Candidate Tips
How to Become the Candidate Employers Can’t Resist

 

 

Recruiters are constantly searching for the perfect candidate to fill the thousands of open jobs in the UK. And it can be pretty hard! With so many CVs to read through and hundreds of potential candidates to talk to about a particular role, it can be quite time-consuming. So why not make it easier for recruiters and potential employers to find and offer you that job?

 

How we hear you ask! Simply by being the most informed candidate possible. 

 

Of course it goes without saying that experience and skills will always matter, but a candidate who is knowledgeable about the company and is highly-engaged is a definite-hire. Your aim as a job-seeker is to stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons, and at all the determining moments, right from your application, to negotiation, and finally on the job. 

 

So what exactly is an informed candidate? It’s someone that knows about the company - they’ve clearly done their research, have read through the job description, and they understand the position they’ve applied for. This will ultimately show an employer that the candidate is motivated and that they are doing the work they need to do to get hired. 

 

We’ve compiled a list of 6 steps that you will need to take to become that informed candidate of an employer’s dreams! 

 

 

1. Learn the Ins & Outs of the Companies you’re Interested In.

 

Applying for a job at a company you sort of know and winging it through that application is never going to get you far. You need to do your homework. Read recent news articles about the companies you’re interested in, check out their blogs, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds. These will help you form a good sense of their values and what they stand for. And be sure to look for any red flags too, such as recent lay-offs, to help form a more rounded view. But remember, if you do come across a red flag, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a poor company culture. 

 

 

2. Make Your CV Stand Out.

 

Now that you’ve done the groundwork, you’ve probably narrowed down the list of companies that interest you. Go a level in and dive into their company mission and culture. Once you’ve got a sense of these, you’ll be able to logically narrow down your list in order to apply for jobs more thoughtfully. From here, you’ll have a great starting point for your application, as you should be able to highlight aspects of your previous work history and experience that will show that you’re a perfect fit for this company. Customising your CV to the job and the company you’re applying for is absolutely key. 

 

 

3. Prepare For the Interview Before You Get It.

 

Being proactive will place you further ahead of other candidates. Search for interview questions and insights into the exact questions recruiters and hiring managers at your ideal company will ask. You can browse dozens of interview questions that are asked of candidates applying to the specific role that you are. 

 

Preparing in advance will help you to avoid that last minute cramming and will also get your mind firing about specific anecdotes and examples of excellence in your previous work history you will want to share. Plus, learning about the interview experience of others offers additional insight into what the company is really like.

 

 

4. Negotiate Like a Pro.

 

It’s important to understand early on that negotiating your salary is a perfectly normal part of the employment process, and recruiters and hiring managers expect it. 

 

So before you head to the negotiating table make sure you;

 

Know your Worth. Do your research on salary estimates in today’s job market for the role you have applied for, and explore ways to increase your pay. 

 

Think base wage and beyond! Everything from maternity and paternity leave, holiday time and even training can be up for negotiation. 

 

Be confident and equipped with all the necessary information.

 

 

5. Ask as Many Questions as is Necessary.

 

Don’t ever think you are nagging an employer by asking questions. It’s their job to answer your questions and help you make the best decision. Plus, they will want to hire the best suited candidate for the job to improve their retention and company ranks. 

 

 

6. Say “Yes” if the Job & Company Are Right For You. 

 

If you feel 100% sure the job and company are right for you, then go for it. IT’s time to start living the life you’ve always wanted doing a job you enjoy. 

 

Now that you’ve got the tools to become the informed candidate, go out there and find that job that fits your life. Don’t forget we’re here to help you every step of the way. 

 
Hiring Personality vs. Skill

 

 

Employers have to make difficult decisions a daily basis, but what do you do when you’ve got two very good but very different candidates for the same role?

 

The first candidate has the right skills and experience for the job but their attitude is not as desirable. Whereas, the second candidate has an ideal personality that fits well within the company culture, but doesn’t quite meet the requirements when it comes to their experience. Do you prioritise personality or skillset? Both are important, but which candidate gets the job?

 

The right choice will always lie within the nature of the job role they have applied for and the type of business the employer runs. If you’re faced with this decision here are a couple of questions to ask yourself:

 

What’s the company like? 

 

  • The company is a fast-paced and dynamic environment that expects its employees to learn and adapt quickly.

 

  • It’s a company that trains each employee individually with mentorship and management. 

 

What’s the job role like?

 

Take these two roles as an example;

 

  • Developing strong relationships and team work is integral to the role, as employees work closely with customers, clients and other team members.

 

  • A high standard of work is expected and employees’ work behind the scenes and are unlikely to deal with clients face to face. 

 

If your company and vacancy is more accurately described by the first role, then personality should be considered over skill. This is because customer service and client relationships is clearly a key aspect of the business and your employees are the forefront of the brand. For many companies like this, personality will usually take precedent as employees must interact with customers and are representative of your brand values and the way you do business. 

 

For a job role that is likely to have to deal with customers or clients, it’s more logical to value someone with a stronger skill set and experience, as they will require much less training and are more likely to adapt quickly within a fast-paced working environment. 

 

As culture and fit is becoming more and more important for both employee and employer, defining the characteristics of the company and the specific requirements of a job role before interviewing candidates is essential. This knowledge, will be invaluable in helping to make difficult decisions such as personality vs. skill, much more easily moving forward.

 
3 Questions to ask in your Cover Letter

 

 

The key to a powerful cover letter is knowing exactly why you are a perfect candidate. The following three questions will help ensure your cover letter hits the mark. 

 

  1. Who ARE you?

 

Start your cover letter with your successes. What is amazing about the things you have achieved recently that this company needs? Back this up with one or two sentences from your elevator pitch. Always remember to use keywords. 

 

  1. Why are you the best fit for this company? 

 

Your CV details your previous work experience, THIS section of the cover letter translates your CV for the employer. You should explain how your experiences are relevant to their organisation and how they make you desirable as an employee. 

 

Try and limit this to just two or three of your very best skills, areas or expertise, and highlight qualifications that make you well suited for the job. 

 

  1. Ask for the interview. 

 

Statistics show that those who ASK for the interview in their cover letters are TWICE as likely to get an interview. 

 

“I welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how I can contribute…”

 

Aim for enthusiasm and confidence. Make sure you include your email and phone number and highlight any attachments to your CV, such as your portfolio. 

 

If you need any advice on how to create your CV and cover letter contact one of our team today. 

 
15 Questions To Expect In Your UX Interview

 

 

We’ve put together a list of the questions UX Designers are most likely to hear in their interviews. 

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list, only a few examples of what could crop up. With the increasing amount of competition in the industry, we hope these provide some insight and help you when you’re preparing for your interview.

 

 

1. Is UX design UI design? What’s the difference?

 

2. Describe a recent project where you set out to solve a business problem.

 

3. Do you work better in a team or on your own?

 

4. As a designer, what do you think is the most important aspect of your job?

 

5. What design tools do you use?

 

6. How do you know that what you’re designing works for the user? 

 

7. Tell us about personas and your approach to research and incorporating research in your work?

 

8. What are your favourite apps for UX and explain why?

 

9. Who are our main competitors? What do you think differentiates us from them?

 

10. Tell us about a project that didn’t go as planned and the reasons that led to it. 

 

11. What books/exhibitions/conferences/communities do you attend or admire?

 

12. What are some of the biggest trends in the UX design industry right now?

 

13. What analytics tools and key performance indicators (KPIs) have you used to evaluate your designs?

 

14. What projects are you currently working on?

 

15. Why should I hire you?

 

 

Have you had any UX interview questions you weren’t expecting or prepared for? Let us know so we can add them to our list. 

 
7 things to do before you start a new job

 

 

New year new job? If this is you, then we understand it can be an exciting - but equally scary - time in your life. It’s a big life change, as you may be climbing the career ladder or venturing out of your comfort zone to explore a brand new work opportunity. You’ll naturally be feeling a little anxious as the first day approaches, but there are some things you can do before starting a new job to put your mind at ease and reduce any unnecessary stress. 

 

As with all new things, there’s always an element of uncertainty, but with some careful preparation you can start off on the right foot, make a great first impression and settle into your new workplace and position. 

 

 

Take Time Out

 

If you can, it’s always great to try and schedule a break between leaving your previous job and starting a new one. And when we say break, this could just be a long weekend or a week off. Use this time to reset yourself, take some me time and catch up on life admin, before you become engrossed in your new work life. Use it as a mental break and  a way to establish a separation between your old job and your new one. 

 

Plan Your Route

 

Sounds obvious, but make sure you are familiar with your commute to your new place of work before your first day. And ensure you have a plan B incase your preferred route somehow doesn’t work out. Know the drive or the train lines you’ll be taking and have a good idea of how long your commute will take. Always allow extra time for getting lost or facing unexpected events, like rail strikes or traffic jams! 

 

Understand the Dress Code 

 

Every workplace is difference, your new office dress code won’t necessarily be the same as the last. And probably won’t be what you wore to your interview there either. We suggest getting in touch with HR and finding out what you will be expected to wear for your position. As you settle in you’ll get a better idea of dress code, but it’s always a great idea to have some go to outfits ready for the first few days to avoid any unnecessary stress and time wasting in the mornings. 

 

Get to Know Your Co-workers

 

You’ll be introduced to most people you’ll be interacting with on a daily basis within your first few days there, but it doesn’t hurt to try to familiarise yourself with colleagues before then. You can easily get to know the names and roles of your future work colleagues on LinkedIn. 

 

Revise 

 

Even if you’re moving into a role that’s very familiar to the one you just left, it doesn’t hurt to freshen up on the skillset your role requires. Use the time in-between jobs to re-visit and revise the skills that got you hired. We’d also suggest reading up on any news or events within your new company too. 

 

Arrive Early 

 

Last but not least, it is important to arrive early for the first day of your new job. Arriving exactly on time may be considered late by some and you only get one chance at a first impression. 

 

Good Luck!

 
The Top 14 Graphic Design Terms Commonly Misused by Novice Creatives

 

We all have to start somewhere right? If you're just starting out in graphic design, or your a marketer in a design agency, you might find a few graphic design terms leave you a little bewildered. 
 

Tracking versus kerning? Lettermark versus wordmark? 

In this digital world, we all end up wearing many hats, which makes it all the more reason to know your stuff.
 

Well help is at hand thanks to Think Design who have created an awesome infographic to shed some light on a number of frequently missunderstood graphic design terms, with their handy side-by-side explanations. 

 

 

 

via Think Design

 
10 Steps to Accomplishing Your Goals in 2018

 

 

New year new goals! Whatever your resolutions or aims are for 2018, we’ve put together some steps to help you on your way to achieving them - whether it’s finally choosing a new career path or moving up the career ladder.


1. Set Your Intention 

 

Where do you want to be one year from now? Think of it as a promise to yourself, that you will do everything to get there. Everything you do will you focused on obtaining this. An intention is less about the specifics of what and how, and more about who you are and your why. For example, your intention might be “to be truly free from the 9-5 world.”

 

HOW TO ACTION: Say it to yourself and right it down somewhere so you can see it daily. Use all your emotions and feelings that you have about your present circumstances to help you make this commitment to your intention. 

 

2. Brainstorm Ideas

 

It’s time to start thinking about the what and how. What are the requirements and resources you need to reach your intention? How can you get there and what do you need to accomplish? Maybe there are people in your life that can help you. Try to keep these ideas as natural and intuitive to you, your experience and interest, skill set and knowledge as possible. Now is not the time to completely reinvent yourself. 

 

HOW TO ACTION: Brainstorm your list of ideas of how you can reach your intention. Whether on paper, in a documents or in your notes. Using digital lists such as Trello are great because you can take them with you and just add new ideas when they come to you. 

 

3. Set 3 Smaller Goals

 

What are the milestones or major steps that can lead you to get there? For example is there any knowledge or skills you need to obtain, any certifications you might need, resources to save for or purchase, connections to make, sales goals to hit, skills to utilise and so on. You’re looking to identify these MAJOR milestones. 

 

HOW TO ACTION: Use your list of brainstormed ideas from step 2 to set 3 smaller goals for yourself. Be as specific and quantitative as possible to keep focus. Avoid fluffy adjectives. If it helps, think about setting SMART goals, which are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.

 

4. Schedule To-Dos 

 

What timely tasks do you need to do and when? You’ve set yourself goals, now it’s time to dig deeper into the requirements of meeting that goal. Think of yourself as a pyramid with your intention at the tip, then your 3 smaller goals in the middle, now you’re scheduling your to-dos for said goals at the bottom. 

 

HOW TO ACTION: Break own your 3 goals further into timely task. Schedule time into your calendar to work on these to-dos. It’s best to find ways to incorporate your to-dos into your daily or weekly routine. Establish your time-line and set deadlines for yourself. It’s important to keep reminding yourself of them to create a routine and habit of accomplishing them. 

 

5. Prioritise 

 

This is a two-fold step: determining what is a priority for you to accomplish to reach your intention and also to prioritise your resources to get it done. What needs to be done first? You need to be able to determine the difference between what needs to be done and what would be nice to do. Your path towards your intention needs to be as direct as possible. 

 

Also think about how you need to prioritise your three resources of time, money and energy. How much of that is required? You only have so much of each so choose to-dos that are doable. Prioritise what is essential, for the best cost and has the greatest potential outcome. 

 

HOW TO ACTION: Take your to-dos and cut or move anything that isn’t a must to the bottom of your list. Also, remove any to do tasks that are not achievable because of time, money or energy required. 

 

6. Be Accountable 

 

Think about those who can help you stay on track. Just as if you were planning on losing weight or getting fit, those who are more likely to achieve their end goals do so with other people, who provide moral support. Use a family member, partner or friend for private accountability or think about using a business partner or mentor for professional accountability. Social media and blog posts are also great to broadcast your intentions for more public accountability. 

 

HOW TO ACTION: Establish all three levels of accountability. Tell them your immediate goals and ask them to help keep you on track. It’s also helpful to find someone who understands your industry that you can check in with regularly. 

 

7. Find Your Focus 

 

What is it that helps you to focus? This is something you are going to need to figure out to get your to-dos done. Sometimes you need to remove or deal with what’s preventing you from focusing. Maybe it’s a change in environment and setting aside a quiet time in the week to dedicate to working towards your goal. 

 

HOW TO ACTION: You’ve already scheduled in your time, now it’s about getting it done. figure out your routine. Think about tidying your workspace, or finding a quiet spot. Implement whatever it takes to help you get it done.

 

8. Get Started

 

What can you achieve TODAY? A new year gives you 365 days of opportunities, but the hardest part is just getting started. Don’t try to be perfect, aiming for perfection hinders progress. You don’t need to have it all together to put yourself out there and accomplish something. Just get going, worry about improving later. 

 

HOW TO ACTION: You’ve prioritised your to-dos and scheduled in your time, you have accountability and you’ve found your focus. Start with an easier, less time consuming task that can give you a quick win to encourage you onwards and upwards. When you reach a difficult task keep talking to those keeping you accountable to help you get it done or to give you advice to help you get through it. 

 

9. Stay Motivated 

 

What is it that motivates you? If there’s nothing to motivate you, the likelihood is you’ll never achieve those goals you’ve set out for yourself. Think about your internal motivation - the thing that keeps you going when you’re tired and overworked. And also your external motivation - such as a song that inspires you, or a TED talk that inspired you. Whatever it is, use it to stay motivated. 

 

HOW TO ACTION: Discover your internal and external motivations. Consider what it is that gets you going and stirs up the motivation. Put on that song, watch their talk and do this every day! 

 

10. Review and Adjust

 

Did you accomplish what you set out to achieve? Don’t put yourself down when you experience set backs, just make adjustments for the next month, or create a few extra tasks. Always try to keep moving forward. If you find yourself struggling week by week, review and adjust your goals and to-dos. It could just be that you’ve been overambitious or created a path that’s a little bit too complicated. A smaller win beats no progress any day. 

 

HOW TO ACTION: At the end of each month review your progress and make adjustments where you need to. You should always be keeping track or what you’ve done and what you haven’t. Also hold quarterly reviews with your accountability partner if you can. 

 
10 Easy ways to upgrade your CV

 

 

Whichever industry you’re applying for, a CV will always matter. And even if you’ve managed to secure a job interview thanks to networking and connections, you’ll still have to hand over a piece of paper that formally lists your experience and credentials. Here’s 10 easy ways to upgrade your CV, so you can concentrate on nailing your job interview.

 

1. ALWAYS proofread and then proofread again! 

 

It’s a total no-brainer, but there’s nothing more off putting to a hiring manger than a typo in a CV. So always proofread it. And then have your mum read it, your best friend read it, your flatmate read it, and your uncle read it. Typos and grammar mistakes happen, even with spell check turned on! But they don’t need to prevent you from getting a job. 

 

2. Always save as a PDF

 

Lots of hiring managers say that their biggest pet peeve is receiving CVs that are oddly formatted. Saving and sending your CV as a PDF is the bare minimum of professionalism, so if you haven’t got into the habit of doing this yet, we recommend you start now. 

 

3. Include appropriate links 

 

In this digital age, you should expect recruiters to asses you based on your digital life. It’s always helpful if you add a link to your LinkedIn profile, as well as your twitter handle or Instagram account, especially if you’re an influencer who has built up a big network. Including this information on your CV shows you understand that your online life is one more part of how you present yourself. 

 

4. Delete the year you graduated 

 

Employers may see that you graduated a decade ago and consider you too experienced for a position, regardless of whether you changed career paths. Less than five years after graduation may still place you in the novice category. Removing this small detail will help keep the focus on what you can do and how you can benefit the company. 

 

5. Include your name in the file name 

 

Very obvious point, but people frequently send out their CVs without their full name in the file name. It’s really unhelpful to recruiters when they receive a file called “CV2017” or “BusinessNameCV.” Make yours easy to distinguish from others. We suggested including your full name with an underscore, and the word CV (FirstName_LastName_CV.pdf) so that whoever is looking for the file knows automatically just what they’re going to get. 

 

6. Get keyword savvy 

 

Many CVs will be scanned before they even get into the hands of an actual human being at a company. Choose SEO-optimised words for your industry. We suggest looking at the job profile and using as many of those words as possible. For example, if you’re applying for a position as a marketing manager and the job descriptions states it’s looking for a candidate that has CMS and marketing automation experience, make sure the CV you’re submitting contains those words. When it comes to an in-person interview, you can hand over a more creative, less jargon-driven version. 

 

7. Delete “references on request”

 

It takes up space on your CV and it’s pretty obvious. If they want a reference, they’re going to request one if you’ve spelled it out on your CV or not. Other obvious lines to delete include: The fact you’re familiar with Microsoft Word or Excel - in this day and age, that’s like saying you know how to use a smartphone. CV experts are split when it comes to lines offering hobbies or interests. If you’re going to include them (or to fill in this part on LinkedIn) make sure you choose something that shows you’re a great candidate. For example, marathon training shows dedication. Seeking out the best food truck burger? Not so much. 

 

8. Use hard numbers

 

Grew web traffic by 30%? Increased a Facebook audience by 200,000? Whatever it is, using numbers has much more of an impact than just words. 

 

9. Never go to page two 

 

This goes without saying, but your CV should never be more than one page, especially if you’re a new uni graduate. But even if you’re 10 years or more into your career, you should still be carefully editing your CV so it still fits on a single sheet of paper. Your current job should get the most room on the page, and you should provide fewer and fewer details for those first jobs and internships, eventually removing the least relevant ones altogether. 

 

10. Add variety to your verbs

 

In 2013, Careerbuilder conducted a survey of hiring managers and asked them to identify which CV words and phrases are cliche and which ones get their attention. Do you have “think outside the box” on there? Time to delete that one! Among the top 15 most liked phrases are action verbs like “create” and “achieve.” While “manages” isn’t the most thrilling of words, it does clearly state what you did and is much better than “worked.”

 

Just remember the golden rule, don’t rely too heavily on a thesaurus and fall into the trap of misusing a word. Nothing will turn a hiring manager off quicker!

 
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