Choosing your Referees

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in General | 0 comments

Choosing your Referees

As we know, all job offers are made subject to satisfactory references.  So choosing your  referees carefully is vital.  But  it is not always that straightforward.  What if the Charity you worked for no longer exists or the person you worked for has moved on?  It may be that the Charity’s policy is to only provide factual references  that confirm your dates of employment and the role that you held – which really is not that helpful. And frankly, in my experience personal references are not that sought after so that is not a solution to the reference dilemma. However, we can think differently about referees, I am interested to hear from other sources, maybe a member of a team you managed can provide insight to your management style?   A colleague can also provide a different perspective on your performance and contribution and you may have correspondence that highlights or congratulates you on your performance on a particular project.  You may want to think about a previous manager who has now moved on – they may now be able to provide a references without the restraints of company policy. Despite employer’s reluctance to provide a bad reference, there are occasions when a less than satisfactory one is received.  I always advise employers that they should pick up the telephone and have a conversation with referees to understand the context to this and to seek clarification or further information, .  My advice to candidates is choose your referees carefully!  We can’t get on with everyone we work for and you would hope that personal feelings would be put aside where references are concerned, but it is not always the...

read more

Why You Shouldn’t Be On LinkedIn

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in General | 2 comments

I joined LinkedIn years ago before anyone really knew what it was. Now I’m on it daily, as a recruiter it is a vital tool for researching, finding and connecting with potential clients and candidates. In addition, it’s possible to contribute to key discussions relevant to your profession, building your status as an influencer and an expert.  It’s a no brainer if you are serious about your career, your business or profession. I have been impressed by two recent invitations to connect from 18 year olds.  Both were known to me as offspring of friends, but both are obviously serious about their career prospects and already understand the importance of networks. So why you shouldn’t be on it? It’s more damaging to make a half hearted attempt to dabble with LinkedIn, to provide minimal information about yourself, no photo, few contacts and no contribution to any discussions. It suggests one of a few things – you didn’t understand it and gave up, you just wanted to be on there to see what everyone else is doing or you simply couldn’t be bothered. You wouldn’t do this with your business website. Best not to be on there at all rather than give out these messages, maybe you’d be more comfortable with Facebook or Twitter? At the risk of repeating myself, I do believe that CV’s will eventually become a thing of the past.  Your online CV can be populated with input from 3rd parties endorsing and recommending your skills and experience, giving greater weight to your job applications and making it easier for prospective employers to find you.  Saying you’re not comfortable with social media and don’t wish your details to be out there is like saying you don’t like using the telephone and refusing to have your business in the Yellow Pages (if you can remember what that is). Better to take control of your online profile and make it work for you than pretend it doesn’t apply to...

read more

An Incentive Experiment

Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in General, Social Media | 0 comments

As the cost of recruitment advertising continues to rise without the guarantee of attracting the right (or any) candidates, social media has to provide a potential alternative, but are we making it work for us?   My good friend, Alistair Gleave (Gleave Media) keeps telling me that content is king, and he is right but only if you have the audience, but which comes first?   I decided to carry out an experiment.  I had seen facebook “competitions” asking us to like and share posts with the opportunity to win something at the end of the promotion – holidays, jewellery and campervans!  It appeared that three clicks was all it would take and your potential audience could expand rapidly.  But would they be the right audience.    I decided to give it a try.  A hudl seemed desirable enough and would cost under half the price of a national advert for one job.  I posted on the Shine page that it was my birthday and I was feeling generous.  Previously, my average post reach had been around 50.  You will see from my screen shot, this post reached over 2000.  In addition,  a vacancy that was being advertised on the page was shared with someone who was not actively seeking a new role and I was able to fill a fundraising vacancy!  Hurray!! Now I need to create some great content to keep this new audience and keep them engaged and interested (and entertained?)....

read more


Posted by on Aug 14, 2013 in General | 0 comments

As a recruiter I have always believed that everyone you meet is a potential client and charities probably have the same approach! Everyone you meet is a potential supporter, volunteer, donor or even beneficiary. This is particularly relevant when dealing with applicants, we ask them to invest a huge amount of time and emotional energy in their  job applications, and typically they will apply for four or five jobs before finding the right one. As recruitment processes become more complex and lengthy, this requires considerable time spent on research, writing cv’s and completing application forms and then more research and preparation of presentation(s) for interview(s). Charities, should take this opportunity to nurture positive relationships with applicants.  Of course, only one person can be offered the job, but you want ALL the other candidates to feel they have had a positive experience and be left with warm thoughts about your organisation, maybe even being engaged enough to volunteer but certainly, at the very least, to talk about your charity in a positive manner to others.  So, when giving feedback to unsuccessful candidates, don’t forget to acknowledge their time and effort and make your appreciation known.  I always do this as a matter or course on behalf of my clients, but I know that sometimes organisations are so relieved to have found the right person for their role, they can forget those applicants who weren’t successful.   Happy...

read more

What’s In It For Me?

Posted by on Mar 18, 2013 in General | 0 comments

(Or Why You Should Consider Becoming a Trustee)   Giving up your time and energy, not to mention your experience and expertise, to take on an unpaid role is a big ask, but this is what being a Trustee is all about.  The rewards are definitely there but are non-financial. So why do we become Trustees? Well, it is flattering to be asked.  If a charity feels you have the knowledge and experience to benefit their board, it’s hard not to be flattered.  But that’s not a reason to become a Trustee. It may be that you have strong feelings about the charity , the value of its services to its beneficiaries and want to play a key part in ensuring the charity’s sustainability?   I believe that it is important for a Trustee to believe in and be committed to the activities of the organisation they become involved with.  You will then have the opportunity to influence and engage on issues that are important to you. Developing yourself and learning new skills.  Charity trustees will be expected to have input in all areas of running a charity, contributing with your own specific skills set and developing new knowledge in other areas eg finance, employment law, health and safety,  investments, working on organisational strategy.  Good for the soul and the CV. Being part of something meaningful.  Most of us are wrapped up in our own lives, making a living and running businesses.  Being a Charity trustee brings a feeling of being part of something that is worthwhile and important.  Making a positive contribution and being valued is important to all of us. Finding out about Trustee roles is easy, here are some useful links:- Thinking about becoming a Trustee?

read more


Posted by on Nov 6, 2012 in General | 0 comments

        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

Posted by on Jul 12, 2012 in General | 0 comments

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

Posted by on May 17, 2012 in General | 0 comments

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 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

Posted by on Mar 12, 2012 in General | 0 comments

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 t 0845 863 065...

read more

When Charity Recruitment Goes Mad

Posted by on Mar 5, 2012 in General | 0 comments

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