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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.


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


5 Key Tips for A Successful Video Interview

It is 2019 and times are changing. With technology, social media and gadgets taking over the planet, companies are now thinking of tech-savvy ways to interview their candidates. It is becoming more common for employers to request a video CV rather than meeting face to face, after all, it saves time. Here are some useful tips to help you get ready for your video interview. 1 - Do your research – Preparation is key You want to show the company that you’ve done your research, this is your chance to really show off – make sure you have researched the company, its values and what they specialise in. Showing you have invested time into the process will help you to stand out from others. This gives you the advantage to slip in any facts and figures you may have picked up through your research and really impress your audience. If you have access to the questions, make sure you take notes and get to grips, but overall just make sure you read and follow the instructions carefully. 2 - Choose your location wisely I would highly suggest you plan in advance where you are going to do the video interview. Chose a quiet location, where you are unlikely to be disturbed. Make sure your surroundings are clean and tidy. The background needs to be simple, so the employer can focus on you and only you. (Keep adults, children, and pets away – basically, just lock yourself away!) 3 - Get Technical Ensure that you have a reliable device that you can complete the video interview on. Make sure that the camera quality is clear, and the sound quality is up to scratch. On the day of the video interview, make sure your device is fully charged and connected to the internet to avoid any technological glitches. If your internet at home is untrustworthy, try going to a local library or a friend’s house. 4 - Dress to impress Research the company culture beforehand, this will give you a good idea of what is acceptable to wear and what is not. To be safe, dress as though you are meeting with the director of the company. If you wouldn’t wear it to a real-life interview, then it’s probably not right for a video interview either. Although you are in the comfort of your own home you still want to make a good first impression. Use the theme of ‘business attire’ to opt for a safe option. According to recent research by the top things which make or break an interviewer’s first impression - this doesn't differ for a video interview! A candidate’s timekeeping (96% managers agree this is influential) Level of a candidates interview preparation (93% agree) Ability to hold eye contact (82% agree) Personal appearance (73% agree) 5 - Let your personality shine through Always be yourself. No one wants to watch a robotic interview. Personality will be the first feature that attracts the employer to you, so go with the flow and show them what you're made of! You're not in the room, so there will be a slight lack of body language communication, so when listening, remember to nod and smile to show that you are engaged. And remember, if this opportunity doesn’t work out there is always next time. Try your best as it is the best you can do! For more interview tips and advice on how to succeed contact Ellie Gibbons at or on 02071235058.


10 Interview Questions to Ask That Reveal a Company's Work-Life Balance

British workers spend an average of 3,515 full days at work over their lifetime, and creating a good balance between time allocated for work and leisure is important to employee wellbeing and happiness. The interview stage presents the perfect opportunity to find out about a company’s policies on work-life balance. Making the decision to move jobs is an important one which shapes your career path. But how do you get the information you require about a company’s flexibility, culture, work environment and work-life balance? In the short time provided in an interview setting, here are the 10 best things you can ask your interviewer to get the information you need about a company’s work-life balance, and to ensure you are happy in your next role! 1. What would the typical day of somebody in my role look like? Often, people are advised to ask their interviewer ‘what does your typical work day look like?’ However, you aren’t applying for their job! If you are meeting a Senior Manager or Director, for example, the chances are you will be joining at a lower level than them, which will inevitably mean a completely different workload. It is much more worthwhile asking about what a workday looks like for someone in the role you are actually applying for. Asking an interviewer to walk you through your own typical working day will provide an insight into how much responsibility you will have and the extent to which your everyday life will need to adjust. 2. How do you measure goals, timelines and success? Leaders who base their employees' success on their quality of work and give promotions and rewards based on performance, as opposed to time served and hours worked, are goal-oriented which is what you want from a leader! By asking this question, hopefully, your interviewer will be able to give you specific examples of somebody who has previously excelled in the role and how they have achieved their career goals. It is also important to remember that once you have asked this question, it is most likely that your interviewer will turn the question back to you and will want to know how you have previously achieved your goals and how you have measured your success. When answering questions like this in an interview situation, remember to use the STAR method - the specific Situation you were in, a Task you were faced with, the behavioural Actions ‘you’ (not ‘we’) took, and the Results you achieved. 3. How do you set employees up for success? Asking a question like this can reveal potential micromanaging. If your interviewer's answer suggests that you are expected to follow preset practices with little room for applying your own approach, this hints at a workplace that doesn’t allow you to work in the way that’s most productive for you. On the other hand, this question can also reveal a well-balanced and open-minded work environment if it is clear that you will be given the tools, as well as the encouragement and support to succeed in the best way for you. 4. How have you found your own professional career development? If your interviewer has been at the company for a while, perhaps even starting at the level you are applying for, they may be able to demonstrate how they have progressed through the ranks and succeeded. This can reveal how the company can support your professional development in terms of resources and training, steps and initiatives you are able to take to progress your own career, and can also show that people have chosen to stay and progress which demonstrates employee satisfaction and retention. 5. What is your company’s mission statement? A company’s mission statement can reveal how the organisation values its employees. Often a company’s mission statement can be found online but this question is important in differentiating what it actually means. If the mission statement is focused solely on business goals as opposed to placing value on employees and relationships, it may be that the company is less likely to take care of their employees. 6. How do you incorporate employee feedback in the day-to-day operations of your company? How a company listens to its employees is incredibly important, and also shows how much they value people. Find out if they hold employee forums, if they have a suggestion box, or if they hold open meetings with Managers and Directors, and ask what they do with the feedback they receive! You want to know that your opinion will be valued, including any views you have on work-life balance and support - employers who listen to and implement feedback to improve the day-to-day lives of their employees are those who care about their team. 7. What benefits do you have that are focused on work-life balance? Many companies often shout about ‘flexible working arrangements’, but in reality, this can mean so many different things! Many companies are beginning to move away from simply flexible working, e.g. flexible lunch breaks or allowing employees to start or finish work an hour early or late, and moving towards a more agile working framework, which often includes individual laptops and the ability for employees to work remotely or from home. It is also important to ask about welfare benefits - does the company have provisions in place for mental health in the workplace, or physical fitness allowances or perks? Asking these questions can indicate where and to what degree a company is focused on its employees’ well-being. 8. What provisions do you have in place for returning to work parents? Following on from finding out the company’s policy on flexible and agile working arrangements, asking this question can provide a more accurate insight into the extent of agility the company really offers. The majority of UK workers consider flexibility and agility in their workplace as very important, and this is particularly true for new or returning to work parents. So many businesses unwittingly neglect this employee group, but more often than not there may be the perfect candidate who just needs a couple of days working from home for a short while. If a company has provisions in place that demonstrate they are supporting and tapping into the returning to work parent workforce, it is a clear indication that they value their employees. 9. Does your company have a CSR policy? Corporate social responsibility is a self-regulating business model that helps a company ensure they are socially accountable, and whether or not a company has a CSR policy can reveal how they place priorities outside of work responsibilities. Ask about whether they allow extra days annual leave for charity events or for volunteering, and find out if they have a corporate charity and what they do to support them - this can reveal a lot about a company! 10. What is your work environment and social culture like? Finding out how employees engage with one another and whether the team you will be joining spends time together socially, particularly if there are company-arranged activities, will show you what kind of work environment you will be joining. Some organisations arrange lunchtime clubs and activities, offer team nights out and prizes as perks, and even take their employees away on trips, all of which show that an employer recognises the value of a good work-life balance for their employees. Understanding a company’s policies and views on work-life balance is incredibly important when it comes to choosing a new role, and whether a company is right for you. Research has shown that almost one-third of UK employees feel that they don’t have a good work-life balance. But, by asking any of these key questions at the interview stage, not only are you demonstrating that you are taking the opportunity seriously, but you also get the chance to discover what the flexibility, culture, work environment and work-life balance is like before you consider accepting an offer! For more information on this article or for more interview tips, contact Callum Macrae on 020 7269 6369 or


How to Prepare for Every Interview and Common Mistakes to Avoid

Interviews are far from perfect. Whether you are a graduate, newly qualified or a Head of Tax, the interview will likely consist of around 45-90 minutes of unstructured conversation, which leaves plenty of room for impression-management, memory bias and simply ‘screwing up’ what should have been said. There are answers you should prepare, questions you should be asking, and common mistakes you should avoid, which will be explored in this article. No doubt you will have researched the company in-depth, mind-mapped the fit between your CV and the role and potentially even gone through earlier rounds of interviews and survived the psychometric testing. Despite many candidates preparing what can seem like heaps of company research and technical revisions, unstructured interviews are generally a relaxed approach to exploring candidates’ fundamental interest and competence. Reflections on personal interests and competencies are amongst both the most basic and forgotten aspects of preparation, at all levels from the newly qualified to the Heads of Tax searches. The aim is not to rehearse answers to the effect of becoming robotic or scripted. Rather, it is important to evaluate your own motivations and skill-set as a business-case offering and reflect on how this can be illustrated to a decision-maker in perhaps just one hour. Interest-based questions Quite simply, an interest-based question is one which probes your motivations for leaving/applying. The recommendation is to bullet-point 5 features of interest, from your research of the company and specification, to each of the following questions: 1. Why are you leaving? 2. Why this company? 3. Why this role? Mistake #1 – answering a different question When taking interview feedback from clients, it is often surprising to see how many candidates have answered a completely different question when running through these fundamental considerations. Or at least, surprising to see how many candidates have digressed, or mixed two (or more) questions together in a way which leave the interviewer with real uncertainty over the original query. For instance, "why this company?" is too often taken for "why this role?" (very distinct), before really digressing into reasons for leaving (when not asked). Mistake #2 – demonstrability and memorability It is not uncommon that candidates' interests in applying are rather similar. Imagine you’re interviewing 4-5 candidates, back-to-back, and all interviewees list the same features of interest here. How do you filter out those which seem the most genuine, and more pressing, how do you remember who said what, if all reasons are near-identical? Though the reasons for applying within the competition pool may be practically the same, usually one person’s answers just stand out. In these cases, their interests are often articulated in a way which just ‘sticks’ as both demonstrable and memorable, to the extent there’s no need for the interviewer to revert and check their notes. The solution: Reflect on your BFFs, in advance You can reflect on what from your Background leads you to this Feature of interest (in the company/role), and how this relates to your and Future intentions (BFF). Contextualising the answer with a past sentiment and forward-looking goal in this way anchors your reasons as both demonstrable and memorable, relative to just listing the same features of interest as your competition pool. The suggestion is not to launch 5-10 BFF’s at your interviewer in one go. Rather, the aim is to concisely deliver those Features of interest (elaborating where appropriate), while being ready for the follow-up question of “why is this aspect interesting?”. Competency-based questions A competency-based question is one which asks for behavioural descriptions in a given scenario, intended to probe a specific capability. For instance, “tell me about a time when you showed ‘x’…” (past-orientation), or “tell me what you would do if ‘y’…” (future-orientation). The questions below are not technically competency-based, but often determine those which follow. Here, the recommendation is to list 5 answers to each of the following questions, once having examined the job specification. 1. What are your strengths (why hire you for this)? 2. What are your weaknesses (why not hire you for this)? Mistake #3 – the questions candidates set themselves up for Often, it’s not the format of the follow-up (competency-based) questions which are difficult, but the capability which the candidate has pitched themselves against. For instance, if an answer is “I am self-motivated/a hard-worker", the only follow-up competency-based question foreseeable is “tell me about a time when you showed self-motivation/hard work?”. Would the person asking, or answering this question look more ridiculous? The likelihood is that if a time-bound, specific follow-up example cannot be provided, your reason is neither sufficiently demonstrable nor memorable beyond that already achieved by a CV. The solution: Set your answer up as a STAR For every response you provide, you need to be ready for the follow-up question, “tell me about a time when you have shown this”. This follow-up question is asking for a specific example of behavioural patterns you have shown (or would show) in a given situation, and not descriptions of your general responsibilities. The go-to structure to handle competency-based questions effectively is the STAR format. This consists of a specific Situation you were in, a Task you were faced with, the behavioural Actions ‘you’ (not ‘we’) took, and the Results you achieved. The STAR format can also apply for future-bound competency-based questions. In these instances, STAR can be adapted by contextualising the answer with a hypothetical situation and task, before running through anticipated actions and results. Whereas most candidates would simply list the actions they would take, ‘setting the scene’ of your actions in this way can help orient your own thinking and communicate your actions to the interviewer more tangibly. Mistake #4 – impression-management, rather than honesty While this question is often seen as horribly cliché and perhaps a little uncomfortable to answer openly, no selection process is complete without this being considered in some way. We all have developmental areas, and ostensibly, both parties would rather be aware of these from the start, rather than when expectations are falling short, 3-6 months in. So, think carefully prior to falling into the trap of framing disguise a strength as a weakness (e.g. “I’m a bit too much of a perfectionist”). The solution: reflect on as many weaknesses as possible Thinking about where your strengths may fall short against the job specification and what you are doing to address this gap will leave you in good stead to manage the topic of developmental areas when they arise. Asking this question back (e.g. “where might you see my developmental areas in relation to this role?”) is also a great follow-up question to openly address any potential reservations. Summary Overall, these questions are a little cliche, but for good reason - they are essential for both the interviewer and interviewee to ask, especially in a selection process which is largely unstructured. If after a discussion with your recruiter, you just can’t list at least one key answer to any of these questions – really consider if this opportunity is worth interviewing for at all! Some of the most common mistakes in preparing for unstructured interviews revolve around these basic reflections made (or more often not made) in advance, which impact on the demonstrability and memorability of answers for these fundamental questions, and the followups. Looking for help with interview preparations? Contact Jay on 020 7269 6343 or


Two-Thirds of UK Workers Don't Receive Work Perks - Why Employee Perks are so Important!

In the past, a paycheck, pension scheme, and a water cooler or the odd work drink might have kept your employees happy. But, the office environment has refined and has become one of the most important things employees look for and expect from their workplace. According to a study conducted in 2018 by the Association of Accounting Technician’s (AAT), British workers spend an average of 3,515 full days at work over their lifetime, and the average person works 188 days of overtime throughout their career. That’s a lot of a person’s lifetime spent at their job, which makes it all the more important to ensure your employees enjoy coming to work! Office environment can be the difference between retaining good employees and losing them, and the future of your workplace and the happiness and productivity of your employees may depend on how you, as a business, offer perks and workplace benefits. However, recent CV Library research which surveyed 1,200 UK professionals has shown that almost two-thirds of British employees don’t receive work perks or benefits, despite 84.9% of employers believing that work perks are crucial. So, why are work perks and office environment so important? One of the most effective ways to heighten your companies’ public profile is taking care of your employees - in doing this, not only will you be looking after your current employees but the calibre of future candidates will increase. Having surveyed Pro’s recruitment consultants, 84% mentioned that company environment and benefits were one of the key factors in influencing a professionals decision on whether they would apply for a job or not. If you’re an employer who has never really liked the idea of the office being ‘fun’ and casual, you can blame Google for that! Larry Page and Sergey Brin, students at Stanford and founders of Google, began the workplace revolution that has now impacted so many companies across the corporate world, scrapping the traditional serious office mould and making work a fun place to be. This was the starting point which had a domino effect on the past ten years of HR innovation from flexible working arrangements, to ping pong tables and beer at work, to great emphasis and pride in individual achievements - all of which grew from Google’s mantra that ‘you can be serious without a suit’. As Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library has argued, extra benefits are an important part of a job offer and contribute to your enjoyment in a role. When looking for a job, it’s important to have an idea of what you want from it, and perks and benefits are one of the key things that can attract a potential employee to your company - particularly when it comes to Millennials who now make up over 50% of the UK workforce! What are the most popular work perks? There are so many perks and incentives that can be introduced to make your workplace more productive, as well as somewhere people want to go. For example, simple things like giving employees the opportunity to refresh their mind, offering longer lunch breaks to allow for exercise during the day or providing ‘chill-out’ areas in the office can go a long way. Not only do these initiatives improve health and wellbeing, but they also allow employees flexibility in their routine. As well as this, the majority of UK workers said flexible working was important, and more and more companies are beginning to offer flexible working arrangements to their employees, whether this be flexitime, working from home, half-days or job sharing. 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. Aside from working patterns and initiatives like bonus schemes, there are lots of creative work perks you can offer. In fact, in the recent Great Perk Search, ping pong tables ranked highest out of all office perks, scoring 95 out of 100 - and is probably one of the cheapest and easiest perks you can introduce! Another popular and easy work perk to introduce is free tea and coffee in the office, with 40% of people voting this as a top perk in a recent survey by Reed. Staff discounts, the odd free lunch in the office and birthdays off are all things which are rated popular among UK employees, and things that could really contribute towards your office environment. People work harder in jobs they care about, and the right office environment can make or break this. Making work more enjoyable for your employees doesn’t always mean changing what they are doing, just how they are doing it. Here at Pro, we have an office environment that reflects what our employees want from their workplace, as well as ‘Pro-Perks’. From team nights out and drinks every Friday, to flexible working arrangements and birthdays off, to free tea, coffee and fresh fruit in the office, and even “Pawternity Leave”, we offer everyone who works at Pro a long list of perks and benefits that motivate people and make work a dynamic, fun place to be. By getting our environment right, we have succeeded in creating a workplace where people are encouraged to thrive and develop, and everyone is a valued member of the Pro family. If you would like to join the Pro family or find out more about what perks and benefits we can offer you, contact Loren on 02072696358 or


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 or call 020 7269 6358


The Pro-Group Christmas Quiz 2018

On Tuesday 4th December, Pro-Recruitment held its infamous annual Christmas Quiz, and what a night it was. With the best and brightest from across the worlds of HR, Tax, Finance and Legal, 26 teams went head to head for the much-coveted title of Pro-Recruitment Christmas Quiz Champions 2018. The competitive streak in some of the teams was evident from the outset and with company rivalries and reputation at stake, the night promised to be a hotly contested one. With Directors Pat and Ali compèring, the first three rounds flew by. Who knew the USA won the boomerang throwing championships in 12 out of the first 13 years when it was introduced in 1981? The picture round proved to be a point of contention for many teams and “Ohh that’s what’s his face” and “I know her but I just don’t know her name” were heard up and down the room. With the first half of the quiz out of the way, it was time for some well-deserved food. Whilst the room was happily munching away and assessing their individual performances the scores were being totted up by our expert markers. Scores at halftime showed that it had been a very tight half, with a mere three points separating the top five teams. With the food cleared away, the quiz was underway again with everything to play for. The Science, Christmas and What Comes Next rounds really put the teams to the test and threw out some curveballs such as, Who played the character Lee Christmas in The Expendables series of action films? The final (and most popular) Music round was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the quiz. We had Director Alison rapping the lyrics of the hit song In My Feelings, Drake eat your heart out is all we can say! We found out that Paul McCartney’s middle name is actually... Paul, go figure. To top it off we had the whole room singing along to the Lighthouse family trying to figure out the next line. The quiz concluded with the revealing of the answers to the picture round, Elon Musk makes a very convincing Santa. Pat was responsible for the big reveal and coming in a very respectable third were PWC’s We Are The Quiz Wells hot on the heels of Elman Wall’s Penny Patrol in second. The undisputed champions of the Pro-Group’s Christmas Quiz 2018 were Kingston Smith’s We Count Ants who now have bragging rights going into 2019’s quiz. Thank you to everyone who came and participated, we hope you all had a fantastic evening. Special thanks to all the staff at Pro who worked so hard to make the event such a success. We all look forward to seeing you again in 2019. To find out about upcoming Pro-Recruitment events or to speak to Loren about joining the Pro family or your recruiting needs, contact her on 02072696358 or


The Employers Guide to a Successful Interview Process

Great care is spent making sure candidates are as prepared as possible in order to give a good account of themselves and ultimately land their dream job. However, the other side of the equation, that of the potential employer, is quite often expected to be able to interview without being given the necessary skills to get the desired result. At Pro-Group we consult and advise throughout the whole recruitment cycle, including offering a completely free course for clients that are looking to recruit. We understand that your skill-set in tax, finance or the legal profession does not necessarily mean that you naturally get the most from the interview process. Our course can give you the winning edge in interviews to ensure you attract the candidates you want. The course we run normally takes around an hour and can also prove to be a good networking opportunity. We typically run our interview courses at 8 am so that it does not disrupt your working day; we also provide breakfast as an added incentive. Alternatively, if there is a group of you we can come to you. To offer you a flavour of the course the main subject areas are listed below: • Who is the best person within the firm to conduct the interview? • Creating structure to the interview • Identifying what you want to find out and how to extract that information • How to use follow-up questions to their best advantage • Controlling the process • Realising it is a two-way process • Selling the position


Our January Kick Off Meeting….what will Pro-Tax be doing this year?

Friday 12th January saw everyone at Pro-Recruitment head to Urban Golf for a round up of 2017 and a 2018 plan that was delivered to all the staff from the Board of Directors. We learnt that 2017 was the most successful year that Pro-Recruitment has ever had with some high performers across all areas of Tax, Legal and Finance. We went through all the reasons we were “Proud to be Pro” and what a great year it was to celebrate us turning 10 years old! A few of the things that make us proud to be Pro are; - IRP Award winners - The netball team - The football team - 15 promotions in 12 months - Superb Ski trip incentives - Raising almost £10,000 for charity Take a look at some of the other great reasons to work for Pro here. Looking ahead to 2018 and we have some new innovative ideas for the company that include an award-winning virtual training platform for every Consultant, a Management Development Programme bespoke to Pro-Recruitment, a company-wide incentive to get to Dubai for a long weekend, webinars that will be hosted across Tax, Legal and Finance for our clients and candidates that will be hosted by industry professionals, entering more industry awards and lastly but certainly not least our theme for the Year. Our theme for the year is to be “Better Than Our Competitor” in everything we do. Each of our employees no matter what role they do for Pro-Recruitment will aim to be Better Than Our Competitor, and if you think we have been please tell us, most importantly if we haven’t then definitely tell us! Constantly striving for perfection is what we do best, so let’s have a fantastic 2018 with continued improvement, more promotions and successful placements throughout the year.


Tis the season to give back

With Christmas around the corner, many of us are preoccupied with buying gifts, wrapping up work for the year and having a cheeky five pints down the local pub on a Wednesday lunchtime. However, despite all the excitement and excess, it’s important to remember those less fortunate than ourselves during this time. That’s why the directors here at Pro thought it’d be a good idea to host a sit-down Christmas meal for the less fortunate this Christmas. With Bloomsbury Baptist Church generously allowing us to use their facilities we set about preparing the food and venue ready for our guests to arrive. With Pat Keogh as the self-appointed head chef, the kitchen began to set to work and the hall was soon filled with the aroma of a homemade Christmas dinner, an oft-forgotten treat. The hall was decked with decorations (boughs of Holly were hard to come by) and the scene was set for a wonderful event. The guests soon began to trickle in and then very quickly began to turn up en masse, time to see how the kitchen and Chef Keogh would cope. The meal was to be served properly and as such orders were to be taken at the table by our superstar servers. The food orders came thick and fast and the pressure began to mount in the kitchen. Being recruiters though the kitchen staff took it all in its stride and quickly found its rhythm. Plates came back empty and the general consensus amongst the guests was wholly positive. All in all, it was a great day and a lot of us walked away with a warm fuzzy feeling. Speaking to some of the people that came in, it really hit home how fortunate a lot of us really are. And while we may grumble about some of the inconveniences in our everyday lives it’s important to remember when you're sat at home surrounded by friends and family how lucky we really are.


[Press Release] Pro-Group Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Pro-Recruitment Group Celebrates 10th Anniversary The Pro-Recruitment Group celebrates a decade in matching top talent with outstanding clients. In-line with the culture of the business, the Group celebrated in an evening of nostalgia and shared successes, exploring the experiences of the past 10 years. And launched its newly unveiled corporate company video. Chairman, David Hughes said “We founded the Group in 2007 - three people located in a serviced office just down the road from where we are now in Farringdon. So although we haven’t actually moved that far physically, we do feel that we’ve come quite a long way as a business. Today there are more than 60 of us and we have our sights firmly set on continuing to grow. One of the many benefits of being a wholly independent, self-financing business is that we are able to make Pro the sort of place of place that we and our staff want it to be - we’re not beholden to anybody else for the decisions that we make. As a consequence, we’ve not been afraid to try new things and challenge the norm. We view ourselves as entrepreneurial, fast-paced and dynamic. As such we look for these qualities in people we hire. Have we made a few mistakes along the way? Of course, we have as you can never progress and develop to your full potential unless you are prepared to innovate and push yourselves”. Managing Director, Pat Keogh mentions “The past decade has brought us lots of highs and fortunately very few lows. We are committed to dominating the markets we specialise in and we are proud to have built an established brand recognised by both clients and candidates alike. We are really fortunate to have such loyal candidates and clients and to maintain our high standards we have had, and continue to have, an amazing workforce who we thoroughly enjoyed working with. The last 10 years have whizzed by and we really could not be happier with where the business is right now”. Tax Director, Alison Keogh, the most recent addition to the board commented, “we’re aiming to continue to make Pro the best recruitment firm to work for. We believe that if our staff are happy and motivated, the end result is that they will be doing an amazing job for our clients and candidates, and this has certainly rung true to date. We have been innovative in our approach to work (we recently introduced flexi-hours and full-time casual dress code) and constantly look for ways to make this a great place to work. Many of these ideas come from the staff, not the Board, so we listen to what is said from within the firm”. The board added “To Pro-Group employees and clients, the past, present and future, it has been a fantastic decade of great achievements. Thank you for all for your loyalty and dedication which has helped to build our organisation to the unique culture we’ve developed today. We have achieved a lot together, but the best is still yet to come and we are very much looking forward to the future.” -ends- For further information or discussion with any of the Directors, contact: Group Marketing T: 020 7269 6333 E: _________________________________________________________________________ About Pro-Recruitment Pro-Recruitment Group Ltd is a leading specialist recruiter with expertise across Tax, Legal, Finance and Education sectors. The Board have over 70 years of combined experience of matching the best organisations with the best professionals in the market. The Group has leveraged this experience to develop its core values; to ensure the highest level of service across the UK. Pro-Recruitment Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments.


[Press Release] The Pro-Group announces two key promotions to strengthen its Board

In light of its 10th Anniversary this year, Pro-Group, specialist recruiters in Tax, Legal, Finance and Education, announces an update to its Board. Alison Keogh, the newly appointed Director of Tax, has over eight years of experience with the Group and is instrumental in building the Pro-Tax brand. Alison and her team are the market leaders recruiting for both the tax practice and the in-house markets, with many of her clients working with her on an exclusive basis. Pat Keogh, Managing Director comments “Alison is the cornerstone of our tax practice and her reputation precedes her in the market. Alison is a welcomed addition to the Board of Directors” Having been a close adviser and more recently, Non-Executive Director, The Pro-Group is pleased to announce David Hughes as Chairman and member of the Board of Directors. David Hughes is integral to the strategy and direction of the business and his knowledge of the recruitment world has been invaluable. His addition to the Board further strengthens the Group’s senior leadership team. “David has been a trusted adviser to the Pro-Group since inception and has been an important ingredient in our success to date,” says Pat Keogh. -ends- For further information or discussion with any of the Directors, contact: Group Marketing Team T: 020 7269 6322 E: The Pro-Group announces two key promotions to strengthen its Board



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