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Women On The Board

April 7th, 2011   By   Filed Under: Candidates, Employers, Everyone

More than six in 10 senior executive headhunters disagree with the Davies report recommendations that firms should more than double the women on their boards by 2015. The data also reveals that 89% of those surveyed believe there is a danger that the recommendations will result in some optimal candidates being turned down as a result of positive discrimination. Seven in 10 of respondents also didn’t think that the proposals to increase women in the boardroom were workable.

Thoughts – I am sure that any female director worth their salt feels that they won their place on the board by their being the very best person for the position. To be offered the place because you are a woman and filling some sort of quota, seems to show a lack of respect for the fact that you are on the board because you are talented and can bring real value to the business. It shouldn’t have anything to do with gender but who is the best person for the job! Anything less would be an insult to talent and success.

Candidate Gives God As Reference

March 3rd, 2011   By   Filed Under: Employers, Everyone

Giving God as a reference heads the list of CV gaffes. Other clangers include a candidate who listed lion taming as a hobby, another who wrote their CV in rhyme, one who used a photograph of somebody else and one applicant only gave their name and phone number with the phrase: “I want a job.”

Another jobseeker claimed to be a direct descendant of the Vikings, while one candidate listed ‘Master of Time and Universe’ under his experience.

Almost a third (32%) of 194 UK employers surveyed, claimed they spend one minute or less reviewing a CV, while 14% per cent spend 30 seconds or less. Around a quarter (23%) also said they had uncovered a lie on a CV in the past year.


Scrapping of forced retirement at 65 welcomed by employers

July 29th, 2010   By   Filed Under: Everyone

Government plans to abolish the default retirement age from October 2011 have been welcomed by employers, employers groups and UK unions as a victory for choice.

At the moment, employers are allowed to force staff to retire at the age of 65 without having to give a reason.

Andrew Groves, head of national resourcing at Yell, welcomed the change, telling Recruiter that the change could potentially help employers redress skills shortages.

However, he said that for this to happen employers would need to change their attitude first. “It will be tough for employers to overcome [their attitude], as for many their instinct is that younger people are faster paced and more aggressive about where they want to get to.”

Rachel Krys, campaign director of the Employers Forum on Age (EFA), says: “The EFA works with many companies who have removed the mandatory retirement age such as B&Q, Nationwide, JD Wetherspoon, BT, The Co-operative and M&S to name but a few; and they are already reaping the benefits. Age is not a proxy for ability.”

Chris Ball, chief executive of The Age and Employment Network (TAEN), adds: “This move can only be a first step. Many employers will need to adopt a totally new mindset… It will certainly mean providing opportunities to train or re-train and to work more flexibly and, crucially, actually recruiting people in their 50s and 60s where they may not have done so in the past.”

Welcoming the plans, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber says: “This is a welcome move. It cannot be right that workers lose their protection against arbitrary dismissal overnight because of their age.

“But we need to go further to give people real choice about how and when they retire with new rights for flexible working. This can end the retirement cliff-edge where people work full-time one day and stop work the next. Many would prefer a phased retirement.

“Not everyone wants to work longer and may not be fit enough to continue. Today’s move should be about choice, not an expectation that people will work longer so don’t need decent pensions.”

Employment relations minister, Ed Davey, said: “Older workers bring with them a wealth of talent and experience as employees and entrepreneurs. They have a vital contribution to make to our economic recovery and long-term prosperity.”

The CBI has said the move will create uncertainty.

Work experience central, say students

July 16th, 2010   By   Filed Under: Everyone

Fri, 16 Jul 2010

Work experience is critical to standing out in the crowds, according to a survey by Vodafone.

The survey shows that 69% use work experience to help their job applications, while 34% take up volunteering to enhance their CV and increase their chances of a getting a job.

Almost half (45%) of students say the marketplace is becoming even more crowded, citing the huge growth in graduates is the main obstacle to getting a foot on the career ladder.

“Volunteering and work experience have become critical assets which young people today can use to enhance their attraction to employers,” said Vodafone UK graduate manager, Nicola Fitzgerald.

“Over 3,000 people applied for our 2010 graduate programme which offered 50 places. It was those people who communicated how their life experiences and personal interests added value to their academic successes who shone through both in their CVs and interviews.”

Dangers of scrapping default retirement age

June 28th, 2010   By   Filed Under: Everyone

Employers and recruiters should be aware of the implications surrounding the possible scrapping of the default retirement age, according to an employment lawyer.

As part of his Emergency Budget speech, George Osborne announced plans for the government to consult on how to scrap the default retirement age from April 2011.

Jo Broadbent, senior lawyer at Hogan Lovells, says that scrapping the default retirement age should be “on the radar” of both in-house and external recruiters and added: “They shouldn’t ‘park’ the issue.”

She suggested two ways companies could deal with its removal: “The first thing they could do is just accept that they have to operate without a default retirement age; the second is that companies could impose their own retirement age, but that could be difficult from a legal point of view.”

Campaign group the Employers’ Forum on Age agreed that it should now become an issue for employers: “The default retirement age is fundamentally discriminatory, based on the assumption that age affects someone’s ability to do their job.

“The Employers Forum on Age (EFA) has been campaigning against the default retirement age for many years and works with a number of employers, including many government departments, which report that operating without the default retirement age has resulted in significant business benefits.

“Employers who are currently using the DRA should start planning now to ensure they are ready for this change. Understanding the experience of employers operating without a DRA will be essential, and will give them confidence to allow employees to choose when they retire and to put the policies and processes in place to make the most of an age diverse workforce.”

The benefits of working for as long as one wants to are more than that of carrying on earning! It is a human desire to be with others in the ‘beehive’ of work, where the employee feels part of a collective contribution to the economy, country, world and it is becoming an accepted fact that good health, both physical and mental, come from a human being fully engaged in work.

The mandatory retirement age that many companies adopt of 65, should be scrapped and companies should look at B & Q & Tesco, who have a diverse age-group of employees, where the wisdom of experience, coupled with the bravery of youthful inexperience, is a strong, successful force. The mantra should surely be, “not work ‘til you drop, but choose when to stop”.

Sarah Johnson – Dylan

The Public Sector

May 25th, 2010   By   Filed Under: Everyone

So the Public Sector has finally caught up with the Private Sector- Job cuts and pay freezes! Public Sector spending cuts of £6.25bn have been outlined by Chancellor George Osborne in his first major announcement on how the coalition government is to tackle the £156bn budget deficit.

Among the savings to be announced are nearly £2bn from IT programmes, suppliers and property and over £1bn from the reduction in consultancy and travel costs.

With the threat of 300,000 people losing their jobs, can those who have been loyal to the Public Sector make the transition into the private sector?

Let’s look at Marketing (as hopefully we know something about this). Can a seasoned Public Sector Marketer break into the private sector? The honest answer is it’s going to be tough. In agency land, public sector accounts will be lost, stripped or reduced. This will mean more competition per role.

So how can you combat this? Well play to that strength. If an agency is nervous about losing an account, bringing someone in, with exposure to the Public sector could help strengthen the case. As a candidate I would advise mapping out agencies with Public Sector accounts (Golly Slater, BlueFrog, The Good Agency) and going to them with this proposition in mind. Show then how you can strengthen their case to retain an account. If you have the inner knowledge, you can be worth your weight in gold.

If you don’t know what agencies you work with, find out and then approach them first. Be proactive! You are always going to be up against someone who has worked at a similar agency – the safe bet. You need to prove why a fresh set of eyes and inside working knowledge is better than the safe bet.

US Projected Retirement Age Rises

April 27th, 2010   By   Filed Under: Uncategorized

US workers’ projected retirement age has risen over the past 15 years, with more than a third of people today saying they will retire after age 65, compared with 12% in 1995, according to a poll from Gallup. The research marks the first time Gallup has recorded more people saying they will retire after age 65 than before that age.

‘It seems that we are in tune with the US on this one. The UK Government and many of the workforce wants to let people work for later on in their lives. This makes real sense – all that knowledge is passed on and it’s a fact that working keeps people healthier both mentally and physically and gives them a sense of being part of the community and a feeling that they are contributing to society. Roll on the day when there is no retirement age at all, but merely not work ‘til you drop, but choose when to stop!’ Sarah Johnson, Divisional Director, Dylan* London.

Get the interview right

February 22nd, 2010   By   Filed Under: Everyone, Interesting, Weird and Wonderful

Things to do:

- Get rid of your coat and brolly at reception so you arrive in the interview room looking as if you already work there.

- Dress for the part, but road test the new shoes and suit first, so you look relaxed and comfortable.

- Be prepared to speak about yourself for at least two or three minutes, focusing on matching yourself to the company’s requirements. Rehearse with a friend if necessary.

- Be prepared for the tricky “aren’t you overqualified for this?” questions. Give honest but upbeat answers and then move on.

- End with an “assumptive close” by asking where the company is heading and how your role may change. It shows curiosity and leaves them with an impression of you already being in the job.

Things not to do:

- Don’t assume that because of your obvious experience you can wing it. You can’t.

- Don’t talk too much.

- Don’t ever criticise a previous boss or organisation.

- If you lack the specific qualifications or experience, explain what skills you have that qualify you for the job.

- Don’t forget why you are there – use concrete examples to show you have the skills and knowledge for the job, and what your achievements and ambitions are.

Sourced from the Sunday Times 21/02/10

Three Key Characteristics of Successful Job Seekers

January 23rd, 2009   By   Filed Under: Candidates

We recently read a very interesting research piece conducted by the Guardian. Assessing the Candidate Experience (ACE) is new, groundbreaking research exploring jobseeker’s attitudes and experiences, and how these change throughout the journey. The results are a combination of detailed responses from an initial group of 3,000 respondents and a further group of 1,000.

So with no further ado, and with thanks to the Guardian;

The first wave of research delivered valuable information about what jobseekers have been doing to find a new role and who they are. Analysing the figures for all 3,075 respondents gives us an idea of our average jobseeker.

The research revealed two main groups of jobseekers – those who had found a role between the two surveys, who we called the ACEs, and those still looking for a new job, the Chasers.

It was then possible to look back at their previous answers to determine what distinguishes these ACEs from those still looking, the Chasers.

Despite being demographically similar, three key characteristics differentiated the ACEs from the rest –

  1. Optimism
  2. Pro-activity
  3. Decisiveness

So what are jobseekers looking for from you?

What makes you an employer of choice in their eyes? The most important things when looking for an employer were:

  • Good company/organisation culture
  • Friendly people
  • Attractive location
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Quality training

Jobseekers are quite demanding in what they want to know and when they expect to find out. Being up front, open and transparent about what you are offering seems to be the best policy.

The Guardian’s own response data tells us that advertisements that include salary and location details tend to receive a higher level of response.

The main frustrations jobseekers told us about were:

  • Application forms
  • Lack of response and feedback
  • Lack of information

Four main themes emerged as positive experiences of jobseeking:

  • The ease of online jobseeking
  • Job hunting as a positive personal experience
  • The value of job alerts
  • Networking and word of mouth

Flexible Working Rights

December 10th, 2008   By   Filed Under: Candidates, Employers

Government presses ahead with flexible working changes

Despite business opposition, the Government will proceed with its expansion of flexible working rights…

On the day of the Queen’s Speech, the Government revealed that the right to request flexible working will indeed be extended to parents with children up to the age of 16 – which will mean a five-fold increase in the number of potential applicants. Lord Mandelson said last month that he was reviewing the timetable for the new rules, in response to business concerns that it was a rotten time to be piling another compliance obligation on SMEs – but it looks as though the flexible working lobby has won the day…


The move means that up to 4.5m parents will have the right to request flexible working as of April next year – a huge increase on the 800,000 parents with kids under six that have the right at the moment. If their request is granted – and currently 90% of requests are – employees will be able to build their hours around their out-of-work commitments, which should be a positive step for greater diversity and equality in the workplace. ‘Without the right to request flexible working many people, specifically mothers, are effectively locked out of work,’ lobby group Business in the Community said today. ‘Smarter working is fundamental to making society fairer and more equal.’

Unfortunately, the flip side is that this process costs businesses time and money – an extra £69m a year, in fact, according to the CBI and the IoD. Along with other business groups, they’ve been pleading with the government to delay the new measures, arguing (not unreasonably) that it’s not a good idea to be loading businesses with extra costs at a time when they’re already likely to be feeling the squeeze. And given last month’s announcement, it appeared that new Business Secretary Lord Mandelson was sympathetic to their concerns.

However, reports suggest that a powerful lobby within the Cabinet, led by Commons leader Harriet Harman and Chief Treasury Secretary Yvette Cooper, were determined to push the bill through – and clearly Mandy has been forced to yield. Business groups aren’t happy: the EEF’s David Yeandle told the FT it was a ‘bad message for business’, while the FSB’s Stephen Alambritis told the Telegraph that ‘the timing of this is not clever’.

Then again, the fact remains that businesses are perfectly entitled to refuse the request, if they have a legitimate reason for doing so – and the external climate may give them more justification for saying no. Admittedly this could be an onerous process. But at least it might allow them to tap into a broader range of skills – and that could prove invaluable next year…


“Government Presses Ahead With Flexible Working changes.” Management Today Dec. 2008: Marketing and Sales. 3 Dec. 2008 <><–>