Thinking of taking recruitment in-house? Pros and cons of going it alone
Thinking of taking recruitment in-house? Pros and cons of going it alone

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HR

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General

15/09/20

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The economy has contracted in the wake of Covid-19, and so too have business budgets. We’ve seen a slowdown in recruitment activity around the world, with UK hiring halving in June 2020 compared to June 2019, and some organisations shedding staff or closing their doors entirely. Despite these trying times, however, we are also seeing many businesses emerge stronger from lockdown. Some industries are experiencing growth – the likes of pharma, e-commerce and digital communications are all thriving – and many organisations are now looking to the future. Part of this includes strengthening teams and adding value through the strategic hiring of A-player professionals.This raises an oft-asked question: Is in-house recruitment a better option than using a recruitment agency? With all eyes on budgets and the bottom line, some might argue that an in-house hiring process will save on cost – but does it deliver the same results, and how much is your internal team’s time worth? We’re exploring the pros and cons of in-house recruitment.Pro: It can seem more cost-effectiveWhen reducing budgets and trimming costs, the outsourced recruitment function can be the first thing to suffer. External expenditure on hiring is a cost some companies think they can no longer justify. Instead, some businesses take their recruitment in-house, relying on hiring managers, HR teams or dedicated in-house recruitment professionals to identify, attract and hire the right people. Aside from time, there are many hidden costs to recruiting inhouse that business leaders do not anticipate. " These can include: subscriptions to premium social media accounts, advertising on job boards and other platforms, recruitment software and having a presence at recruitment shows. If your business hires high volumes every year, then these costs may be justified, however this is limited by both the capacity and capability of your in-house team.Con: It can be extremely time-consumingNever underestimate the value of your team’s time. Specialist recruitment companies have vast networks of vetted candidates, both active and passive. They tend to be well-known in their fields, highly social and always making new connections. This means their potential candidate network usually far exceeds that of an in-house team, and they can contact pre-vetted candidates quickly. In-house teams can struggle to have this reach and impact and typically take longer to search for, vet and contact candidates.Within Marks Sattin, we’re seeing some companies choosing to take their recruitment in-house, only to get in touch down the line after realising how much time it takes to identify a quality shortlist of candidates. When you consider that one third of vacancies in the UK are considered hard to fill, it’s no surprise that teams often struggle when taking recruitment in-house. Writing and advertising vacancies, proactively headhunting and contacting passive candidates, responding to questions and applications and vetting CVs all takes an extraordinary amount of time – and that’s before you even start scheduling interviews. For in-house professionals who are also juggling other responsibilities, this can become too much and many businesses end up reverting back to an outsourced model.Pro: You can boost your employer brandingAn in-house function means you’ll own the end-to-end recruitment process and be solely responsible for the candidate experience. This presents a great opportunity to build your employer brand and take control of how you are perceived by potential employees.If you outsource your recruitment function to a specialist recruitment agency, you’ll be trusting them to represent your company appropriately and guarantee the best possible candidate experience. They will often act as the initial touch point and introduction to your role and company. This means a good recruitment agency will take the time to get a strong understanding of your company culture, requirements, role and business objectives.Con: You miss out on expert insightsIf you hire an in-house recruiter to your organisation, make sure they have a deep understanding of your industry and wider market trends. A good recruitment partner will not only understand what developments, opportunities and challenges are emerging in your industry – whether that’s a new technology making waves or new legislation creating qualification requirements – but also what the market is like for candidates and clients. Crucially, they need to know about the specific roles they are searching for.This is especially important for executive search, where passive candidates need extra incentives to change roles. Executive recruiters must understand their markets inside out, and know what will incentivise certain professionals to move, something which in-house teams may not always understand. In-house professionals usually recruit for roles across the whole business, whether that’s a marketing intern, CFO or diversity manager, and it can be challenging for them to get a deep understanding of each of these very different roles.Save time and get the best candidates with Marks SattinWe are proud to be recruitment specialist in our markets of financial services, commerce and industry, professional services, executive search, business change and technology. We have 32 years’ experience and pride ourselves on repeat business, excellent customer service and our candidate care, where we source, meet and screen every candidate ourselves. We build long-term relationships that allow us to understand your business and requirements, ultimately saving you time and money and delivering professionals we know will be successful. Register a vacancy with us to see how we can help you.

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Is in-house recruitment a better option than using a recruitment agency? With all eyes on budgets and the bottom line, some might argue that an in-house hiring process will save on cost – but does it deliver the same results, and how much is your internal team’s time worth? We’re exploring the pros and cons of in-house recruitment.

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Carmine Scalzo

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Carmine Scalzo

Carmine Scalzo

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Carmine Scalzo

Our Road to Success Initiative
Our Road to Success Initiative

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General

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Join our team

10/09/20

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At Marks Sattin we pride ourselves on supporting our people to be as successful as they can be. One way we do this is through our Road to Success initiative, which provides incentive for our new recruits who have between zero to three months experience in recruitment. The aim of this initiative is to encourage them to hit a billing target within their first two years and, in return, they receive £2,000 towards a holiday of their choice! A career in recruitment can be extremely rewarding and is one of the few industries where you are in control of your own earnings. We provide excellent training programmes for our new and inexperienced consultants, meaning you will receive the best in house training to help you fast track your career and get established in your specialist market. Some short stories from our previous winners: Denford Mukarati joined us in 2016 and is the first winner of our Road to Success initiative. He has consistently worked to hit his goals and continues to drive new business. Well done Denford - read his story here. Alex Simmons joined us in 2018 and is another winner of our Road to Success initiative. He is hardworking, likeable and is always pushing himself to hit personal and organisational goals. Congratulations on winning, Alex - read more of his story here. Nick Georgiou joined after leaving his role of an electrical apprentice in 2016, at the ripe age of 19, and never looked back! He is a committed team player, who believes strongly in the statement that "fear kills more dreams than failure ever will." Congratulations Nick - read more of his story.

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At Marks Sattin we pride ourselves on supporting our people to be as successful as they can be.

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Matthew Wilcox

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Matthew Wilcox

Matthew Wilcox

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Matthew Wilcox

Rethinking workspaces – how will your company adapt to the new normal?
Rethinking workspaces – how will your company adapt to the new normal?

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General

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General

01/09/20

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Akin to the tourism and travel industry, the commercial property market has undergone a real shake up over the past number of months. We have been speaking to many business leaders who are desperately trying to balance a host of decisions, such as social distancing, rental agreements and remote employee engagement. In order to answer some of these prevalent questions our Managing Director, Matthew Wilcox, hosted a discussion on these topics with flexible work space experts Instant Group. Instant Group place more than 11,000 companies in flexible work spaces annually around the world. The panel of experts included Matt Dawson - Strategic Sales Consultant, John Williams - Head of Marketing, and James Booth - CFO. They tackled the many uncertainties, below is a summary of short Q&A video snippets: Is the office dead?   What is remote working and what are the cost implications of not having a physical office? Motivating a remote workforce    What is the future role of the office?   Five predictions for the future of Corporate Real Estate We now have to question what is the purpose of the office? The new role of a Head of CRE (Commercial Real Estate)   The importance of office design to entice employees to visit   If you would like to contact us for more information on this webinar or general market trends, you can email us at marketing@markssattin.com. Alternatively, follow us on LinkedIn to stay up to date on business and recruitment trends.

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Akin to the tourism and travel industry, the commercial property market has undergone a real shake up over the past number of months.

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Alastair Paterson

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Alastair Paterson

Alastair Paterson

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Alastair Paterson

Survey results: Business response to Covid-19
Survey results: Business response to Covid-19

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General

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General

31/08/20

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‘The only constant is change’ has never rang more true and there is no facet of business that has not been changed dramatically by this year’s global events. It is not about adjusting to any ‘new normal’, it’s about making sure you can adapt adequately to this new, more rapid pace of change'. During May 2020, we produced a survey for our contacts to understand how their business was reacting to the pandemic and to gauge overall market sentiment. We received over 130 responses to key questions relating to their thoughts, reactions and predictions regarding the unprecedented level of change we are experiencing. Although market conditions are changing daily, the ease of lock down has brought a wave of positivity as we look to rebuild on the disruption of the past few months. With this in mind, the below report outlines some of the findings from our research, and our predictions for the future. Covid-19 survey

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The only constant is change’ has never rang more true and there is no facet of business that has not been changed dramatically by this year’s global events. It is not about adjusting to any ‘new normal’

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David Harvey

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David Harvey

David Harvey

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David Harvey

Preparing you for competency based interview questions
Preparing you for competency based interview questions

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General

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Career Advice

12/08/20

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Competency based interview questions vary widely between sectors and depending on the level of responsibility to which you are applying. The type of competencies against which you will be assessed also depends on the role and the company who is interviewing you. For example, some companies view leadership as a competency on its own whilst others prefer to split leadership between a wide range of components (creativity, flexibility, strategic thinking or vision for example). Adaptability - Adjusts to changing environments whilst maintaining effectiveness. Which change of job did you find the most difficult to make?Tell us about the biggest change that you have had to deal with. How did you cope with it? Compliance - Conforms to company policies and procedures. How do you ensure compliance with policies in your area of responsibility?Tell us about a time when you went against company policy? Why did you do it and how did you handle it? Communication - Communicates effectively, listens sensitively, adapts communication and fosters effective communication with others. Verbal Tell us about a situation where your communication skills made a difference to a situation?Describe a time when you had to win someone over, who was reluctant or unresponsive.Describe a situation where you had to explain something complex to a colleague or a client. Which problems did you encounter and how did you deal with them?What is the worst communication situation that you have experienced?How do you prepare for an important meeting?Tell us about a situation when you failed to communicate appropriately.Demonstrate how you vary your communication approach according to the audience that you are addressing.Describe a situation when you had to communicate a message to someone, knowing that you were right and that they were wrong and reluctant to accept your point of view. Listening Give us an example where your listening skills proved crucial to an outcome.Tell us about a time when you were asked to summarise complex points.Tell us about a time when you had trouble remaining focussed on your audience. How did you handle this?What place does empathy play in your work? Give an example where you needed to show empathy?Describe a situation where you had to deal with an angry customer. Written What type of writing have you done? Give examples? What makes you think that you are good at it?How do you feel writing a report differs from preparing an oral presentation?What positive and negative feedback have you received about your writing skills? Give an example where one of your reports was criticised.How do you plan the writing of a report? Conflict management - Encourages creative tension and differences of opinions. Anticipates and takes steps to prevent counterproductive confrontations. Manages and resolves conflicts and disagreements in a constructive manner. Tell us about a time when you felt that conflict or differences were a positive driving force in your organisation. How did you handle the conflict to optimise its benefit?Tell us about a time when you had to deal with a conflict within your team.Tell us about a situation where conflict led to a negative outcome. How did you handle the situation and what did you learn from it?Give us an example where you were unable to deal with a difficult member of your team. Creativity and Innovation - Develops new insights into situations; questions conventional approaches; encourages new ideas and innovations; designs and implements new or cutting edge programs/processes. Tell us about a project or situation where you felt that the conventional approach would not be suitable. How did you derive and manage a new approach? Which challenges did you face and how did you address them?Tell us about a situation where you trusted your team to derive a new approach to an old problem. How did you manage the process?Tell us about a time when you had to convince a senior colleague that change was necessary. What made you think that your new approach would be better suited? Decisiveness - Makes well-informed, effective, and timely decisions, even when data is limited or solutions produce unpleasant consequences; perceives the impact and implications of decisions. What big decision did you make recently? How did you go about it?How did you reach the decision that you wanted to change your job?Give an example of a time when you had to delay a decision to reflect on the situation. What did you need to do this?What is the decision that you have put off the longest? Why?When was the last time you refused to make a decision?Give us an example of a situation where you had to make a decision without the input of key players, but knowing these key players would judge you on that decision (e.g. superior unavailable at the time).Tell us about a time when you had to make a decision without knowledge of the full facts.Tell us about a situation where you made a decision that involuntarily impacted negatively on others. How did you make that decision and how did you handle its consequences?Tell us about a decision that you made, which you knew would be unpopular with a group of people.How did you handle the decision-making process and how did you manage expectations?Tell us about a situation where you made a decision too quickly and got it wrong. Why made you take that decision? Delegation - Able to make full and best use of subordinate, providing appropriate support. What type of responsibilities do you delegate? Give examples of projects where you made best use of delegation.Give an example of a project or task that you felt compelled to complete on your own. What stopped you from delegating?Give an example of a situation where you reluctantly delegated to a colleague. How did you feel about it?Give an example where you delegated a task to the wrong person? How did you make that decision at the time, what happened and what did you learn from it?How do you cope with having to go away from the office for long periods of time (e.g. holidays)? Explain how you would delegate responsibilities based on your current situation. External awareness - Understands and keeps up-to-date on local, national, and international policies and trends that affect the organisation and shape stakeholders’ views; is aware of the organisation’s impact on the external environment. Describe through examples drawn from your experience how you measure and take account of the impact of your decisions on external parties.Give an example where you underestimated the impact of your decisions on stakeholders external to your organisation. Flexibility - Modifies their approach to achieve a goal. Is open to change and new information; rapidly adapts to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles. Describe a situation where you had to change your approach half-way through a project or task following new input into the project.Describe a situation where you started off thinking that your approach was the best, but needed to alter your course during the implementation.Describe a situation where one of your projects suffered a setback due to an unexpected change in circumstances.Describe a situation where you were asked to do something that you had never attempted previously.Give us an example of a situation where your initial approach failed and you had to change?Describe your strongest and your weakest colleagues. How do you cope with such diversity of personalities?If we gave you a new project to manage, how would you decide how to approach it? Independence Acts based on their convictions and not systematically the accepted wisdom. When did you depart from the “party line” to accomplish your goal?Which decisions do you feel able to make on your own and which do you require senior support to make?Describe a situation where you had a disagreement or an argument with a superior. How did you handle it?When do you feel that it is justified for you to go against accepted principles or policy?Which constraints are imposed on you in your current job and how do you deal with these?When did you make a decision that wasn’t yours to make?Describe a project or situation where you took a project to completion despite important opposition.When have you gone beyond the limits of your authority in making a decision? Influencing - Ability to convince others to own expressed point of view, gain agreement and acceptance of plans, activities or products. Describe a situation where you were able to influence others on an important issue. What approaches or strategies did you use?Describe a situation where you needed to influence different stakeholders who had different agendas. What approaches or strategies did you use?Tell us about an idea that you manage to sell to your superior, which represented a challenge.What is your worst selling experience?Describe the project or idea you were most satisfied to sell to your management.Describe a time where you failed to sell an idea you knew was the right one. Integrity - Ability to maintain job related, social, organisational and ethical norms. When have you had to lie to achieve your aims? Why did you do so and how do you feel you could have achieved the same aim in a different way?Tell me about a time when you showed integrity and professionalism.Tell us about a time when someone asked you something that you objected to. How did you handle the situation?Have you ever been asked to do something illegal, immoral or against your principles? What did you do?What would you do if your boss asked you to do something illegal?Tell us about a situation where you had to remind a colleague of the meaning of “integrity”. Leadership - Acts as a role model. Anticipates and plans for change. Communicates a vision to a team. Tell us about a situation where you had to get a team to improve its performance. What were the problems and how did you address them?Describe a situation where you had to drive a team through change. How did you achieve this?Describe a situation where you needed to inspire a team. What challenges did you meet and how did you achieve your objectives?Tell us about a situation where you faced reluctance from your team to accept the direction that you were setting.Describe a project or situation where you had to use different leadership styles to reach your goal.Describe a time when you were less successful as a leader than you would have wanted to be. Leveraging diversity - Fosters an inclusive workplace where diversity and individual differences are valued and leveraged to achieve the vision and mission of the organisation. Give an example of a situation or project where a positive outcome depended on the work of people from a wide range of backgrounds and ideas.Tell us about a time when you included someone in your team or a project because you felt they would bring something different to the team. Organisational awareness - Demonstrates an understanding of underlying organisational issues. Describe a project where you needed to involve input from other departments. How did you identify that need and how did you ensure buy-in from the appropriate leaders and managers?Describe a time when you failed to engage at the right level in your organisation. Why did you do that and how did you handle the situation? Resilience and tenacity - Deals effectively with pressure; remains optimistic and persistent, even under adversity. Recovers quickly from setbacks. Stays with a problem/line of thinking until a solution is reached or no longer reasonably attainable. Tell us about a situation where things deteriorated quickly. How did you react to recover from that situation?Tell us about a project where you achieved success despite the odds being stacked against you. How did you ensure that you pulled through?Tell us about your biggest failure. How did you recover and what have you learnt from that incident?Give us an example of a situation where you knew that a project or task would place you under great pressure. How did you plan your approach and remain motivated?How do you deal with stress?Give us an example of a situation where you worked under pressure.Under what conditions do you work best and worst?Which recent project or situation has caused you the most stress? How did you deal with it?When did you last lose your temper?When was the last time that you were upset with yourself?What makes you frustrated or impatient at work?What is the biggest challenge that you have faced in your career. How did you overcome it?Tell us about a time when you pushed one of your ideas successfully despite strong opposition.Which course or topics have you found most difficult? How did you address the challenge? Risk taking - Takes calculated risks, weighing up pros and cons appropriately. Tell us about risks that you have taken in your professional or personal life? How did you go about making your decision?Please describe one of your current or recently completed projects, setting out the risks involved. How did you make decisions and how do you know that you made the right ones?What risks do you see in moving to this new post? Sensitivity to others - Aware of other people and environment and own impact on these. Takes into account other people’s feelings and needs. What problems has one of your staff or colleagues brought to you recently? How did you assist them?Tell us about an unpopular decision that you made recently? What thought process did you follow before making it? How did your colleagues/clients react and how did you deal with their reaction?How do you deal with “time wasters”? Give a recent example.When was the last time you had an argument with a colleague?When did you last upset someone?What steps do you take to understand your colleagues’ personalities? Give an example where you found it hard to adjust to one particular colleague. Teamwork - Contributes fully to the team effort and plays an integral part in the smooth running of teams without necessarily taking the lead. Describe a situation in which you were a member of a team. What did you do to positively contribute to it?Tell us about a situation where you played an important role in a project as a member of a team, not as a leader.How do you ensure that every member of the team is allowed to participate?Give us an example where you worked in a dysfunctional team. Why was it dysfunctional and how did you attempt to change things?Give an example of a time when you had to deal with a conflict within your team; what did you do to help resolve the situation?How do you build relationships with other members of your team?How do you bring difficult colleagues on board? Give us an example where you had to do this.

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Competency based interview questions vary widely between sectors and depending on the level of responsibility to which you are applying.

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Paul Roche

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Paul Roche

Paul Roche

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Paul Roche

How to resign the right way, and navigate a counter-offer conversation
How to resign the right way, and navigate a counter-offer conversation

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General

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Career Advice

12/08/20

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Even the best of job opportunities have their downsides, and the decision to change jobs should never be made lightly. Once the decision has been made, however, it should be firm and final, because reversing it could be a costly career mistake.Assuming you have been a valued employee, your company will not want to lose you, particularly in the short term, and will likely extend you a counter offer – a flattering inducement designed to tempt you into changing your mind. But as tempting and ego-gratifying as accepting a counter offer may be, interviews with employees who have succumbed to them have shown that the majority suffered setbacks later in their careers. " If the person resigning is a key employee, the manager and company will generally make whatever promises it takes to influence a reversal of the decision to terminate. Changing jobs can be an intense process, and companies know they stand a good chance of keeping the employee – at least for a while – if they can just 'press the right buttons'.  Before you let the flattery of a counter offer tempt you, consider these universally accepted truths below:No matter what the company may say, you will forever be considered a flight risk. Having once demonstrated your 'lack of loyalty' by having looked for another job, you will lose your status as a 'team player' and your place in the inner circle.Companies have long memories and know that even if you decide to stay, statistically you are almost certain to leave them again. You will always be suspected of being on a job interview whenever you are absent from work for any reason. The counter offer, therefore, is usually nothing more than a stalling device to keep you around until your employer can quietly find a replacement for you.Numerous studies have shown that the basic reasons for wanting to change jobs in the first place will nearly always resurface. Changes made as the result of a counter offer rarely last beyond the short-term. For very good reasons, well-managed companies usually do not make counter offers. They believe their policies are fair and equitable and will address any issues prior to a resignation, not afterwardsYour resignation letter Your goal should be to resign in a manner that discourages a counter offer from ever being made in the first place. This is accomplished by stating in unmistakable terms that your decision is final. A less direct approach is likely to leave the impression that what you are really doing is attempting to use your job offer to extract concessions.To eliminate any possible misunderstanding, always submit your resignation in writing. Your typewritten letter should be brief and should contain an unambiguous statement of resignation, an expression of thanks for the professional association you have enjoyed, a final date of employment, and a cooperative statement expressing your willingness to help during the transition period prior to your last day of work. The resignation meetingIf anything is said that even sounds like a lead into a counter offer, simply say, “I didn’t come here to force you into a bidding war. I simply have been presented with an opportunity I cannot pass up.” Then use the statement that should be the basis for the last line of your resignation letter: “Is there anything that I can do to help during the transition time before my last day?”During your resignation meeting, you should be prepared for a reaction, which could range from shock, disappointment, or they may congratulate you. Regardless of the company’s reaction, your plan is to remain calm and professional. It is imperative that you handle your part of the resignation meeting in a courteous and professional manner. The kind of character reference the company will give you in the future will be strongly influenced by the impression you left behind when you resigned. The final few daysRemember that co-workers will be curious about why you are leaving. Whether they corner you at work or call you at home, tell them exactly what you told the company. Anything you say will most likely get back to your employer and make the departure more difficult. Finally, do not underestimate the importance of your performance during your last two weeks. It is a serious mistake to become “mentally unemployed” and wind down while working out your notice. Give it your very best effort right up until the last minute you’re there. You will never be sorry you did.By using the strategies and techniques outlined above, you will resign with a high degree of professionalism and without burning any bridges behind you. Your plan is to remain calm, courteous and in control at all times - Good luck!

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Even the best of job opportunities have their downsides, and the decision to change jobs should never be made lightly.

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Thomas Wesseldine

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Thomas Wesseldine

Thomas Wesseldine

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Thomas Wesseldine

Writing a compelling CV in a competitive jobs market
Writing a compelling CV in a competitive jobs market

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General

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Career Advice

12/08/20

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Your CV is usually the first impression that a potential employer will have of you and your ability to do the job. Therefore, it is extremely important that your CV presents the strongest and most relevant information. It's essential for you to get across the key points in a concise and clear manner, as you often have less than five seconds to grab the reader’s attention.Be honestExaggerating your responsibilities or achievements is not recommended and could greatly impact your future chances of securing a role. Never falsify dates or jobs to hide periods of unemployment, as a basic check could expose any of these hidden areas. Leaving you exposed to more questions which may ruin your chance of landing the job. Be honest, open and explain any gaps. Back it up and support the claims you make regarding responsibilities and key achievements with facts and comparative data wherever possible.StructurePersonal details: name, address, mobile, email, visa status (if applicable). Qualifications: professional and formal, education. Include any Specialisations, eg. Auditor within IFRS Career highlights: short bullet point synopsis of your recent positions and achievements. Highlight anything that sells your overall strengths. Outline your work history in reverse chronological order. Where possible, include quantitative measurements of success and place an emphasis on the most relevant roles to the job you are applying for.Your work history should be detailed with experience and achievements and should include: Job titleCompany namedates employedKey experience areasOverview of responsibilities (5-10 bullet points depending on the seniority of the role - the greater the seniority, the more detail will be expected).Achievements: List any key achievements within the role, key projects you participated in, etc.Length is important, a maximum of two pages is preferable; your CV only needs to get you an interview. Use bullet points with your most recent experience at the top of the list. This will help to keep your CV concise and relevant to the role that you are applying for. Keep to the facts and don’t try to be funny. Other people’s sense of humor may be very different to your own and it can come across as rude or insulting. ReferencesWhen dealing with references, you do not need to include names of your references or ‘references upon request’ at this stage. If a recruiter asks for names, ensure you have spoken to your contacts and that they are willing and able. The more senior executive, the better.Layout Keep the language simple; avoid jargon that a recruiter or employer may not understand.Highlight achievements in bullet point style so that they are easy to read.Do not include a photo.Ensure your CV is in Word format.Use a clear typeface.Ensure there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.Any roles over 10 years ago do not need much detail. Key things to rememberRegularly revisit your CV and update the content. Trying to remember what you did when you started your role five years ago may be difficult! Being relevant, highlight any key skills you have which are requested in the job description, these could appear on the front page as a summary. If it has been more than five years since you graduated, place your education at the bottom. If you have not finished your degree or do not have a formal qualification, explain this thoroughly.  We’re aware that following your ACA qualification you will be considering the next steps in your career. The newly qualified ACA job market is competitive, so differentiating yourself is essential. Download our ACA CV guide here.

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Your CV is usually the first impression that a potential employer will have of you and your ability to do the job.

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

Matthew Fitzpatrick

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

Preparing for your interview - some key advice
Preparing for your interview - some key advice

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General

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Career Advice

12/08/20

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Going to an interview can be daunting, especially if it's your first time, or if you really want to land the role. Preparation is key, and with the right advice you will feel relaxed and confident when making your first impression.  Before your interview do some research   Find out as much as you can about the company you are applying to - their products/services, scale, structure etc. There are a few other sources you can try to find this information, the most reliable would be:   The company website Annual reports LinkedIn Google   Best of all, if you can, speak to someone who works for the company. Of course, this is not always possible, but it is a very useful source of information. LinkedIn is a good way to connect with existing employees and reach out to them.   Key preparations   Check the location before the day and explore alternative options of transport. Read through the job description, know where your role will fit into the organisation. Expect the interviewer to do a CV walkthrough, spend some time going through your CV, making sure to familiarise yourself with your previous roles and projects along with dates. Be prepared for any technical questions that could arise from reviewing your CV. Be prepared to explain your reasons for leaving each role. Have a mental note of all key achievements in each role.   Day of the interview and arrival   Plan to arrive 15 minutes early, always leave plenty of time and assume you are going to be held up and check for traffic reports if necessary.    Best practices   Introduce yourself politely. Arrive on time or early if possible. Turn your mobile phone off during the interview. Express yourself clearly. Smile as much as possible during the interview. Show how your experience can benefit the company. Ask questions concerning the company for which you are being interviewed. Show willingness to learn and progress. Be assertive without being aggressive. Prepare 10 relevant questions; you will probably cover five in the interview. Refrain from answering questions with a yes or no - expand where possible. Answer all questions truthfully and honestly. Stay positive about previous employers. Show that you have put time and energy into planning your career and that this is a crucial step toward your future. Do not talk about the salary and benefits package - getting an offer is the main priority and salary negotiations will follow. For every responsibility/requirement on the job specification, ensure you have at least one example of an experience or a transferable skill that covers that requirement for the interview.   Telephone interviews   As a minimum you should brush up on the company’s business structure, clients, products, industry terminology, or anything else that may relate to the position you are applying for. Spending an hour or two researching these things before an interview can make a great impression on your interviewers and possibly land you a second interview or even a job.   Always remember:   Keep a glass of water handy. Smile - this will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice. Speak slowly and enunciate clearly, be careful not to speak over the interviewer. Keep your CV in clear view, on the top of your desk, so it is at your fingertips when you need to answer questions. Have a short list of your accomplishments available to review. Have a pen and paper handy for note taking. Make sure your phone is charged and you are in an area with good reception.   Read more about how to conduct a great video interview.    Talking about your experience   Keep examples recent and relevant from the last five years, and use a variety of different examples. It is often seen as a weakness to use the same scenario for different questions. If you do not understand a question, ask for clarification. Take your time in answering a question – it is better to give a decent answer after a few seconds pause, rather than a garbled, nonsensical answer immediately. Avoid clichéd answers to questions such as “I’m a great team player”, which you cannot back up with examples from the workplace.   Think about the different interviewers motivations:  - When interviewed by HR their main concern will be to ensure that you fit the company culture, but  they will not be able to assess your ability to do the job.  - A line manager will be able to test your skills and assess whether they will be able to work with you on a daily basis.   Competency based interviewing   Competency based interviewing (link this to blog 4) is a series of scenario-based questions designed to examine your strength across a number of soft skills. The concept behind this type of question, where you are asked to give a specific example of a real-life situation in the workplace, is that the interviewer is able to determine how you will behave in the future, based on how you behaved in the past.   A competency question will start with something like …. “Describe a situation when……” or “Tell me about a time when…..” It is important that you respond accordingly, with one specific example, rather than saying what you would, could or should do. Prepare examples for each of the competencies; and rehearse your answers. Remember that the word ‘we’ should not form part of your answer, replace it with ‘I’. It is you they want to hear about. The hiring manager after all, is looking to hire you, not your team.   To prepare yourself for the competency questions you will need to understand the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method of structuring your answer. The STAR technique enables you to showcase your relevant experience with the interviewer in a methodical manner. We recommend doing some in-depth preparation before the interview so that you can have some great examples to quote.   Some interview example questions:   Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way. Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgement and logic in solving a problem. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done. Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision. What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example. Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa). Tell me about a difficult decision you have made in the last year. Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish failed. Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision. What do you expect from this role?   Communication, talking the interviewers language   A good tip is to always be aware of the tempo of the interview, if your interviewer is talking and asking questions slowly or quickly, respond in a like manner. Try to maintain eye contact and try to gauge the understanding of the individual(s) you are meeting with. Don’t become too technical and lose someone who is unfamiliar with what you are talking about, the same applies for the reverse. Don’t talk high level when you have a technical audience, they will be looking for detail.   If there are multiple people interviewing you, share attention between them and be sure to answer questions to the person that directed them. Avoid talking too much - this is a difficult one, but the talking should be fairly even between interviewer and interviewee. Make sure you pause if you’re in the middle of a long answer to allow the interviewer to speak if they need to.   Always remember:   If late, only apologise once. Remember what you have said to each interviewer. It is fine to duplicate information across the interviews, but make sure you are not repeating yourself to the same person. Sometimes, interviewers may have a short chat between interviews and the second interviewer may be given the task of probing a particular area, so expect some repetition. Never say overly negative things about your current employer or reasons for leaving. Focus on the future, not on the past.   Feedback   After the interview it is essential that you call Marks Sattin and provide prompt feedback. In most situations your recruiter will not be able to get feedback from the client without speaking to you first. Any delay in providing this feedback can slow down the whole process. Whether it is positive or negative, it is essential that you take it on board and use it for future interviews.   Feedback is a great learning opportunity for you and even the very best candidates often need several interviews in order to secure their ideal role.  

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For good advice on key preparations and what to expect during your next interview.

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Matthew Wilcox

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Matthew Wilcox

Matthew Wilcox

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Matthew Wilcox

The business case for a robust diversity and inclusion strategy in your organisation
The business case for a robust diversity and inclusion strategy in your organisation

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HR

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General

05/08/20

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The past few months – and indeed, years – have demonstrated just how important diversity and inclusion are in modern society. Through the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, a light has been shone on the inequality and injustice that persists, not just in our day to day lives, but also in the workplace. We can no longer ignore how important diversity and inclusion are to businesses, nor can we expect things to get better without actively working to improve conditions and outcomes for everyone. And while promoting diversity and inclusion is absolutely the right thing to do for employees, there are also business benefits to doing so.  What is diversity and inclusion? Diversity and inclusion aren’t just a priority for HR departments – it should be a key business strategy for all organisations. Workplace diversity can be defined as the understanding, acceptance and promotion of differences between people. This includes those of different genders, races, ages, sexual orientations, disabilities and religions, as well as people who have different educational, socioeconomic and experiential backgrounds. Meanwhile, inclusion is about creating a supportive and respectful work environment that values collaboration and participation of all employees, helping everyone to feel included. Together, diversity and inclusion make companies more welcoming, accessible and harmonious for everyone, not to mention more profitable and competitive.   Why is diversity and inclusion important?   First and foremost, diversity and inclusion are essential to make workplaces better for everyone. Purely from a compassionate perspective, it’s the right thing for employers to create environments where people feel comfortable to be themselves and can succeed without limitation. Commercially, diversity and inclusion have a significant number of benefits. Firstly, a strong focus on D&I can significantly widen the  candidate talent pool , giving you access to more candidates who may be excluded by non-diverse hiring strategies. With  70% of job seekers  looking for a company’s commitment to diversity when applying for new roles, it’s clear that you may be missing out on top talent if you neglect to address D&I in your organisation.  On top of that, diverse organisations have better business results, higher employee satisfaction and are more innovative, according to Business in the Community . McKinsey research shows that executive teams in the top quartile for gender diversity were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than those companies who perform poorly in terms of executive-level gender diversity. This figure jumps to 36% when analysing teams with ethnic diversity. Diverse teams have also been proven to be more innovative, solve problems faster and have more engaged employees.  Small steps to move the dial on D&I in your organisation  The current emphasis on  working from home  presents a key opportunity for employers to rethink their D&I hiring strategies, with  current conditions potentially opening up more flexible, part-time opportunities for those who may not have otherwise been able to commit to a 9-5 office job. To welcome more working parents and caregivers, disabled people and those with neurodiversity requirements, consider whether vacancies could be flexible, remote working or on part-time hours. Now is the perfect time to  rethink your workspace  and how it can be made more accessible to more people.    A dedicated diversity and inclusion policy, taskforce or officer can help to highlight its importance within your business. You could perform a D&I audit, examining the levels of diversity that exist within the company and specifically at the executive level, and set goals to achieve a more balanced, inclusive environment within a certain time period. Have open conversations with your team members about D&I and ask them what would make them – and new team members – feel more welcomed. It’s also important to acknowledge the diversity that already exists in your company, such as by celebrating different cultural and religious events, greeting bilingual employees in their mother tongue or inviting families into work.  Finally, while diversity and inclusion should be championed at the very highest levels of your business, it’s crucial that every single team member feels safe to contribute to these discussions and voice their opinions and stories. Prepare to tackle some difficult topics and be questioned. While subjects like the gender pay gap, lack of executive-level diversity and opportunities for progression can feel difficult to address, they are important conversations that need to be had in the process of making real change.  Marks Sattin can help to diversify your talent pool. By partnering with a specialist recruitment agency which has a  strong focus on diversity and inclusion , you’ll benefit from having access to more candidates and guidance on how to actively recruit from diverse talent pools. At Marks Sattin, we can help you identify, attract and retain exceptional people across financial services, technology, change management and more.  Contact us here  to have a chat about how we can work together. 

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The past few months – and indeed, years – have demonstrated just how important diversity and inclusion are in modern society.

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Becky Hughes

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Becky Hughes

Becky Hughes

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Becky Hughes