Recruiting Expert Laura Taylor on CGTN Watch our Technology recruiting expert, Laura Taylor who appeared on the China Global Television Network recently, talking about the efficiencies of remote working in Singapore. As a global recruiting business, we have seen firsthand the transition of the hiring process as it adapts to the new virtual world of work.While many of us are becoming accustomed to video calls with colleagues, video interviewing can still be a daunting prospect. So, if you’re interviewing, now or in the future, read Laura’s blog to discover some top tips to ensure your video interview is a success.
22 May 2020
The potential for better work-life balance This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week falls during unprecedented times. Many of us have been working from home for many weeks now and have gone through many ups, downs and adjustments along the way. There can be no doubt that it will be even harder for those already struggling with their mental health.There are of course many benefits to remote working, not least the absence of the daily commute and the potential now to have more of a work-life balance.One finance leader I spoke to recently said, “With no commute I start work at 7am but I dedicate the time between 5pm and 7pm to spend with my family and play football or basketball with my two sons.”I say potential however, as I am acutely aware that maintaining a healthy work-life balance may in fact be harder in these difficult times. It is of course different depending on individual circumstances. Some of us will be dealing will ill health, financial worries, isolation or caring for children or vulnerable relatives. These pressures all add layers of complexity, anxiety and stress to the remote working scenario most of us now find ourselves in. Take burnout seriously And while it can seem like a huge perk to roll out of bed and begin our workday, working from home, particularly in these challenging times, requires more planning and a different type of focus than most of us are used to. When the lines become blurred between our day-to-day and working lives it becomes easier to end up working longer hours and never really switching off. Over a sustained period, this can become damaging to our mental health, leading us to become overwhelmed and ‘burning out.’According to NordVPN, there is evidence that employee working hours have increased sharply since the outbreak of Covid-19. In the UK, workdays have typically increased by an average of two hours – and for many, it may well be more. Home working that works for youTo stay productive, we each need to test and learn what works for us and what does not, creating our own working structures, habits and routines - and these do not necessarily need to look anything like our old working schedules. What they must be, is sustainable and work for our own personal circumstances. In my job I have the privilege of being able to speak to an array of talented and insightful employers and jobseekers across a variety of different industries every day. The one thing they all agree on when it comes to staying productive is the importance of instilling healthy remote working habits and looking after their mental and physical wellbeing. Here are some of the best tips to follow to ensure you don’t ‘burn out’… 8 healthy remote working habits 1. Don’t neglect normal daily routinesSet a routine for working from home and don’t neglect normal daily routines. It is important to get up and get started. No matter how tempting avoid working in your pajamas all day – getting ‘ready for work’ will change your mindset and get you in the right frame of mind.2. Dedicate a space just for workWhile it might seem like you could work just fine from your sofa, having a separate space where you can work without any distractions not only benefits your levels of focus and productivity, but importantly for your mental health, it helps separate your day-to-day life from your work.If you have difficulties in doing this speak to you employer, they may be able to help with practical solutions. Likewise ensure you have comfortable furniture and an ergonomic set up. You wouldn’t put up with a sore back from an uncomfortable workspace at work, so don’t do it at home.3. Prioritise Try and set clear tasks for your day. To-do lists can help identify which tasks are a priority but one great tip to help you prioritise is to create a WEB list. W - what you want to achieve, E – What you expect to achieve, B – What you had better achieve that day. 4. Time blockIf you’re not time blocking your schedule, you may be wasting a lot of time. Time blocking consists of dividing your daily schedule into several sections based on priority. For example, you can work on replying to emails in the morning and meetings in the afternoon. This could also be done every week. The important thing is that you stick to your schedule and don’t get distracted, otherwise it won’t work. If you are home-schooling whilst trying to work, have a conversation with your employer about these realities. Try and set a routine which time blocks and clearly separates the two, trying to do both at once will leave both suffering. 5. Take proper breaks Even though you will want to achieve several goals during the day and be efficient, it doesn’t mean that you should forget about your mental or physical health. Since there’s no one to tell you when to start and when to finish and no one is coming up to your desk to distract you, it can be easy to forget to take regular screen breaks. Take regular breaks from your desk, including a proper lunch break.6. ExerciseTry and get outside and get some natural sunlight, if you can do so safely and try and get some exercise, again within guidelines on social distancing. Personally, I have been going out on my bike four or five times a week, often before work. I have found that this has really helped set me up for the day and I’ve seen a huge increase in my productivity and personal wellbeing. 7. Support your colleaguesWe should all be mindful that there will be further challenges ahead and whether you manage a team or not, colleagues will need to support each other and share their resilience. Maintain the relationships you had at the workplace and let your colleagues know you’re there to help if they need.8. Enjoy the perks Remember to enjoy the perks of working remotely – work during your most productive hours and tend to your personal and family needs when necessary. There’s no point to all of your hard work and increased efficiency if you don’t make time to enjoy it!Establishing a good routine is likely to involve a lot of trial and error, but if you stick to healthy working habits you will enhance your productivity, improve your mental health and wellbeing and enjoy a better work-life balance. Finally, here is a really helpful guide to working from home from Career Karma, with more ideas to help keep you on track.Stay safe and well.
19 May 2020
We are all adapting to the ‘new norm’Covid-19 has completely disrupted the way we live and work. Businesses are facing new strategic challenges and adapting their people, processes and systems to function in the ‘new norm’. The recruitment industry is no exception. Having worked in accountancy and finance recruitment for over four years, I can say that working through this pandemic has been one of the toughest personal challenges I have ever faced. There’s been an awful lot to adapt to quickly but ensuring that I continue to provide the right insight, guidance and support to my customers has remained my number one priority.I truly feel for those that have lost their jobs, had income reduced or had job offers pulled at the last minute and I understand that remaining positive amidst so much uncertainty can be extremely difficult. I was, however, happy to see that IR35 reforms have been delayed for a year, giving much needed relief to contractors given the economic challenges that lie ahead. There are also more opportunities on the horizon and currently recruitment has by no means come to a halt. Demand for finance professionals with financial modelling expertise In the current circumstances, recruitment has of course slowed as hiring new staff has sunk down the priority list for many employers. However, there are pockets of activity where specific expertise is required to ensure business continuity or to deliver critical projects and programmes. It’s imperative that businesses engage with scenario modelling at the moment and as such, we have seen increased demand for interim finance professionals with financial modelling expertise. Additionally, we are currently seeing demand for those with FP&A, Business Partnering, Financial Analysis and Reporting expertise. How can we help?If you are job searching in these difficult times, and potentially interviewing from your sofa, there are lots of things we can help you with to prepare.We have plenty of career advice guides we can share with you. Everything from CV tips, to developing your personal online brand and video interviewing advice. If you feel like having a practice video interview to brush up on your interviewing skills, we are more than happy to set this up and provide you with feedback. Lockdown is teaching me valuable things personally and professionally and we are all trying our best to keep up with the rapidly changing recruitment landscape. Thank you to those who have also checked in on me, stay safe and keep well, we really are all in this together. The market may be uncertain, but I am certain we will get through this!If you would like any of our career advice guides, or a practice interview please do not hesitate to get on touch, even just for a chat.
06 May 2020
Time is always of the essence when a new role presents itself and you don’t want to be scrabbling to get your CV or LinkedIn profile updated at the very last minute. So, if you’re searching for new opportunities in these difficult times, and potentially job hunting from your sofa, make sure you use this time wisely and get prepared now.This should include the development of your personal and professional online brand. Ensuring that your social media profiles and interactions online reflect your professional skills and experience, will increase your chances of being contacted by a prospective employer or recruiter. What is your online brand?In short, it’s your reputation online. Each interaction you have with others online has the opportunity to create a memorable experience, teaching them what they can expect from you. When you’re consistent in delivering those experiences, you build a strong reputation. Delivering your brand clearly and consistently across a wide audience helps open doors to new opportunities. Employers will look at both your social and professional profiles Your personal brand is how you show yourself to your friends, while your professional brand is how your employers and colleagues see you. Be aware that potential employers are likely to look at both your social and professional profiles and your interactions online to get a reflection of you. Always be careful about what you post or share, and make sure you’re always presenting your best side. Are your online interactions a positive and accurate reflection of your professional skills and experience? Have you done a Google search of yourself lately? What does it reveal to potential employers and what does it say about you? If what comes up doesn’t back up your professional expertise or show you in the best light, you will need to do something about it. Optimise your LinkedIn profile LinkedIn has become by far the most useful tool for building your professional brand online. It is the place to be seen when it comes to jobs and new careers. However, there are more than 562 million professionals on LinkedIn, so you must ensure that your profile is visible and that you stand out, before you can even think about leveraging your connections to find a new role. Did you know that a person with a fully complete LinkedIn profile is 40 times more likely to receive job opportunities via LinkedIn? The main reason to complete your profile is to ensure that you appear in LinkedIn search results. To ensure your profile has the best chance of being visible and to get an ‘All Star’ rating be sure to include:1. Industry & location2. Skills (min of 3)3. Profile photo4. Current position (with description) 5. Two past positions6. Education7. 50+ connectionsLeverage your LinkedIn connectionsOnce fully complete and up to date, your profile on LinkedIn provides the perfect platform to engage with new contacts and re-establish old connections. Doing this will grow your professional network and can help with your job search. Start by sending friendly, private messages to your connections asking if they might know of anyone in their network who might need your expertise. You may feel apprehensive about reaching out to ex-colleagues when starting a new job search but so long as you left on good terms, you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Most like-minded professionals take great pride from being well-connected and don’t mind being approached or helping out ex-colleagues in this way. For our full recommendations and a step-by-step guide to optimising your profile and using LinkedIn effectively, please get in touch.
24 Apr 2020
The inevitable increase in demand for Cyber Security talentWhat a crazy time we’re all living through! I hope anyone reading this is safe and coping okay with this new way of existing that we’re all adapting to.In my job I have the privilege of being able to speak to an array of talented and insightful Cyber Security leaders across a variety of different industries every day. With everyone working from home, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing in the past few weeks with people looking to have a catch up.Clearly this is an unprecedented and difficult time for everyone, but being the optimist that I am, I’d like to take a look at one of the positives I think will come out of this situation and that is the inevitable increase in demand for Cyber Security talent. Remote working leaves us open to increased risk of cyberattacksThe COVID-19 pandemic increases the risk of cyberattacks as hackers target people’s increased use and dependence on digital tools, data sharing and communication. Just yesterday I read that the usage of Zoom in the past month has gone up by 535%, so sure enough there has since been an increase of over 2,000% when it comes to malicious files with Zoom in the name.It’s fair to say that most business leaders (myself included) have had their eyes opened to the benefits of remote working over the past few weeks and I don’t think any of us can see the working world going back to how it was before this all happened. As we know, remote working, in general, leaves us more vulnerable to successful cyberattacks with potentially devastating repercussions if we’re not careful. Individuals new to working from home present a target for hackers, who will no doubt seize any opportunity to steal sensitive personal or company information to create disruption or commit online fraud.I recently read, for example, a cyberattack targeted people looking for visuals of the spread of COVID-19. Viewers of a map showing Coronavirus statistics were asked to download a malicious application that compromised their computer and allowed hackers access to that individuals personal information.Organisations must enable secure remote workingTo keep information secure, most companies will use a virtual private network (VPN) to create an encrypted connection from the user's computer to their company IT system.However, even businesses with a quality VPN may need to buy more user licences or improve the server capacity and network security to enable their entire workforce to use it at once and work remotely, securely. We are already seeing organizations increasingly stress-testing their servers to ensure they will cope with everyone working from home; checking that their networks remain secure and both company and customer data is protected.Far too many remote workers, however, don’t have two-factor authentication (2FA) turned on in their email and apps. As any Cyber Security professional will tell you, 2FA is one of the easiest and most effective ways for users to protect their data and identities.In my experience, particularly with small or mid-sized organizations, the reason many companies lack these basic security measures is not because they are lazy, but because they don’t have the education or expertise in Cyber Security in their business. What does this mean for Cyber Security talent demand? A lot of businesses are looking at their security budgets right now and are weighing up the risks of trimming them down. As such, over the last few weeks we have seen a drop in demand for talent across almost all industries. It will be interesting to see what happens to the businesses that do cut down their security budgets vs those that don’t over the coming months. Sadly, as we know, it often takes a breach for an organization to invest properly in their security. The positive news is that I do believe that this recent drop in talent demand is likely to be short-lived. The conversations I’ve had with CISOs, CIOs and CEOs over the last month fill me with confidence that in the coming months and years there will be even more demand for Cyber Security expertise. Organizations need to adapt to new ways of working, which are very reliant on technology and the inevitable continuation in increased levels of cyberattacks and probable breaches, will only amplify the need for more Cyber Security talent still further.If you are currently looking for a role in Cyber Security right now, my advice is stay patient, continue building your network and have faith that it won’t be long before we see things start to pick back up. The high demand for hiring Cyber Security talent is not going anywhere!Please get in touch if you need help hiring within Cyber Security. Equally if you are a permanent or contract Cyber Security professional, we are here to support your job search in these troubled times.
20 Apr 2020
We interviewed our very own HR extraordinaire, Meg Appleby and asked what impact the Coronavirus crisis was having on her own professional learning and development. How did your story with Stanton House start?“Taking what felt like a massive plunge moving from Leeds to the big smoke in 2016, I was offered the role as Business Administrator at Stanton House and nearly four years later I am now a HR generalist responsible for both HR and Talent Acquisition.”How has your role changed over the last few weeks?“The escalation of the coronavirus pandemic is something none of us expected and it’s hard to believe that around a month ago we were still in the office going about our (relatively) normal lives. Since then, it’s been a steep learning curve for us all and being at the centre of all things “people” has added a significant amount of responsibility to my role during these ever-changing circumstances.” “If I were to take one positive away from the pandemic it is that I have developed in my HR career faster than I could have ever imagined in the past few weeks.”What are the key soft skills you’ve developed?“Having the ability to absorb information and relay it back accurately to internal stakeholders has been amplified in the current situation as things move rapidly and you have to learn at lightning speed. With social media fuelling a wave of coronavirus misinformation, it’s easy to get caught up reading through reams of irrelevant and inaccurate information.”“Being able to digest information quickly and inform the relevant stakeholders of how this affects us, has been something I have had to adapt to. Alongside that, I’ve learnt that being curious and taking the initiative to ask questions is never a bad thing!”What have your found most rewarding?“One of the many things I personally love about working for a small business is that you generally have more interactions with the Senior Leadership Team. Throughout the pandemic, it has given me more opportunity than usual to become a trusted advisor to this group and I have gained confidence by being thrown in the deep end. I have felt more than ever that we are “one team” and I have been pleasantly surprised how much you can build strong relationships through a laptop screen!”What have you found most challenging?“Balancing the “BAU” with the additional workload from the virus whilst studying for my CIPD has been a challenge! Effectively prioritising what needs to get done today, and what can wait, has helped me to switch off at the end of the day and keep focussed on the job in hand. It’s getting back to basics but being extremely organised has been key throughout this.”What have you learnt about yourself?“I personally suffer from anxiety attacks and was initially daunted by the thought of being isolated at home and wondered if this might impact my mental health. Of course there has been tough days, but I have learnt that I am more resilient than I thought and have managed to get through so far - with online yoga, a good structure to my day and a sense of humour! I just have an overwhelming sense of pride for the company and everyone within it, the resilience that has been shown and how well everyone has adapted to working from home is incredible.What advice would you give to other HR professionals?“I’ve always loved the saying “Comparison is the Thief of Joy” and that feels more relevant than ever right now. If I were to offer any advice, I would say it’s ok if you don’t spend this time at home learning a new language, or baking banana bread, or gaining a six pack - this is a completely unique situation and just getting through it is enough. It’s ok to just process your emotions. Go for a walk, play a silly game, dance around your living room. Do something that brings you peace and focus on what you can control. We will see the light again soon!”<!--<b-->We would love to hear impacts, insights and key learns from other professionals. Please get in touch to share your insights.We want to help our customers in any way we can in these difficult times, so we’ve put together a handy PDF packed full of links to resources that will help keep us sane, fit and healthy, while we live and work from home. Everything from things to do with the kids through to podcasts, books and workouts. Download your copy below now. Download
15 Apr 2020
The rise of video interviewingSome of you will already have experience with video interviewing, while others may only be familiar with the more traditional face-to-face set up. One thing’s for certain though, now is the time to embrace video interviewing.In this remote working environment, it’s important that you are comfortable with the technology and that you understand what you need to do to prepare to ensure your best chance of success. Just as with a traditional face-to-face interview, you only have one chance to make a good first impression – make it count!So, you’ve secured a video interview but what do you need to be aware of? Here’s your video interview checklist… What type of video interview have you been invited to?There are different scenarios to remote interviewing. The most common is a live, two-way situation. If your recruiter has set up the video call on your behalf, ensure that you have the invite with the link to your video call and you have the information regarding the participants in the interview. Will your recruiter introduce you first and then leave the call, or will you come face-to-face with your interviewer(s) right away?Another less common video interview is one-way, where you won’t virtually meet or speak to anyone directly. You will still access the interview via a link but instead of coming face-to-face with the interviewer(s), you’ll be taken on a journey through a set number of questions. The interview questions will appear on screen for you to answer. You’ll be able to review the finished video before submitting and usually you’ll have the chance to start over again. Prepare answers for questions You should prepare for a video interview in exactly the same way as you would for a face-to-face interview. Prepare answers for questions the interviewer(s) may ask with regards to your CV, background and experience as well plenty of examples which you can apply to potential competency and values-based questions. Ensure you research both the organisation and your interviewer(s) and have plenty of questions to ask. Test out the technology Make certain, as much as possible, that your technology doesn’t falter and ensure that you are comfortable and confident with the system. Ensure that you have installed the necessary software and that you have tested your connection, picture and sound quality by making some practice calls and that you understand how to set up the call, join the call and use the ‘in-call’ features. If you need to talk through documents or slides, ensure that you know how to screen share and that you don’t accidentally share the wrong documents, your mailbox or sensitive personal information. Before the call ensure that you close-down unnecessary programs and web pages and make sure you aren’t downloading, installing or about to run updates. Remember first impressions matter Where are you going to have your interview – your living room, kitchen, home office? Choose a quiet, uncluttered place for your video interview. Be mindful of your surroundings and check your backdrop in terms of what’s in the frame. Consider your position and check your lighting.Find a place where you feel completely at ease and where you can speak freely and comfortably without fear of interruptions or distractions.Think about your appearance - just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you don’t need to look the part. You should dress exactly as you would for an in-person interview and that includes your lower half – you never know if you might need to stand up! Keep your body language engaging and stay focused So much of our communication is done through small gestures, facial expressions and posture so when these are obscured or muted, as they can be on a video call, it is understandable that you might feel more anxious. But, you still need to remember to make good eye contact by looking into the camera (don’t get distracted by your own image at the bottom of the screen) and smile! Because you’re not face-to-face, it can be easier to become distracted and do things you wouldn’t do in a face-to-face setting. Stay focused throughout. It’s okay to refer to notes but don’t try to be sneaky about it. Equally, avoid taking excessive notes. And do not try to Google during the interview, no matter how subtle you think you’re being. Stay calm and project confidenceSometimes, even with all the preparation in the world there is no avoiding a poor connection, so be aware of possible glitches and delays in picture and sound. These glitches may result in you inadvertently talking over your interviewer(s) while they are still speaking, or missing parts of what they say. Stay calm and take the time to go back over and clarify what was missed. Have a backup telephone number in case you need to continue the interview over the phone. Practice Build your confidence and get some practice in. You can do this with friends or family, and you can even record yourself for some self-analysis! This will give to the chance to review your body language as well give a final check on the sound, lighting and picture quality. We are here to support you, please get in touch if you need any help with your video interviewing or need further career advice and guidance in these difficult times.
08 Apr 2020