Adrian is a former BBC journalist turned social media strategist who now manages all of Truffle Talent's social channels, he's also father to 3 girls. Busy? Surely not!
As a stay-at-home working dad looking after 3 girls my day usually begins like this...
While I'm making my kids' breakfast i'm also firing up the phone checking Instagram and Twitter to see what activity has come in over night. Truffle is a global talent agency with followers also outside of the UK (mainly Australia and US) and while we're catching Z's they're active. I'm keen we develop those relationships so i'll respond to any comments or likes as soon as I can and get a head start on the rest of my day.
School run. Weep.
On the walk back from school i'm already sieving through the news on my phone in case there's anything that can be news-hacked for our own social. I'll also pick out interesting posts in our feeds that might resonate with our brand. I use the Pocket App to save articles so I can come back to them later on.
Phew...I'm at my desk with a freshly poured coffee. The desk is actually my living room table (with lego all over it) and I like it that way.
Us Trufflettes all work remotely and take pride in doing that. Founders, Mishel and Emma, champion a remote working culture because they know, from their experiences, it impacts positively on productivity, happiness and general wellbeing and gives us all more family time. Plus, when we do meet up to work as a team (in a favourite lunch spot), it's extra special. We collaborate frequently using Google Hangouts, so once my laptop is powered on i'll ping over a message to see if there's any jobs that need particular candidate focus and will prepare any posts around the needs of the business.
I'm always at my most creative in the mornings before lunch, so it's then that I'll start creating the social media content. Generally this will involve creating GIFS, videos, and making images. I'll work from an ideas scrapbook that I'm constantly updating which feeds into a structured content plan aligned with Truffle's overall business strategy. Ideally i'll make the assets ahead of time then schedule these into Buffer or Hootsuite to save me doing it on the fly. The whole time I'm doing this I have all the social feeds open in a deck so I can monitor activity and carry out responsive when needed.
Lunch. Step away from social media. I've stopped checking my own personal channels at this time as i'm worried it'll lead to a social burn out. I'll panic instead. I haven't got any food out of the freezer for my kids' tea, gulp.
Back on it, creating more unique content. Very often, if i'm making videos in Final Cut, I will find myself working on it throughout the day, as I am constantly juggling everything else.
I usually put aside 1-2 hours a day to work on audience development, which helps grow our channels but more specifically can help root out new candidates for jobs and might also create leads. Using tools like Twitonomy and FollowerWonk i'll search people's bios and track activity through keywords linked to our industry. It's time consuming but vital for us as headhunters if we're to discover new and exciting talent.
Back to being stay-at-home dad, but if the truth be known I'm still very much across all of the social on my phone and commenting, liking posts and engaging with people as much as I can. It helps if the kids keep themselves busy, but expect the unexpected, like one of them placing slime into the back of the TV set.
There's no time for Netflix! As a social media strategist i'm everything from a copywriter, designer, media planner, photographer, video editor and, drum roll....analyst. But, because the analytics is the least creative thing I do in my day, I leave it till the evening when I can crunch numbers and reflect on all the content that's gone out. I'll use a range of tools to do that - everything from native analytics to sites such as Komfo or SproutSocial. I'm always testing new tools.
Another glance over all the channels to check all's well, and then the phone is switched to airplane mode and I hit play on my mindfulness track in Spotify! Sleep. Bliss.
Work lessons learned from being a parent (or what I now know from being a working mum)
I’m a parent. I have been parenting for over 10 years now. I have two, one of each, so job done!
I am not an expert on parenting or working, I am merely a Mum with a small business. There are inspirational women out there that run multinational FTSE100 companies and have a whole brood waiting for them at home that might provide better guidance, but sometimes the little things come from the little people.
The lessons I have learned over the past couple of years have been invaluable and may resonate with some of you parent readers (or the ones that may stupidly think you would like to be a parent one day!):
Don’t believe what everyone tells you
In parent circles, there are the ‘I knit my own baby clothes and puree my own home grown organic veg’ people. However at home they are oven baking Turkey Dinosaurs like the rest of us.
In the working world there will always be someone proclaiming to be doing your job perfectly. You will know who they are because they will be telling everyone about how truly amazing they are. They do not necessarily think they are totally awesome but they have the gumption and balls to put themselves out there.
Don’t believe a word. No-one has ever done a job perfectly. There is always a small room for improvement in everything that ever gets done.
Don’t compare! Do a job to the best of your own ability, in the time and to the means you have available.
Proclaim your achievements. Every work goal achieved is something worth sharing.
A recent purchase was my multiple column calendar, this was shortly bought after forgetting that it was a ‘super hero’ day at nursery and having a very sad 4 year old in school uniform.
Some of you will be in the position where you are organizing multiple people over multiple businesses or working with colleagues in multiple time zones. Some of you will have just your day to juggle.
The best thing you can do is become uber organized: ‘to do’ lists, colour coded diary entries, a daily and weekly process that becomes second nature and concrete expectations of yourself, your team and the key colleagues within your organization.
Many days have started off with a plan of attack. Get up, eat, dress, school, afterschool activity, dinner, bath, reading and bed. However all it takes is one lost school shoe and the day is in melt down.
Whilst it is important to have structure in your work, working rigidly to it will leave you often disappointed and frustrated when one issue comes along to derail it.
Be prepared to be flexible, make concessions, put time aside for the ‘unforeseen circumstance’ and not hold to tightly onto what should’ve happened that day.
There is a time to be selfish
A majority of parents will tell you that their kids are their priority however in reality you can often lose track of what nourishes you.
Everyone loves a team player however whilst running around like a greyhound delivering what other people need you to, you can easily forget what you need to achieve too.
Understand what you need to prioritise in order to make you work and life balance and simply make sure that happens before lending your time to others projects.
You are going to fail
And you are going to fail a lot!
It really is about getting back up.
Be aware that others influence your decisions
When you bring your new human into the world you have every hope and dream for them, however they are your hopes and dreams. You forget that they will have their own personality, likes, dislikes and opinions or that social and economic circumstances will effect their direction in life.
In the working world everyone wants to achieve their own goals.
You may have a clear idea of what you want to happen in the future however other people will equally have their own idea, these on occasion will be the same but more often will not, listen, discuss, compromise and come to the best outcome for all.
You can’t reason with unreasonable people
I often find myself in overly long conversations with small children, debating the merits of sleeping, eating green food or cleaning themselves. Why, because they are yet to be totally informed.
We have all worked with someone that despite the glaringly obvious flaws will stick to a plan or way of working regardless. No matter how diplomatic your approach you are unable to change it.
Sometimes you have to accept that you cannot steer or influence a situation and there will be no immediate resolution. Some people need to learn their own lessons, will only receive information from certain people and sources and will eventually fail or change.
Never get too attached to a project:
I have written this blog before but it was deleted by the 7 yr old one who is currently sitting opposite me with the remnants of pizza (not homemade) on his head and a lemon lolly in his mouth.
Never leave your child near your laptop, save often and don’t become overly precious on a project, it will be tweaked, amended and sometimes scrapped. Move on!
It is the best job in the world
The Minis may be challenging, noisy and have broken everything I own but watching them grow into spirited and loving individuals is the most rewarding and entertaining job I will ever do.
Your job may be challenging, tiring and sometimes all consuming but if you achieve what you set out to and are rewarded and appreciated then what more could you ask?
There's nothing quite like the lure of the sea and the warm feeling of soft sand between your toes to make you re-evaluate your 9 to 5.
Some well-earned time away from your inbox and ever shrinking desk space, often allows the much needed time to revisit your goals and ambitions. And more importantly, the head space to assess how your current job is measuring up against them.
It's no surprise therefore that a large number of us return to the office with not only a half decent tan, but also a firm exit plan. And within 2-3 months of returning from your summer hols, you find yourself stood in front of your manager clasping a letter of resignation.
Plucking up the courage to resign
Within hours of giving in your notice you'll have been quizzed on where you're going, what you'll be doing and what they've offered you in the way of salary and benefits. And you'll share all of this with them willingly, feeling rather chuffed with what you've secured, until you walk in the next morning to...the counter offer!
What's a counter offer?
A counter offer is a revised offer from the company you're currently with in an effort to make you stay. It might be a straight forward like-for-like match on the new salary (and possibly benefits) you've been offered. Or it might be an impressive salary hike.
Whether you're surprised, flattered, or insulted by it, it's bound to leave you a bit confused. But you needn't be. You're now in a very powerful position, so use the time you do have to think things through carefully before deciding what to do.
Here are five questions you might want to ask yourself before you make that all important decision:
1. What is it that made you look for a new role in the first place?
Cast your mind back to what it was that made you start looking for a new role.
Maybe you made a list of the things you didn't feel you could achieve in your current role and were looking for in a new position. How (if at all) does the counter offer change this? And if promises have been made in addition to a change to your package, how realistic is it the company you work for will deliver on what they've promised?
Remember: Good people are hard to find. And no manager wants to go through the rigmarole or cost of advertising, interviewing and on-boarding a new employee. But can your current employer really offer you what they've promised in the way of opportunities to develop you of help you achieve your career goals? Or are they simply desperate to keep you.
2. Does more money make it right?
If money was the overriding decision for wanting to move on does the new amount offered reflect what you think you're worth? And why has it taken an offer from another company for your current employer to agree to pay you that?
Also will your current employer expect more of you in exchange for the revised salary, and are you prepared to put the extra work in to warrant it?
Remember: If you genuinely feel you're being underpaid for what you do, joining a new company can be the best thing, and a great strategic move in terms of increasing your salary both now and in the long run.
3. Are you comfortable staying with a company after the revelation of handing in your notice?
It can be incredibly flattering to receive a counter offer. It's affirmation after all that your current employer would like you to stay. But how has you resigning affected the dynamic between you and your manager? And how will this impact on your work?
Remember: A bit like a unfaithful partner, it's only natural a manager might find it hard to trust an employee who has already taken steps to leave the business. It could be that you find yourself under a watchful eye for a while, as your manager strives to keep you happy and avoid you looking elsewhere.
4. Do you see yourself with the same company for the foreseeable future?
Having taken the step of applying for new roles, interviewing and fending off stiff competition to secure an offer, do you really see yourself staying where you currently are for the next 1-3 years?
Remember: If you see yourself staying with a company for the foreseeable future and you're happy the counter offer covers everything you felt was missing, great.
But more than 60% of UK employees leave within the first six months of accepting a counter offer to stay, as the same things that made them want to leave in the first place begin to resurface.
5. Fear of the unknown?
We're all creatures of habit. It's natural to fear the unknown. And it's often easiest to stay put.
Are you taking the easy route and staying with what you know? Well, only you answer that one. And in the great words of Frasier - "In the end, what we regret most, are the chances we never took".
Why applying for jobs in the summer months could be the best thing you ever did.....
Are you a fabulous Creative who potentially would be interested in new opportunities?
Are you putting off applying for jobs because it's summer and you have holidays booked in?
Or are you too busy sunning yourself on your roof terrace to have time to update your folio?
Well you're not the only one!
So many people are relaxing in beer gardens or beaches around the globe and taking their eye's off the job market. The summer months are notoriously quiet on the candidate front for all recruiters and hiring managers.
Do you think that means that jobs coming on to the market will slow down? Nope.
In fact we're busy as ever here at Truffle!
Do you think there'll be some amazing jobs out there with less competition now? Yes.
With so little competition right now you could be bagging yourself that dream job without a fight to the end, or 5 gruelling rounds of interviews to be pipped to the post.
Don't wait until the mad rush of September when everybody else starts to pull their finger out - our advice is do it now.
So get your CV and folio updated today and get applying people!
Contact Truffle to find out about our latest jobs.
Job-hunting can be stressful; a multitude of uncontrollable factors need to be “just so” in order to make your search successful. Location, expectations, time of year, the economy, personal circumstances, health, weather and tube strikes can all play a role in helping/ hindering you to find that perfect opportunity.
So, once you have overcome all of these factors, made it through the interview hurdles and managed to secure an offer of employment - how do you know if it’s the right thing to accept?!!
Truffle have put together a few simple thinking points to help you make that decision a little easier:
1. Remember why you started on this path:
A good place to start is by trying to remember why you started looking for a new job in the first place….. Write it down.
Was it for more money? A better work / life balance? A nicer team environment? A change of career path? I'm sure there were a list of factors which encouraged you to make the leap.
Realistically, if you accept a job which does not solve your original objective - just because it is a “really, really cool agency” - you will only end up back at square one again soon enough. People often get swept away in the all-encompassing momentum of job hunting and forget what their initial goals were. Stay true to yourself and your needs.
2. MIT’s or “Most Important Things”: Surprisingly many people are not very aware of what they actually want. We often hear, “I am open to whatever comes along” or “ I just want a good job, with a good team” - These are pretty vague answers which don’t represent you as an individual; your past experiences, what you want to avoid, what you’ve really enjoyed, or what types of environments you learn best in – you should know these things!
An easy way to pin down what you’re looking for is to consider your “MIT’s.
What’s important to you will be different from the next person; you may have kids and want flexi hours, you may live far out of London and need to start at 10am, you may love to cycle to work… etc.
Writing these down will help you to understand your own needs, and help you to articulate these better. Each of these “needs” can help you to weigh up whether or not to accept that job offer; does it meet your criteria? Can you negotiate on any of these to make it a better proposition for you personally? Many employers will be open to supporting your personal requests (if there is a valid reason of course).
3. Other Opportunities: Fact versus Fantasy:
The universe is a funny thing and, like buses, jobs often all come along at once leaving you indecisive and confused.
Truffle say: Start with hard cold facts: Do you have any other qualified offers on the table at this time? Are you still interviewing for a role you’d prefer? How likely is that other role going to come off? How many other people are in the running for this other job? What are the time scales involved? Keep yourself well informed, don’t be afraid to ask these questions to recruiters or hiring managers.
Try not to fall into the trap of thinking the grass is greener, more often than not it’s actually just the same old grass. Or in other words, try not to miss out on opportunities whilst waiting for others which may not happen.
4. The Market: What is the market like in your industry right now? Have you had a look at any salary surveys to compare your offer to the current market values? Have you spoken to your peers in the industry? How are they finding things?
In all markets there will be quiet times and busy times – research what the market is like and set your expectations accordingly. You obviously want to maximize the potential of your job move, but at the same time try not to over price yourself, as you will get left behind. Price yourself right, be open to negotiation and be flexible.
Get busy in quiet times: Just because the market is quiet it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking. In fact, it may be a great time to start getting feelers out and having informal chats with people ready for the busy times. Summer is a notoriously quiet time, but many companies are still looking to hire. When other people have taken their fingers off the pulse and are enjoying sunshine in beer gardens you could be bagging awesome opportunities with less competition!
5. Influences: Be careful not to let other people influence your decision too much.
It’s great to get advice from your friends / family / peers - this will inevitably give you a more rounded view. However, remember that you are the one who went on the interviews, who met the team, who asked the questions, and who ultimately understands the opportunity best – if you want to go for it, then do it - despite what others say / think.
Many of us listen to the opinions of others and follow this as ‘The Law’ especially early on in our careers. It is easy to put your own thoughts aside and believe “they know best”, but often they don’t know best. Make your own decisions based on your own instincts, couple this with the info and facts you've learned during the interview process and we are good to go my friend!! Trust your gut instincts and do what is best for you.
If you do choose a job which isn't right for you don't panic, its not life or death, you can simply hand in your notice and move on knowing that you gave it a shot. Bad decisions make good stories, and I have heard a lot of them in my time as a recruiter. If you need help finding a better job that you will love, come and talk to Truffle !!
Your CV is just a piece of paper (maybe two pieces) but this piece of paper could be the difference between a mundane 9 to 5 or your dream job. OK, maybe not this extreme but it will open avenues you never thought possible.
Your CV allows you to communicate your worth. It gives you the opportunity to say: “I am bloody good, I know my stuff, and this is why”. This includes showing that you understand the latest trends in design (white space, clean type, good layout), and that you know what people are looking for in the marketplace (latest technology, working in an up and coming agency, winning a cool new award for design/advertising etc). It speaks in a language that people 'in the know' will understand, it shows you understand your industry and you know what’s expected of you.
Truffle consult with many candidates about their CV, their folio and their general presentation when looking for jobs. Around 80% of applications need a little extra work on one area or another before we can submit them to our clients. It is not surprising that people don’t know the standards they are competing against; after all how often do you look through the CV’s and folios of other Designers?
Here are a few pointers to help you get your CV in to a job worthy state and bag that interview. Have a read and check yourself against them…
1. Education: you’ve got a degree, great! Tell us what the degree was, what year you completed it and what grade you got - pretty please…
Note: There is no need to list every stage of your education, just the most recent. Don’t forgot to include any relevant extra curricular courses, these show that you are constantly striving to improve yourself, get them on your CV!
2. Folio: Truffle receives multiple applications from Designers that do not include an online link or PDF folio. It’s all about your work people!
Note: If you apply 5% effort to looking for a job and presenting yourself, then you will look like a person who applies 5% effort in life…. Would you hire someone who gives that little?
3. Spelling: Proof read your CV and then proofread it again, and then one more time for luck – spelling errors are not cool! I have to correct at least one person a day for errors on their CV, some of which are copywriters or proofreaders. This is an easily avoidable mistake, which will cost you interviews.
Note: Get someone else to proof it for you, a fresh pair of eyes can usually spot mistakes much easier.
4. Dates – Please chronologise your CV - include months and years too. This sounds so simple right? You wouldn’t believe how many CV’s we see with the format: “2012-2013: Designer: XYZ agency." This clearly does not give us enough information. Was that January 2012 to December 2013 (2 years) or was it December 2012 till January 2013 (1 month). This is often used as an avoidance technique, to cover up times when a person was out of work. However it won't work in your favour, as soon as somebody gets you face to face they will ask and your cover will be blown.
Note: Don’t try to hide things, be up front and honest.
5. Gaps – OK, so you have a gap in your CV. No problem, just don’t leave it blank. You don’t need to go in to detail, but if you had 2 years off to care for a sick/elderly parent or 3 years off to bring up your children, don’t be afraid to say it.
Note: If your excuse for having two years off was “bumming around, travelling a bit, re-evaluating life” then just be honest, but be a little more creative with how you word this.
6. Contact Details: OK, so you’re a super hot candidate and you’ve applied for a job you’re very excited about, you’ve done everything right on your CV and you have an incredibly relevant, beautiful folio. We would love to contact you..… but wait….. you have no phone number listed on your CV!!
Note: Give yourself a fighting chance by including a phone number.
7. Social me: Personal and business lives have merged over the past few years, your twitter, facebook, linkedin, instagram, pinterest etc are now a great way of you representing yourself to your business network as well as your friends. People are much more interested in your personal interests now, especially in the creative industry. Your social profile is yet another way for you to promote yourself, share your style, and interact with your chosen industry, don’t fall behind the curve - make sure you include your social links on your CV.
Note: Please make sure the social profiles you include are updated regularly. Only include ones you truly use and take an interest in. And remember to be mindful to only share what you’re happy for potential new managers to see!
8. Look & Feel: Are you guilty of having angled writing on your CV? Do you have dark imagery? or some weird illustration type thing? or lots of clashing colours and fonts? If so, you need to read this next bit:
Note: Each person has their own design style and I am not suggesting you conform to the ordinary, but at least make the content easily digestible. It will make all the difference when job hunting.
We hope these points have helped you! Do take the time to check your own CV for errors, links which lead nowhere and eye watering fonts…
Happy job hunting!
Truffle is like a lot of small start ups that have seen an opportunity in the market and acted on it. A small independent business which has sprouted up due to many factors including escaping the big corporate world, trying to add more value both personally and to their customers / clients and ultimately carve out a new and unique offering to a market.
Ours is a business grown from the love of the creative industries by two people who want to make recruitment less of a "car salesman industry" and more of a "career consultancy business," creating good karma.
Since starting the business over two years ago we’ve experienced the highly interesting and innovative components which go in to creating a brand and making a business run, which includes unimaginable amount of mundane tasks which a business could not live without.
Having a business creates a different lifestyle, with varying priorities and crazy 'working' hours.
We've noticed the huge differences between working for yourselves compared to working for someone else and we've put together a pros and cons list for anyone thinking of taking the leap!
1. You are your own boss - you set your own expectations working on your own strengths and create targets that work for you. No sales targets, no ridiculous meetings about meetings, no overbearing manager breathing down your neck - Freedom is yours…!
2. You have control over finance - It's great to see the profit coming in and be able to control what goes out. Being in control of spend, sign off, margins, negotiations, bottom line and the overall financial decision making, is a very rewarding process
3. You can take any day off - spend afternoons drinking in the sun, have half days to spend time with your other half / friends / kiddies… etc. (note: remember your business is you and won't function without you.)
4. Everywhere is your office – if you’re lucky enough to have a business that you can run from online, like our own, it means you can work from anywhere – in the whole world! You can be in Starbucks in Oxford Circus or at the top of a skyscraper in New York, as long as you have wifi you can run the business from there.
5. You can choose the clients you work with - this really is a luxury, and something that Truffle has built its business on. Only working with people you want to work with, who have good ethics and high standards.
6. You can choose the people you work with - you can build a team of like-minded people - no office politics, no bullshit.
7. You can create your own brand and with that a brand ethos - this is super fun, telling your story and building your values, designing a logo, colour palette, website...etc. We loved this process!
1. You are your own boss - you now impose crazy targets on yourself and (if you're anything like me) will criticise and push yourself harder than any boss would.
2. You have control over finance - managing finances, negotiating with suppliers, paying /sending / chasing invoices, budgets, forecasting, vat bills, quarter ends, end of years, the so called 'black art' of accountancy, all of this now falls within YOUR remit. This can scare the noodles out of some people - but don't worry you will be a pro by the time you're a year in!
3. You will not have any holiday pay / maternity leave / sick pay - this isn't entirely true, it's up to you as a director to decide how much you pay yourself out of the company, but my guess is that if you're not at work then you won't be making any money to pay yourself.
4. Never being able to 'log off' from work - never again will you finish work at 6pm and actually stop working, your brand is integrated into your soul. There is no “home time”! You are now switched on 24/7.
5. You will not get paid if you do a shit job - you cannot coast! I hear this term a lot in recruitment; you can't do bugger all and expect to be paid at the end of the month.
6. People who are not self employed will never understand – your friends / other half / parents will not understand that you are actually at work full time and not available at their beck and call. They expect you are able to run errands for them / pick the kids up from school / bunk off for the day with them / be available all day long. We’re at work people!!
7. Office party is down to two – or three in our case. No more glamorous corporate do’s with tons of free booze - no no no - you’d much rather save those pennies for a rainy day or to give yourself a little bonus 😉
This list could go on and on and on…. I literally had to cut it down to 7 each. As you can see many of the Pros are actually Cons too!
We’d love your comments too….. !!
How are you finding it? Is anyone thinking of starting a business or have you just started one? What are the joys and what are the pitfalls?
So many evenings (and mornings) I see the usual crowd on the tube from St Pauls where I dis-embark and re-embark, they range from 'the suit' - well dressed office types, 'the creative' - bearded and uber, 'the manual labourer' - in a high vis jacket and 'the tourist' - usually sporting a camera and looking excited.
Each one of them has their own story, their own plans, their own stresses. These types are pretty easy to spot in my opinion, sometimes I try to guess which tube stop said people will disembark at (fun tube game, feel free to use this one) quite often I guess correctly although some people do surprise me (obviously having no reception on my phone leads my mind to wander, or maybe I need to get out more).
By far the easiest people to spot are the working parents ... There should be a designated seat for "mummies / daddies that have been up all night with babies / been woken at 5am by over-excitable toddlers and have worked a 12 hour day" please give up your seats willingly!
Note to TFL: These people are "less able to stand" and need to sit down to take this precious time to relax. When they get home their second job of being a parent will start and that is the toughest one of all!
Like myself, many working parents persevere through their work lives each day, trying to function like 'normal human beings' (although we've forgotten what normal is) and what’s better is we're actually doing an amazing job of being successful and creating uber brilliant careers. Well done to you all, you rock (myself and Emma included, haha)
So today, if you spot the signs below please offer a reassuring and understanding nod or smile because being a working parent is hard work!!
10 tell tale signs of a working parent on the tube...
Through all of the sleepless nights and long days and embarrassing tube rides of epic tiredness we must always remind ourselves that we are awesome role models to our 'mini me's' and give ourselves a hypothetical pat on the back for landing that global client after 3 hours sleep the night before, so keep going! Plus we always provide epic entertainment for the dull tube rides home 😉
With nothing better to do the other day I worked out how many people I had interviewed over the past 15 years. Having taken 18 months out for maternity leave, that left me with 13.5 years at an average of 5 people per week based on a 47 week year.
The total = 3,172.5.
I remember the .5 person the most!
We love doing our jobs because we love meeting people. It’s a privileged position to be in when someone trusts you to share in their career/life change journey.
A few things we would recommend to anyone heading off to an interview:
1. Knowledge is power:
Of course you will do your research on a company prior to meeting them. It goes without saying, you will have checked out their site, social media and press. But what do you know about the people you are meeting?
Google them! LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. You are not stalking, you are checking whether there is common ground. You may have studied at the same University, worked in the same firms or be linked by shared acquaintances.
Disclaimer: You can easily go a step too far. Bringing up personal details e.g their kids, what they were up to over the weekend, is a little unnecessary.
2. Be on time:
Simply, be no more than 15 minutes early and most definitely not late.
3. Add £/$ value:
For every person a company employs an Accountant somewhere sighs. You are a cost. You are also an unknown factor. To a levelheaded mathematician you are not a sure bet.
You need to know your financial value.
What financial benefit will the company achieve by you being employed with them? Will you save them the cost of out-sourcing; do you bring with you a new skill set; will you generate new business; do you have a high success rate in pitches; have you a proven track record in cutting company costs?
4. Be armed with your autobiography:
It is always best to be over-prepared and ready to answer the difficult questions.
For each role you have worked in, prepare your story; set the scene and then fill in the detail including the following:
Brief rundown of the company
Where you sat in the structure of the company
What you did
What were your key responsibilities
What were the expectations of the company
What did you deliver
What were the success stories
How did you overcome any issues
Why you left
There is plenty more detail to add than that, but with this alone you will be able to talk eloquently through your CV and will be armed with a couple of examples that display your worth.
Run through your CV with another person, using the structure above. A Recruiter is ideal but otherwise a family member, partner or colleague. Practice adding enough detail but keep your explanation succinct and full of fact.
Ask them to notice the change in your tone when you are presenting and to highlight afterwards any negatives that you may unconsciously add.
Don't be afraid to leave a silence whilst you think of the most appropriate answer or examples to give to a question, it is preferable to rambling on and failing to get to the point.
6. Banish the negatives:
Most, if not all people have had one or more bad experience in a previous role. Don’t let these events overshadow all that you have gained from your career and dictate your future.
Find the positives you learnt from those experiences and use them, do not dwell on what went wrong.
We have a whole blog dedicated to this and it's coming soon!
A positive mental attitude, calm approach and preparation are half the battle in interviews. It is completely natural to feel nervous, this is not your usual everyday meeting with people that you know. However it is just a meeting.
8. Be comfortable:
In order to put yourself at ease, it is always best to mirror the dress code of the company that you are meeting however if it’s a formal firm and the only suit you own is now two sizes too small and cuts the blood circulation off to your upper body, then compromise.
If you are comfortable in the clothes that you are wearing and they reflect your personality then this will allow you to concentrate on what is important - what you are saying.
9. It's a two way street:
You would be surprised how many interviewers are anxious when meeting people, particularly if on paper they appear to be the perfect hire. They are as keen to find the right person, as you are to find the right job.
Set the tone for the meeting by being prepared, enthusiastic and engaging. Put the room at ease. This will give you the platform to ask the questions that will determine whether this is the right direction for your career, after all not every job or company is right for every person.
We have a post on interview questions that may give your some inspiration should you need it:
10. Don’t believe your hype:
Yes, you are unrivalled in your job. Your employer loves you and would hate to lose you.
Over the years I have met countless people that exuded over-confidence. Being confident is a great thing, over-confidence however tends to raise alarm bells.
The people in front of you don’t know you from the other 7.177 billion humans on the planet. Be proud but be humble. Highlight your successes, relate those to their business. It would be tragic for both the company and your ego if you were to oversell yourself and fail, so most importantly remain honest.
11. Enjoy it:
Meeting new people, sharing in experiences and forming relationships are what we humans are great at. This meeting may lead to life changes but also may lead to nothing happening at all. Have fun. Enjoy the chat.
To many people this is a scary term stinking of cheesy, old school, hard-sales techniques. However it shouldn't be.
It is as simple as thanking your interviewers for an enjoyable meeting and asking whether they would like any further information post interview prior to any further meetings.
Should they have any doubts, this will provide you with the opportunity to prepare and email further details on what a truly awesome person you are.
If you are passionate about the opportunity, what is the harm in expressing that. Warning though, everything in moderation, taking a group selfie and adding them to your Facebook friends is a little OTT.
13. The morning after:
If you have determined that this is a role that you want, get in touch with your Recruiter, HR or contact and express your interest in the position. This is not teenage dating. You will not benefit, in any way, by waiting days to assess whether they feel the same way.
Feedback might be brutal. They may not have loved you as much as you loved them. Get over that. Be gracious. Invariably it will be 'decision by panel' and most often you will have at least one person from the interviewers who is fighting your corner. You never know when your paths will cross again. Prepare for the future.
Should it be a match made in heaven. Amazing. Enjoy the ego boost but don't lose sight of your goals and ambitions for the future.
Happy interviewing people!
Recruiters don’t always have the best reputation. In fact, I think we register somewhere between estate agents and car salesmen in the List of Most Trusted Professions. But what is that gives recruiters such a bad name? Some of the professionals I’ve worked with over the years (both as a candidate myself and learning the ropes from colleagues within a recruitment agency) work really hard to deliver great service, unparalleled advice and ongoing support to both candidates and clients long after having placed someone into a role. These relationships can last years.
Yet people are still reluctant to work with, and trust, recruiters. A quick Google search brought up a whole host of articles slating the industry and some of the less authentic people within in - but this leads me to suggest these sorts of articles need to be read with a pinch of salt….
Yes I’m sure we’ve all experienced that one hot-shot that whipped your CV off a job board and sent it over to their client only to call you with an interview offer for a role you’ve never heard of, much less wanted to apply for.
Or the times when you send of countless CV’s and cover letters to little or no response.
But the truth is, the people that write this scathing reports of the recruitment industry seem to have very little knowledge of what it’s like to actually BE a recruiter.
It’s hard work. Long days, continual negotiation, wanting to make everyone happy and meet targets (yes, it is sales, we do have targets) But that aside, for the right person, recruitment is an incredibly rewarding job.
That time when you get an email through from someone you’ve just helped get their dream role, having coached them in interview techniques and what the hiring manager is looking for, selling their skills and personality to your client (the hiring manager who went on to offer them a job) working with both client and candidate to make sure both sides are fully aware of the role, responsibilities, wage, earning potential, progression opportunity….the list goes on.
So it never ceases to surprise me how much negative press recruiters actually get.
In this job, it’s all about relationships and people. A skilled recruiter will take the time to get to know you (as a candidate, client or sometimes both) and will be able to advise if the role and company you’re applying for are a genuinely good match for not just your skill set but also your personality, culture, career ambitions, lifestyle…
It is so much more indepth than just matching a set of keywords in an online search, making a few phone calls and coordinating a meeting.
In fact, I’d urge everyone - client or candidate - to give a wide berth to those recruiters out there who don’t take the time to really get to know you, your needs, ambitions, drivers, thought-process, personality etc.
So what should a good recruiter do? This is not an exhaustive list and please do add in any suggestions and recommendations based on your experience in the comments section below - but as a start, here’s what you should be looking for to know you’re working with a recruitment star who genuinely has your best interests at heart:
They speak to you
Sounds basic I know, but you’d be surprised how many candidates tell me of a brief 10 minute call in a snatched lunch break before being put forward for roles. This isn’t enough!
Does your recruiter find out about your past and current skills, why you want to move roles, what you’re looking for long-term, what sectors most interest you, whether you work better in teams or solo, will you travel, what perks are important to you, would you consider freelance as well as permanent, would you take a pay-cut for career progression or is money you main motivator.
And as a client, has your recruiter spoken to you about why the role has come up, what sort of person you’re looking for (background, skills, personality, ambition, cultural fit etc), room for negotiation on salary, whether you can wait for the perfect person or if time is of the essence, hiring strategy for the next year, 2 years, 5 years, team structure, who the role will report to and what this person is like, progression opportunities, perks of the job - all these things can be major selling points when it comes to attracting new talent, and ensuring the person you take on is the right fit to keep them there!
They ‘sell’ to you
Yes, recruitment is sales. And as much as we might want to shy away from this, sales is a really important part of the job. A recruiter has to be passionate - they should genuinely believe that you’re a great fit for the job (or that a particular candidate would be an asset to your company). That’s what clients pay us for - to find someone that we genuinely believe is a perfect fit for a certain company and that said company would be missing out if they didn’t snap the person up, right now!
Recruiters spend years building relationships with people and really understanding what drives them and makes them tick. That’s how they know when client and candidate are a great combination. And, as it is a sales process, a good recruiter should WANT the introduction between both parties to last - we are successful by building trust, knowledge and providing valuable and reputable introductions.
Run away from any recruiters that seem to be in it for the quick win commission or to solely hit targets without considering your needs.
They’re there for you
Your recruiter should be your sounding board. Always be 100% honest with them. If you’re not, how can they do the best by you with only half the information?!
They should be an expert within their sector, be able to advise you on trends, market value and opportunities from both candidate and client perspectives.
And this doesn’t just cover the times when you’re looking for a new role. Good recruiters build long-lasting relationships (see above) with all their connections and want to stay in touch - it’s how we keep our industry knowledge up to date.
Give your recruiter a call once in a while to check-in and stay on their radar and of course ask any advice, it will help keep you up to date on industry insight too.
Subscribe to our newsletter and get our latest news and job vacancies.
Truffle is made up of experienced and trusted consultants with backgrounds in creative and digital recruitment from leading agencies. Our clients keep coming back to us because we're straight talking, proactive and in tune with our marketplace. We don’t believe in the ‘hard sell’ approach, we're organic in the way we work and this works well for our clients.
Like the sound of Truffle? We'd love to sit down over a cuppa and learn more about you and how we can help…