26th September 2017

Summer Newsletter

19 October 2016 | by Asset Resourcing

Article 1: Q: How Has Brexit Affected the Recruitment Industry?

A: Badly. Really badly. Oh, you want more? OK.

In a scathing indictment of the Brexit fallout, the Financial Times said that the UK job market was in ‘freefall’.

Referring to a press release from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), the FT article says that recruiters have reported the steepest drop in permanent placements for seven years. From bad to worse, the depressing presser was sent out a day after the Bank of England predicted a rise in unemployment from 4.9% to 5.5% as a direct result of Brexit.

These numbers have a ring of doom and gloom to them, of that there’s no doubt, but it is, according to REC Chief Executive Kevin Green, ‘important not to jump to conclusions from one month’s worth of data’.

At the time of writing, it’s been six weeks since we voted to leave the EU and the only thing that we can believe with absolute certainty from what we read in the papers and online is that no-one knows what the long-term consequences look like.

With Government and the Bank of England making sensible decisions (yes OK, we know it’s a long shot), market confidence could return faster than originally anticipated but as Kevin Green says ‘the demand for staff remains strong with vacancies continuing to rise but the sharp fall in placements suggests that businesses are highly cautious about committing to new hires. Economic turbulence following the vote to leave the EU is undoubtedly the root cause.’

It seems that, for now, job seekers are prepared to stay where they are instead of rocking the boat and moving on with no guarantees of stability. While there’s been a drop in confidence rather than demand for perm staff, temp billings are up across the country as employers look to satisfy demand with casual staff.

What doesn’t help confidence is Mark Carney saying that around 250,000 people will lose their jobs as a direct result of Brexit….

In last month’s Recruitment Grapevine online magazine, Macildowie chairman Ed Vernon OBE offers his thoughts on the post-Brexit recruitment industry and it’s an interesting read.

We know we ask every month but what are your thoughts? What do you think is going to happen? Have you noticed a drop in per placements? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

Article 2: Can Where You Sit REALLY Improve Productivity?

An article in this month’s Recruitment Buzz thinks so.

Reading one of a billion trillion books on improving productivity in the workplace and then regurgitating it verbatim to bored middle-managers and small business owners who are looking no further than the next invoice is how ‘business coaches’ justify their existence. Now, there’s a new way to improve productivity and thankfully you don’t have to waste your money on ‘consultants’ and ‘coaches’. You just need to buy a few new chairs.

A new report – with the exceptionally dull title ‘Planning Strategic Seating to Maximise Employee Performance’ – from talent managers Cornerstone in conjunction with Harvard Business School says that by rearranging where your employees sit in relation to each other, businesses can ‘generate up to a 15% increase in organisational performance’.

In a company of 2,000 staff, that potentially translates to an extra £800,000 on the bottom line.

The research – which took two years to compile and took in data from over 2,000 employees – identified three types of workers:

  • Productive – very productive but lack in quality
  • Quality – superior quality but lack in productivity
  • Generalist – average on both dimensions

As it turns out, ‘seating Productive and Quality workers together and seating Generalists separately in their own group shows a 13% gain in productivity and a 17% gain in effectiveness.’

In a sentence that can charitably be filed under ‘the bleedin’ obvious’, the geniuses behind the report suggest that ‘symbiotic relationships are created from pairing those with opposite strengths’.

While the report says that by sitting certain people together will increase productivity, it also says that the ‘spillover’, the effects one gets from another, can also ‘extend to negative performance through misconduct and unethical behaviour’.

The article goes on to say ‘in measuring the extent to which a toxic worker (i.e. a worker that harms an organisation’s people and/or property) influences others, the study finds that the negative performance of these workers spills over to fellow workers in a process similar to positive spillover.’

So there we have it. In a nutshell, sit with people who you think you can learn from and who will positively influence your productivity rather than that kid in school who used to spit balls of rolled up paper through a straw at the back of teacher’s head. He’s a wrong ‘un.

Article 3: The Bleedin’ Obvious 101: Don’t Be Rude At Your Interview

The title of this article barely needs further explanation, except it does. We’re not talking about calling the interviewer a **** on your way out, the rudeness we’re talking about is much more subtle…

Business Insider has collated 20 things candidates say (mostly without realising it) that are guaranteed to relocate their CV to the bottom of the pile.

I’ve been waiting a while’be internally annoyed your interviewer is late, but don’t verbalise it.

‘Hi, I know I’m late, but…’ – Don’t draw attention to it and don’t make lame excuses. Apologise quickly and move on.

‘What happens if I don’t get on with my boss?’ – The inference here is that you don’t get on with co-workers and/or management. Also, it’s likely your future boss is sitting in front of you…

‘Are you married/do you have kids?’ – Your interviewer’s personal life is way off limits and none of your business. Don’t even go there.

‘I heard a rumour about the MD, is it true?’ – An interview is no place for idle gossip and hearsay of the very worst kind. It’s hugely unprofessional.

‘Who in the office should I avoid?’ – Intra-office politics and dramas are not your concern when you’re not even an employee (yet).

‘So, what does your company do?’ – If you even have to ask this, don’t be surprised if the interviewer simply asks you to leave on the spot.

‘My weaknesses? None at all.’ – Don’t be ridiculous. We all have them. Be honest otherwise you come across as arrogant and not entirely honest. If you had no business weaknesses you’d be running Amazon.

‘So, did I get the job?’ – This is #1 on the list of ‘what not to ask an interviewer while you’re technically still in your interview.’ It puts them on the spot and you may not like the answer.

‘I think your company’s big weakness is _______’ – Be enthusiastic and positive, don’t point out deficiencies. Offer ways of improvement rather than to tell them how awful they’re doing.

‘Sorry, I really need to take this call…’ – No explanation needed. Use your phone during an interview and you’re finished.

‘I just need a job.’ – We refer you back to point one. Even if you’re thinking it, don’t verbalise it.

‘Shall we get started?’ – That’s not your call to make. Eager and nervous you may be but wait for the interviewer to start the interview.

‘Sorry, I’ve gotta run…’ – Make sure you leave enough time (including a redundancy) before and after your interview.

‘I’d like a coffee please.’ – It’s bad form to ask. Wait to be offered and if you’re not, tough. Take a bottle of water in with you if you think you’re going to need some lubrication.

‘I…I…I…’ – Of course you need to sell yourself but keep the bigger picture in mind. You’re about to become a cog in a machine, not the MD.

‘The office isn’t what I imagined it to be.’ – Don’t start off with disappointment. Again, keep these things to yourself.

‘How did YOU get this job?’ – That’s none of your business. It implies condescension and that’s not the first impression you want to leave the interviewer with.

‘So, did you vote Leave or Remain?’ Keep politics off the agenda. That goes both ways. If the interviewer asks about your political allegiances, politely steer them away from the conversation and ask something about benefits or working hours.

‘Thanks mate/honey/brother/sugarlips…’ – Don’t be familiar or worse, a dick. This is the person you’re hoping will give you money each month to pay your mortgage and feed your kids.

Article 4: The Three Most Unnecessary Jobs at Rio 2016

Any major sporting event – the Olympics, World Cup, Tour de France – requires phenomenal feats of complex organisation, consultation, arrangements, logistics and the allocation of roles. Over the last 20 years or so, we’ve seen spectacularly well-organised events for which the host nations and all those who participated can be rightly proud.

But sometimes, the allocation of roles goes a little bit far. These three for example…

  1. Lifeguards– Brazilian law is quite clear – pools over a certain size are required by law to have a lifeguard present, and that includes swimming, diving, water polo and kayaking. The lifeguards are paid £260 to sit and watch the world’s finest aquatic athletes do their thing.
  2. Human Sign-Posts – During the opening ceremony, dozens and dozens of human sign-posts were on hand to guide the teams to their allocated areas as they came into the stadium for the first time. Many of them got so overwhelmed as to where people should go they ended up pointing to all places but the right one. A sign on a pole would have been cheaper and far more effective.
  3. Eric – Have you read about Eric? He became a bit of a reluctant celebrity at the Olympic Village and an internet sensation after he was pictured walking into the mini-city holding a bag filled with almost half a million condoms. It works out at 42 per athlete, or three a day for the duration of the Games…

Article 5: Met Vriendelijke Groet, Duizendpoot*

*Kind regards, the Centipede…’

 No, we haven’t fallen down, hit our head and woken up speaking Dutch but if an article on Recruitment Grapevine is to be believed, der Nederlanders, at least in their job descriptions, are seemingly happy to refer to themselves as animals.

Marte Meijs, a marketing and communications specialist at Amsterdam-based semantic search technology company Textkernel who create labour market analyses says that animal-related expressions are so commonly used in the Dutch language that they have inevitably found their way into job descriptions.

Her article says that insects are at the top of this particular food chain; ‘Centipede’ (a multi-skilled multitasker) has consistently been the most advertised job position over the past five years (70% of all animal-themed vacancies), followed by ‘sales tiger’ (aggressive, go getter) and ‘spider in the web’ (problem solver).

 It seems to be a bit of a double-edged sword though. Whiles these job ads can increase the pool of applications thanks to their humorous and playful nature, the job descriptions need to be found.  Candidates searching for a head chef position are unlikely to extend their search to ‘catering tiger’ so from a boring (but necessary) SEO standpoint, ‘it seems to be a disadvantage to be creative.’

 In all its glory, here’s the list of 2016’s most popular animal-related job titles…

Centipede – A person who can do a lot of things to a very high standard

Sales Tiger – A relentless salesman/woman with the drive required to close the deal

Spider in the Web – A well organised problem solver who oversees processes

Early Bird – Someone who wakes up early

Catering Tiger – Enthusiastic catering staff

Cool Frog – One who can keep their head when all around them are losing theirs

Sheep with Five Legs – A jack-of-all-trades

Young Dog – A young but highly-motivated person

Water Rat – Someone who loves to be in the water

Fish in the Water – Someone who easily adapts to different situations

Night Animal – A person happiest working in the night hours

Busy Bee – Someone capable of taking on many tasks at once

Career Tiger – Someone intent on scaling the career ladder

We’re unlikely to read about the ‘Fast-Food Elephant’ or the ‘Estate Agent Pig’ but if you ever see anthropomorphic job titles, send them our way!

Article 6: Reminder: Sexism Has NO Place in the Workplace

 For the vast majority of forward-thinking 21st century employers, workplace sexism is a long-dead relic of times past but for a very small number, it’s alive and well and more than that, it’s actively encouraged.

While there might be a few backwater businesses where sexism still lingers like a bad smell, you’ll never see it in job descriptions. Or will you?

Well as it turns out you will, but only if you happen to be looking for a very particular job in Russia.

One of the former Soviet Union’s top recruiters posted a job advert earlier in the summer which somehow manages to plumb the rancid depths of the unholiest of unholy trinities – it’s sexist, creepy and just plain odd.

The ad explains in the tiniest of details what face shape, smile type (there are 23 types according to the advert), height, hair and eye colour is required along with the fact that the candidate shouldn’t have had any type of plastic surgery.

Recruiter Ella Mikhaylova posted the listing on Facebook, writing; ‘The main requirement for the job is a smile. A certain type of smile (there are 23 types)’. She went on to say that the ‘premium girl’ must possess a ‘soft, Slavic smile (only the top row of teeth must be visible, and under no circumstances must the bottom row be seen)’ and they most certainly mustn’t have a ‘defiant, dazzling, advert-ready American smile.’

 Oh, it gets worse – much, much worse.

Further down the advert, it mentions the successful candidate must ‘contain no hint of feminism, cunning, haughtiness, independence or pride.’

 Yes, it really says that.

The cherry on top of this particularly gruesome cake is the stunning admission from Ms. Mikhaylova that she would send out the contacts of the girls who made the final round to ‘my male friends’ but, naturally, ‘only with the women’s’ consent’. 

You’d think, like any normal person, that this advert would have spectacularly backfired, women’s rights campaigners in Russia would be going crazy and Twitter would have gone into meltdown but less than 24 hours after the advert was posted on Facebook, Ms. Mikhaylova wrote; ‘We have received a flood of CVs. The vacancy aroused such enthusiasm that we were able to find the right candidate straight away. Thank you all for your participation!’

 *facepalm*

Article 7: A Movie Poster, a Facebook Profile and a 1950’s Newspaper Advert

 What do you think these three things have in common? Wrong. They are three creative examples of how CVs have been submitted to employers and while plenty have tried and failed (including the tired toilet paper cliché), this guy stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Perfectly tapping into the zeitgeist, Reddit user ‘blueddit4’ wrote his CV to read like a Game of Thrones script. If you’re in any way familiar with the adventures of Daenerys Targaryen, Arya Stark and Cersei Lannister, you will love this!

NB: The guy’s name and university were redacted from the article so the writer has reverted to poetic license to keep the flow!

‘I am Dave Smith, first of his name, graduated fresh from University of America, scientist of computers, hunting for a job.

Attached is my resume to prove that I am worthy to serve House Symph. And if ever you feel that my credentials are OK, I am always willing to learn to adjust to fit the company’s needs.

 I also live by the motto ‘if you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.’

 Thank you for taking your time in reading my application via virtual crow.’

 Of course the success of such a specifically-targeted CV is entirely reliant on the recipient also being a Game of Thrones fan. Luckily, ‘blueddit4’ struck gold with this reply…

‘Greetings. I was just beginning to recover and get on with life after the last season ended. I’m unsure if I should thank you or hate you for bringing up the memories. Anyway, let’s meet. Are you free to come to House Symph tomorrow at the strike of ten in the morning? I’ll arrange to have bread and salt prepared to ensure your safe passage.’ 

The candidate shot back with; ‘Expect my presence at House Symph at the strike of ten in the morning, carrying the banner of House blueddit4. I shall represent our house well.’

It’s not clear if the guy got the job or not but what would you do if a CV like this came across your desk? Dismiss it as a childish prank not worthy of your esteemed company or embrace the fact that there are some pretty creative types out there and they should be given worthy consideration?

Article 8: Just for fun….

 Wouldn’t it be great if all interviews went like this…

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you soon!

The Asset Resourcing Team


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