?
Keep it work related if possible and explain why you feel it is your biggest failure and more importantly, what you have learned from it and how would you apply that in future situations?
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Could IT professionals be the answer?
According to the Engineering UK 2018 report, 61% of businesses were not confident there will be enough people with the skills to fill their high-skilled job vacancies. Although this statistic accounts for the broad sector that is engineering, the industry 4.0 skills gap figure within controls and automation is likely to be higher.
This is because the onset of industry 4.0 is changing automation within the manufacturing industry. The companies we work with are struggling to hire the right people now which will not get any better with an increasing need for industry 4.0 skills. This got us thinking, as a recruitment company that hires within the sector, how can the industry become more attractive to increase the supply of skilled candidates and alleviate the industry 4.0 skills gap?
When our controls and automation recruitment team have spoken to people within their network about this, the general consensus is, there aren’t enough opportunities for people to enter the industry. This is due to companies needing skilled candidates to complete project work now, they don’t have the time to train. This is a shame as there are youngsters out there who are enthusiastic and want to learn given the chance. However, there might be another alternative by looking at IT professionals.
As we also recruit within the IT sector, we think we’ve had a lost generation of engineers because there was a real push towards the IT sector. Although some roles were hard to fill, the majority would attract more candidates than within engineering. Could IT professionals solve the industry 4.0 skills gap by transferring over to engineering?
IT to Manufacturing Case Study
We spoke to John Sullivan, an engineer who has moved from IT into manufacturing to work within controls and automation. In our conversation, we discussed the benefits to both IT professionals and manufacturing companies of hiring IT skills, how we can make the industry more attractive and solve the skills shortage.
What made you move from IT into Operational Technology within Manufacturing?
It wasn’t something I actively chose to do, I was just in
the right place at the right time. During the 2008/9 recession, a manufacturer
wanted an IT professional to use their skills to help with the technical areas
of their plant. I was excited to have the chance to
work in manufacturing, in what turned out to be a green field site as
well. It was a great chance to work
in a different industry and put my experience in various
areas of IT hardware/software, networking, databases and programming into practice in a new setting.
Having now made that transition, I would highly recommend others do the same. The IT sector is so fast-paced, it can be exhausting keeping up with the changing landscape but manufacturing has yet to be as advanced in technology. It gives you more chance to breathe. (But that pace of change is picking up steam in manufacturing as well. I later went on to work for a company doing Big Data and Analytics related to manufacturing with a solution that was very cutting edge. A nice blend of IT and OT worlds there!)
How easy was it to move between IT and OT? What are the transferable skills?
While IT can have you learning many
different fields, people are often pidgin-holed into one particular area
like software development, or just networking. In the
OT world you may have the chance to broaden your skills across several domains. This is because there is
always a new problem in manufacturing that needs a different solution. One day
it could be on the programming side and another day on the network side.
Other benefits of moving from IT into a manufacturing
The ability to take your IT skills and become
more task orientated, which can help you feel a sense
of accomplishment. You can really make a difference that has a direct impact on the business. In IT
roles, you tend to be a little fish in a big pond whereas in manufacturing it can be the other way around.
For manufacturing companies, we’re in a skills shortage so
we need people. Not only will utilising the skills of IT professionals help to
bridge that gap but also IT professionals will have a different perspective and
way of solving problems. Many will ask why you do something a particular way
and you could offer alternatives to help your
manufacturing plant become more efficient.
However, although utilising people from other tech industries like IT could support the skills shortage, companies will need to invest the time to train people on their particular industry.
How can we make the industry more attractive to IT people to make a potential move into manufacturing?
There are various considerations when looking at attracting IT professionals to cross over into manufacturing. Firstly focus on how a manufacturing environment offers them much more variety in the work they do, and how it may offer the chance to broaden their skills more than within an IT (office) environment.
Secondly, depending on the type of product you are manufacturing, this could also be attractive and an area to sell. IT professionals are often from the same mindset as engineers in their problem solving and interests. Appealing to them along the line of your products, services, or culture may be of interest to them as that may add meaning to their work.
Others we have spoken to have mentioned the industry isn’t attractive to the younger generation, would you agree with this?
I think there are a few factors. Years ago a lot of manufacturing moved production to more cost-effective labour countries, so there was negative press, feelings, and opportunities that followed; it gave the industry a stigma. And the word “manufacturing” often brings ideas of smokestacks and old buildings pumping out widgets – not something that can be “cool” (IT people often like the “cool” and “cutting edge” factor.) These, along with the fact that the last few decades pushing people to think about high school then college/university only (rather than a profitable and rewarding career in a “trade”,) is also a key reason I think that it has deterred people to want to pursue a career within the industry.
Inspiring and getting young people interested in automation at a much younger age is key. Businesses need to be working with schools and allowing children to programme something and see the end result. The education system needs to get students thinking about ‘the why’ not just ‘the what’. Understanding why something does something, not just what it does, allows you to develop the skills to solve problems more quickly. In the present, this often isn’t explored properly until you get to university level.
Other than inspiring youngsters and attracting talent from other industries, is there anything else you think could help to bridge the industry 4.0 skills gap?
Companies should be working together to create a community
to find solutions rather than working against each other. I know of a few companies and groups that are sharing their
work with each other in customer forums and meetings. For this to happen in the historically very
protective field of proprietary manufacturing is amazing. Sadly this openness is still rare, but it’s
getting better. Also remember that
today’s younger workers, who have the world and social networks at their
fingertips, expect their work world to also be open and accessible.
Companies also need to develop and
reward a culture of continuous learning and creativity. Look into new technologies, including trusted
technology that is newly gaining acceptance in the manufacturing world. For example, I know of a company who
shared the technology they had developed for their own plant with other
manufacturers. It helped efficiency and worked with all automation platforms.
For example, if you had a CNC application interface and had 2 lines down but
you only had enough maintenance resource to repair one, how would you choose
which one? Currently, you might look at which one was down first, but with the technology
mentioned above, it could tell you which one was going to be the most efficient
when fixed. Or you might use other solutions to show
you which line would be more profitable when operational. Following either one could mean a
better return on your resources.
There is even technology that eliminates the need for coding in now-archaic PLC languages. This no-code PLC platform enables higher
efficiencies, greater safety, and increased communication among your process
and controls staff as they and others define your process visually and using
regular English sentences from relevant drop-down choices. This software then
creates the needed PLC code for you to export to your supported PLC platform of
choice, along with automatic documentation creation as well. This means engineers, technicians,
operations, and maintenance staff could work across more processes, lines, projects, and companies, and more collaboratively, instead of only working with those the plc’s they are trained in.
These new applications of technology can be inviting to the IT crowd to enter the traditionally non-IT manufacturing environments. The industry needs to embrace these types of technology to help alleviate the skills gap to a more manageable level.
What Are Your Thoughts?
We found it really interesting chatting to John. He had some valid points in terms of looking beyond candidates who currently sit within the controls & automation industry. His point about getting young people to understand ‘the why’ will hopefully help develop the skills we need. There is a lot for the industry to think about.
It would be great to hear your thoughts and opinions or if you are part of a movement helping to bridge the industry 4.0 skills gap.
If you’re looking for support with your controls and automation recruitment, contact the controls and automation team.
Controls & Automation Jobs
In our latest Recruitment Careers series, we look at the importance of choosing the right market sector to recruit within and how this impacts your success as a recruiter.
Recruitment careers are great if you are an ambitious and driven individual. You can become successful very quickly because you can build your own mini business. It’s exciting, challenging and rewarding all rolled into one.
However, in our experience, the market you choose to
specialise in impacts your success. Why? Well, like with anything in life, the
more interest you have in something, the more motivated you will be to learn,
talk about it and in recruitment sell it.
Recruitment careers involve engaging with people every day about the industry they work in. If you don’t have an interest in this, it would be like sitting with a group of people who are talking about a topic you don’t understand, have no interest or opinion of and ultimately become bored.
You cannot see recruitment careers as a job, a means to an end as if you do, you will not succeed. Therefore, if you’re thinking about a recruitment career, choose to recruit within an industry that interests you, one that you can connect with people.
To give you a better understanding we spoke to Mathew Ram- Gopal, an experienced recruitment consultant with over 15 years’ in the industry. He talks about the importance of selecting a niche market rather than a broad one and his experience of why he chose the market he did and why he changed markets.
1. You’ve been in the industry for a long time, in your opinion, why do you think choosing a niche market is important for your recruitment career?
When you work a niche market all your activity ties in
together – every candidate you speak to could be suitable for more than just
the one vacancy you initially had in mind for them. The leads you gain from them can generate
vacancies which are suitable for the other similar Candidates you have on your
Also, I believe it’s best to have a clear identity – by stating that you specialise in a market you gain instant credibility. You’re seen as an industry expert, someone that can offer help, advice and knowledge.
2. You seem really interested and passionate about the market you recruit for, do you think this is a big factor when deciding on the market you want to recruit for?
If you don’t have an interest in the vertical market you’ll get bored and it’ll become more of a chore. Both Clients and Candidates will pick up on this.
3. You changed the market you recruit for partway through your recruitment career, why was this?
Although I had an interest in my market, I found that from the activity I was putting in I wasn’t getting the results I was hoping for or expecting. This was mainly down to that particular market lacking urgency – they could normally divide the workload amongst other staff until the perfect candidate came along.
4. What advice would you give to someone when thinking about what market to recruit for?
Find something that interests you, research it, find out the
demand for Candidates in that market, and who your competition would be. If it
looks like you can reach or exceed target after crunching a few numbers then
it’s worth looking into further.
For example, when I decided my original market wasn’t bringing the results I wanted I researched into other areas. After a conversation with someone in the office, the Injection Moulding & Plastics industry looked promising. Not only did the numbers add up but the technical and scientific side to the roles I’d be recruiting for was something that fascinated me and I wanted to know more. The rest, as they say, is history, I haven’t looked back since.
5. Once you’ve decided on your market, how do you develop your knowledge to gain your reputation and credibility like you mentioned?
By speaking to Candidates, watching videos on YouTube, and by going on Client visits. You’ll start to pick up things and if you don’t understand something look it up and learn about it, after all, if it interests you, learning about it will be easier.
6. Have you got any other advice for those thinking about which market they should recruit within?
Look at it as your own business, and make a business plan.
Preparation is vital!
To summarise, pick a market that interests you but do your
research to ensure it will bring the results you want, keep developing your
knowledge online and through client and candidate conversation and plan to
ensure your success.
There you are, an introduction to the importance of choosing your market within recruitment. If you have any questions on this, don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you think you’d like to work for ASC, find out more about working here and if the markets we recruit for would be of interest to you.
Click Here to Learn More About Recruitment Careers
Is your recruitment agency not delivering the results you
want? Or are you reluctant to even consider using their services?
Not all recruitment agencies provide a bad service, we’re
not all the same but you have to do a bit of work too to get the best out of
your recruitment provider.
Why does the industry
have a bad rep?
I have worked in the recruitment industry as a Managing Director for nearly 30 years. A lot has changed in these years but in most recent times, the number of recruitment companies has increased dramatically. In fact, 84% of all recruitment agencies registered since 1990 have been within the last decade and in 2018 there was a 46% increase in newly registered agencies since the year before.
In my opinion, the increase is due to the ease of entry to the market. You can recruit from your bedroom, a laptop, phone, and website is all you need. However, I feel this has led to a rise in falling service levels and bad practice within recruitment which has unfortunately tarnished the reputation of the industry.
Focus on the good not the bad...
I feel sometimes companies focus too much on the bad
experiences rather than looking at the value a good agency can add. In my view this
can lead to a number of scenarios:
You try and negotiate very low feesYou don’t spend time with the agency to give
them a good understanding of your company and the roleYou use lots of agencies believing they are all
the same and this will lead to more candidates
What happens in these scenarios is you feel like you’re not getting
the level of service you need and thus, your trust in recruitment agencies
diminishes. On top of this, the lack of service then costs you money, time and
your productivity and profits are impacted.
Why does this happen?
You may wonder why? Well, would you work as hard for a
client who didn’t believe in you and wanted to pay you less than you’re worth?
Would you be able to provide a product or service with half a brief?
Working with lots of agencies actually makes it harder for you, not easier. So many different processes, fees and not to mention the duplication of CVs. It will be difficult to tell the good from the bad. Working with a maximum of 3-4 is best or work with an agency who offer a managed service. They will deal with other agencies so you don’t have to, trust me it will make your life much easier.
agencies do exist
However, amongst the cowboys out there, there are a number
of very good agencies that can add real value to your business. But, you have
to trust, believe and have respect for each other for it to work. We are not
miracle workers and do need you to put the time in with us so we can give you
what you need.
Good recruitment agencies are not just CV churners and interview arrangers, they offer a consultative service so use this to your advantage to get ahead of the competition. Take guidance from them on your recruitment process, your candidate expectations and salary/package on offer.
Too often, I’ve seen great candidates lose interest in a role because of the length of time it takes to agree to see them for an interview or make a decision on an offer. We’re in a candidate shortage market. If a candidate pulls out, maybe review your processes and if they are too long, take advice from the agency on how to improve it.
When deciding if to interview a candidate or not when perusing a CV, look for the reasons why you should interview them as opposed to why not. A good reputable agency will have spent time talking to that candidate and made sure they are the right fit for you. Look at why you would hire them and not just the skillset but the overview of their personality and how they would fit in which is just as important.
I’m really not ranting…. Honest!
Now I might sound like I’m having a rant but actually I just
want to outline how not to work with recruitment agencies. In all of the
scenarios above, a business relationship starts off on the wrong foot because
it starts with no confidence. If you do not believe in your recruitment provider
to start with, your service level will not be met.
I understand this can be hard if you’ve had a bad experience in the past but if you take the right steps initially, listen to advice and see a recruitment agency as a partner, not a supplier, you will find an agency that is the right one for you.
Our best clients are the ones we meet and communicate with regularly, who dedicate time to support us to understand their business, what they need and help them improve their recruitment and retention strategies. These clients have not used other agencies as they haven’t needed to. They also trust us enough to book candidates in for an interview without seeing their CV first.
So, how do you find
the right recruitment partner?
Firstly, don’t view all recruitment agencies in the same
way. All will vary in the way they recruit and the services they offer. With so
much choice I can understand why it can be difficult to find the right one for
you, so here are some tips:
Choose an agency that specialises in your sector.Where possible, select an agency within a 50 miles radius of your location so you can easily organise meetings.Meet with the agency.Ask how often they would like to meet with you. For temporary assignments, every 1-2 weeks is best but for permanent 1-2 times a year is fine.Ask for testimonials and case studies.Look for how long they’ve been established and if they have a good reputation.Are they aligned with a professional body? Ask lots of questions, don’t assume an agency can do something, ask.Find out how detailed their process is and how they screen candidates – passing you CVs without speaking to a candidate first is a definite no-no. How much are they asking you about your company and the role, it’s important they find out as much as possible about you too. Don’t base your decision on fees alone.
There is honestly a very good case for working with an agency that has your best interests at heart.
If you’re on the lookout for a new recruitment agency or thinking about using one, get in touch with us for an informal chat.
Employers Click Here to Contact Us About Your Roles
How easy is it to
transfer your PLC programming skills from one platform to another?
We’ve recruited within the controls and automation industry for a number of years here at ASC. In recent times, we have seen a common theme surrounding the ability to transfer your PLC programming skills. In various candidate and client conversations the team have had, there has been a difference of opinion.
Candidates tell us time and again it’s easy to transfer
between platforms and that if you can programme a PLC it doesn’t matter which
platform it is.
On the other hand, most (not all) clients will only consider
plc programmers who have worked on their platform. Any engineers who could be
the right fit culturally, have the technical knowledge and are willing to adapt
to another platform are dismissed.
In a candidate led market with a worsening skills shortage
should companies be more flexible when considering candidates?
To investigate this further and understand:
Why employers feel this wayIf engineers had transferred PLC programming
skills how easy was itIf we should encourage employers to change their
We asked the team to reach out to their network. The results
made us realise that although technically it is considered to be relatively easy
to transfer your PLC programming skills, changing the mindset of employers is
not so easy.
Why do employers feel
In short, from the responses received from those hiring, and engineers, it’s not as simple as just considering transferable skills. It becomes complicated when there is a time constraint in terms of delivery deadlines or a customer is working with a specific set of industry standards. This is where companies feel they require an expert but this then puts pressure on the engineer. For example, some company’s may need this expertise straight away and can’t afford to spend time waiting for the new employee to get to grips with the new platform.
However, on the flip side of this, if you consider the time it takes to hire the right person who has experience of your PLC platform, there is a cost impact on your business for each day there is no engineer to take your project forward. But, an engineer without your platform expertise could have got up to speed in the same time. Double-sided sword maybe?
Therefore, should employers change the way they think about recruiting controls and automation engineers for their projects?
employers change their mindset?
Those that were of the opinion of yes believed it is relatively easy to transfer between platforms and that employers should be assessing the whole package as opposed to just looking at tick boxes. Furthermore, if someone is going to be a good fit and demonstrates the ability and willingness to transfer skills, they should definitely be considered.
Yes, they may need more time to adjust to your platform because there are small differences between each. It was even suggested that some platforms such as Rockwell would only take a few weeks to develop the knowledge required. Whereas Siemens can take a while longer to understand. Does this suggest, it depends on the platform? Also if you have other employees on-site that are experts in this area then they can support a new person get up to speed.
However, for employers to be more open on considering the transferable skills option, it’s important to fully assess ability. Do the applicants’ understand the basics? As one person mentioned “PLC programming is just a tool to implement a control system. If a person has taken the time to learn and understand process control, automation systems and software design best practices, they will not have much trouble moving from one PLC programming platform to another. However, if someone only knows the PLC programming part, and doesn’t understand the WHY part of automatic control systems, they will have a lot of difficulty moving from one PLC platform to another” How familiar are they? Can they hit the ground running?
It was also brought to our attention that it depends on whether the company has considered the long term objective of why they want to hire someone with PLC programming skills. Are they looking for someone to simply work on a short term project or do they want someone who in the long run can improve the running of their facility? If it is the latter, then asking for a specific plc programming skillset isn’t necessary and their wider skills and the value they can bring to the business should be the focus.
The main reason behind the opinion of ‘no employers shouldn’t change their mindset’ is business needs. Therefore it’s not a straight-out ‘no’ but more looking at each role on a case by case basis. For example, if a company only needs a contractor for a month, they won’t be able to afford to give them the time to get up to speed with their platform.
There is also the issue around different industry standards.
Automotive having different standards to FMCG for example. Although the
standards were meant to make life easier and everything more uniform, they have
actually made things more compartmentalised.
Before the standards came in, most engineers could work at
most companies. Nowadays, each company will use different platforms. Unless you
keep moving from one platform to another, you become an expert of one platform
rather than having general/good knowledge of 2 or more.
Do we, therefore, need more of these types of engineers? But
is this really plausible? In one sense, no because when we had more engineers
like this, the systems were mechanically driven. The factory/plant technology
and the environment has evolved. Not only do we have PLC platforms but also
complementary technologies. It makes everything a lot more complicated which is
why experts in niche areas are required.
However, a new underdeveloped standard called O-PAS could see things changing. It is suggested that once O-PAS is fully defined it will allow for the construction of safe, reliable, secure process automation systems that are scalable & do not require system shutdowns to perform updates. Thus, creating more uniform standards across various industries and there will not be a need for employers to change their mindset about transferring PLC programming skills across platforms.
What we have taken from this is, it is possible to transfer your PLC programming skills between platforms but due to the complexity of the modern-day platforms and increased functionality within these platforms, it’s not actually that easy when you start getting to the nitty-gritty of it.
We do understand where employers are coming from, in terms
of looking at it from a cost point of view. However, although it may not be
that easy, we believe each role should be looked at individually and as already
mentioned in this article, what is it you want them to achieve and in what time
frame? More long term roles, maybe be a little more flexible. It will be
interesting to see how standards and technologies evolve. Will we need these
niche skill-sets in the future or will they become even more niche? Let’s see
what the future holds.
We hope you have found the article and debate interesting.
It would be great to hear your opinion, please leave your thoughts below.
If you’re on the lookout for a new role or struggling to hire the right engineer, let’s open up a conversation, get in touch with the team here.
Following on from the previous post, why personal branding is important for your career, here we discuss the impact building a personal brand will have on your job search and how to get it right.
What is a Personal Brand (re-cap)
Whether you are successful in your career or just starting out, building a personal brand can attract the attention of potential employers. Furthermore, your personal brand will give you the opportunity to showcase your experience and knowledge in a different way.
Personal branding is no different from branding a company or a product, done correctly, it is very powerful. To illustrate this, read the story below from Lars Lofgren, CEO of Quick Sprout.
How to Build a
Above all building a personal brand will differentiate you from others. Below are the 4 key steps to help you get started.
1. What is your Personal Brand?
Who are you?
Like everything in life, you need to have a plan. Thus, the saying goes ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. In other words, to create a strong personal brand, you need to determine what you would like to say.
Ask yourself these questions:
By developing and growing your personal brand, what is it you want to achieve?For example, are you looking for a new job and want to make some noise about your knowledge & experience in your sector? Are you looking to change careers and need a way to capture the attention of employers? Or, maybe you want to go freelance and need to start building your customer base.When you meet or connect with people what is it you want them to know about you? How do you want them to perceive you?Here think about what it is you want to achieve, then establish what your strengths are, the parts of your personality that will support you achieve your goal, what you are you passionate about in your industry or discipline.What do people think about you now? Once you know this, you can decide if you want to build on it or change it depending on what it is you want to achieve.
When you have determined all of this you can decide what your story and message is. For instance, maybe you want to move into a management position within the Procurement industry and you’re looking to get the attention of procurement professionals.
Your story could focus on the journey you’ve taken into
procurement, what has changed and what you predict will happen in the future.
What is your opinion?
As a result (of this), the message would resonate you are in a position to advise and guide those more junior to you and have the knowledge to influence within the industry.
2. Who do you want to engage with your personal brand?
After you have established what it is you want to achieve, it’s important to understand who you want to reach. Not everyone will be interested in you or your personal brand.
Now, this doesn’t mean finding out the names of every
individual but what type of people are they. For example, where are they in
their career, are you trying to reach people who already have a good
reputation, how do they engage with others, are they serious or relaxed?
Who is your target audience
Other things to think about are:
What do they want to achieve and how can you help them with that? Such as if they are a director of a manufacturing company and need someone to manage their production process to support growth, how would you help them do that, what would make them sit up and take notice of you.
Similarly, what are the things that frustrate them or what are the challenges they face, do you have an opinion or solution for this?
3. Where will you showcase yourself?
The main point to you building a personal brand is to
showcase it to others. You can’t do this unless you have a platform to do so.
Therefore, you need to think about where you want to share your story and your
With this in mind, if you are not sure, think about the people you want to notice you, where are they? For example, which social media channels are they on, what events do they attend or what do they read? Other platforms to think about are:
An online portfolioYour own WebsiteWriting articles for an external sourceHolding your own eventsSpeaking at eventsDeveloping your own podcast/video series
4. How will you showcase your message
Finally, think about how you will get your message out there, you know what you want to achieve, who to and where but how do you get there?
Firstly people are not going to come to you, you need to get
out there online and offline and shout about who are and what you believe in
By the same token, having a social media account, your own website/blog and video series to showcase your message is great but you need people to take notice – that requires work on your part.
Take time to build your personal brand
In addition, you need to network with people, share your opinions, have an opinion on others thoughts. How? Make it a priority to comment on other’s posts on social media each day, connect with people and when they accept contact them. Do the same when you meet people face to face and follow-up with them after.
Hence, when you start engaging and networking with people, people will start to take notice of what you have to say and will read your articles, listen to your podcast/videos, comment/share/like your posts and reach out to you personally. It’s at this point, your goals will become reality. You’ll get offered that job or you’re customer base will snowball.
Personal Branding Examples
Here are some personal Branding Pros that you may learn a
thing or two from:
Gary Vaynerchuk – Someone who came from nothing and built not only his family business to be successful but now has an empire of businesses.
Neil Patel – In short, he is currently he is one of the top entrepreneurs in the U.S and he started his entrepreneurial lifestyle at the age of 15.
A few things to remember
Consistency – don’t change your persona once you’ve developed itConfidence – in who you areBe Patient – it takes time to build your personal brandAlways Engage – always respond to those who engage with youBe constant – decide how often you can post a social media post, write an article/blog or shoot a video and keep to that timeline. Albeit, the more you post the more often you will be seen.
Hopefully, talking through how to build your personal brand will support you to get it off the ground and make it a success.
You might also like:
How to write a good CV
How to succeed at Interview
7 Tips to Get Your Job Application Noticed
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Search Jobs on the ASC Jobs Portal Today
I wanted to share my story and why you should consider working in recruitment marketing. Like most people who work within the recruitment industry, I fell into recruitment marketing. So, why work in recruitment marketing?
When I was at university, I have to be honest, my goal wasn’t to work in a recruitment agency. I had these visions of moving to London to market the latest trendy products in a really cool office with slides and sleep pods!
Now I’m not saying I couldn’t have achieved my vision but an
opportunity in my university placement year changed my mind-set. Why go for
jobs that everyone wants when you will probably gain more experience and learn
a lot more in a smaller company where you can make a real difference.
This is why, when I was approached by ASC, I leapt at the chance to move away from a big corporate culture into a ‘get stuck in’ and make a difference culture. Although this scared the living daylight out of me, I was looking forward to it.
Now I’ve given you an introduction to how I ended up working
as a recruitment marketer, here are my reasons behind why work in recruitment
Every day is
I can guarantee you will not work anywhere else where you
have so many things going on at the same time. The job really is a ‘get stuck
in and get your hands dirty’ type of role. I’m not saying it’s an easy ride.
It’s a challenge but this makes it more interesting.
For example, a consultant may ask you to put together a
presentation for a client pitch and they need it today. The next day you might
be asked to monitor the phones because a member of staff is away. Yes, that’s
right, you need to help out with areas of the business outside of marketing.
However, this helps you integrate into the business a little more and get a
deeper understanding of it.
As well as this, things change quickly in recruitment and you have to be able to adapt to this. Something I found hard when I first started, especially coming from a corporate background. However, once you get used to the momentum, it makes the job exciting.
Increased Marketing Skills
When I look back at the marketing teams I was in before,
they were just that, teams with specialists that you could turn to for advice
at any time.
Although, whilst this can be a good thing especially if you’re working on a project and need the expertise of say, a social media marketer, I feel it also hinders you. When you work in big teams, you get boxed into your area of marketing, you could be the content specialist, the e-marketing specialist, events specialist etc. It then limits your career progression opportunities.
When I started my role at ASC I’d had a brief introduction to email marketing, social media, design, and video creation. My previous role focussed a lot on event marketing and presenting. Despite this, two years on and I’ve developed a new brand for ASC and launched it, lead on the development of a new website, worked on various design projects and increased the social media presence for the company.
These projects have significantly developed SEO, data analytics and design skills and strengthened my communication skills. In addition, I’ve even crossed over into HR and operations with some of the projects I’ve worked on.
Marketing at Board Level
Marketing Board Room
There are not many industry’s that hire one in house marketing person who will work alongside the board of directors and senior management to influence growth within the business. In other words, it helps you build on your persuasion and influencing skills to put a business case forward.
If you want an overview of the main areas you’ll work on as a recruitment marketer, take a look at this great article from Undercover Recruiter.
The recruitment industry is late to the marketing game and together with an increase in recruitment companies year on year, more will want to invest in marketing. In fact here are some stats and reasons why from Beamery.com.
However, the great part is, you can be as creative as you like, there are no restrictions. Moreover, you get to make the rules, shape the marketing goals and the strategies and tactics that will support achieving them.
Yes, you will make mistakes but you will learn from these
and you have to agree this is the best way to learn.
No other marketing
I’m not kidding, you’ll be using and developing marketing skills such as internal communication, employer branding to attract people to the business, win clients, engage with existing and lapsed clients and nurture candidates through a funnel.
Not only this but within the client and candidate markets, you will without a doubt have a multitude of various audience personas to get your teeth stuck into. More than I have ever worked with before.
You’re the Marketing expert
As mentioned previously, when you work in this industry,
unless you’re part of a big recruitment company, you’re likely to be on your
own or part of a very small team. This means, you are the one in the know, you
are the decision-maker when it comes to everything marketing and guess what? People
come to you to ask for advice.
This was weird for me at first as I was so used to going to
people for advice, not the other way around. Then I thought I can really help
people gain a better understanding of marketing and how it can help business,
so rather than worry about it, I embraced it.
It’s a great career but it’s not for everyone. I’m not going
to sugar-coat it, you need to be resilient, have the ability to work off your
own initiative without much guidance and you’ve got to believe in yourself. If
you don’t, no one is going to tell you you’re doing great, we’re in recruitment
– a results-driven industry.
But, if you’re all of this and you want to work in an exciting, fast-paced and ever-changing industry then open that door and let yourself in.
Hopefully, I've answered why work in recruitment marketing and if anyone would like any advice on working in recruitment marketing, please feel free to get in touch with me.
Or if ASC sounds like the kind of company you’d like to work for, check out our Work for Us pages and latest jobs.
Whether you’re a seasoned recruiter or only just thinking about starting a recruitment career, it can be difficult to decide which agency you may want to work for. Especially when there are so many recruitment agencies to choose from.
The last report stated there were nearly 40,000 recruitment agencies registered in the UK.
We spoke to Claire Roberts, a Senior Recruitment Consultant who has worked for both a large corporate and more recently a smaller independent agency to give you an idea of what it’s like to work in both types of recruitment environments.
Can you give us a quick overview of your recruitment career so far?
I started my recruitment career 10 years ago when I moved to
the Midlands from the Wirral. I didn’t set out to work in recruitment. I
visited a well-known agency to register and get help with finding work. It was during a conversation with a member of
their team that they asked if I would consider working in recruitment and the
rest is history.
To begin with, I worked as a Recruitment Consultant covering permanent commercial roles. After 3 years, I started to climb the ladder, working up from Consultant to a Senior Branch Manager position over a number of years.
More recently, I went back to being a Recruitment Consultant as I missed the recruitment bit which you don’t do as much of when you reach a management level.
What made you change
to an independent recruitment agency after 10 years in a corporate environment?
After 10 years at a corporate agency, I decided I needed a
new challenge and a role closer to home as I was missing out on lots of time
with my son due to the commute. I was then contacted by a local agency and
after 2 interviews I was offered the role and decided to make the move. The structure
and plans they had in place for when I joined sounded like a great opportunity.
Do you wish you’d
I am happy the way I have progressed in my career and wouldn’t change this. The experience I gained over the last 10 years has given me the right ingredients to be successful at an independent agency. I felt I could come in and hit the ground running from day one.
What are the best
bits about working for an independent agency compared to a corporate?
Being given the autonomy to get on with your job and manage your own time and desk how you want rather than having to follow strict timetables Being able to run a Hybrid desk Relaxed yet professional environmentBeing able to cover the whole of the UK rather than a small patch
Can you give an
overview of the difference in the following areas between the two types of
The large corporate agency offered a 5-year training
programme and you then also received training throughout the year. This was
great for trainee consultants.
Having said that, the Independent agency provides a
structured 12-week training academy programme for those new to
recruitment. There is also both internal
and external training for the team at all levels.
The corporate agency had a very formal dress code and strict rules on locations and specialisms you were allowed to recruit for.
The Independent agency has given me the freedom to recruit for any office role in any location meaning I have more scope to succeed. They are also less formal in dress code but maintain a professional image. It’s just an overall more relaxed and friendly culture.
The Corporate agency was very strict in the way you plan your day, such as outlining tasks you need to achieve on a daily basis. Tasks and targets have to be done by a certain time.
In comparison, although the Independent agency does set KPIs and daily tasks there is more flexibility in how you plan your day. In short, this means you can get on with your job and have more time to recruit which is what you’re there to do. Also, guidance and assistance are readily provided if you need it.
What advice would you give someone undecided on working for a corporate vs an independent?
Large corporate agencies have the ability to offer full training programmes but can be very strict on KPI’s and area’s you can work. Whereas, Independent agencies are more flexible and give you the opportunity to work on a wide range of roles across various locations. Furthermore, they also give you the support you need to achieve these results with training and the help of other consultants. I feel my knowledge has expanded more since joining the independent agency but the corporate gave me a good start. Also, the less formal environment of the independent agency is a real plus for me.
I think your choice of recruitment agency really depends on
the environment you feel you’d fit best. I’d suggest (if possible), visiting
both and gaining a feel for yourself before making a decision.
ASC is an independently owned agency who are always looking for driven, ambitious and lively people to join our team. If this sounds like you, contact our Internal Recruiter, Marie who will be happy to have an informal chat with you.
To start or grow your Recruitment Career with ASC Click Here
ATTENTION!!! TO GET YOUR JOB ADVERT NOTICED YOU NEED TO MAKE
IT STAND OUT.
We’re not saying you need to write your entire job advert in capitals, that would be a little extreme but it’s time to re-think the way you write your job adverts.
Furthermore, the current UK
unemployment rate stands at 3.8% (as of June 2019), this is the
lowest it has been since the last quarter of 1974. Great news for job seekers
but for employers, it can be a challenge to find the right person for your
business. Now more than ever, you need to grab the attention of great people.
You can start that process in the job adverts you write.
Unsure where you’re going wrong? Well, we’ve had years of experience and
regular training to understand what works best. Read on to find out how to get
your job advert noticed.
1. Have you optimised your job advert?
In July 2018, Google launched a new feature called Google
for Jobs. Just like how you would search for products, it brings
jobs into a nice visual list. Google advised it created the new search
technology after seeing an increase in people searching for jobs through the
platform. It wanted to improve this experience by providing better results.
You cannot post to Google directly, it searches to see if
there are jobs on all business websites and it works with some of the major job
Key points to get your job advert noticed on Google:
postcode to your advertKeep your
job titles simpleDon’t
spam your advert with the job titleInclude
keywords (i.e. software packages or qualifications).
2. Keep your job description short and sweet
suggests that 500 words is a good length for a job advert and this length or
under increases job applications by 12%. 500 words is about a quarter of a
page, just to give you an idea on length.
Make use of bullet point lists. This will help the main
points stand out and make it more appealing to the reader. But, ensure they
aren’t exhaustive lists.
3. Talk to a candidate, not at them
Think about the language you’re using when writing your job
advert. Is it engaging? Using language like ‘we’re looking for a marketing
executive to join our team’ will not jump out as much as ‘are you an ambitious
marketing executive looking for your next career move?’ Write as if that person
is in front of you.
When you write about the experience and skills required,
make it appealing. Use language like ‘if you’ve got the following we’d be keen
to hear from you’. And, as mentioned before, don’t make it an exhaustive list,
just focus on the attractive parts of the job.
Keep this enthusiastic and friendly voice throughout your
advert to ensure the candidate keeps reading and stays interested in your role
Also, do not forget to advise how they can apply and what
the process will be. For example:
‘Interested? Apply today by submitting your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org If your
application is successful we will be in touch in the next 5 days’.
4. Include a salary
Where possible, include a salary and salary range on your adverts. Why? A job without a salary could be dismissed if the candidate believes you’re not revealing salary because it is lower than the average.
Salary ranges also help as you are likely to get more
applications as candidates of different experience levels may apply. This will
mean you could see someone with great potential who is a great fit for your
company who may not have applied had you just listed one salary.
5. Sell Sell Sell
We’re in a candidate shortage, the need to stand out as a
company is imperative. A job advert is your opportunity to really sell your
company and the role to a candidate. Why should they come and work for you?
Think about why working at your company is different such as
the culture, benefits or any awards/partnerships.
6. Spelling and Grammar
What could be worse than a candidate spotting a mistake in
your advert? It could portray to a potential candidate that you are not serious
or your culture and management style is inconsiderate.
We always advise running a spell check and getting one other
person to check your advert before it goes out. Just to dot the I’s and cross
all the T’s.
We hope this has been a useful guide for you and that you
start to receive more and good quality applications.
If you need support to recruit quality candidates, why not register your role today and we’ll be in touch. Alternatively, contact a member of the team who specialises in your sector to see how they could help you.
If you’re looking for a new job, we know it can be exhausting work. The phrase ‘looking for a job is a job in itself’ comes to mind. Endless applications with not much response. Oh and let’s not forget tailoring your CV to each job instead of sending the same application to every job.
Did you know if you work with a recruitment agency, they can
take this stress away and do all the hard work for you? And, the best part is,
it’s free. What could be better than a free personal service to help you to
find your ideal job?
Now, we don’t just mean applying for a job advertised on a
job board by an agency but making the effort to contact and send your
information to them. As a recruitment agency ourselves, we regularly receive CVs from those who have
registered on our site and people walk through our door enquiring about work.
Before you click the back button and think this sounds like
too much hard work, I’ll keep applying for jobs and see what happens, take a
look at these 5 great ways a recruitment agency can boost your job search.
Access to more jobs
When you’re looking for a new job, you may believe that
you’re applying for lots of jobs on a job board. Did you know more than one
agency could be advertising the same job? This means you could be applying for
the same job more than once. Twice the work.
However, recruitment agencies have more jobs than those you
see advertised. They will have jobs in the pipeline, jobs that aren’t publicly
advertised and they can even sell you into companies where a job could be made
What does this mean for you?
Well, I don’t think it takes a super brainy person to work out:
access to more jobs = more opportunities for you to be in
front of employers
2. Extensive Network
The reason why recruitment agencies have access to more jobs is because of their network of contacts. They will work with a wide range of various sized companies (SMEs to large corporates) with different cultures, projects, and growth prospects.
Why does this help you?
It’s like having a personal shopper but for jobs. Your
consultant will provide you with great insight into each company (more than
what you’d see on a job advert). It allows you to understand which companies
would be better suited to you.
The network keeps growing too, meaning more options may be
available to you.
3. Excellent Market Knowledge
Recruitment agencies are becoming extremely focussed on certain sectors, industries, and disciplines. This is to ensure they understand the job they are recruiting for inside out. It means they can provide a better service to you as a job seeker.
Therefore, because they keep updating their knowledge of the industry, they are in the know. They are aware of average salary levels and good benefit packages for you to compare to. They hear about opportunities first that could be what you’re looking for.
4. They get to know the real you
Unlike your application to an employer, a recruitment
consultant will contact you to chat through your experience and ambitions.
They will spend time with you to truly understand the ins
and outs of your skill-set, which companies you enjoyed working at and why,
which ones you didn’t, where you want to take your career, what’s important to
you, how far you’ll travel and well, pretty much everything.
How does this boost your job search?
By understanding who you are and what you’re looking for,
they can select companies and roles that match this. When you apply for roles,
it’s hard for you to know what the company is like, what will the management
style be like, do their values match yours or answers to questions you have
about the role.
5. Support and Feedback
It can be frustrating not hearing anything back from your applications when you're looking for a job.
But, Recruitment Agencies don't just look at your application, they support you to prepare for your interview, structure your CV, sell your best bits to a company and providing you with constructive feedback.
Quick tips on finding a recruitment agency to work with
Although we would highly recommend working with a
recruitment agency. There are a few points should consider when looking for an
Find an agency that specialises in your area of work. For example, here at ASC, we focus on roles within the Supply Chain & Procurement, IT and Engineering & Manufacturing sectors. Within these sectors, we also recruit for business support roles and Executive level positions. Check out reviews about the agency. We have reviews on our own website but you can check other sites such as Google, Glassdoor and Facebook.Do they have REC Audited Status? This means they have been checked to ensure they provide a good service to their customers from the overriding industry body, The Recruitment and Employment Confederation. Whichever way you contact them, when do they respond? If they don’t respond at all, maybe question how good they are as a recruitment agency. At ASC we will always respond to you even if it is to advise we are unable to help and why. Are they GDPR compliant? Since May 2018, you now have the right to request your data to be deleted or what data is held about you. Read ASC's GDPR statement here.
After reading this we hope you feel more confident to work with a recruitment agency. If you think ASC could help your job search, register with us today.
If you’ve got any questions, feel free to contact us.
Have you been asked to attend an assessment centre as part
of the hiring process? Are you wondering what to expect and how to pass an
As a recruitment company, we
regularly organise assessment centres for candidates to attend
on behalf of our clients. This has given us a real understanding of what
employers look for and we want to help you understand how to pass an assessment
Before we jump into that, let’s look at what assessment
centres are and what you can expect when you attend one.
What is an assessment
Assessment centres are a way for employers to assess the skills
they may not be able to in a one to one interview.
For example, skills like teamwork, negotiation and
initiative that may be required for the role are easier for you to showcase in
an assessment centre.
How does an
assessment centre work?
An assessment centre is where a group of candidates will usually
spend half a day to a day undertaking various exercises that will test skills,
knowledge and behaviours required for a role. The type of exercises will depend
on the role but expect some or all of the following:
Group exercisesIndividual written testsRole playsPresentationsIndividual exercise related to the role (i.e.
develop a piece of code if you were applying for a developer role)Aptitude and personality testsInterviews
Each exercise or test will have been prepared well in
advance by the employer and will have a total score. Each assessor on the day
will have been trained in how to mark candidates on their behaviour, knowledge
and skills to ensure it is fair.
The number of candidates who attend an assessment centre
depends on the amount and type of roles available. However, in our experience, groups
are no more than 15 people and are likely to be 6-8.
The assessment centre will most likely be held at the place
where you’ll be working. It may be held at a different location if the company
has various offices/depots or it’s a large group of people.
Each employer will vary in the way they conduct their
assessment centre and the type of exercises they run. Below is a guide to what
a typical assessment centre will involve:
Arrival of candidatesIntroduction to the day, the company and the
people running the assessment centre (if it is for one role, they may go into
more detail about the role too)Ice breaker exercise Exercise 1BreakExercise 2LunchExercise 3Closing comments
How to pass an
Here we want to give you the ultimate tips on how to pass an
assessment centre with flying colours and be the best you can be!
Ever heard the expression failing to prepare is preparing to
fail? Good advice for life in general but right at this moment, if you don’t
prepare for your assessment centre, you’ll be setting yourself up to fall
behind other candidates who have.
How can you prepare?
In the weeks/days before your assessment centre do as much
as you can to ensure you are up to date with the role you’re applying for, the
company, the location and timings.
Find out where the assessment day is taking place and work
out how you will get there and how long it will take. If you are driving, is
there any parking on site or will you have to find your own? If so, where is
the nearest parking and how long will it take you to then walk to the premises?
Likewise, if you need to catch public transport, how far away is it, do you
need to catch 2 buses or trains or a taxi?
Once you know all of this, we would advise doing a dry run
to get a feel for the route and how busy it gets. These might sound like small
things but knowing this in advance means you won’t be panicking on the day and
will be prepared mentally.
Have you done your
Visit their website and social media channels to understand
more about their business, how they operate, updates on the business and what
it’s like to work there.
Find out who will be attending the assessment centre from
the company. Connect with them on LinkedIn and look at their own journey.
Looking at their background and how they’ve progressed in the company will give
you a good idea on career progression routes and the type of people they like
to hire. Not only this, but you can put a face to the name which means you’ll
be familiar when you meet them on the day.
Go back through the role and make a note of the key skills
they are looking for. You can then work on demonstrating these during the
exercises. For example, if you know they are looking for persuasion skills,
instead of sitting back in a group exercise, put your point forward and use
your persuasive skills to encourage people to agree with you.
First impressions count so always arrive 10-15 minutes
early. Make sure you consider this when planning your routes and travel time.
Make a good first impression
Smile and be polite to everyone you meet. We know of
candidates in the past who have been rude to reception staff. Although they
scored very highly in the exercises, their unprofessionalism let them down.
Lest to say, they did not get the job. Don’t make the same mistake!
If you are asked to select your own place, sit next to
someone or if you are told where to sit and it is next to someone, make
conversation. It will show you are confident and personable. Also, it may make
you feel more comfortable when you are in the group exercises if you’ve already
familiarised yourself with people.
Unsure of starting a conversation? Ask them their name,
where they’ve travelled from, how was the journey to start with. The
conversation will probably start flowing from here. After all, they are in the
same position as you so will feel just as nervous as you do.
Showcase your Soft
You will be assessed on most of your soft skills during group exercises. Soft skills include; communication, teamwork, negotiation, persuasion, listening, initiative, problem-solving, creativity, time management, leadership, interpersonal ability and work ethic.
To ensure you showcase your skills to their full potential,
make sure you have a voice. Put your point forward. At the same time, listen.
Listening is just as important. No company will hire a person who won’t listen
to what they’ve been asked or take on board feedback about their work.
DO NOT ARGUE WITH PEOPLE! If someone does not agree with what you are saying, advise you can see their point of view but tactfully state why you disagree. Again, people who are aggressive will not be favoured. Aggressive people can negatively disrupt the workplace culture.
If you want to show leadership skills, ask those who have
not contributed to get involved. If the group can’t decide, maybe offer the
opportunity to put the options to the vote.
If you are timed on a task, make sure you keep to time. If
in a group, maybe suggest completing certain bits of the task by a certain time
so you don’t waste time.
Just because you’re on a break or lunch, the assessment
doesn’t stop. The company will be looking to see how you interact with them and
others in a more social setting. Instead of going off to check the latest
WhatsApp message, get involved with conversations around you.
This is also your opportunity to make a bigger impression.
Go and network with people from the company, it could be the difference between
you and another candidate.
Here are some questions you could ask:
How long have you worked here?What are the team like?Have you always worked in this role?What is the best thing about working here?
Extra Tips for Success
Dress to impress. Unless you are told to wear casual clothing, we always recommend going suited and booted. In other words, dress as if you were going to an interview.
Relax and be yourself. The assessors do not want you to fail and will do what they can to make you feel comfortable so you can be the real you.
Ask questions if you don’t understand something.
Practice tests. If you know personality, aptitude or psychometric tests will be part of the day, practice these online beforehand so you know what to expect.
Avoid negativity and don’t be defensive. This may sound like I’m telling you to ‘suck eggs’ but we would suggest avoiding topics such as politics and religion as they can be very sensitive. You don’t want to create a perception of you that could ruin your chances of securing the job.
Believe in yourself! You would not have been selected if they didn’t think you had potential.
Finally, if the outcome wasn’t what you wanted, always see
this as a positive. If you haven’t had feedback, ask for it and understand
where you can improve for your next assessment centre.
It’s also worth remembering that just because you weren’t
successful, it doesn’t mean they weren’t impressed. We’ve had candidates who
have been offered other positions, had roles made for them and been called back
weeks or even months later.
We hope that has given you a good idea on how to pass an
assessment centre. If you are currently job searching, why not send us your
CV and view our jobs. You never know
the next assessment centre you attend might be one of ours!
Find your perfect role today
Storer talks about the importance of customer service within recruitment and
how to get it right.
Jane has been with ASC since the beginning and became Operations Director in 2007. After working in an entirely different sector, Jane moved into recruitment because she wanted a people focused career. This is still very important to her today and every aspect of her role affects the customer service ASC provides to clients and candidates from having the right procedures to welcoming new people into the business.
Her dedication to maintaining and consistently improving the service ASC provides has supported the recent achievements of REC Audited Status and the Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award 2019.
From the social to the serious side of recruitment, Jane talks through her career and how the importance of customer service within recruitment is about focusing on people.
Have you always worked in recruitment and what inspired you to start working in the sector?
Before I started in recruitment I worked for a Wine
Merchants where part of my job was sampling new product lines and attending
A dream job I know but for some reason I wanted to broaden my horizons. I visited an agency to talk about a career change, they actually asked me to join their team and I started out as a Temp Controller many years ago!!
What does your job involve as the Operations Director of ASC?
As Operations Director I have a very broad role. The main aim is to ensure we have the
procedures in place in order for our teams to be able to focus on providing the
best service they can to both candidates and clients.
When we welcome new members to our team, I spend the first
2 days with them to bring them up to speed on our business, all HR policies and
Another large part of my role involves HR and training and
I work with all teams across the business.
What’s the best part of what you do?
The diversity. No
two days are the same and I am still learning all the time.
What have been your biggest challenges working as a Director at ASC?
When we first started the business we were in the middle of
a recession but the biggest challenge by far was working through the “credit
crunch” of 2008/9. We had to dig deep to
ensure we kept the momentum going and motivate our team in a very difficult
time. But I guess they say “what doesn’t
break you, makes you stronger” and I certainly found out a lot about my
personal determination whilst going through this challenge.
Another challenge is the ongoing - legislative changes we as Directors have to ensure, not only do we understand, but are able to roll out to the teams to embed in our day to day routines.
And, of course, we all face challenges every day having to
handle a wide range of queries both internally and externally.
Talk through your biggest achievements at ASC?
Over 15 years ago I was instrumental in winning a Managing
Agency Contract with a global company to supply all of their staff on a
permanent, contract basis. The contract
covered Finance, Customer Service, Sales, Marketing, HR, Logistics, Production
Operatives and Manufacturing Management.
Over the entire length of the contract we have retained
extremely high direct fulfilment levels and have engaged with other agencies,
some of which are global players themselves, in very niche areas. Not only am I proud of winning the account
initially, but retaining it for over 15 years is the bigger achievement as far
as I am concerned and that has to be credited to the high levels of customer
service provided by our team.
ASC have recently received REC Audited status and the Feefo
Gold Trusted Service Award 2019, what do you feel has supported these
In terms of the REC Audited
Status – it was all about embracing the ethos of the REC and ensuring I had a
full understanding of their policies and procedures. These were then embedded into our internal
Best Practice procedure and training was provided throughout the business. It is
also a big part of our On –Boarding for new starters. From here on it is over to the teams – they
don’t just work to the guidelines as a tick boxing exercise – they truly want
to provide the best possible service they can. This has been shown in the
feedback received through the Feefo platform, which isn’t just about ASC as a
business but the individuals who actually provided the service.
To gain Feefo Gold Trusted Service
Award is truly amazing.
Recruitment is all about customer service, what do you feel is the key to getting this right?
Listening first!!! We cannot provide an effective solution if we
do not listen to what our candidates and clients are looking for. Then it is all about keeping everyone in the
loop and providing meaningful feedback.
We want everyone we deal with to feel comfortable about asking us questions
because there is no such thing as a silly question.
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the
recruitment industry, how do you ensure ASC isn’t perceived incorrectly?
The starting point has to be the expectations we have for the teams. The recruitment industry of old was heavily driven by targets – not just revenue but daily activities and set “phone time”. This possibly contributed to some of the misconceptions in terms of service levels. We encourage our teams to be creative with their working days so that they have the freedom to make their own decisions. One of our Brand Values is Respect – ‘treating those we come into contact with as we would wish to be treated – with respect, honesty and integrity’. I see this on a daily basis throughout the team. We can’t help everyone we come into contact with but as long as everyone is treated with honesty and politeness, I am happy.
People are a company’s biggest asset, how do you get the
best out of your people?
I guess a lot of this is down to what I have said above – first of all we make sure they have the tools to do the job – processes, policies, systems, advertising budget and the skills to do the job through personal development and training. The other aspect is a little more intangible but it’s all about creating the right environment. Myself, Neil and Mike along with the Management Team, have an open door policy, we want people to feel they can approach us if they need support or guidance from a personal or career perspective. Oh and of course you can’t forget our nights out too!!!!
Most memorable moment
Being interviewed by Hugh Pym who at the time was the Economic Editor for the BBC and appearing on the national news! I had no warning and my only regret is that I didn’t have enough time to get my hair done!!! And my Brummy accent being apparent for all to hear!
Any funny stories from times gone by?
Gosh – there are so many – I have been here for 28 years!!! Most surround the people and the laughs we have had. One personal moment was when I got married and the girls forced me to have a hen night – I didn’t want one, but they organised it in secret and bought my fancy dress outfit. I was Head Teacher, they were all very naughty school girls and they arrived in a 1950's bus!!! It was all in the “best possible taste”. We had such a good time and they ensured that I followed a tradition in having a “send off” that I may have otherwise missed. I also felt that although they were out for a good time themselves, the lengths they went to showed that they were really supportive to me.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Food and drink in the
main!!! I still love a good night out
and the current trend of cocktails takes me back to my early days of my 1980’s
Best piece of advice for people working or looking to work
Be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions – it is a job full of highs and lows. Make sure you truly have a passion for helping people coupled with a tenacious approach. You will encounter knocks along the way but the rewards both financially and emotionally far outweigh the negatives.
Does Jane sound like the type of Director you’d like to work for? We're always on the lookout for new talent. Send your CV to email@example.com
4 Ideas for Assessment Centre Exercises to help you hire the right people into your business.
You’re looking to hire and you need someone quickly
otherwise it will impact your business. Most businesses have been in this
situation but the reality is, by the time you’ve looked through CV’s and found
the time to interview your shortlisted candidates, a month has passed.
centres are a great way to save you time and resources. They don’t
work for every type of job but for most junior to mid-level roles, they really
enhance the selection process. Unlike the traditional interview method,
assessment centres allow you to see how candidates interact with each other and
helps you decide who are leaders and followers. It can also support you to
shortlist the candidates you want to invite back for a second interview or see
the potential in someone for a future position.
At ASC we have experience of running assessment centres for
our clients, here are 4 ideas for assessment centre exercises.
Top tips to plan your
Put aside one day to run your assessment centreRecommended time to allocate 10am-3pm10 people is a good number but no less than 6 or
no more than 15Allow time to welcome people to the day, talk
through the agenda and a little about your companyAim for 3-4 exercises throughout the dayInclude lunch as it will enable you to see who
networks with you and is interested to know more about you and the companyTry to make the day as relaxing as possible so
you can gain insight into the real candidate
Exercise 1 - The Ice Breaker
You can put these exercises in any order but the ice breaker
is good to help everyone relax at the start of the day.
What does it assess: Listening and confidence when communicating with others.
Put everyone into pairs (or if an odd number, one or more three’s).
Each person has 2 minutes to find out as much as they can
about the other person.
You will time the 2 minutes and ask each pair to swap over
once the 2 minutes has ended.
At the end of the task, ask each person to stand up and
summarise what they have learnt about the person they were paired with.
You don’t have to use this icebreaker exercise but any type
of exercise that allows your candidates to get to know one another and relax is
the key. It helps set them up for the day.
Exercise 2 -The Written Test
The written test enables you to assess qualities needed
specifically for that role. This means, the test can be tailored to the role in
question. For example if you were recruiting developers, your questions would
be different to those who might be attending for a sales role.
Aim to have 3-4 questions on the paper so you can test their
understanding of different elements of the role. Ensure you put the top score
for each question. This can be worked out by deciding on the pointers for each
question, i.e. if
there were 8 points needed to answer correctly then the score would be 8. The
length of time to answer the set of question is up-to you.
We would suggest you provide pens and spare paper for
candidates if they need it. We would also suggest having spare copies of the
written test printed off.
Job Role: PA
Please proof read the following paragraph, advise if there
are any errors and how you would correct them?
Job Role: Developer
Show how you would go about estimating the number of fast
food restaurants in the UK without doing any research?
Job Role: Customer Service Advisor
You have just received the following email from a long
serving customer who is unhappy with the service they received on Wednesday. At
the same time, you receive a phone call from a new customer whose order has
gone wrong. Which do you deal with first and why?
Job Role: Sales
Your customer is asking to have a £5000 reduction in price
of the latest product available. You know to make a profit, you can only go to
£2500 off the original price, how do you negotiate?
Exercise 3 - Teamwork and Communication
There are a number of assessment centre exercises you can organise to assess teamwork and communication but also include other skills that may be required for the role. Such as the ability to challenge and persuade others, problem solve or thinking outside the box.
The following exercise example assesses teamwork, communication and creative
Exercise Example –
For this exercise, split your candidates into groups of
about 5-6 people. Then
give them 50 sheets of A4 paper.
Each group is tasked with building the tallest paper tower
using the 50 sheets of paper within a set time frame. We recommend 10 minutes.
The group with the tallest tower isn’t necessarily the best
candidates. If one person in a group did it all by themselves, this is not
How have they worked together as a team?How did they communicate with one another?Was there a clear leader and how did that person
lead the group?Was everyone involved in the exercise?Were quieter members of the group encouraged to
voice their opinion?How did they deal with differences of opinion?Did any individual or the group think creatively
about how they could build the tower?
Remember there are various teamwork exercises you can do to
assess this skill but the important part is that it requires everyone to get
Exercise 4 - Quick Thinking
This exercise is great for sales roles where you’re more
likely to be under pressure to think on the spot. However, it’s also good for
customer service positions or where an employee needs to think quickly to solve
The Exercise – Random
Have a selection of random words in a bowl like radio, pen
or screwdriver for example. Ask each candidate to pick a word at random out of
They then have 2 minutes to talk about the word, what it is,
how it works or what problems it solves for example. You’re assessing if they
can think quickly under pressure. Look for how they talk about the word, do
they stumble or are they confident. Do they make up facts or stick to what they
We hope that this has helped you to think about the types of assessment centre exercises you can organise. If you’re thinking about running an assessment centre but don’t know where to start, get in touch with us.
You can also visit our meet the team page to contact the consultant who specialises in your industry. Or simply register your role with us and we’ll get in touch with you.
On Sunday 12th May, Mark Dawson, Managing Consultant at ASC cycled the Birmingham Velo and raised £650 for The Alzheimer’s society.
The Birmingham Velo is a 100 mile closed road cycle route starting and ending in the heart of Birmingham City Centre. Each year around 17,000+ riders cycle the route and get to encounter amazing landmarks across the Midlands. This year, the route took you through stunning countryside, panoramic views, picturesque villages and iconic climbs including Coventry Cathedral and Warwickshire’s Packwood House. Talking about the route Mark said :
Mark Dawson after completing the Birmingham Velo
‘I managed to cycle the 100 miles in just under 6 hours which I am really happy with. It was a great day, the weather was perfect and the atmosphere was amazing. There were thousands of people lining the route cheering you on, ringing cowbells shouting your name out and passing you cakes and biscuits! It was really nice for me as I had literally all of my family and lot’s of friends out to support me at various points on the route with banners etc. I have already pre-registered for next year’s where I will aim to complete it in 5 ½ hours’
Although a remarkable route to cycle, let’s not forget the
real reason some cyclists choose to participate in the challenge – to support
charities across the UK and beyond. Mark chose to support The Alzheimer’s
society along with 500 other riders to try and raise £200k as a
The charity is close to Mark’s heart as his father in law
has the disease and Mark believes supporting the charity will improve research
to better understand, treat and ultimately cure the disease. According to The Alzheimer’s
society, Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer. Someone develops it
every three minutes and there’s currently no cure. The Alzheimer’s society
is the only UK charity that campaigns for change, funds research to find a cure
and supports people living with dementia today.
With the help of family, friends and everyone at ASC, he
managed to raise £650. Mark said ‘The
support I had was fantastic. I set a target of £500 not really thinking I would
get to it but with the help of 46 sponsors I smashed my target. Thanks to all
of those that enabled me to achieve this’.
Mark’s colleague Anna Willis added ‘I am very proud of Mark for raising £650 through his Velo bike ride, it’s an amazing accomplishment and for a very worthy charity close to his heart. Well done!’
A big well done Mark from everyone at ASC.
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.
Getting your job application noticed
Many of us have experienced sending off a job application, only for it to disappear into the depths of the internet. The lack of response is frustrating, as you end up without answers, meaning you can’t learn from where you went wrong.
Getting your application noticed by recruiters or hiring managers is the crucial first step in landing yourself a new job. However, it’s no easy task, especially if you’re after a competitive role.
To land your dream job and get noticed, You want the recruiter to know that you’re the best person for the position. Read on for advice on how to stand out from the crowd.
1. Get ahead of the game
If you’re lucky enough to have contacts at the company
you’re applying to, ask them to refer you. This is the fastest way to get an
interview. While a contact can’t always vouch for your professional skills, the
hiring manager will be able to get an idea of your character.
Hopefully, this will mean that your application is put straight at the top of the pile. Unfortunately, sometimes it comes down to who you know – not what you know.
2. Add a headline or profile
With the amount of applications employers have to read, why
not make their job easier for them? Include a brief headline or profile at the
top of your application to catch their attention.
This shouldn’t be more than a few lines, focusing on what
you can bring to the team. Think of it as a test to show that you’ve researched
the company. Then, tailor your best attributes to the role.
If it’s a social care role, for example, you could mention that you’re compassionate and communicative.
3. Prioritise your most important qualifications
Look at the job advert and find the minimum qualifications
that are listed – do you meet the criteria? Reconsider your application if you
don’t meet the specification, or you’ll only waste your own time!
If you do have the qualifications, then you can move forward with your application. For each of your past roles, be sure to clearly state your relevant competencies so the employer knows you’re not wasting their time too.
4. Use keywords
Include keywords mentioned in the job advert. For example,
if it’s an advert for a software developer
role, you might be required to know python.
These keywords will optimise your application for Applicant Tracking Systems, which reject up to 75% of CVs before they even get a chance to reach a human! Finding and noting keywords used in the job overview will help you to beat the bots.
5. Keep your accomplishments fresh
When you get comfortable in a job, it can be easy to forget what you’ve achieved on a day-to-day basis. However, this will be essential in making your application stand out and proving that you don’t just sit back in your day job.
Make a running list of any accomplishments at work, so that
you have them ready for when you need to make an application.
6. Use the STAR approach
You might come across applications which require you to fill
out competency questions. Competency questions are designed to test you on your
real-life experiences and how these have prepared you for the role you’ve
These can often make up a large part of an application, so
it’s vital you get your answers right. However, these questions can be tricky
as you’re required to remember a lot of information.
To avoid forgetting important information, employers
recommend using the ‘STAR’ technique. STAR stands for:
Situation - describe the background and contextTask - describe the task or challenge you were faced withAction – explain the action you took and how and why you did itResult – ideally, the result will be a positive one and ideally one that can be measured. If it’s not positive, highlight what you learned from it. Always relate the skill or ability you demonstrated back to the role you’re applying to!
7. Save it as a PDF
Candidates forget that employers’ devices may not support the format of their CV.
As such, the recruiter or hiring manager will be faced with
a jumbled mess when they go to open your application. They won’t bother getting
in contact to ask you to send it again, and your CV will be cast aside.
To avoid the worry of this, simply attach your CV as a PDF! Simple.
Get your application noticed!
Your application will get noticed - Focus on making it the best it can possibly be and only apply to jobs you’re really passionate about. With the help of our useful tips, your application will be noticed by more employers. Start applying for jobs on the ASC Jobs Portal today!
ASC Connections has once again been awarded with REC Audited Status from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC). The REC are the largest professional body representing the UK's recruitment and staffing industry.
REC Audited Logo
The REC audited scheme is the recognised gold standard for recruitment businesses.
For a business to achieve the standard, they are validated against compliance with industry legislation and best practice.
In short, it is a comprehensive audit that requires agencies to demonstrate a high level within areas such as; customer service, staff development, diversity, client management, data protection and much more. It also includes an on-site visit where a REC audited expert sits with employees to work through processes and best practice. As a business you can only hold the status for 2 years. After this time, a company must go through the validation process again in order to up-hold REC Audited Status.
For ASC to achieve the gold standard in recruitment for a second time shows how we have maintained the highest level of service within the recruitment industry. Moreover, our clients and candidates can feel confident they are working with an accredited supplier that is accountable to a professional body.
There are only a small number of companies that have REC Audited Status. It puts ASC in the top 10% of agencies with REC membership that have successfully achieved this award. This demonstrates our professionalism, we will go the extra mile and want to change the misconceptions of the recruitment industry.
Jane Storer, Operations Director of ASC Connections, said I am very proud that we have gained REC Audited Status. It is evidence that we have the right processes in place and they are actively demonstrated by the team here on a day to day basis.
Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive added “Congratulations to ASC Connections for achieving REC Audited status. In doing so they join an elite group of recruitment agencies across the UK that have achieved this high standard. This accreditation recognises that we have rigorously audited ASC Connections and found that it is performing to the highest professional standards and represents best practice in our sector.”
In addition, the company has been awarded with the Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award 2019 for their outstanding customer service levels. Jane Storer added “this really endorses the ethos and culture that everyone at ASC believes in”.
If you’re looking for a new job or a new employee, please
get in touch with a member of our team
who will be happy to chat through your requirements.
'Customer Service is important to our business'
Earlier this year, ASC Connections won the Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award. An independent seal of excellence that recognises businesses for delivering outstanding customer service, as rated by real clients and candidates.
Created by Feefo, Trusted Service is awarded only to those businesses that use Feefo to collect genuine reviews and insights. To receive the award, businesses are required to meet a high standard. This is based on the number of reviews they have collected, and their average rating. A badge of honour, this accreditation remains unique, as it is based purely on the interactions with real clients and candidates. As all reviews are verified as genuine, the accreditation is a true reflection of a business’s commitment to outstanding service.
ASC Connections exceeded the criteria of collecting at least 50 reviews between January 1st 2018 and December 31st 2018, with a Feefo service rating of between 4.5 and 5.0.
The recruitment industry’s reputation can sometimes be perceived in the wrong light. ASC Connections felt utilising the Feefo platform offered a credible way to showcase their customer service offering and improve it. In the long term they hope more recruitment agencies opt for Feefo to help build a better industry reputation overall.
ASC Connections has also recently undergone a re-brand which customer service was at the heart of. The reviews and insights collected through the Feefo platform have supported ASC ensure their new brand is delivering on the service they wanted set out to achieve.
Jane Storer, Operations Director, ASC Connections commented: “We’re thrilled to receive this award from Feefo. It recognises how hard we’ve been working to give great experiences to all our clients and candidates. Feefo enabled us to consistently improve throughout 2018 and now we’re looking forward to another successful year ahead.”
Congratulating ASC Connections on winning this year’s award, Matt West, CEO at Feefo, commented: “The Trusted Service award has always been about recognising those companies that excel beyond the norm. This year we’ve seen many remarkable businesses leveraging the full potential of Feefo to provide outstanding levels of experience for their customers – and rightly being awarded our most prestigious accreditation. I’m looking forward to the continual success of the businesses that work in partnership with us throughout 2019.”
Feefo is a technology company that provides businesses with the tools to collect real reviews and insights. Working with over 3,500 clients, Feefo ensures that all feedback is authentic. This helps increase consumer confidence and enables businesses to make smarter business decisions.
If you’re looking for a new job or a new employee, please get in touch with a member of the ASC team who will be happy to chat through your requirements.
Why is personal branding important and how will it help my career?
Did you know, since the year 2000 attention spans have decreased by 25%? This means gaining the attention of potential employers is even harder for jobseekers. This is why personal branding is important as it can really give your career a boost. It allows employers to see the real you which builds trust, credibility and confidence in your ability.
Find out what personal branding is and the reasons why it’s
What is personal branding?
When you think about branding, I bet your first thought is that a brand is a company and what you associate with that company? You're not wrong however in recent years the same theories behind company brands can be applied to people.
Personal branding has shaped how we think about celebrities,
politicians and has even helped ordinary people rise to fame as branding
Just like companies, branding helps shape people’s
perceptions of you through your opinions, ambitions, the way you look, how you
communicate, act and treat others. It’s packaging your best bits and telling it
as a story to differentiate yourself from others.
Now you may think that your CV is enough to cover the points
made above but your personal brand is online as well as offline. Yes it
includes your CV but also your social media accounts, how you respond to
emails, talk on the phone and when you meet people face to face at networking
events or interviews for example. It encompasses everything you do.
In a nutshell you can form the way you want people to see
So why is personal branding important?
Builds trust and credibility
Trust is built on getting to know the real you. Your
personal brand will showcase your motivations, ambitions and what you believe
in. If potential employers understand this, they will get a clearer picture
about who you are and if you are someone they’d like to hire.
Credibility demonstrates your expertise and willingness to
self-develop. It can be built through the actions you have taken to achieve
your goals, mentoring others and making a difference. Shouting about this
online, on your CV and when you speak to employers will help build credibility.
Develops your network and opens doors
The more employers see and hear about you, the more you are
likely to be offered:
InterviewsJobs that may never have been advertised or you
may never have heard aboutJobs that could be created just for youA promotionOpportunities to use your expertise to help
others (which will further build your credibility and network)
Furthermore, it’s not just about developing your offline network. Did you know 56% of employers won’t consider you for roles without an online presence? By using online platforms to your advantage, you can show employers more than just your image and online work history.
It shows the authentic you
The one thing you can’t do with personal branding is fake it and you definitely can’t buy it! But this is a good thing, it means you can’t be anything other than authentic, it comes from the heart and is driven by the things you are passionate about such as your goals, morals and values. It could emphasise the type of company you want to work for.
Imagine if an employer had loads of great CVs, including yours but had to shortlist them. If your personal brand was showcased elsewhere other than your CV, the employer could see you’re being authentic and is more likely to ask you in for an interview.
Example of personal branding
In 2010, Leonard Kim was homeless and unknown online. Now he is recognised as one of the top digital youth marketers by Forbes and has over 500,000 followers on Twitter.
Leonard didn’t achieve success by just showcasing what he does, he got there by telling his story. As a result of sharing his experience and what he learnt on the way, it made him stand out. The thing that made him stand out the most was, he talked about the mistakes he had made rather than what he did well.
He was being honest, this meant people could relate to him
which built trust and credibility. He made people realise, it’s OK to discuss
your downfalls online if you can learn from them.
By sharing his story and building a network of people he’d
never met, people then approached him to write for their magazine, speak at
conferences and work at their company.
How can you build your personal brand?
To develop your personal brand you need to take steps to
understand what story you want to share with people.
Understand what your key strengths are by assessing your skills, experiences and qualitiesWhat are your goals (i.e where do you see yourself in 1 years’ time, 5 years’ time etc. or what sort of company do you want to work for)What are you passionate about (do you want things to change in your industry, do you want business as a whole to work together to save the environment)
Most importantly, rememberOnce you have a good idea about who you are and what you’re trying to achieve you can start to shout about it.
Ways to promote your personal brand
Like, share and comment on posts from your
social media account about things related to your goals and passionsCreate your own posts (including video posts)
voicing your own opinions and sharing your own knowledgeAttend networking eventsWrite posts about the topics you’re passionate
about or the industry you’re inOffer to attend schools, colleges and
universities to share your career experiencesAttend industry events or become involved in
action groups related to your passion
Hopefully that has given you an introduction to personal
branding and how it can help you. Watch out for a more in depth post about how
to build your personal brand. If you want to hear about this first, make sure
you subscribe at the bottom of the screen.
If you’re looking for a new job, pop over to our jobs page and don’t forget to register your details.
We’ve had a good think about the types of posts you’d like to read about and hope our new content is informative, entertaining and what you are looking for in a recruitment blog.
What can you expect?
News Round Ups for each of our industry sectors
Sector insights, updates and hot topics
Hints and tips for different careers
Working at ASC stories
A day in the life…..
Polls, quizzes and puzzles just for fun
We would also love to hear from you!
Is there a topic you’d like us to post about?
Would you like to write a guest post?
Do you have any feedback?
If so, get in touch with our Marketing Executive, Rebecca Crowther:
0121 236 1662
We hope you enjoy our new posts. Don’t forget to sign up to our blog to get the latest news straight to your inbox.
ASC's Managing Director, Neil McNally tells us what it takes to manage a recruitment business.
Neil started the company with Financial Director, Mike Smith in 1991. The company has gone from strength to strength, working through some tough economic times to develop into the successful business it is today. A business with four UK offices, over 40 employees and a culture that strays away from the stereotypical recruitment business.
From starting his business at 22 years old to meeting 3 of the 1966 England World Cup players, Neil talks through his journey and experiences of managing a recruitment business over the last 28 years and what he sees for the future of the company.
What inspired you to set up ASC Connections?
Being a Director / Owner of a business was something I wanted to do from a very early age so when the opportunity arose, I jumped at it. Every job I had prior to getting into recruitment, I used to think, could I set up a business like this and run it? What are the prospects? I even had a car cleaning round when I was 12 or 13. It started with just me but I soon scaled it up by involving 2 other friends.
Where did you start your recruitment career before ASC and what made you decide to go into recruitment?
I started my recruitment career at a company called Eurotec which was a subsidiary business of The Bertram Group. I worked as an IT Recruiter which continued to be my chosen sector for a number of years. Like many people, recruitment was suggested to me by a Recruitment Consultant who was interviewing me for a sales job. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced over the years at ASC?
Too many to mention, however, getting through 2 recessions springs to mind. This involved re-shaping the business by unfortunately having to make some redundancies but also changing the direction of what some of the remaining staff were focused on. Also, one of the biggest challenges when managing a recruitment business over the last few years has been identifying and attracting new staff.
Now tell us what your biggest highlight is to date?
Every time we've created something new such as opening a new office or putting a new team together, I see that as another main highlight. I do believe change is good.
What changes have you seen in recruitment over the years and how has the company adapted to these changes?
Over 28 years, the industry has undergone significant change. Technological changes have re-shaped how we operate more than anything else. How we access data, how we communicate with one another have changed dramatically. Emailing, texting and the internet were largely unknown entities within recruitment when we started. The business has always adapted to technological change in a very positive way and generally kept up or stayed ahead of the competition. The first job boards weren't created until 3 years after we were formed. I sound like a proper dinosaur now!
How would you like to see the company grow in the next 5 years?
We obviously need more headcount to grow the business but it's more important to work with the people already within the business. Supporting everyone to maximise their own potential first is crucial. It will help form a much stronger foundation to bring new people in. The key areas of Engineering & Manufacturing, IT and Supply Chain & Procurement is where the focus will be including the Business Support disciplines and Executive level roles within those industries.
How do you feel your career developed you for your ASC venture?
I was only just 22 when we formed the business so my career was quite short up to that point. However, I did experience a lot of diversity in respect to the types of companies I worked for, the people I worked with and the varying management styles I was exposed to. This variation and diversity helped me develop a business far more than any training course could. On top of this, recognising and learning how to communicate with people effectively before starting a business venture is crucial
Describe a typical week at ASC?
The great thing about managing a recruitment business is the variety. Every week is different, different office every day, different challenge every day.
What do you feel is the key to maintaining a great company culture?
Part of my job as Managing Director of ASC is to make sure employees have the tools they need to do their job and to create an environment they are comfortable in. Also, being accessible to everyone goes a long way in creating a strong culture. My door is always open for everyone.
What do you feel is the key to managing a successful recruitment business?
There is nothing unique about what we do, it's just about how well we do it. Managing a recruitment business successfully, requires you to create a team that want to be there and have all the core attributes that it takes to be a good recruiter. I believe you have to treat people well, identify their strengths and weaknesses and give them the relevant training and direction that's necessary.
How do you relax after a hard week?
Who said I relax? Not really, spending time with family and friends over good food is the best way to relax.
Where has been your favourite place you have travelled to and why?
I don't have one specific favourite place but I have been fortunate to have visited lots of different places with a lot of diversity including Hong Kong, New York, California, Thailand, North Africa and much of Europe. I like to experience different cultures.
Have you met any famous people?
I've met famous actors, musicians and sportsmen but I think meeting 3 of the 1966 World Cup winning team, Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore and Gordon Banks on 3 separate occasions is up there.
If you could go back to your younger self and give yourself a piece of advice, what would it be?
Managing a recruitment business requires time to plan and prepare to ensure you meet your goals- Winging it doesn't always work!
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about setting up on their own?
Whatever type of business you're looking to set up, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. If you think it's a quick route to making lots of money then you'll probably be mistaken. If it's about the status of being a Director or Business Owner, this feeling will wear out. First and foremost, you should have a passion for what you do. Your business is more likely to have longevity if you enjoy what you do. Spend time planning and preparing and take advice from people that have set up similar ventures. Remember, working for yourself, even if you have staff working for you, can be a very lonely place, however, it can also be the most rewarding thing you'll ever do.
Does Neil sound like the type of Director you'd like to work for? Send Neil your CV as he's always on the lookout for new talent. If you're looking for advise about setting up on your own, send him an email.
So you’ve got an interview coming up… it’s not easy to stand out from the crowd in today’s busy job market but you’ve done it! Now it's time to prepare but don't worry we have put together a 4 step guide on how to succeed at interview.
Before you do anything else you need to recognise that being invited for an interview is an achievement and realise that, even if your application doesn’t go any further this time, you’ve clearly got a strong selling point. Being properly prepared is going to pay off massively!
4 Step Guide: How to Succeed At Interview
1 - The Interview Process
Get yourself in the right frame of mind by becoming comfortable with what to expect from the interview. This is straightforward information but if you forget to think about it you could come unstuck. Do you know where the interview is and who it’s with? Have you got a route planned and do you know how long it takes to get there? What format is the interview going to be; may there be aptitude or technical tests?
2 – Understand the Job
You need to be confident that you understand exactly what they’re looking for so you can demonstrate how you’re a good match. It’s a mistake to assume you know this based on a job title or a description so take some time to study the job description properly. Have a few thoughtful questions to ask about the job such as where it may take you within the company.
3 – Research the Company
How do you feel when someone pays interest in you? Good, right? Do the same in your interview. Companies want to hire people that they believe really want to work with them and will therefore stick with them. Find out as much as you can about their business and have a few good questions to ask. Maybe found out a little about the manager too – it won’t hurt.
4 – Be Yourself
This one probably sounds a bit odd. Surely you know yourself? Well let’s hope so! But step outside the box and think about how you look to someone else. Are there gaps on your CV that you need to explain? Are you going to be asked to talk about something you only mentioned as an aside? It will be really embarrassing for you if you can’t answer a question about yourself!
Trust us on this advice! You will interview very rarely throughout your career but as recruitment professionals we interview candidates and receive feedback from hiring managers every day so, with that in mind, here are a few other things we’d suggest:
Arrive a little early – yes, you’ll be seen as punctual but there’s another benefit in that you’ll give yourself more time to relax and get in the right frame of mind.
If you have a question you can’t find the answer to then just ask them. They really will appreciate your interest.
Maintain positive body language throughout your interview and start by greeting your interview with a handshake and a smile! You’ll also want to remember that managers often ask colleagues what their impressions were of you too so be polite and friendly to anyone else you speak to starting with the receptionist!
Lastly, make sure to follow up the next day with a simple email thanking them for their time and reaffirming your interest in the role.
Hopefully you have found the how to succeed at interview guide useful and it brings you success at interview.
If you're looking for an answer to a question that will help you advance your career? Why not contact us and talk to one of our team who will be happy to discuss your needs.
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Can you write a good CV?
When you apply for a job, the first and maybe only thing that a hiring manager or recruitment professional is going to see from you is your CV. Therefore, this is your chance to tell them who you are, what you’ve done before and what you can do for them – so the question is can you write a good CV?
Did you know that the average amount of time spent reviewing a CV is less than 10 seconds?
It makes sense to maximise on this document and here’s a really simple way to do just that! Write out your CV as you would anyway, then take what you have and put it into three distinct sections: About you, your work history and your education and skills.
To find out if you can write a good CV follow our simple CV structure below and we're sure the answer will be yes!
Have you put your name and not ‘CV’ as the title of your CV?
Are all your contact details clear?
Have you written a short personal statement?
Does it use keywords about your skills and experience?
Your work history:
Have you put it in reverse chronological order?
Is the job title clear?
Did you make it obvious exactly how long you worked there? Include the month!
Describing your responsibilities is great but have you listed your achievements?
Your education and skills:
Is your education listed in the order of highest award first?
Have you grouped together school-level qualifications? (But specify English, Maths and Science!)
Have you included non-academic qualifications or skills? Languages? First aid?
If they show genuine achievements or responsibilities have you included hobbies/interests?
Finally, if you can make sure you’ve done all these things then you’ll have a CV that’s ready to be put in front of even the most experienced eyes. When you’re ready to go, follow these extra top tips:
Get someone else to read it and ask for their opinion!
Spell check won’t show you when the word is spelled correctly but not the right word (in/inn, of/off or to/too)
Have you thought about the appearance? Use bullet points and spacing to highlight what’s important!
Use one, professional font in one size throughout – and not comic sans!
Don't forget to search through our jobs and send us your CV so we can contact you with the latest job opportunities that match what you are looking for.