It’s becoming increasingly common for our candidates to be asked to present as part of the interview process. Presenting during an interview might be a foreign concept to you, but don’t be thrown off by it or let your nerves get the better of you. This is actually the perfect opportunity for you to showcase more of your personality, experience and skills.  

It’s very unlikely that you’ll be asked to present during the interview without prior warning. You will usually be told exactly how long you’ll be expected to talk for and on what topic. If you’re not properly briefed on this then it’s not unreasonable to ask; nor is it unreasonable to ask whether a projector/screen will be available, as this will have a bearing on how you approach the presentation.

Think about what those present in the room are going to be looking for. Usually, they’re assessing three main things:

  • Creativity and knowledge: the content of your presentation, your aptitude for problem solving and how you have used your experience to answer the brief 
  • Communication skills: your ability to engage with an audience, build rapport and trust
  • Time management: your capacity to manage and adapt the pace of the presentation based on frequency of questions/interruptions – so that it finishes on time

Here’s some best practice advice on making a lasting impression – for the right reasons.

  1. Preparation, preparation, preparation

Once you’ve been provided with a subject then do your research. If you have gaps in your knowledge then reach out to your contacts that are most familiar with the field and use the internet to enhance your understanding.

It will also benefit you to know who’s going to be in the room so that you can adjust your presentation accordingly. Try and appeal to each audience member individually based on the information you are able to glean from sites such as LinkedIn or the company website.

Use the job and person specifications to help inform your presentation. What is the employer looking for and what challenges are you expected to resolve? Showcase your suitability by meeting these requirements where relevant throughout the presentation.

Most importantly, make sure to rehearse your presentation, ideally in front of a crowd. Get feedback and gain confidence by practising. Don’t forget to train yourself to keep to the time limit.

  • Break the ice

As soon as you step into the interview room the mood can often change and, to those more susceptible to nerves, become intimidating. Mitigate this by building as much rapport with the interviewers beforehand as possible – even if this is just a comment about the weather while walking down the corridor.

  • Look the part

This is a basic piece of advice but one that, should you ignore, will most likely cost you the job. Dress as you would on the first day of the job – you may use the company website to gain an idea of the dress code. Once you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing it’s easier to project calmness and confidence.

  • Focus on the key takeaways

Your presentation can go into as much detail as you decide appropriate to answer the brief, but don’t overload the audience with a million different bullet points and takeaways. Demonstrate your ability to think clearly and distil complex information down into a few key points. This is advice that applies to your presentation in both verbal and physical form; if presenting with the aid of a screen then you really only want a few points on each slide.

  • Expect the unexpected

Finally, expect the unexpected! Your ability to think on your feet and adapt to changing situations will help separate you from the pack. Make arrangements for the possibility of the screen not working, there being more people in the room than expected, the topic evolving just before the presentation and so on.

Presenting at an interview is very much a 21st-century concept, but one that when harnessed correctly gives you a greater opportunity to display your full set of experience and your potential for the role.

So don’t be nervous – see this as more as an opportunity than a threat.

Direct Recruitment Ltd

Are you applying for endless jobs and getting little or no response?

Are you feeling frustrated?

Then you are not alone.

Looking for a job has changed dramatically since Covid and I wanted to share some of my tips to help you to adapt your job search strategy in response to the change in the current job market.

Have a positive mindset.

It’s tough out there and it is ok to feel unsure, frustrated and even a little concerned. Just make sure that you talk to someone. I am proud to be a Mental Health in Recruitment ambassador and there is so much great support out there especially at the moment, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

Create your personal brand

The likelihood is that you have proudly marketed well know brands throughout your career, but how does your own brand look? Your CV, LinkedIn profile and social media platforms are your opportunity to communicate your personal brand to prospective employers.

Creating stand out in a busy candidate market.

The number of candidates currently looking for a new role are relatively high at the moment. The number of redundancies has increased, and the number of opportunities has declined. So, it means you need to be far more proactive than before and work harder to make sure you stand out.

  • Create your own personal video CV and embed into your written CV and LinkedIn profile.
  • Develop on online reputation, by writing thoughtful and insightful content and sharing with your network, follow and engage with industry leaders and prospective employers.
  • Be open, be curious – look at any new connection or encounter as an opportunity to not only broaden your network but broaden your knowledge.

Job searching definitely requires a different approach at the moment and if you would like some advice and guidance on any of the above then please do get in touch with me

Above all keep going, things will pick up and will return to normal.

Direct Recruitment Ltd

Becky Postlethwaite – Managing Director, Direct Recruitment

Due to the lockdown, video technology is now the only option for employers to conduct job interviews. We are now seeing evidence of pre-recorded interviews, where candidates are  given a set of interview questions and asked to record themselves answering these questions.

While it sounds simple enough, pre-recorded interviews can actually be pretty tricky to master, particularly if you have only been given a set amount of time to give and upload your answers.

So here are some tips to help you master a pre-recorded interview:

Be yourself and act as if is just a normal interview

  • Make sure you thoroughly research the company you are interviewing for and try and demonstrate this knowledge within your answers.
  • Dress to impress, but appropriately.
  • Smile and imagine that you are talking to a person.

Rehearse and give the performance of your life

  • Carefully plan and compose your answers and then do a practice run. Record yourself and play it back, look at the areas to improve and keep practicing until you get them right.
  • You don’t need to read your answers word for word, you need to be able to add personality around what you are saying. So, use key bullets points that help you to communicate the main points but also allow for a free flow of dialogue too.
  • Take your time.
  • Clear and concise communication skills are an important part of any job and this is your chance to showcase your skills. Be confident, articulate, don’t rush and don’t forget to smile.


  • Choose your background carefully, what you have in the background of your own home says a lot about you. Avoid any controversial posters!
  • It’s also important to get the lighting right and make sure that you don’t have the sun flooding through a window behind you.
  • Avoid any bad habits, like playing with your hair, looking away from the camera or too many ‘ums’.
  • Stick post it notes round your screen to remind you of key points but also to remind you of your behaviour points.

The likelihood is that you will have been communicating both personally and professionally via online platforms in the last few weeks. But remember you are talking to a prospective employer so be professional, be personable and above all relax.

Good luck!

Direct Recruitment Ltd

We have taken down all our jobs advertisements as currently the situation in the market is very fluid. The reality is there isn’t much around at the moment but we are in close discussions with all our clients so that as soon as there is any sign of the rebound we will be in a position to assist you with your job needs.

In the meantime the Direct Recruitment team are here to provide support and advice to anyone who is looking to refresh their CV or just wants to chat. We are accepting CVs at all levels and are helping people to put themselves in the best position for when the market returns to the ‘new norm’

So no matter what level, experience or position we look forward to hearing from you. We work across planning, strategy, client service, project management, digital, social, data, CRM and across agency and clientside roles.

Contact us on 0207 287 1171 or email us at

Stay safe and stay well.

Direct Recruitment Ltd

It’s fair to say these are unprecedented times. We have no idea what’s ahead of us or how long this is going to go on for. As our kids prepare to leave school for the foreseeable future, have exams cancelled, as we start to work from home and avoid all but essential contact and travel, it’s clear that a positive attitude and whatever community support we can offer or receive will have to see us through. And so far, we have been heartened by the strong sense of community spirit and good neighbourly attitudes we have seen.
Equally in the professional world, there is a lot of concern and change. If you’ve recently started looking for a new role, this will all seem pretty frustrating so we would like to help in any way we can.
It’s a good time to brush up your CV and overhaul your LinkedIn profile. It is also worth thinking about thinking about your interview skills and how you may be able to improve these. If you need any help with this, please do drop us a line to – it’s the least we can do in and we want to do what we can.

This will come to an end at some point. In the meantime we are trying to stay positive, focused and well, and hope you are too.

If there is anything we can help with do reach out – even if just for a chat and catch up.

Take care 

Direct Recruitment Ltd

Hiring employees that enhance and complement your business is part and parcel of being a manager. The process of recruiting the right candidate can take time so it is crucial to make the right decision and hire wisely.

Once chosen, it is your duty as the hiring manager to ensure that your new employee brings value to your organisation and helps to ease some of the workload burden – in short fulfilling the tasks they have been hired to do.

However the onus is on you to set up your new employee to succeed. Here we offer you some simple steps to make sure things go well!

The interview

During the interview stage it is vital that you have a very well defined job specification, which maps out exactly what is expected of the person taking up the role – from day-to-day duties to the skills and expertise you expect them to possess in order to carry them out. Too often an unfocused job description that lacks direction and unclear expectations on the part of the recruiting manager won’t allow even the most brilliant candidate to succeed. Furthermore if expectations aren’t clear upfront, there is a much greater chance that candidates will move within a relatively short space of time due to the fact that their role hasn’t lived up to its interview promise.

Before you commence interviewing, make sure that:

  • You have a clear job description
  • You have an excellent understanding of the expertise the candidate must possess in order to do the job well
  • You ask candidates to give examples of situations and their solutions so that these skills are demonstrated
  • Don’t compromise and hire an average candidate that lacks knowledge just to fill the role
  • Make sure your expectations are reasonable – have you hired candidates in the past who have succeeded and achieved all their set goals? If so, then your expectations are reasonable – if not, then you might have to adjust them.
  • Ensure the candidate clearly understands your expectations, and ask your candidate to describe how they will fulfil your requirements.

Induction or onboarding process

A successful and thorough induction is a comprehensive approach to bringing on new hires that goes way beyond simple orientation. Here are some steps for successful onboarding:

  • Remember induction plans are intended to make new employees familiar with the overall goals of a company.
  • Make sure you have a detailed plan in place for the first 90 days, so everyone knows what is expected.
  • Operate a buddy system – someone who has been at your organisation for a long time and knows the ropes and can be a sounding board.
  • Ensure you support your new hire as they embark on early projects so they can start delivering success and productivity quickly.
  • An informal session of drinks or cake with other team members in the first couple of weeks can allow the new hire to assess their learnings, ask any questions and get to know new colleagues in a less formal setting.

Remember, the ultimate payoff is to reduce turnover and encourage recruits to stay with an organisation for a longer tenure – which is more achievable if the induction process is carried out carefully and thoroughly.


While your employee professed and demonstrated experience during the interview, do remember all organisations are unique. Different computer systems, policies, procedures and corporate culture can prevent good employees from being immediately successful. Make sure the employee is appropriately trained and has had sufficient time to practice their new skills. But do include both short- and long-term projects for the new hire from an early stage. New employees feel an inherent desire to contribute to the business right away. You don’t want them working on the big projects though, until they’re really up to speed on the way your company works.

Making a success of your new hire is not rocket science – it is down to communication and proper preparation. Take the time to get things in place before you commence the interviews, and that way you will get an employee who is clear of what’s required of them and possesses the skills you need to really add value to your business. After employment commences, good communication, regular meetings with goals and deadlines, and a smattering of teamwork will ensure your new employee is a resounding success who feels valued. In return, you’ll get loyalty and a happy and productive employee!

Direct Recruitment Ltd

This feels like old news, to be talking about the importance of a good handshake in your job search, but yet it seems that so many people I meet on a daily basis still don’t shake hands with any confidence.

Every job hunter knows that smart dress, eye contact and polished shoes are a good way to make that all-important first impression. So why is it that people are neglecting to remember that a good handshake is just as critical, if not more so, for portraying the qualities that people look for in a future employee. 

Many studies over the years have continuously shown that there is a substantial relation between the features that characterise a firm handshake (strength, vigour, duration, eye contact and completeness of grip) and a good first impression.

So what does your handshake say about you? A strong firm handshake suggests confidence, reliability and gravitas and therefore, not surprisingly, a weak handshake will often give the impression of someone shy, quiet and lacking self-assurance.

If this isn’t you, or isn’t the impression you want to give, make sure your handshake is a confident one.  Here are my five top tips for perfecting your job-winning handshake.

  1. Be positive, sincere and genuine – make sure you look the person in the eye and smile when you shake their hand. A sincere smile will convey warmth and trust.
  2. Be confident – don’t wait for someone to put their hand out to yours, be confident enough to reach out first and make the introduction.
  3. Stand up to shake hands. Don’t diminish your presence by staying seated for the handshake, stand up and greet someone at eye level.
  4. Firm grasp – everyone hates the dreaded “dead fish” where someone leaves a limp hand in yours. Hold their hand in a firm, but not crushing, grip. Don’t hold on for too long, studies show that the optimum handshake should last for about 3 seconds.
  5. Shake hands when saying goodbye and say a few words like “great meeting you”, “thank you for your time”, this will round up the meeting nicely and again demonstrate your confidence right the way through the interview.

So, having a good handshake will not only demonstrate the qualities that people look for in an employee, but it will also encourage loyalty and will make people want to shake your hand again, and for that, they’ll need to have you around.

Direct Recruitment Ltd

Interviews are the way in which an organisation finds its future employees – simple? Not necessarily. Research by Ayal Chen-Zion, a Research Fellow at Glassdoor entitled: ‘Do Difficult Job Interviews Lead to More Satisfied Workers? Evidence from Glassdoor Reviews’ shows that more thorough job interviews have been statistically linked to higher employee satisfaction.

The findings discovered that the optimal interview difficulty, when measured on a five-point scale, was four out of five. On this scale one is very easy, three is average, and five is very difficult.

Out of the six countries examined (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, USA, and the UK), an increase in interview difficulty of 10% was associated with a 2.6% rise in employee satisfaction later on.

However, once the interview surpasses the difficulty of four out of five, subsequent employee satisfaction drops. “The easiest two-point interviews, and the most difficult five-point interviews, are both associated with lower employee satisfaction,” says the study. In other words, the more rigorous the interview questions, the better the candidate fit, but don’t make the experience like an appearance on Mastermind.

However, let’s not make the mistake in thinking that we should just ask harder questions during the process – it’s about asking good questions. Interviewers need to tax candidates to find out what they really know about the role and how skilled they are. In my experience, candidates either find an interview like a walk in the park or a living nightmare – there seems to be no middle ground. An informal chat followed by an offer never works in the long-term. Essentially, the organisation is taking on someone they’ve not challenged, and the candidate is accepting a job they really know very little about in a company whose culture is, on a deeper level, largely unknown.

Equally, an interview that is a five on the difficulty scale may be an indication to the candidate of a dysfunctional culture within the company – where such an aggressive, demanding environment will end up being damaging to employees, leading them to quit and seek a role elsewhere.

The research threw up similar results in all six countries examined – more difficult interview questions lead to higher employee satisfaction weeks, months and even years down the line – but the ‘feel-good’ factor is switched off as soon as those questions hit five on the difficulty scale.

Fundamentally, organisations really need to overhaul their interview process and the questions they ask. In our experience as recruitment consultants, we see so many candidates who have felt let-down because the interviewer seemed unprepared – having not read their CV, texting and not really challenging them on their skills and experience. The flipside of this comes from our clients who will point out that a particular candidate was under prepared and hadn’t researched the company or the role properly. Neither will lead to a match made in heaven.

So what can you do?

Here are some top tips to ensure a decent outcome from an interview:

  • Make sure you ask the candidate some searching questions – i.e. ‘How have you dealt with tricky clients in the past?’
  • Make sure you know the role and the skills needed for the role you are hiring for – you can’t ask searching questions if you don’t understand what’s needed.
  • Get the candidate to explain what they think the role will entail – this will reveal any knowledge gaps and will be a basis for discussion.
  • Don’t just ask about work – find out what motivates your candidate to get up in the mornings and what their passions are.
  • If needs be, hire a professional to come in and help you overhaul your organisation’s interview process and techniques.
  • Lastly, remind those in charge of the interview process that it is the first line of defense for company culture.
Direct Recruitment Ltd

Safeguarding your employer brand throughout the recruitment process and clearly communicating your organisation’s values to both existing and potential employees is key to shaping the overall perception of your company in the marketplace. This can have a huge impact on your ability to attract and retain the very best talent.

The experience of a candidate before, during and after the recruitment process can play a significant part in how your business is perceived externally.

The best talent is always highly sought after, whether the employment market is flat or buoyant, so it is vital that your organisation provides a positive experience for candidates who are applying for roles and throughout the entire recruitment process. This is the best way you can ensure that you secure the right people for your organisation.

Job advertisements

Where you place your job ad and how it is presented plays a critical role in attracting the right talent. There is nothing worse than a vague job spec that is littered with typos. Indeed the description of the role is the biggest influencer on a candidate’s decision as to whether to apply.

Most organisations use jobs boards and LinkedIn, but experienced recruitment consultancies are still regarded as the most useful source of vacancies by professionals seeking new roles. It is important to choose your recruiter wisely – and preferably choose one that has genuine expertise in your sector, so they will be able to handpick the outstanding candidates and really test their knowledge in a preliminary interview.

Responding to applicants

It can be tempting to get your vacancy advertised on LinkedIn as soon as that resignation letter hits your desk. But it is a waste of everyone’s time to advertise your position and encourage applicants if you don’t have the capacity to respond to applications. It doesn’t look good if you don’t get back to them at all.

Indeed responding quickly to job applications is incredibly important, because candidates will look upon tardy responses as an indication of a lack of interest or just general disorganisation. Worse still, you could miss out on the best candidates if other companies are moving more quickly.

Equally not letting unsuccessful candidates know that you’ll not be taking things further is both impolite and detrimental to your reputation. And it’s much better to send an automated rejection letter for unsuccessful applicants than no response at all.

The hiring process

We’ve all heard the horror stories of candidates being kept waiting for ages without explanation, interviewers being distracted by their phone or even leaving an interview for a length of time without any explanation or apology. What a company must realise is that a potential employee is interviewing them too – it’s not a one-way street.

There’s nothing worse than taking the time to go to an interview and finding that the interviewer is unprepared. Furthermore a lengthy process can be off-putting and a lack of feedback when a candidate has made the effort to come in for an interview (or several) and then hears nothing at all does not put your company in a good light.

Do give feedback, do be prepared for the interview and do keep the process short, snappy and thorough. That way, you’ll secure top-flight candidates and retain them. The interview process is often a very good indication of how a company views its staff.

And finally, it is essential to note that the majority of job seekers discuss their experiences during a hiring process – be it with their friends, colleagues and acquaintances or online. This clearly shows how employers’ interactions with candidates – from communication, organisation and speed of the recruitment process to their experiences when being interviewed – can impact their brand, in both a positive or negative way. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful communication channels. You would be foolish to ignore this.

Direct Recruitment Ltd

We all know that interviews can sometimes be daunting, particularly if you’ve been looking for a while and just haven’t quite found a role where there’s a perfect fit.

So how do you stay positive and motivated to ensure that you get the job of your dreams? 

Here are our top tips to help you.

  1. Prepare.  Make sure you’re confident you know all about the role by reading the brief, checking out the website and doing your own research.
  2. Give yourself a real positivity boost by checking out your skills and how they match the job.   Do an audit of what you can bring to the role; what makes you stand out and where you add value.  It helps here to think about what you enjoy as that’s normally what you’re good at.
  3. Beat the nerves by thinking of the interview as a two-way process.  It’s as much up to you whether you want to progress.  Think of the questions you’ll need to ask to make sure the job’s right for you and remember you have a choice.
  4. Only go for roles that you really want to do, because that way you can genuinely show your passion and excitement.
  5. Be enthusiastic.   This is the one thing that can make the difference, even if you don’t have all the skills or experience required.   Make sure you’ve identified the things you know you’ll enjoy and why you want to do the job, so you’ll go into the interview full of enthusiasm.
  6. Visualise a positive meeting and outcome.  Think ahead and see yourself enjoying the meeting, getting on well with the interviewer and being relaxed and confident.  Imagine yourself getting the job and looking back on this successful interview.

The team at Direct Recruitment have the experience and know how to offer you the advice that can make all the difference to your interview. Why not get in touch and let us demonstrate what a difference we can make for you.