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Keeping it Personal – The Human side of Digital Agility

Keeping it Personal – The Human side of Digital Agility

Agility isn’t only applicable to insurance – it’s cross industry and in our industry etc etc… job search on the go, flexible working, tailor made careers …

It’s not only Insurance that needs to limber up! Our world has changed – we are digital. We expect digital. The world is at our fingertips and we can’t see why everything shouldn’t be done on the move.

Gone are the days of plain old library books – even the task of choosing a real physical book is now something that requires an online presence.

We don’t do waiting. We do google.

And recruitment is one of those areas that agility is crucial in. The downtime during the daily commute = job searching.  Scrolling through a FB feed = personalised Ads.   Flexible working patterns can relate anywhere as the City truly needs never to sleep now the online world is global. The old rules need not apply anymore – jobs can be truly mobile and work can be done anytime, any place, anywhere..

Recruiters need to harness this mobile world and use it to bring a truly agile service to the industries they serve.

Luckily – Recruitment lends itself to digital agility easily. A strong online and mobile presence , the ability to search and be searched for from all devices, a social media savvy frontage are all the precursors to providing a personalised recruitment offering.

Networking sites, job boards and online applicant systems are all ways that technology has revolutionized recruitment; radically changing how employers and recruiters find potential candidates. Applicant tracking systems and new AI software can help HR departments manage the massive influx of resumes that online digitally agile job hunting leads to.

AI-powered systems can do a great job sorting through candidates, but the risk is that non-traditional candidates or candidates with unusual experience that could offer an alternative perspective on a role could fall through the rules-based system, even such a one that can”learn” and therefore improve with ‘experience’,

Applicant tracking systems might be the most noticeable way technology has impacted recruitment ,however behind the scenes there are more changes afoot. Technology has changed recruitment forever, and how the industry has had to adapt – and become agile , just like the candidates it is trying to recruit!!

Data Data

Big Data is certainly a useful tool in the world of recruitment and many other businesses can’t get enough of it. The old adage of “knowledge is power” certainly seems to be being applied to the collection of data. But what good is that knowledge is it is applied incorrectly, or worse, not applied at all?

More data can mean more confusion, allowing tiny details to “skew process and drive people to take action on things that don’t matter, while ignoring the real underlying problems with the recruiting function.”

Analytics and AI are becoming increasingly sophisticated and “intelligent” – with some able to sort CVs at a thousand paces. But with Big Data comes big responsibility – which is where the human touch still maintains a critical role.


Going Digital can also help businesses not only remove unconscious bias by removing anything from a resume that might identify gender or race. However it can also help bring a specific positive bias into the recruitment process; for example, if a company looks at their workforce and realizes they have predominantly male developers, they can use technology to target female developers in the recruitment process. This can be as straightforward as helping companies to rewrite their job specs to remove any biases in the phrasing. Studies have shown that even unconscious gendered wording can bring about a hiring bias.

AI based systems(assuming the algorithims are correct!) don’t have any selection biases involved!

Global Search Capacity

Geography is no longer the boundary it once was. Global job boards and online application have made job search a truly global affair.

Telecommuting and true agile working mean that recruiters can draw from a candidate pool they may have previously had to overlook. A more diverse talent pool enables recruiters to find professionals with far more specific skill sets than ever before. This talent diversity and ability to provide agile working environments helps drive competition which in turn raises the innovation and service that a company provides.

Flexibilty vs Control

Companies don’t relinquish control easily – and it is probably this aspect of agile working that has been found the most difficult by many! However a company that is prepared to truly embrace a more flexible approach to the traditional world of work is likely to reap the rewards. If we are prepared to accept a 24 hour society in other aspects of our lives then it stands to reason that the world of a basic 9-5 may well have seen its heyday.

Allowing employees the freedom to work however and wherever they work best – whether from home, in an office or from a coffee shop – creates a paradigm shift where employees work from a position of “desired duty” instead of “required duty.”

This mindset shift creates an overall sense of ownership; employees feel like they own their own career pathways. Technology presents endless tools and resources for agile working and the best way to utilise them is to start with a scientific approach : Observe, question, hypothesize, experiment and analyze. Look at new sourcing channels, try new regions, or leveraging social media to build mindset and trust. If employees can (and should!) work in new ways then change your recruitment approach to match!

The new rule is that there are no rules…



Love it or loathe it – Halloween is upon us once again!

Superstitions and Folklore abound on All Hallows Eve – black cats, jack-o-lanterns, trick or treating and various other delights involving rather a lot of dead or spooky things!

In fact the tradition of Halloween is said to be a rather more Christian affair. Starting on Oct 31st “All Hallows Eve” supposedly starts off the festival observing Allhallowtide –  the time in the Christian Year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs and all the faithful departed believers.

Not quite so scary now hey!!


A lot of superstitions have their roots based in something relatively sensible, and the hauntings of Halloween got me to thinking about the superstitions we carry with us to work!

The really interesting thing about “superstitions” is that they may actually work!

Superstitions can give people a security and an elevated sense of belief in their own abilities and talents. Just think of the All Blacks and their Haka – that may take on an extra level of superstitious confidence and RWC2015 finals – on Halloween!

In the workplace – superstitions tend to be more of the lucky tie and socks variety – but I am taking a wild guess that most of us carry some form of “lucky” behaviour / clothing or ritual with us. Be that coffee in a certain mug or making the early train..

Here at Saxus and ISR we have a number of “lucky interview outfits” that apparently always have always worked – well, the people concerned now work here – so enough said!!

So enjoy the hauntings of Halloween, revel in the All blacks Haka – but for a bit of serious work advice take a read here:



Not your average Recruitment Company

Not your average Recruitment Company

Checking in as “Mr Smith”


Saxus Solutions is Mike Smiths’ 1st child – originally conceived back in 2003 – long before the 3 real children actually arrived on the scene.

Mike is a man with his own brand of work ethic. He works (and plays!) hard – and expects the same level of commitment from the team that he surrounds himself with. It was one of the major reasons why he chose to go it alone back in 2003. “I had fallen into recruitment almost by accident! Having spent 20 months overseas working in the fitness industry I returned to the UK without a clear plan. A friend introduced me to recruitment – and it turned out that working in fitness was a great grounding for sales. To get the best out of people in the Gym you need to find out what motivates them, their passions – and how to help them to keep going – turns out I am pretty good at finding out what makes people tick – and putting that to best effect”

Mike is a Sports Science graduate – and frequently has used sport as an analogy for business

It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters. – Paul “Bear” Bryant

But most of all – this is a man who works as hard for your careers as he does for his own. He firmly believes that everyone has the right to enjoy, achieve and be rewarded in their working lives.


  • What are the most enjoyable aspects of recruiting?

We get people work – hopefully good and fulfilling work – what a great thing to be doing!

  • What is the biggest challenge of the job?

Ironically – given that we are a recruitment agency, the hardest thing is to find the right people to work internally. We are trying to create more than just your average recruitment agency – and that means we are looking for exceptional people to work for Saxus. People that share our vision and passion for getting people not just any job, but THE job. And we want people working for us that feel the same way about their own jobs!

  • What has been your most memorable moment in the job?

There have been so many over the years that it’s difficult to choose one – so I won’t. Instead I will say – that the things I remember best are our repeat customers. Candidates and clients alike – that come back to us to find the right fit. And that’s because we have provided a memorable service for them. These are the bits I remember best – and there are a lot of them!! Must be doing something right!!!

  • Why a merger?

As we all know all too well – the economic climate over the last 6 or so years has been challenging at best. We aren’t an enormous agency – we value the personal touch. But that brings with it a different set of issues – and merging with a like-minded organisation has been the best way to capitalise on the now (hopefully continuing!)improving economy, and thereby enable us to continue offering our best in class service.

  • Why choose ISR to partner?

ISR was the natural choice – I have known Iain personally for 20 years – I know how hard he works and how committed he is. We share a similar background – and we definitely share the same vision.

  • Where do you see IS Recruitment / SAXUS Solutions in 10 years??

As a highly respected services company that offers a diverse set of solutions, throughout Europe!

  • Any top tips for candidates?

Easy – Preparation! It’s critical! We can help with this!!

  • Any top tips for clients?

Hire for potential. By that I mean look for those candidates that show a willingness and ability – but necessarily all the current correct skills. Think long term. If a candidate can already do everything then where do they go? If you can take the right attitude and develop it – you may have a total career match!

  • What is your advice for anyone looking for a career in recruitment?

Take a long term view and make sure your success is by design and not through luck. Design a process that works for you, understand your business and do not focus on the money. If you focus on the service, the financial and personal rewards will come!

  • How do you maintain balance?

This is a difficult one, and one we all need to work at constantly. I love my job – and I think it’s really important for my kids to see me work hard and be happy doing so. That said – I also have to remember to evaluate all my opportunities. There may be another time to have a meeting – but my kids will only ever have one 1st day of starting school. It’s about working smarter these days. Use the advances in technology to our advantage, make the time count – and that gives you the opportunity to ensure that there is a balance.. but it’s tricky.. perhaps the best advice is to turn the work mobile off for at least some of your weekend… down time does make you more productive..

  • Life’s biggest challenge?

Not checking your work emails all weekend!! What was that I said about balance?!

  • Two hobbies – and why??

Running – I have run track all my life and have really enjoyed getting back into it again as a “veteran” athlete. I love the challenge, it keeps me fit and is a great way to let off steam

Reading and Learning. Not something I would ever have considered as a hobby at school – but I am now a voracious reader. I am also studying for a Masters Degree in Social Anthropology – and the reason why we do the things we do is fascinating. There are books everywhere in our house – from the dodgy chick lit (my wife NOT me!) to Foucault to “the Tiger who came to Tea”. I am hoping that my kids will also learn to love learning – just because you can rather than necessarily to pass a test!

  • Two pet hates and why?

Liars – I can deal with most things – but people who try to squirm out things by lying don’t go down well. We all screw up – it’s how you deal with it that makes the difference!

Mess… interestingly none of us in my family are great at being tidy – yet we all hate mess… There is obviously a solution that we haven’t figured out yet.. But I would love to be better at sorting the chaos of a home with 3 young kids!

  • What’s one quote that you live your life by??

Play the Hand you are dealt!!

Just because Fate doesn’t deal you the right cards, it doesn’t mean you should give up. It just means you have to play the cards you get to their maximum potential.

  • What is your guilty pleasure?

I am lucky in that my life is full of experiences that give me pleasure. As for a guilty one…..if it made me feel guilty I probably would not do it…either that or I just do not have a conscience!!

And so there you have it – Mr Smith. A man who genuinely believes that excellence is a direct result of always trying to do better. And in that respect – we can all achieve excellence – just keep on keeping on!!


Contact Mike at:

45 Beech St

TEL: 0207 953 9760
FAX: 0207 593 9764

5 Difficult Interview Questions and How to Respond

5 Difficult Interview Questions and How to Respond

One smart CV and cover letter later – you are here – Interview Territory!! Be warned you are likely to face a few tricky interview questions, which is why we’ve put together a few of the most common ones so you can be prepared to answer.So far – your written words have been interesting enough to get you a foot in the door.Now is when the real hard job of creating the right impression starts.

In essence, an interview is an elimination round.This is where you quickly discard candidates that aren’t going to be the right fit and who don’t stand up to the rigours of the interview process.We can’t give you all the answers but we can give you some suggestions as to how to turn those “killer” interview probes into “nailed it” replies!

Bear in mind that this only really covers generic interview questions – we know that it goes without saying that your technical knowledge of role specifics must also be able to stand up to rigorous testing, and that you must equally prepare for that section – be ever sure that you are fully up to speed with all those technologies you highlighted in that CV. It doesn’t do to nail all the general interview spiel and then not know your java from your elbow!!!!

So – if you are ready… Your 60 seconds starts now……

1.Could you tell me a little about yourself?

AAArgh….. This is my least favourite interview question and one that truly throws an enormous amount of candidates.Say too little and you look like you are hiding something, say too much and you could end up sharing anecdotes that really were best left at the bar… Interviewers like this question as it helps them to assess your communication abilities, your delivery style – and your personal “poise”. Keep your answer to a minute or two at most. Cover 4 topics: early years, education, work history and recent career experience.The emphasis must be on the latter topics and highlight professional experiences that relate to the position you’re seeking and which support your credentials. Better yet, prepare a personal “branding statement “ that quickly describes who you are and what you can bring to the company.

2.What is your biggest weakness?

Ahh – the classic interview question.I have yet to attend an interview without this question being asked, and it’s always been a standard in my bag of questions when on the other side of the fence. So knowing that – you need to be ready for this one. It is used a lot – so interviewers will expect you to be ready for it – and to have put some consideration into the answer.The interviewer isn’t really expecting you to reveal your innermost fears at this point – it’s an interview, not a therapy session! So plan to use this question to your advantage. Let’s assume that you’re a detail driven workaholic and that you neglect friends and family when working on important projects. Turning these weaknesses into positives is relatively straightforward; by saying that you’re very thorough and remain involved in projects, even if it means working additional hours at times.

An alternative strategy is to mention an area where you’re seeking improvement, and then highlight the steps you’re taking to meet that goal, for instance, an IT professional earning additional certifications. Never draw negative attention to yourself by stating a weakness that would lead an employer to think you are not the best person for the job. The focus of your answer should be on your strengths

3.What didn’t / did you like about your last job?

This can frequently be used as an opportunity to trip you up into giving away a bit of information unwittingly that shows up a concealed weakness!! Be careful, for instance, of complaining of long working hours, you may need to start at 8am in the new role too!!  So you need to be prepared with an answer that highlights the more positive aspects of moving on.

If you currently have a job, it’s vital that you don’t use this as an opportunity to trash your boss / company (you never know who is chatting in All Bar One on a Friday night!). Moaning about current employers at an interview is a really big NO – it not only shows bad form, but also raises the issue that you may be a person who cannot tackle problems as they arise.You need to focus on why you’re now seeking greater opportunities, challenges or responsibility. Concentrate your answer on areas that are relevant to the proposed position and be specific. Avoid saying, “I liked the environment.” Instead, try saying “I enjoyed the camaraderie of being part of a team.” When discussing least-liked aspects, outline an area of responsibility that’s not critical to the job you’re seeking. But be sure your answer indicates that you either performed the task well or that you learned something useful.This shows stickability, even if this was an area that didn’t particularly interest you.

If all else fails and you need a “get out of jail free card” – then using outdated technology as a scapegoat can be a useful technique.

4.Why is there a gap in your work history?

In today’s economy there are so many talented professionals who have been pushed back into the workforce pool – so if this one is you – then don’t be ashamed to simply explain that you were a part of a downsizing. If you were fired for performance issues, it’s best to merely say you “parted ways” and refocus the discussion on how your skill set matches the current position.

It’s vital when you answer this question to highlight what you’ve been doing during any period of unemployment. Freelance projects, volunteer work or taking care of family members all let the interviewer know that time off was spent productively.

5.Why should I hire you? What sets you apart from other applicants?

And as if by magic – that is the next question….

The interviewer is trying to find out if you are actually ready for the job, Do you fully understand what it entails, how you could handle it and your willingness to work hard.

You must prepare this answer. Go back to that CV and cover letter and pick out key areas in your skillset that are particularly relevant to the role. Review the job spec and requirements very closely and choose areas where you can match your experience, career progression and achievements to those areas. Discuss YOUR specific talents – but keep it relevant to the role in hand. And back it up – a proven track record of results added to your best matched qualities.

Your job here is to demonstrate why you are the most qualified candidate – and have the evidence to back it up!

Being properly prepared for these questions will help you enter the interview room calmly and ready to deal with whatever is thrown at you.Interviewers are looking for someone who not only WANTS the job, but who has done their homework and is ready to hit the ground running.They don’t expect you to have every answer – but they do expect you to have done some research and be willing to apply yourself. Being interview ready shows your commitment and the type of person you are, far better than a CV!!! For more in-depth tips on how to prepare for interviews have a read of our previous post. Top 5 Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Judging a Book By its Cover

Judging a Book By its Cover

We are all guilty of making snap judgments – and as we all know – you only get one chance to create that “First Impression”.

So in the current market it’s vital that you take every opportunity to make your mark.And that includes your cover letter!!

This document doesn’t just support your CV – it adds to it.You can show a little more of your personality here – it’s not just a standard template.This letter will be the first thing a recruiter or future employer actually reads about you – so it needs to make them want to keep on reading!!

Practically Speaking:

Tailor the letter to the Job! Sounds simple, but if you applying for a creative position then why not “break the formats” a little with your letter.If the role you are applying for is very traditional – then using a more standard conservative approach is definitely best!

Be positive! Just that!! But not boastful – just upbeat and honest.

Fancy Graphics not required! This is not the place to show off your word-processing skills. Use a standard, easy to read font.Make it clear and well spaced.

Keep it short (ish) – 3 key paragraphs should cover it!

  • Why you are writing (your interest and general qualifications)
  • Why you are qualified (highlighting specific accomplishments)
  • Thank you (and a request for information on the next step)

Ideally – address your letter to a named individual.This may mean you have to do some research (and actually call the company concerned to find out!!) – However it really shows you have a degree of commitment to the role you are applying for

Useful to know: If you did manage to use a name, then end your letter “yours sincerely”.If you have had to use “Dear Sir or Madam” – then end “yours faithfully”!

It’s ok to use a list and it can be an easily read way to show the employer you have the skills they need.Take three or four of the key requirements and list your matching qualifications in the next column.

The 5 big No Nos!

  1. Spelling and punctuation errors– just not acceptable, at all! And PLEASE don’t rely solely on spellcheckers as it can only detect if words are spelled correctly, not if they are used correctly.This very basic mistake can turn people off faster than almost anything else.It shows a lack of care… Not the first impression you were after!
  2. Outrageous lies– It’s a little too easy to be caught out these days” Don’t make claims you can’t back up
  3. Negativity and sarcasm– No one wants to read a list of reasons why you are leaving.. Be positive and confident. Sarcasm is not well received either – this is an introduction – not a chat with your mates
  4. Inappropriate personal details– Not needed on a CV… Not needed here!
  5. Confused language and unnecessary waffle– Be concise (I fail often with this!).Try and keep your sentences short and to the point!

A Cover Letter may not actually win you a role – but it can certainly help OR hinder getting you that all important interview! Your cover letter needs to show, at a glance, why you’re a leading candidate for the job. Recruiters and employers don’t have time for generic documents; they want to hear about YOU!

Take some time to review your cover letter as well as your CV and ensure that we know quickly why it’s you we should be talking to!!

2015 is the Year of the Candidate

2015 is the Year of the Candidate

According to a recent article by this is not in fact the Year of the Goat …. it’s the Year of the Candidate..

Finally a chink of light is showing at the end of the Recession Tunnel as many city analysts and recruitment experts alike agree that this could be the Year to dust off your CV and start looking once again into the Jobs market

As recently as last week the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) highlighted the current skills shortage in the UK job market – leading to pay scales potentially soaring for the right candidates.

A survey carried out by CBI and Accenture at the end of 2014 revealed that 50% of UK based companies are planning on increasing their workforces in 2015 – with job growth expected across ALL parts of the country.The biggest increases in 2015 are predicted to be in permanent roles – but that doesn’t exclude temporary contracts – as December 2014 saw the highest increase in temporary appointments for 6 months.

Traditionally January is “The Month” when it comes to dusting down your CV – and this is backed up by research from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).They have found that 37% of UK workers are hoping for a career move during 2015.Add this to planned increases in UK workforces – and it’s a huge positive for candidates, as whilst there will be more of you out there in the work market, finally those bottlenecks to career progression should be easing.

It also shows a marked return of “ambition to the UK workforce” – with 59% of those surveyed citing career progression as their primary reason for re-entering the jobs market. Other top reasons were “more interesting roles” and “better pay”.

This all adds up to good news for candidates as employers will need to sit up and take notice – not only of those candidates looking for work – but also of their current crop of talented employees. As the jobs market picks up – employers will need to work harder to retain AND attract top calibre staff.

However – with all this positivity comes a note of caution “It’s a concern that the UK’s growing skills gap is now seen as the number one workforce threat to the long-term health of its economy. Companies and the Government need to work together to find ways to develop skills within the workforce and help employees move into higher skilled and better paid jobs” Katja Hall – Deputy Director General CBI

So – make 2015 the Year of the Candidate – if you are considering a career move – the time is right!

But even if it’s not.. its most certainly the time to commit to those goals we discussed in an earlier blog post  going public-goal setting with a difference – so that when and if you do decide to throw your hat into the ring – that you will be THE candidate just ready and waiting to plug that skill gap..

Top 5 Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Top 5 Interview Mistakes to Avoid

I have spent most of my adult working life in the recruitment industry and I think I’m in a good position to shed some light on this topic given the share of interesting stories I’ve heard over the years about candidates who were not quite what they appeared to be and failed to live up to expectations at interviews.These are my top five mistakes to avoid which would give you a much better chance of having a positive outcome.

  • 1.Showing up late 

Nothing is worse than a making a bad first impression before the actual interview has started by turning up late.Of course, there are unforeseen occasions when an accident blocks traffic or the train breaks down.So it’s essential to make sure and give yourself enough time for these possibilities.Manage people’s expectations of you from the off and if you are late, let them know! It’s always better to be early than late, you can always have a coffee nearby until the interview time.

  • 2.Getting straight to the salary

It’s always better to ask about the salary at the end of the interview when you just made a good impression.Let’s not forget it’s called an interview and they haven’t offered you the job yet; so behaving like they are wasting your time unless it’s worth your while … is a sure way to create a bad impression.

  • 3.Showing off

This isn’t “The Apprentice” – calm down! We have all been guilty of being creative with our CV’s but exaggerating too much can be spotted by a skilled interviewer who would either call you on it or simply put you down as untrustworthy – both credibility and trust are core to most people and their business. A failure to be honest and transparent at this stage will prove costly.

  • 4.Failing to do your homework

Everyone has the internet and access to more information than ever before; so there’s no excuse! The less you know about the company is a direct reflection on you and shows them how little you care. I’m not suggesting you treat the organisation like your wedding or your final exam at college; but please do brush up on the latest news and what the company is about, it’s the bare minimum expected of you!

  • 5.Asking no questions

No interest, no curiosity, no forethought do you think you know it all? Even if you really don’t have any questions ask at least one it shows that you are interested in the role or the organisation and willing to learn more. Show the interviewer you have done your homework and are genuinely interested.



Iain Brassell, Managing Director of IS Recruitment, a specialist and well established IT recruitment agency in Manchester, IS Recruitment (ISR) is a leading supplier of professional IT staff across both the UK and more specifically, the North West. ISR provides both Permanent and Contract IT staffing services covering the full IT lifecycle. Iain can be contacted via 0161 973 2533 or

Top 5 Interview Tips

Top 5 Interview Tips

It’s just a couple days to that big interview and you’re beginning to get nervous? Sounds familiar? Here are some helpful tips to get you in the right frame of mind so you can be prepared to put your best foot forward and leave a lasting impression on the interview panel.


As the saying goes; if you fail to plan then you plan to fail.It’s a certainty that you will be asked specific questions about the company. Regardless of the role you are applying for make sure you’ve done your homework on things such as size of the company, latest product launches, merger or acquisition just to name a few.Another common mistake most candidates make is researching the company but not the industry.You do not need to know absolutely everything but being aware of the latest developments gives you the ability to converse with confidence and impress the interview panel.


Keeping in mind that interviews can vary widely, there are still some questions that are almost guaranteed to pop up. It makes sense then to prepare answers to these common questions e.g. about your personal strengths and weaknesses, why you are the best person for the job, why that particular company etc.


In the ideal world appearance shouldn’t matter, but the harsh reality is that you are often judged before you even utter a word. Simple things matter; make sure your clothes fit correctly, polish your shoes and keep the accessories to a minimum. Keeping in mind it’s always better to be overdressed than under-dressed


Think back to point number 1 – Good preparation is the key to staying in control.Plan your route, allowing extra time for any unexpected delays and get everything you need to take with you ready the night before. Remember to speak clearly, smile and remember that your interviewers are just normal people, and they may be nervous too!


Always have some questions for your interviewer.This demonstrates your interest in the role and the company.Prepare a minimum of three questions, which will give you more information about the job and some which delve deeper into the company culture and goals of the organisation.

Effectively Manage the Interview Process

Effectively Manage the Interview Process

The interview has always been at the heart of the recruitment process.Traditionally an interview gave an employer the opportunity to meet, evaluate and select the best talent for their organisation. However, times have changed and the process is no longer one-way – it’s two-way, and often a candidate’s first impression of an organisation. Regardless of whether a candidate is successful or not, it is important for an organisation’s employer brand and reputation to ensure the interview process is handled effectively and represents a positive experience for all involved.

Most candidates we’ve spoken to about their interview experiences agree that their first meeting with a company greatly shapes their opinion of that company and their desire to be a part of it or not.That is why I am so pleased to write this article, which offers insights and recommendations to help you understand what a good interview process can do for your organisation.

You the employer are being interviewed as well

A critical but often overlooked step at the beginning of any relationship is the interview of a potential employer by a candidate. Companies should understand the dual nature of the interview process. It plays a major part in shaping a candidate’s opinion of the company and their fit into the corporate culture. Generally speaking employees are commonly regarded as brand ambassadors for their company, and the same attitude should extend to interviewer as well. The key is to realise that the interview process is now a two-way process, and to secure top talent an organisation has to make a good impression.The interview is often a candidate’s first impression of an employer, and will affect how they interact with the company in the future irrespective of if they are hired or not.To protect the brand image and integrity of your organisation it’s important to manage the interview process as carefully as any marketing campaign.

Always give feedback to candidates after an interview

There has always been an imbalance between the amount of effort and commitment a candidate puts into a process and the feedback (or lack of it) they receive at the end. As organisations become more rigorous in their selection processes, candidates applying for available positions are often expected to do more pre research, perform tasks, and meet more people ultimately jump through more hoops. If they’re not successful, they will be keen to get something out of the process, apart from the feelings of disappointment.

The reality is a candidate will think more highly of an organisation if they give feedback, even negative, than none at all.Overwhelmingly, most candidates that I have spoken to have expressed that the way they received the feedback wasn’t as important as the fact they received it at all. Job-seekers are looking for constructive and helpful feedback that will serve as learning’s for their future job search. Feedback should be sufficient and appropriate, to ensure that it is helpful to candidates. While it is appreciated that giving feedback can be difficult, stating it clearly, quickly and sensitively will make that difficult messages easier to deliver, and receive.

Don’t delay the recruitment process unnecessarily

There is no one size fits all approach to how long an interview process should take; it often depends on the role, employer and the pool of potential candidates. However, the most in demand professionals seeking new employment can have more than one job offer under consideration.The best way to lose top talent is to be slow. The length of the interview process should be determined by a range of factors:

  • Level of position – Generally, the more senior the position is, the longer the recruitment process usually takes
  • Job description – Roles that require a very specific candidate with a specialised skill set tend to take longer than other interviews
  • Time of the year – The festive season and New Year generally tends to be a very quiet period, and spikes in certain sectors around key dates, such as end or beginning  of the financial year
  • Economy and recruitment market – These factors impact each industry differently and may either increase the demand for certain professionals, creating skill shortages or generate an oversupply of candidates. In demand candidates such as those with highly sought after IT skills will need to be quickly procured whereas organisations can afford to be more fastidious with candidates that are in over supply

An organisation will be able to judge if their process is too long.Commonly, they will lose potential candidates who have taken other opportunities. If this is a recurring trend, it may be time to audit your process.


The interview process is generally a forum where candidates try to impress. However in a market where significant skill shortages are emerging, making it increasingly difficult to engage top talent, candidates can be more discerning when choosing their career paths. Our research has shown that the interview process is held in a different regard to job-seekers than simply a vehicle to securing employment.It plays a part in shaping their opinion of the company as a whole, and how they communicate about the employer brand to others. By assessing your current interview practices and implementing some simple guidelines, the interview process can be positively  managed to ensure a smooth and at the bare minimum a satisfactory experience, even for those unsuccessful in joining an organisation.

JOB DESCRIPTION: A UK based software and services company that provides systems to the financial services market with an international client-base is looking to add a C# Developer to their current team.They are seeking a developer to work with the Development and Support group on their leading edge financial applications. Candidates will be considered with

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