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How to Become the Candidate Employers Can’t Resist



Recruiters are constantly searching for the perfect candidate to fill the thousands of open jobs in the UK. And it can be pretty hard! With so many CVs to read through and hundreds of potential candidates to talk to about a particular role, it can be quite time-consuming. So why not make it easier for recruiters and potential employers to find and offer you that job?


How we hear you ask! Simply by being the most informed candidate possible. 


Of course it goes without saying that experience and skills will always matter, but a candidate who is knowledgeable about the company and is highly-engaged is a definite-hire. Your aim as a job-seeker is to stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons, and at all the determining moments, right from your application, to negotiation, and finally on the job. 


So what exactly is an informed candidate? It’s someone that knows about the company - they’ve clearly done their research, have read through the job description, and they understand the position they’ve applied for. This will ultimately show an employer that the candidate is motivated and that they are doing the work they need to do to get hired. 


We’ve compiled a list of 6 steps that you will need to take to become that informed candidate of an employer’s dreams! 



1. Learn the Ins & Outs of the Companies you’re Interested In.


Applying for a job at a company you sort of know and winging it through that application is never going to get you far. You need to do your homework. Read recent news articles about the companies you’re interested in, check out their blogs, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds. These will help you form a good sense of their values and what they stand for. And be sure to look for any red flags too, such as recent lay-offs, to help form a more rounded view. But remember, if you do come across a red flag, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a poor company culture. 



2. Make Your CV Stand Out.


Now that you’ve done the groundwork, you’ve probably narrowed down the list of companies that interest you. Go a level in and dive into their company mission and culture. Once you’ve got a sense of these, you’ll be able to logically narrow down your list in order to apply for jobs more thoughtfully. From here, you’ll have a great starting point for your application, as you should be able to highlight aspects of your previous work history and experience that will show that you’re a perfect fit for this company. Customising your CV to the job and the company you’re applying for is absolutely key. 



3. Prepare For the Interview Before You Get It.


Being proactive will place you further ahead of other candidates. Search for interview questions and insights into the exact questions recruiters and hiring managers at your ideal company will ask. You can browse dozens of interview questions that are asked of candidates applying to the specific role that you are. 


Preparing in advance will help you to avoid that last minute cramming and will also get your mind firing about specific anecdotes and examples of excellence in your previous work history you will want to share. Plus, learning about the interview experience of others offers additional insight into what the company is really like.



4. Negotiate Like a Pro.


It’s important to understand early on that negotiating your salary is a perfectly normal part of the employment process, and recruiters and hiring managers expect it. 


So before you head to the negotiating table make sure you;


Know your Worth. Do your research on salary estimates in today’s job market for the role you have applied for, and explore ways to increase your pay. 


Think base wage and beyond! Everything from maternity and paternity leave, holiday time and even training can be up for negotiation. 


Be confident and equipped with all the necessary information.



5. Ask as Many Questions as is Necessary.


Don’t ever think you are nagging an employer by asking questions. It’s their job to answer your questions and help you make the best decision. Plus, they will want to hire the best suited candidate for the job to improve their retention and company ranks. 



6. Say “Yes” if the Job & Company Are Right For You. 


If you feel 100% sure the job and company are right for you, then go for it. IT’s time to start living the life you’ve always wanted doing a job you enjoy. 


Now that you’ve got the tools to become the informed candidate, go out there and find that job that fits your life. Don’t forget we’re here to help you every step of the way. 

New culture secretary compares UK creative industries to a woolly mammoth



New secretary of state for culture Matt Hancock has described the UK's creative industries as "a mammoth" in his first speech to the sector in his new post.


Speaking at the Creative Industries Federation's anniversary event at the Natural History Museum in London on the 9th January, Hancock noted how the museum contains "one of the world's finest collections of artefacts, from the T-Rex to the woolly mammoth".


"And I see only one mammoth," he added. "And that's the mammoth that is our creative industries."


The statement comes amid widespread concern that Brexit will damage the UK's creative sector, with restrictions on immigration viewed as a particular threat to the industry.


Creative sector worried over impact of Brexit.


Hancock was promoted to the high-profile role of secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport as part of prime minister Theresa May's cabinet reshuffle this Monday.


He previously held the post of minister for digital and culture, a more junior post within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).


"The creative industries are one growing faster than ever, contributing almost 100 billion pounds to the UK economy every year," Hancock added in his speech.


However the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) has repeatedly expressed concern about the government's handling of Brexit negotiations and their potential damaging impact on the creative sector.


Most recently it urged the government not to adopt "reckless" immigration policies that could hurt creative businesses.


"Our global reputation has made us a magnet for world-class talent who, in turn, have helped build our international renown," said CIF chief executive John Kampfner. "It would be reckless to lose this hard-won success."


Many architecture and design firms rely on skilled workers from abroad, with with half of employees at some London firms coming from the EU. There are increasing concerns that tougher immigration policies, combined with the falling numbers of young people studying creative courses in the UK, could lead to a skills crisis.


Hancock met Dezeen last year to discuss Brexit concerns.


Just over a year ago Hancock attended a dinner organised by Dezeen, where he met leading figures from the architecture and design sector to discuss concerns about Brexit and to highlight issues raised in Dezeen's Brexit Design Manifesto.


In a statement issued after the dinner Hancock praised the UK's architects and designers, describing the sector as "vitally important to our future as an outward looking, creative nation".


The UK has the world's third most valuable creative sector after the US and China, employing three million people and £87 billion to the UK economy, according to CIF figures.




Article orignally posted on Dezeen | 10 January 2018

Hiring Personality vs. Skill



Employers have to make difficult decisions a daily basis, but what do you do when you’ve got two very good but very different candidates for the same role?


The first candidate has the right skills and experience for the job but their attitude is not as desirable. Whereas, the second candidate has an ideal personality that fits well within the company culture, but doesn’t quite meet the requirements when it comes to their experience. Do you prioritise personality or skillset? Both are important, but which candidate gets the job?


The right choice will always lie within the nature of the job role they have applied for and the type of business the employer runs. If you’re faced with this decision here are a couple of questions to ask yourself:


What’s the company like? 


  • The company is a fast-paced and dynamic environment that expects its employees to learn and adapt quickly.


  • It’s a company that trains each employee individually with mentorship and management. 


What’s the job role like?


Take these two roles as an example;


  • Developing strong relationships and team work is integral to the role, as employees work closely with customers, clients and other team members.


  • A high standard of work is expected and employees’ work behind the scenes and are unlikely to deal with clients face to face. 


If your company and vacancy is more accurately described by the first role, then personality should be considered over skill. This is because customer service and client relationships is clearly a key aspect of the business and your employees are the forefront of the brand. For many companies like this, personality will usually take precedent as employees must interact with customers and are representative of your brand values and the way you do business. 


For a job role that is likely to have to deal with customers or clients, it’s more logical to value someone with a stronger skill set and experience, as they will require much less training and are more likely to adapt quickly within a fast-paced working environment. 


As culture and fit is becoming more and more important for both employee and employer, defining the characteristics of the company and the specific requirements of a job role before interviewing candidates is essential. This knowledge, will be invaluable in helping to make difficult decisions such as personality vs. skill, much more easily moving forward.

Hays reveals 2018 Hiring Trends



We’ve reached December and 2017 is drawing to a close, and so it’s that time of year when we look ahead to what changes 2018 will bring and the recruitment trends we could expect. 


Recruitment giant Hays has laid out what they think the top recruitment transformations will be next year. They include; recruitment fuelled by data and science and digital technology; Virtual Reality that enhances a job seeker’s profile; and upskilling as a benefit. 


Nick Deligiannis, MD of Hays added that these changes were unsurprising. As the demand for professionals with digital skills grows, so too shall the digitisation of the recruitment process. 


He said: “The overall theme is that of technology changing history norms in recruitment, from using data science analytics to help identify the most suitable person to the virtualisation of the screening process and the growing demand for high-skilled professionals in response to digitalisation technologies. 


“These changes present opportunities for adaptable and innovative employers and jobseekers to stand out and secure top talent or their next job.”


As well as these evolutions in recruitment, Hays as also laid out ten likely changes that will happen in recruitment next year. 


  1. Recruitment driven by big data
  2. Artificial Intelligence to screen candidates
  3. Virtual reality to enhance jobseeker profiles 
  4. Augmented reality to give candidates a proper experience i.e. walkthrough of a new workplace
  5. Jobseekers enhancing their personal brand with videos on their CVs 
  6. Automation will impact temp jobs
  7. Roles with ‘upskilling’ become increasingly popular 
  8. Low-skilled jobs in lower demand; high skilled in higher demand 
  9. Fintech professionals in huge demand 
  10. Diversity remits and increasing hiring priority 


Do you think these changes will happen in 2018? 

3 Questions to ask in your Cover Letter



The key to a powerful cover letter is knowing exactly why you are a perfect candidate. The following three questions will help ensure your cover letter hits the mark. 


  1. Who ARE you?


Start your cover letter with your successes. What is amazing about the things you have achieved recently that this company needs? Back this up with one or two sentences from your elevator pitch. Always remember to use keywords. 


  1. Why are you the best fit for this company? 


Your CV details your previous work experience, THIS section of the cover letter translates your CV for the employer. You should explain how your experiences are relevant to their organisation and how they make you desirable as an employee. 


Try and limit this to just two or three of your very best skills, areas or expertise, and highlight qualifications that make you well suited for the job. 


  1. Ask for the interview. 


Statistics show that those who ASK for the interview in their cover letters are TWICE as likely to get an interview. 


“I welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how I can contribute…”


Aim for enthusiasm and confidence. Make sure you include your email and phone number and highlight any attachments to your CV, such as your portfolio. 


If you need any advice on how to create your CV and cover letter contact one of our team today. 

Have Designers Lost Control Of Design?



Design is everywhere and more influential than ever. But that power has come at a cost, says designer and technologist Matt Webb.


Do designers have an ethical responsibility toward their users? It’s a question that designers struggle with, as the products and interfaces they help bring into the world can have unintended consequences, from spreading fake news to exacerbating mental health problems. Even tech luminary and Nest founder Tony Fadell has expressed regret about the products he brought into the world.


But for Matt Webb, managing director of R/GA’s IoT Venture Studio in the U.K. and founder of the now-defunct influential London-based design studio Berg, the conversation about ethics is focused on the wrong question: How can you talk about ethics if designers aren’t the ones making decisions about how products and interfaces work in the first place?


“The gap between what the designer creates and what the people who use it actually touch has gotten really big,” Webb says. That’s a problem because designers are trained to base their work on empathy for the user and the user’s needs. When products and interfaces are persuasive, engaging, and maybe even psychologically manipulative, they haven’t been designed with empathy. They’ve been designed to be so user-friendly that they take advantage of the user’s weaknesses.


This is a unique problem of the software age. Historically, design was about making physical things, whether it be office chairs or album covers. Now, designers are coders–or at least working within the constraints of code–typing inputs into a computer that conjure up an interface that lives across millions of screens.


That shift has occurred in tandem with a new design process. Designers create the parameters that dictate interfaces, which are then A/B tested and optimised based on how users interact with them. (Designers have always done user testing, of course, but it’s much harder to change a physical object than it is a piece of code.) Now, the constant tweaking of software creates a never ending design process, where every click is another piece of data to optimise. “The thing that generates the most money or that people use the most wins,” he says. “So who actually designed that?”


One example: the Amazon Echo ecosystem, which consists of “skills” that other companies and individuals can create so users can access their products through the Echo. Designers of these skills–which can do things like give you a recipe, guard your secrets, and even tell you about the flat Earth conspiracy–work within constraints so that their skill fits within the Echo interface. But there’s no guarantee of the quality or usefulness of any of the 15,000 skills that the Echo currently offers–the only measure is popularity. “It’s more like a scaffolding [where] loads of creators can throw an interface at the wall and see what’s most popular,” he says. “And then that’s what everyone uses. Who’s actually designed that user interface?”

Engagement becomes the chief metric, and just because something holds someone’s attention doesn’t mean it’s good for the user. Take the Facebook Newsfeed, which has arguably been optimised to hold your attention within an inch of its life. Facebook boasts that its users spend an average of 50 minutes on its various platforms per day. But the same algorithms that enable this incredible amount of user engagement also enable sensationalist fake news to spread like wildfire. The problem was so bad during the lead-up to the 2016 election that it may have contributed to Donald Trump’s win.


Call it a design paradox: More than ever before, designers are sitting on the C-suite of companies. Large corporations are investing in design because it makes good business sense, both through hiring and through “innovation labs” that have become a crucial part of how companies grow and adapt. But as design has become integrated into the heart of companies, Webb believes there has been–ironically–an unintended consequence. Designers themselves, beholden to business interests that demand the most optimised, most persuasive version of something as opposed to the most useful and helpful for the user, have decreased agency. In other words, with power has come less responsibility. “Designers have less control over what they put out, in some cases,” he says.


Webb likens this conundrum to how engineering as a discipline has evolved. Engineers used to be the only ones who made the devices and appliances that people used, but as more things have become integrated into the internet, engineers now also create the constraints of systems–whether they’re game systems or AI systems–and a fully optimised world emerges within. These engineers, who Webb calls “the debuggers, the AI whisperers, the people who know how to do the robot psychology of the future,” no longer code the systems. They code the code that builds the system.


Webb sees a similar trajectory within design. Design as a whole has greater influence over organisations–even as it has ceded agency over the intricacies of interfaces to optimisation and A/B testing. As Webb put it, “individual designers can wield the supply chains of China.” But that also has made it harder for designers “to deliberately create something which is going to have the effect that we want.”


What does this mean for designers? If they have little power in this ecosystem where A/B testing and optimisation are the kings of the hill, what is their true responsibility? What ethics should designers adopt, if any, if they don’t have the power to deliberately create things that will actually serve users? Can designers keep their position of power within organisations while maintaining their agency? What does a revised design process for the digital era look like? Do chief design officers have a role to play? How can organisations address this problem?


These are not easy questions and Webb doesn’t pretend to have answers, but we’d love to hear what you think.


Sourced from Fastco Design 

15 Questions To Expect In Your UX Interview



We’ve put together a list of the questions UX Designers are most likely to hear in their interviews. 


This is by no means an exhaustive list, only a few examples of what could crop up. With the increasing amount of competition in the industry, we hope these provide some insight and help you when you’re preparing for your interview.



1. Is UX design UI design? What’s the difference?


2. Describe a recent project where you set out to solve a business problem.


3. Do you work better in a team or on your own?


4. As a designer, what do you think is the most important aspect of your job?


5. What design tools do you use?


6. How do you know that what you’re designing works for the user? 


7. Tell us about personas and your approach to research and incorporating research in your work?


8. What are your favourite apps for UX and explain why?


9. Who are our main competitors? What do you think differentiates us from them?


10. Tell us about a project that didn’t go as planned and the reasons that led to it. 


11. What books/exhibitions/conferences/communities do you attend or admire?


12. What are some of the biggest trends in the UX design industry right now?


13. What analytics tools and key performance indicators (KPIs) have you used to evaluate your designs?


14. What projects are you currently working on?


15. Why should I hire you?



Have you had any UX interview questions you weren’t expecting or prepared for? Let us know so we can add them to our list. 

7 things to do before you start a new job



New year new job? If this is you, then we understand it can be an exciting - but equally scary - time in your life. It’s a big life change, as you may be climbing the career ladder or venturing out of your comfort zone to explore a brand new work opportunity. You’ll naturally be feeling a little anxious as the first day approaches, but there are some things you can do before starting a new job to put your mind at ease and reduce any unnecessary stress. 


As with all new things, there’s always an element of uncertainty, but with some careful preparation you can start off on the right foot, make a great first impression and settle into your new workplace and position. 



Take Time Out


If you can, it’s always great to try and schedule a break between leaving your previous job and starting a new one. And when we say break, this could just be a long weekend or a week off. Use this time to reset yourself, take some me time and catch up on life admin, before you become engrossed in your new work life. Use it as a mental break and  a way to establish a separation between your old job and your new one. 


Plan Your Route


Sounds obvious, but make sure you are familiar with your commute to your new place of work before your first day. And ensure you have a plan B incase your preferred route somehow doesn’t work out. Know the drive or the train lines you’ll be taking and have a good idea of how long your commute will take. Always allow extra time for getting lost or facing unexpected events, like rail strikes or traffic jams! 


Understand the Dress Code 


Every workplace is difference, your new office dress code won’t necessarily be the same as the last. And probably won’t be what you wore to your interview there either. We suggest getting in touch with HR and finding out what you will be expected to wear for your position. As you settle in you’ll get a better idea of dress code, but it’s always a great idea to have some go to outfits ready for the first few days to avoid any unnecessary stress and time wasting in the mornings. 


Get to Know Your Co-workers


You’ll be introduced to most people you’ll be interacting with on a daily basis within your first few days there, but it doesn’t hurt to try to familiarise yourself with colleagues before then. You can easily get to know the names and roles of your future work colleagues on LinkedIn. 




Even if you’re moving into a role that’s very familiar to the one you just left, it doesn’t hurt to freshen up on the skillset your role requires. Use the time in-between jobs to re-visit and revise the skills that got you hired. We’d also suggest reading up on any news or events within your new company too. 


Arrive Early 


Last but not least, it is important to arrive early for the first day of your new job. Arriving exactly on time may be considered late by some and you only get one chance at a first impression. 


Good Luck!

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