Category Archives: Recruitment

Strike a pose with your CV

Standing out from the crowd with your CV is incredibly difficult to do.  As I have said on many occasions in this blog the best way to put your CV together divides opinion.  There are lots of them.  Today’s Google count on “CV” numbered 301 million!

A little inspiration goes a long way.  I like therefore to showcase people who are doing things differently in their attempt to secure the job they want.  I have seen some great examples, hugely innovative, creative, striking even.  First up was the Employ Kyle campaign.  Brilliant.

And there was the exceptional video resume campaign from Greame Anthony

The latest to stand out is this campaign from Celine Cavaillero who is looking for a job in Fashion.

I loved it.  It’s relevant for her target audience.  It showcases her creative skills and talents, qualifications and experience, likes, passions and hobbies.  It’s smart, clever, innovative.  On the premise that your CV is simply a catalyst for conversation it leaves me wanting to meet her, to know more, to ask questions.  It does the job.

From the perspective of a potential employer, this strikes me as someone who has gone to great lengths, time and effort to get the career of her choosing.  She is committed.  I want that on my team.  Who doesn’t?

So what do you think?  I for one congratulate Celine.  I am sure on the strength of this evidence she will enjoy much success.  Thank you for the inspiration.



Filed under Hiring, Recruitment

Permanent Recruitment rising at its highest rate in 6 months

The latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation / KPMG Labour Market survey is published today.  It evidences the number of people securing permanent employment rising at its fastest rate in 6 months.  Permanent hiring grew to 57.4 on January’s index (anything above 50 represents growth), up from 54.9 in December (no surprises here, December has always been a slow month for permanent hires).  The previous high had been 56.3 in August 2010.

The number of people securing permanent employment has been rising for 18 months.  What this report doesn’t tell us is what percentage of these hires are full-time versus part-time.  However the number is growing.  Sure, if you are out of work it is not growing fast enough, but it is growing.  Sure we have yet to feel the impact of the Governments Austerity measures on public sector employment, but the number of people gaining permanent jobs is growing and has been for 18 months.

So who is hiring?  IT, Accounting, Engineering and Construction were highlighted as those sectors growing permanent hires at the fastest rate and in the highest numbers.  Boardroom Hiring was also evidenced as on the increase.  So business is hiring.

The more we hear about a jobless recovery, the more we are likely to have one.  The more people hear the economy is weak, the less confidence they have to hire.  I am not suggesting that the media should lie ( heaven forbid! ) I just think more attention, column inches and air time needs to be given to the positives when they appear.

On the strength of this survey, there is good news to be found in the employment market.  Lets not hide our light under a bushel.  We don’t know for how long it may last but for now, shout it loud, permanent employment is rising at its fastest rate in 6 months.  Long may this trend continue.

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Filed under Hiring, Job Creation, Recruitment

Green Shoots for Graduates

A report out this morning from the Association of Graduate Recruiters shows significant improvement in the Graduate Jobs market.  The survey of 200 employers evidences an 8.9% increase in graduate jobs in 2010 for the first time since the recession.  That trend is expected to continue in 2011 with a predicted 3.8% increase on 2010.

It is still an employers market, as evidenced by the median average salary for Graduates remaining fixed at £25000 per annum for the second year in a row.  That is expected to remain at this level in 2011, an unprecedented third year in a row that this number has remained static.

Despite the fact that salaries remain static, there is still much by way of discrepancy between sectors.  The best starting salaries for Graduates remain Investment Banking, offering an average starting salary of £42,000.

If you want to get ahead once you graduate evidence is yet further increasing of the value of work placements.  Ernst and Young recently highlighted more than one-third of its latest graduate came from those who had undertaken internships with the firm.

“In this tough jobs market, getting access to these placements is absolutely invaluable for young people, because it is increasingly a foot in the door to a future career.” Microsoft.

As the war for the very best future talent hots up, there is increasing evidence that employers are looking to form links with the most talented stars of tomorrow whilst they are still at University.

All this is reported as if it might be a new phenomenon.  It isn’t.  Getting ahead has always been about putting yourself out, sticking your hand up, volunteering, pushing yourself forward and doing what you need to do to succeed.  Internships are not new.  Work experience is not an invention of the modern age.

Employers have always wanted people who are prepared to do above and beyond the norm, who are prepared to make personal sacrifices to evidence their commitment, motivation, talent and skills.  Anything that can give you an edge in a crowded market is clearly a positive.  Expect to see the trend for internships continue.  I for one applaud their return.


Filed under Careers, Recruitment

Change your life in two pages…(or, how long should my CV be?)

I had an email from an old friend last week asking for my help in resolving a debate taking place amongst his peers at work. How long should a CV be? As the hiring Managers, they wanted 2 pages but recruiters and job seekers alike were sending CV’s ranging anywhere upwards from 3 pages.

As a Recruiter, knowledge is power (yes, I know, I suffer from delusions of grandeur!) The more in depth, detailed information I have about you the better placed I am to introduce you the job you want. However that information should come when I interview you. It is up to me as the external recruiter to ask the right questions of you to ensure you give me all I need. I suspect I may be one of a dying breed in this respect.

Many recruiters (both internal and external) don’t read CV’s. The CV arrives through some form of online portal and is dropped automatically in to a database where keyword searches throw up the pre – requisite skills the hiring manager needs to fill the job order. Therefore from a candidate perspective you need to ensure your CV is content, keyword rich, highly visible to search engines.

You can’t afford to leave anything out fear of the search engines missing you and the opportunity passing you by. So you err on the side of caution, work on the principle of more is better.

Culture has a part to play. Over the years I have interviewed lots of South Africans. Their CV’s would make Tolstoy proud. They appear to work on the principle the longer the CV, the more you will have achieved. On the other end of the spectrum I have only today seen the issue of the one page CV come up. As labour markets become ever more transient and global war for talent hots up, cross border issues will arise when it comes to CV’s. So what’s the global view?

My last search returned 3.6 million results. It’s all a matter of opinion, clearly there are many. So for the record, here’s mine.

Two pages.

Your CV is simply a catalyst for conversation. You have to grab my attention and you have a short time in which to do it. Jaguar Land Rover recently announced 14000 + applications for 1500 vacancies. The competition is fierce. Every word must count.

I need to know fast who you are, how to contact you, what you are qualified to do, who you worked for, what you did for them, what you achieved whilst you were there and what impact those achievements had on the business. 60% duties and responsibilities, 40% achievements. Make sure you can quantify those achievements, put some numbers to them, evidence the contribution to the top or bottom line. Then you’ve got my attention. I want at most your last 10 years and will really focus on the last five in detail. The rest is history.

I want to know a little bit about you outside the work place, what your hobbies and interests are, just enough to want to know more. I don’t need to know it all, just the bits of which you are most proud that you consider wholly relevant to the post.

If you don’t get shortlisted for interview, it is not you that is being rejected, it is your CV. You need to work on it. It should be a living, breathing, up to the minute document of which you are intensely proud. There can be no sense of that’ll do. It should be fine tuned, fine tuned and fine tuned again.

Give it the attention it deserves. Its two pages that lead to a conversation that could change your life.


Filed under Careers, Recruitment

What is the future of the recruitment industry?

There are some unusual, unpredictable, disruptive things going on.  The status quo is being challenged, our assumptions being questioned, that which we knew to be true undermined.  World order is being turned upside down.  Much of it we cannot answer, its scary, exciting, it creates opportunity.  Some people are grabbing it, some people are stood frozen, helpless, like a rabbit in the headlights.

Take retail.  The traditional model is under enormous pressure.  Look at HMV.  It has no substantial high street rival and yet it is in ruins.  We all know what happened.  Itunes.  We download our music.  Online rivals don’t have the additional costs that come with staff, utilities and town centre property.  Online, the world is your shop window.  The internet now accounts for £1 in every £10 we spend shopping.

The business press is full of its usual doom and gloom and focusing heavily on retails woes.  Yet look at the success story that is ASOS.  UK sales have risen by 59% in the last three months.  International sales at ASOS have risen 159%.  So what is it that ASOS is doing that many other retailers aren’t?    They have taken a traditional model and applied technology to deliver a better experience for customers at a better price.  It has become the “one stop fashion hub” for 15 to 25 year olds (and older!).   This month they launch a fully integrated Facebook store.  Brilliant.

I should confess here, I hate shopping.  I have about a one hour shopping tolerance, therefore online is a lifesaver for me, clearly I am biased.  In the spirit therefore of balance, lets talk Books.  I love them.  Give me a bookstore and a coffee and I am a happy man  My local Borders had a Starbucks and I had no mobile signal in the store.  I used to hide out in there.  My refuge has gone.

The kindle was Amazon’s biggest selling item in the UK last year.  My wifes 79-year-old Grandmother has one and she loves it.    We can read at the touch of a button and its brilliant.  Even for a book lover like me.

So what about the recruitment industry?  In 2007 recruitment in the UK was a £27 billion business.  In 2010 it was £19 billion.  At the same time employment levels have dropped from 72.6% to 70.3%.  Clearly we have had extremely challenging economic times and unemployment has increased significantly, but to the extent that we have lost 30% of our market?

Historically the value in a recruitment business was in its database.  That and its people.  What distinguished one recruiter from another was the calibre of candidate on its database and the ability of its people to deliver the right candidate to the client.  We protected that database as if our lives depended on it, rightly so.

Now that database is published to the world.  Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin.  The world is connected.  Our ability to filter, to cut through the noise, is still of enormous value but increasingly employers are becoming smarter at filtering for themselves.  75% of hires in investment banking are direct hires.  The CiPD evidences 72% of vacancies never make it to the public domain.  Never a truer adage not what but who you know.

What is going on here?  The times they are a changing.  The recruitment industry has not changed its model for 80 years.  Innovate or die.  It is time for revolution.

What will we look like in five years time?  Historically we were a bricks and mortar model.  Is this still necessary?  We are still a handshakes, face to face business, but increasingly we can reach an ever wider pool of talent virtually.  How will this effect the customer experience?

I have some views, too many for one blog post.  It occupies my mind virtually every waking hour.  I am taking steps, making plans to address it ( Watch this space ).  In the meantime, what is the future of the recruitment industry?  HMV or Itunes?  What will be the recruitment equivalent of ASOS?

This is an important debate for an industry that I love.  I would love to hear what you think.


Filed under Recruitment

Video – the future of your job search?

Video Resumes are featuring more and more heavily in web chatter.  I have yet to have an Executive approach me with a video resume, I have yet to have a client ask for one.  Nobody has asked me for advice on how best to put one together.  I still receive regular calls from job seekers on how best to put the traditional 2 page curriculum vitae together.

Trust me they are coming.  I first blogged about this subject in September last year when I came across what I considered to be a quite brilliant video CV from Graeme Anthony.

Compare Graeme’s to a video resume I spotted on YouTube recently (below).  I am clear what Graeme brings to the party.  I am clear as to his strengths, his talents, his experience and his skills.  I am clear what he has achieved and what he wants to achieve in the future.  I am clear because he is clear.

The video below is a different story.  Clever, interesting, but I am left feeling uncertain as to what I have just seen.

Other than being a workaholic who likes coffee and possesses skills such as the ability to send an email from his pda whilst in a car park, I am uncertain what he brings to my business.  I am not intrigued, I am irritated.  Sure it is well produced, but its ambiguous.  When you are looking for a job, content is as crucial as presentation.

What can you do, what have you done?  What do you want, how can I help you, how can you help me?  It answers none of these questions that might just set this guy apart from those others he is competing with at interview.  It is short, its concise, but it gives me little to consider.

Success in the jobs market is all about setting yourself apart from those with whom you are competing.  The competition is fierce.  Jaguar Landrover has this week announced that it has had more than 14000 applications to 1500 new posts.

The CV is only ever a catalyst to a conversation.  Your CV, video or otherwise, will not get you a job, that’s down to you, but it will get you a conversation.  I am busy, you are busy.  Less is more.  Cut to the chase.  Tell me who you are, what you’ve done, what you have achieved, how that has added value to your employer and why therefore that could be of interest and value to me.  Get it on tape and lets talk.

What do think as to the future of the CV?  Would you consider a video?  Let me have your comments, I would love to know your view.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Video Resumes, posted with vodpod


Filed under Recruitment, Social Media

A smart investment in future talent

Last week KPMG, the global consulting firm, announced plans to launch a 6 year training programme to turn 100 of this years school leavers in to Accountants.  The specifics see KPMG working with 20 schools in disadvantaged areas to recruit 100 school leavers in to BSc Accounting and Finance.  This will then be followed up by a two-year post degree training programme leading to a professional accounting qualification.

Tuition fees and accommodation costs will be covered by KPMG for the duration of the degree programme.  Starting salary post degree for accounting trainees will commence at £20,000 per annum and is expected to rise to around £45,000 once the training course has been completed.  The target is for around 400 pupils per annum to be recruited in to this scheme.

Last year we had McDonalds announce they were to introduce and support degree programmes for staff.

Is this part of a wider trend amongst employers to support further and higher education?  Clearly the rising costs of tuition fees inflames passions, as we have witnessed from the recent student demonstrations.  The issue of employee engagement is firmly on the agenda and talent attraction and retention is a challenge for so many.

KPMG, like many firms offering training schemes, suffers from having many who qualify leave to other businesses who then benefit from that investment.  Will starting early and supporting education and professional training in this way strengthen the psychological contract between employer and employee?

I for one am not convinced.  Employee engagement is an ongoing commitment.  However, this is not just about a great pr move, it is part of a genuine commitment to invest in giving school leavers a better future.  We should not just rely on government to fill in the gaps.  The private sector needs to take a longer term view about the talent of tomorrow.   I for one applaud KPMG, McDonalds and those like them for investing in that future.

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Filed under Careers, Recruitment