Category Archives: recruitment

Steps to Employment: 5 Ways to Improve Your CV

 

When sending your CV into an employer, it is easy to slip

under the radar among other applicants for the same

position. The most important thing for a candidate to do is

to stand out and be memorable in the RIGHT way. Here

are senior consultant Paddy Steele’s top five tips for

what makes a successful candidate CV:

 

Make it Your Own

The term ‘CV’ actually stands for ‘course of life’, so make sure to tell yours! Make sure that your CV represents how you see yourself as an employee, and who you want your potential employers to see you as.

Keep it Simple

Here at Black Fox Solutions, one of the first things we ask our candidates for is a CV so that we can gain a comprehensive understanding of what experience they have, and what skills they can offer.

If it is difficult to read, or unclear what roles you have accepted in the past, we are unable to gain a holistic view of your experience and qualifications.

For example, as a graphic designer you may feel like a bright and colourful CV would best represent your skill set, however this could seem busy and distracting.

Part of our responsibility as recruiters is tailoring your CV for the positions that we put you forward for, so if it is difficult to read then it is difficult to edit!

Less is sometimes more, and the added bonus of applying through Black Fox Solutions is that you let us do the work for you!

TO THE POINT

When discussing tips for a successful CV, Paddy immediately recalled a candidate with a CV that was almost five pages long, and how he reduced it to just two and a half pages before he sent it to potential employers.

As well as being straight-forward to read, your CV must also allow employers to know within a short space of time whether you are suitable for their position!

Target your CV Towards Each Position you Apply For

It is common knowledge that employers sometimes look for specific words within your CV in order to assess your capability for the position.

Therefore, when applying for each job remember to reference the key terms and requirements that the position needs!

This means that the employer will be able to clearly pick you from the other applicants, as you have marketed yourself as specifically suited for the position!

SPG is More Important Than you Think

Not every role requires a candidate to have a perfect grasp of the written English language, but it is important to try and make sure that your CV is free from misspellings or accidental typing errors.

A CV is the first impression that an employer will have of you, and spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes can give the impression of carelessness.

Ask another person to read over the document, or if you have applied with a recruiter, we can do this for you!

 

As professionals in the recruitment industry, an integral part of our job is to ensure you, our client, are fully prepared for all aspects of a job application, including helping to prepare you for an interview, and applying for jobs on your behalf.

For further help in your pursuit of employment, contact Black Fox Solutions on 02890994111, or Follow The Fox on social media:

 

@LetTheFoxHelp

 

Black Fox Solutions

 

Black Fox Solutions

Steps to Employment: 5 Ways to Improve Your Interview Skills

When applying for positions, the initial task of simply getting an interview can be difficult in itself.

Therefore, when you are lucky enough to secure one it is important to make a good impression with your potential future employer, and ensure that you have done enough to stand out among an array of other qualified candidates.

One of our senior consultants, Ben Ritchie, has listed his top five tips for success in an interview below.

Research the company

Although this is a pre-interview step to take, it is arguably one of the most important ones: it is vital to spend some time researching the company you have applied for.

I advise my candidates to spend ten or so minutes the night before an interview on their potential future employer’s company website.

Pay close attention to what type of work the company does, what kind of people they employ, and,most of all, the requirements of the job you have applied for.

This will give you hints as to how you should answer their questions and what aspects of the role to mention when doing so.

Dress the Part

The person interviewing you will ultimately see you before they hear you, and so it is important to convey what type of employee with what you are wearing.

A neat and professional appearance will cause the interviewer to hold this opinion of you throughout the exchange.

Wear something smart, but also something that you feel comfortable in.

Although it is important to dress professionally, if wearing a suit makes you VISIBLY uncomfortable then it is better in this instance to dress ‘smart-casual’.

Arrive on time – or even better, arrive EARLY

A well-known interview tip, this ensures that you appear organised and punctual.

What this also allows you to do as an interviewee, is it gives you a few minutes to observe the working environment and the other employees.

In addition to this, these few minutes can be used to calm any last-minute nerves or anxieties over the interview itself.

Remember to take a few moments to relax: being asked for the interview means that they have seen something desirable in you for the position, and therefore like you as a candidate already. Be confident in yourself.

Make the first and last seconds COUNT

The first impression you make to the employer is vital:

  • Say hello
  • Introduce yourself by name
  • Speak clearly and loud enough that you can be heard
  • Make eye contact
  • Offer a firm handshake
  • Make sure your body language is relaxed yet confident

Most importantly, be the best version of YOU.

This is your opportunity to sell yourself as an individual, so make sure that you endorse yourself properly and prove why you are the perfect candidate.

When you finish, make sure you thank your interviewer for their time and don’t rush out. Leave in the same manner that you introduced yourself.

Keep in touch

Following your interview, remember to contact your recruiter.

This gives us an opportunity to reaffirm your enthusiasm for the role to the employer and helps to give you an advantage over the other candidates!

Often, we at Black Fox Solutions are in direct contact with the company and may already have received feedback regarding how the interview went that we can pass on.

 

As professionals in the recruitment industry, an integral part of our job is to ensure you, our client, are fully prepared for all aspects of a job application, including helping to compile your CV and applying for jobs on your behalf.

For further help in your pursuit of employment, contact Black Fox Solutions on 02890994111, or Follow The Fox on social media:

Black Fox Solutions

 

@LetTheFoxHelp

 

Black Fox Solutions

The Debate Of Interviewing: What Is Your Process?

If you have recently taken the massive step of becoming self-employed or have just started your own business and now find yourself in the position that you need to start employing staff, it can be an exciting, yet daunting experience.

So we wanted to give you some insights into how to best navigate the tricky process of interviewing potential employees. It can be a difficult subject; people have different views on what to ask, what not to ask and what’s appropriate. Industries have their own method of interviewing and most follow the same process each time.

However, don’t be afraid to mix it up at times, not only will asking a variety of questions be more interesting for you but it will make you stand out to candidates and portray your company as an enjoyable place to work.

This article looks at the different aspects of an interview, the do’s, don’ts and what questions could make you stand out from the rest.

There are plenty of relevant questions that should be asked such as, ‘tell me about yourself,’ ‘why should we hire you’ and ‘when did you face a problem in the workplace and how did you solve it?’ How your candidate answers these will give you an insight into how they work and how they will fit in with the rest of the team.

Asking open ended questions like, ‘What do you do in your spare time/what are your hobbies?’ or ‘Tell us a fun fact about yourself’ are brilliant ice-breakers and will help you find out how the person will fit into your team without being too invasive.

Inappropriate questions can make a candidate feel uncomfortable, asking them about their marital status, whether they have children or continually commenting on their appearance can be deemed as discriminatory. Always be careful when asking about their lifestyle, there are ways to find out about their personal life, without getting too personal.

Inappropriate or invasive questions can make a candidate feel uncomfortable and some, such as “Are you married?” or “Do you have children?”, can be blatantly discriminatory and illegal. It’s best to avoid getting too familiar. You should never ask a candidate a situational type question that you wouldn’t like to answer yourself.

Even though the usual questions are a must, don’t be afraid to add a different spin on how you ask them. We recently had a candidate in for a position, the interviewer asked them, ‘What will we miss out on if we don’t hire you?’ Although the candidate was initially taken aback by the question, his answer was that his short commute to work would be a benefit as he would be happy to come in early or stay late when needed and would be more motivated to do this because of how close he lives to the offices, and it was how he answered that helped him get the position.

Another example is when a candidate was asked ‘name a song that best describes your work ethic?’ The answer was just as quirky as the questions, ‘the lazy song by Bruno mars.’ Although this was a risky answer, the interviewer saw the funny side and offered him the job.

Sometimes it’s important to come across unique as well as professional when interviewing potential recruits. There are many acceptable questions to ask that won’t be inappropriate or embarrassing, take the time out to research and prepare ahead of time.

Although choosing the right question can be a challenge at times, you will need to take the time to prepare and research to decide on the best questions that will help you recruit the best suited candidate for your company culture, as well as the role itself.

Ensure you have given the candidate a clear understanding of your company culture and the person you hire is competent and has the skills needed to do the job satisfactory. At the end of the day, you will be spending between 40-50 hours per week with this person, so you need to make sure you are asking the best questions to help you figure out whether they will be a good addition to your team.

Help or a Hindrance… Do You Think The five Year Plan Really Works?

“So, tell me, where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” I’m sure many of you have heard this question before, at family gatherings, out for dinner with friends and most commonly while in an interview. The answer to this usually entails parts of life such as climbing up the career ladder, getting married and having a family. While all these things are important, have you ever sat down and properly thought about where you would like to be in five years, including all the achievements and experiences in between?

Most believe there are benefits to creating a structured five-year plan, while others argue that it adds stress and pressure to their already busy lifestyle. This article explores the benefits and drawbacks of developing your own personal plan and will make you consider whether one would be useful for you.

One of the main advantages to having a five-year plan is that it helps you find out your purpose by asking yourself ‘why do you have the objectives you do?’ It’s important that you look at each of your aims and goals and make sure your goals are relevant to your true intentions. For example, your aim may be to become rich but the reason for wanting to become rich may be to go on more holidays, so your true goal is to travel.

It enables you to refine your goals by figuring out your objectives and exactly why you want them. This is where the SMART measurement comes in useful, this method encourages you to make objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. With the Career Development Centre in University of Waterloo states that a plan of action will provide the necessary inspiration needed to achieve your future objectives.

Implementing a 5-year plan will also help motivate you to take action in achieving your goals. Breaking down each part of the plan into a quarterly or yearly basis will help you stay on track and work towards turning each goal into a reality. It will also help you to get advice from different industry experts on how to achieve your goals, you can ask for advice on certain parts of the plan, how to achieve them, if there is anything to add and so on.

One of the main disadvantages to creating a plan is no follow through, this means the time and effort that has gone into it has been a waste of time. Or even worse, there could be a follow through, but the reality, facts and assumptions of the plan have been too unrealistic for it to work. This can be demotivating as some people become too consumed with making the plan work.

Others argue that five years is too long of a time period, with the New York Time’s Virginia Heffernan revealed that around 65% of today’s grade school students grow up to work in jobs that didn’t exist during their childhood. So, if the working world can develop and grow in short periods of time, how is a person meant to stick to their original five-year plan without changing their mind or developing themselves. Therefore, every year you should review the plan and make any changes.

The five-year plan method definitely has a mix of lovers and haters, but after weighing up the pros and cons, what’s your thoughts? Do you think it will help boost your motivation into making your dreams a reality or does it become more of a hindrance than a help?

Look After Your Employee’s Mental Health at Work

No matter what industry, what role or what level on the hierarchy an employee is on, they may be silently suffering from mental health problems. While many focus on the importance of maintaining physical health, mental health is just as vital to be aware of.

After all, as mind.org revealed it does affects one in six of us in the workplace, so the question you must ask yourself is, are you doing enough to support your employee’s mental health?

2019 has seen a rise in people speaking out about their struggles with mental health with influencers, celebrities and charities such as makeitok.org backing the ‘it’s okay not to be okay’ campaign and stating that it’s time to take about mental health more frequently, which covers many issues including stress, depression and anxiety.

It has been highlighted that these are the most common problems for workers in a workplace, with a survey from mind.org revealing that 21% agreed they had called sick into work due to stress and the option of resigning crossed the mind of 42% of workers when stress got too much.

Josh Krichefski, from Campaign often highlights the importance of breaking the stigma of mental health, especially at work. He says that “most workers present an image of themselves in the workplace” and that the extrovert ones are assumed to be able to brush stress off easily, but this isn’t always the case. There needs to be more office support, with Josh revealing only 36% of UK businesses currently doing so.

However, there are measures you can take to prevent these issues from becoming prevalent in your company and keep your team fighting fit.

Recent developments from The Economics Foundation has shown that simple steps such as talking to someone instead of emailing, asking them how they are and properly listening and speaking to someone new can really help improve wellbeing in the workplace.

Having an open-door policy in your workplace will help employee’s feel more comfortable to speak about issues they may be having. However, you can’t expect openness if you don’t emphasise the importance of it. Mention occasionally during meetings that if anyone is feeling over-stressed or anxious, that you would rather they come to you instead of keeping it in. Staff who feel supported are less likely to take time off, resulting in a more productive workforce.

Ensure your company culture is positive, as fostering this environment will help more staff with work. A happy workforce equals a motivated workforce.

Incorporate a mental health section into your company policy, you should also offer your team counselling and training sessions focused on awareness of mental health. Encourage staff to be productive during the day, make sure their workloads are realistic and keep check over those who seem to be acting differently.

International Women’s Day: Why We Need More Female Engineers

In celebration of International Women’s Day, BlackFox Solutions sat down with Claire Anderson to chat about her new Manufacturing Engineer role, why more women should work in Engineering and any advice she has for aspiring female engineers.

So, Claire you studied Engineering at Queens University? Can you tell me what sparked your interest in this industry?

Engineering is something I’ve always been interested in. I always liked Technology, Math and Science focused subjects at school and I was always good at them. I like being able to come up with a solution to something while still being able to be creative. This is where my strength was in school. I also was massively influenced through my upbringing; my dad does plenty of engineering work and this was always something I wanted to get involved in. I never really thought twice about it, it has always been something I’ve wanted to do.

Can you describe the moment it was the career you wanted to pursue?

The day I went to Queens University open night, I went three years in a row! I remember each time I went I would just think to myself ‘wow, I love this. I want to be a part of this industry,’ I loved hearing about the course and opportunities there are for women wanting to get into engineering. I think this is the problem with women in engineering, that they don’t realise the number of different paths they can go down. When I tell people I’m an engineer some automatically ask me to fix their car or make another assumption and I explain that’s not what I do, I feel more people should be aware of the many different roles there are available.

Can you explain your role?

My role isn’t what I had originally planned which was medical engineering, that’s what most of my university modules were focused on. I worked on many manufacturing projects during my placement years and then realised that I wanted to go down the manufacturing and continuous improvement direction.

Describe a typical working day for you.

It’s difficult to do this because every day is completely different, and many engineer jobs are like this. You work on a project with a team and once it is finished, you move straight onto the next one. Something I must do every day is check and compare the machines, analysing their performance and figuring out why some aren’t performing well. I learn something new every day which I like, as I feel as though I’m always progressing and improving.

What has your experience been like being a woman in the Engineering industry?

It was intimidating starting my university course that had something around 196 males and 9 females, but I am happy to say that I feel accepted being a woman in this industry. There were times I had to try harder to get my voice heard but overall every workplace has accepted me. I’m aware that some women have shared stories where they’ve felt like an outcast in a male dominated company or found it harder to be accepted, but for me it has been good. This may be because people have taken more notice of the issue and are trying harder to help women progress in the industry.

Why do you think it is important for more women to work in engineering?

Firstly, if there are no women working in engineering it will become a completely male dominated industry. We need women to be role models for younger girls and encourage them to follow this career path if it’s what they want. Like most workplaces, engineering companies need diverse teams to help them progress in every aspect if a project. Females bring in different perspectives and ideas than males and this allows them to bounce ideas off each other and cover everything. I feel having women in engineering removes the stereotype people have of engineers, when I search for images online the first to appear are pictures of nerdy men all sitting at a computer in a dark room and there is such a diverse amount around the world, and I want people to become more aware of this. I can notice a different already in the amount of female’s choosing this career, more media coverage around this and universities posting about their female engineering students.

What would your advice be to any women out there wanting to get into engineering?

My advice would be to go for it, no matter what anyone says! If you are interested and want to pursue it then do it. I’ve had no issues being a female and I hope that many other women have the positive experience I’ve had. We need to encourage more women to realise that they can do anything they want and shouldn’t let fear or intimidation get in the way and I feel International Women’s Day helps this happen!