Tag 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

Guide Dogs NI Urge For More Support to Help Increase the Amount of Dogs Available

BlackFox Solutions joined forces with Reactive Recruitment to help Guide Dogs Northern Ireland by giving them a substantial donation. This is to help with the availability of guide dogs available to those in need and are encouraging others to do the same.

Guide Dogs NI are encouraging people to make donations to improve the decreasing percentage of dogs and emphasise that every little counts. There are around 1,4000 guide dogs trained in the UK every year, and many considerations that go into the matching process between a dog and their owner, including details such as tone of voice and age.

Kerri McCartney, Marketing and Events Manager at BlackFox Solutions and Reactive Recruitment commented, “I came across an online article highlighting the long wait that those in need of guide dogs have to face before being matched. I felt something needed to be done so I mentioned this to BlackFox & Reactive CEO Max Mackin and within minutes we had decided to make a sizeable donation to help try and make a difference. This is one of the great things about working for a company that has such a strong moral compass, that we can help charities like Guide Dogs with the fantastic work they do. I hope our donation will urge other companies to raise awareness of the importance of their social obligations and to donate also.

The Guide Dogs volunteers work tirelessly to help those in need, and we have massive respect for them and what they do.”

Paul Armstrong, Group Director at Reactive Recruitment said of the experience, “It was humbling to see the fantastic work Guide Dogs NI do and we are delighted to be able to support them as they support so many locally.”

Guide Dogs Northern Ireland have many options for you to offer your support, donations, volunteering and signing up to My Guide. This is a guiding service that matches trained sighted volunteers to people with sight loss who need support getting out and about. While someone is waiting for a guide dog, or may not wish to have a guide dog, a My Guide partnership focuses on achieving a set goal, this could be around building confidence, increasing physical fitness, working towards a guide dog partnership, or tacking social isolation by assessing local communities, hobbies or pastimes.

If you would be interested in doing your part, get in touch with them at MyGuideNI@guidedogs.org.uk or find out more online: My Guide

There is also the ‘Use Your Senses’ 5K run in Stormont Estate on 1st June. For more information, see here: www.guidedogs.org.uk/uysbelfast2019

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.

Northern Ireland Foodbanks Seeking Support! #ThisCanChange

We teamed up with The Trussell Trust Stewartstown ​Foodbank, to help by giving a sizeable donation and urge others to do the same.

Charities such as The Trussell Trust, are urging people to make donations and emphasise that every little counts. Recent statistics from the organisation show the percentage of people needing to use food donations has drastically increased. They revealed that December was the busiest month for foodbanks across the country last year, with some individuals claiming they could not live without the foodbank services.

The Trussell Trust network provided 159,388 emergency food supplies last December, a 49% increase on the monthly average for the 2017-2018 year. These statistics show the demand for foodbanks are significantly rising year by year.

Founder and CEO of BlackFox Solutions, Max Mackin commented: “It’s upsetting to think of the amount of people in need and it is admirable to see the work Edel Diamond and her team are doing to stop people going hungry. They do an amazing job and genuinely help a lot of people who need it.

Hopefully these circumstances won’t be the same next year, but for this to be the case, the government really needs to decrease the waiting time for benefits, the more people receiving their money, the less living in poverty. We are delighted to have played our part and hope many others will do this as well.”

Foodbank Manager, Edel Diamond, believes there is a lot more that can be done to help, she states: “All of our clients are referred for various reasons such as sickness, ill health, loss of job, loss of wages, benefit changes and benefit delays, any crisis at all which means they aren’t able to put food on the table.

“Since the introduction of Universal Credit, we have seen a 50per cent increase in footfall as clients are often waiting 5/6 weeks for their benefit without any money during that time.  So were before we might have had on average 3 families in each hour and a half session – that has now doubled and more.

We would love a society where foodbanks did not exist, however I fear they will be here for quite some time and if we can show compassion and offer a glimmer of hope to those in need then we are doing what we set out to do.

We could not function without our wonderful volunteers who give of their time freely and willingly.  They are the backbone of the foodbank and further to that the generous public and organisations and businesses like yourself.  Without food and financial donations, we wouldn’t be able to operate.”

Something needs to be done before this situation gets worse, to find out how to contribute visit The Trussell Trust for foodbank locations in your surrounding area and help make a difference.

When BlackFox Solutions Caught Up With Will Doggart

We sat down with Northern Irish-based member of the Irish Wheelchair rugby team Will Doggart to find out about his experience playing in Australia, his plans for the future and how he felt when our CEO Max Mackin made a generous donation that helped him achieve his dreams of traveling to Australia to play in the worldwide competition.    

Great to see you again Will! How did you feel when the money was raised for you to go to Australia for the wheelchair Rugby World Cup?

It was a huge shock! I was always hopeful but never thought I would reach the total needed. It was my last hope to raise funds and when I discovered that Black fox made a donation that helped me get past the total I nearly fell out of my chair!

Tell us about your experience taking part in the worldwide competition.

It was a bit surreal. I remember a nurse showed me wheelchair rugby. I sat watching this new sport in awe and 8 years later I’m lining up against the same guys I watched on tv. I feel we underperformed, the experience was amazing but the results just were not good enough, I think our inexperience at this level cost us but hopefully it will prepare us for the future.

What is your favourite memory from Australia?

My favourite memory would have to be lining up for our first match against Japan and hearing the national anthem. I remember looking over and waving at my wife and best friend as they cheered me on and it was an amazing feeling.

Are you still playing rugby?

Yes I am, I took a small break to figure out my career outside rugby. I now am coaching the Ulster barbarians wheelchair rugby team in Antrim as well which I really enjoy and want to continue.

What are your plans for the future?

It’s all been very exciting, I just started a new job and bought a house. I really hope we can build an Irish team that could challenge for a spot at the 2024 Paralympics, but it’s so hard to compete against larger and powerful countries who have more money. Which is why the support I got from black fox and the public gave myself and my team a chance to show the world what we can do. I will always be grateful for that.

What would be your advice to others wanting to become part of wheelchair rugby or another similar sport?

What are you waiting for? Jump in, try it out and you never know where you can go, what you can achieve. When I suffered a spinal injury years ago,  I never thought it would end up in me travelling the world, meeting so many amazing people and achieving so much. Without rugby I’d never have done all this.

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.

Make New Recruits Feel Welcome in Your Company

When a candidate accepts your job offer it’s extremely important to make them feel welcome from the get-go. This starts with phoning the recruit to express your delight that they have decided to join your team and that you are looking forward to working with them. After the phone call send them an email, this email should include the company handbook which gives an insight into the policies they need to be aware of.

You should also mention benefits that will be offered, such as commission, holiday pay etc, include their start date, start time, office dress code and any other details that the new employee needs to know sending this information will help establish the employee’s role before they start.

Make a list of tasks that need to be completed before the new employee starts, this includes assigning a new computer or buying a new laptop. Installing any programmes and setting up a company email, LinkedIn page and so on.

Delegate a current employee to act as a mentor, this should be a manager or experienced employee that has some authority. Ask the assigned mentor to take the recruit on their first day for a coffee to chat about the company, this will help the new hire settle in.

Leave a welcome pack on their desk, this will make them feel appreciated. This may seem like a small gesture but it’s a fantastic strategy to help them get started, giving them high motivation levels from the get-go. This can include a company mug or notepads, pens with the logo on it.

After they have received their welcome pack, give them a tour of the company premises and introduce them to their colleagues. Organise a work lunch or after work drinks to help the new employee get chatting to the rest of the team and start building up work relationships.

Have a catch-up with them after their first week and then again after a month, this will give them a chance to express any ideas, concerns or queries they haven’t been able to.

It is worth your time to make the effort to help the new employee’s welcome positive and exciting. As it will help them feel comfortable and start their working journey in your company with a motivated and productive attitude.

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!