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We deliver the best recruitment news and advice to the Tax, Legal, Finance, HR and Marketing sectors, including market updates, CV tips, interview advice, and exclusive interviews.

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Using a Recruiter to Your Advantage

Whatever stage you are at in your career, whether you are Tax Trainee or Tax Partner, having the right people help you in your corner when looking for a new role can be instrumental to the success of your career. The right consultant can help you with every aspect of your job search, and there are key points which can make your journey with a recruiter beneficial and effective. Most important, however, is ensuring you choose a reliable and credible recruiter and make the most out of the relationship. Having been in the recruitment industry for a number of years now, I do know that there is often a certain notoriety when it comes to the recruitment industry (which is sometimes fair). Scrolling through LinkedIn usually tells a very sinister story! Undoubtedly there are always some shocking stories out there (and believe me I have heard a few!) but there are also firms and recruitment consultants who can really make your job search a positive experience, and there are things you can do as a candidate to make using a recruiter work for you. 1) Transparency On occasion, candidates will be very reluctant to divulge certain information that is essential to help them. Think about it, you are asking for a recruiter to approach people in your industry and represent you as the best candidate possible. We're going to be intrusive, want to know every last detail about your career and your requirements. How else do you expect us to represent you in the best possible light to prospective employers without this information and to ensure we approach relevant firms? This is your career we are talking about and to support you I need to know as much as possible. 2) Think of where we add value Fundamentally we're here to provide a service to you. We help to make you better at applying to jobs. This is a crucial message I try to deliver as a recruiter when I talk to any candidate. For example, some of the key areas where I can add significant value to your job process are: Market Expertise – Working across a specialised marketplace, I can give you inside knowledge on what the market has to offer from an employment perspective. Who pays best? Who offers most flexibility? Where are you going to reach your career pinnacle?   Managing Processes – I'm able to manage all your applications and your diary for interviews whilst ensuring you have one point of contact, processing everything in one call rather than five. This saves you a huge amount of time and makes sure distractions to your current working commitments are kept to a minimum. Negotiations – Negotiating can be difficult and stressful, especially when it's your personal finances at stake and when you don’t know who you're negotiating with. As a recruiter, I can manage this on your behalf. We use our relationships with the employer to your advantage to get you the best possible outcome, removing all unnecessary stress. 3) Exclusivity I'm confident that anyone reading this has their own “nightmare recruiter story” and will, in a number of cases, have used a number of agencies rather than one. Exclusivity is, in my view, the best approach. Having said that, don’t just pick anyone, believe it or not, we are not all the same! Exclusivity prevents duplicate applications, prevents multiple phone calls and prevents the “tug of war” scenario where you don’t know who to believe when considering multiple options. I’ve been there myself, I know it’s an absolute nightmare but learning that lesson could well be costly career-wise! But the major benefit in my mind is that if you choose the right recruiter for you, it will absolutey save you time, effort and stress as they can manage your search for you. We will keep you abreast of where each application is at, feedback and advice. You will not be speaking to multiple consultants. You are busy enough, let us take the stress away from you.   4) Find out about your recruiter You are going to enter into a world full of different people, offering conflicting approaches and contrasting methods of finding you your next job. Yet when I speak to candidates for the first time, it’s very rare they ask questions about myself or my firm. Ask your recruiter questions, find out what they have to offer, how they intend to approach the market, what their opinion is. That initial phone call is essential to assessing the credibility, competence and talent of the person you're entrusting your professional future with! Form a job search strategy with them, see if they understand what you're looking for and be selective in who you work with. A good recruiter will instil confidence that they are the best person to help you with your next career move. Make sure you assess them thoroughly!   5) Make sure that they have an action plan for you. Here at Pro-Tax we will do things the right way, in that after our call we will send you a copy of our action plan, live roles we are sending your CV to, clients we will approaching. It is so important (in this day and age with GDPR) to have full control of you CV/profile and where it ends up. We will not send you CV without your permission, that is important for you in this candidate tight market. Summary These are just some key points that I know from experience, on both sides of the fence, has helped make a candidate journey with a recruiter effective and beneficial rather than disastrous and damaging. The fundamental theme comes down to trust, respect and honesty between all concerned. This is the fundamental starting to point to any successful business relationship, isn’t it? There are poor recruiters in our industry but tell me an industry that doesn’t have bad people/firms operating within it? Take the provisions from the start, complete you due-diligence to make sure you work with the good recruiters and receive the best service from them! I hope that has helped, for advice on your CV and to discuss the tax market in general. Please feel free to reach out at kevin.racher@pro-tax.co.uk or call 020 7269 6321 or any of the Pro-Tax consultants.

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5 Ways You Can Benefit From Using A Boutique Tax Recruitment Agency

It can be difficult to know which tax recruiter to use when hiring or looking for your next role. You have an array of options that range from working with large organisations that operate internationally, through to partnering with a local specialist tax recruiter in London. There are, of course, pros and cons to each type of recruitment agency. Here at Pro-Tax, we have over 12 years specialising in tax recruitment - here are some of the advantages of using a specialist tax recruiter, whether you are looking for a job or you looking to hire a tax professional. ​ 1. Tax is what they do! As a professional:  You are best placed to use a specialist tax recruiter as all of the Consultants are trained specifically in tax - they only work in tax and are not distracted by other specialist areas. As an organisation: You are safe in the knowledge that a boutique tax recruiter will channel all of their marketing budget into attracting tax professionals. You’ll find that larger finance recruiters, who manage their tax teams as a sub-sector, will focus spend on the more dominant areas of finance, as tax can be deemed as less valuable to the wider organisation. Overall, the knowledge, the database and the network of a specialist tax recruiter is far deeper than a generalist.   2. Personal touch As a professional: You know that the team you are talking to all know what they are doing. You have a team of dedicated tax recruiters all working with the best organisations to bring new jobs and opportunities to the table, therefore giving you access to the wider tax market. In larger firms, the sole tax specialist is very thinly spread and will struggle to cover all of the market. As an organisation:   You can feel confident that you have a team of steadfast tax recruiters all searching for the best tax professionals to suit your opening. In larger firms, quite often you will find that the Managing Director pitches for the business which is then handed to a less experienced consultant to source the talent. When you work with a specialist tax recruiter, the consultant you liaise with will own the whole project to deliver the best possible outcomes.    3. Practical experience at every level Ordinarily, specialist tax recruiters are start-ups. The majority of the time they are owned by experienced recruiters who are good at what they do. They bring with them a wealth of expertise across extensive networks, as well as contacts and years of experience. This enables them to not only match the best talent with the best opportunities in the tax market but also train their teams with the best practice recruitment approach.   4. Flexibility and adaptability Because specialist tax recruiters tend to be smaller businesses, there is less red tape to adhere to. Obviously, they still adhere to codes of conduct. They can offer a bespoke recruitment service depending on what it is that you are looking for. So whether you’re looking for an In-House Tax Manager in commerce or a Tax Partner in practice, boutique recruiters can be flexible and make decisions quickly to tailor how they work with you. Pro-Tax is members of APSCO and each of our consultants are affiliated with the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP). This means we are dedicated to maintaining and developing recruitment standards as well as continuously adapting to regulations in the recruitment landscape.   5. Partnership With specialist agencies, you are not just another business or person to add to our database. Smaller firms value every single organisation and professional they work with, and will partner with you to achieve your recruitment requirements. As a professional: Every person we register is so important to us. As a tax professional looking for a job, we know how much it means to search for the best opportunities and to take that leap into a new business. We pride ourselves on doing the right thing, we want you to recommend us to your friends and colleagues and if we don’t do a very good job, you won’t do that. As an organisation: At Pro-Tax, we don’t manage huge contractor projects with volume recruitment. Yes, we work with large business and global names across practice, industry, and the financial services, but all of these roles are unique and managed on a case-by-case basis. Every organisation we work with, we treat as a long-term partnership. Our goal is to help you achieve your goal in recruiting the best talent.   For more information or to speak to our specialist tax recruiters about your recruiting needs as either a tax professional or an organisation, contact Alison Humphries on 020 7269 6312 or alison.humphries@pro-tax.co.uk.

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How Will Your Boss Try to Keep You?

It might seem counterintuitive to think about your resignation or exit interview at the very start of your job search. However, failing to know what might be done to try and keep you can cause issues later down the line and adversely take from your relations, time and even obscure your ability to make an informed decision upon receiving a counteroffer. A recent example of a counteroffer situation. What went wrong? How could problems be avoided from the start? The bottom line. Let's use a recent example of a counteroffer situation for a valued Tax Manager (in-house):  Over the last month, Joe has undergone a 4-stage process. Joe’s Head of Tax has allowed him to have several half-days for ‘dentist appointments’, ‘airport trips’ and the like. It paid off because excitedly, Joe accepts a great offer for a company and role which really ticks their boxes. While excited to join their new company, Joe is nervous for ‘resignation Friday’ as they have a great relationship with the Head of Tax, and Joe has no idea how it will be taken. Joe would also be keen to minimise their notice period; however, the busy season is coming up and Joe knows that without their support in what is already a small team, workload demands will be too high. Joe’s resignation catches the Head of Tax by surprise. He reacts emotionally with a near-refusal. The Head of Tax composes themselves over the weekend and then sits Joe down. He says he does not want to lose Joe and asks, “what can we do to keep you?”. Joe has a transparent and cathartic discussion, venting what made them look elsewhere. The Head of Tax thanks Joe for the insight, and with a laugh of relief says he had no idea these problems existed. The Head of Tax assures Joe that now out in the open, all the highlighted issues can be fixed. However, he can’t put together a counteroffer or new job description overnight, so asks Joe to delay their resignation by just a week or two. Joe explains that this is not possible, as the countdown needs to begin for their (already 3-month) notice period and their new employer cannot wait any longer. Four weeks later, the Head of Tax comes back to Joe with one hell of a counteroffer. He has sponsored Joe to the C-Suite and upped their base salary by £30,000. He promises to gradually redefine Joe’s responsibilities over the next year and get them involved in new projects to tee Joe into the Head of Tax role. Moreover, the Head of Tax promises to be more attentive in the future to address such issues right away. At this point, the shiny excitement for the new company subsides and Joe struggles to even remember their original reason for leaving. Now, Joe is back to the stress of deciding between two offers once more, and everybody is looking to him for an answer. What went wrong here? Most companies do not ask “what will we need to do to keep you?” every day. Pretty much exclusively, this question is reserved for resignations or exit interviews when a counteroffer is being formed. However, asking this crucial question so late in the game raises several issues, regardless of which route Joe chooses. 1. The trust with Joe’s Head of Tax has been tarnished. If Joe decides to stay, there will likely be an almost too friendly relational strain in future. Their boss might be always smiling, happy and attentive because they’re not 100% secure that you’re going to voice issues right away or stick around in the longer term. Equally, If Joe follows their decision to leave, they need to maintain good relationships with former colleagues – ideally, this includes not needing to have deceived previous line managers! 2. Joe has wasted time. If Joe accepts the counteroffer to stay, then they have invested the month on interviews and preparations, days off and energy into a process which led nowhere. Equally, if Joe stays true to their decision to leave, they have given their boss no time for succession planning/interim support to get them through the busy season, meaning Joe will likely be held to their full notice period. 3. Joe has stakeholders depending on them, with reputations on the line. Joe has one team who is keen for them to join and one team which understands them as leaving. Joe also has two line managers who are counting on them for upcoming demands, with no backup resources in place. Additionally, Joe has a recruiter network where lengthy and in-depth conversations have taken place on why this is the right move for them. In this situation, whether Joe stays or goes, they will be letting people down. 4. The emotional involvement makes it difficult for Joe to make a clear decision. As Joe’s boss didn’t see the resignation coming, it is difficult to tell which counteroffer promises hold weight and which are fuelled by emotion/desperation for having no ‘Plan B’ in place. With an accepted offer and a tempting counteroffer on the table, whether Joe stays or goes, they will have the uncertainty when looking back and asking the question “what if…?” – a question often coupled by regret. How can we avoid all of this from the start? Here are three calls to action to manage counteroffers from the start in a way which keeps the trust with your boss, makes the most of your time, manages stakeholders and helps you make the right decision: 1. Know your RFL – and never lose sight of it. Defining your RFL. Any recruiter worth their salt will build a working relationship with your reason(s) for leaving (RFL). Your RFL will fuel your motivations for joining the next employer. Of course, it might be the case that you are not actively looking. Perhaps the thing(s) you would change about your work are not substantial enough to warrant a full-blown search elsewhere. In instances where you have been headhunted for example, you may not feel like you have a fundamental RFL. However, your interviewer will want to know what prompted you to consider a new role in the first place (which will be taken as the same). Get your RFL on paper. It might be the case that after receiving your initial headhunt call, just one aspect of the opportunity seemed interesting or shiny compared to your current role. However, after completing three rounds of company research/interviews, the differences between the roles may be sizeable enough for you to have an entire list of ‘pros and cons’ between your options. At this point, realities can become a little blurred as to why you were prompted to look externally in the first place. A good CV will briefly detail your reason for applying, so framing your RFL in relation to this could help you reflect on this later down the line. 2. Consider your counteroffer before resigning. Know what you would need to stay. It is wise to be realistic about your pull factors and what your boss would need to do to keep you. Either your boss can change what you need, or they cannot – it really is that simple. If your boss can do something to keep you, then it makes sense to pitch for the change(s) before investing in a lengthy selection process and resigning (perhaps unnecessarily). If your boss cannot remedy your RFL – ask yourself what you will lose by giving them the chance to try? It might be that your company can sponsor your case to change things in a way you did not anticipate. Get time on your side. As we can see in Joe’s case, counteroffers routinely take time to conjure. It might be that your boss does not have the power to change the structure, budget, or whatever your RFL is overnight. However, it may be the case they will stick their neck on the line to sponsor your case to their boss, the CFO and HR – which can take time. Assuming you are on a 3-month notice period, tendering an unanticipated resignation might mean you only receive a counteroffer 2 months-in. By this point, you’ll have your industry reputation on the line with external ‘Heads of’ who are looking forward to having you on board. Bite the bullet. Depending on the situation, requesting change(s) to your employment terms may seem an uncomfortable conversation to have. However, if we compare this conversation to the one you would be having if resigning without giving your boss the respect/opportunity to change things, then it becomes a walk in the park. Of course, you might not accept an offer elsewhere and so may not need to resign at all. However, by having these conversations in advance you might be able to fix the snags which had you interviewing elsewhere in the first place. Avoiding the topic of desired change(s) will not make the topic go away when resignation time comes, so best not to make excuses and bite the bullet. Take the emotion from the situation with a transparent counteroffer. Whether you believe you can be kept or not, voicing the need for change(s) will mean less surprise for your boss when resignation time finally comes. This ‘unsurprised boss’ scenario brings several advantages by fundamentally removing the emotion from the exit interview. For instance, asking for change(s) without a resignation means you can assess the capacity for change (this is the counteroffer before resigning) with greater transparency than when promises are fuelled by shock or desperation. 3. If you consider a counteroffer – consider your original RFL (not the money!) Bet on receiving a salary-based counteroffer. Overall, tax is a candidate-scarce market. Depending on your seniority level, finding the successor for your current position could cost your employer tens of thousands in search fees alone, before considering the time and resources spent on managing the interim. With these costs in mind, for your line manager not to try and tempt you into staying with an increased salary might indicate that something was not quite right in the first place. An increased salary might help the cash in your pocket – but set back your career. Providing a financial solution to a non-financial problem means that your original RFL will inevitably pop up again down the line (perhaps sooner rather than later). Let’s say for instance Joe settles for the whopping counteroffer of £30,000. After 6 months, Joe’s initial RFL will inevitably rear its ugly head once more. However, at this point, Joe’s “higher than market rate” salary will have priced them out of the market compared to other candidates at the same level. From here, Joe has the option to either enter selection processes where other candidates had seemingly progressed faster (who are cheaper), or Joe will need to take a considerable pay cut (which can raise warning flags to some employers right away). The bottom line                                                                                 Considering counteroffers after resignations are tendered often results in a no-win situation.  Practically, however, if you’re reading this, it is likely the case that you have progressed with interviews already. My advice in either instance would be to avoid the hastiness of thinking “there’s nothing my boss could do to keep me” and be realistic about your pull factors. Biting the bullet now to have conversations with your line manager on necessary changes will save time, energy, reputation and clarity upon making an informed decision. The question you need to ask yourself if considering the counterproposition is “what will fundamentally change about my employment and how will this remedy my original reason for leaving in the future?”. Unfortunately, the bottom line is that generally, counteroffers do not work. Typically, we hear from candidates who accept a counteroffer within 3-6 months once their initial reason for leaving pops up once more. Near-exclusively, these people regret not making the move previously when they find that an increased salary/false promises left them in a less favourable position from when they started their search. For more information on this article or to discuss your recruiting needs, contact Jay Sky on 020 7269 6343 or jay.sky@pro-tax.co.uk.

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Working With a Recruitment Agency vs. Going Direct

Here at Pro-Group, our expert recruitment consultants often get asked the question - “Why should I use an agency?”. This is a fair enough question for people who have historically gone direct to their employers, and aren’t aware of the numerous benefits that working with a recruitment agency can bring. Whatever stage you are at in your career, having the right people helping you in your job search can bring many benefits and make all the difference when it comes to finding the right role for you. Recruitment consultants can streamline your whole jobseeking process, source new opportunities that suit your career aspirations, and help you with every aspect of job searching, from inside knowledge from years of relationship building to interview preparation tips. So, what are the main benefits of working with a recruitment agency? 1.      You are not restricted to only apply to “live” vacancies Whilst job seekers looking to apply directly have to wade through the internet looking for companies that are hiring for live roles, recruitment agencies have spent years building relationships with the decision-makers of these firms, meaning we know what they want, even if they aren’t publicly recruiting for it. This is probably one of the biggest benefits of working with an agency, being able to interview for roles that other people can’t. 2.     We ask the questions that you don’t want to Feel the salary is too low? Want to know how many people are interviewing for the role? Keen to know what the interview will entail? Interested in what benefits they offer? These are all questions that you might not want to ask in an interview, but we are happy to find out for you, leaving more time for you to concentrate on getting it right in the interviews. 3.     Fail to prepare, prepare to fail A good recruiter knows their client and knows what that client is looking for. This allows us to prepare you prior to interviews for everything that the interview process involves (technically and competency-based), and for everything the client might like (or dislike) personally. Interview preparation is massively helpful and having the inside scoop could be the deciding factor in you getting the role over the candidate who went direct. 4.     Efficiency Finding a job takes time and effort, why not let us take the brunt of that? We understand that you still have to work and maintain a personal life, and working with us saves you time and energy by letting you concentrate on what matters, your performance in the interviews themselves. These are just some of the key benefits of using an agency, but there are so many ways that working with a recruiter can give you a competitive edge. If you are interested in finding out more about how we can help you in your job search, get in touch! For more information about this article, or to speak to Kate about your recruiting needs or Finance jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her on 020 7269 6363 or kate.green@pro-finance.co.uk.

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How To Close That Interview

So you’ve got the interview- good start. But now it’s time to get the job, and everything you say in the interview is crucial, so don’t neglect the standard “Do you have any questions for me?”. It’s incredible how many people spend hours preparing for interviews, do really well during the meeting itself and then get to the end only to say, “No, no questions, I think we have covered everything”. What does that say to the potential employer? Because from a recruiter’s point of view, I think it says “I’m not that interested" or "I just have not prepared". In reality, you are interviewing the role and the company just as much as they are interviewing you! This process is a two-way street - you need to come out of that interview and think "that's the best place for me", and the best way to know that is to ask focused questions and find out as much as possible about the role you will potentially be accepting. In my opinion, there are always questions that you could ask, whether it be about the culture of the team you will b working with, the future of the firm, the firm's specific client base, or even the background and career journey of the person you are meeting. So what questions could you ask at the end of an interview? My advice would be to formulate open-ended questions that you know won’t be covered by most interviews. Try to steer clear of "yes" or "no" questions, and avoid asking too much about salary and benefits in the initial interview stages. The likelihood is that the main part of the interview will involve talking about you as an individual, your relevant experience and the role itself, which leaves plenty of questions to ask which leave a good impression and build rapport. The chances are that at least one of these questions will not be covered by your interview: “Can you tell me about the structure of the team?" “Can you give me an example of some recent projects you have worked on?" (this will bring the role to life!) "What would be my goals/objectives for the first 6 - 9 - 12 months?" “I see you have come from a larger/smaller company, what was the transition like?” “What would my career path be like with this company?” "Where do you think the company is headed in the next 5 years?" "Can you tell me about the team's culture?" (this will give you a chance to find out about the fun stuff!) Questions like the above show that you have done your research, looked into who you will be meeting and show that you are genuinely interested in joining them. Fingers crossed you will have multiple interviews, so the above questions are going to help you determine that this is the right firm for you! Just remember- first impressions count but it is how you leave the meeting that will leave a lasting impression, and smart, well-thought-out questions may just show that you are the perfect hire. For more interview tips, or for jobs in London or Nationwide, contact Kevin on 020 7269 6321 or kevin.racher@pro-tax.co.uk.

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Mental Health at Work

Did you know that 91 million working days are lost each year in the UK, due to mental ill-health? This includes stress, depression and anxiety. This figure outweighs more than any other illnesses in the UK. It is evident that problems surrounding mental health in the workplace have been prevalent for a long while, with shocking findings revealed in the “Thriving at Work Report” commissioned by Theresa May back in December 2017. One in four people will experience a mental health problem each year, and as many as 300,000 people a year lose their jobs due to long-term mental health conditions, costing the UK’s employers over 42 billion pounds annually. So what are the reasons behind these worrying statistics? According to mental health campaigners, evidence suggests it is due to a lack of support and understanding from our employers, and these figures really got me thinking about how we can improve the state of the country’s mental health, particularly in the workplace. Having moved to Pro-Group from another recruitment company, I considered the reasons why I chose to join Pro. Other than the obvious reasons in terms of the role itself, a huge part of my choice came down to personal happiness. Pro seemed to follow the philosophy that a happier workforce is, indeed, a healthier and more productive one.   So where can our employers find inspiration to make the workplace happier and hopefully, as a result, healthier? Rather than simply focusing on the UK workforce, my mind wandered to the rest of the world. I was interested to find out which countries are home to the happiest people and why. What could the UK learn from these countries? Could we be doing something differently? Or, thinking like a stereotypical Brit, could it simply be a matter of sunnier climates further afield that make a country a happier place to live and work? For a nation who famously would rather talk about the weather, isn’t it time we opened up about the issues that are really getting us down? Why is mental health still such a taboo subject for us Brits? Whilst considering this, I came across something called “The World Happiness Report” (Yes, that’s really a thing!) This landmark survey was conducted by The United Nations and released in March this year, and focused on happiness and community: how happiness has evolved over the past dozen years and how information technology, governance and social norms influence communities and the happiness of individuals. Professor John Helliwell, co-editor of the report, has said that 'how communities interact with each other whether in schools, workplaces, neighbourhoods or on social media has profound effects on world happiness.' When it came to the results of the report, Europe dominated the happiest countries globally and Nordic countries dominated Europe - with Finland scoring first place but all five Nordic countries making the top ten. Perhaps surprisingly considering the socio-economic and political climate the UK has witnessed in recent years, we climbed to 15th position this year! I wondered how closely happiness and a healthy mind are related, particularly in this day and age and interestingly, it appears that in the wealthiest countries in the world, mental health was considered an imperative factor in the personal happiness of the country’s population. More so, even, than income, employment, or physical health. Famous for his outlandish and often pioneering concepts, Sir Richard Branson recently announced that he would be offering his staff “unlimited annual leave”. His reasons for this being that it would improve productivity, creativity and employee morale. Indeed, recent research conducted by the CIPD supports this idea, with the majority of UK workers saying flexible working was important to them. More and more companies are beginning to offer extended holiday allowance and flexible working arrangements to their employees, and countries like Germany and Sweden have even experimented with shorter, 6-hour working days and have reported a reduction in sick days and an increase in productivity. Something which is becoming increasingly popular, particularly in smaller companies, is allowing pets in the office! 34% of those who work in an office which permits pets were found to be happier and healthier, and 86% say pets at work reduce stress. Somewhat closer to home, mentioning no names of course - we have an employee suggestion forum here at Pro-Group. One idea recently pitched, was an annual “duvet day” allowance, so that staff could simply call in a rest day if they felt they really needed it. Madness? Or a necessary progression to suit our modern times? Are these ideas something we seriously need to consider in order to improve our mental health as a nation?   Going back to the figures I mentioned earlier – mental health-related issues are costing the country’s employers a massive amount each year. Bearing a large amount of the responsibility of advising on these matters, are very often the UK’s HR professionals. As a specialist recruiter in the HR market, I’m interested to find out what challenges HR professionals are facing in relation to this topic and what their recommendations would be for employers to improve the mental health of their workforce. Let’s put our minds to some positive use and start talking about mental health in the workplace. For more information about this article, or to speak to Claire about your recruiting needs, contact her on 020 7269 6351 or email claire.stradling@pro-recruitment.co.uk.

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7 Steps To Getting A Promotion In Your Legal Career

Do you think it’s time for your promotion? The thing to note about career progression is that you’ll need more than simply the correct experience. Knowing what else you need to address with your employer, as well as how to bring the issue up, can be the key to getting your desired outcome from the conversation. Here are 7 handy steps you can take to get the promotion you’re after to propel your legal career. 1. Ask your employer The first thing to do is make sure you’ve stated your aspirations to your manager in clear terms. Set up a meeting with the appropriate authority to talk about your career, and the direction you’d like to take it in. Make clear how you see yourself progressing, and offer an ideal timeframe. Letting your employer know what your goals are may further incline them to move you up when the opportunity arises. An ideal conversation would also expose you to the opportunities currently available within your organisation. This should help you plan your next move. Generally, higher positions will involve greater freedom and autonomy, but also greater responsibility. You can’t go wrong by requesting greater responsibilities. Signalling a wish to do more important work should make your intentions clear in a non-obtrusive way. The old saying goes: ask and you shall receive. The first step, then, is to ask. 2. Sell yourself If asking alone got us the results we wanted, we would all be living out fully idealised lives. You need to do more than just ask – you need to display your credentials. Take notes of the work you’ve done to help your firm reach its strategic goals. Keep these achievements in a log, and make them prominent during your meeting with your manager. Beware: stating that you simply deserve to be moved up is by itself not a good tactic. Showing why you’re an important asset to the firm is better. Basically, you need to quantify your results. You might even show them some of your lesser-known accomplishments. Try to promote yourself in a way that also casts your colleagues in a better light. 3. Acquire additional skills Often, your current experience may not cover the requirements for a promoted position. Some positions you would like may require additional qualifications or skills, required even for internal applicants. Find out what these requirements are and take matters into your own hands by acquiring them. As technological skills change rapidly, you need an ever-increasing skill set to keep up and stay ahead of the game. Spending extra time to learn new things for a role you want is almost always worth it. If for some reason you miss the promotion, you’ll still have gained a new skill to add to your CV, which will help you if you choose to seek a new job. 4. Move sideways Instead of keeping your eyes on the role above you, perhaps try looking to the side. Sometimes a movement to a different but related niche or a different role at your same level may be a more lucrative career move. Not every promotion involves a direct movement upwards. This is especially useful in cases where someone directly above you is blocking your progression. Trying new responsibilities may even come with a pay rise or more flexible hours. You’ll gain new skills and expand your portfolio, which better equips you for when it’s time to move up. 5. Start asking questions Building a strong team allows managers to outsource expertise to their employees. As an employee, you should ask your questions to demonstrate your own value. There’s no creed that dictates employees must agree unequivocally with everything managers say. At times, it’s better to be inquisitive. But there has to be a balance: interested is not the same as irritating. Learn how to inquire with integrity, with the correct backup, and when to continue. 6. Realise your shortcomings It’s easy to take credit when things go well. Showing that you’re able to take blame when things go wrong, however, is a greater display of responsibility. It’s generally nicer to admit to your own failures and work on them, rather than hear about them from someone else. When things aren’t running smoothly, communicate this with your manager in a professional manner. The next step is to make clear how you’ll improve the situation, and show willingness to tackle it. Promotions are about accountability just as much as pay rises. Prove your accountability and maturity, and the rewards will come. 7. Keep working hard Amidst all this, it’s important to keep a cool head and remain focused on the work you’ve been currently delegated. Taking time to consider greater goals and larger-scale projects is useful, but not at the expense of your day job! Promotions are rarely certain. If you struggle with your current work, you’ll have a harder time convincing those above you that you’re suited for more senior responsibilities.   If you feel like you’re stuck in a position with no progression, the industry experts here at Pro-Legal can help you find your next career move.  For more information about this article, or to speak to Tamara about your recruiting needs or Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her on 02072696368 or tamara.salem@pro-legal.co.uk.

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London or Local? The Pros and Cons

So it's Monday morning, and once again we're pushing our way through half-asleep commuters on the daily travel into London. We are all packed into what seems like a human sardine can on our way to our jobs in London. It was on this morning, whilst I stood there being propped up by a businessman and a builder, I came to realise that I am not the first to have this thought, is the commute really worth it? Money, money, money Let's be honest, money is the reason a lot of people commute into London and probably the most important factor when considering where to live and work, but here are a few other things to consider: Salary bands are often higher in London Rent prices are often lower outside of the City The cost to commute into London There are clearly a few options here and depending on various factors such as salary and expenses, any of the following could work for you: Live regionally but work in London - rent is a lot cheaper and your salary will still be at a premium, although travel costs may be significant Live and work in London - save money on travel but use a lot of that top end salary on higher rent prices Live and work regionally - generally earn considerably less but benefit from cheaper housing prices. The problem is that with less public transport, comes the need to potentially own a car, another sizeable cost. Time is of the essence The next thing to consider is the time it takes you to get to work. Working locally gives you the flexibility to drive to work, but do the local roads become a huge jam at 8am and 6pm? Will finding that elusive parking space add to your morning stresses? The commute into London isn’t so straightforward either. Do you live near a rail station? Does that go straight into central London or do you need to change? When you get to Central London, how far from the office are you? Do you need to take multiple tubes to get to work from the rail station? The Verdict With everyone’s situation being different, it is clear that different routines work for different people but you can always make an informed decision if you know all the facts. My advice would be to gain an understanding of salary differences in London compared to where you live and then look at the financial impact that both options have on your life. If you're commuting, it may be worth examining your current salary to balance the time and money. Factor in commute options and you can start to build a picture of which option works best for you. Considering the amount of time that we spend at work, I am of the opinion that we should ensure that we are happy not just in our jobs but getting to and from them as well. For more information about this article, or if you'd like to discuss career options in Finance in London or regionally, please contact Tom Eagle on 020 7269 6349 or email him at tom.eagle@pro-finance.co.uk

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The Real Reason You Should Be Taking That Headhunt Call

Are you bombarded with phone calls and Linkedin InMails from headhunters? Do you ignore the messages coming through? Well, now it may be time to rethink your stance on headhunters. If you are being actively headhunted it is usually because you have experience that is highly in demand in the market and you stand out from the crowd. Here is a guide as to why you should take that call. A good recruiter who has genuine opportunities will tailor their approach as they (or their client) have identified and highlighted you as a key candidate. They will have read your profile and done their research to make sure they are coming to you with options that will be of interest based on your experience. Make sure you investigate their background and experience too. If they are approaching you from a brand known in the market and have a credible history and expertise recruiting into your market, then they should be able to give you information and advice on the market. Headhunters are speaking to your peers and competitors every single day so even if you are happy in your role you can at least benchmark yourself against others who are similar and understand market trends. Good headhunters are not just looking to make a ‘quick fee’ and sell you a role you do not want, but to build a relationship with you for the future. They want to understand your motivators and drivers and have serious discussions about your career and how to take it forward. They will be wanting to give you access to opportunities that match your needs both now and, in the future, and become your trusted advisor cementing their reputation and brand within their specialist market. Quite often headhunters are given roles before they go out to market. If you have a good relationship with that headhunter, you will be finding out about potential career opportunities before the rest of the market knows about them, and if they are working with their clients on a retained or exclusive basis to hire the top talent in the market this may be your only chance to hear about the opportunity. You may be looking for a new role but have not seen anything advertised. Make sure you are upfront and honest with your headhunter as they can go to their clients on your behalf and discuss bespoke roles to you.  Your dream job may even be created for you if you utilise your headhunters network to get in front of them. You may not be on the market now, but in your career, that is likely to change. The headhunter you have ignored for the last two years may now be your only way to get the job of your dreams. Even if you are not interested in a conversation now, you may be in the future, so be honest with the headhunter about your career plans.  Having conversations early and making your headhunter aware of where you want to be, means they will be able to come to you with the right opportunities as and when they arise. Even if you decide not to go take the conversation further, you have built your network for the future.   If you are not getting headhunted then look out for my next article on how to make your profile stand out and become more attractive to recruiters and get yourself headhunted. If you're looking to make a move in your  tax, legal, finance, HR or marketing career, or open to exploring opportunities in recruitment, please call Loren von Sternberg on 020 7269 6358 or email loren@pro-recruitment.co.uk​​​

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The Pros of working for the Big 4

As a Consultant who actively works for a Big 4 client, I am often engaging with candidates who have a perception of the Big 4 which can be very positive and sometimes challenged by candidates who have a negative perception of the Big 4. One common theme I have observed is the lack of understanding of the expectations and culture of the Big 4 environment.  I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the ‘Pros’ of working in a Big 4 environment, as I have invested time to meet with multiple teams at the Big 4 to understand the work, culture and environment which candidates would potentially be working in that I represent to them: Exposure to high ranking client personnel, including executives-  The Big 4 accounting and consulting firms work with the best companies in the world, their clients include every company in the Fortune 500 as well as nearly every company not in the Fortune 500.   Prestigious name to have on your CV-  To have Deloitte, PwC, KPMG, or EY on your resume is a huge boost for you for your entire accounting career.   International Tax opportunities- The Big 4 have offices internationally who work with the most successful multi-national corporations in the world and are able to offer their services in any location that their clients do business in.   Work with specialists and practitioners- You will have the opportunity to work under highly successful, skilled and intelligent people to learn from.   It is easy to get a promotion –you can expect a promotion every 2- 3 years at the Big 4   Flexible dress code- Most of the Big 4 firms allow you to wear casual clothing to the office   Resources- The Big 4 have a lot of resources available as they are very employee orientated (employees generate revenue). Constant Training- The Big 4 firms have yearly training for their employees and have constant webinars to help them stay level with the current accounting industry.   Subscriptions and research tools- These are accessible to support your work and further learning   Flexible working- This is promoted within the culture and remote working is encouraged.   Holidays- you will receive 25 vacation days a year as soon as you start and can buy more within your benefits allowance. Hopefully, this article has provided you with an insight into the benefits gained from working within the Big 4. Always remember that when you are deciding on your next career move, you should always research the firm to ensure it is the right environment for you as it is your career. If you would be interested in learning more please do not hesitate to contact me. Reference :http://www.big4guide.net/who-are-the-big-4/pros/      

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The 6 Biggest CV Mistakes

Writing a CV can be a daunting task on the face of it. You have to concisely summarise your entire working life into a few short pages and hope that your personality shines through enough that the HR manager will pick up the phone.  With so much time and effort going into covering every single detail and crafting that perfect paper representation of you, are you missing the bigger picture? Our expert recruiters breakdown the six most common CV mistakes that may be killing your chances at success. 1. “I have good attention to detail” Ahh, one of the most frequently used terms in a CV when describing personal attributes, and what a great attribute to have! However, word of warning, if you are going to use this term make sure there are absolutely no typos in your CV. There’s nothing worse to be claiming to be something you’re not when it comes to applying for jobs. Always proofread your work, then proof it again and then get another set of eyes over it. Simple mistakes say a lot about a person and a huge 43% of hiring managers said they dismiss a CV because it contains typos! 2. Order, Order! It’s always a great idea to put the order of your previous jobs in chronological order, even better when you date them so it’s obvious where you worked, when and how long for. What’s confusing is when there is no order or reason behind the ordering of the past experience. It instantly sends out a bad message and reflects badly on your organisational and communication skills and almost immediately disqualifies you from progressing further. 3. Me, Myself and I One of the biggest bugbears that hiring managers have when looking at CVs is the use of I. Your name is at the top, it is implied that the document is about you and nobody wants to go through the repetition of “I did this” or “I did that”. It’s a surefire way to getting the reader to dismiss your CV almost instantly. Your CV is a factual representation of you be sure to keep it impersonal, concise and accurate. Instead of using “ I automated the hiring process...” opt for “Automated the hiring process…” 4. Tailor Made When writing a CV it’s always a great idea to tailor it to the role or firm that you’re applying to. Unfortunately, when it comes to CVs, one size doesn’t fit all. Whether you’re using a CV template or writing a CV from scratch, to really maximise your chances you need to really spell out the reasons why the hiring manager should choose you and the best way to do this is to match your experience up with the ideal candidate specification. Although it may seem like this may take a long time it is definitely time well spent. 5. OTT While it’s fine to show a bit of personality in a CV do not go over the top. Nearly 40% of respondents in a YouGov poll put poor design down as a reason to disqualify an applicant. So what counts as over the top? Unusual fonts for one. Stick with Arial, 11pt in black. Easily read, smart and formal it’s always a winner with recruiters. What paper should you use? Easy, white A4, that’s it. Do you need any snazzy borders to jazz it up? Absolutely not. Remember this is a professional document with the aim of selling you in a few seconds. You’ll definitely stand out using unusual formats, fonts and colours but not in the way that you want. Bullet points are your friend here. They’re to the point (no pun intended), easy to read and are great for people who are reading in a rush. 6. Honesty is the best policy Nobody likes being lied to. However, with one-third of CVs and job applications containing falsifications, it seems that the majority of applicants feel it is permissible to embellish their experiences to some extent. Now, by no means are we here to judge you, no, no, no we would just strongly advise against it for these reasons. Applicants tend to big up their CVs out of fear that their experience is not impressive enough. However, dishonesty is always risky, whether it is a small fib or a whopping great lie, chances are you will get found out. Companies usually carry out their due diligence and more often than not your white lie is uncovered and your reputation is left in tatters. Who wants to hire an ousted liar? If by some chance you don’t get caught out and get the job you now have to perform at the standard you perpetuated on your CV. This can get extremely awkward and embarrassing… There we have it if you are already avoiding these mistakes you're a CV superstar. If not, then why not? If you’re able to follow these simple steps your CV will be infinitely better. Remember if you need help or a professional point of view then our expert recruitment consultants are always happy to give you a few pointers. For free fully editable and downloadable CV templates go to Dayjob.com, a career advice website that gives job seekers access to 100’s of CV templates and Cover Letter examples. For more information on this article or to speak to Ashleigh about your recruiting needs or jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her on 020 7269 6324 or ashleigh@pro-tax.co.uk.

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Why Working for a Small Charity is a Great Option for you

Having worked with a variety of large and small charities I know the struggles that both organisations can face. A number of challenges are presented to smaller organisations, from recognition and reach, to staff attraction and retention. With only 3% of charity incoming being drawn in by 73% of charity organisations, it is often easy to forget the fantastic work that small charities do. When considering their next career move, a lot of people are attracted by the big charity brands with the largest incomes, but in this article, I’ll explore why the county’s smaller charities should not be ignored and why you should be considering them in your next career move. Niche and focused work This is not to say that larger charities do not engage with crucial and important causes and perform outstanding work, but the reason smaller charities exist is to connect to those who escape the reach of a larger organisation, whether that be demographically, geographically or otherwise. Smaller organisations often emerge to address a local need and engage with a very specific group. In this pursuit, they develop a tremendous passion for their cause. If you have a very specific cause that is close to your heart, you are likely to find likeminded individuals in a small charity. Connection to the cause At a small charity, you will often find yourself connected to the cause you are working for in ways a large charity simply cannot achieve for logistical reasons. Whether you are in marketing, fundraising, HR, or another function, you will likely engage with those you are helping in some capacity. While many people at larger charities can achieve this, it is simply not possible for everybody. If you enjoy engaging with people directly and want to feel closely connected to those you are helping through your work, a smaller charity is likely to provide this for you. Not only are you connected to those you help, but you are connected to those who help you! At a smaller charity, funding is incredibly precious. According to the Small Charities Commission, 97% of charities operate on less than £1m a year, meaning every donation is felt much more strongly. With this in mind, smaller charities can often find themselves forging long lasting and close relationships with their donors, who themselves share an intense passion for the cause. Diversification Whether you are just starting out in your career, or are a veteran in the charity sector, working at a smaller organisation can you offer you such a wide amount of exposure. You may be a fundraiser by title but could easily see yourself running events, getting involved with communications strategy, and drafting material for campaigns. While for some people this may sound like a nightmare, it promises a role that is never the same from one day to the next! If you are not quite sure whether your passion lies truly in fundraising, events, marketing, then a small charity will allow you the freedom to experience the lot. They offer great learning opportunities in your career, and if you have already gained a vast amount of experience a smaller charity would benefit hugely from your knowledge, and you will surely learn a thing or two yourself! Get things done quickly! A lot of people at larger organisations are often frustrated with the amount of red tape in their role. There are numerous people who need to sign off on projects and ideas, and as a result change and innovation can be limited. In smaller charities, a lot of this red tape doesn’t exist. Due to the smaller nature of the teams, ideas can fly and circulate much more quickly, and ideas can turn into results very quickly! If you are a creative individual and want more scope in your role to express this, a smaller organisation will generally allow more opportunity for this. If you are considering your next move and have only considered larger organisations, broaden your horizons to include charities of all sizes! The opportunities that they present may end up surprising you. Get in touch with me to discuss your next move and find out what option is right for you. For more information about this article, or to speak to Nicholas Ogden about your recruiting needs or marketing jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 020 7269 6338 or nicholas.ogden@pro-recruitment.co.uk.

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Falling into my career as a Finance Recruitment Consultant

In 2016, I was working in a bank; bored, unmotivated and unsure of where I was going with my life. I decided finding a role in the city would be the best thing for me and I was interviewing with several other financial institutes when I was invited to an assessment day at Pro-Group where I must have applied for by mistake! This was an assessment to join the Associate Consultant program here at Pro-Finance. I had no intention of finding a sales focused role and thought I would be terrible at it! After succeeding in my application, I fell in love with the company and industry and smashed it out of the park. Fast-forward to today, I am now Managing Consultant here at Pro-Finance, after achieving four promotions, and still progressing in my role. I broke the company record of quickest promotion from Associate Consultant to where I am now, and this was all due to the support provided and determination to succeed. Last year ended with me in the top 3 out of our 60 consultants last year. I was nominated as best newcomer of the year in the coveted Institute of Recruitment Professional awards and celebrated all of this success by earning a place at Pro-Group's annual spring break ski trip in what's been voted the worlds best ski chalet in Les Gets. Naturally, I've earned far more than I could have imagined and have loved the incredible journey I accidentally fell on to. If you are hungry to make something of yourself, with some self-motivation and a good work ethic, you can succeed in this incredible role and do far more than you can probably imagine. Not to mention, this 360-degree position will train you in marketing, sales, branding, pitching, presenting, advertising, negotiating and many more skills to mention. All of which are needed to succeed in almost every profession, a best-selling author is just an author without the sales support behind it. If the above makes sense to you please contact Loren von Sternberg to discuss your move into recruitment at loren@pro-recruitment.co.uk or call 020 7269 6358

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