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Easy to Action Interviewing Strategies for Hiring Managers 

The interview process can be a gruelling task for all parties involved. When most hiring managers think about the complexity of interviewing, they focus on the challenges facing the person being interviewed. However, those hosting the interview also have their own hurdles to overcome too.  

From avoiding unconscious bias, avoiding ageism, and making sure you sell your candidates on the idea of working with your business, there are several important points to keep in mind as well as remembering all the main points covered at the end of the session.  

Here are some of the top strategies to follow as a hiring manager if you’re concerned you might not be getting the most out of your interviews. 

1. Know Your Interview Options

The first step in ensuring you can master your interviews as a hiring manager is knowing what methods you can use to best connect with potential candidates.  

Today, the traditional face-to-face interview isn’t your only option. Video interviews have increased by 67% due to the pandemic and the rise of remote working with technology advancements being key. As hybrid employment options continue to thrive and companies look for ways to streamline the interviewing process, video conversations will likely grow to be more common in many businesses throughout the upcoming years if not already popular.  

But not forgetting, there’s also the time-old classic of picking up the phone for simple phone interviews as well to simply hear the person who could potentially be working with you. 

Each type of interview has its own challenges to consider. For instance: 

  • In-person interviews: You’ll need to think about where you’re going to host your interview, whether it’s a welcoming space, who will attend, and whether the candidate will present or just have a simple face to face conversation. 
  • Video interviews: Consider what kind of video meeting software you’ll be using, the background you’ll have in your video, and how you can present yourself as professionally as possible over a webcam. Always test the sound and camera quality beforehand and check whether all those participating are visible on screen. 
  • Phone interviews: Ask yourself whether you may need to record any phone interviews to go back over them later and how you can ensure you get a promising idea of what the candidate is like based on voice alone. 

2. Avoid Inappropriate Questions

Inappropriate questions are becoming more common than you would think in interviews. While certain topics of conversation can feel like polite small talk at first, they often cause more problems than you’d think. For instance, asking people about what they did on the weekend can create an unconscious bias if you also have a shared hobby with them – but also at the same time, could be harmless conversation to break the ice. 

Unconscious bias could favour one candidate over another because you like certain things about their lifestyle or personality, which have nothing to do with the role or the ability to complete their tasks. 

Some other questions to avoid are: 

  • Where do you live?  
  • How did your childhood shape your professional life?  
  • If you could choose a different career, what would you choose?  
  • What is the worst trait of your previous manager? 

All the above questions could be classed as too personal, too confronting and encouraging speaking badly about others – all traits you want to avoid when interviewing someone for the first time and something you don’t need to hear to assess their capabilities for this role. 

3. Interview Styles and Formats

There are many kinds of interviewing techniques that today’s business leaders and hiring managers can use, including competency-based or collaborative interviews, presentations, and group interactions to get a real feel for the potential candidates. 

Interviews are always best performed with two people from the hiring company, which can help avoid bias. It also gives those hiring the chance to discuss different opinions on those they are interviewing and not decide based solely from one person’s perspective and therefore giving the candidate a fair chance. 

Other methods are to consider using a first and second stage interview format before the final decision is made. In today’s environment, many first and second stage interviews can take place over Zoom or Teams so that it suits all parties involved. Carrying out interviews online also gives you more chance to interview more people, without the need for travel, time allocation and gives the candidates a better chance of being able to partake at a time that suits them and you best. 

4. Generalise Your Interview Questions

Standardising your interview questions makes it easier to assess your candidates when you have interviewed several people for a role. It also means you’re less likely to allow unconscious biases to get in the way of your hiring decisions because you’re evaluating everyone based on the same set of guidelines, criteria, and questions. 

Create specific competency-based interview questions for the specific role in question, which allows you to score each potential employee based on their specific values, behaviours, and results.  

For instance, you can ask questions like; “share examples of times they’ve acted as a leader” or “shown exceptional teamwork”, and then make notes about their responses. Assigning scores to answers will also help you see who you should be shortlisting based on their answers compared to others if you are interviewing a larger number of people. 

Your interviews need to maintain a level of flexibility. It will be logical to ask follow-up questions to elicit more detail at times when needed if the candidate doesn’t elaborate themselves. 

“Tell me more about X or Y or why you decided to do B or C” are classic follow-up questions that work well to get more of an understanding of the candidates’ experiences.  

To make sure you know about a candidates’ hard skills, behavioural and soft skills there are some questions that LinkedIn Talent Solutions suggests you cover.  

  • “Say you’re negotiating a contract or administrative action or settlement in which the parties are far apart in what they want. Use a past example of this to talk me through your negotiation process.” 
  • “What would you do if you were asked to work on a case, contract, or business scenario that gave you ethical qualms? Has this ever happened to you—and what did you do?” 
  • “Tell me about a time you had to make a tough call that required you to decide between a gut feeling and the strategic decision-making of outside counsel.” 

5. Make Notes and Follow Up

Finally, make sure you take notes as often as possible as you progress through the interviews. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment of the conversation and then forget everything you needed to know about the candidate when you come back to review later.  

Always set aside some time at the end of each interview to gather your thoughts and catalogue what stood out to you most about the candidate (good and bad) before heading into another interview or meeting.  

Making notes can also help when you’re following up with your candidates by allowing you to provide a more contextual and relevant message and feedback, should they be successful or not. Showing you remember what you said (like any requirements for their starting dates or training they need) shows the potential candidate you’re invested in working with them and that you are attentive to what they were talking about during their time with you. 

Remember, if you’re struggling with your interviewing process, it’s often helpful to seek some help from a specialist recruitment company like ourselves that can help with a lot more than just finding you new candidates – we can also give you advice on how to interview more effectively, with tips on questions you might need to ask. 

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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How to Create a LinkedIn Profile That Stands Out To Employers 

When it comes to selling your value to a recruitment company like Clayton Recruitment and the clients we work for, there are a few pivotal documents required to draw attention to yourself. 

The humble CV is one, followed quickly by your LinkedIn profile. 

As LinkedIn is the biggest social business network outside China, with 850 million members listed, it is more crucial than ever to leverage the opportunities your LinkedIn profile provides as a positioning tool for your career. 

Your LinkedIn profile has many positive attributes. Unless you share a name with a well-known person, it is highly likely that your profile, if created properly, will appear on the first page of Google. 

Even though your CV/Resume is a standard document that demonstrates your career journey, a LinkedIn profile can deliver even more insight about you as a potential recruit in an interactive and engaging style that a CV alone cannot achieve. 

In today’s post, I want to share why your profile is so important and the easy, quick wins to ensure your LinkedIn profile stands out from the crowd. 

Headlines and Pronouns

Your headline is often the first piece of text a recruiter or potential hiring manager will see, so make it count. Paraphrase what you do, and the good news is LinkedIn now allows 220 characters, including spaces. Here is an example of a headline that works.  

“Marketing Manager at IKEM Solutions building B2B business and brand growth across the North West” 

With D.E.I. being on most workplace agendas, LinkedIn now allows you to add your preferred pronouns on your profile. The use of pronouns will let hiring managers, colleagues or online connections know how to address you to prevent any misconceptions.  

A Professional Photo

LinkedIn produces numerous reports that demonstrate the power of imagery and media on your profile. Profiles with a professional photograph can get 14 times more profile views vs those with selfie style images or group pictures. 

Phone technology today means there is no excuse not to have a professional LinkedIn profile picture. Ask a colleague or friend to take a photograph with their smartphone in good lighting where you shoulders and face are visible to give an honest and accurate perception of who you are professionally. 

Head and shoulders are the best shots. Your face, preferably smiling in appropriate business attire, makes the best impact. Remember, recruitment consultants viewing your profile are imagining how you will fit into their client’s organisation, so this is an easy way to make an impact.  

How To Get In Contact

As a first start, do you have all your contact details visible?  

Make sure you have a mobile number and a Gmail/Hotmail address that is your most active and professional email account. Try to avoid the likes of 90sbaby@hotmail.com or something with your birth year in as this can indicate age bias subconsciously.  

A professional url demonstrates your attention to detail, for instance, LinkedIn.com/in/Andy Gold as opposed to LinkedIn.com/in/Andy-Gold-2671c567. 

It’s also important to include links to your blog where you share knowledge related to your sector which is a great feature a lot of LinkedIn users forget to utilise.  

Featured Section

Have you written papers or presented at an industry conference, or recorded any work-related videos?  

If the answer is yes, add them here, and this will certainly make you stand out from the crowd and gives recruiters or potential businesses the chance to see more of what you can do rather than just reading it on a CV. 

Your About Section

Please do not add only your essential skills or paste sections from your CV into your summary section. Use it to catch people’s attention as you share relevant information about who you are and your skills and abilities; you have 2000 characters, so make them count. 

In this section, talk about the value you will add to an organisation alongside your skillset. Be different and stand out by explaining how you might help a potential new employer solve their problems while being genuine and authentic. 

Our experience as recruiters is this attracts our attention, plus it makes it easier for us to ‘sell’ the fact you are a ‘must see’ candidate for our client and pick out your best attributes towards their needs. 

Here are some examples from LinkedIn themselves as to what they see as great profile summaries. 

Add to Profile and Open To

On the right-hand side of your profile, you will see a button that says ‘add to profile’. When you click this, it reveals all the additional sections you can add to your profile.  

From featured items to licenses and certifications, and courses and recommendations the list is endless to really boost your profile against your competitors.  

If you are open to work and currently not employed, you can add this to your profile picture by clicking the relevant button. This lets recruiters know instantly without even clicking on your profile that you are a potential candidate for their client and therefor you are most likely to be seen.  

In the ‘add your profile’ section under background, share details of all your work experience that will communicate your capability. Then list all your education and volunteer activities. Today, organisations have an active CSR programme that they love to promote to new starters; therefore, this area is essential to share too should you have experience in those departments. 

Under accomplishments, you can list publications, certifications, patents, courses, projects, honours and awards, test scores, languages and how you are involved with communities that are important to you. 

This makes it easy for a recruitment organisation to identify your skills and expertise as a potential match for their client. 

The big question is, does your profile: 

  • Help your standout? 
  • Communicate your value, including providing supporting evidence? 
  • List your work achievements? 

Share Useful Content

Depending on your current organisation and their social presence, you can share and like content until your heart is content. This unconsciously communicates to everyone how connected you are and what is important to you. When someone arrives on your profile, it is one of the first sections they can see. 

You can now share an article or even upload a compelling image or create a video on your LinkedIn profile. All of which enable you to communicate your personal brand and show recruiters areas of your work you are particularly interested in the most. 

List The Skills You Know Are Important in Your Industry

When it comes to skills, you can add up to 50, which could help you stand out to a recruitment consultant and your future employer. You don’t have to add all of them as only your top ten will be profiled, so make these the most important. 

The UK is in the grip of a skills shortage. Therefore, if you know you have in-demand skills, communicate them on your profile wherever you can. You would be surprised that this is an area often forgotten by even the best of candidates. 

Endorsements and Recommendations

We all now live and work in the review society. Social proof is a significant influencer in our current community. Who has not viewed Trip Advisor before booking a restaurant or holiday with their significant other? It is the same in the business world. 

Therefore, collecting recommendations and endorsements is crucial for your career. If you have not got any, ask for them from your contacts. All too often, people are shy about asking for validations of their work. The good news, which might surprise you, is that many people are more than willing to give you a recommendation as long as you offer to give one back in return. 

Finally, Complete Your Profile in Full

A question for you? Are you using all the features we have mentioned? 

Do you have a presentation or video on your summary? Have you got a link to a paper you have written? 

It is interesting the impression people get from reading a full LinkedIn profile. It sends a message to recruitment companies that you are a person with attention to detail and take their career and work-life seriously – a great candidate for their clients.  

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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Time To Move On? Top 10 Tips On How To Resign Gracefully

With the prospect of a new role on the horizon, arguably the hard bit is done. You have aced your interviews, impressed your new employer, and are no doubt looking to the future and the next steps in your career.

But even with the excitement of a new position looming, there is still an incredibly important step to take in making that move – handing in your resignation to your current company.

Here we offer our top tips on how to address this often-uncomfortable conversation – and ultimately remain professional, and on good terms as you exit the business.

1. Communicate To Your Manager First

With an exciting new role to look forward to, it can be tempting to tell close associates and friends, however the first person who should hear about it is your reporting manager. If a senior partner, or even your Manager themselves hears about your intention to leave from another colleague, it goes without saying that it won’t leave a favourable impression which is ultimately what a well-thought our resignation is trying to achieve.

Arrange a time to speak to your Manager and let them know the situation first. Face-to-face is ideal as it minimises any misunderstandings or miscommunication, although video call would also work well for those who work remotely or in order to expedite the process.  It is best practice to verbally tell your Manager of your intention to leave along with the reasons that have led to that decision as it is highly likely that you will be asked both why you are leaving and where you are going to – so it’s wise to have a response planned.

2. Be Prepared For Conversations Around Negotiation

Whatever the reason or reasons for leaving your current company, it is always worth having a preliminary conversation before you start looking for new opportunities, to see if those initial reasons may be overcome. If, however that conversation didn’t take place, you should nevertheless consider what you would do should a counter-offer be on the table once your make your intention to resign clear.

In the current market, where demand for talented professionals is outstripping supply, this is exceptionally common, so you need to at least be prepared for such a scenario and ask yourself, would you actually accept a counter-offer?. The answer to that lies in ultimately revisiting the reasons you wish to leave in the first place.

Counter-offers take many forms including increased pay, a promotion, enhanced benefits, or a combination of all of those, and there is no doubt that it can feel flattering to be in that position. However, research suggests that 80% of people who accept a counter-offer tend to leave within 6-12 months of accepting. Is it likely you’ll also be part of that statistic?

3. Prepare Your Resignation Letter

Once the decision to leave is final, you must put this in writing. When it comes to your resignation letter, it should be short and polite. Within the letter itself, it is not necessary to justify your reasons for leaving your current company or go into lengthy explanations as you can are likely to have (or have had) a more informal chat about this with your reporting Manager. The document is simply to cover the legalities of ending your contractual agreement with your employer and will be kept on record, so details like the date of the notice, confirmation of notice period, and last working day should be accurate.

You may wish to use the formal communication as an opportunity to highlight things you are grateful for – skills you have learnt, help and advice you have received, and opportunities to boost your career that have been offered, but that is not mandatory. Do, however, avoid the temptation to criticise your colleagues, boss, partners or clients.

4. Discuss Those Finer Details

Your Manager will mostly likely want to discuss with you the finer details around how and when you will let colleagues know you are leaving. You may wish to inform them individually, or as a group, or have your Manager tell them for you.

You also need to confirm your notice period and how this effects your new role start date. This should be communicated clearly in your contract of employment, but it is always worth a conversation on whether it is realistic to shorten this (if desired by any party) or even extended on request.

Whether your notice period is 2 weeks, 2 months or anything in between, its important you are aware of this before giving your new employer a start date that you may not be able to commit to. Be prepared that in some cases, you may be placed on gardening leave rather than working your notice period.

Garden leave (or gardening leave) is when an employer tells an employee not to work either part or all of their notice period. This could be because the employer does not want the employee to have access to sensitive or confidential information they could use in a new job (Source: ACAS) In this case, you are still employed by your employer, just not working for them and therefore you are still entitled to your salary and contractual agreements in this period of time.

5. Plan A Robust Handover

Scheduling time to plan for a smooth transition shows you to be a true legal professional and not someone who leaves a business or an employer in the lurch, or projects unfinished. Think about your specific areas of responsibility – current caseloads, unfinished assigments, urgent jobs and upcoming commitments, as well as information on your clients that your successor or wider team will need.

If possible, invest some time in training up your successor, or at least making formal handover notes, to ensure you minimise the impact on the company when you leave and once again, keep the working relationship positive.

6. Start Clearing Your Desk

Once colleagues are aware that you are leaving, you can start to clear your desk so that it’s ready for the next occupant. Removing paperwork, filing and archiving, binning wastepaper and taking personal items such as photographs home will ensure your workplace is ready, clean and welcoming for the next person.

7. Stay Committed

It may be tempting to spend time planning what you will do in your upcoming new legal role (and if time permits, there is definitely merit in keeping in touch with your new employer during your notice period – following their social media accounts to keep track of the latest news, be aware of any networking events etc) but nevertheless, you are still being paid to do your current job – so it’s important to remain committed to that role until the very end.

Remaining an active team player, working hard up to the last minute and completing casework where possible will be noted by colleagues and your employer and will ensure you leave on a positive note – and your professional reputation within the working community follows you as you move on.

8. Embrace The Exit Interview

If you are offered an exit interview by your employer, it’s always a good idea to take that opportunity while you can. These usually take place between yourself and a HR manager and are aimed at establishing any way in which they can improve the firm or addressing issues of which they may be unaware of.

While you can, at this point, bring to light any concerns you might have, keep your observations professional and your criticism constructive, always keeping in mind not to burn any bridges.

Taking these steps will not only provide closure on your previous role but will ensure you leave your company a well-respected and professional ex-colleague, with whom your former team and senior partners will be happy to network with and recommend in the future.

Next Steps

If you’re reading this article because you are looking for the next move in your career, call one of the Clayton Recruitment team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help and market insight, your transition can be smoother and quicker – and get you the outcome you’re looking for.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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5 Key Ways To Reduce Stress In Your New Role

You’ve just secured your new role at one of the best businesses around, and life is good. But life is also stressful.

Wait. What life?

Starting any new job can be stressful, especially if it’s one that you’ve been working towards for a long time, because you’re eager to make the best possible impression. Being faced with numerous new challenges, combined with the pressure to impress, will naturally cause you a certain amount of stress.

However, while occasional stress might push you to meet important deadlines, constant stress and anxiety can leave you feeling exhausted and frustrated. In addition to reducing your productivity, this can lead to career burnout.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to both relieve stress and combat its negative effects. Here are 5 ways you can reduce stress in your new role.

Get/Stay Organised

Getting and staying organised is not only essential for keeping your stress-level down; it’s also a key to your career success and longevity, especially if you are aspiring to carve out an exceptional career for yourself.

Set up a system for categorising your emails as well as scheduling any ongoing tasks and projects. Most companies nowadays use a form of task-management software, ensure that you get adequate training on how to use this as it will enhance to your role and then get in the habit of using it – it will show your employers that you’re an adaptable team player and will also make your life much easier in the long run.

If your new business doesn’t use a dedicated task-management software, implement your own system. This might mean using your own planner app, or if you’re not the most tech-savvy, you could always do things the traditional way with a daily planner. Regardless of which system you choose, get yourself in the habit of coming up with a rough schedule for how you will go about tackling your tasks.

Another important aspect of staying organised, of course, is maintaining a physically tidy workspace. By keeping your desk neat and free from clutter, you will feel less overwhelmed, while being more efficient and productive.

Set Realistic Goals

It’s natural to want to impress when you’re starting a new role, and employers will often expect you to go above and beyond in your first few months. While it can be tempting to take on more than you can handle, try to be realistic with yourself about your limitations.

If the goals you’ve set for yourself are beyond your current capabilities, you’ll start to get frustrated and discouraged when you keep failing to get things done – this is a sure recipe for a career burnout. Even the most experienced employee is bound to fall short of a goal now and then; as a new hire, it’s going to take you time to learn the ropes of your new workplace. So, allow yourself the chance to learn during this transitional period and try to view your setbacks as a way to become a more efficient and knowledgeable employee.

Rather than cluttering your to-do-list with an excessive number of tasks every day, try to take things slow and celebrate every accomplishment. If you take on too much too soon, you’re likely to get buried and behind on the tasks that really matter, which will only add to your stress. By focusing on your top few priorities each day, you will feel a sense of accomplished when you’re able to clear your to-do list on a daily basis.

Find The Right Balance

When starting a new job that you really like, it can be tempting to throw yourself in headfirst. However, as with setting realistic professional goals, it’s just as important to establish realistic life goals. Don’t lose sight of your work/life balance. In other words, if you don’t make time for the things and people you love outside of work, you won’t be loving your new role for very long.

Finding the right balance between work and family is one of the most important ways to reduce job-related stress. Making time for yourself and your loved ones, as well as disconnecting mentally from your job, will allow you to return to work refreshed. Try to schedule out your week in advance to ensure that you have time blocked out to unwind with family and friends. Setting this time aside will help ensure that you don’t get overly stressed or exhausted in your new role.

Take Care Of Yourself

Just as crucial as finding the right balance between work and play is maintaining your physical, mental and emotional health. You should never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep and a healthy diet. Eating poorly and not getting enough sleep will only cause you to be tired and less productive, which will only lead to more stress.

In addition to maintaining a proper diet and sleeping routine, one of the best ways to manage stress is by staying active. Exercise is not only advantageous for your body; but it also has a positive impact on your mental health, as well. This doesn’t mean that you have to join an expensive gym or punish yourself with an extreme workout. A simple routine of either a short yoga session or a quick run before you go to the office in the morning can simultaneously boost your confidence and improve your performance at work.

Make Use Of Workplace Resources

Your first couple of weeks at a new job can often go by in a blur; the combination of meeting and learning to work with a new group of people, as well as adjusting to new ways of doing things, can leave you feeling overwhelmed with information overload. It’s normal to not remember something that you might have only been showed how to do to once on your first day.

While your new workplace likely will have an induction program, you should never be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand how to do something. It’s possible that you will be placed with a mentor or someone you can go to with questions – don’t hesitate to seek out their help when you need it. While asking your co-workers or boss questions may feel like it shows weakness, actually lets your colleagues know you’re serious about understanding how things work, rather than trying to do something you aren’t sure of on your own.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, and Engineering appointments, on a permanent basis.

If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121.

If you would like to access our free guides, view them all here.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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The Wellbeing of Your Business May Need Attention

It’s generally accepted that over the last two years since the pandemic, there have been many sectors and regions that have felt the strain of workload increases and it’s just been accepted as the norm.

Yet the past few years have seen an explosion in the hours worked by many employees as numerous sectors navigated the ups and downs of the pandemic and its concerned client and customer bases.

And it is taking its toll.

The Current Mental Health Challenges Employees Are Experiencing

In a recent C.I.P.D. survey, the evidence suggests that the coronavirus pandemic heavily influences employee health and wellbeing.

The virus has and continues to disrupt due to staff absence, and in some cases, employees are suffering the after-effects of contracting the virus from long COVID. Although organisations are still committed to supporting their people, evidence suggests that activity in this area is starting to slip. A more holistic approach – based on the health risks and needs of the workforce – is much needed.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, “1 in 6.8 people are experiencing mental health problems in the workplace”, that’s an astounding 14.7% with women being nearly twice as likely to experience problems vs. men. Studies show that better mental health care and support in the workplace will save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year and promoting wellbeing within your business can reduce sickness absence days of which 12.7% are currently used for mental health conditions.

Assess The Situation in Your Business

Some of the larger businesses we work with conduct a regular employee survey, though historically, asking your team about their wellbeing hasn’t been included.

Consider the nature of the questions you ask employees, and take proactive measures to ensure that respondents are safe from identification. Attempting to measure mental health and stigma in highly challenging environments like an overworked business may also skew results so that they are not representative of true employee sentiments.

This is stage one, as it is critical to know what you are dealing with first before you can implement a process to make a difference across your business.

Have Mental Health on Your Agenda

As in all areas of business, if you want an area to change, you must give it focus. I am sure your business has a growth plan and ideas on succession planning, and you may be working with someone like ourselves on building your talent pipeline.

Your leadership team will have a strategic plan on how to take the business forward, and in today’s landscape, part of that needs to include looking after the wellbeing of your team.

As a first start, you can find some excellent resources on the Mental Health Foundation website here. In addition, assign a partner to the role of mental health lead in your business. Consider engaging the help of external suppliers to help you implement an Employee Assistance Programme (E.A.P.) which is one part of a well-being solution.

E.A.P.s are intended to help employees deal with personal problems that might adversely impact their work performance, health and wellbeing. E.A.P.s generally include assessment, short-term counselling and referral services for employees and their immediate family – wherever they are in the world.

Support Managers To Coach and Lead Their Team

An easy start to improving well-being is to instil a coaching culture in your business aligned with external training on mental health and well-being. As a manager trained in well-being, you can make a huge difference to your team.

Honest and open communication during regular catch-ups with your team members can help identify struggling people.

We know one business uses a traffic light system during conversations with green when everything is ok, amber when a few cracks appear that require help, and naturally, red for an extreme case and that individual needs support. The well-being plan has created multiple resources we can all now access to improve our mental health, so finally, I want to share a few examples.

Provide Support Resources For Your Team

The way we think and listen to our thoughts can cause us to spiral out of control. It is no wonder that working with a coach proves to be a valuable support mechanism for many.

One business we know utilises the help of an external coach, with team members having the ability to book sessions to help them navigate any stress they are experiencing.

Many of us accept that we lead busy lives, and the ability to handle overwhelm and calm can be facilitated in many ways.

Though it sounds counter-intuitive, there are several online apps that many individuals use with great success. The aptly named Headspace and Calm apps have over a hundred million users and provide access to multiple resources.

Develop Your Action Plan

Finally, improving the well-being of your team is about taking action. We have shared several ideas and resources here.

In addition, the way many people worked remotely during the pandemic helped their work-life balance and well-being. We have written posts about the value of hybrid working here and, most recently, the move to a four-day working week here.

All of these ideas can be used to help your team improve their well-being – although obviously need to be carefully considered alongside business strategy and key objectives.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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Your CV: Why It’s Still Critical to Your Success This Year

Did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci, in 1482, wrote the first ‘official’ CV? It was addressed to the Duke of Milan in the hope of gaining a specific painting ‘gig’. 

Da Vinci was well known for his intelligence and consequently focused the content of his CV on the project in question. He highlighted his prowess and results in using certain painting techniques he knew the Duke required for the painting in his ‘CV’. 

Fact: Tailoring your CV to the role in question has always been critical. 

I am sure Leonardo would have been astounded to discover that this humble communication piece would continue to be the start of the recruitment process over five hundred and forty years later. 

Though candidates are taking to TikTok and other social channels to promote their personal brand, a CV continues to be the first communication piece your legal hiring manager requests from the team here at Clayton Recruitment. 

So, what are the key elements you need to consider as you craft your CV to stand out to the business you want to work for? 

After over twenty years of reading good, average, and downright diabolical CVs, we have a few suggestions to create a CV that profiles you as the perfect candidate to take to interview. 

Let’s start with the basics hiring managers look for on the first skim through. 

CV Basics 

Before diving into specific content and structure, let’s confirm some CV basics. This is the initial document your new employer will see alongside a cover letter should you choose to use one; more about that in another post. 

It does not need to be more than a couple of pages long; brevity and getting to the point are key. Your hiring manager will explore more about you and your experience related to your CV in the interview. Remember to ask your recruitment consultant for help on this. 

Ensure your full current contact details are visible and correct; name in bold at the top of your CV, followed by your full address, email and mobile phone number. 

It is common for candidates to find their old CV on a hard drive and use this without checking that the details and phone numbers are still accurate. There isn’t a requirement for a photograph in the UK, nor should you add your date of birth or marital status. When it comes to pronouns, she/her, he/him, the decision is yours.  

If you have a disability, it is not necessary to add this though it can be helpful for both your recruitment consultant and hiring manager to know when they are setting up an interview. 

Create a new email address purely for job hunting. There is nothing worse than an overflowing personal inbox where email communication gets lost, and you end up missing vital emails from your recruitment consultant.  

Though your name may be taken on Gmail or Outlook.com, adding private or personal or a number to your name should work.  

For example, Angelasmithprivate@gmail.com looks professional and is easy for a recruitment consultant to remember. Avoid adding your birth year, for instance, AngelaSmith1977, as this could set up age bias. If you were born on the 27th of the month, AngelaSmith27 would be fine. 

This leads to formatting, fonts, and grammar. The more challenging something is to read, the less people concentrate, and key convincers about you and your ability to excel in the role you add to your CV can get missed. 

Use a professional font, nothing less than 10 point and avoid any non-professional style; you are applying to a buiness. It is easy to think that standing out in this way is a good idea. It isn’t -leave that to the answers you give in the interview. 

Have clear headings for sections, use spacing and bullet points and keep a consistent formatting theme in the body of your CV. 

Read through your CV to check for context and content and that it reads well. Typos, spelling, and grammar can trip up the best of us, so treble check everything and get a friend or significant other to read over what you have written. 

CV Content 

As Da Vinci worked out, tailoring your CV to the job you are applying for is critical, which you can do throughout each section I have highlighted below. 

As a start, add a personal statement. This is a concise summary of four or five lines that summarises you, your work history, and your main achievements. 

Your Personal Statement  

Be specific in your work title; for example and avoid jargon. In many professions, years of experience post qualification are critical to add here. Refer to any main achievements, and where possible, make these relevant to the job description as you now start to tailor the CV for the role in question.  

Finally, give a couple of examples of what you can bring to the role. 

Work Experience 

When it comes to work experience, list your current position first and then work backwards. Add the title of the role, the business in question, how long you were there and your main responsibilities. Then list the key results you delivered and align these to the job description. Talk to your recruitment consultant, who will be able to help you pull out what the firm in question is looking for. 

Highlight Work Gaps 

As you add the list of roles and businesses where you have worked, highlight any gaps you have had and why.  

Be transparent; the world is a very different place to what it was, and taking time off to look after our own mental health or family members, new and old, happens. Hiring managers in the working world, as you might expect, are naturally predisposed to look for detail, and if they can’t identify what you were doing between 2011 and 2012, they will be left wondering what other details are missing.  

I am sure you can answer the question well in an interview, but remember this is a screening stage where the hiring manager will likely read your CV in isolation. 

Education and Qualifications 

When it comes to education and qualifications, use a similar format with the most recent qualification first. State the type, result, the dates and the university or college. A brief summary of the areas or specialisms you studied will be relevant here, as would any memberships you are a part of. 

Relevant Skills 

When it comes to skills, list anything relevant to the role here. This might be your new business development skills, a specific software package you can use or languages if they are relevant to the role, geography and the population the business serves. 

Interests and Activities 

If you are involved in activities that relate to your role and profile you as a team player or potential leader, then, of course, add that here. 

Summary 

When it comes to writing a CV, the devil is in the detail, and this is where the help of your recruitment consultant is vital. 

We have shared a basic flow here, and it is up to you to fill in the gaps relevant to the specific role in question. 

If you are ready for your next legal move, check out a selection of our current vacancies here and then upload your current CV here. Our team are based across the UK, and you can find all the relevant phone numbers here.  

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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Why Soft Skill Development Will Be A Success Factor In Your Growth This Year

  • April 12, 2022

Last week, I watched an old comedy re-run and interview featuring Joan Rivers, an iconic U.S. comedian.  

During the interview, she shared a quote; “life doesn’t get better; you get better”. As you manage your way through the relevant training for your job and/or education required to progress, you also need to work on the core skills you carry throughout your working life. 

Enter the ability to develop your soft skills. 

Soft Skills For Growth 

Functional or hard skills are one skill area to develop. Yet, the skills that make the most difference to accelerating your career or growing your business are the ‘soft skills’ that will help you manage your mind, communicate well consistently, and influence your team to improve their performance. 

Here at Clayton Recruitment, we help our clients craft role descriptions for candidates who are critical for their firm’s growth.  

Alongside this, we assist candidates in developing their careers where we consistently share the softer skills that need to be developed. 

Self-Awareness 

One of the key challenges when managing and developing a team is a lack of self-awareness from the employee.  

You will hear the term emotional intelligence shared in many circles. The term was defined as a person’s ability to manage their feelings and to express those feelings appropriately and effectively.

The original book on this topic is worth getting from Amazon by Daniel Goleman. 

Who has not come across a colleague in the business who has zero idea about their impact on others? Only last week, a candidate approached us looking for a new role because of the behaviour of a new manager in the business; yes, managers can lack self-awareness too. 

It appears that every morning the manager in question would appear with a sore head, grumbling and snapping at people. The individual had no idea how his behaviour affected the team. 

Self-awareness also covers motivation, empathy, self-regulation, and appropriate social skills. 

Communication Skills 

All professions include varied people with effective communication skills and some that don’t hold the ability to have a conversation. Summing up a procedure to employees with jargon-free lingo are all expected skills for someone to hold. However, talking over a team member in a meeting does not demonstrate communication excellence. 

A large part of being a great communicator is the ability to listen. We can all tell the difference when someone hears the words you are saying or when they are actively listening. 

As an experiment, notice how often people have their phones open during conversations or look over your shoulder at other people and what’s going on when speaking with you; worse, they sit on the edge of their seats waiting to interrupt. 

I hope I have not just described you. 

Active listeners, meanwhile, pay close attention to meeting presenters, offer up clarifying questions or responses, and refer back to notes in future discussions. They do not need things repeated to them because they heard them the first time, making active listeners respectful colleagues. 

Openness to Feedback 

This might sound like a different soft skill, yet a lack of openness to feedback often indicates an individual is stuck in a pattern and unwilling to learn. 

The ability to accept developmental feedback is critical for all of us; otherwise, how will we improve? Think about it; constructive feedback will help you do the best job possible when it comes to your role, and yet often, people take it personally and react defensively; when this happens, feedback is not heard. 

No one is ever perfect, no matter how long they have been in a role. Reflecting on this, when did you last ‘overreact’ to feedback? 

Growth Mindset 

Having a growth mindset leads to the ability to accept feedback. Individuals with a growth mindset see feedback as the gift that it is. 

Their mind is focused on what is possible rather than what is not. No matter what role, you will encounter roadblocks, disappointments, and other situations that might frustrate you. A soft skill critical to your ability to persevere is having a growth mindset. 

Dr Carol Dweck conducted the original work on this several years ago. Her book is well worth reading to identify if you have a growth or fixed mindset. 

For instance, someone with a growth mindset who did not achieve their billable target would look at this as an opportunity to double down and focus on what they could do differently in the next quarter. 

Whereas someone with a fixed mindset would see this differently, complaining that the target was too high, the clients they were working with were demanding, and the list of complaints goes on. 

Adaptability and Flexibility 

The last few years have been a challenge for many, yet certain employees have stood out above others; Two words describe them. 

Adaptable and Flexible. 

No matter your role in your business, the ability to adapt to change and a positive, flexible attitude about what is happening never go unnoticed. 

Many people have no idea how negative they can be when something does not go their way. Worse still, they become a classic mood hoover. 

Fact: Our business landscape is changing, and no matter what role you hold in an organisation, you have to be willing to adapt and change. 

In summary, soft skills focus on developing a positive can-do attitude. A well-worn statement, I know, and yet developing abilities like this will help you navigate most things that are thrown your way while making you stand out as a potential new hire for a firm (as well as being areas to focus on if you are indeed in the hiring seat, and looking for a standout candidate to bring on board). 

How Can We Help? 

Here at Clayton Recruitment, we have multiple clients looking for skilled and ambitious candidates to join their teams. For a confidential conversation about your career goals and your next move, please contact one of one of our team here. 

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