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5 Key Ways To Reduce Stress In Your New Role

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

Wait. What life?

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

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

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

Get/Stay Organised

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

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

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

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

Set Realistic Goals

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

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

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

Find The Right Balance

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

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

Take Care Of Yourself

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

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

Make Use Of Workplace Resources

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

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

About Clayton Recruitment

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

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

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

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

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CV Basics 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CV Content 

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

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

Your Personal Statement  

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

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

Work Experience 

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

Highlight Work Gaps 

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

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

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

Education and Qualifications 

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

Relevant Skills 

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

Interests and Activities 

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

Summary 

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

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

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

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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Your Career Checklist

When was the last time you sat down and reviewed to what extent you are meeting your career objectives?

And I don’t mean your annual review with your line manager; I’m talking about your deeply personal career goals and intentions.

Wherever you are in your career journey, it is a good idea to periodically analyse your current position depending on where you want to be. When you dig a little deeper, is everything on track and working out as you expected? Or do you need to make some changes in order to meet your goals?

To help you measure if your career is progressing as you envisaged when you started out, we have created the following checklist to provide you with a snapshot of whether you’re on the right track.

When you work through this checklist, it is essential to remember the reasons you got into your current role in the first place.

What did you set out to achieve in your career – did you plan on making a certain amount of money in a specific timeframe?

Was your move into your current role related to what was going on in your personal life? For example, were you about to leave home, get married or were you saving for a deposit for a house?

And also, what is important to you about the company you work for? Do you fit in with your company’s culture? Do you have a good working relationship with your colleagues and managers?

If your current role or company is not fulfilling you in the way you had hoped, or if the pace has slowed down recently, it could be a sign that you need to start making some big career decisions – is it time to move organisations?

Read each statement below and decide on how much you agree, using the following scale –

1 – Strongly disagree

2 – Disagree

3 – Neutral

4 – Agree

5 – Strongly agree

So, let’s get started!

Career Checklist

1. I am progressing the way I want in my career.

2. I have achieved some of my career goals, and others are within reach.

3. I enjoy my work and look forward to going in each day.

4. The people I work with are very supportive and friendly.

5. I feel like a valued member of the team I work within.

6. My manager gives me the right balance between support/guidance and working under my initiative.

7. I feel I make a difference within the company I work for, rather than just being a number.

8. The company I work for really invests in supporting me to achieve my goals.

9. I can see a clear progression path within my current company.

10. I am happy with the level of training and personal development offered by my current employer.

11. The company I work for believes in me and trusts me to do my job well.

12. I feel that my company enables and supports my focus.

13. I am recognised and rewarded for my work.

14. The sector I work in really interests me.

15. I am happy with the location of and commute to my place of work.

16. I feel my company offer a fair and competitive commission structure (if applicable).

17. The monetary remuneration I receive has enabled me to achieve goals in my personal life (i.e. buy a house, go on my dream holiday, etc.)

18. I feel I have the right work/life balance working for my current company.

19. I am happy with the way my working day is structured.

20. I can see myself staying with this company for a long time.

What Did You Score?

Tally up what you scored and take a look below at some of the points you may want to consider when thinking about how you want your career to progress in the future:

 

20-40

Alarm Bells! This score says your career isn’t going to plan, and you are probably not enjoying your current role. We suggest thinking about why you aren’t enjoying your position or not achieving what you want. It might be time for you to move on or think about whether your current company or role is for you. Do you need a more supportive environment, better career progression, or even a change of sector?

 

41-60

Room for More A better score, which suggests you enjoy aspects of your job, but there’s lots of room for improvement. For example, you might like the people you work with, but you feel you aren’t personally getting the support you need to achieve your career and personal goals. You need to consider if you can see changes happening in your current company by speaking to your manager, or if you feel working here has run its course and to progress, you need to move on.

 

61-80

Meeting Some Goals You’re neither very happy nor unhappy, though you wouldn’t describe yourself as completely engaged. Which means that if the right opportunity came your way, you would consider it. When you feel this way, sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. You need to decide if you want to move, why is this? Understand if it’s just a case of you only feel like this when you have a bad day or if it’s more often.

81+

Loving Life and Your Job You are achieving your goals, meeting targets and enjoy the place you work. There may be small elements that you feel could be better, but they aren’t big enough to make you think about working somewhere else. However, we suggest you don’t become complacent. Sometimes, being in a company for too long can demotivate you in the long run. If you’ve been working with the same company for a while, is it time for a fresh challenge with new people?

 

If this checklist has prompted you to think harder about what your current role and company are providing you with, and it has made you realise that now is time for a change, then get in touch with Clayton Recruitment today. We can help you in deciding what step to take next to further your career.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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

  • April 12, 2022

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

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

Enter the ability to develop your soft skills. 

Soft Skills For Growth 

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

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

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

Self-Awareness 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Communication Skills 

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

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

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

I hope I have not just described you. 

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

Openness to Feedback 

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

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

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

Growth Mindset 

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

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

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

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

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

Adaptability and Flexibility 

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

Adaptable and Flexible. 

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

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

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

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

How Can We Help? 

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

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The 72 Hour Countdown To Your Interview

  • March 25, 2022

Irrespective of whether you are moving into a new private client solicitor role or you are a superb legal secretary looking for their next opportunity, this is still a key career move; at least for now.

You actively applied for this role because you believe it will deliver you closer to your career and broader life goals.

By giving the interview process the respect it deserves, you will increase your chances of being successful and securing the role.

To truly succeed at a legal interview and confirm to your hiring manager you have the appropriate skills, traits and you are a good culture fit, you will need to be ready.

Poor planning delivers poor results.

Therefore, we aren’t talking about a quick look through their website the night before. Instead, we are referring to being fully prepared and ready by making the most of the 72-hour preparation window you need before your interview begins.

Three days is the perfect length of time to deliver you to the interview primed and ready in a calm and confident fashion.

Here is where we suggest starting.

1. Research and a Conversation With Your Legal Recruitment Consultant

In the current legal recruitment market, it’s likely that you will have found your role through a specialist legal recruitment company like Clayton Legal.

That being the case we, your recruiting partner, should be your first port of call when it comes to knowing as much as possible about the specific legal role in question and the company you could potentially join.

It is imperative to do this sooner rather than later, as this will enable you to carry out additional research as necessary, to stand out. Alternatively, this will let you know about gaps you might have that must be addressed in how you communicate your value to your future employer.

Google is naturally your friend here.

Look at any news about the sector of law you will be involved with. For instance, earlier this month I was looking at information about collaborative law and came across a post from a press release by a Bath law firm who were offering free mediation information sessions to people considering divorce, as part of Family Mediation Week.

A talking point maybe? Though your skills and experience are critical, your wider knowledge of the law is important too.

Research the company online. Learn as much as you can from the website, including all their specialisms and any bigger cases they are working on and what their plans might be.

Review all their social media profiles and anything they have published on LinkedIn’s article platform.

If the website has staff profiles and an ‘Our Story’ page, so much the better. If you can, find out how many employees they have and who is part of the leadership team.

During this research stage, you will be able to prepare good questions to ask that will demonstrate you are a serious candidate who’s done their homework. You would be surprised how many candidates don’t make an effort in this regard, and you’re likely to stand out by doing this.

If you are working with a professional legal recruitment consultant, they will be able to help you with most of this too. So, it’s critical to discuss the job description in detail and how you can demonstrate your value, which leads me onto the next point.

2. Know And Demonstrate Your Value

In today’s legal field hiring managers are looking for skills and abilities, yes; though they are also looking for the value you can add.

Imagine some of the questions you might be asked and prepare your answers that communicate how you have added value in the past. For instance, it might be a new system you initiated on creating court documents that improved the process, or the updated advice process you developed that has generated positive testimonials and referrals.

Ask your recruitment consultant to tell you what is behind the job specification and what are the crucial skills to demonstrate and communicate.

Finally, if you have a ‘brag’ file or letters of commendation or an end of year review that is positive and recent, take them with you and USE them.

It has been known for hiring managers to comment that James or Tania brought in a briefcase and never opened it!

Which left them wondering if they had missed something? No, but James and Tania missed the opportunity to demonstrate yet another validation of why they should get the role.

Remember to use everything at your disposal to position yourself as the logical choice.

3. Practical Logistics

With the best will in the world, we can all misjudge time. Double check the time and location of the interview, as well as the name of the hiring manager.

If you haven’t already been to check out the venue, prepare your route by car or train leaving plenty of time to get there in case you end up experiencing one of those annoying traffic jams that come from nowhere.

Let’s be frank, interviews are stressful enough, so there is no point adding to that unnecessarily by getting lost and certainly not by turning up late. Hint: hiring managers dislike latecomers.

Most people reading this post understand dress code and how what you are wearing does have an impact; you do, don’t you?

I will explore this briefly in a minute.

Firstly let’s talk about confidence and what you wear. I am not suggesting you head out and buy a new outfit or shoes. Instead, think about the outfit that always makes you feel good.

I have a few outfits I love, and I always wear them if I want a boost of confidence. Perhaps you have had this experience too?

No matter how many presentations you have given, or appearances in court; never underestimate interview nerves and their unexpected impact.

Finally, remember the goal of the interview is to leave the interviewers talking about your skills, attitude, and law experience and potentially how well you would fit into the team.

A fascinating fact I discovered last year is that over half of the population has a visual preference and a keen sense of smell and though we all like to think we don’t judge, we sometimes do.

The last thing you want to have your interviewers chatting about at lunch is how strong your perfume was or questioning if you smoked, or crikey how did you manage to walk in those heels?!

If you follow the steps in this post you have a template to impress the hiring manager with the depth of your knowledge in the company, and how confidently prepared you are.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with business’ 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.

If you would more help on preparing for your interview download our interview checklist here.

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How To Negotiate Your Pay Rise This Year

  • February 23, 2022

As I sit down to write this post, my phone has pinged to let me know that the UK economy has rebounded with the fastest growth since World War Two. A 7.5% increase despite falling back in December due to Omicron is a positive situation for business in the UK.

In contrast, our cost-of-living worsened in December after inflation jumped to 5.4% – its highest level in almost 30 years – driven by the higher cost of clothes, food, and footwear; this is likely to get worse as the cost of fuel doubles for many.

Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, says to ask for a pay rise now is to cause further economic decline.

In fact, according to a recent analysis by the Office for Budget Responsibility shared in the Newstatesman, the UK is on course to endure two more decades of stagnant wages, revealing the negative news that we should expect to earn less in 2026 than 2008.

Confusing when we consider certain sectors.

The last two years have seen many businesses report their best year ever, which we can confirm with the number of recruitment instructions we are receiving from our clients.

As a hardworking and productive professional, what are your options? Let’s share a few suggestions in this post.

Know Your Facts

The candidates we work with here at Clayton Recruitment are switched on. They know how their business is faring in the market and what growth is anticipated in future years.

When businesses plan growth, they also understand that they will need to plan financially to increase headcount and ensure their current team is engaged and recompensed appropriately.

Well, hopefully, that is the case.

Though not in every company.

Taking your time to research salary packages puts you a step ahead because it demonstrates that you have evidence to back up your pay raise request. This data is vital because it will give you leverage when starting the negotiation.

The question then is where your current firm sits on the spectrum, and are you being paid the going rate?

This brings me to the next point.

Know Your Value

Pay and remuneration is a prickly subject, and we aren’t guaranteed a pay rise every year for simply turning up and delivering on our objectives.

Remember, no manager likes being held to ransom and at the same time, they appreciate honesty. If you aren’t happy with your remuneration package, you have to tell them; as uncomfortable as that conversation feels.

At Clayton, whenever a candidate comes to us where pay is a problem, we always ask if they have had a discussion with their manager first.

It’s surprising how many people haven’t.
Sometimes a straightforward conversation like this works.

Sometimes it doesn’t, and this is where honesty with yourself is important. Here are a few questions to consider.

  • What value are you delivering to the company?
  • What results did you achieve last year that were above what was expected?
  • Is your manager or HR fully aware of your contribution to the business?
  • Considering this, how will you demonstrate how valuable you are?

As a first start, use your performance objectives showing all your achievements. This way, you will let your company appreciate your worth and what it might cost to replace you.

You could take your manager through the goals that were agreed upon together and what actions you have taken to achieve the results you have.

You will be surprised how well this works. Your manager could be responsible for a lot of people. They are human too, and might not have all your performance wins etched in their memory.

Know What You Want

This final point is key; know what you want, and here are a few things to consider.

  • Do you have a figure in mind?
  • Is this based on your personal need?
  • Your analysis of the current market?
  • How much you think you are worth?

It is important to know what you want and why and have justification for the figure you are asking.

Here is something else.

Is money your real motivator, or are there other options to consider? The world of work is changing, and many firms could consider hybrid working for day weeks and sabbatical leave. These are all options that are now on the negotiating table that wasn’t just a few short years ago.

Know Your Walk-Away Point And Your Options

You might be pleasantly surprised that your pay rise suggestion is accepted, especially in the current talent market.

However, be prepared that it might not. Therefore you need to consider your options.

The upside is that we are currently in a candidate-driven market because of the skill shortage fuelled by Covid-19.

For you, this means that your options are open, and if you are prepared to move, you can potentially join a new business and continue to develop your career while being appropriately rewarded.

And this is where we can help.

The team here at Clayton Recruitment have placed literally thousands of professionals.

Depending on your role and experience, we may be able to personally represent you to our clients too. If you would like to have a confidential conversation about you and your career then do get in touch. You will find all our contact details here.

What Next?

Though many workplace sectors experienced poor growth last year, there are certain sectors in the UK job market that aren’t. Here at Clayton Recruitment, we have multiple clients looking for skilled and ambitious candidates like you. For a confidential conversation about your career goals and your next move, please get in contact with one of our team 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, 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 Pass Your Probation Period In Your New Role

  • February 15, 2022

Probationary periods? When you look at the dictionary definition (a process of testing or observing the character or abilities of a person who is new to a role or job), it makes logical sense that an ethical business would have a probation period for all employees.

So today, let’s clarify what a probationary period is and how to ensure you pass yours with flying colours!

Probationary Period: A Definition

As a general rule in the UK job market, probationary periods last anywhere between three and six months, depending on the level of the role.

During this time, both you and your employer have an opportunity to decide if you are a match for each other, which you are both hoping is the outcome.

There will be a different notice period during the probation time frame, depending on your employment contract. It is usually much shorter and will vary from business to business. Your employer hasn’t recruited you on a whim; they want this to work out positively, as I suspect you do too.

Your new company has a duty of care to both you, their current team, and their clients. There is nothing worse than realising the role isn’t right for you or from your employer’s perspective.

Before we start looking at what to do to pass your probation, let’s remove the uncomfortable question on most new starters minds: “what do I need to do to make sure I don’t fail?”

Why New Hires Fail

Though many new hires panic that their skillset and technical ability need work, capability is rarely why people fail. Any professional business knows and understand that everybody isn’t the finished article.

They want you to deliver in your new role, of course, whether you are a Warehouse Operative or Lead Warehouse Control Manager. However, I am sure during the interview, you discussed how you want to develop your career.

During your hiring process, your recruiter will have assessed your CV, qualifications, experience, and skills aligned to the job role. Your hiring manager will have asked various questions to give examples of how you have achieved multiple results.

However, it is up to you to turn up and demonstrate what we call the double-A criteria;

  • Attitude and,
  • Aptitude.

Fact: Failure happens because of a lack of personal application.

HRmagazine in the UK and LeadershipIQ in the US shared extensive data that confirms that attitudes drive over 89% of hiring failures, while a lack of technical ability came in at only 11%. Career builder shared similar alarming research that 30% of managers had sacked staff for poor timekeeping.

I suspect you can see the pattern here of why people fail.

In summary, poor interpersonal skills often lead to an unwillingness to accept feedback—for instance, poor verbal communication skills, lack of listening and being too emotional.

One client came to us to ask for help with their recruiting, after making a series of poor hires.

One particular new marketing manager gave yes and no answers to everything rather than expanding her answers with the detail her manager needed. Then she complained that her manager was interrogating her. It was as though her twin sister, not her, came to the interview.

The person in question turned up ten minutes late every day without giving a reason, too; a pattern emerging all around the new hire’s attitude.

Motivation, or lack thereof, is another factor that leads to failure. Your employer doesn’t expect you to be a version of Ted Lasso, 100% motivated or enthusiastic all the time; however, demonstrating commitment and energy towards your role is something they want to see.

There is good news – all of the above reasons for failure are easily rectified with some mind management and awareness of your impact.
So, knowing attitude is key; what else can you do to make your probation plain sailing?

Make an Impact

Making an impact is easier than most people realise. Being positive and approachable are such easy wins. You moved into the role for a reason, so ensure people get that you are excited and enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead.

Dress codes vary in today’s workplace, and it’s still a good idea to dress smartly. This demonstrates to your new manager or leadership team and those around you that you take things seriously.

We mentioned earlier about lightness; whatever you do, don’t sabotage all the great ideas we’re going to give you by not paying attention to this key failure metric.

Though an uncomfortable truth, when you are new in an organisation, you are more visible to everyone, so make sure they see what you want them to see.

Put in Place Your Progress Plan

Here at Clayton Recruitment, we work with the best clients, and they all have specific objectives and criteria they share with new team members during their probation period.

However, we know that that isn’t always the case with every company. We appreciate that you may be reading this post as a professional struggling with your probation. Our first suggestion is to make sure that you align with the objectives your manager has given you with the outputs required in your job description.

If you haven’t been set SMART goals, set them yourself. Always ask your manager to give you examples of what exceeding, good, average, and poor looks like.

Feedback is fascinating, as we alluded to before, so remember to be proactive here and ask for feedback from your manager and colleagues.

Forewarned is always forearmed; their experience of you can help you alter what you are doing, how you’re working and how you’re interacting with people.

Keep a record of your progress, positive and development feedback, and what you did to change. Write down your wins, too, when they happened and what you did.

This process alone is invaluable because it will help you prepare ahead for your review while also giving you a framework to keep winning in your role.

For many people, being “on probation” can cause a level of anxiety. Our human brain doesn’t help either. It has a habit of looking for the negative all the time.

I hope by reading this post, you appreciate that passing your probation isn’t the onerous task you are making it out to 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, 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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Interview Skills: How to Excel In Your Virtual Interview

  • January 25, 2022

Though this post will focus on virtual interviewing ideas, the fundamental process of the interview is the same.

Interviews are an opportunity for candidates and employers to ‘meet’ virtually or face to face. This enables you to ask questions of each other, demonstrate why you as a candidate will be an ideal hire for the business in question while you test their compatibility to help you develop your career.

Interviews can still be an unsettling experience, particularly in an environment where virtual interactions are still taking place across sectors and many of us aren’t always keen to jump in front of a camera.

Like any life skill, preparation is key. As you prepare for your interview, ensure you answer the following.

  • Knowing why you want to move now.
  • How you will communicate the value you bring through the results you can achieve.
  • How to demonstrate your confidence and capability in every way, including on video
  • And how to confirm you are what your prospective employer is looking for.

If you plan to develop your career in a new role, this blog will help. I will be reviewing several interview fundamentals and how to present well on video.
The first part of any interview process is to gather data – let me explain.

1. Do Your Research

Start by getting to know the business you’re hoping to work for and make sure you can answer the question, “Why are you a good fit for our team?”
The recruitment consultant you are working with will help with this, and it is vital to do your research.

Assessing the business’ website, social media channels, current team, and online content can give you a good insight into the values and principles that guide the business.

You may even find it helpful to look into the background of the person who will be interviewing you on LinkedIn so that you can ask questions related to their role. Remember, asking questions in an interview is a great way to show you are interested, involved, and engaged, all key employability skills every business is looking for.

2. Plan and Prepare

Planning and preparation can make all the difference to how confident you are as you enter the interview.

As you prepare, look through the job description and expectations and discuss the key motivations and drivers for the business with your recruitment consultant.

For example, suppose you were applying for a warehouse operative role. In that case, the requirement might be to demonstrate prior experience working within warehouses and managing your workload efficiently.

Therefore, logically what examples do you have to demonstrate where you have gone above and beyond in this area? Once you are clear on examples, it is much easier to use them to answer questions.

Though you can’t predict every single question you will be asked, several time-tested questions might appear. Prepare for questions around:

  • What’s the most difficult activity you’ve ever had to deal with?
  • How do you deal with an X, Y or Z situation?
  • How would you handle a difficult task? Can you share an example?
  • Why us and why now?
  • What are your career aspirations?

Many businesses use a combination of general and competency-based questions, so be prepared for both. A general question may have a yes or no answer though there is usually an opportunity to share more detail, which helps you demonstrate your knowledge and the drive you will bring to the role.

Practising your interview skills is a great way to perfect your answers to complex questions. It’s also a chance for you to ask people whether you’re making the right impression with your overall attitude, presentation, and image.

3. Master Your Video Skills: It is Easier Than You Think

Video interviews are still often part of the first stage of the hiring process after the hiring team has viewed your CV.

Depending on the business, you may be asked to record a video where you answer a number of questions about yourself and your capabilities as part of a first screening stage.

Videos ahead of time give you an opportunity for multiple takes to get everything right. Though the hiring manager won’t expect you to be in a professional studio, it is important to record your video to profile you in the best possible way.

People use two popular cameras; one is a webcam, the other a smartphone. I want to share a few important details about both.

Using a smartphone, use a stand to avoid a camera shake from a nervous had. A useful technique is to look up or directly at the camera rather than down. This allows you to use your eye contact and body language to maximum effect.

When it comes to video technology, smartphones do an amazing job, and to improve the impact, better lighting and an external microphone will lift the experience. The number of people using video technology has meant that you can get a camera stand, lighting, and a microphone for under forty pounds.

Remember to record in a well-lit room with a plain background behind you.

Recording ahead of time allows you to practise what you say and how you come across. Importantly remember to look into the camera lens, which you can test ahead of time.

Similar principles apply to web cameras which can often be plugged onto a monitor screen or are part of your computer. Test the audio quality ahead of time as using ear jacks or an external microphone might give a better experience.

A headset and earphones are gamers’ choices; however, try to avoid using a headset like this during an interview as they can restrict your movement and are not flattering to wear.

It’s also worth taking extra steps to “set up your space” for video. Make sure your lighting is excellent in your room of choice, and there isn’t clutter or a window behind you in the video stream. If you can’t find a professional-looking space in your home, use virtual or custom backgrounds instead.

Remember, when you record a video like this, taking one will rarely be your best version. Practice really does make perfect, and a rushed or unrehearsed video stands out a mile.

When it comes to having an interactive video interview, the same principles apply that I mentioned earlier.  Remember to look into the camera as much as you can, varying your gaze when someone else is speaking so that you can get a sense check on the body language your interviewer is sharing.

It goes without saying that you should dress for the role you want, which includes all areas of your body that will be both off and on camera.

Being generally confident, friendly, and open will make it easier for your interviewer to connect with you and imagine a space for you in the business. Pay attention to your actions throughout the interview, and try not to engage in any nervous behaviours like wringing your fingers, or tapping your desk, as this can make you look impatient.

We have focused on working with the camera and sound, and there may be other software involved. If that is the case, download the software you need for the conversation in advance, and practice using it. Ensure you know how to do everything from sharing your screen to muting yourself when someone else talks.

Check the quality of your internet connection in advance, so you can warn your interviewer if you’re concerned you might have any lag issues. You can also contact a friend or family member via video to check your video and audio look and sound as good as possible.

Next Steps

The job market is on the verge of a virtual hiring revolution. For some time now, recruitment has been growing increasingly virtual.

Before the pandemic, the Clayton group had already begun utilising video interviewing for our client and our candidate recruitment, with great results.

We have invested in the latest video technology that provides an unparalleled recruitment process for job seekers.

Contact the Clayton Recruitment team today if you would like support to develop your job search in the virtual age.

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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Planning Your Career in Our New Normal Workplace

  • January 20, 2022

At the start of a new year, many of us review where we are in both our personal and professional lives. For those of us working in the current job market, it’s no different.

The specific details of the path you want to take might differ slightly. However, the five fundamentals we are sharing today form part of any successful career planning process, as we have observed placing more than 5000 professions over the last twenty-two years.

First, let’s put some context around the impact of the new ‘norm’ when it comes to creating your plan.

The New Norm

As we navigate our way out of the pandemic and multiple new variants, it is fair to say that the new normal hasn’t impacted some sectors as much as others, except for improved technology, communication channels and virtual recruitment.

We noticed here at Clayton Recruitment that the phone continued to ring after the initial few weeks of the first lockdown as clients asked us to help fill their roles. This continued throughout 2021, accelerating at pace as the year went on. 2022, so far, shows so sign of this appetite to hire slowing down.

Hybrid, home, and remote working are still major debates across businesses as they consider the permanency of such working arrangements.

As predicted by the Microsoft Workplace Trends report, many candidates we speak to are keen to have some flexibility around working in the office or at home. Consequently, we are seeing more businesses willing to consider hybrid working moving forward.

The critical piece of the conversation is that skilled candidates are in short supply. This results in employers counter offering employees to stay with them rather than moving to a new business. Some candidates continue to have multiple offers on the table.

In summary, if you are a skilled candidate looking to move, this is your time.

What an opportunity, though let’s have a sense check here. Jumping into a new role with an improved package and a hybrid working opportunity is OK, provided it is part of your long-term plan.

Therefore, consider this as you plan your career. Moving and building your career takes time, depending on the level you want to achieve.

So, what should you be considering in your overall plan?

Decide What You Want

Goal setting and tweaking can happen at any time of the year. As Professor Maxwell Maltz shared in his New York Times bestseller, human beings are success-seeking creatures, and therefore we want to achieve success.

Without goals to inspire and drive you, it’s impossible to know if you’re moving in the right direction. In simple terms, if you don’t know the destination, then you can’t plan the journey.

Deciding what you want allows you to take control of your professional life.
Simply saying that you want something isn’t enough. Goal setting is a strategic process that considers what you want to achieve through a series of milestones and action steps and ends with hard work and dedication.

Therefore, setting a goal and then moving towards it is a logical process we would all be advised to tap into.

Most professionals want:

  • To work in an area of business that they enjoy and find interesting
  • To receive sufficient income for their work to enable them to live comfortably
  • To be considered as being professional and knowledgeable
  • To achieve a work/life balance that allows them to enjoy a life away from their work

No matter your opinion about setting goals, you will find yourself meandering around with no real sense of purpose unless you are clear on what you want.
Choosing stretch goals means finding the right balance between targets you can realistically achieve and aims that challenge you.

However, don’t set goals that are too easy, either. It’s essential to challenge yourself, as that way, you can reap the rewards of feeling accomplished and driven. Find goals that help you raise the bar on your work and performance.
Always have both short- and long-term goals in mind.

A Goal Setting Framework

One of the most popular goal-setting strategies involves creating “SMART” goals. There are variations on what the “SMART” acronym stands for, but most experts agree that it requires your goals to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

Your career goals must be clear and defined. A vague goal like “I want to get a promotion” doesn’t provide sufficient direction. Determine what kind of promotion you want that will fit your plan and when you want to accomplish that target.

Conduct a Skills Audit and Contact A Recruiter

To accomplish what you want in your career, you will have to up-level your skills relevant to your desired roles. Knowledge is power, and this is where talking to someone who has the ultimate position you want can be useful.

Although, remember that a lot has changed during the last few years and what was once required for a role, either skills or experience, might have changed.

This is where talking to a specialist recruiter will help. Here at Clayton, we have over twenty years’ experience recruiting professionals and can guide you on the best next steps according to the specific career path you want to take.

With the specs for your ideal job to guide you and your CV in hand, write a list of the skills you need to work on and rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 4. A rating of 4 indicates that you’re an expert in the area, while a rating of 1 means that you have very little knowledge or skill in that area.

Once you know which elements need the most work, you can develop a list of activities that will help you close the gap.

Managing Your Mind

The first step in developing your career is to embrace the right mindset by managing your mind. More than ever, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of working with our mentality to handle whatever is happening globally.

It’s easy to assume that creativity, intelligence, or talent are the things that set successful people apart from the rest of the world. However, the truth is that all the most powerful people in business today reached their goals through perseverance, grit, dedication, and the right mindset.

Your ultimate goal may take a few years, and the more you can manage your mind through the process, the better.

Good Luck!

What Next?

Though many workplace sectors experienced poor growth in 2020 and into last year, the sector wasn’t one of them. Here at Clayton Recruitment, we have multiple clients looking for skilled and ambitious candidates like you. For a confidential conversation about your career goals and your next move, please get in contact with one of our team 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, 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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Why 2021 is the Year to Look for a New Finance Role

  • December 16, 2020

Despite most of 2020 being taken up in the crisis and recovery stages of the pandemic, the start of 2021 really is the time for us to celebrate and look forward to life after Covid.

With the vaccine promising a return to a new kind of normal, it is finally time to start planning with confidence for your next move in your finance career.

Finance professionals have been the saviour of many organisations this year, providing essential services and protecting businesses in what has been an incredibly challenging environment.

As a finance professional, you will probably have acquired some new skills, and certainly lots of new experience this year.

This means that it is the perfect time to think about what you want from your finance career, and how to find it.

Today we look at current opportunities for you as a finance candidate and why now is the ideal time to look for a new role.

Covid Recovery

We are finally approaching the end of the Covid period now, with the vaccination programme in full force in the UK.

That means that the time businesses have spent waiting and being tentative in their hiring decisions are over – the accounting opportunities that are going to be created over the next few months will be plentiful as businesses focus on growth once again.

Businesses are now looking to take advantage of market conditions and grow, rather than be stifled like they were for the most part of 2020.

Where Are the Opportunities?

As well as Covid, there has been increasing concern about UK finance sector jobs due to Brexit. Still, recent reports show that employment in the finance sector is defying the warnings that were originally predicted.

Finance roles have been retained for the most part since the 2016 referendum, and hiring sprees in some parts of the country have seen opportunities increase substantially.

The areas we see the need for accounting roles increase are in public practice, commerce and industry, and the public sector.

Despite the upheaval caused by Covid, opportunities in industries such as eCommerce and virtual communications have skyrocketed.

However, despite finance and accounting opportunities rising, there has also been an increase in the number and variety of candidates applying for each vacancy. This means that the need to stand out in your job search is greater than ever.

Let’s look at what you can do as a finance and accounting candidate to prepare for your 2021 job search.

Industry Versus Practice

Many accounting professionals will stay within their remit, either industry or practice for the majority of their career.

But to find a new role in 2021, it might be time to think outside the box.

Finance roles within a practice are in high demand right now, as SMEs get to grips with accounting, audits, tax, and assurance issues that have been caused by the pandemic. In contrast, finance departments in larger SMEs, particularly in certain commercial and retail sectors have struggled.

If you have always worked in an industry position, is it time to consider a practice role?

Whatever your thoughts might be on where to take your finance career, right now, enlisting the help of a financial careers expert will be invaluable.

Formulating Your Plan

Any career move you make in 2021 should always be considered with your ultimate career goal in mind. Deciding on where to make your next move will depend on several factors such as your location and family responsibilities; sometimes, you need an independent expert to help you see the clearer picture.

Depending on whether you plan to cultivate a career working in financial practice or in industry, we can help you figure out your next strategic move. Get in touch with us here if you are considering a career move this year, but you need help on where to focus your job search.

Finally, let’s look at my top tips to help you right now as you embark upon your new job search.

Standing Out in Your Job Search

Finance professionals embarking on a job hunt in 2021 will have to work harder than ever to get noticed, so here are my expert recruiting tips to improve your new job prospects.

Refresh Your LinkedIn – your professional online persona might have been the last thing on your mind this year but before you start applying for new roles, make sure that your profile is not just correct but also up to date. Enhance your profile with new post-Covid skills, get liking and sharing industry news and start making new connections. Most hiring managers will check you out online – you want them to see your active interest in your career and your network.

Tailor Each Application with Your USP – let each hiring manager know in your cover letter and throughout your CV why you are the ideal candidate for this role. What unique skills do you have that make you a candidate that deserves an interview over your competitors?

Get in Touch With a Finance Recruiter – this is by far the best thing that you can do as a finance candidate. At Clayton Recruitment, we specialise in finance and accountancy recruitment. We can advise you on your current job search, help update and tailor your CV for your post-Covid job search, as well as finding and arranging your next interviews.

Next Steps?

If you are looking for a new finance and accounting role for 2021 – get in touch with our team of career experts today, click here or call us on 01772 259 121.

Let 2021 be the year you make your most valuable financial career move.

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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