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.

Direct Recruitment Ltd

How to make sure you’re on top form whilst looking for your new job – 6 top tips

If you’re not working and you’re looking for a new job in marketing, staying positive and motivated is especially important. The longer it takes and the more knock-backs you receive, the harder it can become.  But with perseverance comes reward – and maybe the job of your dreams!

Use these tips to help you stay confident and motivated in your job search.

  • Visualise your perfect job – Write down the ‘must-haves’ for your new role; which of your skills do you want to use and enhance? How much responsibility do you want? Where would you ideally be located? Be prepared to be flexible about certain things such as your pay and benefits.  Your perfect job may not always come with the perfect salary –  initially, at least!  All of this will help you build a vivid picture of exactly what you want and give you something to aim for.  So when you see the perfect role, you’ll know straight away!
  • Identify your skills – Think about what you’re best at and what makes you stand out. Not only will this help you identify the right job for you, it will also provide a handy confidence boost throughout your job search! Ask trusted friends and family what they think you’re good at; this will also improve your confidence – and help you answer those tricky interview questions!   Although it’s also important to identify which skills you need to work on, focusing on what you can bring to the role will leave you feeling more positive.  Remember, if you believe in your abilities, employers will too.
  • Be proactive! – Even if it’s something small – making a phone call, sending an email – completing at least one task every day will keep up your momentum and create a sense of progression. That way you won’t get bogged down and will keep motivated.
  • Look after yourself – There’s no denying how stressful searching for a job can be and it really can take its toll, both mentally and physically. So it’s important to remember that to be at your best, you have to feel at your best. This means making time for the little things that improve your health, happiness and wellbeing.  Whether that’s taking exercise, meeting with friends or enjoying a healthy, home-cooked meal, just making time for the important things will help you face any challenges head-on and stay positive and motivated for longer!
  • Network – use your contacts to seek out new openings. The chances are that somebody you know can help you in your search and whether it’s a friend or an ex-colleague, networking can be a fantastic tool to help you in your job search. Attending career fairs and paid industry events can expose you to potential employers and industry experts; don’t be afraid to approach them and seek advice. Whilst being professional, do try and establish a rapport. This way, if they have a role that needs filling, you’ll be front of mind.  A ‘nice meeting you’ note afterwards never hurts either!   Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date and make it clear that you’re seeking a new role – you never know where opportunities might appear!
  • Keep in touch with your recruiter! ­ – Your recruiter can be the most powerful resource at your disposal. A good recruiter will always have time for you, so don’t hesitate to get in touch. With new briefs coming in all the time, it’s important that they know exactly what you’re looking for – your perfect role may be already on their books!

Ultimately, your perseverance and positivity are the most important factors that will help you find the perfect new job.  The more motivated you are, the more productive you’ll be and the more opportunities will come your way as a result. Motivation also breeds enthusiasm and this will come across in interviews. Do what you can to help yourself stay motivated and remember, at Direct Recruitment we’re here to help.

Direct Recruitment Ltd

A degree of stress can be extremely useful, allowing us to perform at our optimum. Unfortunately, however, excess stress dents productivity and engenders a negative working environment. In order to access your full potential, you first need to be in a positive mental space that’s conducive to success.

Now that we in the UK are clocking longer office hours than the vast majority of our European counterparts, with stress levels at a maximum, all senior management teams should be prioritising ways of working smarter, not harder.  Contrary to popular belief, being productive is not the same as being busy!

Feelings of being anxious and strained can arise from a huge range of concerns;  from the fear of being made redundant to nerves over an upcoming presentation. Thankfully, there are a number of steps you can take to help manage these emotions and improve your job satisfaction and general well-being – here are five of them: Read more

Direct Recruitment Ltd

By Sarah Bloomfield on 09.11.17 in Your Career

Whether caused by a seven-year itch or a 3pm slump, the truth is that all of our productivity wanes at some point. The key to maximising your output in the workplace is understanding that it’s not about working harder, but working smarter. It’s about adopting certain practices and sticking with them until they become habit – I’ve listed seven of these which have helped me over the years below.

1.Create a conducive working environment

Considering most of us spend the majority of our week days at our place of work, it should come as no surprise that your office environment has a great effect on your mood and subsequent ability to perform to a high standard. There are many different factors which could affect your happiness in the workplace, from sufficient shrubbery to congenial colleagues. Conduct a full review of your space and, where possible, make recommendations to your human resources/office support team on how to improve conditions. Read more

Direct Recruitment Ltd

When it comes to making your next career move, big doesn’t necessarily mean better. The truth is that different sized businesses have a multitude of varying benefits, and it’s not until you’ve considered these benefits that you’ll know what size company you should be working at.

Size matters – understanding the benefits

Larger companies are often able to offer a better overall bonus package (including budget for learning and development, health insurance, bonus pay and so on), better opportunities for networking, greater job security, greater options for global mobility and more established ways of working (e.g. company expenses, new business processes etc.). Smaller businesses, on the other hand, are likely to offer more regular promotions, greater professional responsibility, more access to senior personnel and, a lot of the time, a more congenial atmosphere.

Which of these benefits most appeal to you? Consider the below five questions to help prioritise these benefits and, subsequently, bring some clarity to your career planning. Some of these questions are introspective, but those that aren’t should be central to the structuring of your job interview; while you should also weave in these killer questions my colleague wrote about previously. Read more

Direct Recruitment Ltd

Most us experience nerves before starting at a new company, even those who have been a part of the working world for decades. Nerves are necessary to help you perform at your peak and in this instance are a positive force for making sure you’re fully prepared and alert on your first day.

Most of the obstacles you’ll encounter at your new job will in some way relate to time management. Your biggest quandary, and the one that feeds most into the below five points, is how to effectively balance learning as much as possible with getting stuck in and showing your new colleagues your worth. By addressing the specific obstacles listed below, I’ve broken down how you should manage your time; making sure you’re adequately prepared to not just survive in your first few months, but thrive. Read more

Direct Recruitment Ltd

Most of us have been involved with our fair share of bad campaigns. A few people would argue that there’s a couple taking place right now, concluding with the general election this Thursday.

Often, however, there’s not enough reflection done after a bad campaign and the same mistakes are made again the next time round. We’re all quite quick to pat ourselves on the back once one has been executed successfully, but when the opposite happens there’s a lot of finger pointing and shirking responsibility. One campaign should always help inform the next one; there are always lessons to be learned.

Use the below six pointers as an action plan to ensure your campaign runs smoothly – helping to avoid any Dianne Abott-type gaffes along the way. Read more