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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Charity Recruitment Consultants – Value for Money?

Obviously, I would say yes but some charities  feel that the benefits working with charity recruitment consultants do not outweigh the cost.  The value of recruiting a great person for the role is huge, and it is important to put in place some way of measuring the success of the appointment.  The cost of poor recruitment can be devastating and ultimately cost an organisation far more than just money!! Working with an experienced and professional  Consultant should help you to find that great person and ensure good recruitment practice takes place during the process. But before you do choose who you’re going to work with ask yourself these questions:-   Does your Consultant meet with you to gain a better understanding of your organisation, it’s culture, it’s challenges, it’s opportunities and it’s objectives? Are they happy to provide testimonials and for you to speak to other organisations who have used them? Can they demonstrate they understand your requirements in terms of not only skills and experience, but also attitude and personality? Does your Consultant help you write your job description, advise you on salary packages, write and handle your advertising campaign? Does your Consultant respond to everyone who applies for the job in a professional and polite manner, ensuring that your organisation continues to be viewed in a positive light?  With more and more people considering careers in the charity sector, you could end up with a large number of applications. Does your Consultant carry out first interviews with long-listed candidates and provide a shortlist of suitable candidates, complete with interviewer’s report? Does your Consultant make themselves available to meet with you to discuss your shortlist in detail and help you to plan your own interview/assessment day? Is you Consultant on hand on the assessment day and available to be an  member of the  interview panel or at least to facilitate the day? Does your Consultant handle the job offer and any subsequent negotiations on your behalf? Does your Consultant handle written references requests on your behalf? And does your Consultant keep going, even when the ideal candidate appears impossible to find?   If you can answer yes to all these questions, then you are getting great value for money.  If you aren’t using a Recruitment Consultant then hopefully you will now realise the benefits of finding a Consultant who can provide you with all of the above!!...

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Happy New Year

I think most people would agree that 2011 was a toughie!  But will 2012 be any bettrer?  Well it depends on who you speak to, my thoughts are as follows (for what they’re worth) If you’re doing well – don’t take it for granted, you need to continue to up your game If things aren’t going so well – you need to examine why?  Don’t keep doing the same in the hope that something will change.  Doing nothing is not an option!  Sometime you need to take the bull by the horns and sometimes you might need a helping hand.  Whilst my specialist area is recruitment, I also work with associates who can offer expertise in a wide range of areas and am always happy to chat to charities and provide whatever help I can. HAVE A GREAT 2012 – I HOPE ALL YOUR EXPECTATIONS ARE...

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