Career Advice For Me

All posts in Blog

Going it alone as a consultant – preparation is the key

Categories: Blog, News
Comments Off on Going it alone as a consultant – preparation is the key
Four questions you must ask before starting your own consultancy

Work out whether you’re ready to go it alone with help from L&D consultant Joe Bell 

You’re probably reading this because you’re thinking about starting up your own business – or are already actively planning to do so. A few years ago I was in the same position as I prepared to start my independent L&D consultancy.

Now, six years on, with experience in mentoring three HR start-ups and some awards nominations under my belt, here are the fundamental questions I think you need to answer before striking out on your own.

1. What do you want from this?

2. What is the point in you?   

3. What are your beliefs, and how will they shape you?

4. Are you ready to make this decision on your own?

Full article (and the answers to the questions) on CIPD

What ONE skill increases your chance of being interviewed

Categories: Blog, News
Comments Off on What ONE skill increases your chance of being interviewed

We normally discourage candidates from peppering their CVs with buzzwords and skills. We suggest they use their listed achievement examples to speak for the skills and abilities they bring to an employer. However with some CV screening and sifting taking place by automation or less inquisitive recruitment (human) practices, there is a case for listing certain words. This will allow your CV to surface on CV databases where rectuiters are using key word searching. Have a look at the link below for some latest key words. In an ever more technical world, its not surprising for “digital” to be a latest key word/experience, regardless of the sector and role. Just make sure you can actually evidence your digital experience so you are not simply dropping in buzz words.

Recruitment Grapevine for full article.

And more quirky tough interview questions……

Categories: Blog, News
Comments Off on And more quirky tough interview questions……

We know that many try to predict these, are inquisitive and so here are a few more questions. There are so many potential questions, so we list these more because it helps you to think laterally or to solve problems. Remember for some questions there is no wrong or right answer. Instead questions may test your honesty, self awareness, critique, values, communications style/delivery and sometimes even how frustrated you appear when faced with curveball question! Simply food for thought.

1. “What on your CV is the closest thing to a lie?” – Marketing and communications employee, The Phoenix Partnership

2. “What am I thinking right now?” – Regional Director, TES Global

3. “How would your enemy describe you?” – Advertising sales graduate scheme, Condé Nast

4. “If you had a friend who was great for a job and an identical person who was just as good, but your friend earned you £2,000 less, who would you give the job to?” – Associate Recruitment Consultant, Hays

5. “What’s the most selfish thing you’ve ever done?” – Graduate Consultant, PageGroup

6. “You are stranded on the moon with a group of other astronauts and you need to travel 200 miles back to base, here is a list of 15 items salvaged from the wreckage of the spacecraft you were travelling in. List them in order of importance.” – Sales employee, Turnstone Sales

7. “If your best friend was here what advice would he give you?” – CCP, American Express

8. “Describe your biggest weakness. Then describe another.” – Forward Deployed Software Engineer, Palantir Technologies

9. “How do you cope with repetition?” – Product Specialist, Tesla Motors

10. “How would you describe cloud computing to a seven-year-old?” – Graduate scheme, Microsoft

11. “There are three people, each with different salaries, and they want to find the average of them without telling any of the other two their salary. How do they do it?” – Technical Delivery Graduate, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence

12. “Who is your hero, and why?” – Product quality employee, GE

13. “What’s your biggest regret managing people so far?” – Area Director, Regus

14. “What would you ask the CEO if you met him one day?” – Performance Analyst, British Airways

15. “You have 50 red and 50 blue objects.  Split these however you like between two containers to give the minimum/maximum probability of drawing one of the colours” – Operations Analyst, Clearwater Analytics

16. “What does social justice mean to you?” – Content Marketing Manager, ThoughtWorks

17. “What is your coping mechanism when you have a bad day?” – Consultant, Switch Consulting

18. “Are you a nice guy?” – Product Manager, Badoo

19. “Provide an estimate for the number of goals in the premier league.” – Management Accountant, VAX

20. “Tell me about your childhood.” – Learning and Development employee, Next

Listed by Glassdoor on HR Grapevine

Interesting changes in employment status – self employed?

Categories: Blog, News
Comments Off on Interesting changes in employment status – self employed?

Privileged’ workers benefiting most from greater self-employment

Bankers and public sector – not drivers and couriers – are driving growth in self-employment, thanks to tax advantages

‘Privileged’ individuals who benefit from significant tax advantages are responsible for most of the rapid growth in self-employment, a new study from the Resolution Foundation has suggested.

The report concludes that despite the popular perception of self-employment revolving around the ‘gig economy’ – which includes couriers and drivers, as well as those taking on task-based work via online platforms – 60 per cent of the growth in self-employment since 2009 has taken place in lucrative sectors including advertising and banking, which make up less than half of the UK’s self-employed population.

The advertising sector has experienced growth of 100 per cent, followed by public administration (90 per cent) and banking (60 per cent). By contrast, the sector that includes taxis has increased by 7 per cent since 2009, despite widespread attention on ride-hailing service Uber. The remaining growth in self-employment has occurred in the more ‘precarious’ sectors that make up the majority of the self-employed workforce, such as construction and cleaning.

The considerable tax advantages available to self-employed workers in highly skilled and highly paid sectors are giving them a significant advantage over the majority of the self-employed, the Resolution Foundation claimed, creating a hollowing out of the self-employed and effectively leading to winners and losers.

“Behind the headlines, the real recent growth area for the self-employed has been in lucrative sectors such as advertising and banking,” said Adam Corlett, economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation. “This rise is driven in part by a very favourable tax treatment worth thousands of pounds a year to higher earners – just one element of which is set to cost the Treasury £6bn a year by the end of the parliament.”

According to the report, a self-employed worker who costs a company £100,000 enjoys a tax advantage of more than £7,000 over a similarly expensive permanent employee, while a self-employed worker in a ‘precarious’ sector costing a firm £10,000 enjoys a minimal tax advantage of just £200. However, they still forgo employment rights, from the national living wage to statutory maternity and sick pay and protection against unfair dismissal.

Ian Brinkley, acting chief economist at the CIPD, stressed that tax advantages were unlikely to be the only cause of the disparity in self-employment growth.

“Tax advantages have existed for a long time – they may have increased since 2011 as employee taxes and the cost of employment have gone up, creating trends on both the employee and employer side to mutually agree on a self-employed status and enjoy the financial benefits. But it doesn’t feel big enough to fully explain the increase,” he said.

“There are other issues to consider, including the big shift towards outsourcing across the public and private sectors in recent years, and the fact that it’s a lot easier to be self-employed if you have skills that are in demand. And a lot of people are choosing self-employment out of a desire for greater independence and job satisfaction. Tax advantages are just one aspect of a much broader picture.”

Some experts believe the trends in self-employment form part of a significant structural shift in the labour market, with the polarisation between high and low-skilled employees likely to widen. “It’s likely that many issues that have existed in the labour market for a long time will continue, such as the blurred status between employee and the self-employed, with more people sitting in that grey area,” said Brinkley.

This trend has been noticed in Whitehall, which faces losing a significant tax take if self-employment takes hold more broadly. The government recently launched an inquiry into the rights of gig economy workers, and has already introduced changes to the IR35 regulations governing how freelance contractors in the public sector are taxed.

“Rising self-employment has been the biggest jobs story of the last decade, accounting for almost half of all employment growth since the financial crisis” said Corlett.

“With the number of self-employed workers approaching five million, we need to start addressing some of the challenges it brings. This should include more security for workers at the bottom end of the market, but reforms should also reduce the unfair tax advantages that the wealthy self-employed particularly benefit from.”

Full article on CIPD

10 mistakes a graduate recruit should AVOID

Categories: Blog
Comments Off on 10 mistakes a graduate recruit should AVOID

Overall sound advice here and generally represents the advice we give. No.3 is not entirely correct, since interviewers hate candidates asking questions just for the sake of it. Yes always have questions ready that you actually want to know or think of during the interview and be prepared to ask them. However potential questions you had are often covered anyway during the course of the interview. So why ask them? If you feel you need to speak, simply rattle off the questions you did have in summary and tell them they have all been covered. Its far faster, you show good judgement in not actually asking them, you show you have thought about issues beforehand and they are relieved and can end the interview on time!

All the others points are good, if brief. You get the gist…..

Original article on Recruitment Grapevine

cyrcla – new networking and relationship management tool app launched

Categories: Blog, News
Comments Off on cyrcla – new networking and relationship management tool app launched

Proventure is delighted to have launched the new app “cyrcla” on the App Store this week. A personal networking/basic CRM designed to support individuals in developing better relationships, cyrcla provides measures and analysis of the ever so important quality aspect of relationships and influence. Here’s a link to it – It’s free.  Feel free to share with anyone you think might want to use it who has lots of work related relationships and are always juggling time and effort to manage them effectively, plus gain some analysis of their relationships. We think the analysis will help people decide how they best invest in their circles of influence and get best return.

cyrcla is Apple only for now, android is next. The next version will be an organisational one that will aggregate data confidentially, to enable a detailed analysis of relationships internally and externally. The current free one has some good analysis though with more features to come for the individual user. All data is private and confidential. We have no access to it. Other users cannot see what you are doing, your private notes or who you are linked to unlike LinkedIn.

So go ahead and download it. It’s really simple, intuitive and essentially enables visualisation of our networks more easily.

cyrcla is on Twitter for news and updates.

Weird and wonderful candidates behaviours at interviews

Categories: Blog
Comments Off on Weird and wonderful candidates behaviours at interviews

According to a new survey conducted online by Harris Poll, 50% of employers have made an internal decision about a candidate within the first five minutes – a one per cent increase on last year’s results.

So what are the influences shaping these quick-fire decisions? The survey collated the most memorable job interview mistakes employers have witnessed throughout the years; from body language faux pas to massaging lotion into their feet as well as attempting to read the palm of the interviewer.

The 10 strangest things people have done in job interviews are listed below:

  1. Candidate took a family photo off the interviewer’s desk and put it into her purse.
  2. Candidate started screaming that the interview was taking too long.
  3. Candidate said her main job was being a psychic/medium and tried to read interviewer’s palm, despite interviewer’s attempts to decline the offer.
  4. When asked what her ideal job was, candidate said “painter of birdhouses,” although they were hiring for a data entry clerk.
  5. Candidate sang her responses to questions.
  6. Candidate put lotion on her feet during the interview.
  7. When asked why he wanted the position, candidate replied, “My wife wants me to get a job.”
  8. Candidate started feeling interviewer’s chest to find a heartbeat so they could “connect heart to heart.”
  9. Candidate had a pet bird in her shirt.
  10. Candidate took phone interview in the bathroom – and flushed.

Original article on Recruitment Grapevine

Balance of you asking and receiving interview questions

Categories: Blog
Comments Off on Balance of you asking and receiving interview questions

This is a really interesting area and one which we are asked often on our courses. What is the right balance between asking questions about a role and an employer, and being questioned by the interviewer? Get it right and you can learn a great deal and work out whether you do want the job. Get it wrong and the employer will learn nothing about you and you could blow the opportunity (even if you do want the job!).

This brief article/discussion has been generated by some forum discussions on the issue. Interesting to hear how the interviewer felt with different approaches. The summary in the article is about right on balance. We would say probably maximum 20% of time asking questions. You can either ask questions as you go along, or saving them until the end is better as they may get answered during the course of the interview itself. At the end you can pick the most pertinent ones – the “need” to have answered as opposed to the “nice” to have answered. The interviewer will be keen to keep to their time slot, so be mindful of the amount of time they have available for you. Asking loads of questions can show you are keen yes, but can show a lack of judgement if you go over the top and ask too many.

With January expected to be a good month for finding new roles, candidates are bound to be searching for advice on how to ace their interview.

One place they may turn to for wisdom is Reddit.

A recent thread under the LifeProTips category launched a discussion following user Scottsman90’s bold statement: “Treat job interviews like you are interviewing them to see if they are worth your time. You will appear as a stronger candidate.”

Other users chimed in and agreed. JoOngle wrote: “That’s actually an excellent tip. All the jobs I’ve ever gotten – have been like this. Also, that was a surprise to me every time, because I basically didn’t think I’d get the job, so I didn’t really care that much, but spent time interviewing them instead just because I was genuinely interested in spending my time sensibly.

“After a while, the dime falls – I began to realise that getting a job is like a relationship. The less ‘available’ you are, the more ‘attractive’ you become.”

Wild_Garlic supported this: “The casual cool, yet professional. Be critical and fair, ask probing questions. Make sure you show them you are weighing you costs and benefits.”

However, one interviewer said the advice was good but as with all things, moderation is key.

TheBotBot wrote: “Phone interviewed a guy recently who was clearly interviewing me, I said maybe twenty words while he talked at me about how amazing he was, there was no having a conversation with him. At the end he tried to schedule the in person interview… ‘Well I guess the next step is getting together in person and seeing if this could work out. Are you free _____?’ My notes from the interview were ‘1,000xNO’.”

Merovean agreed: “My experience summed up exactly, left me with that ‘why am I still listening to this guy’ feeling. It’s a great idea when executed by someone with skills and maturity, a nightmare when attempted by the young and overzealous.”

Thingswithcookies added: “I get annoyed when someone I’m interviewing spends too much time asking me questions. The fact that they’re in the room with me means they want the job. I only have an hour to gauge someone’s ability to do this job and I’m happy to chat or answer questions for maybe 5-10 minutes of that hour but not for much longer than that.”

Hellarar advised candidates that “about 25% asking to 75% answering sounds like an appropriate balance.”

Original article on Recruitment Grapevine

Strategy Made Simple

Categories: Blog
Comments: 1

Strategy made simple - best


“Strategy” is often over-complicated, misused and misunderstood.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  Nearly everyone can understand and describe strategy, it’s just about removing the management speak and relating it to your personal perspective.  Our White Paper, “Demystifying Strategy” gives a different take on strategy, to help get to grips with what it really means.

Demystifying Strategy


Overcoming A Career Setback

Categories: Blog
Comments Off on Overcoming A Career Setback

The first steps to getting your career back on track

We are going through one of the most turbulent times in living memory, at least for most people.  Whether in work or out of work, we can all face career setbacks and challenges that leave us damaged, scarred emotionally and lacking confidence. How we respond to these challenges changes what comes next.

It is well documented that losing a job is one of the most stressful life experiences we face.  Whilst there is a mass of literature out there about “picking yourself up” and taking practical steps, it is not that easy.  People often get stuck in a cycle of despair that becomes self perpetuating. Read more