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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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Talent Attraction: Energising Your Employer Value Proposition

  • February 7, 2022

If you’ve never heard of an employer value proposition or brand before, now’s the time to expand your education.

According to the CIPD, an employer value proposition is a way your business will differentiate itself from competitors when it comes to attracting talent.

The question is, what characteristics do you need to demonstrate to attract talent in your sector today?

The U.K. is currently in the grip of one of the worst skills shortages in the last twenty years. Skilled candidates are in the driving seat of their careers, and many will naturally  pick a company based on their brand presence in the market and the narrative related to how they treat their employees.

The last few years have seen talented people re-evaluate their careers and the expectations of the companies they work for. Today, employees will consider moving to get what they want. That might be better pay and conditions, development opportunities and the option to work remotely, amongst other reasons.

Considering the commercial value good talent brings to your firm, perhaps it’s time to energise your current employer brand to attract the talent you now want to take your business forward.

Let’s explore this more in today’s post.

Definitions: EVP versus Employer Brand

According to various sources online, employer branding became prevalent in the early 1990s. Since then, it has become a recognised term in both H.R. and recruitment circles.

An employer brand is an impression your business gives as a good place to progress your career to current employees and key players in the external market. From a talent perspective, these would be active and passive candidates.

So, EVP versus employer brand, what is the connection? The CIPD reminds us that we have an employer brand whether we have consciously developed it or not.

If we were to sit around a table and talk about Wetherspoons or Uber, we would all have an opinion about their brand and how they treat their employees.

The employee value proposition for both these brands could potentially do with some work when it comes to their EVP; in other words, “why would I want to work for Uber of Wetherspoons?”.

EVP is, therefore, the conversation and communication points around why I would want to work for this brand.

Building a Stronger EVP

The topic of this post relates to energising your current EVP to attract and keep talent.
Fundamentally an employer value proposition is a list of specific and unique benefits an employee can expect to receive when they join your business.

Vision, motivation, development, acceptance, a diverse and inclusive environment, benefits, pay, wellbeing, and community. The CIPD defines EVP in a simple and jargon-free way: “The value proposition describes what an organisation stands for, requires and offers as an employer.”

If your people are leaving your business, your recruiting partner is offering feedback about your perception in the market, and your job offers are being turned down, it’s time to look at your EVP and how you are communicating ‘why you’ into the market place.

Considering the changed expectations of talent today, which parts of your EVP need a revamp?

If you want some ideas, look at Microsoft’s Workplace Trends Index. The report highlights an important point that over 40% of the global workforce are considering leaving their current employer for an opportunity to work remotely.

Remote work has created new job opportunities for some, offered more family time, and provided options for whether or when to commute.

Review and Redefine Your EVP

The much-used term related to talent wars is based on the current volatile market and a shortage of skilled applicants for your roles.

More now than ever, it is critical to communicate your compelling offer and make the connection in a candidate’s mind that you are the firm to join.

As a specialist recruiter for over twenty years, we have seen past clients struggle because they have not given their EVP the importance it deserves.

Our role is to showcase your firm to prospective candidates, but it’s not easy if your EVP isn’t an attractive offering in today’s marketplace.

So how do you become more attractive?

As a starting point, review your current state and EVP as you plan your journey.

  • What is our vision and mission; has it changed?
  • When did we last conduct an employee survey?
  • What is our purpose and ‘why’ as a business?
  • How engaged is our current team?
  • Do we have a strong leadership team to represent our brand?
  • Why would people join us, and why do they stay?
  • Do we have an attractive development culture?
  • Is our current offer relevant and on point for the talent we want today?
  • Do we have an experienced recruitment partner that can support our growth goals?

Create an Action Plan With Milestones and Timelines

Once you have assessed where you are, it is vital to take the necessary action. It is all too easy to procrastinate and blame what has happened and assume the current market will change; it won’t.

We are in an age of rapid innovation and digital disruption, with a workforce expecting more from their employers, including support, vision, direction, and development.

Knowing that candidates’ expectations from you, their employer are different, how will you change?

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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How to Overcome the Challenges of Hiring Accounting Professionals

  • December 22, 2020

As an employer or a hiring manager, recruiting right now is as challenging as it can get.

And that’s down to the fact that we are in a saturated market. The Covid crisis has caused job losses in some sectors. Still, more so, it has caused movement in the market from accounting professionals speculatively applying for roles as they think and consider their future like never before.

This poses a problem, as the most valuable candidates become swamped by a sea of possibilities.

So how can you hire the ‘right’ accounting candidate when the odds are stacked against you?

Today, we look at the dangers of hiring in a saturated market, and some expert recruitment strategies which can help.

 

1. Getting Your Person Spec Right

One of the most significant challenges of hiring in a saturated market is not knowing exactly what you’re looking for. When you narrow down what you’re looking for to the exact skills, attributes and personality traits you want, this makes the search easier.

We are currently helping organisations define their finance and accounting job specifications, which has become invaluable in their recruiting process as they redefine their roles for a post-Covid market.

  • Have the skills you need in your next accounting professional changed?
  • Do you need to hire finance experts with the skills of tomorrow, but aren’t sure what to look for?

We can help you define your finance and accounting roles and person specs to narrow down your search – get in touch with us here to find out more.

2. Hiring for Culture

Another huge change in accountancy recruitment since the pandemic is the need for team players who can be flexible and adaptable while having the organisation’s best interests at heart.

During the Covid crisis, many organisations realised for the first time which of their finance team were true team players, and which were disengaged in their roles.

A successful finance team includes individuals whose values and culture align with their employer, whether that’s in a financial practice or a larger organisation’s finance team.

Any management guide will tell you that cultivating a positive and unified culture in your team is necessary for success. Yet, so many hiring managers still put this low down on their list of priorities.

Creating a set of non-negotiable values that you want your team to have will narrow down your candidate search even further, which is essential when hiring in a saturated market.

3. Organising Your Recruiting Timeline

Making some key changes to your recruitment process will allow you to make difficult hiring decisions much easier.

Improve the speed of your hiring process so that recruitment isn’t taking up weeks or even months of your valuable time. Start with the end date in mind – the date that your new recruit needs to be in their role by, and work backwards from here. A Benchmark survey on career timelines found that the average recruitment process takes 24.5 days, how long does yours take?

Ensure you have a stringent timeline and stick to it. When you start pushing dates backwards or worse – hiring without consulting with all stakeholders – this can create a messy and stressful recruiting experience for everyone involved.

4. ‘Selling’ Your Organisation to the Right Candidates

At a time like this when you want to attract the best candidates, it might just be time to re-evaluate all of your recruitment collateral and employer branding, so you attract the candidates you want and repel the ones you don’t.

A few questions for you.

  • Do you have an excellent employer branding strategy
  • Do you regularly update and share about your company on social media?
  • Does your hiring manager respond in a timely way to candidates both online and during the recruitment process?

Right now, developing your brand awareness as an employer of choice needs to be a part of your recruitment strategy.

5. Working with a Recruiter

Finally, the most valuable step you can take right now is to work with a recruiter.

At Clayton Recruitment, we can take care of all the stages we have outlined here, which, at the moment, is a big undertaking for HR departments which are already pushed for time and resources.

Making the right hiring decision is so critical right now, the last thing any organisation wants is to find out that they have made the ‘wrong’ accounting hire shortly after appointing them.

Your finance team needs to be full of the most talented, best-suited experts for your organisation.

Next Steps

If you have struggled to attract the finance candidates you want and have found that recruitment is becoming a challenging task as you are faced with an increasing amount of CVs and applicants, we can help.

Please get in contact with our expert recruitment team today to find out more about our recruitment service. We don’t just guarantee that we will find you the best possible candidate, we also protect your investment so that if the candidate doesn’t work out, you get your full investment back.

Don’t run the risk of making the ‘wrong’ hire from the many candidates available; use our guaranteed recruitment service to find your ideal candidate in a saturated market.

Call us on 01772 259 121 or contact us here to find out how we can help.

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 or email us here.

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How Clayton is Responding to Market Needs For In-Demand Sectors

  • December 4, 2020

Many industries are driven by their sales and marketing functions, and in our post-Covid world, these departments in your business have become more critical than ever.

Likewise, finance and accounting teams have been the backbone of businesses throughout the pandemic.

In any organisation, both of these parts of your business need to be staffed with the right, dedicated team, to achieve success; and as you grow your business next year, these departments will play a pivotal role.

Despite the pandemic, many industries such as online retailers are doing well, as the market shifts to accommodate the way businesses and their customers are acting to navigate the new normal, we occupy.

In the UK, the sectors that are doing particularly well include banks, certain food and beverage organisations, construction, financial services, healthcare equipment and technology.

Of course, this is a broad picture of the UK, and each business will have its own story to tell.

But what is true everywhere is that organisations who plan to grow next year and come back stronger from the pandemic will need to concentrate on having the best sales and marketing experts, as well as astute financial professionals in key roles.

Today, we look at the importance of both the sales and marketing and finance and accounting functions in your business, and how Clayton can supply you with the talent you will need here for 2021.

Let’s look at where one of the most significant opportunities is right now – sales.

Capitalising on Sales Opportunities

One area we are seeing vast growth is in sales, both in B2B and B2C.

In times of economic uncertainty, this is historically a prime opportunity to increase sales as businesses and individuals are looking to you as a market expert to provide what they need right now. And we saw this in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic this year. It was not the businesses who furloughed their sales departments who are riding high right now – it is the ones that carried on with their sales processes even in spite of the pandemic.

However, the UK has not experienced the worst of the economic downturn that was expected; in fact, the economy is recovering strongly from the Covid period.

Depending on the nature of your business, you will likely have experienced challenges and opportunities this year, perhaps in some unexpected areas. To grow this year and capitalise on opportunities in the market, many organisations are now expanding their sales teams with experienced, talented sales executives.

The most vital asset to any business now as we enter back into a period of healthy trading is a strong sales team – talk to us today to find out how we can help.

Marketing

Marketing has also evolved massively since the start of the pandemic.

The change in consumer habits, government restrictions in this country and wider global business influences have meant that marketing your business probably looks much different now to what it did at the start of the year.

Having an excellent marketing department in place right now is critical.

Sectors which are doing well since the pandemic include online retail, tech, construction, consumer goods and green energy, will require increasing numbers of talented individuals next year to strengthen these brand messages.

Digital marketing software and CRMs like Salesforce have increased their market share during the pandemic as companies realise the importance of nurturing relationships with customers.

A few questions for you.

  • Have you invested in digital marketing or CRM software recently?
  • Are you getting the most out of your sales team?
  • Do you need to provide them with better tools or better management?
  • How many additional people might you need?

All these are considerations for organisations today. We know because we are working with companies daily who are building marketing talented teams in these areas. If you would like a conversation to understand how we might help you, get in touch with one of our team today.

Accounting and Finance

Accounting and finance have always been a stable sector and in times of uncertainty always moves into a growth phase, as companies navigate the changes in the economy.

As well as dealing with the pandemic, the UK accounting and finance sector is also bracing for Brexit in 2021.

However, as a full leave agreement is yet to be decided, many banks and financial service companies have already made their arrangements to continue to trade with the EU market. As this financial blog points out, trading in the EU market was ‘too inviting to let go’.

In November, the chancellor outlined exciting new plans for the UK financial service sectors, with a focus on financial technology.

Financial technology is going to play a huge part in the future of all businesses, as systems and processes turn digital in the wake of Covid-19.

Do you have financial technology talent in your team that will drive your organisation forwards?

In terms of financial business recovery, despite more tiered restrictions, positive news about a vaccine has shed light on hope for next year. Recent data from the staffing industry shows that positions in Insurance and Finance were up 22% on the previous week for the week starting the 22nd November.

Good news.

Have you found that demand in your finance and accounting departments has increased in the months since the pandemic?

If the answer is yes or you can predict growth for the future, it might be time to start thinking about injecting some fresh finance talent into your team.

How Clayton are Responding

Clayton has been providing expert recruitment services for over 30 years, specialising in the legal sector as well as sales and marketing and accounting and finance.

Because of the huge shifts happening in the jobs market in the UK right now, we have recognised the importance of pivoting to help businesses who need these most in-demand candidates right now.

At Clayton Recruitment, we are repeatedly asked by clients to source the best of these talent pools to place in key roles; for this reason, we are committing to a focus on sales and marketing and finance and accounting. We are doubling down on our efforts to source candidates specifically in these areas.

We’re committing to a laser focus on sales and marketing and accounting and finance, drawing on our previous extensive experience in these sectors and creating a recruitment process to quickly find clients the candidates they need.

So, we can help if you need sales and marketing or finance and accounting candidates with the most in-demand skills.

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can put you in touch with the right candidates to drive growth in your organisation. Call us 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 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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How the Pandemic Has Been the Catalyst for Our New VIP Services

  • November 14, 2020

The pandemic has caused some of the most significant business and personal shifts that many of us will see in our lifetimes.

Social distancing, the wearing of masks, the rise of remote working; there are so many ways our lives are different now. And despite the pandemic being catastrophic in many ways, in others, it has been the catalyst for positive change, and this is something that we have experienced here at the Clayton Group too.

Instead of letting Covid impose a gloomy outlook, we have used this challenging time to increase our products and services – to deliver more for our clients and candidates during their time of need, and this is something we are incredibly proud of.

The Clayton Group is about more than just recruitment – today, I want to share with you how the pandemic has been the catalyst for our new VIP services and how they can help your business right now.

Consultancy

During the pandemic, we have focused our attention on helping CEOs and MDs of businesses, and partners of law firms, to uncover what business skills are needed and planning for the future needs, wheather it be new opportunities uncovered or new skills needed as the business pivots.

For many business owners, the last few months have been about getting through each week. There has been little time to focus on the businesses position; it’s been about survival and shifting.

Restructuring and Sourcing New Skills

Restructuring is something that all businesses want to avoid, but in times of crisis like we have experienced, it is sometimes a necessity.

We can help businesses to understand the impact of restructuring, and help guide them through the process.

Restructuring involves much more than making roles redundant; it requires a consultative approach to ensure your business is not left in a precarious position after a period of change.

Yes, it is possible to come through a restructuring period even stronger than before, and we can help you achieve this. Working closely with your business, our team will help you identify the new skills that you may need. We will support you in writing person specifications to help you find the right talent to deliver your post-Covid business plan.

Interim Solutions

Another vital and popular service that we have been offering since the pandemic is interim solutions for businesses.

These have proven to be invaluable to many organisations who are in a position where they need talent right now, but the future is uncertain, and they cannot guarantee contracts for more than a few months.

Employing talent on an interim, contract or temporary basis might be exactly what your business needs right now. If you would like to know more about how we can quickly find you the interim talent you need, get in contact with us here.

How We Protect Your Investment

As part of our world-class service that we have curated over 20 years, we have a built-in guarantee for your investment.

Our guarantee to you is that your investment is protected 100%, and we do this by offering both trial and extended guarantee periods.

We not only protect your business with our guarantee, but we also make sure that the investment you make with us is spent wisely, and we do this by giving excellent value for money.

Our Recruitment Service

Despite diversifying our services, recruitment is still very much at the heart of what we do.

We have a world-class resourcing team to find the best fit for your vacancy. Our talent attraction team continually works in the market to attract the best candidates that companies are unable to reach on their own.

We offer three different recruitment packages to suit your needs.

Again, your recruitment investment is always protected 100% – we mitigate any complications to provide you risk-free recruitment.

Finally

Don’t underestimate the value of working with a recruiter at this stage, even if you’re not recruiting currently, because they can help with so much more than that.

All business owners need help at some stage, and particularly in the current climate. Whether it’s identifying skills gaps, uncovering business needs and consulting on skills gaps. reating business plans, hiring for current vacancies, or filling your talent pipeline – we can help.

Get in touch with us on 01772 259 121 or contact us here to find out how we can help you get to the next stage of your business plan – whatever that may be.

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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How to Recruit the Right Talent When You No Longer Have A Recruitment Department

  • November 4, 2020

Recruitment should be in every strategic business plan. Recruitment is a necessity in business, yet in times of crisis, some short-sighted organisations start to disband their HR department to cut costs – leaving the company in a precarious position.

Aside from the fact that cutting your HR department will make growth and expansion more challenging – there are also unexpected vacancies to think about. What often happens is that the recruitment process is left to someone who is either unqualified or who lacks time – not an ideal scenario. Today we look at how businesses can approach recruiting when their HR departments have been severely affected by Covid.

Get Your Job Adverts Working Harder

Think of your job advert as an extension of your company brand – it should act as a beacon not just to attract the best candidates to you, but to ensure that the candidates you are attracting are ‘right’ for your business.

Businesses recruiting with an HR department can be tempted to hire the first person who applies who is qualified. And this is understandable.

But you must consider the implications of hiring someone who is not right for your company culture – and this can happen when hiring is done in a rush.

So spend some time crafting your job advert to signal to applicants if they will really be a good ‘fit’ for your organisation.

Some tips include –

  • Skip the buzzwords – say what you really
  • Be as detailed as possible, but keep it succinct
  • Focus on where the company is going – this will attract driven individuals
  • Be honest and realistic – often when companies can’t find the ‘right’ hire, it is because they’re looking for a unicorn.

Of course, you can always work with an expert recruitment company to write your job adverts. At Clayton Recruitment, we can not only compile talent attracting job descriptions for you; we can help you to understand what it is your team is lacking.

Promoting Your Brand To Attract Talent

I have been surprised at the number of businesses who have gone quiet on social media throughout the pandemic.

It has never been more essential to promote your brand and keep your name at the forefront of your customer’s and client’s minds.

But this is also a great way to attract top talent to your business.

Use social media, LinkedIn especially to promote your company brand, to position yourself as an employer with your finger on the pulse.

Many great individuals are looking for new roles right now, and they will be attracted to the companies who have the most engaging profile, whether that’s social media, your website, a YouTube channel or podcasts. Get your name out there, and the best talent will be attracted to you.

If you don’t have a dedicated person to run your social media account, appoint a member of staff to do checking regularly and interacting with people. And this doesn’t have to be a long task, even just 15 minutes a day will help to strengthen your brand.

When you are more active and engaged on social media, you can then build a talent network which will be the next stage of your recruitment drive when you haven’t got a dedicated HR department.

Build a Talent Pipeline

Having an active audience and interacting with people from your sector on social media and LinkedIn is a great way to start building your talent pipeline.

A talent pipeline is the best way to ensure that you have people lined up for your upcoming vacancies – remember that you never know who might be handing their resignation notice in next.

I’ve mentioned LinkedIn and social media, and the following are great ways to build a talent network –

  • Hold or attend sector webinars. Due to the pandemic, networking has gone fully online. Connecting with members of your sector virtually is a great way to increase interest in your brand and your business.
  • Use your existing contacts – do you have an employee referral programme? Do you keep in contact with previous candidates and applicants?

Building a talent pipeline is going to be essential for your business strategy if your HR department is not operating at full capacity. Get in contact with us here if you would like to discuss how we can help you build a talent pipeline.

Consider Temporary and Contract Employees

This is one of the best ways to recruit when you need to fill a vacancy or to help your organisation with what it needs right now – that is not a long-term commitment.

The rise in temporary and contract employees happening right now shows that many employers are using this as a strategy.

Hiring an employee on a temporary basis, whether that’s an interim director or a marketing specialist, is the ideal solution to getting the HR resources you need into your business right now as you figure out what you need in our new normal.

We specialise in temporary and contract work, and we can help you find the talent you need on a non-permanent basis.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you hire for the roles you need during this business-critical time, on a flexible, temporary basis, get in touch with us today.

Call us on 01772 259 121 or contact us here to find out more about our temporary recruitment service.

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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Your Post-Furlough Team – Where Are the Skills Gaps?

  • October 15, 2020

In any organisation, there will always be a certain number of skills gaps. As the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to and end, it is now that companies realise how vital it is to take stock of their employees, where they want their business to go, and see how the two directly correlate.

You may have had an idea for some time as to who from your pre-Covid team, will be returning to their roles, and also who won’t and therefore it’s time to conduct a skills gap analysis of your post-furlough team. This blog contains a how-to guide. Finding out where the capability gaps are in your organisation are the first step to putting in place a plan to close this gap, and strengthen your team.

So let’s take a look at how to perform a skills gap audit, and what to do if you find any critical gaps in the abilities of your team.

Identifying What Roles Your Organisation Needs

The roles that you had in your organisation pre-Covid might have changed now that your team has returned. Has the size or the nature of your business changed? Are there departments which have grown or decreased due to changes in the market?

During these times, it would be more unusual if your business hadn’t changed, so an audit will likely be in order.

The following is the three-step process of discovering where your skills gaps lie.

Step 1 – Identify the Skills Your Organisation Needs

Identifying skills comes in two parts – finding out which roles are necessary for your organisation, for example, depending on your sector the range might be varied from:

  • the number of packers you need to work in a warehouse to meet demand,
  • or the number of team leaders,
  • or care assistants
  • The number of customer service people,
  • or the number of accountants required in your accountancy firm.

Many organisations are currently trying to cut costs, to deal with the uncertainty that Covid has caused across many sectors. Of course, no employer wants to be overstaffed, but the consequences of being understaffed during this critical time will be more severe. And with the UK economy growing the way it is, from an increase of 11.4% to 15% in the third quarter – planning for growth is a smart idea.

Questions to ask include –

  • Where do we want the organisation to be?
  • In which areas are we planning to expand into?
  • With the current workforce, is our desired level of growth possible?
  • Do we lack knowledge and resources in certain areas?

Once you have identified the number and the nature of the critical roles you need in your organisation, it’s time to find out if your current team have the skills required.

Step 2 – Assess the Current Skills in Your Team

Assessing the skills in your current team will mean individually reviewing your current team’s abilities.

For each role, use the following framework to evaluate team members –

  1. The employee is unaware of this task.
  2. The employee is aware of this task but does not have the skills to perform it.
  3. The employees can undertake the task assisted by someone else.
  4. The employee can perform the task unaided.
  5. The employee possesses the skills to teach others how to perform the task.

This assessment can be performed either by the employee themselves or by their managers or supervisor, and you will get the best results if you work together with your employees to discuss their skills and abilities.

Step 3 – Bridging the Gap

From your analysis, you will quickly see how you might have many employees who are at the same skill level, and a lack of employees who possess the necessary capability to grow in the areas you want.

Where are the expected gaps?

There are skills gaps in many sectors across the globe, with the financial services sector and manufacturing two of the most affected areas.

The skills gap in the financial services sector has been increasing year on year, up 30% in recent years.

In manufacturing, a recent study of organisations found that 81% of employers were finding it difficult to hire employees with the skills they need to expand.

Your Next Steps

Once you have discovered where your skills gaps are, the next logical step is to find the talent you need. When you do this, working with a dedicated recruiter in the commercial sector, you will deliver results faster than internal recruitment alone.

At Clayton Recruitment, we are experts at finding you the talent you need to fill a particular skills gap in your organisation, and many of our clients are finding this service invaluable in the current climate.

We can even provide help if you are unsure where your skills gaps are and would like to talk to an expert about what your organisation might need moving forwards.

You can get in contact with us today by calling 01772 259 121 or send us an email by clicking 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 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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How To Build Your Talent Pipeline This Year

  • October 10, 2020

How to build a talent pipeline for your practice is a question many of our consultants are asked.

Logical when you consider that developing your team and the talent within your organisation will be key to your growth this year.

What Is A Talent Pipeline?

Contrary to what you might expect to read on a recruitment website, building a talent pipeline involves developing your current employees in addition to recruiting talent to ‘plug’ skill or experience gaps or fill your expansion needs.

Both will be critical for your success.

Building A Talent Pipeline: Business Strategy

The first question to inform your talent pipeline is focused on your current business growth strategy.

Are you planning to move into a new geography or perhaps offer a different aspect of your service?

You might have focused on business services and now want to expand into home and family; perhaps even consider wealth management.

The question is, do you have the capability in these areas currently or do you need to bring in a director or consultant to build a new vertical who are keen to move?

Considering these questions, how will you now plan your recruitment and within what time frame?

As a recruitment company with twenty years experience, we notice that many clients when they first come to us haven’t thought through their long term plan.

Remember to factor in budget and time to hire to hit your growth goals and be prepared for people leaving, which will produce gaps which need to be filled.

Building A Talent Pipeline: Your Current Team And Their Development

In today’s current market and depending on the size of your business it’s unlikely that you will be overstaffed with employees, ready, willing and able to be developed into a different role.

However, if you have a robust training and performance development process, it is more than possible that members of your current team will be able to move into different roles. Depending on your timelines it may be viable that some members of staff can develop to fill your growth gaps over the next one to three years.

Remember in today’s workplace; Millennials rule and are increasing in numbers across the globe. Something they deem key in their work is the opportunity to be developed. Therefore factor this into your talent development strategy and your future recruitment plans too.

Building A Talent Pipeline: Your Employer Brand

Recently we were carrying out some of our own research with candidates on why they choose to work with certain clients and not others.

Employer branding, culture and approach were giving as three influencing factors. One candidate even shared a story how after she came out of the interview she had been overwhelmed, in a positive way, by the  ‘feel’ of the organisation and their approach and was ‘keeping everything crossed’ that they made her an offer.

This isn’t an uncommon story, and the impact of your employer brand is more critical than ever.

A strong employer brand showcases the values and company culture in your organisation – all essential for attracting talent to your organisation and engaging your current staff.

More than 59% of managers say that branding is one of the critical components of their HR strategy.

While there are many different definitions for “employer branding” depending on whom you ask, they all mostly say the same thing. Your brand is the way that ‘potential new team members’ in the business world perceive you, and your opportunity to showcase what makes you unique.

Otherwise known as an “Employer Value Proposition”, your brand can help both you and your recruitment partner truly attract talent to your organisation while ensuring that you fill your team full of people who share the same values.

Building A Talent Pipeline: Using A Specialist Recruiter

The majority of clients we work with here at Clayton Recruitment come to us to help them build their talent pipeline because they have neither the time or connections to do the job as well as they would like.

Recruiting is our job; unlike most businesses who have to attract and work with clients, develop their fee earners and growing teams and then, as the business dictates recruit new members of the team.

A challenge for an already time-pressed individual.

Though it is great to recruit from within, it’s also key to bring in new ideas and perspectives from key hires who might have a different portfolio of experience and results.

Finding these individuals in a skill short market takes time.

Though we would always encourage building a network and leveraging your existing contacts and old school connections, this doesn’t always produce the results you want.

For instance, James who you have met at various social gatherings may have a high profile, however, might not have the detailed attributes your role description indicates is pivotal.

This is why working with an experienced recruitment company in the sector will make all the difference in building your talent pipeline.

Utilising all these different ideas and suggestions in your practice will enable you to start the process of building a strong talent pipeline this year.

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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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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