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People often ask me what they should say their reason for leaving is, and when I get asked this, I always get a little concerned. Surely you just need to be honest, right? On the whole, yes, just tell the client the reasons for you being there today, fine, BUT, there are ways to package these so that they come out as intended:

Being made redundant: this is perhaps the most common reason for leaving in recent times as the economic client is such that companies are facing financial difficulties.
If you are being made redundant, please note that this is different to there being the ‘threat of redundancy’. With redundancy, you would have gone through a consultation period and have a definitive end date. If you are being made redundant, you should check to see if you can get out sooner should you find another role. The most important thing with redundancy is that you should act quickly. You have to remember that there are probably other people within your company (or ina similar position) who are facing exactly the same as you. The longer you sit around, the higher the chances are that other people will get to the jobs sooner than you. Remember, there are only a finite number of jobs, and the longer you are out of work, the harder it is to get back in.
Just remember, it is important not to talk bad of your current company. Even though you are being made redundant, and might not like it, talking ill of your company always gives a bad impression to the interviewer.

Threat of redundancy: So, you’ve heard ‘through the grapevine’ or have been told that there may be redundancies, and so think it is time to start looking for a new role. Not a bad decision really, as in most cases, redundancies usually come in one or 2 rounds, and so if there is a threat, and it turns into reality, there is a high chance that there will be more than one round. The most important thing to bear in mind with a threat of redundancy, is that it could be nothing or it could be something. As before, it is important not to talk badly of your current company. The interviewer will be interested in how many other people are in the same job role as yourself, and what the likelihood is that you will be made redundant. Why you think it will be you and also, if you don’t get made redundant, will you stay or still look to move.

Lack of progression: If this is your concern, then you need to know where you want to go and where you want to be in realistic timescales (2, 3, 5 years). If your current company doesn’t allow you to reach your goals, then you need to be able to communicate to a new company, exactly what those goals are, why you want them, and by when do you want them. If you don’t really have an idea, then the chances are that you are saying you want progression, but really, you are just looking for more money (2 very different things).

Money: if you are looking for a better paid role, that is fine, but you need to have a figure in your mind, and be aware that you may be counter offered when you hand your notice in. If your current company matches or even betters any potential offers, will you stay or still leave? Obviously money is the main factor for us going to work, and if we don’t have enough, then it is only natural for us to look elsewhere but if you ask for too much of a jump, then this may come across as being greedy. Most companies today do pay around the same, and so if you feel you are being underpaid, then you have to be able to justify to a new company, why you thing you are worth an increase.

Change of scenery: if you have been working in the same company for a long period of time, it is quite normal for you to literally just want a chance. You may be bored, you may have seen lots of people come and go, and so just feel that it is now your time to move on. You have offered the company everything you can, and now want a fresh challenge. That is all fine, you just need to be aware that the client say across the desk interviewing you, may be thinking ‘Will they be thinking the same of me in 5 years time?’ You need to therefore communicate what it is that you are ‘bored of’ so that any new company will be able to basically keep you interested for longer.

Dismissal: So, you have been fired. ‘Oh no, I’m never going to get another job’ – Not the case atall. In these circumstances, you will have gone through a period of consultation, or in the case of gross misconduct, may have been told to leave immediately. The most important thing here, as with everything, is to be 100% honest. It will give you so much more credibility and morality if you are honest, than if you try to skirt around the issue or even hide it. You have to remember that most clients will know each other, they may have worked together in the past, and ever thought they now work for different companies, may still get on and talk to each other, and so are only ever a phone call or e mail away from finding out why you are leaving or what you did wrong. You just have to convince the client that you have learnt from any mistake that you may have made and reassure them that you won’t do it again.

As mentioned above, it is vitally important to remain professional and to not talk badly of your current company. If you do so, the interviewer will more than likely be thinking: ‘If they are talking like this of their current boss, what will they say about me should they decide to leave, or if I decided not to offer them to job’.

 

Parts of this blog would have been mentioned in the ‘Interviews’ blog that was previously published, however, some points need addressing more fully here.

I have recently had a candidate cancel an interview with less than a days notice (Via text) for reasons that can be questioned. And then, when trying to rearrange the interview, the candidate has started to be vague with times that they are free.

Let me just tell you, and again, this is solely our opinion here at Synergy Personnel Services, but if a candidate does this, then you can be sure that we will not work with them again.

If you no longer want to attend an interview, you may have spoken to someone who used to work at the company, or heard something about them that you don’t like, or know someone who works there who you don’t like, that is fine. You just need to be honest with us. If you simply say that you can no longer attend, and don’t want to rearrange, we will know that there are other reasons, and our stance on this is that if you cannot be honest with us, then we perhaps shouldn’t really be working together.

Back to my candidate:

The first interview was arranged and he attended. The client ‘bent over backwards’ to accommodate them coming in at the very end of the day. First interview done, all was great. They liked the candidate and the candidate liked the job.

The 2nd interview was arranged, and the night before, the candidate text me to say they can no longer attend. The reason was that their child was sick – Fine. I can totally understand that.<br><br>

The following day, I attempt to call the candidate, who doesn’t answer their phone, doesn’t reply to a text or even an e mail. I leave it for a few hours, and then try again – NOTHING. This is a candidate who is usually very prompt with coming back to me.

Later that evening, I get a text from the candidate saying that they are no longer sure about the role – ALARM BELLS! – Was the child really sick? Was that a smokescreen to negate turning up to the interview? It is a cynical world that we live in, but in recruitment, trust me, we have heard all of the excuses – FACT.

At this point, I again try to call the candidate to discuss why the change of mind – No answer. And then the next day, they find themselves on a course where they cannot pick up the phone to me (obviously they are on one of those courses where they don’t get a lunch break!)

Therefore, I decided to contact the client and tell them that the candidate has pulled out, for unknown reasons.

What this candidate doesn’t realise is that now, I think they are a complete liar, and have used their child as an original excuse not to turn up to a 2nd interview, and then have again lied about being on a course. Obviously, this could all be the truth, but then in the cynical world or recruitment, it very rarely is!

I have told the client everything. At the end of the day, I don’t want them to be mad with me. And so I tell them what has happened in detail, and this is where it then gets bad for the candidate.

What the candidate doesn’t realise is that this client now thinks bad of someone who they were potentially going to make an offer to. They feel messed about.

The candidate should think, ‘what if our paths cross again?’. The client won’t be interested anymore.

Now, it is totally fine to pull out of an interview, but the point is, always give us a reason. Without a reason, we have to speculate.

Consequently, I have made the decision to not work with this candidate again as there is no trust there anymore. And the client has specifically said that they would not entertain interviewing them again.

If only the candidate would have been up front and honest from the start.

CV’s are an area that people have either read about lots, or don’t know anything about.

The way I see a CV, is as a front door. The CV has to be good enough for a recruiter to want to open it.

There will be a lot of additional blogs about CV’s and this initial blog is designed to cover the whole overview of a CV before I concentrate on each section in a later blog.

Please note that what I am about to cover is solely my opinion on what I specifically look for an am interested in, in a CV. It is not a critique of anything anyone else may do or suggest, merely my preference of what I like to see, and how.

Firstly, if there is anything other than your name on the top line of a CV, you are wasting your time and it is perhaps already ‘too busy’. A recruiter wants to know your name – First.

Following on from that, you need to put your address and any telephone numbers and e mail address on there. I see lots of CV’s with only a name… What’s the point. Please put as much contact information as possible. I prefer to call a mobile phone, as I assume that it is always with you. Some people try a land line first, just preference.

Also, a lot of people don’t put their address on a CV. Why? Most recruiters have pretty good search software these days where they can do a ‘Radial’ search of jobs that are suitable for you, or candidates that live within a certain distance from a job. If you have nothing on there then your details will not come up. It is OK if you will travel the whole of the UK, still just put your address on there.

That brings me straight on to the subject concerning text boxes – The bane of my life. What you need to remember, is that whenever your CV gets sent out to a client, we have to remove your personal details. If we didn’t, then there is nothing stopping the client contacting you direct and cutting us out of the process. If your CV is filled with text boxes, then it can be a monotonous task for us to delete these and then format your CV so that it looks nice and presentable again. What do we do? If we have time, then it will be done correctly, if not, then it may just be put together as neat as possible. There is no real reason to need to use text boxes these days in a CV as most word processing software is simple to use to negate this process.

Pictures on a CV: In my opinion, unless you are going for a modelling job, then I see very little point in adding one. Again, for reasons mentioned about, the client may recognise you and approach you directly, but secondly, most people put pictures that are either too dark, or with a horrible background and they just look silly. In the 10 years that I have been recruiting, I have not come across one good picture and have therefore never sent a CV with a picture to a client. One last point on pictures, they tend to make the CV file quite large, and therefore sometimes don’t get through to inboxes.

What order should you do your CV in: I always say that the CV should read most recent role first and then go backwards. The only reason I say this is because I want to see what you are currently doing first. If you imagine, in a single day, I could receive anything from 30 CV’s upwards, I don’t want to be trawling through a CV trying to see where you are working. The easier you make it for me, the better.

That brings me on to layout. We have already mentioned the inconvenience of text boxes (and I will also talk about pdf files later), but in terms of layout, what I want to see is: Job title, Company, Specific dates (not just June 2012 – July 2013), I like to see 1st June 2012 to 1st July 2013. May sound silly, but I like to see exactly how long you have been out of work (if any). Any gap here isn’t a bad thing (as long as you can explain it). After the date, I then like to see a description of what you do in this role. I am not bothered about reasons for leaving. I will ask you that when I speak to you.

Now, it is really important that you give as much detail into the description as possible. When I was at school, I was always told that a CV needs to be no longer than 2 pages. That was fine when I just graduated and had no work experience (and dare I say it, before the internet, search facilities and Job boards). What you have to bear in mind nowadays is that most recruitment consultants will have a daily search set up on all of the leading job boards, whereby CV’s are e mailed to them daily, of candidates whose CV’s contain certain keywords. Also, the higher the frequency of those keywords, the closer to the top of the list you will appear. Therefore, if your ‘Description’ only has a few lines, then the chances of you not showing up, or showing up towards the bottom of the list is very high. This is not to say that you repeat keywords throughout your CV unnecessarily, it is just to be as accurate and descriptive as possible. Secondly, you don’t want to leave any assumptions in my mind as a recruiter – that is a bad thing to do. As I’m sure you are aware, the same job title for similar companies could actually be very different. If I have a very descriptive CV and one with very little, but assume you do the same tasks, this could be a big mistake – An Electrical Engineer for a Contractor does very different things to an Electrical Engineer for a Consultant. Therefore, give me a ‘Day in the week of…..’ and I will read your CV knowing exactly what you do.

I said I will mention the subject of pdf files (briefly). PDF’s, for reasons mentioned earlier, can be a nuisance too. Again, we need to remove all of your personal details and then format them correctly. The simplest way to do this is to copy and paste it into a word processing program. Try doing it if your CV is in a pdf format and you will see very quickly that it is a nightmare. Also, some earlier versions of pdf files do not allow a search function, and so when searching for keywords in a CV, your CV may be missed as it cannot find any (even if they are there)

Spelling. OK, so you have been told and you know that spelling is really important on a CV, and even more frustrating, is that when you make a spelling mistake, there is a red line under the word telling you that the dictionary doesn’t recognise that word. Simple, change it. I do know that there are specialist words, or types of software that your computer won’t recognise, but really, there is no need at all for a CV to be sent out with any mistakes on it. The fact that you are e mailing it to me, tells me that you know how to use a computer and are therefore too lazy to change it.

Hobbies. ‘Oh no, my CV is over 4 pages and I still haven’t put my hobbies on there… should I?’ ‘YES’ is the answer. I once had a candidate who was a very high level line dancer. He put this on his CV. The client was also a very high level line dancer. Turns out they knew each other, but each party didn’t know what the other did for work. Quickest placement ever – YES. I set up the interview, and within a week, an offer had been made. The interview was even more of a formality. I would always tell people to put hobbies on their CV. It gives people a sense of who you are and what you do out of work. Also, if the interview gets tricky, or you are nervous, it gives the client something to ask you about to help settle you. ‘What if I don’t have any hobbies?’ – everyone does something. OK, so saying I like to ‘socialise with my friends’ may sound like you are a big drinker, or ‘TV’ makes you sound like a couch potato, but, if you were to be more specific such as ‘Socialising with my friends and going to local restaurants and trying different foods’ or ‘watching history or nature programmes on TV’ instantly gives your hobby more depth.

Referees: I wouldn’t advise putting referee details on a CV. You have to think that by putting them on there, you are giving someone permission to contact them. What if the client really doesn’t get on with one of the people you have put down? Or even worse, what if the client calls one of your referees for an ‘informal chat’ only for that person to be rude or not be expecting the call and tell them to call later – it might not be the best first impression of you. Therefore, I would leave them off. In a lot of cases, the details may have changed since the CV was written too.

Name: What file name should I call my CV?. Sound like a really silly thing to mention, but if I see someone with a CV titles: ‘John Doe CV June 2012’ against ‘John Doe CV’, I would think to myself, how many other CV’s has John Doe written in 2012 – is Gavin Dilkes always looking for a new job, is he a job hopper?

Number of CV’s: I spoke to a candidate a few weeks ago who told me that he had 2 different CV’s… Why? One was for when he used to be a teacher and the other for when he was an engineer. As far as I am concerned, you should only ever have one CV. A CV is a chronological list of work, experience and academic qualifications that you have achieved throughout your working life and so you should only ever have the one.

Cover letter: If I am honest, 90% of the cover letters I receive are general. I get the same one week in week out from one candidate, and so needless to say, I never read it anymore. Only ever do a cover letter if it is specific and relevant to the job, and please never just re-list your career history. Address the cover letter to the person you want it to be addressed to. Phrases like ‘ Esteemed recruiter’ and ‘Hiring manager’ really annoy me and just feel non specific.

Short CV: as mentioned above, there is no need to have a short CV. I would put as much detail in a CV as possible. When people ask me if I want them to send me the short version or the long one, I always ask for the long one.

E mail address and display name: Only a very simple thing, but I always think it is funny when people have e mail addresses like: bigdave27, or fairyprincess9. It just looks a little unprofessional. Just keep it nice and simple by having your name as your e mail address and display name.

A FINAL NOTE ON CV’S. PLEASE DO NOT WRITE THEM IN CAPITAL LETTERS ALL THE WAY THROUGH. IT MAKES THEM SO MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO READ AND ALSO MAKES THEM LOOK UNAPPROACHABLE.

Hope this helps

 

OK:

So you have received a job offer and you are happy with it. You have talked to your partner, and made sure that this is the role that you 100% want to go for. Then it is time to hand in your notice.

It is VERY important to make sure that you are 100% happy with the offer. If not, speak to your consultant who will answer any queries.

You can hand your notice in whenever you like, but I always insist that you have a written offer letter before doing this. This can be something on an e mail or in the post, but just for safety and peace of mind more than anything, I would always make sure of this.

Letters of resignation don’t need to be ‘War and Peace’. You need to remember that a letter of resignation is the last thing that goes into your employee file, and so will be the first thing that people see, should they need to reopen your file (for a reference perhaps). And so you need to make it amicable. If you absolutely hate your boss, and that is why you are leaving, that’s fine, you just don’t need to write it in your letter. It is a common misconception that you need to write your reasons for leaving etc in this letter, FALSE. You would have discussed these with your manager as you handed in your notice, and so there is no need to make reference to them again.

The content of the letter does however need to have a few pieces of information:

1. The letter needs to have the date on it (The date in which you want your notice period to start)
2. Your expected finish date.
a. It is important to know what notice you are required to give. If it is a month, but you only write ‘One weeks’ notice, then your current employer is NOT obliged to pay you for a months’ notice. They only need to pay you for the time you work.
b. They may say that you can leave immediately. That is also fine. As long as you have put your expected end date on there, they are obliged to pay you up to that point (this is sometimes called Garden Leave)
c. If they do put you on to garden leave, then you are NOT allowed to start your new role until this period is over.
3. Confirm that you would like all of your holiday allowances paid with your final pay
4. I always think it is nice to also wish the company success into the future (even if you don’t mean it!)

Counter Offers: a lot of clients will ask about the new role and if there is anything they can do to make you stay. It is important to know that they do this for a few reasons and also to be aware of the dangers of accepting a counter offer.

On handing in your notice, you could be offered; more money to stay, a promotion, better flexible benefits etc. At this point, you have to ask yourself, why they are doing all of this now, and there could be several reasons:

1. They genuinely don’t want you to leave
2. They are surprised by your resignation and are buying time to find a replacement
3. They want to control who leaves and when.

If you receive a counter offer, you have to ask yourself why you have received it. If someone throws more money at you, then you have to consider that they may have been potentially underpaying you for a long while. If they can just add an extra £3K onto your salary for you handing in your notice, then this suggests they have.

Secondly, clients like to have the power. By you leaving, it creates a problem for them. They have to recruit for your position, and no client particularly likes doing this. It is a hassle for them and it can be a costly affair – They may have to use a recruitment company, and they may have to pay the new person a higher salary in order to entice them from their current role. By you staying, you can almost guarantee that behind the scenes, the client will start to look for someone to replace you and then a few months down the line, you may find yourself being made redundant.

I had two candidates accept counter offers at Christmas 2012.

1. One candidate was promised a bigger role and a higher bonus (at the beginning of the following year). He was also told that his company will recruit a team for him to manage and give him more responsibility.
2. The other candidate was immediately offered £3K more onto his salary, and the opportunity to work from home on a Friday.

Both candidates took these counter offers. I talked to them about the dangers. I asked if Candidate 1 was sure that the promises will be met, why it has taken him to hand in his notice to get a bigger bonus and a team (something he had been asking for for 6 months previous). I asked Candidate 2 how he felt that he had received a £3K increase just by handing in his notice and if he felt undervalued. Both candidates still decided to stay where they were.

Can you guess what happened?: 2 months (to the week) later, both candidates called me (on the same day coincidentally) and said that they were looking again. Candidate 1 never got his bonus, and the bigger team was put ‘on hold’ for the time being due to the business being a little quiet. Candidate 2 did receive his extra money, but wasn’t allowed to work from home (due to increased workloads), but then, his company announced a primary wave of redundancies and as he was now the highest paid member of staff in his team, he was first to go!!

You have to remember that by handing in your notice, your boss will know that you have been out to interviews. There is a good chance that you made up a Dentist appointment to be able to get there and then there is a good chance that you would have talked about your current company in a less than favourable light in the interview. Clients know this. Remember, they interview people all the time. Therefore, you have already shown a degree of disloyalty to your current company and this will stay in their memory.<

In simple, what I can say is that 9 out of 10 counter offers don’t work out. Your reasons for leaving still remain: The commute is still a long way, the team are still horrible, there is still no progression, your manager still annoys you….. I have even had it, where having received a counter offer, the candidate feels pressured to put in extra hours to justify the extra pay!

This all links in to your original reasons for leaving, and the first thing that any recruiter should ask you is whether you have spoken to your boss about any problems that you may have. If you have had that conversation, and nothing has been done, then fine, but you need to have that conversation. You need to give your current employer the chance to make things better.

Questions to ask at an interview 

Here is a list of questions that can be asked in an interview to show your interest in the role:

1: Can you describe a typical day in this type of role.

2: How long have you been at the company, and what makes you stay.

3:How would you describe the work environment and the corporate culture.

4:What are some of the goals of the company in the short and longer term.

5:How would my performance be measured.

6:What type of career opportunities may open up for someone starting in this type of position, assuming they perform well.

7:What are some of the company’s initiatives regarding learning and development.

Setting up an interview can sometimes be a difficult task, and to avoid going backwards and forwards, the best thing to do is to make sure you know your availability, as changing it at a later date can sometimes look like you are not fully committed.

Once set up, you need to make sure you know where you are going. It may sound silly, but just get onto Google Maps and see exactly where you need to be. It will give you an idea of what the building looks like, whether there is parking etc.

I have done it in the past where I have driven past the building 3 times before realising that it was above a shop! At least if you research the address first, you will be able to see where you need to go, and also see if there is parking on site or not.

It is vital that you are NOT LATE for the interview. Now, there are circumstances sometimes when you just cannot control this but I always advise my candidates to make sure that they give themselves an extra 30 minutes on the journey time than what it is set to take. So what if you get there early (I will come onto that next). At least you are there, you are not panicked and you can give yourself a chance to straighten your tie, do your hair, read through your CV and make sure you are prepared.

If you are late, you must let the client know in good time. You will have a pretty good idea if you are going to be late when you are on your way. Even if there is a slight chance that you could be, it is always better to let them know. There is nothing worse than waiting around for someone to turn up over your lunch break only for them to turn up 20 minutes late, when you could have nipped out and got something to eat. Also, the client may know of a different route to take to negate any traffic.

On the subject of route planning, if, like me, you rely 100% on Satnav, you need to make sure it works properly, is charged up and is reliable. Still familiarise yourself with the route as sometimes in city centers, they can stop working.

I would never suggest going to reception any longer than 7 minutes before the interview. You don’t want to disrespect the interviewers time by arriving too early. It may make them feel that you are in a rush and they may feel bad about keeping you waiting. I once had a candidate arrive 30 minutes before the start time, and the client told me afterwards that he found this extremely disrespectful. There is being seen to be keen and eager, and then there is annoying! By getting there 7 minutes early, you still demonstrate that your time keeping is good, and allow them to finish off what they were doing before seeing you. Most people use a computer based calendar nowadays and so they will get a prompt to remind them that you are coming anyway, and so will start to wrap things up in preparation for your arrival.

If you find yourself waiting in reception, it is good to have a look around and maybe have a little chat with the receptionist. If you get on with them, they may put in a good word, or at least say that you seemed OK! Every little point helps! Also remember, that they may be on the phone and so be cautious when you approach them. A lot of client s display certificates and awards in the reception. Have a look at these, is shows interest.

In terms of attire, I always tell my candidates to wear a suit. That means: Trousers, shirt, tie (if a male), jacket and polished shoes. This is for every interview they attend (1st, second, final etc) even if it is an informal chat. I always say that you need to try to be better dressed than your client. At least that way, they can see that you are taking it seriously. Your consultant will let you know if it is anything different. And really, what is the worst that can happen, you look overdressed, it is better than being under dressed and gives off a great first impression. On the subject of jacket and trousers, they need to be the same. Wearing a different jacket to trousers just doesn’t look good!

I recently had a candidate who turned up to an interview not wearing a tie and jacket. Nor did the client. But the first thing that the client said to me was question how seriously the candidate was in looking for another job.

I always suggest taking 2 copies of your CV with you (if there are 2 people interviewing, then take 3 copies). You should have a copy with you and you should be prepared to give each interviewer one copy to look through. The important thing here is, know your CV. I mean, really know it. You should have read through it 4-5 times to know exactly what you have written so that you are not surprised by anything that you may be asked that is in your CV.

The general rule of thumb is that a 1st interview is designed to see if you can do the job, and the second interview is to ascertain whether you will culturally fit with the business. There are several variations on this. Some may only do 1 interview. Some companies invite you in for a third time to meet everyone and sign the contract. Some ask for a presentation.

Mobile Phones in an interview. Simply, just turn it off, or if you are parked in a company car park, leave it in your car turned off. The only situation I can see where you would need your phone in an interview is if the client asks you your availability to meet again, and you have a diary on it. I had a candidate recently who answered a phone in the interview (and the call was about another job!). The client let him finish the call and then ended the interview. It is a huge lack of respect and everyone knows that it is a no no. Therefore, save yourself the worry, by just turning it off as soon as you arrive.

If you are a smoker, I would not advise smoking before an interview. I never have smoked and so don’t really understand, and some colleagues have told me that it helps calm your nerves. The way I look at it is; Firstly, you can never 100% get rid of the smell. No amount of mints, or driving with your windows open, will neutralise it. Therefore, you are going to be going into an interview, with your clean shoes, pressed shirt, shiny shoes, smelling of smoke. Secondly, if your interviewer is a non smoker, it may give off the wrong impression.

Other things you need to consider for an interview is to make sure that your mobile phone is fully charged. We recently had a candidate go to an interview, and on his way, he broke down and had no means of contact as his phone had ran out of charge! By simply making sure that it was fully charged, he would have been fine, and could have called someone to help him, but also to let someone know that he was going to be late.

Petrol: Make sure you have enough in your car to get you there. If you are running late, but need to put petrol in your car too, this is going to make you even later.

Have the telephone number for the company you are going for an interview with. If you have done your research, you will know where they are, where there is parking etc, but sometimes, if a road is closed, or a car park is full, they may be able to help you find somewhere else. It will also allow them to let the interviewer know that you are potentially running late.

Have some spare change with you in case you need to park in a car park that doesn’t accept card payments.

In an interview, you want to give yourself every single chance of getting the job, and so anything that can work against you, just isn’t worth it.

Car parking. What a strange subject to mention in a blog in interviews.. Really? I used to work in an office 2 storeys up, where I overlooked the car park. Some people used to arrive in the car park driving like idiots. Speeding around the bend to find a space, music pumping, talking on the phone. What a mistake. You haven’t even got out of your car yet, and people in the organisation are talking about you in a negative way. You’ll know if there is parking or not from the research you have done into how to get there. If there is a car park, great. Just make sure you approach it nicely, park straight (you don’t want the MD to think you cannot park), carefully (you wouldn’t want to knock the Receptionists mirror off) and are not seen to be breaking the law by talking on your phone. Also, I always tell candidates to make sure their car is clean. The chances that people will see it are slim, but if it is clean, then it gives the impression that you look after your belongings (can only be a good thing)

There was an interesting news article earlier in the year about a candidate that created an awful first impression. Have a read of this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-31538480

The first handshake of the interview is important. Please please please (if you do suffer from sweaty hands) make sure they are dry. This is largely solved by arriving on time so that you are not stressed. There are few things worse than shaking someone’s hand where it is soaking wet. Just make sure they are dry – simple. Make sure it is firm (but not crippling) and assertive. None of this gripping the fingers malarkey. This is the same for whether it is a man or woman who you are meeting.

Questions: Always think of a few questions to ask in the interview. You need to think of about 5 because you can guarantee that some of them would have been answered throughout the interview. Asking questions solidifies interest. Even if you are no longer interested, you need to appear to be ( I will come to that next). Things like company goals and personal progression are all good areas to question around. It shows that you are thinking about your future and considering a role with the company. (See the page  (Interview Questions)

If you are no longer interested in the role, that is fine. You are fine to tell the client this but you need to do so in a way as to not offend. Remember that your paths may cross again in the future and you may find yourself going for a job where this person is interviewing you again. Just politely say that from what you have heard, you don’t feel the role is for you.

Immediately after your interview, it is always good practice to call your consultant and give them your feedback from the interview. The reason for this is because it is fresh in your mind and they can then call the client. It again shows interest. There is nothing worse than not hearing back from a candidate, only for the client to call in asking for your feedback, and the consultant not hearing from you. It looks bad and makes it look like the two of you are not talking.

When you leave, remember the same etiquette as when you arrived. You may need to sign out. Give your ‘Visitor’ badge back. And then when you drive out, do it in the same manner as when you arrived. Only when you are no longer visible is it OK to turn the music up and put your foot down!

 

Psychometric Testing
This is an area/ technique/method that is becoming more and more popular within most sectors of recruitment and industry, and one of the big fears is THE UNKNOWN of what your answers mean.
I have a client who uses this for all interviews if he likes the candidate and wants to make them an offer. He doesn’t use it as a, ‘Will I, Won’t I’ task, he uses it to supplement what he has already picked up at interview.
A classic example of this is:
The client interviewed Ryan for a design position, with the idea that if successful, Ryan would be working under Carl. Carl, is a ‘Cross the T’s, dot the I’s’ kind of person.
When Ryan’s results came back, they showed that although he got what needed to be done, when his back was against the wall, there was a tendency for him to rush things, at the expense of quality.
Armed with this knowledge, the client decided that it would not be right to place Ryan with Carl, as there would be an immediate clash. Instead, it just took a little internal re organisation, and all was sorted.
At no point, was the client going to not employ Ryan. Even if his results were quite bad, it would have been an area of discussion, rather than a deal breaker.
Testing in this way just gives the client something to work from. It allows them to see what your strengths/weaknesses are/might be, and gives them the opportunity to make sure that they have the right tools to get the most out of you and develop you.
No matter where you are in your career, there is always something to be gained from learning about yourself, and if you want to better yourself, then this is one very subconscious way that it can be done.
I have no idea at all how they work, and to be honest, don’t have a passion to want to understand, but what I can say from a personal perspective, is that any test I have ever done, has been absolutely 100% correct.
I guess, what I am trying to say is, don’t be scared or worried if you ever have to do one of these. At the very worst, you will learn a lot about yourself.

If you find yourself looking for a new role, and you decide to register with some recruitment companies there are a few things that you should consider.

Firstly, you only should look at registering with a maximum of 3 companies. If you register with more than this, the chances are, your CV will be banded around all of the companies in your area. Your CV could land in the inbox of the same company 2 or 3 times. ‘Great, atleast people are getting it’ …. you may think. But, think of how this looks to the client. Your CV, on their desk 3 times in the same week – Makes you look a little desperate I think. And that is the feedback that I get from clients all of the time.

By limiting who you register with, you can be sure to still be represented properly, and stand more chance of getting interviews.

You should research the agency before registering with them. Speak to a relevant consultant and find out what kind of roles that have available, and the kind of companies that they deal with. Specialist agencies are always the best. They are the ones who deal with a specific market sector. The consultants tend to have a better knowledge of their market, and also have much better relationships with their clients. There is also less danger of your CV literally being ‘eshotted’ out and seeing who comes back to them.

Secondly, you should always be honest with the consultants who you are dealing with. It is always good to tell them who you have registered with and who they are talking to on your behalf. There is nothing worse and again, makes you look bad, than 2 consultants sending your CV to the same client within a matter of days. By rights, if the client wants to interview you, they have to go through the consultant who sent your CV to them first. However, if a client receives your CV more than once, they may decide that it isn’t worth having the conversation with the second consultant about already receiving your CV, and therefore may decide it is easier to not meet you atall. By being honest and upfront, at least none of your efforts are duplicated.

Also, by being upfront, you actually get a better representation within the market because each consultant will work with different clients, and so you get more interviews and more exposure to the right company. You therefore will have more choice of who you would like to go and see.

Once you are placed in your now role, it is common practice for the recruitment consultant to call you and check in every now and then (usually up to a period of 3 months)

There are two main reasons for this.

Firstly, they will want to know how you are getting on to make sure you are happy. You would have built up a good relationship with them and so they would like to know all is going well. If there are any problems, you can obviously talk to them to see if these issues can be sorted and sometimes (within the first 3 months) you may feel more comfortable speaking to them.

This leads onto the 2nd reason. And that is their fee and rebate periods. Most companies offer some kind of rebate period, whereby, if you leave within a set time of starting (usually 3 months), then the client is offered some kind of refund. This could be the whole fee or part of the fee. For that reason, the consultant will want to stay in control of things and make sure that if you are planning to leave, they know about it.

If you��re dead set on going, fine. There is nothing nobody can do. The consultant may be able to find you another job, in which case, they will ask you to send them some kind of formal notification that you would like them to start looking for you. This way, if the client finds out that the consultant placed you again, the consultant is covered for them getting upset with them and thinking that they ‘poached’ you. By you informing the consultant, they can also do some work (behind the scenes) to see if they can find a replacement for you, so that when you do hand in your notice, the client has a shortlist of people ready to interview. This was everybody wins; the client gets a replacement (usually at a discount, or free), you get a new job, and the consultant doesn’t lose a fee.

The point here, as in a previous blog, is that any concerns you have, are addressed before you do anything. You may just need to have a chat with your new manager if you are not happy. At the end of the day, there is a reason they appointed you, and there is a reason why you accepted.

I am a firm believer of talking things through before any decisions are made. That way, you can lay your cards on the table and try to address any concerns head on.

It is the first question I ask any candidate who registers with me. ‘What are your reasons for leaving?’ and ‘Have you spoken to your boss about them?’

Here are some key statistics that have been put together to highlight important factors at a job interview:

In a survey of 2000 bosses, 33% claimed that they know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they will hire someone or not

Common non verbal mistakes made at a job interview:

21% – Playing with hair or touching face
47% – Having little or no knowledge of the company
67% – Failure to make eye contact
38% – Lack of a smile
33% – Bad Posture
21% – Crossing arms over their chest
9% – Too many hand gestures
26% – Handshake that is too weak
33% Fidgeting too much

Statistics show that when meeting people, the impact is:

7% – From what we actually say
38% – The quality of our voice and overall confidence
55% – The way we dress, act and walk through the door

Clothes:

70% of employers claim that they don’t want employees to be fashionable or trendy
65% of bosses said clothes could be the deciding factor between two similar candidates

10 most common mistakes made at a job interview:

10: Over explaining why you lost your last job
9: Conveying that you’re not over it
8: Lacking humour, warmth or personality
7:Not showing enough interest or enthusiasm
6: Inadequate research about a potential employer
5: Concentrating too much on what you want
4:Trying to be all things to all people
3: Winging the interview
2: Failing to set yourself apart from other candidates
1: Failing to ask for the job

5 Questions most likely to be asked

5: Tell me about your experience at…….

4: Why do you want to work for us

3: what do you know about our company

2: Why did you leave your last job

1: Tell me about yourself

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