Interview Prep – Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail

There is nothing more disappointing than a candidate who oozes enthusiasm about a role but then doesn’t even know the most basic facts and figures about the company.

You are certain to be asked specific questions about your potential employer, so make sure you’ve done your homework!

Here are a few places you can find some useful information:

  • The company’s website is the best place to start, also check out their Annual Report, look for a press or company news page, put their name into ‘Google News’, and ask friends and colleagues.
  • Understand the company’s ethos, vision and mission, and consider how you and the role you are applying for relates to these.
  • Get an understanding of their industry. You may be able to find out if they have anything interesting going on at the moment, or who their competitors are, etc.
  • Try and find out about the person/people who will be interviewing you, using the company website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • It’s also worth searching under your own name to see what crops up – your potential employer might be doing the same thing.

#recruitment #jobsearch #interviewprep #research

HighPoint Disability Challengers Bike Ride

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On Sunday 11th May a team of recruitment consultants from Highpoint in Farnham and two of the consultants children set out on a 14 mile bike ride to raise money for the Surrey based charity, Disability Challengers. Our ride took us through open countryside and up some challenging hills! The team of seven included Ellie Wills aged 11 and Archie Warner aged 12 MD, Rebekah Handford, said “We wanted to raise money for Disability Challengers and it was a great opportunity for us to make it a family event”. Disability Challengers is one of the local charities supported by Highpoint and we were pleased to be able to give a cheque to Head of Marketing & Communications, Mady Henderson, for £540.00.

Radio 4 Woman’s Hour

With employment figures out and evidence that people over 55 are in the group which are most likely to be unemployed for 12 months or more following redundancy, Rebekah was interviewed by Jenny Murray for Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour Programme during which they discussed the matter of Age Discrimination in the workplace and Rebekah was able to give advice to listeners on how they might their CV’s and approach their job search.

Developing talent for the future

From the mid nineties until 2008 the UK economy saw year on year growth and from the late 1990’s onwards it became the norm for young people completing their secondary education to go on to University as the number of places and variety of Degree courses expanded dramatically. Many people took a Gap Year before commencing their university studies and found it easy to find long term temporary employment to help them fund their further education or travel abroad.

This trend has continued although it has become increasingly difficult since 2008 for young people to find continuous or guaranteed employment in their Gap Year. This was a benefit to the individual but also of significant benefit to employers who when considering applications were not solely making selections based on academic abilities but could also consider the level of work based skill applicants had. The economic climate since 2008 has seen a steady decline in the need for just this type of temporary staff in the local area and several of the larger organisations renowned for providing employment to undergraduates throughout Gap Years and vacations have relocated out of the area or simply do not have the level of requirements currently. The value to young people of gaining employment during Gap Years and by working through vacations cannot be underestimated to future employers.

Offering individuals a formal work experience programme “internship” is the way forward but many small businesses are worried about having the time to implement this and also the potential cost implications. Speaking with many graduates who register with Highpoint they are often willing to undertake unpaid work experience for 2-3 weeks if it is based locally and would generally be willing to travel further afield if basic travel costs are covered. Whilst NMW Regulations have to be considered, genuine work experience placements are not covered by the regulations. Highpoint would be interested to hear from any businesses willing to consider offering work experience placements of 2 weeks plus to individuals actively seeking employment who are keen to secure commercial experience to aid them in their search.

If you would like to learn more about Work Experience Programmes, please contact Managing Director, Rebekah Handford FIRP.

Government unveils plans to reduce employment tribunals

The Government has put forward proposals to improve the way workplace disputes are handled and to reduce the number of cases going to employment tribunals.

It says it wants to give businesses the confidence to take on more staff and boost the economy. The key proposals include increasing the qualifying period for employees to be able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal from one to two years. It’s hoped this will reduce the number of disputes that go to employment tribunals.

Employers and employees will be encouraged to resolve disputes between themselves as early as possible. All claims will have to be lodged with ACAS to begin with to allow pre-claim conciliation to be offered.

The conciliation process will include encouraging parties to make reasonable offers of settlement to avoid tribunal hearings, and encouraging other forms of early dispute resolution such as mediation.

The Government also wants to speed up the tribunal process by extending the jurisdictions where judges would sit alone to include unfair dismissal, and by taking witness statements as read.

It is hoped to reduce weak and vexatious claims by providing the employment tribunals with a range of more flexible case management powers so that weaker cases can be dealt with in a way that does not mean disproportionate costs for employers. Speculative claims will also be discouraged by increasing the requirement for information about the nature of the claim being made and the extent of the loss. It’s intended to help parties to decide whether to agree a settlement offer or proceed to a tribunal hearing.

Some expense payments will be withdrawn to encourage parties to settle earlier or reduce the number of witnesses they call. Employers will also be required to play their part and there will be financial penalties for firms found to have breached rights.

This is aimed at encouraging greater compliance from employers and thus a reduction in the number of tribunal cases. The proposals are now subject to public consultations. Please contact Dermot Burke Employment Law Expert at Bells Solicitors for more information 01730 733733.

Business Back to School

For the fifth year running Farnham Heath End School requested the support of local business people to support their programme to aid year 10 students in their preparation for future employment.

Senior Consultant, Sarah-Jane Pullman Cert RP MIRP joined 30 other professionals on the 18th October for a morning of 1-1 interviews with students. Sarah-Jane was able to give valuable advice to each of the candidates who had been tasked with applying for a job in a career they wished to pursue. Each student had to choose an advertisement, prepare a covering letter, a CV and a page of research on the particular post.

After undergoing a mock interview, Sarah-Jane gave each of the 4 students constructive feedback on their CV and covering letter, as well as the research and performance in the interview.

“The benefits to the students of having the opportunity to be interviewed by business people are significant. It provides them with an understanding of the application procedure and increases their self confidence”

says Sarah-Jane.

New AWR Legislation

The Agency Workers Directive is a piece of EU legislation that will be implemented in the UK by October 2011. The aim of the AWR is to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation and ensure them the same basic employment conditions as their permanent equivalents after 12 weeks of service – mainly the right to the same pay, working hours and holidays

The 12 Week “qualifying period”

  • An agency worker is not entitled to equal treatment until he or she has completed the 12 week qualifying period
  • An agency worker must work in the same role with the same hirer for 12 calendar weeks- (these do not have to be full weeks and 1 day per week will count)
  • If there is a break of 6 weeks or more, the clock starts again.
  • Sick leave does not “break” the clock unless it is for 28 weeks or more

When referring to conditions, the AWR is referring to:

  • Pay
  • Holidays
  • Hours of work
  • Night work
  • Rest periods and breaks
  • The right to hear about vacant posts within the business
  • The right to use collective facilities such as the a canteen, childcare facilities or transport services

What’s excluded from the AWR?
The main employment conditions that are excluded from the AWR legislation are:

  • Occupational sick pay
  • Pensions
  • Parental leave
  • Redundancy payments
  • Share schemes
  • Long service award schemes

For more information on the AWR please call us on 01252 734848

Highpoint And Clients Support Phyllis Tuckwell at The Black & White Ball

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Highpoint took a table at The Black & White Ball in aid of Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice and entertained clients who they have worked closely with over the last years 8 years.   It was a great opportunity to help raise money for Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice, Highpoint’s nominated charity, and thank our clients for their continued loyalty.  The evening was a great success and was attended by over 100 people who enjoyed excellent food and music and gave generously during an auction of promises.

Highpoint employee runs the half marathon

Highpoint employee runs the half marathon

Sarah-Jane Pullman took part in the Windsor Half Marathon on September 26th along with 14 others to raise as much money as possible for St Georges Hospital in memory of Tom Wallace. Tom sadly passed away on 2nd April this year at the age of 24.

The family and friends of Tom have opened a website with the aim of raising £250,000 to buy a Trans-Cranial Doppler Scanner (Brain Scanner)and other vital life saving equipment for the Neuro Intensive Care Unit at St Georges, Atkinson Morley Hospital in Tooting London. This is in memory of Tom who was cared for in this unit by the wonderful dedicated staff.

So far the charity has raised over £60,000 and they are already organising and planning the next charity event!<

Please visit www.justgiving.com/tom-wallace