Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Greg Campbell comments on the Jobs market in Housing

The recruitment market nationally remains buoyant, with most senior vacancies attracting good numbers of well qualified candidates. The most challenging roles to fill are those in strategic asset management and in corporate finance. Regional differences in executive salaries now appear less evident, though they still remain relevant at more junior levels. Regions such as the south west where there are fewer housing organisations to generate local jobs churn, are seeing pay levels for senior roles often comparable to London and the south east in order to attract candidates from further afield. Salaries are not rising uniformly,we are aware, for instance, of some CEO positions where the new appointee has been recruited on a salary up to 20 per cent less than their predecessor.

•A growing trend to seek finance director candidates with housing sector experience, reflecting the growing complexity and risks inherent in social housing funding streams•Strategic asset management director roles created in some organisations, bringing together responsibility for asset management, maintenance, and development•Growth and new business director roles in other organisations, commonly combining development, new business streams, and inorganic growth.•Commercial sector experience growing in popularity for customer service roles, and for new business roles where a range of business streams are to be explored..This article first appeared in Social Housing magazine,January 2014. Greg Campbell is Director of Campbell Tickell

How to alienate a recruiter..

Recruiters should be a candidate’s friend? After all there are no fees if they can’t fill the jobs. So they should treasure you and be delighted to hear from you on any occasion.  And what a recruiter thinks of you can make a significant difference to your career prospects, so why do candidates fail to build successful relationships with recruiters? What are the pitfalls of building a positive relationship with recruiters. How do candidates alientate  recruiters?
  1. 1.       Don’t read the information provided. Many adverts include weblinks to further details.  Just calling up the recruiter without reading those details first makes you look idle.. you are soaking up the recruiters time when you could have answered the questions without bothering them.
  2. 2.       Talk more than you listen. When you do speak to a recruiter about a vacancy, ask questions and listen to the answers. Yes,  you want to impress them but when candidates get onto ‘broadcast news’ and don’t listen, it can just suggest your ego is rather larger than you emotional intelligence.
  3. 3.       Send a previously constructed CV and supporting material. Sometimes people send the wrong version and their paperwork has the name of the wrong organisation on it. This makes you look sloppy.  Or they send the same paperwork for every job they apply for.   This makes you look like a serial applicant and desperate rather than a ‘hot property’. Read any instructions about how to apply, follow them and tailor your application, carefully.
  4. 4.       Applying for everything. Well clearly you are desperate if you do that and you are not thinking realistically about your  marketability in this current climate. It is fine to be ambitious but being overly ambitious is being foolhardy.
  5. 5.       Fail to turn up for the interview. Well just failing to show needs no further comment.  But ringing the office on the morning of the interview and saying you are too busy is also a poor show.  Try at least to re-arrange.
  6. 6.       Not doing your preparation. The job market is a generally still crowded. In the private sector there are skills shortages but in the public sector senior roles are over subscribed and there are lots of well experienced candidates, so showing up at an interview without having really done your preparation and researching the organisation will put you at a disadvantage and let your recruiter – who ahs recommended you be seen – down.
  7. 7.       Being critical of the client/employer. However badly the employer has treated you, which you don’t deserve, the recruiter will want to have an enduring relationship  with that client. So sounding off, sending letters of complaints or claims for the ‘time wasted’ on the interview may make you feel better it will not improve the relationship between the client and the recruiter. And that will knock on to you.
  8. 8.       Turning down an offer. Whilst I often say to coachees ‘you don’t have to accept it’ (and you don’t) turning down an offer will not endear you to the recruiter. Their job is to present a great short list, part of their ‘due diligence’ is to make sure you are a solid and firm candidate. So rejecting an offer for no good reason (and the only good ones are another offer or failing to agree terms with them) you will upset your recruiter.
  9. 9.       Pester the recruiter to find you a job. Executive search consultants  make their money from the clients and to make more money they need to get more clients not candidates. Once you are in their database and their brain then let them get on with finding more clients to put you in front of rather than making weekly calls to ‘catch up’.

No doubt when you have been reading thinking… I would never do this… great.. build great rapport with your recruiters and be a fabulous candidate! And have  a great career!

Friday, 31 May 2013

Answering predictable interview questions - So why do you want this job?

Answering predictable interview questions - So why  do you want this job?

 Four key steps to winning interview performance 

Answering that question (why do you want the job) should be really easy! Often the answers we hear when recruiting are:  well I want a job..I need a job,  I want to work.. I want to pay the mortgage or the  rent….  Or I want a promotion, it’s a bigger job. Or I hate the job I’m in, I need to do something different. My family are moving so I need to change jobs. I got made redundant, I’m a bit bored,  I like the sound of it.. I could go on.
The difficulty with all of those answers is that they may well be true and they may well explain why you have applied for a new job but they do not tell the interviewer any good reason why you should have the job. When you are going for an interview or applying for a job you need to give the interview compelling reasons for giving you the job and that starts with the basic question…  why do you want it…
So how do you give them that compelling reason? By treating this question as an opportunity for your sales pitch. By thinking about what it is that the interviewer wants in a candidate and what it is that they need to hear.
Ever been turned down for a job because you did not sound very enthusiastic? Been told that they were not sure if you really wanted it…  It is actually a pathetic bit of feedback to give someone. Surely the correct logic is that they offer and if you don’t want it , you turn it down. If you are the best person for the job they should offer, but it happens so you need to make sure that it does not apply to you.  This is your chance to sound enthusiastic, if not actually passionate.. but how do you do that without sounding gushing and false?
Here are 4 key steps to selling yourself into that job!
When you are asked about why you have applied for this role, why you want it etc… start with:
Step 1.
‘This is a great company /organisation because…….’  Everyone likes to be flattered, so tell them why you think they are a good company, what it is you like about the company….
Step 2.
Describe the challenges of the role, even if it is a job that is pretty routine, what are the issues they face  in getting someone to do the role well….
Step 3.
Tell them that these are the things that float your boat, these are the things you have just been doing, these are the challenges  your really enjoy… give some brief examples…..
Step 4.
Think about why they might not want to hire you and refute their logic.
So if I was going for a job in my local Co-op shop I might say:
I think the co-op is a great organisation, I admire their ethical stance and I was very impressed when they had no issues over horse meat. That’s the sort of company I’d like to be in. I know you need staff who can work shifts, who are good with customers and who will make sure that the shelves are kept stocked and tidy. I really enjoy working with customers, helping them find things, explaining the difference between products and I hate untidy shops. It’s really important to me to be polite and friendly, when I worked in the garage I tried to get every customer to smile before they left!  It has been a while since I have done shop work but I don’t think you lose the passion to please the customer and make sure they always come back – I haven’t.
Remember this is your sales pitch and this is where you can bring together your knowledge of them and your enthusiasm. It is all about why they are great to work for not why you need the job.

Mary Hope Career Success supports people to get paid more, promoted faster and feel more satisfied at work. Go to for more great resources and advice.

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Thursday, 22 November 2012

Power up your networking skills - workshop

The First Arab Regional Conference on Family P...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If your resolution is to get out more....

If you need to develop your confidence as a networker...


Are you a networking virgin?
Do you loath the thought of it?
Are you keen to start but not sure how?
What is networking?
How do successful networkers do it?
Is it critical to career success?
Are you just wishing you did not have to?

If you are asking those questions but don't have the answers then this workshop is for you!
22 January, Central London, afternoon and at a bargain price.

By the end of the session you will have a strategy which will be comfortable to you, you will have
  • developed your own unique approach to extending your network- not everyone subscribes to the philosophy of 'Never Eat Alone'  - work out what will work for you
  • planned your strategy on how to extend your contact list - the more 'weak ties' you have the better your chances of finding the information or opportunities you want
  • developed and practised your elevator pitch - in other words know what it is you want others to know and how to say it
  • learned how to change your mindset, what's holding you back? how can you develop a positive mindset towards this strategy?
  • integrated social media into your strategy- does one have to tweet? blog? poke? put oneself onto the www?
Come and learn these techniques and find new confidence in your strategy.
A special half day workshop for networking innocents or the reluctant networker. Only  £125

contact me on
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Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Top 10 irritating things on a cv

Let’s face it, Recruiters and HR Managers get a hard time.  The industry battles with bad press and a perception that it’s all about fees for recruiters or handing out tissues for the HR teams. Not exactly! It’s more like a plate-spinning marathon, especially when you’re juggling a deluge of candidate applications against a vacancy wish list.  Some of these candidate CVs and applications can range from entertaining to frustrating to downright baffling.
ISV Software asked the Recruitment and HR industry to share the most irritating things you see on CVs. Here are the Top 10 responses:

1.       Spelling and Grammar Errors – this shows lack of attention and time spent on the document. Favourites include a candidate who had worked at ‘Goldman Sucks’ and another who interacted well with ‘steakholders’. Although it’s worth mentioning that a few spelling errors crept into the responses. Whether intentionally or not we should perhaps check ourselves before pointing the finger.
 2.       Clich├ęd phrases that add nothing of value – how many candidates have “excellent interpersonal skills”, are “people-friendly” or “work well on their own and as part of a team”? Righty-ho, them and everyone else I’m afraid.
 3.       Too much personal information – Views on the inclusion of date of birth, marital status, religious beliefs etc. varied across cultures. Certainly in the UK, Canada and the US it is illegal to ask for this information. Candidates however, may be unaware of the legislation and it is the norm in some countries to include personal information, even detailing their height and weight. It’s worth bearing in mind that the candidate’s cultural background will influence what they do and don’t include  on their CV. From a recruitment consultant’s point of view though, it’s all information that needs deleting before the CV can be submitted to the client.
Keeping personal information in mind, another big bug-bear is the weird and wonderful email addresses that candidates think it’s appropriate to include!

 4.       Obscure formatting – different fonts, large blocks of text, varied line spacing… Not only does this make the CV look like a ‘cut and paste’ job, it makes it difficult to extract the relevant information.
 5.       Irrelevant information or experience – an engineer applying for a procurement role, a graduate applying to be Head of Department… why? If there are relevant skills, the CV should be tailored to highlight these. Instead you’re often left searching for the information.
 6.       Dear Sir - or Mr when you’re a woman and vice versa. This was even more contentious when the candidate has access to your name. Even worse when the application mentions the wrong role or incorrect company name.
 7.       Photos – again, this varied depending on global location but photos are a definite no-no for UK recruiters. Particularly candidate’s holiday snaps, provocative pictures or group photos including the family pet!
 8.       Churn out that job spec - candidates who solely list their duties without adding quantifiable achievements or their contribution make the job so much harder.
 9.       Generic cover notes – a template cover letter or email taken from the internet. You’ve seen them before and they get pretty tiresome. Plus they sometimes make you wonder if the candidate has read the job spec at all!
 10.   Keep it short – lengthy CVs are a real turn off especially since there is so much guidance outlining that  2 pages is ideal. The extreme mentioned was a 7 page CV followed by a series of voicemails and social media requests. There’s persistent and then there’s stalking!

Honourable mention should also go to hobbies that are irrelevant (reading, socialising, watching their child’s football team) and personal statements that incorporate much of the above especially from the candidate that is ‘perfect for the job’. If only it were that simple!

Thanks to Amanda Davies at ISV for compiling the list!

If you want help to make sure that your CV avoids these errors and hits the correct spot, makes the right impression and communicates your achievements and skills contact Mary Hope..

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Friday, 2 November 2012

Assessment Centres -10 tips for group exercises/discussions

Group exercises can vary enormously from:
1. A single sentence or question:'Discuss how you would increase sales in a new area'. This can be thrown into the group and then them left to debate the topic. Assessors are looking at the level of debate and the interaction between people.

2. Exercises where you are all given information that needs to be discussed eg 'Read the following and then discuss, as a group, which depot should be closed to maximise savings but maintain efficiency' . Same as above: who conributes?, what sorts of things do they say? who listens? who has ideas? who is positive?

3. You might get that sort of question where you have actually been given different sorts of information!

4. You might get information but be asked to play a particular role, so in the one above one person might be asked to be the FD and another the HR manager. Each will have some info about their role's priorities. In this scenario you are expected to argue your corner.

5. The observers might want someone to win this task or they may just want to see how you react with others. 

6. Think carefully about volunteering to be the Chair of the group, you would have great power but if you don't have authority it can highlight your lack of influence. Leadership is not necessarily shown in that way.  It's the same with being a 'scribe', that can give you power but it can also marginalise you if you are standing at a flip chart.  

7.Get talking early, research shows that if you don’t contribute in the first few minutes of a meeting you can become invisible. So be present from the start and get a contribution in early. It does not have to be earth shattering, just ask a question, ask someone to repeat something, seek clarification or repeat an idea. 

8. People will generally be quite polite to each other, on their best behaviour and interrupting is not good manners. Wait for a space and then deliver well thought out constructive comments.  

9.  Laugh at other people's jokes, disagree politely and only after saying something like 'that is really interesting but had you thought of....'

10. Be the person they would want to work with.. that's what selection exercises are about, finding out if they can work with you.

For more information, support and advice on being successful in your career