1) It’s important to understand your workload and to work as a team with your partner if you have one. If you can split childcare throughout the day, it will make your working lives easier and give you both the opportunity to spend quality time with your children. Make sure to communicate with your team as responses may take a little longer.
2) Set out a routine so your children know when to work and when to play. Make sure you stick to it, as kids respond well to routine.
3) Snacks, snacks and more snacks! Plenty of fruit and veg. Involve them in the preparation of their meals to keep them engaged and entertained - it’s an activity that doesn’t take away from the working day.
4) Stock up on lots of mentally stimulating games and activities e.g. puzzles, paint sets, play doh, arts and crafts, and try to keep them in a weekly rotation so they don’t tire of them too quickly.
When it comes to choosing your career if I were a betting man I would say in 90% of cases it looks very different from what it was when you were 5 or 6. We don’t tend to ‘choose’ a career path but merely fall into one. For me, as a child, I wanted to be a soldier. I was fascinated with the wide array of vehicles and weapons not to mention the prospect of even becoming a spy like James Bond! Shaken not stirred…
However, when reality came knocking my chosen profession couldn’t have been further from what I had wanted to be as a child. I was lucky in the sense that I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do. A loosely concocted plan of going to university, achieve a degree and join the family business to hone my skills in developing the company and its processes.
Within 6 months of completing my business degree and starting my first job, the 2008 recession hit and hit hard. For a young businessman with little experience, it was a tough knock.
What I quickly discovered was the importance of being passionate about what you do. Being in a job that you don’t enjoy in an industry experiencing a recession quickly wakes you up to the fact that you may not have made the right decision and can result in demotivation and job dissatisfaction.
In this article, I will try to provide you with a few steps which I hope may help you decide on a career path.
Number 1: List all of your key skills and strengths
The best way to start is a bit of self-reflection and no better way to start then with a good old list. Start by listing all the things you feel are key skills and strengths. This could be your organizational skills or your punctuality. You may be very good with numbers or a bit of a networker in a social situation. All of these things are important to list however minuscule.
Going one step further for perspective ask friends and family what they think your key skills and strengths are. They may highlight traits that you previously overlooked. I want to say that whilst this list is a good starting point do NOT let it limit you. Just because you may not be a great public speaker doesn’t mean that in time you won’t become one. This is purely a springboard to your next step.
Number 2: What are your interests and passions?
What do you enjoy doing? Are you an outdoors person, do you enjoy traveling or have a real passion for music? What is important to note is that your passions and interests can become your career. Work doesn’t have to be boring and mundane. It can be exciting and challenging. Working in a career that links with your passions will not only motivate you to achieve your best but carries a better chance of being a long-term career.
Number 3: How do you want to be remembered?
Albert Einstein, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Stephen Hawkins, Margert Thatcher are all people we would say we know and for different reasons. When they started their early careers, did they have visions of how they wanted to be remembered or where they wanted to take their careers too?
Take some time to think about what you want to achieve. This maybe a little difficult to picture at first but give it some time and thought. Being able to visualise where you see yourself in 5,10,20, 50 years’ time can help you determine what career path you take. It will also help steer you away from certain jobs you may have considered previously. For example, you like the idea of doing something physical. Take into account that as you age this sort of career will become more challenging, so the life span of a job like this maybe shorter-lived than that of a more conventional job role. This isn’t to say that these career paths are not attractive but always take the time to look at future outcomes and possibilities.
Number 4: Don’t follow the norm, do what is right for you
This can be a tough card to play. If you come from a family of doctors or you’re a 5thgeneration butcher. Maybe there is an expectation for you to follow suit? Maybe all your friends want to work in a bank or think it’s important to have an office job. None of this matters. What works for others doesn’t mean it will work for you.
A lot of the world’s most successful people didn’t get to where they are now by following what others did. They achieved greatness by going against the trend and doing what was right for them by pushing the norms and moving away from the status quo. The same can be said for you. It’s important you do something that is right for you. If you're happy in what you do you have a better chance of succeeding.
Number 5: Pairing your skills with potential industries or jobs.
Researching into an industry or job of potential interest will quickly reveal if it is in line with your skillset, interests or passions. List down the careers of interest and then research into each in more detail. Look at things like; qualifications required, costs associated, working hours, location, travel. Once you start drilling down into the details of a career you may find yourself becoming more drawn to a particular field or put off after first impressions. Take the time to talk with companies in the industry and find out if they themselves offer training or graduate schemes. The more you know about a potential job and its industry the better prepared you are. It means that you increase the odds of selecting a career right for you.
It is important to note that a potential career path may not align with your current skill set however this doesn’t mean you can’t develop into the role. For example, if you wanted to become a pilot it is only natural that you would be lacking the skills, in the beginning, to fly a plane however with time, investment and drive you could quite quickly find yourself achieving your dream.
Choosing your career path is not an exact science. You may jump around a little before you find your ideal job and even then, this will come with its highs and its lows. The important thing is to love what you do, be passionate about how you do it and why.
You wouldn’t buy a new car without researching and test driving it so don’t do it when you come to deciding on a career choice. Take your time and look at your options. This way you will increase the chance of future-proofing your path and maybe, just maybe achieving greatness…
Start-up businesses and why they can fail
Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Judy Faulkner, Mark Zuckerberg, Cher Wang. What do they all have in common? They have all been hugely successful in business. If I was a betting man I would say that most, if not all of us who know these people, would have thought, ‘I want a taste of that!’
Let’s be honest, these are the guys that if we were all playing the same computer game have not only completed it whilst the rest of us all struggle on level two, they are the ones that have completed every level on every difficulty, made it look easy and are looking at the bugs in the game and how to overcome them.
Whilst working our 9-5 jobs most of us may sit there and think, ‘I can do that, I have what it takes, I can make this happen’. The reality is that most of us won’t. That’s not to say that we can’t, anyone could, but the security that comes from working for another company, be it small or corporate has its appeal and the fear of taking the leap and the responsibility of starting up your own business, tends to keep it as a dream rather than a reality.
Anyone can set up a company and anyone can become an entrepreneur. The first step is that initial idea. This can be totally maverick; one of those ideas that no one else has thought of. However, most of the ideas we come up with tend to fall into the second category of a pre-existing idea, just improved. Facebook for example.
So, why am I harping on about entrepreneurs and those with a very successful career in business? A few years back I saw a post on LinkedIn - a picture of an ice berg. It showed just the tip above the water, while as we know, the vast majority remained below sea level. This was a good analogy of what we, as people, see when looking at someone successful. We see the success, the money, the lifestyle, however, what we don’t see is the planning, the hours of work, the failures, the arguments, and the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into getting them to where they are today.
On paper and in principle running your own business looks relatively straight forward. I won’t lie - when I started, in all my naivety, I thought this was the case. My basic thought process was having a few clients > do the work > get paid > repeat.
To start with, how do we get that all important first client? Today many companies tie their employees into NDA’s, preventing them from taking existing clients with them when they leave, making it difficult but not impossible. Circumstances, hard work and occasionally even a bit of luck can help you pull in that first client.
For the purposes of this article, the chosen field you have decided to set up in is recruitment. You have your first client and they have given you a couple of temporary and permanent placements to fill. This part of the process is meat and drink to you. If you are the 360 recruiter that exists in today’s world then the process of taking a request, sourcing that candidate, vetting, sending to interview and, if successful, offering them the job on behalf of the client, is all in a day’s work. However, this is just one aspect. Working for another company means you have the time to focus almost exclusively on this part of the job, but you are not working for another company, you are working for yourself. Your company has other elements which require your attention: competitors, wage rolls, insurances, funding, bills etc. With all these spinning plates to manage, it got me thinking; why do so many new companies fail in the first 18 months?
Cash flowA couple of years ago a few guys rented the office space below us and set up a recruitment company. Day 1 they turned up suited and booted and looking the part. They arrived in their brand new £40-60k cars. The office was full of employees, and when you walked out you could hear them all chatting away on the phones, with whom I can only assume were prospective clients and candidates. Three months later the office was empty. The young directors of the company were nowhere to be seen and neither were their staff. Here today and gone tomorrow.
Now, the fact that they were young and turned up in new expensive cars is not why they failed. Plenty of young individuals have been successful, and who’s to say they did not buy that car off the back of a previous prosperous venture. The problems came from focusing on the wrong things; when you start your own Company you need working capital, be this from personal funds or in the shape of a bank loan. You need to expect that the first two years of trading will result in you breaking even…if you’re lucky. That means that all of your spare available cash needs to go back into the business to keep it afloat. A £60k car on finance, whilst it looks good for the image, doesn’t add value to the company but takes from it. The cost of paying that car off over a year in real terms is the electricity and phone bills paid for a year.
Spending money in the wrong areas during these critical early days can cost a business dearly. Lack of funds is one of the main reasons new businesses fail. Running a successful venture can only happen if you have funds and if those funds are used properly, allowing you to have an effective cash flow. My MD always says, “cash flow is King,” and he is right. Those first few years, when sales might be low, running an effective cash flow is the only way your business will survive. You need the essentials that add value to the business. Whilst image is important it is not everything.
Focus and quality clientsWhen we first started our company, the excitement of having free reign to go out and do what we wanted took hold. We got distracted with resourcing for this and approaching clients for that. It meant that we focused less on what was making us money and more on what wasn’t. Now this isn’t always a bad thing. Going out and chasing down new leads and diversifying into new markets is always good, however make sure it doesn’t distract you from your core business. We spent a year of our time and money on an area we knew little about - it yielded poor results and lost us money. We were very close to breaking into this market a few times, however, if we had invested this money into the industries we already worked in, this money could have paid for an additional salary, that in turn may have produced better results.
This brings me to, ‘poor planning’. “Failure to plan is a plan for failure”. This is very true. We were so busy chasing other leads that we forgot to focus on what was allowing us to do what we do, and in a Market that is saturated with competition, taking your eye off the ball for even one minute can cost you clients. In order to ride those tough waves for the first 2-3 years you need to plan and have focus. You need to set weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly targets. By planning and creating goals you focus yourself and your team. It saves you money and time, which are both luxury items in those early days.
Clear company values
When you watch a professional game of rugby or football, you watch people that are masters of their sport. They have spent years perfecting their skills set to become the best at what they do. The same can be said in business. Certainly, for us in recruitment, being the best at what you do is one of the main reasons clients will use us. Building relationships based on a quality service not only attracts new clients but helps retain them too. Jumping across the pond for a moment, Harvard Business School reported that increasing customer retention rates could increase profits by 25%-95%.
We worked out that to become the best at what we do we needed clear company values - values that were simple but intrinsic to our business. It allowed us to set some company expectations and gave us a platform to calibrate our staff so we were all singing off the same hymn sheet, or so to speak.
Spreading your risk with more clients
Many small companies start because they have one or two big clients that will do business with them. They become comfortable with the turnover and don’t push for other clients. This is a risk, as if one of those clients pulls out suddenly you are left without any business. Whilst chasing every new lead isn’t the most effective use of time and resources, it is still important to gain new “quality” clients, as this will spread the risk should one client decide to change supplier.
Social media and marketing
I start my day in the same way every morning. I wake up and I grab my phone to check Facebook or Twitter. Social media today plays a huge part in our everyday lives - from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and Snapchat. Marketing is everywhere and every platform is a chance to sell your product. Choosing the right marketing tools is key to any successful business. Initially, our website and LinkedIn page were the two main marketing platforms we wanted to focus on. Making decisions on what and where to market, will save you both time and money.
Analysing performance data
Can you name me one perfect company? Just the first one that springs to mind. If you’re having difficulty, you’re not alone. This is because the perfect company doesn’t exist. It doesn’t matter how big or small you are, every business makes great decisions and bad ones, has successful projects and unsuccessful projects. So, it’s important that you analyse your performance data. You are never too big or small to look at where your company is doing well and where it isn’t; by doing this you will highlight both positives and negatives and, therefore, be able to react and deal with what is happening within your company.
Technology and data security
What about technology? In a world of ever evolving technology we are relying more and more on our digital systems to reduce work load and store data. When we first started out, all our files, clients and contacts were stored on one computer in the office. Scenario 1: What if we had a fire in the office which destroyed everything? Our whole business would now be gone. Scenario 2: Someone hacks our servers and gains access to our computer, potentially costing us thousands in ransom ware. I attended a recent Barclays seminar where they quoted a figure of £21.2 billion worth of fraud being committed in the UK every year. How much of that hit small businesses? In order to combat these risks, using data security solutions and backing up your data regularly allows you to safeguard yourself against these types of threats. We have the latest anti-virus software, and back-ups are now kept securely on the cloud as well as a hard copy of the hard drives off site.
Fact: starting your own business is a daunting task. With just a 50% chance of success in those first two years, is it worth it? By implementing a clear plan, keeping a strict eye on funds, setting simple company values, keeping your focus, building your client base, marketing your business correctly, analysing your data and protecting and backing up your company files, you can greatly increase this statistic. If setting up a company was easy everyone would do it. I don’t have all the answers and our business, being in its infancy, still has a long way to go; however, when looking at that iceberg we began in the right place…underwater with the planning, the hard graft, the early missteps and learning curves, and the discipline to remain focused and determined.
The GNA team will be running a putting competition on the 5th of October at this year's Kent Construction Expo 2017! We will be on stand 133 and the lucky winner will get to choose from a selection of fantastic experience days.
The Expo is one of the largest Construction sector events in the UK showcasing the best of the industry in the South East.
The event comprises of a really large meet the buyer event (600 appointments with 30 leading contractors), a comprehensive programme of themed workshops and displays of the latest product innovations. Construction Expo will provide the industry with a highly focused gateway to learn, network and capitalise on the region’s major construction opportunities.
For more information, Click here
Some of the GNA Team at this year’s Tough Mudder. ‘5 miles. 13 obstacles. One extraordinary experience.’ We’d heard on the grapevine that this was the best-rated team obstacle course going so thought we’d put ourselves to the test – here’s an after shot of a few of our front runners.
5 Ways to nail a phone interview
Now days it is becoming a more frequent occurrence for business owners to arrange a short phone call as a first form of interview. This small piece of communication allows an employer to get a grasp on the candidate before they meet face to face, giving them a small inkling as too what they are like and how they would potentially fit in.
Even though the interview is taking place over the phone, it does not mean that you, as a potential employee should take it any less seriously than your conventual interview.
Take and use notes
One of the most useful things about a phone interview, is that the employer cannot see you using and referring to notes that you have taken.
We would highly recommend having the following close to hand:
Speaking over the phone come naturally to many of us, however, it is highly recommended that you get a friend or member of family to call you and have a quick run-through of an interview which should be recorded to develop feedback.
This will allow someone that is close to you to give constructive criticism, this should consist of what it was that you did well and what you can improve on.
This will also allow you to prepare for some common interview questions, allowing you to develop some rough answers to said questions so that you can respond swiftly without hesitation in the actual interview.
Ensure that you and your phone are professional
We would recommend that you set up a professional sounding voice mail, in case you miss your interview for some reason.
Furthermore, we recommend that you answer the phone formally using your name and a greeting for example “Hello, James speaking….” As opposed to a lazy and mumbled “hello?”.
Remember that your greeting is your first impression over the phone, similar to dressing smart for an interview, a formal greeting can be the difference between arranging a face-to-face interview and never hearing from them again.
Take the call in a comfortable environment
It is highly recommended that an interview over the phone is taken in a secluded area that is free of noise and external distraction. With such we would recommend that you are in the area or close to the decided area at least 5 minutes before you are due to receive the call.
The goal is to keep your mind focused on the interview void of any possible distractions and external input. You need to ensure that your answers are thorough and to the point which is hard when you are in a noisy area.
Listen and Reply
You need to make sure that you are listening to questions properly answering them to the best of your ability. Keeping in mind that the interview needs to be a conversation so that the employer can get to know you from a very brief verbal encounter. This could include asking questions based on what they have been speaking about over the duration of the phone call.
And obviously show common curtesy and manners, which includes letting them finish their questions, but, also responding promptly and formally. You will also need to keep your answers focused and to the point.
Help us to help you
Getting in touch with a trusted and reliable recruiter is the most efficient way to get the job that you are after. GNA Group work extremely hard in order to find the best role for all of our candidates considering every aspect of the role, from the working environment and salary to the amount of holiday and ease of access. Nevertheless, we require certain things from all of our candidates to ensure that the process runs smoothly and efficiently.
Finding a job is an extremely important part of your life and we believe that it is key that you find a role that is right for you. It is highly recommended that you do not jump at the first thing you see and always take care to ensure that the role is correct for you. You need to be as honest with us about what kind of role/placement that you are searching for and if you have any concerns about a role that we brief you on, this doesn’t need to be an essay it can just be a small chat to let us know why you do not feel you’re suited to said role.
Answering phone calls and if not calling back ASAP
We believe that this is a key point and is often the reason behind people failing to find a role. To put it simply, if you do not answer the phone or return your calls you will not find interviews and such job opportunities will slip through the cracks. It also helps us speed up the process on our end, as we might be calling you to get up to date information that could lead to an opportunity. The recruitment industry has become incredibly fast process and often our clients need roles filled within a matter of weeks and sometimes even days. If we do not have a constant and frequent level of communication with our candidates it becomes quite difficult for us to place them effectively.
Keeping communication constant
Following on from this we would ask that you to please get in touch if you see any new posts that peek your interest. We will be constantly updating our website adding roles and job vacancies as we receive them and such we appreciate you letting us know if you believe that it is a role that would suit you.
Setting up a voicemail
If you cannot answer the phone for any reason it is extremely helpful for us to be able to leave you a voicemail in order to keep you up to date with our process.
Letting us know when you’re available for interviews
As previously mentioned above the recruitment industry is extremely fast-moving process and there is more often than not a lot of fill roles fast. So, if you wouldn’t mind, give us dates and times that you’re available for interviews and meetings with employers. This will drastically speed up the process for us as we will not have to jump between calls making sure that you’re available.
Reformatting you CV for specific jobs
Your CV is one of the most important tools we can use to find you a job. We are able to give you our expert advice on how you could improve your CV. It would be greatly appreciated if you would update your CV and send it over to us so that we can get it out to our clients quickly. It is crucially important to make sure that your CV is up to date with current information.
Keeping us updated about progress with other roles
As you would expect we want the best for all of our candidates and we understand that during job hunting some of our candidates will be using other recruitment agencies to get interviews or getting opportunities independently. With such we would simply request that you keep us up to date with any opportunities and interviews that you have found elsewhere as we would not want to double book you or use our time searching for a role to find out that you have already found one.
Responding to the announcement that Prime Minister Theresa May plans to call a general election on 8 June, Kate Shoesmith, Head of Policy at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), says:
“It’s been a turbulent year for politics and by extension the markets. So far the labour market has held up well – we have record high employment and record low unemployment.
“I hope that all the parties go into this short, intense campaign with the value of a strong labour market to the UK economy at the forefront of their minds. Our industry is worth £35.1 billion to the economy and recruiters transform peoples’ lives every day. That contribution needs to be recognised and supported by whoever forms the next government.”
The latest research from job search engine Adzuna has revealed an increase in unusual and unique workplace benefits that companies are using to attract top talent to their organisations.
Hangover Days: With an increasing number of startups, tech companies and organisations across the board keen to attract and retain young, vibrant, hungry employees and create dynamic, socially-driven atmospheres, more employers are offering an out to staff you feel less than their best after a hard night’s “brainstorming with the team”.
Feeding The Ducks: On the gentler side, one company currently hiring praised the surrounding area’s local beauty and suggested candidates take advantage of feeding the ducks during their lunch break. There’s no mention of whether or not they’d supply the bread, so candidates could definitely make an impression in the interview by enquiring further!
Pawternity Leave: The UK is a nation of dog lovers, so it’s only natural that some workplaces have started offering pawternity leave leave to help new pet parents settle in their pups. Companies that offer this perk and let you bring your dog to the office are definitely a candidate’s real best friend
Free Netflix: Ideal for those more inclined towards, perking overtime rather than working overtime, an increasing number of companies are offering free entertainment packages to new joiners for their free time. Smart applicants could even combine this fun benefit with a Hangover Day?
Free Ice Cream: While some HR departments may question whether the potential risk of brain freeze can be tolerated in the workforce, a growing number of employers are offering free ice cream to keep colleagues cool over summer. Will it turn into hundreds and thousands?
In Office Meditation Classes: With almost 26 million working days lost due to stress last year according to the HSE, weekly in office meditation provides extra peace of mind to employers as well as employees.
Attendance At Industry Award Ceremonies: Rolling out the red carpet for new employees is taking on a whole new meaning for British employers, as innovative recruiting managers ioffer the chance to rub shoulders with the industry leaders at major awards ceremonies.