Temporary workers can be beneficial for businesses looking to fill gaps without committing to extra headcount. Our Managing Director Nick Peacock explains the process of bringing temps on board.
Temporary workers can be beneficial for businesses looking to fill gaps without committing to extra headcount. Our Managing Director Nick Peacock explains the process of bringing temps on board.
There are many benefits of being a temporary worker, particularly in the current economic climate. Our recruitment consultant Maria works on the temporary side at Ascendant, here are some of her thoughts on life as a temp:
I read an interesting article on the BBC this week which suggested the economic gap between UK cities is ‘widening’. Whilst the headline made for miserable reading, the article itself featured some very good news for Milton Keynes.
According to research Group, Centre for Cities, the gap between cities is widening as the struggle to create private sector jobs plays out differently across the UK. The figures show however that Milton Keynes, along with Aberdeen, are “well placed to drive the national economic recovery, as they had seen a large number of business start ups and were highly innovative, with significant numbers of patents registered.”
Not only is this fantastic news for the Milton Keynes business-sphere, but also for Milton Keynes job hunters. With more business opportunities cropping up in the area we are likely to see an influx in local job vacancies.
It’s not just permanent job seekers who look set to gain either, those looking for temporary administrative work should be very pleased with this news. As business start-ups open their doors locally, it is likely they will need experienced, temporary admin staff to get them up and running.
Whilst this is all good news for people looking to work in Milton Keynes, it doesn’t mean that it will be easier to get a job and candidates should not become complacent in light of this news. Although there are likely to be more job opportunities with this increase in businesses, as unemployment levels climb, people are spreading their reach further across the UK in their job hunt.
For those temporary job hunters who already have experience in temping locally, you’re background is likely to set you apart from other applications. But for the rest of the candidates applying for administrative roles, you will need to make sure you stand out in the recruitment process to be in for a chance. Our earlier blog, How to Ace you Interview, gives an idea of how to make an impression, but here are some more useful tips:
Has this BBC news story motivated you in your local job hunt or to start your search for a great new person? Why not give the team a call to see how we can help you on 01908 200270
One of the legacies of past recessions has been a new and more ruthless approach to staffing. Out went the old ideas of large departments and corporate hierarchies and in came flat management structures and, most importantly for employment prospects, the notion of small permanent teams supplemented by temporaries or contract workers. Although the recession is arguably ( and hopefully) behind us, the business philosophy of low overheads, that it generated, still continues. Too many companies had their fingers burnt in the ‘boom’ years to fall into the trap of over-optimism again. Consequently more and more people are finding themselves working on a temporary or short-term contract basis. So with the employment market increasingly moving away from the concept of long-term security, how do we make the most of these new ways of working?
My own view is that there is good news behind the growth of temporary employment. For example, while temporaries and contract workers are still often used to ‘hold the fort’ in cases of sickness or maternity, a significant number are now employed on the sort of projects associated with an increase of business confidence, such as new product development, systems implementation, mergers and acquisitions and the like. Secondly, our experience suggests that many temporaries are not simply passing through but are taking part in ‘working interviews’ where the employer is recruiting for a permanent position and both parties get an opportunity to assess each other before committing to a long-term contract. Working interviews are becoming increasingly popular across a range of industries and have been welcomed as a way of introducing flexibility into the labour market. While a potential employer may lay down very precise requirements in a job specification in terms of experience or qualifications, they are often less rigid about the background of a contract worker, who then has the opportunity to prove their worth from the inside of the organisation.
Temping can also provide the chance to build up a much wider range of experience than would be possible in any one company or succession of permanent jobs. Moving from employer to employer can offer exposure to a wide range of different sectors and a variety of different management styles and business practices.
For some on short-term contracts the most appealing aspect of this way of working in the stressed-out 21st century, is the freedom it can bring. Although every employer will expect their money’s worth and few would regard temping as an easy option, it can offer a degree of flexibility unknown to the permanent employee. With good organisation and a little luck, contractors and temporaries can find family commitments easier to deal with, study for further qualifications and even contemplate the sort of long-distance travel that standard holiday entitlements makes impossible.
The temping option is by no means perfect for everyone, but is certainly no longer the poor relation of the permanent job and, properly handled, can play an important role in the development of a twenty first century career.
What do you think? Do you use temporaries or do you temp yourself?- I’d be really interested in your views.
I wanted to write a short, but hopefully informative piece on how to quickly and effectively write a job specification, written from our perspective, the recruiter. I hope, that as I explain the crucial things we always want to know, it will help you clarify your thinking, speed up the writing of your job specifications and help you write job descriptions that help you to find the right person for your business.
First things first, establish your Key to Hire:
Basically the first question you should ask yourself is what are the non-negotiable skills, attitudes, behaviors and duties your role demands? We call this your Key to Hire.
At Ascendant Recruitment we live and die by the 80/20 rule. Richard Koch has written a great book all about the 80/20 rule if anyone is interested.
Your Key to Hire will make up a very big part of your job description. For administration roles, (Ascendant Recruitment are Milton Keynes leading Office Support Recruiter), the Key to Hire can easily be 80% of the role. What skills are essential if the person is going to make your role a success? What attitudes and behaviors must they display if they’re going to really make an impact? And what are the key duties the candidate must be able to perform?
Spend the most amount of your time on this part of writing the job description (your own unique Key to Hire) as it really is the most important part of the job description. Get this right and you’ve taken a massive step in clarifying the type of person your business needs. The opposite of this, is to ruminate for hours about silly little incidental skills and abilities that, even if the candidate possessed them, would have little or no impact on their performance.
Second thing to do, establish the second most important skill, attitude, behavior and duty!
Simply repeat step one for your second key to hire
Third thing to do, establish the third most important skill, attitude, behavior and duty!
Simply repeat step two for your third key to hire
At the end of this process you will have established the top three skills, abilities, and behaviors you need a candidate to display and you’ll have clarified the three most important duties you want completing. This will add a great deal of clarity to your recruitment process and massively increase your chances of quickly filling your role.
Ascendant Recruitment has filled over a thousand permanent roles since we opened our doors in 2003 and I can guarantee that if you use these three simple steps, you’ll have a very robust, efficient and accurate job description; possibly on one side of an A4 sheet of paper!
Some may scoff at the simplicity of what I’ve written because they like complicated. We don’t like complicated we like simple. Simple works, is understood by all and helps us, time after time, locate the right person for our client’s positions.
By all means you can elaborate on the job description if you feel the role warrants it, but the elaboration must be built on a solid foundation of Keys (skills, attitudes, behaviors and duties) to Hire; never forget the 80/20 rule!
This really is a whistle stop tour of writing a job description for office support, administrative positions only.
If you’d like any help to write an effective job description or with a piece of recruitment please call me or one of my team today! On 01908 200270.
On page 193 he explains what he believes our priorities should currently be. Namely:
I think his advice to try and measure everything you’re currently doing on a daily basis against these three priorities; to ensure that every activity meets at least one if not two of them, is great advice.
Not only is this great business advice for everyone tasked with running a department or a company, I think it gives job seekers a valuable insight into what every employer in the current job market is looking for.
Quite simply, as a job seeker, I think you’d greatly increase your chances of a successful interview if you’re able to demonstrate your ability to help your future employer achieve one, two or all three of the above.
So when you’re preparing for your next interview remember the pressure your future employer may be facing, even if business is good, and cogently explain how you’ll assist them in growing their bottom line, building their brand or improving their cash efficiency.
I’ve worked in recruitment for 15 years now and I’m often asked what it takes to be successful within the industry? I’ve always answered passion and persistence – in fact they are my two favourite words, I love them!!!! I use them all the time in Ascendant Recruitment’s office in Milton Keynes.
During the halcyon days of pre 2007 I began to question myself because I witnessed CV sprayers succeeding in the market. It took no passion or persistence to download CV’s and spray them out to unsuspecting clients but it seemed to be working for them! What was going on??
Fast forward four years and where have they all gone????? I don’t delight in any business failing but I’m pleased that the passionate and persistent in our industry, and that includes every member of the Ascendant Recruitment team, have been rewarded; they’re all still standing and going strong!
So having blasted our way through 2010 and 2011 I’m totally reinvigorated that passion and persistence are indeed the skills that I always believed them to be – the key ones to possess in order to survive and prosper in this great industry. But I’ve now learned that I need to add one more skill when I’m recruiting and that’s faith.
It’s easy to be upbeat and positive when everything is going your way, but battling through more sales calls, tough breaks, and clients squeezing margins and still remaining passionate and persistent requires faith!
If you need any direction on faith look no further than Mr. Will Smith. Go to YouTube and type in Will Smith motivational quotes – watch Will, he’s awesome!! Just awesome!
Ascendant Recruitment is undoubtedly, in my opinion the very best Independent Professional Recruitment company in Milton Keynes; others, namely our competition may disagree. But hey we’ve had a very successful 2010 and 2011 (so far) and I’m mad keen to find the next generation of Ascendant Superstars for this decade and beyond.
We intend to keep learning, improving and offering our candidates and clients better and better service; an unbeatable service offering based upon the simple promise that we’ll continue to offer our candidates the very best temporary and permanent office jobs in Milton Keynes and the very best people to our clients.
If you can demonstrate, (and that doesn’t mean just telling me meaningless quotes), passion, persistence and a clear understanding of what it means to keep going when there’s no good reason to – when it would have been easier to just go home, you could be just who I’m looking for.
My consultant’s are the best trained and most passionate and determined set of people you’ll ever meet. I’m proud of each and every one of them. If you’re not being fast tracked, developed and recognized for the Superstar you could be, call me to discuss our opportunities.
This decade could be the making of you, but you’ve got to be in the right place. If you’re not in the right place call me today. Nick Peacock – 0778000 2696. (24 hr mobile. If I don’t pick up, please leave me a passionate message!
The introduction of the Agency Workers Regulations on the 1st October 2011 has been well publicised and lauded as a great step forward for agency workers. But is it? Undoubtedly if the legislation succeeds in stopping the exploitation of agency workers it will be a brilliant piece of legislation and the bureaucrats will quite rightly be able to say we told you so!
However, I have two really big concerns with the legislation.
My first concern is the very companies who previously exploited agency workers, some of which, I believe will simply not accept a massive hike in their charges. This could encourage them to circumvent the legislation by using agencies that are happy to circumvent the legislation too. In turn this could lead to the nightmare scenario of an unscrupulous client and unscrupulous agency working in tandem – what hope does that give a temporary worker???
Whilst being underpaid, (as they may have been before 1st October), is by no means justifiable, the alternative has the potential to be even more oppressive. I’m just hopeful that this type of practice will not flourish in a City like Milton Keynes which in my experience is a modern, fast moving and above all, honourable place to do business.
My second major concern isn’t quite as depressing but it certainly gives food for thought. Many companies in Milton Keynes are still finding trading tough. Some may read this and say that’s an understatement?! So imagine this scenario – and it’s going to happen.
John has been working at a company up until the 1st of October and earning £9per hour. The rate works for John, he believes it’s a fair rate, and whilst he’d love more money he’s perfectly content. This is a pretty accurate position of nearly all of the temporaries currently working for Ascendant Recruitment.
However, the comparable rate for the work John is doing is £10.00 per hour, so 12 weeks from the 1st of October John’s employer will need to raise his salary by £1 per hour, pay an increased employer national insurance contribution, and raise his holiday entitlement. After a lot of deliberation John’s employer regrettably explains to him that he can no longer afford him. John is more than happy to continue to work at £9 per hour, he enjoys his work and hoped he may ultimately gain a permanent role at the company, but it’s reiterated that continuing to work in that role at £9 per hour simply isn’t possible.
In short, through no fault of his own John finds himself unemployed, unable to stay in the job he loved because the bureaucrats have decided he must be given a pay rise he didn’t want!!!!!!!!! He’d much rather have kept his role at £9 per hour with the potential of ultimately gaining a permanent role. Now he has to start again.
Ascendant Recruitment has always paid its temporary workers the very best rates they can afford; this fact combined with the high quality of companies we support means the impact of AWR has been minimal, because a massive proportion of our temporaries are already (without bureaucratic intervention) being paid comparable permanent salaries. That said I’m very concerned about the two scenarios above especially if we remain in the current economic gloom for much longer.
The time to deliberate about whether you should move jobs, is before you even start looking for a new one!!!! Use this time wisely so you act intelligently and not purely on emotion. Take as much time as you need to decide if you want to move. Do everything you can to explore the possibility of staying within your current company; look at other departments, other geographical parts of the company or World for that matter, if that’s what you want to do.
But once you have decided that you’re leaving be strong! In fact be brave! Very brave!!!!
At all times act with respect and courtesy to your existing employer because you should never bite the hand that feeds you, (remember Milton Keynes is a small place). But please be clear that I passionately believe that, in most circumstances, accepting a counter offer will be career suicide, so I urge you that once you have your new offer, remember why you decided to start this process in the first place and be brave. Very brave!!!!
As they say, fortune will favour you!
By Nick Peacock
The similarity between sport and interviews is there for all to see.
Typically within the sporting arena one competitor isn’t beaten by another. The loser is normally beaten by himself whilst the winner triumphs in the internal battle with himself; a battle that is often far harder than so called real battle with his so called competitor. Jack Nicklaus said that he didn’t win golf tournaments he just waited for the other guys to lose them!
An interview is just the same.
There are two battles you will have with yourself prior to an interview and if you win those battles you will give yourself the very best chance of success.
Failing to prepare thoroughly is one of the single biggest reasons for failure at interview. We have all listened to the guy down the pub for loves “winging it”; but do you really want to be like him? The most successful people in the world don’t “wing it” – they are fastidious planners with goals and plans that they review on a daily basis.
If you fail to plan for an interview you’ve just lost the first battle with yourself. Let’s face it I don’t know many people who love planning, so we know it’s going to be a battle. Losing a battle that you knew you were going to have is even worse isn’t it? So not preparing for your interview, is the equivalent of losing a battle with yourself, a battle you knew you were going to have!
But here is the good news, getting prepared is easy. You don’t need to suddenly become an expert; in fact that could be just as off putting for an interviewer as you being unprepared. That said you need a good grasp of the basics in your tool kit. The following will make you’re more than prepared:
Once you have this basic but solid understanding of the company, (which will take no longer than 30 minutes research on Google) the job description and the purpose of the role (you’re going to be interviewed for) will make far more sense – and so will you, when you confidently answer the questions in your interview!
Remember, talking endlessly about your past achievements will not cut it. Your interviewer will want to discuss what you’re both there to discuss; the job, the company, what’s currently challenging that company and the opportunity that now exists (possibly for you) and your relevant skills.
Ok, we all get scared at interviews. A few nerves are good; they show you care. But we want to avoid complete debilitation – don’t we?!!
Being prepared will give your confidence a massive boost and so will a little bit of positive thinking. You must not defeat yourself by allowing your “negative” self to play the tapes (in your mind) of when you last messed up! This is the equivalent of the golfer facing a shot over the water, who prepares for the shot by remembering the last time he hit this shot into the water! Guess what he’ll do the same again because that’s what your mind has just told your body to do. Don’t worry if you don’t play golf, we’ve all got examples in our life when we’ve focussed all our emotional energy on what we didn’t want to happen and brought into effect.
So it’s crucial that you develop a positive self-image. Belief is the thermostat that regulates what we achieve in life.* Remember that because we are what we think about, you can set your thermostat to whatever temperature you like!
If this all sounds a little be to airy fairy for you (it does for most people because we’ve all been told that things are just meant to be or not meant to be – this is all part of the “winging it” mentality; which should be completely discarded because it’s rubbish) hang in there. Spend the night before (the interview) playing the positive tapes in your mind – the ones where you confidently walk into the interview room (free of anxiety), ask great questions and give equally brilliant answers to the very nice person who is interviewing you!
If by now you’ve filled your mind with positive thoughts as to how your interview will proceed, once you’re actually in there you’ll achieve this confident persona by taking control in a positive and confident way. A great way to do this is to relax and speak first. Do your best to get the interviewer talking by asking questions about the things you weren’t able to find answers to in your research. This will be really easy if you’ve done your research. Most company websites will post news updates, so all you’ll need to do is pick a story and a sensible question relating to this story and ask the question as you walk towards the interview room.
If you are good at your job you can be good at interviewing too – we absolutely promise you. Remember your biggest opponent is yourself. Don’t defeat yourself by failing to prepare or by letting anxiety undermine the positive self-image you have developed. Don’t compete with yourself. Get prepared and take control.
*p24. The Magic of Thinking Big.David J. Schwartz.