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New Year… New Job?

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With the last of the Sherry consumed and the detritus of Christmas cleared away, thoughts often turn to new beginnings. The New Year seems like a natural time to make a major life change such as changing your job, but taking that step into the unknown can be daunting. Here at Staffbay.com we’re experts in helping you find the right job based on your experience and specific skill set. Here we present our top tips for New Year jobseekers.

Assess your options… and do your homework 

When making such a big step it’s important to be prepared. What kind of job do you want and what skills and qualifications will you be expected to possess? Are your skills adaptable? What kind of employer are you looking to work for? It’s a good idea to have a serious think about these questions the moment that nagging “new job” feeling hits – otherwise you’ll find yourself playing catch-up.

Luckily, at Staffbay.com it’s easy to do your homework on your next potential boss. Our database of trusted employers is only a mouse-click away. You’ll be able to see exactly what employers want and what their company is all about. Sign up for a profile today and make your New Year job search a whole lot easier.

Stay positive 

If you find yourself looking for a new job fairly regularly it can be easy to get downhearted. It might be easier said than done, but it’s important to think positively. Dwell on your strengths. What have you always been good at? In what ways can you demonstrably add value to a business? What are your greatest successes? If you get bogged down thinking about your limitations you’ll be more likely to produce a weaker CV or profile, and you might get hobbled by a lack of confidence in an interview.

In the New Year, take a positive outlook and resolve to be kinder to yourself.

A little reinvention won’t hurt

The world of employment is dynamic and constantly evolving. Everybody needs to reinvent themselves from time to time – even CEOs. Especially if you’re looking to pursue a new career path, taking that extra qualification or after-hours training class is a must. Put yourself ahead of the pack by learning a new skill, or sit with your CV and think carefully about the information you want to include. There are always ways to present your skillset in a different, better light, and remember – lots of skills are transferable.

Trust the experts  

If you have any doubts about the kind of job you’d like and want instantaneous access to a wide variety of employer profiles, contact Staffbay today. We are hugely experienced at finding people the job that’s right for them. Sign up or call us today for a confidential consultation.

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Social Media Tips for Job Candidates

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Social media is part of the fabric of 21st century life. It has become all-pervasive, and you can be sure that employers will view job candidates’ social media profiles in order to sort the best from the rest. What can you do to make yourself stand out, and what should you avoid when building your online profile?

Choose your platform 

There’s a big difference between social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, which is designed for professionals. Most people will have a Facebook and Twitter account these days, but it’s a good idea to compartmentalise work and social aspects of your life when creating an online persona. LinkedIn is effectively a platform for your CV, and a well-constructed profile will show potential employers that you’re serious. Remember to list every last bit of experience you’ve gained, and make sure you take time to build your network. A well connected individual is an asset to any business, and you want to stand out from the crowd.

Present yourself professionally 

Employers will be looking for evidence of integrity, professionalism and communication skills across all of your social media accounts, and information can be accessed very easily on Facebook if you fail to manage your security settings carefully (see point 3.)

It’s vital to consider the image you wish to portray and vet any content accordingly. We all like to post our holiday snaps on social media, but employers will not want to see you looking seven shades to the wind on that trip to Magaluf. They will certainly be put off by lurid descriptions of your exploits, and you should think twice about posting vulgar or offensive content. Employers want to know that they’re hiring reliable, professional and, frankly, pleasant people. With this in mind, you should also vet other people’s comments on your posts and remove anything unsavoury. Nobody wants to be tarred by association.

Manage your security settings

The best way to prevent employers gaining access to potentially compromising social media content is to diligently manage your security settings. This is especially true on Facebook, where you may find that settings change from time to time. Restricting who can view your posts is a good policy, and you can set your account so others can’t tag you in photos without your approval.

Also, don’t forget your social media history. Facebook allows you to limit the audience for past posts, so it’s worth spending an afternoon removing or hiding any content that shows you in a bad light.

And finally… communication is key 

 The language you use online is vitally important. Communication is key to so many professions, and potential employers will be thinking “can this person express themselves confidently and clearly?” The words you use, even in a throwaway Tweet, can give a strong indication of the person underneath. Don’t shout, and don’t use text-speak – many find it unprofessional and will be wondering whether or not you can actually construct a proper sentence.

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Quality not quantity is the secret to successful jobseeking

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 By Tony Wilmot, co-founder, staffbay.com

With long term joblessness at an all time high, you might think that those out of work have enough time on their hands to take as long as they wish over apply for a new role. I’m sure we all remember from careers lessons at schools, that we shouldn’t rush a job application, but how long should someone looking for work or a new job take?

A showcase for talent
A new survey from recruitment specialists staffbay.com has shown that  two-thirds of people applying for jobs take less than an hour to fill in the application forms.

The survey of over 1,000 jobseekers showed that the days of taking a whole day filling in forms and writing covering letters to try and impress prospective employers could be at an end. Less than 10 per cent of respondents to the survey said they spend a day on a job application, with a mere 5 per cent saying they take more than a day.

This might confuse those of you who are more au fait with pages and pages of forms to fill in when requesting an application form might baulk at these figures. However, it is my view that employers shouldn’t be alarmed at the figures, and should recognise that, these days, quality is better than quantity when it comes to jobseekers showing off their talents.

Indeed, I’m not surprised by these results at all. These days, HR departments don’t have the time to plough their way through hundreds of pages of paper CVs. What they want is to be able to see if the person applying for the job is worth bringing in for an interview, and that’s why social media and video CVs have become so popular amongst jobseekers.

Furthermore, in the days of self-publishing, Youtube and Skype, young people want something more instant when trying to showcase their talents. We recognised this when we set up staffbay.com. with this in mind, we made sure that it takes just ten minutes to build a profile on staffbay.com, and what we say to people looking to show off their abilities is: focus on what will truly set yourself apart from the competition, and don’t just concentrate on the quick and easy options or resort to box-ticking. Using the power of social media and video CVs, it should take less than an hour to make a prospective employer sit up and take notice, in which time you can leap to the front of the interview queue.

A lonely business
With the numbers of employees complaining of hundreds of people applying for even the most low-paid of jobs, it’s perhaps no surprise that jobseekers don’t always receive acknowledgement of their application. Often, businesses just don’t have the time, it seems.
But whilst this might not seem so important to bigger companies, it can be terribly demotivating to jobseekers. Often, our candidates tell us that they’re not so interested when they get notification of their application for a job, more that they just want some contact.
“Any response would be good. Often no response is worse as you hang on to hope,” one jobseeker told us. Another said: “No-one ever answers you anymore. I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs and literally had only three replies in letter form and maybe a couple of calls.” A third commented: “I used to get letters that said “unsuccessful on this occasion” – but now I don’t hear anything.”

Applying for jobs can be a lonely business and some jobseekers have warned that they feel that they’re falling into depression. Clearly, something needs to change.

So, how can jobseekers make their voices heard – and how can they ensure that they’re not coming up against a brick wall time and time again?

Most people looking for a job these days look online – gone are the days of picking up the local paper. A recent report Experian Hitwise showed that the rise in online recruitment on social media networks has been seen to increase the rise in sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The report highlighted that social networking sites received around 2.4 billion hits from UK visitors in one month alone.

So, if employers are changing the way they’re advertising jobs, shouldn’t employees be changing the way they promote themselves to employers? Since launching staffbay.com two years ago, we’ve seen a wholesale change in the way the candidates on our portal promote themselves. The use of video has become more and more popular and many use it as a way of breaking down barriers between themselves and any prospective employer even before they’ve applied for a job.

Keep it simple
The simple things work best. The message we hear from employers is that staff don’t have to be qualified to the hilt, just that they’ll invest some time and effort in their new job. However, not everyone has a strategy in place to identify good talent. Small businesses in particular don’t want to wade through hundreds of applications.

And now is the time to act if you are looking for a new career. There are definitely green shoots of growth in the employment market. At staffbay.com we have the ability to see behind the scenes, and we’re aware that employers are being very proactive at interacting with candidates and building a network and a rapport for when the economy truly recovers. Furthermore, the number of job applications via our website has doubled over the last six months.

Promoting yourself needn’t be about who has the most letters after their name, or who can write the longest, most verbose job application. In a time when technological innovation is changing the way we live every aspect of our lives, jobseekers should harness it to promote themselves, stand out from the crowd, and land that dream job.

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Apprenticeships: Bridging the Gap

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by Elliot Kidd, co-founder of staffbay.com

Following the publication of the Holt Report, the government has committed itself to increasing awareness amongst SMEs of the benefits of apprenticeships. It also says it will make support for small businesses “simpler and more accessible”, and take away powers from training firms when it comes to advising apprentices. This, says the government, will empower SMEs, which, says the report, have historically had a lack of awareness about the benefits of taking on apprenticeships and how best to recruit and train them.

New measures announced will see the Government:

• Work with the people that SMEs look to for advice, including lawyers and accountants, to promote apprenticeships to their SME customers

• Enable SMEs to get their apprentices the training they need, by providing better information on availability and investigating how to give them a greater say in developing the skills they need

• Improve the performance of providers of training to SMEs by agreeing standards and the consequences of not meeting them

• Improve the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers by making it simpler and more accessible to more employers.

Upon the Holt report being published, Education Secretary Michael Gove said: “I am very grateful to Jason Holt for the considerable time and effort he has devoted to producing his report. He is certainly right that we need to give employers, and not training providers, the power and freedom to shape their apprenticeships, and make the process as simple as possible for every employer.”

“Shaping” apprentices is only part of the problem, however; the actual recruitment process needs a complete overhaul. It’s commendable that the government should be promoting the benefits of apprenticeships to businesses, and there’s no doubt that with youth unemployment at such high levels (especially amongst NEETs), then something needs to be done.

The push towards apprenticeships offers both a great opportunity and a great challenge to employers. How do the find the best talent, and the best fit, for their companies? On the flip-side of the coin, the Holt Report offers a great opportunity for young people looking to train for a long and successful career, but again questions remain – most pertinently: how do wannabe apprentices make themselves stand out from the crowd?

This is a minefield for employers, and much more needs to be done to bridge the gap between willing, eager young workers and a safe, secure and enjoyable job. HR departments needs to switch themselves onto the fact that young people are now willing to engage with potential employees in a completely different way; whilst those apprentices-in-waiting need help and guidance to best promote themselves to stand out from what has been a long-growing crowd of young unemployed. It’s a two-way street.

Most people looking for a job these days look online – gone are the days of picking up the local paper. A recent report by Experian Hitwise showed that the rise in online recruitment on social media networks has been seen to increase the rise in sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The report highlighted that social networking sites received around 2.4 billion hits from UK visitors in January alone.

So, if employers are changing the way they’re advertising jobs, shouldn’t apprentices be changing the way they promote themselves to employers? Since launching a year ago we’ve seen a wholesale change in the way the candidates on staffbay.com promote themselves, from conducting Skype interviews to presentations. The use of video has become more and more popular and many use it as a way of breaking down barriers between themselves and any prospective employer even before they’ve applied for a job.

According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation businesses in the UK waste £1m a day on poor recruitment, whilst the average recruitment cost of filling a vacancy (using any method) is £3,950.

Staffbay.com has some huge multinationals such as Rolls-Royce and Volkswagen (both of whom are well-publicised for recruiting apprentices) signed up, and if they can see and hear why they should employ an apprentice before they invite them along for an interview, then it not only saves them time – but also money.

The government makes a lot of noise about the emphasis it places on getting people back into work, especially those in the 18-24 age range. It’s these young people who have the knowledge of social media, its impact and how it can affect change in society. What David Cameron and Gove should be doing is encouraging apprentices of all ages to change the way they promote themselves to employers, because the days of the paper CV are numbered.


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Top 5 Tips to land your dream job

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Tony Wilmot, co-founder of staffbay.com, gives you his Top 5 Tips when looking for your dream job:

  • Make the most of your skills: You learn so many transferable skills in the forces that jobseekers need to keep an open mind about which career they want to follow once they leave. 
  • Don’t underestimate the skills you’ve learned: Just because you were, for example, a mechanic in the forces, that doesn’t mean that’s the only  job for you once you leave. The skills you pick up whilst in service are invaluable to employers.
  • Talk to as many people as you can: Learn from experienced people, make contacts and network. You can open up so many doors simply by building up a good contacts list. These people could be your future employers. Take all advice on board before making a decision.
  • Go to as many interviews as possible: Even if you don’t particularly want the job, honing your interview skills is essential to land your dream job. It’s a small world, and, if you make a good impression, you’ll be remembered.
  • Go the extra mile: Use different ways to get yourself noticed. Preview yourself using media such as video. These are the extra touches that will help you get to the top of the job application pile.


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Office romances: Don't let the heart rule the head

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by Tony Wilmot, co-founder, staffbay.com

There is often much hand-wringing by management when two members of staff decide to enter a relationship, but in my opinion, those in charge shouldn't dawdle

Office romances can disrupt the equilibrium of the office environment. They can impinge of individuals' performance and infringe on their professional duties. Imagine, for example, having to tell your boyfriend or girlfriend that they're fired. The fall-out could be catastrophic.

Furthermore, there could be instances were one person in the relationship could be accused of favouritism, which could harm the morale of other colleagues in the office.

As with any couple, there is always the danger that the relationship will end. This could cause disaster for both the individuals involved and the company as a whole. Stop for a moment to consider the consequences of the break-up of a relationship, and the damage that could cause to your business.

In extreme cases, the legal issue has to be considered. The end of a relationship can bring forward cases of sexual harassment, especially if one of the individuals refuses to accept that the relationship is over. This can
be a costly and time-consuming process, and could lead to the entire workforce becoming distracted.

With all this in mind, it is essential you make your staff aware of your policy on office relationships as soon as you hire them. A recent survey showed that, in 2012, the average cost to each business from issues relating to office romances was over £65,000, bringing the total cost of office romances to the 200 companies surveyed to in excess of £13 million. Can you afford that off your bottom line?