JOB APPLICATIONS – TEN GOLDEN RULES

        Applying for a job is time consuming and can be frustrating.  As a recruiter I see a wide range of applications from a variety of people seeking roles in the charity sector. Here is my advice on making your job seeking more effective.       1.            BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF – just because you see your dream job advertised, does not necessarily mean you have the skills and experience to do the job.  Read the job description and person specification  carefully, if you don’t meet the all the essential requirements and at least 75% of the desirable requirements, you will not be shortlisted. 2.            RESEARCH – there is no excuse for not researching the organisation fully prior to applying, you can then demonstrate your understanding of the requirements of the role more effectively in your application.  Don’t forget the wider research you can also do. 3.            DON’T RAMBLE – keep your supporting statement/covering letter to one side of A4 and make it relevant, addressing the requirement of the role.  Nothing puts recruiters off more than great swathes of text especially when you get a large number of applications. 4.            MEASURE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS – how do you know you improved staff moral/attendance/productivity/increased income?  Provide evidence and figures where possible. 5.            HOW DULL IS YOUR PROFILE? – have you described yourself as professional and experienced?  So does everyone!  Give some thought to your profile – make it stand out from the rest.  Try and inject something of your personality. 6.            DON’T BE LATE – a closing date for applications is usually advertised.  Try not to leave it to the last day, get your application in in plenty of time and definitely don’t send it after the closing date. 7.            TRY NOT TO SULK – if you aren’t shortlisted for interview, there is a good reason.  Either you don’t meet the requirements of the role or you have not submitted a good enough application.  Don’t ring up a demand an explanation (it does happen!). 8.            ATTEND THE INTERVIEW – if you are offered an interview, confirm as soon as you can.  Most organisations will put a lot of effort into organising interview/assessment days and these are usually stated in the advert.  If you can’t attend the interview, don’t expect it to be re-organised just for you. 9.            SMILE – interviews can be stressful but smiling has a positive effect on both you and the interviewer and suggests confidence (even if you’re having a wobble inside).  Don’t forget to smile at everyone you meet on the day, you’d be surprised how many people are asked for feedback. 10.          SAY YES – if asked at the end of the interview if this is the job for you, make sure your enthusiasm if communicated clearly (but try not to sound too desperate!).   Simple things but even some of the most senior candidates have days when the simple things get...

read more

How Not to Handle Maternity Leave by Belinda Newton

Here is an excellent example of how not to make an enquiry into an employee on maternity leave as to whether they are considering coming back to work. Unfortunately in a recent employment tribunal, one employer who clearly did not understand what rights new mothers are entitled to has had to pay out £18,000 on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity discrimination. Emailing one of your employees 2 days after they have given birth demanding a response is unlikely to do you any favours. The new mother in this case was bombarded with emails and was branded ‘unsupportive’ by her boss after ceasing to reply to his emails. Mrs Stone was then deemed ‘unprofessional’ by her employer who also went ‘ballistic’ about her taking her full maternity leave, to which she was fully entitled. All pregnant employees are entitled to 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave followed by 26 weeks additional leave. By law they must take 2 weeks off (4 weeks if it’s a factory environment) after the birth, so pestering them so soon was really out of order. You can however  stay in touch and using the permitted ten paid keeping in touch days is a really positive way of doing this. Always assume that the full period of leave will be taken and that they will be returning to their role. If they want to negotiate flexible working they will write to you requesting this or if they are not returning they must give their contractual notice. There is obviously a common sense approach to this but we would always recommend taking advice. Belinda Newton...

read more

The Curriculum Vitae – Are It’s Days Numbered

So much has been spoken, written, discussed and analysed about the CV.  Roughly translated it means “the course of life” but it has come to represent a marketing document that will represent you effectively in your jobhunting.    Love it or hate it, it’s where we all start when we need to find a new job.  Should it be two or three pages?  Should you include a photo, your date of birth or details of your referees?  How relevant are your leisure interests?  Some helpful tips can be found on the Shine Charity Recruitment website http://www.shinecharityrecruitment.co.uk/recruitment/cv-tips/ Once you have spent a few hours writing a high impact CV and playing with the layout for best effect, you then find that the majority of vacancies require you to complete an application form.  Admittedly, you could cut and paste from your CV, but often you are required to evidence your experience against the job description. It could be that with the increase in the use of Social Media, in the future you may simply be asked to provide the URL to your LinkedIn Profile, so it is important to ensure that this is as up-to-date and relevant as possible.  In addition, this gives you the opportunity to include recommendations or testimonials from the outset. Personally, I am a big fan of the CV.  I like to see how candidates market themselves, their presentation and written communication skills can be demonstrated in a CV.  It is quite interesting to see what they include and what they leave out.  Of course, you can’t be sure if they actually wrote their own CV or paid someone to do it for...

read more

New Recruits by Belinda Newton

Ensuring you have the best possible team to drive your business forward should always be a core part of a business, particularly when the economy is unstable. Your employees should be your best asset. After the energy and effort of recruiting a new member of staff, you want to make sure you can set the expectation and also give an opportunity to a new employee to learn their role. A probationary period is an effective tool to manage the settling in period for a new employee in what is a learning time for both parties, i.e. are you right for each other? Probationary periods are often 3-6 months long, depending on seniority and nature of each industry. They serve to set expectations and targets of both parties to see whether a new recruit will become a permanent member of the workforce. Reality being, if an employee doesn’t meet your expected standards in the probationary period, then they are unlikely to be motivated in the future to be able to do the right job well for you. A probationary period should be monitored on the standards you set. It should be written down and kept on an employee’s file. There are three options at the end of a probationary period; pass, extension or dismissal. This is normally done through a structured probationary review meeting based on the expectations and targets set out originally. We always advise when dismissing a member of staff that you take advice. Belinda Newton belinda.newton@hrdept.co.uk t 0845 863 065...

read more

When Charity Recruitment Goes Mad

Every now and then we advertise a role that produces hundreds (literally) of applications.  You get to the point where you’re nervous about checking your emails!  But don’t panic – be prepared, remain focussed, remain organised and all will be OK. From experience, I would recommend creating a table and logging the applications as they come in. Make a note of their name, the source of the application, whether you have acknowledged receipt with the candidate, a brief note about their background and any additional notes.  When the closing date passes, it is so much easier to refer to your table and identify those candidates whose applications caught your eye when they arrived. For charities, it is especially important to ensure that everyone is provided with a response.  This gives you the opportunity to thank candidates for their interest, express regret at not being able to shortlist everyone and invite them to support your charity in another way (never miss the opportunity to do this!). Alternatively, you could ask me to do it for you.  On a recent recruitment project I took over the entire process from managing the advertising, screening over 200 applications,  carrying out first interviews and producing a shortlist for the client.  I have also worked with a client who had carried out their own advertising, been inundated with applications and simply passed them to me to carry out the screening, which I did producing a shortlist for them to interview and a sympathetically written letter for those candidates not invited for...

read more