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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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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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How to Handle The Employee Who Isn’t a Team Player

  • October 5, 2020

In the corporate world, as everywhere, teams come in all shapes and sizes. Getting the right people into your  team can be challenging. When you onboard, you are looking for a good team ‘fit’ – attitude as well as aptitude to do the job.

For the most part, if you have followed due process when onboarding, your team should ‘gel’ well and work collaboratively.

But what happens when one of your employees isn’t a team player?

For example, you have a new, big client. You want your top team to work together on a case this client has given you. It will involve much collaboration, sharing out the tasks, visiting the client, days in court, etc. Everyone is excited to be part of this.

Your Managers and Senior Managers will handle the main workload and ensure duties are carried out; including documentation and attending meetings; even the graduate trainee is looking forward to experiencing being part of an exciting case.

But your new Manager who is in a pivotal role, is not engaging with the project at all. In fact, they are looking distinctly as though they wish they were somewhere else.

Are they just not team players, or is it something else?

The Pitfalls of Not Engaging Your Team

It’s a fact that people grow your business. If one or more of your team are disengaged, it will affect productivity and performance across the whole team.

Collaborative working may not be top of the priority list for everyone, but the job of a team is to move the business forward to success. The bottom line is that it is part of everyone’s job description – and that means working together.

TEAM – the rather cheesy acronym of Together Everyone Achieves More, does ring true. Handling a member of your team who doesn’t believe that collaboration and communication are the way forward can be a major challenge and one that you need to address – quickly.

So, what are the best ways to deal with your employee who just won’t join in?

Look for Hidden Reasons

As Stephen Covey advised, “Seek first to understand”.

It’s easy to leap to conclusions about other people who aren’t playing the way you want. You could dismiss your new solicitor as just lazy or being deliberately awkward in their unwillingness to work with the team.

But maybe there’s something else?

It could be that they don’t believe they have the necessary skills for the project in hand, or that they have a personal problem at home that no one at work is aware of.

They are only human – and problems can manifest in many ways.

So, check-in with them and give them the opportunity to explain if there’s a problem that’s stopping them from getting involved.

Check Your Communication is Clear

Make sure you are clear with your instructions and communications.

Is it possible that the individual has misinterpreted your intentions? Have you been clear?

Especially if you have more than one disengaged member of the team, it could be that you need to communicate your intentions more clearly.

So, make sure your expectations are transparent so that each individual knows exactly what their role is and what is expected of them.

Listen

It can often be the case that an employee feels disengaged because they don’t believe they are being listened to. So, consider talking less, and allowing them to voice their opinions, concerns and ideas.

By practising active listening, you will gain valuable insight into what makes them tick, and where the root cause of their disengagement lies.

You will also empower them, and they will be much more likely to see themselves as part of the bigger picture with a role to play. By engaging them in this way, you can also encourage feedback and offer support.

Acknowledge Their Work

Do you remember the last time a senior member of staff said ‘thank you’ to you for a job well done?

Receiving praise and acknowledgement is a sure-fire way to instil a sense of passion and willingness to do more in an individual employee.

The ‘win’ doesn’t have to be major; it could simply be a thank you for staying late to help finish a case or write up a report. But it indicates your appreciation of the employee and the part they play in your company.

Offer Development Opportunities

Whatever job role you have, sometimes the daily grind can seem just that. Let’s be honest, we all have moments where we feel bored at work; stuck in the same routine every day.

Mixing it up, where possible, will reignite enthusiasm in your team. So, send your Paralegal out to visit clients with a Solicitor, or allow your Legal Secretary to work on an extra project where they have autonomy.

Coaching or mentoring is a great way to get individuals involved and build up their confidence and skills.

By offering opportunities, either official training and development or just something a bit different in the daily workload will help re-engage disinterested employees.

Embrace Inclusivity

Inclusivity into a team and the business as a whole will ensure that each individual can see how they fit into the overall aspirations of the business and make them feel that they are contributing to its success.

As part of that inclusivity, it’s crucial to ensure that all staff are kept in the loop with the business’s news – whether that’s good or bad.

Good news will, of course, help engage and inspire, but not so good news is also important. Delivering bad news is never easy. But sweeping it under the carpet is a source of frustration for many employees – it can lead to a feeling of being kept in the dark by employers (and consequently a feeling of not being important) as well as leading to the rumour mills springing into action.

So, deal with news, whatever kind it is, by engaging your team, so you can all move forward together.

Be Aware of Social Styles

Finally, remember not everyone absorbs information in the same way.

The way individuals interact is known as their preferred ‘social style’, a phrase coined by David Merrill and Roger Reid in the early 1960s. It explores how people behave in social (or work) situations to ascertain how to predict managerial, leadership and sales performance and therefore how managers can get the best out of their team.

Spending time with your team will enable you to understand how each member prefers to interact and contribute. You can then use that information to moderate your behaviour towards them, making them feel more comfortable to make their contribution.

So, bear in mind that a disengaged employee isn’t a lost cause.

By utilising one of two of the suggestions in this article, you can help foster a culture of inclusivity where individuals are inspired, encouraged and motivated because they feel part of a bigger team and can see the role they play in contributing to growing your business’s success.

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, Industrial, 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 or email us here.

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The Benefits of Taking a Temp Role Right Now

  • July 25, 2020

Are you one of the thousands of people looking for work due to a change in circumstance because of Covid-19?

If so, we can help.

The official figures show that 649,000 fewer people are employed now than were pre-Covid, with numbers set to rise over the coming months.

Many employees have been furloughed by their employers, being left in limbo until October, others are unsure if their jobs will even be there to go back to.

It has been a worrying and challenging time for everyone who has been affected by the pandemic. And yet there is help and options available for individuals looking for employment right now.

Lots of employees in the U.K. are now making use of temporary employment and contract work; in this article, we look at the benefits of taking a temp position right now, and critically how to land a role you’ll enjoy.

An Increase in Temp Roles – More Opportunities

With an increase in demand, there has been a fortuitous rise in temp jobs since the lockdown was imposed, highlighting the uncertainty in the current job market.

The number of temporary jobs rose by 148,900 from May to June, to create a total of 2.2 million temp roles in the U.K.

After large parts of the country were closed down entirely by the government-imposed restrictions, we entered the first stages of a recession as GDP fell for the first time in several years.

Now the country is opening up again, we see an increase in job opportunities. The country is bouncing back as predictions had hoped.

The pandemic has caused many people to evaluate their careers. A recent survey found in HR Director shared that 20% of people have realised that their current role isn’t for them, with half (50%) of all respondents stating that they plan to change jobs within the next two years.

So where does that leave individuals looking for temp roles right now?

Let me share some recruiting knowledge about the benefits of temp roles and how to take advantage of the job market as it currently stands.

The Benefits of Taking a Temp Role Now

Temporary employment might not be your first choice. Still, there are many benefits associated with taking a temp role, especially in the current climate; and remember that the flexibility of temporary contracts doesn’t only benefit employers.

Many organisations are currently offering temporary contracts for employees to see them through the next few months. If you are currently unemployed, this could be an excellent opportunity to explore different career options or try something you have always wanted to explore.

Temp roles tend to offer more flexibility, so you can choose one where the hours fit around your personal life. You can treat a temp role as a trial run for a new career direction; you might love it and want to continue to look for employment in this sector after your temp contract finishes, or you may realise this isn’t the right path for you.

You will gain experience fast in a new role; you will learn valuable skills to strengthen your CV and show that you are dedicated and hard-working to future prospective employers.

Contrary to popular belief, temporary workers get the same right and benefits as permanent workers; a good recruiter specialising in temp work will be able to help you to understand your temporary contract.

As I mentioned earlier, career changes are happening up and down the country – there has never been a better time to explore new career opportunities than right now.

How to Impress in Your Temp Role

Many employers will advertise temp-to-perm roles, where the position will become permanent for the right candidate. Of course, given the current situation, these roles could occur less frequently.

But the truth is that organisations always need great talented employees, pandemic or not – so bear in mind the following tips when looking for a temp or a temp-to-perm role:

  • Cater your CV to the temp roles you are interested in applying for – this easy task will make employers take you far more seriously.
  • Think of your temp assignment as an extended interview – if you get taken on initially for a period of a few weeks, show up every day and give your best.
  • Always look the part – you will be taken more seriously by management.
  • Keep your eyes open for where you can help other team members – being a team player is an essential skill and one that will get you noticed.
  • Complete all of your work to a high standard – bringing the attitude of ‘its only a temp role’ into your work will not do you any favours.
  • Finally – be sure to work with a reputable recruitment agency that will find you your desired position; check out their website, testimonials and get to know them before you decide to work with them.

Managers are always on the lookout for employees who will add value to their organisation, and impressing as a temp is a great way to increase your permanent job prospects.

Finding the ‘Right’ Temp Role

We understand that the job market can feel strange and competitive right now.

At Clayton Recruitment, we are helping candidates find the temp roles they need right now – and we can help you too.

We help candidates across the North West find the temp roles that can fit in with their current circumstances, and around their family lives.

We offer expert free career consultancy too, so if you want to speak to someone about a temp role or your next career move, call us on 01772 259121 or contact us here.

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, Industrial and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Managing Change in Uncertain Times

  • June 17, 2020

We are now living in a world that is very different from what we were used to only a few short months ago.

The monumental changes to all of our working lives, and now, trying to rebuild teams and businesses in a new environment will be a challenge for many leaders.

Managing change is a pertinent leadership topic, but it is particularly relevant right now.

No single management method will suit every company. You must be finely tuned to your organisation’s needs, your employee’s capabilities and find a process which works for both.

In today’s blog, we take a look at how leaders can manage their teams effectively through the changeable period we are currently in. Let’s start by looking at the most well known psychological model for dealing with change, the Kubler-Ross Change Curve.

The Kubler-Ross Change Curve

You might be familiar with this model in terms of loss; it is the renowned ‘five stages of grief’ framework.

Businesses have been applying this model to their organisations to deal with change for years – to great effect.

The model outlines five different stages a person goes through when dealing with a significant change; let’s look at how this applies to change in business.

  1. Stage one is shock and denial. Being presented with change can be overwhelming, so managers mustn’t overwhelm employees at this stage.
  2. Stage two deals with fear. After realising the situation is real, employees might become scared of the change that lies ahead.
  3. Stage three is bargaining. At this stage, the employee is looking at how they can best adapt to the new situation in a way that they can deal with.
  4. Stage four is the learning stage. Here the employee must deal with learning how to cope in their new role or environment.
  5. The final stage is embracing the change, where employees finally start to accept the new situation and build new hopes and aspirations.

As you can see, there is a lot involved in implementing change in your organisation; it is far from simple.

I want to share with you some strategies to help manage change in your organisation to ensure changes happen as smoothly as possible, starting with a key management principle – transparency.

Transparent Leadership

All change contains some risk of the unknown, and this is especially true of the current climate. However, there is a difference between being cautious about planning for the future and withholding information from your employees.

Transparent leadership builds trust, and the more trust you have in your organisation, the better you will perform. Right now, your employees need you to be transparent about potential changes in your organisation from social distancing measures to long-term business plans.

Four ways you can operate as a transparent leader are –

  • Be honest with your team at all times. Nothing destroys trust like finding out you have been misled or lied to.
  • Be open and accessible. Ask for, and be prepared to listen to feedback.
  • Ask questions and show interest in how the team are coping with their current situation – can you do anything to help?
  • Do not avoid difficult situations; confront them head-on.

Building trust with your team is essential to lead them through periods of change; your employees need to trust 100% that they can depend on you in a new and uncertain territory. But what else can you do to help your team through a period of significant change?

Think About How You Can Serve Your Team

Many leaders get this basic principle of leadership wrong: leading is about serving others, not being served.

You rely on your team to perform just as much as they rely on you to guide them. As members of your team return to a changed workplace, they will be looking to you to guide them not just on new work practices and changes in their role, but a whole new way of working and of thinking about work.

There will likely be significant differences as and when your team return to work. A noticeable change will be a reduced workforce, which many organisations are dealing with as they keep employees furloughed and working from home to keep workplaces socially distanced.

Think about the sub-teams in your organisation. As people return to work, are there key players missing? You might have to step in for members of your team who are now working from home or still furloughed. This doesn’t just mean managing workloads within teams; it means being emotionally supportive for those who are missing their colleagues.

Help Employees Find a New Purpose

A big part of management is training and developing your employees to increase their skills and confidence; do you currently have training plans in place for employees that were decided at the start of the year?

These plans are no longer relevant.

The goals of the organisation and indeed, each employee, might have been altered significantly by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Employees will be considering questions such as:

  • How has my role changed?
  • Where do I now fit into the organisation?
  • How has the virus affected my career plans?

Some of your employee’s roles will have changed drastically; their workload might have increased or decreased; they might be assigned new tasks in new departments; they might even have to retrain.

You must have an in-depth discussion with all employees about what the changes in your organisation mean for them. If their roles have changed, this will include drawing up a new training and development plan with different goals and different milestones.

Aside from personal development plans, the aims of your workplace might have also changed. Is it time to re-evaluate your organisation’s purpose and vision?

Refocus Your Vision

At the heart of your business should be a vision or mission statement which underpins everything you do.

For example, Microsoft’s is ‘A computer on every desk and in every home’.

But what has this got to do with managing change? The senior leaders within your organisation must re-evaluate your company’s vision and goals – having a clear goal will be critical to your businesses success in a changing world.

Your new vision will then filter down to each employee, injecting meaning into their changed roles. Researchers at the State University of New York found that asking employees about their daily tasks and then asking ‘Why does it matter?’ four times afterwards helped connect employees to a higher purpose.

Teams which have been mostly disjointed over the past two months will be craving routine. Re-evaluating your vision and relaying this to employees will help them feel secure in an unfamiliar working landscape.

Finally

Many organisations are finding that where some areas are being scaled back, others are thriving. For example, online services are thriving, and working from home has meant that some organisations are exploring cost-saving measures by relocating.

If your organisation is looking to take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace to scale and grow, and you require talented employees to do this – we can help.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your vacancies, or call our team on 01772 259 121.

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, Industrial and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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How To Manage and Motivate Your Team to Do Their Best Work

  • June 2, 2020

Upon returning to work after lockdown, managers and leaders in commercial organisations will have a variety of concerns.

It is key to remember that every organisation right now is going through a period of change and that it will be a while before the dust settles and we find a ‘new normal’. In some sectors, employees were able to work throughout lockdown, but for many commercial organisations, their business was either drastically reduced or stopped altogether.

This is why it is essential to have in place a robust strategy to help your team move forwards now workplaces are opening up again.

In today’s article, I share advice for employers on how to manage and motivate their teams coming back to work after lockdown, starting with common team concerns.

Managing Your Team’s Concerns

A potential problem that managers will have to face is the integration of teams who have been disjointed by lockdown, and the individual issues they might have.

If members of your team have been working from home, some of them might have enjoyed it and wish to carry on; others will be eager to get back. There may be members of your team who are fearful of going back into work, especially if they live with someone who is currently shielding.

As an employer, it is essential to remain flexible to accommodate your employee’s needs. Options to consider for team members who have concerns include –

  • Keeping someone on furlough for longer (the government furlough scheme is guaranteed until October) – discuss with all employees about their preferences, concerned team members may be happy to stay on furlough.
  • Let employees continue to work from home if they are happy to do so, and if they have everything they need to continue to do their work to a high standard.
  • You may consider letting employees work different hours to avoid peak travel times or arrange extra car parking, if possible, to allow employees to drive to work.

Another worry for employees is childcare. With schools still shut, non-essential workers who are now being encouraged to return to work will have concerns over their situation. The prime minister has said that lack of childcare is an ‘obvious barrier to get back to work’ and that employers can only expect employees to come back to work if they have provisions for childcare until the schools are reopened.

The key thing to remember is to listen to your employees and then take steps to protect everyone. Communication with all of your team is essential in understanding their concerns; a happy workforce is a productive workforce.

Social Distancing: Physical Changes to Your Office

Another change that managers will have to contend with is the physical changes that you will need to make to the workplace.

The first step you will need to take, as per government guidelines, is to conduct a risk assessment. You will need to consider the following –

  • How can you ensure a two-metre gap is maintained between employees at all times?
  • Do you need to implement screens in any customer-facing areas?
  • Do you need to rearrange desks and seating areas?
  • Do you need to implement hand washing or sanitising stations, and if so, where can these go?
  • Have you purchased enough hand sanitiser and disposable hand towels/tissues to keep employees safe?
  • Do you have a plan of action to deal with an employee who starts showing symptoms?

The government have announced that workplaces will be subject to inspection from environmental officers, so you must meet the criteria. But also, demonstrating to your employees that you are taking every possible step to protect their health will instil confidence in your team and allow them to work stress-free.

Skills Refreshers and Training

Even if your employees have been remote working for the last two months, they will have been doing so in a changed, or reduced capacity. Even with the highest-spec technology, working from home is not the same as working in an office environment, and your team will likely be out of practice in some areas.

Things that might have suffered while your team were remote working can include – a lack of collaboration, a breakdown in communication and possibly attention to detail. It can be easier for things to get missed when people are trying to collaborate over email and video.

With this in mind, your team will benefit from skills refreshers and additional training upon returning.

Ask your team which areas they feel as though they need a refresher on, or any skills they thought they lacked when working from home that they would like training based around? During the lockdown, many people started thinking about their skills and their careers, with a high level of uptake in online courses. If your team feel as though their employer is not supporting them, they might start to look elsewhere for alternative career options.

How to Motivate a Returning Team

Finally, how can you best motivate your team upon their return to the workplace?

The following are my top tips-

  • Make your workplace a pleasant place to be. Confront problems and negativity straight away and do not let it fester. Be positive and upbeat – your team are looking to you to set the tone for their new way of working.
  • Be supportive. The lockdown and now returning to work will be probably the most unsettling period in your team’s working lives. Continually check that your team have everything they need in the newly-changed workplace.
  • Be flexible. Let your team know that you will work together with them to create a new normal that they are comfortable with.
  • Share positive feedback. It is more vital than ever that you focus on the positives in your team and their successes.

Many managers have found it more challenging keeping their team motivated and engaged during the lockdown. Use this guide to help steer your team through the next, more positive, recovery period.

What Next?

Coming out of lockdown is something that all organisations will experience differently, with different levels of challenges for each.

If the needs of your organisation have changed recently and you would like a discussion about finding the right talent to help your business thrive, we can help.

Get in touch with our team on 01772 259 121 or contact us here to discuss your recruitment needs.

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, Industrial and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Life After Lockdown – Planning Your Successful Re-Entry

  • May 30, 2020

While many employees have been enjoying working from home and others have been keen to get back into the workplace, now is the time to think about the next stages.

You might have already returned to work in a workplace that looks very different, or perhaps you’re still working from home. Whatever your situation, the reality is that as we move forwards, your working life will be different from the one you left in March.

This can throw up all kinds of questions as to what the future holds.

You will be considering the future of your career, your current workplace, and how to navigate this workplace in the coming weeks and months.

Returning to work in a place that looks different might be a challenge at first, but there are ways to familiarise yourself and feel in control.

In today’s article, we look at the key areas employees must consider right now and as we go forward.

Your Employer’s Future

The first thing you must consider is your employer’s position. The pandemic has changed many businesses, and while some have remained relatively untouched, others have faced significant difficulties.

Your employer should have been keeping you informed in terms of returning to work, restructuring and redundancies, but of course, this is not always the case.

If it is clear that your current organisation will be making cuts, you must ascertain where you stand with your manager. It might be an uncomfortable conversation to have, but you must plan for your future.

If we do enter a recession, for every business that makes redundancies, others will be hiring. If you find yourself in a position where you will need to look for a new job, upskilling and demonstrating your skills will be crucial – I will talk about this more later.

Next, let’s look at how to manage your career in the coming months.

Advancing Your Career

The next few months will be critical in many people’s careers. As the job market shifts to adapt to the new economic changes, there will be a mixture of challenges and opportunities. If your role is secure and your organisation is in the position for you to return working as usual, then nothing should change.

In this case, your priorities should be working alongside your employer to get back to speed, get used to working in your socially distanced office and demonstrating your key skills.

In times of significant change, this is an excellent opportunity to prove your skills to your current employer, and develop your skills thinking about future opportunities.

Stepping up to help management, taking on additional roles and overcoming challenges posed by COVID-19 will all be great additions to your CV when the time comes to move on.

However, if upon returning, you realise that your role or your workplace is not conducive with your career goals, it might be time to think about moving to one that is.

A Change of Role?

Think back to before the pandemic – where were you in terms of advancing your career? The outbreak stopped everyone in their tracks, but there will no doubt have been employees who were considering, or even applying for new roles. With recruitment freezes in many organisations, your career plans might have been put on hold.

If the same career opportunities aren’t available anymore, what does that mean for you?

Returning to your role and finding those previous opportunities are no longer there can be a shock, but it is key to weigh up the pros and cons of this.

Yes, you might have envisaged being in your current role for many years to come, but instead, focus on how a move to a different position will be even more beneficial to you.

In times where organisations are making cutbacks, you might feel as though looking for a new job will be a difficult task. However, many organisations are continuing to thrive, and while some are making redundancies, others are recruiting in numbers – the key to navigating this job market is upskilling.

Upskilling

Now is the time to amplify your critical skills and become more attractive to employers. As I mentioned earlier, taking on additional responsibilities is a great way to do this. Additionally, consider the following –

  • Find a way to adapt old working practices to fit in with life post-COVID-19. Are there changes you can make to the workplace or your processes that will make life more manageable for everyone?
  • Be proactive and set your objectives if old ones are out of date and your manager has not discussed new ones with you. What are your new goals for the next three months?
  • Overcommunicate and be hyper-aware of problems in your workplace. There will likely be teething problems from the recent changes; how can you apply yourself to solve these problems?
  • Take additional courses, either provided by your employer or online. Online courses have seen a surge in uptake since the start of lockdown – if others are upskilling themselves, don’t get left behind.

Your role after lockdown might be very different from what you have been used to, especially in the period as we return to the workplace and as we find a ‘new normal’.

But what is key to remember is that it is possible to keep your career progressing in the way you want. It’s about being aware of your current situation, constantly re-evaluating, and upskilling yourself as much as possible.

What Next?

If your pre-COVID-19 job is not able to provide what you need and you are looking for a new role, we can help.

We have a range of roles available, call our team on 01772 259 121 or get in contact here to discuss your career options.

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, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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The Ultimate Guide to Being Productive When Working From Home

  • March 29, 2020

March 2020 will be the first month that many people in the UK begin working from home on a scale that has never been witnessed before.

While the coronavirus has disrupted across the UK, you can be just as productive (if not more productive – more on this later) as you usually are.

The initial challenges that making a move to remote working throws up can be easily ironed out. And just as you quickly got into a routine in your current workplace, remote working is no different.

In the last 15 years, the number of people who work from home at least one day a week has increased by 35%. What might feel unusual for you at first is the norm for many, and it is entirely possible for you to settle into a working routine from your home.

In this blog, I will share my top tips to help employees maintain, and even increase, productivity when adapting to working from home for the first time.

1. Recreate Your Desk

While this might not be entirely possible, aim to recreate as much as you possibly can. You can even bring pictures from the wall, your same mug and mouse mat to help you feel in your work ‘zone’. Don’t work from your sofa (or your bed) under any circumstances – keep these as your ‘home’ areas.

2. Keep the Same Hours

This means getting to your desk at the same time, having your lunch and breaks at the same time and leaving at the time you usually do. Shower and get dressed just as you normally would do – and keep the same alarm to get up at your usual time.

3. Contact Your Colleagues and Manager More Than Normal

In the office, you might go nearly a day without speaking to your colleagues or manager if there is no reason for you to do so. Remote working means you are more likely to feel lonely or isolated, and this kills productivity.

Check-in regularly, even if there is no pressing reason to do so. Saying hello now and then via a message or email will help you to feel connected.

4. Connect on Video

Using video technology such as Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp is a must to keep productivity levels high.

It is much easier and faster to share ideas and advice over video calls with your colleagues and your manager than back and forwards via email – so bear this in mind if you come up against a problem you need a solution for.

5. Set Boundaries with Your Household

You need to have space where you can work uninterrupted. Much of the UK is now at home; so, I appreciate you might need to negotiate who works where – good luck with this.

Find a spot in your house to set up your workstation where you will not be distracted (a spare bedroom, less-used living space, conservatory, the loft etc.) and set boundaries with your family or housemates.

Explain that during the hours of 8-5, or 9-6 you are ‘at work’ and stick to it. Allow for family time before, at lunchtime and after work just like you would typically do.

6. Avoid Distractions

It should go without saying, but many people get tempted by their home comforts when they work from home. Don’t turn on the TV to keep up with the news, or your favourite music – it will only serve as a distraction.

However, scientific studies have found that a little bit of background noise can increase your productivity. There are many YouTube channels which focus on music for concentration or tune in to a relaxing radio station at a low level; both are workable ideas.

7. Embrace the Change

Finally, what I would like to say to those embarking on home working for the first time is – relish this opportunity!

While some people go into remote working concerned about productivity levels, this is actually a real chance for you to increase productivity and produce some of your best work. There is a good chance your home set-up will be quieter than your typical office, and you are likely to feel relaxed and safe at home – a great situation for your creativity and productivity to flourish!

Finally

The current situation in the UK for businesses is changing continually – has your working situation changed in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?

If so, and you’re looking for a change of employment – we can help.

We are looking for candidates right now for a variety of commercial roles across the North West. Contact us today on 01772 259 121 or using our contact form here.

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, Industrial, Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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Am I Being Overworked and Underpaid?

  • March 10, 2020

Feeling overworked is a modern-day problem that is common in a large portion of the workforce. A recent survey found that 28% of employees felt overworked often, or very often, with 55% reporting that they feel overworked most of the time.

Additionally, a CIPD survey found that 1 in 4 employees put in at least 10 hours of overtime each week. “Great!” you might be thinking, “Overtime means extra pay!” – but what if I told you that the vast majority of overworked employees are not compensated, either fairly, or at all for their efforts.

It is this combination of being overworked and underpaid which causes stress and eventually burnout – work-related stress and anxiety now accounts for over half (57.3%) of all sick days taken in the U.K.

To avoid this, employees should be aware if their job is causing them undue stress and what to do if it is. In this article, I will share the recruiter’s guide to taking action if you are overworked and underpaid.

What Am I Worth?

Working out if you are being compensated fairly for the work you do can be tricky. If you have been in the same role or company for a while, it can be easy to accept the incremental changes to your salary and not question if you should be asking for more.

If you aren’t comfortable asking your manager right away, you can do some of your own research. If you work for a large company, take a look at the current vacancies and see what they are offering for similar roles to yours.

When you stay with the same company for a lengthy period, but your salary hasn’t changed much since your initial offering, this can be a sign that you are being underpaid.

Am I Being Asked To Take On Increased Responsibility?

A common problem in workplaces across the U.K. is that the longer employees stay with the same company, they are expected to take on more responsibilities – without any increase in salary.

As you stay and grow with the company, you will naturally learn about processes that are directly in your job description and outside of it too.

Perhaps you had to cover for a co-worker when they were on holiday; your job is in marketing, but you helped out in the accounts department, and now you help them out when they ask you because they ‘know you can’.

Often, increased responsibility comes in the form of a long-term staffing issue – either a co-worker is on long-term sick, or there is a vacancy that your employer can’t seem to fill. You and your colleagues take on the extra responsibilities at first, but these ‘extra’ responsibilities soon become the norm.

There are also physical and psychological signs to look out for which can indicate that you’re overworked; these include-

  • Difficulty relaxing and ‘switching off’
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Loss of interest in things outside of work
  • Increase in, or loss of, appetite
  • High blood pressure

Being overworked for extended periods can have significant adverse effects on your physical and mental health, and it is advisable to decrease back to your contracted hours to alleviate these effects; otherwise, issues can occur for you as time goes on.

Benefits and Perks Aren’t Everything

Many employers believe that offering generous benefits and perks is equivalent to a salary increase – and many employees agree with them.

If you prefer flexible working, a free gym membership or early finishes on Fridays over a monetary reward, then that’s great if your employer offers them.

But if you started your job thinking that the perks were a nice bonus, but you also had salary expectations which have not been met; then it becomes an issue.

If you believe that your employer is offering you extra perks to try and deflect away from the fact that they are not paying you enough, this is a sign that it’s time to act and do something about your career.

Should You Strike a Deal or Not?

If you realise that you are overworked and underpaid, you have two options; either ask for a pay rise or begin the search for a new job.

If you plan to go to your manager to discuss your situation – always go prepared.

If you are planning to ask for an increase in pay since you have taken on more responsibilities, make a list of everything extra you now do (and if possible – the time it takes to do these extra tasks) for the same salary.

You should have had a performance review in the last 12 months; admittedly, this doesn’t always happen in some organisations. If your manager gave you praise for your work during this review, you could use this as an example of your excellent performance.

What Next?

Are you overworked and underpaid? If the points raised in this article sound familiar, there is a good chance you could be.

If you want to talk to someone about your employment options and how to secure a job where you are fairly treated and compensated – get in touch with us today.

We help employees find roles where they thrive, and we only work with the highest-standard of employers in the North West.

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, Industrial, Nursing, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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5 Reasons Employers Should Take on More Temporary Workers

  • February 18, 2020

The hiring market is changing.

With employment at an all-time high, many companies are finding it hard to locate the right kind of staff they need to help them reach their business goals.

As recruiters in the North West, we have seen an increase in the number of candidates enquiring about temporary work and this is echoed in the UK as a whole, with temp work being one of the fastest areas of recruitment.

However, many organisations are still reluctant to take on temporary staff, and quite often view it as a ‘last resort’. In doing this, many companies are missing out on a vast array of talented employees who are looking for less-permanent positions.

If you are not fully utilising temporary workers in your business yet, and are unsure as to why you should start, here are the five reasons that employers should take on more temporary workers this year.

1. A Clever Staffing Solution

We work with organisations of many different sizes, serving a range of sectors. And what we find more and more often is that they cannot locate the talent they need to help them achieve their business goals.

Many companies will persist with and repeat their recruitment process with the view to finding a permanent member of staff to fill a position. Many organisations would not consider a temporary employee: because the role is permanent, they want a permanent member of staff.

But in doing this, they struggle on with a vacant position, or worse; they employ the ‘wrong’ permanent employee in haste. The cost of rehiring for permanent employees can become very costly indeed.

This is the perfect opportunity to utilise an employee on a temporary contract – to solve an ongoing recruitment issue.

2. For Flexibility

In an ever-changing economy, and especially during the Brexit transition period, many employers are finding that their staffing needs are fluctuating.

Sometimes it is not feasible for employers to take on staff with permanent contracts when they know that they cannot predict how long they will be needed.

Temp workers are perfect for the changing demands of your business. Many employees are looking for short-term and temporary work. You can work with a recruiter to outline your businesses needs, and they can find you staff who fit into exactly what you’re looking for, skills and contract-wise.

3. When Your Team Needs a Lift

On the flip-side, there are times when businesses are booming, and they need all the help they can get. It’s great when you see an increase in custom, but this can have negative repercussions on your team.

Continuing with the same size of team and expecting them to take on extra duties when you need them to can cause stress and anxiety among your employees, and will eventually lead to a drop in productivity.

If your team needs a morale boost in the form of some extra help to see them through unexpected busy times, bringing in some fresh faces for a limited period is a smart solution.

4. Access to Untapped Talent

Is your organisation going through a period of change? Are you changing your services or processes? Are you expanding?

You might already have an excellent team in place, but sometimes you need access to new talent to help you through a transition period.

In the past, there was a stereotype of temp work being associated with low-skilled talent looking for very casual contracts, but this is not the case anymore.

There is a wealth of talent considering temporary work for a variety of reasons, such as alongside part-time studying, new parents looking for employment to fit around raising their family, and those looking to change sectors. All of these employees can add real value to your business in the time you need them most.

5. With a View to a Permanent Hire

Finally, probably the most significant benefit that employers can get out of temporary hires is temp-to-perm positions.

Organisations can work with recruiters to find employees looking for temp-to-perm contracts to ‘try before they buy’. This is a great way to find out if the employee fits into your organisation – if they are the ‘right’ person for the job before you sign on the dotted line.

And it’s a two-way street, too. Many temp workers prefer these type of contracts (when they are looking for permanent work eventually) as they can see if they like the role and the company without being tied down.

Finally

Do you currently employ temporary workers in your organisation? Perhaps you have used them in the past, or only use them at specific points in the year, such as over the Christmas period. Consider taking on temporary workers in your organisation at different times to enjoy the benefits that I have outlined here.

There are plenty of candidates looking for temporary contracts who are waiting to hear from your organisation right now – get in touch with us to find out more.

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, Industrial, Nursing, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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