FMCG and Consumer Goods recruitment
  • UK Recruiter
    Client
    Personal Development - To qualify or not to qualify?

    ​Personal development is a hot topic, and there's an ongoing 'pressure' to ensure CPD is top of the agenda when it comes to appraisals, promotions and secondments.But what does it deliver? Caroline has written a guest blog for UK Recruiter on this very topic - read the article here.

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  • Helix Facebook Horiz
    Client
    The Power of Three - Everyone Matters. Clients. Candidates. Colleagues.

    ​The Power of Three – Clients, Candidates, ColleaguesEveryone Matters.Here at Expion, we believe that everyone matters. Our clients and candidates tell us that we offer an exceptional and consistent recruitment experience allowing you to benefit from our expert opinions and supporting you on every step of your recruitment journey.What sort of support do we offer?How our Colleagues SUPPORT our Candidates.We give CV advice. If your CV isn’t suitable for the role we’re talking to you about, we’ll tell you. And share with you a template and a step-by-step guide to make your CV shine.We give Interview Coaching. We really do. We have an inhouse Interview Coach, Liz, who works with our candidates before interview. She ensures everyone is prepared for interview, understands their ‘Red Thread’ and is able to articulate their experience well.We’ll ask about your other interviews. Not so we can pit others against you. But to share any knowledge we might have about that business. Give YOU an outsider’s view. As our candidate, you’ll have additional information to help you decide which role is best for you.We’ll meet you. We place you and you can expect a visit from us on site. It’s a proper check in, catch up and a way we can ensure we’ve done all we can to support you to settle in.There’s plenty more. But it’s only by working with us, you’ll get the real ‘us’. How our Colleagues SUPPORT our ClientsThat might sound obvious. But it’s about doing the extra and building a true partnership that we think makes us stand out.We’re your eyes and ears. Sensing how a candidate is feeling, where there’s a risk we might lose a valued candidate from the process and providing that insight to a client. We advise clients to include incoming team members in team communications, team lunches (Covid permitting) and even the Christmas party if it’s the festive period.We can let you know what others are doing in the market. If we’re proposing a retainer to you, we’ll provide insight into your competition for candidates. Often overlooked, this can make all the difference to developing the role proposition and landing that ‘gem’.We’re market savvy. As members of APSCo and Elite Leaders, we have access to market reports that others don’t. And as our client, we’ll share. All part of the service. How our Candidates SUPPORT our ColleaguesYou may ask what we mean by that. But it’s a partnership right?We can only be as good as the information we have. So the way to work well with a recruiter is easy. Be honest, be upfront and respond.Make sure we’ve got your up-to-date CV. You’d be surprised how many people have old CVs saved in job boards and then get upset when they apply with an old CV and think we’re in the wrong.Be honest about your salary expectations and don’t over-egg what you’re looking for. We’re open with our clients so be open with our colleagues to make sure there aren’t any surprises as the process goes on.Tell us what’s important to you and why you’re interested in the role. A ‘new challenge’ is very vanilla and 95% of candidates give this as a reason to look. It’s a good reason but make it specific if you’ve applied to a role and help our colleagues do their best work for you.And give us feedback. If you’re not interested in a role, let us know. We’d rather you select the role that’s right for you than feel cajoled into proceeding with a process that you don’t have your heart in. How Clients SUPPORT CandidatesWere you expecting that? Perhaps not, but the goal is to recruit the right person for your business isn’t it?A recruitment process is like dating. It's getting to know each other, putting in the work and showing your best bits. And for a business recruiting, it’s making sure your chosen candidate chooses YOU. I'm not talking about overinflating and over promising. But making sure they are as right for you as you are right for them. There's no one size fits all, but if you are interviewing, think about how the business portrays itself, who you meet during the interview process and how you feel around the people you'll be working with. Here are things I've seen businesses do well:Invite the candidate to a team lunch after the interview. It's more relaxed and makes them feel 'included' early onInclude incoming team members in team training and team building events prior to startingShare business updates, company information (where possible) so someone joining feels part of the business before they are 'in the building'Have a senior member of staff call to welcome them. Amazing how powerful that can beSend them some products (if you can) that they can share with friends and family. Makes the incoming employee proud of who they work for before they do! The list is endless, but it’s important not to overlook. If you’ve made an offer to someone and they have a 3 month notice period, that’s a long time for their current employer to try to persuade them to stay. And it's also a canny way of batting away any counteroffers. How our Clients SUPPORT our ColleaguesThey do. Perhaps we’re just lucky. But having a supportive client #makes all the difference to us and helps us to do our job better.You might be thinking, how can a client support a recruiter?Here’s what I’ve seen clients do wellBe open and transparent about the work you’re asking us to do. If there’s internal candidates, preferred candidates and other recruiters in the mix, just let us know. Allows us to be more open with the candidates we represent, and we in turn represent you more accuratelyOpen communication with the line manager. Hearing from the ‘horses’ mouth the nuances about the role and the attributes a candidate should possess helps to make the role ‘come alive’. And it gets us excited about finding candidates for the roleInvolving us in the process. Hearing our thoughts on candidates and why we think they should be considered. We get under the CV (and some CVs don’t necessarily make candidates shine). And some clients ask us to conduct the first stage interview with the line manager saving the client time and resources.Helping us get paid! You may chuckle but we don’t have any other income and providing PO numbers and making sure invoices are approved are vital to the lifeblood of any business. We love partnership. And we value it. Thank you to all the clients who offer us that ‘hand of friendship’. And to find out more about how what we do could SUPPORT you so get in touch

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  • Rec Logo
    Client
    UK Report on Jobs - April 2021 Update

    ​The UK Report on Jobs was released today, produced by the REC and KPMG.For jobseekers, it makes for encouraging reading - permanent and temporary job vacancies rose sharply in March and vacancies expanded at the quickest rate since August 2018.For employers, increased market confidnce should start to unlock those who have been reluctant to consider a move, and salaries rising should play a factor in this. But employers also report a skills gap - construction, IT and retail all have incompatible supply and demand.What's your experience? Have you seen these trends play out, or noticed something different?UK Report on Jobs

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  • Laptop
    Candidate
    Can you 'Beat the 'Bot?'

    ​Can you Beat the ‘Bot?We’re hearing more and more of our candidates tell us they struggle with applications made direct to organisations. Despite ‘having everything they were looking for’, the candidate receives a message they’re not progressing through the process.It’s a lose-lose all round.And the chances are the CV just hasn’t got through the computer screening.We've put together some hints and tips on how to optimise your CV for a role you suspect may pass through a ‘bot.Our first tip. Keep it simple.Remove any fancy formatting and symbols, logos etc. The software just can’t cope with it. Write a Word document that’s text focused and clear. Some ATS systems can’t process pdf files, and nor do they like graphs, charts and tables. Plain text files work really well for ATS software, but they do limit your formatting options.If you get through to interview, send through your formatted CV prior to interview which may be appropriate if you’re in a creative role such as a design or marketing role.Our second tip. Make your contact details visible. One thing we see many candidates do is to include name, address and contact details in the header or footer of the CV. For some people, it's an obvious place to tuck them away neatly but...Some ATS systems can’t process data in the header or footer so make sure you pop your contact details in the main body of your CV.  It’s suggested that up to 25% of candidates have contact details buried in the header or footer of their CV. Our third tip. Keywords. Oh don’t we love them?Not to be confused with buzzwords such as ‘proactive’ or ‘self-starter’, keywords highlight the soft and hard skills you have.Collect the keywords for the role you are applying for. Pick out the key terms and start to populate them into your CV. Now, there’s an optimal repetition of keywords and each algorithm will perform slightly differently. Some ATS systems will optimise the prevalence of the number of times a term appears, whereas others assign an estimated amount of experience for a particular skill based on its placement in the CV.In an ideal world, you optimise for both, but it’s a balancing act and after the ‘bot has done their bit, your CV will be read by a human so it still needs to read well.Our fourth tip. It’s a no to charts, graphs, images.‘The computer says NO’.You might be thinking about a certain David Walliams with that phrase, but the ‘bot will boot you away. As amazing as CVs look with fantastic formatting, it won’t get you through the door.Recruiters also prefer straightforward CVs. Part of our job is to gain the insight into our candidates and we add this into how we present you to our clients.And our clients say, 100% of the time, they just want the best person for the job.Our fifth tip. Simplify.Keep your bullet points simple. I think you’re getting the message by now. A solid circle, line or square works well, sadly emojis do not.Same with your design. Text where the ATS isn’t expecting it causes upset, as does irregular ordering of your experience. Always, always, most recent role first, and go back from there. Absolutely fine to ‘squeeze’ your earlier career (remember the 2 page rule) and back to keywords. You can overdo them which has the same effect – the computer says ‘no’.Good luck with your CV if you’re entering a process which involves a ‘bot. And take heart, these systems do work for many businesses and many, many candidates have successfully moved into roles when they’ve applied this way.There is tech available to help you…check out sites such as jobscan or zipjob that can be helpful.Remember, at the end of the day, humans make hiring decisions not computers. Need more advice on hiring, job searching or CV writing? Get in touch with us, we're happy to help.

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  • How to make your CV have impact
    Candidate
    Your CV - How to Create Impact

    ​Your CV – HOW TO CREATE IMPACT Your CV is a sales document. Its purpose is to spark enough interest in you that the reader calls you for an interview. Your CV needs to stand out – you’re competing with other applicants and the pressures the reader has on his/her time. If you’re lucky, a 15 second scan is the most your CV will command (if it’s not read by computer…), and the majority of these precious seconds will be spent on the first page. Start with adding your contact details: list your mobile number, email address, LinkedIn profile and your home location. Consider layout – make it smart and easy to read. We advise a line under your name including the information above. Saves space and looks professional. Generate a Personal Statement/Career Profile. This takes thought. Think about who you are, what you offer and what you are looking for. Don’t fall into the trap of being very ‘high level’ with lots of descriptive words but no substance. Tailor your CV to the role you are applying for. Don’t think the reader will be searching for hints as to why you applied. ​​Qualifications – where to put them? Our rule of thumb – if your qualifications are directly relevant to the role or field you are in, make sure they are visible. You can also include them in your personal statement/profile e.g. CIPS qualified Procurement Manager with 15+ years experience in the FMCG industry…. A relevant degree or advanced qualifications can also be included e.g. Degree qualified Senior Technical Manager with in excess of 10 years’ experience working with the UK retailers including M&S, Tesco and Asda. Include other relevant qualifications if they add value and list courses attended/other qualifications towards the end of the CV. Don’t list every piece of training you’ve ever attended, it’s not necessary. And if you’re not qualified in your field, state what you DO HAVE…e.g. 8 years’ experience turning underperforming brands into market leaders within 18 months. Responsible for successful new product launches gaining 15% market share in 12 weeks. ​Experience. Important part of a CV. And it’s EASY to waffle. Please don’t. We strongly advocate a brief description of the business you work for/worked for – what they do/did, key customers and products. Let your CV tell the full story, and allow the recruiter to visualize the context of where you work. It’s likely the reader won’t have time to Google your employers and if your CV is read by a recruiter or HR Manager new to the sector, they won’t yet have detailed knowledge. And if you are the Hiring Manager and there’s little or no description, some candidates ‘hide’ these nuggets of information in the description of the role. Look for key words and phrases to gather the information you need to decide to meet. Brevity prevails when we get to experience. List 3-4 key responsibilities and 3-4 key achievements for each role. Avoid a ‘copy and paste’ of your job description, it’s not IMPACTFUL, we want to know HOW GOOD you were at your job. ​Previous/Early career – how to position this on a CV? Many people struggle with this, and simply add, and add and ADD to their CV. Candidates worry that leaving something out may jeopardise their chances of an interview. I get it. It’s part of what made you what you are today but listing responsibilities from your first job in 2000 (or before) isn’t going to add value. It will DETRACT. ‘Squeeze’ down the CV. Listing early roles with employer and job title will still show progression but without dragging the CV onto page 3. And here’s the elephant in the room. Age. Candidates who are later in their career worry about this a great deal. CVs no longer include DOB (and recruiters remove them anyway) but it’s not necessary to list dates for all of your early career roles. Simply pop ‘Early career includes’ and list. And move on. ​​Having spent the week talking about what to include on your CV we thought we’d include some things to leave out. Date of birth – please. It’s not required and we remove it anyway if we represent you. But if your CV is on a job board with DOB, address and a few other details, identity theft is very easy for those who know how. So please protect yourself. Marital status, number of children, where you were born (yes really) aren’t things an employer needs to know. Reasons for leaving. Yes, we see them and they’re never good. Don’t apologise if you were made redundant. It’s life. Explain briefly at interview and focus on the reasons you want to join a business. Playing golf ‘badly’. This is our number 1 hate. We are yet to be convinced it’s funny. Think about your personal interests if you decide to include them. What do they say about YOU? Have you raised money for charity, are you a member of a club or society? Do you train regularly? Much, much better than stating you’re not good at something or making a joke. References. Bit of a GDPR nightmare and not required. Once you’re offered a job, send discretely with permission to your future employer. And please, please ask someone to proofread. We've just opened a CV of a chef. He’s in charge a full kitchen BRIDGE would you believe?​A CV critique is just part of the service we offer to our candidates. If you need support with your CV and you work in the sectors we cover, then please get in touch for more information - we're just a phone call away.

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  • Businesses who are hiring or creating jobs
    Candidate
    Who's Hiring?

    ​Who’s Hiring? Plenty of business are hiring right now. And for those who have lost their jobs in the Food & FMCG arena, we thought we’d round up some of the businesses who we’ve seen are investing and hiring. We know it’s tough out there to find a new role, but we thought this knowledge would be helpful.Not all these businesses will have vacancies right now, but they may have coming up.Our advice to you would be to make sure you sign up for any job alerts and follow the business on LinkedIn. See if there’s anyone you know working for a business of interest to you and connect with them. Get some hints, tips and knowledge before you apply.Remember – preparation shows. Get ahead. There are more candidates in the candidate pool, but it doesn’t mean they are more appropriate. So, don’t be put off. And if you have a link to a business already, you are normally then best placed to see any vacancies first.So here’s our round up of some of the businesses getting active with their cash and their jobs.Cadburys are moving manufacturing to the UK with a £15m investment in Bourneville:https://londonlovesbusiness.com/cadbury-to-move-from-germany-to-uk-with-15m-investment/Biscuit sales are booming in Northumbria and are investing 6 figures to expand production of their gluten free products – great news for anyone who’s a consumer:https://www.business-live.co.uk/retail-consumer/northumbrian-fine-foods-make-six-19752243ECD are benefitting from part of £100m investment in the Tech Valleys in South Wales, and it’s more than just food businesses that gain the grants available:https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/story/news/tech-valleys-manufacturer-of-dried-foods-and-nutrients-amongst-beneficiaries-from-new-investment-gra/PFF, who normally make packaging for supermarket products, have expanded into supporting the NHS and healthcare workers with PPE:https://bdaily.co.uk/articles/2021/02/15/northern-food-packaging-firm-launches-ppe-division-after-creating-100-new-jobsAnd First Milk are dividing a £12.5m investment between plants in Cumbria and South Wales:https://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Article/2021/03/01/First-Milk-invests-12.5m-in-cheese-and-whey-processingBottling business MEG are ploughing investment into their South Derbyshire plant, creating 150 jobs:https://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Article/2021/03/01/150-jobs-to-be-created-at-new-bottling-plantPukka Pies have invested almost £5m in their pant in Leicestershire and allowed them to invest in NPD and enter the Vegan market:https://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Article/2021/03/01/Pie-maker-Pukka-announces-4.5m-Syston-bakery-investmentWyke Farms have created a new export centre, and also heightened their green credentials:https://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Article/2021/02/19/Cheese-maker-Wyke-Farms-posts-record-salesAnd Mackie’s Crisps have invested in Perthshire:https://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Article/2021/02/15/Mackie-s-Crisps-invests-750-000-in-vegetable-crisps-factorySedamyl (a former Tate & Lyle site) are creating 75 jobs in Selby:https://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Article/2021/02/08/Sedamyl-80m-investment-in-Selby-plant-to-create-75-jobsBranston have brought in a new MD to support a £12m investmenthttps://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Article/2021/02/05/Potato-firm-Branston-appoints-MD-to-support-12m-investmentAnd these are just the stories from the last few weeks.If you’d like to know more about hiring in this market, let us know – we’re happy to help. 

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  • Francesca F1 Picture
    Candidate
    Formula 1 - My Passion

    ​My passion: I’ve been a major follower of F1 since a child says Francesca LoughreyFollowing Formula 1 helps Francesca Loughrey, Associate Director at Expion Search & Selection, switch off at the weekend. No-one in my family is into motorsports, so they were surprised when I quickly became hooked after I stumbled across a Formula 1 race on the TV at the age of 15.  At first, I enjoyed the excitement of seeing fearless drivers race the fastest cars in the world, often pulling risky manoeuvres which sometimes led to glory (and others to disaster).  Over the years I had become more interested in the strategic element of the sport, finding a fascination in the making of the right or wrong call when to re-fuel (when it was still permitted) or stop for tyre replacement and how this could make or break a driver’s race.  I’ve followed some great British drivers over the years, cheering on Damon Hill, Jenson Button and then Lewis Hamilton. I’m a huge Lewis Hamilton fan – seeing him battle his way past most drivers on the track from the beginning of his career - truly inspirational. In 2018, I was lucky enough to attend the British Grand Prix and thought he was set for a home victory when he qualified on pole; unfortunately, he got spun in his first lap landing him right at the back. However, the real inspiration that he is, Lewis managed to overtake nearly every car on the track that day, finishing second place. It was a fantastic show of true fighting spirit. I owe a lot to Formula 1, for me, it has been so much more than just being a sport or just a hobby for the weekend. It’s been a way of keeping me inspired and motivated. Lewis’s motto is to ”never give up”This is something I try to live by when faced with difficult challenges in life. Determination and hard work are things you need to succeed in the recruitment industry I’ve worked in for 17 years now; Lewis and Formula 1 provide that motivation I need to keep achieving the best.Luckily for me, I have been fortunate enough to tie my passion for Formula 1 with my working life moving into Automotive recruitment 13 years ago, and I’ve stayed in this sector ever since.  The continually evolving technology fascinates me in general, especially with rules tightening to reduce the environmental impact of transport. It’s impressive to see technologies first developed by Formula 1 being transferred to the types of commercial vehicles that my clients and candidates work with. Commercial vehicle operators are under more pressure than ever to increase efficiencies of their fleet, and I love discussing this with them – often finding they have a shared love of motorsport.About Francesca LoughreyFrom starting as a stand-alone specialist recruiter 13 years ago, focusing on the automotive industry, Francesca has grown a highly successful recruitment business with a team of recruiters who deliver tailored resourcing campaigns to organisations across the UK. Believing in success due to specialist, in-depth knowledge of the automotive and engineering markets and aconsultative approach, Francesca ensures that the best candidates are matched with relevant positions.​For more information on roles in Automotive, Logistics & Distribution please get in touch with us at Expion - we're happy to chat all things recruitment and Formula 1... 

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  • Hiring
    Client
    Latest trends in Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical Recruitment

    ​Spotlight on the Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical market.What gives us our #expertopinion in Medical Devices & Pharmaceutical Recruitment? Recruiting into the regulated sector has always been challenging but #Covid has accelerated things.Here’s the state of the market at the moment in January 2021There’s still a skills gap. In demand are people with experience in Quality, Regulatory, Validation, R&D and QPs. Good candidates are in demand and employers need to be creative in how they attract talent.To recruit effectively, a well-established network is vital. Having established relationships with a broad range of people brings knowledge, recommendations and credibility. All important for an effective recruitment process in a market where candidate supply is dwindling.Hiring Managers are well qualified, capable people, but they’re not recruiters. To successfully hire, you need a partner who can support you, whilst you do your day job which you’re brilliant at.Trends we are seeing are salaries rising as demand for candidates grows, and candidates requesting clear career paths once established in post. Commitment from the employer to employee about personal growth, and flexibility to entice a move.Growth in businesses where there is spare manufacturing capacity – we’ve already seen this with one of our key clients, Wockhardt, who are manufacturing the Covid vaccine.We expect to see greater hiring in the supply chain, not just as the vaccine is rolled out, but lessons are learned once the initial surge is through and supply chain security is advanced.Emerging businesses as new technologies are developed, rolled out and market adoption increases, along with an appetite for investment and acquisition.For more insight into recruiting into Medical Devices and Pharmaceuticals, please contact Richard Clegg or a member of the Expion team - we're really happy to help whether you're a client or a candidate.

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  • UK Recruiter
    Candidate
    Tales from the Covid mist

    ​Our director, Caroline Vooght, is a guest blogger for UK Recruiter, a well respected source of information for the recruitment industry. Here she shares her insights into the experiences of many working within the UK Food & FMCG manufacturing industry during Covid.UK Recruiter - Tales from the Covid Mist

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  • Pharma Jobs
    Client
    Pharma recruitment during Covid

    ​All manufacturers have had to adapt during Covid, and the Pharmaceuticals industry is no exception. Richard Clegg gives his insight into how the changes have affected the industry, and what the future holds.Pharma Jobs - Pharma recruitment during Covid

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  • APSCo Logo
    Client
    Director of Expion to return as member of APSCo Representative Committee 2020

    ​We are thrilled to announce…Following a highly competitive election campaign, Expion director Caroline Vooght has been re-elected a member of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) representative committee for another two-year term. This role will see Caroline continue the responsibility for the strategy and direction of the trade body until 2022 alongside other committee members.APSCo is the only international trade body for the professional recruitment sector formed to represent, and support recruitment firms engaged in the acquisition of professional talent on behalf of their clients.Caroline heads up Expion’s Silverstone office, which was established in 2014, with Expion becoming APSCo members in 2017. During Expion’s time as members, we have seen significant benefits of being part of such a well respected trade association.Commenting on the re-election, Caroline Vooght, Director of Expion Silverstone said: “I’ve been in recruitment for over 20 years working for some smaller, quite niche businesses as well as in the larger corporate world. I’m absolutely thrilled to be on the representative committee for another two years and certainly feel as though I can bring the perspective of the smaller member to the committee and ensure that APSCo continues to provide amazing support to all members across the industry. Thanks, so much for voting for me!”Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, said: “APSCo works hard to represent the interests of its members, and our representative committee provides the experience, expertise and guidance needed to help us shape the strategy of the organisation moving forward.”“Once again this election featured an excellent field of candidates and a hard-fought election process. I’d like to thank everyone who put themselves forward, nominated others and voted. As I’m sure that former and current committee members will agree, the role is not only prestigious but also incredibly hands-on and enjoyable. We are delighted to have such a strong group to guide us through to 2022.”Expion recruits for an ever-growing client base focussed in the Manufacturing, Engineering, FMCG/Food and Pharmaceuticals sectors. Roles have included the CEO of theUK Tea & Infusions Associationthrough to recruiting more than 50 members of staff forNestle UK & Irelandin areas as diverse as R&D, engineering, production, operations and quality.To discuss how Expion can support your recruitment needs,contact ustoday.

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  • Award Recruitment Expion
    Client
    Caroline wins Innovation Volunteer of the Year Award, again!

    ​Our director, Caroline Vooght, has been working hard to provide the generation of the future with inspiration and awareness of future possibilities and career path options. In recognition of this, Caroline was awarded the 2020 Tom Maccabee Inspiration for Innovation Volunteer of the Year Award, alongside TD Group’s Tony Priest.Over the year 2019/20, working withSilverstone ParkandAutomotive 30% Club, Caroline delivered essential skills support such as C.V. and cover letter writing at a series of tailored events to support career aspirations at educational facilities. The facilities included Kingsthorpe College, The Buckingham School and Sponne School, which in the 2019/20 academic year, reached more than 1,000 Key stage 3 (KS3) students between the age of 12 and 14 years.But this isn’t the first time she has won the award, as Caroline also received the award last year when she was recognised for her outstanding contributions throughout 2018/19 -including several visits into schools as well as taking part in multiple inspirational events. Tim Maccabee, who presented the award to this year’s award winners said: “Caroline’s and Tony’s contributions have been prolific – Inspiration for Innovation is there to improve the information for young people at a really important stage of their lives and it’s great to have volunteers, like Caroline and Tony, who are so passionate about supporting young people by helping them understand the opportunities and giving them the confidence to pursue their ambitions.”Are you looking for advice on CV writing and interview preparation?A truly inspirational woman, Caroline finds volunteering so worthwhile as it allows you to have a positive impact on a student’s future. Caroline advises: “When it comes to applying for a new job, your CV is your first impression in the recruitment process and your opportunity to display what makes you a strong candidate. As a school leaver, producing a professional CV or UCAS Personal Statements can feel like a daunting task. “Starting a career is hard to do, and young people need support, and the right people around them to guide, advise and encourage. “As a parent myself, I’ve had recent first-hand experience of watching young people navigate CV writing and interviews, along with making decisions about their future and career path. Coupled with my years as a recruiter, this inspires me to want to support as many young people as possible to have the best possible chances of success, regardless of the path they have chosen.”Putting together a successful CV is easy once you know how to. It’s a case of taking all your skills and experience and tailoring them to a specific job role you wish to apply. Contact Caroline and our friendly team for more information or follow us on our social media platforms for the latest industry news as well as tips and tricks in recruitment.

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  • Interview Preparation Recruitment
    Candidate
    How to prepare for interviews post COVID19

    ​The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down and in particular the world of work. In its wake, it has caused uncertainty for the future and will undoubtedly change the recruitment process forever.While the lockdown has seen us all go through a raft of emotions, it has also been an opportunity to reassess what we want from our future and in particular our careers. Regardless of whether you were furloughed or not during the pandemic, the questions you will be asked in future interviews might look very different.Whether you’re looking for a new job or wanting to jump from one career path to another, we have put together some potential questions that interviews may include post-COVID-19.“How did you spend your time in lockdown during the pandemic”.If you’ve been furloughed, we understand it can be easy to sit back and binge-watch a Netflix series or if you have dependents having to undertake care duties can hamper any grand plans for self-development.What employers will be listening out for here is how you managed to make use of this time productively whether this is reading books, exercising, working on professional skills, homeschooling the kids (leadership and mentoring) or listening to podcasts while doing housework.“What did you do to support your employer during the Pandemic”.If you’ve still been working during this period. Consider what you have done to help your employer navigate the situation.Think about how you added value and where you stepped up to deal with challenges, and how you might have supported your colleagues through this too.A new employer will be listening out for cues you are proactive, can take the lead, are reliable and can be trusted.“Tell me a time during lockdown you surprised yourself”.Behavioural interview questions such as “tell me about a time when”, are used to get to know an individual’s personality/character and can be asked in both negative and positive ways, for example:Positive – “tell me about a time when you reached a goal.”Negative – “tell me about a time when you failed at work.”You might have found juggling work and homeschooling quite easy. Or you might have developed a new skill, hobby or done something else impressive.If you aren’t already, using ajournalis a great way to keep on track of those small wins during this period and allow you the opportunity to look back and reflect on your achievements. Journals are usually assumed to be a way of just scribbling your thoughts onto a piece of paper. This is an important feature, however, not the full use or potential. A journal allows you to write down daily goals, targets, wins and lessons learned.“Due to the pandemic, the talent pool is a lot more saturated, explain to us why we should choose you to fill the position over the competition”.This is your moment to sell yourself, and if you don’t take the opportunity, someone else will. This question is always a challenging one, so make sure this is one you prepare for. Consider what is it that makes you stand out, what value do you bring to the organisations you work for, what knowledge and expertise can you bring, what are you like personally?A great example of what employers look for in an employee is their commitment and accountability for your professional development. The world of work is changing, even more rapidly than pre-COVID-19 so make a commitment to yourself to keep learning. If you need some guidance as to where to start, check out our recent blog, in which we rounded up a range offree online resourcesto begin your learning journey.“Describe a difficult situation in which you came out better on the other side”.This is a question that was often used before the pandemic. Now we can use COVID-19 to our advantage to answer this question. By working on being productive at home and working on professional and personal development, you will be able to come up with many answers for the question. For example:“The recent pandemic disrupted my day to day life immensely, but I decided to use the extra time I had after being furloughed efficiently. I allowed myself set times for relaxing and watching my favourite series but filled my days with developing my skills for my professional future. For example, on my LinkedIn, you can find the certifications for online courses I undertook such as…..”​At Expion, we’d love to hear how you’re working on productivity and what you’re learning right now.If you’re an employer, what questions are you now asking?Tweet us @expionUK.

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  • Professional Development In Recruitment
    Candidate
    Online resources to support professional development

    ​Professional and personal development has never been as critical as it is right now. As a result of COVID19, the world of work is set to change massively and will force businesses to evolve at a faster rate than they could have possibly have imagined.Skills gaps and the onset of Industry 4.0 have been talked about for years, but the Coronavirus pandemic is set to force unprecedented changes.If you’re looking for a new role at the moment or considering what your career path might look like in the future right now is the perfect time to consider what skills you may need to develop.To help you along the way, we’ve rounded up a range of free online resources to begin your learning journey.The Open UniversityOffering over 900 free courses via its online platform OpenLearn you can choose to take bite-sized development courses which range from beginner introductions to learning right through to advanced development.Covering a range of sectors including Science, Maths and Technology, Languages, Money and business and many more, there is an abundance of individual courses which will help you enhance existing skills and develop new ones.Some of the stand out courses relevant to the majority of job roles include:Communication, management and your contextDeveloping career resilienceIntroduction to operations managementThe importance of interpersonal skillsUpon completion, you are provided with a ‘Statement of Participation’, allowing you to evidence your learning.LinkedIn LearningIf you have a premium LinkedIn account, you can take advantage of LinkedIn learning at any time. If you don’t, then sign up for a 30-day free trial.While a lot of the courses are focused on tech, digital and marketing roles, there is a wide range of business-specific classes too. From learning how to build a product roadmap, to motivating your team to learn and even, how to be promotable, there is something to meet all learning needs.An added benefit of LinkedIn learning is that you can also choose to display your completed courses on your LinkedIn profile, allowing you to demonstrate your commitment to personal development.UdemyAlthough not usually free, Udemy has released a collection of over 150 free courses. These include programmes such as helping learners adapt to working from home and even searching for a job. For managers, you might find their course on leading a remote workforce useful!However, if you’re looking for something a little different, they have everything from Astronomy to teaching your kids to code.SkillshareCurrently offering two months free access, Skillshare has a range of classes covering a variety of business and personal development topics. Still, it also extends to fun courses that you might like to undertake ‘just because’. These unique activities always look good on your CV and are great to have in your back pocket when the interview question ‘tell us something we don’t know about you’ comes up.Skillshare classes focus more on interaction rather than lecturing, with many users updating and posting regularly. Available both online and via an app, Skillshare makes learning easily accessible.Marketing & Digital SectorsIf you work in a creative, sales or marketing role or are looking to get into the industry, there are a significant number of free resources at your disposal. From Google’s Analytics Academy and Digital Garage to Hootsuite and Hubspot, you have all you need to develop your digital analytic skills, through to understanding the basics of SEO, marketing automation and social media marketing.PodcastsPodcasts are an often overlooked resource when it comes to self-development. Perfect for listening to on the commute, or even just around the house, they are a great way to enhance personal development and learn industry-specific knowledge.While you can access a range of podcasts through Apple and Google, The Manufacturer has listed their most listened to podcasts in 2019, while SME.org also has a vast array of podcasts covering a variety of topics across manufacturing, engineering, aerospace and many more.​At Expion, we’d love to hear what you’re learning right now or if you have any other resource recommendations. Tweet us @expionUK.

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  • Ir35 Recruitment
    Candidate
    All you need to know about IR35 changes

    ​If you are a business hiring contractors or you are self-employed, you will have heard about IR35. It’s essential for contractors, recruiters, and employers to understand the rules around off-payroll working, also known as IR35, as new changes come into effect in April 2021.Below, we have put together some answers to frequently asked questions that will help you understand more about IR35 and the changes to come.What is IR35?Back in 2000, HMRC introduced the ‘off-payroll working rules’ (IR35) to tackle ‘disguised’ employment. This is when a contractor is essentially working as an employee but taking advantage of the tax efficiency of working through a limited company. If a contractor is caught doing so, they will be required to pay any tax and national insurance (NI) due as if they were an employee – resulting in a significantly bigger tax bill than usual.The introduction of the new IR35 rules was designed to assess whether a contractor is genuine rather than a ‘disguised’ employee, to ensure they pay the correct amount of tax.IR35 tends to apply when the following conditions are met:The individual performs services for a client.The work is provided under a contract involving an intermediary.The services are provided under an agreement between the client and contractor, meaning the contractor is classed as an employee.What is the Status Determination Statement?A status determination statement (SDS) is a comprehensive statement from the client which declares a contractor’s deemed employment status following an IR35 assessment, detailing reasons for reaching this conclusion.Under the new IR35 rules, the employer (referred in the law as the ‘end client’) will be made accountable for any IR35 judgements. Previously, this determination was left to the contractor to decide. Now it is up to the end-client to choose using reasonable care and share this, in addition to any reasoning behind the decision, to all parties in the supply chain.End-clients must take ‘reasonable care’ when making a status determination decision. HMRC has stated blanket decisions (i.e. that an entire workforce is caught by the off-payroll rules) does not constitute ‘reasonable care’ – and is of bad practice.According to the new rules, all clients must demonstrate that they have assessed IR35 correctly but may be expected to take a higher degree of care by larger companies that have more significant resources to contribute to compliance. Should the client fail to provide ‘reasonable care’, they will inherit liability, whether they are the relevant ‘fee payer’.What’s considered in an IR35 decision?IR35 will affect contractors who work in the same way as an employee of their end client but get paid via an intermediary – (i.e. their own limited company). Determinations are dependent on several criteria:Control –this is often grouped with ‘supervision’ and ‘direction’ referring to the level of control the contractor has over the work executed. A contractor must not be under the direction or control of the client business. They must have the freedom to carry out the contract, using their expertise, as they see fit. If you are in charge of how your contract is completed and work according to your schedule, this suggests you have the necessary control over what you do, leaving you outside IR35.The Right of Substitution –this relates to the services of the person with significant control (PSC). It is the right of a contractor to send a replacement to perform services for the client on their behalf. Typically, the PSC selects a contractor on the criteria and agreement of the client (usually the sole employee of the PSC). However, for an assignment to fall out of scope, the business must be willing to accept a substitute contractor (through the same PSC) should the originally selected contractor not be able to complete part of the work. The business isn’t allowed to interview the replacement contractor and must accept the choice of the PSC. For a contract to fall outside IR35 rules, it should specify that a substitute contractor can complete work on your behalf.Mutuality of Obligation –this refers to a shared obligation between the worker and the work provider (client). The contractor mustn’t do any other work for the business, and the company is not obliged to provide additional work outside the contract, nor on completion. This constitutes a contract of employment. If your agreement states that you can’t take on different clients while working for your current client, it could mean you fall outside IR35 rules.If you pass the above criteria, you will be classed as ‘outside’ of IR35 rules and can continue to invoice and pay yourself through your own limited company. If you are deemed ‘inside’ IR35 and HMRC declare an employment relationship, tax and National Insurance will be deducted from earnings and any liability for missing tax is the client’s responsibility.Who’s affected by the IR35 changes? And how?Firstly, the legislation applies to medium and large businesses. If you are classed as a small business with less than 50 employees, typically under £10m turnovers, these changes don’t apply.The changes in IR35 will not necessarily affect the self-employed, sole traders and umbrella companies. HMRC decided that instead of the contractor, the end-client will determine their IR35 status with the fee-payer picking up the IR35 liability. This means some umbrella companies will be affected if they manage the accounts for contractors and pay them as a PSC. You may be affected by IR35 if you are:a worker who provides their services through their intermediarya client who receives services from a worker through their intermediaryan agency providing workers’ services through their intermediaryWill IR35 changes continue to go ahead?This is the most frequently asked question, and our answer is yes, we believe so. The changes made to the off-payroll rules were due to come into effect on 6 April 2020. This has since been delayed until April 2021 to help businesses deal with the economic impact of COVID-19. The delay is not a sign of cancellation with the changes being made law in July 2020. This means that HMRC would have to apply to challenge the law for the changes to be cancelled.What happens if my contract runs post-April 2021?You should proceed ahead as though the legislation is already in place and undertake a full status determination statement. To do so, you need to make sure suitably qualified people carry out the SDS within the client business. The role and activities taking place must be thoroughly interrogated to make sure the answers given are answered correctly and in full as this is key criteria for HMRC. The status determination must be communicated throughout the recruitment supply chain.Do you require further help?With the changes to IR35 going ahead in April 2021, we can provide you with a solution that removes the risk of an HMRC challenge through a compliant status determination tool.To discover more, please do not hesitate tocontact our friendly professionalstoday or make sure to follow us onLinkedin,FacebookandTwitterfor frequent updates and advice.​​

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  • Listening Skills In Recruitment
    Candidate
    The real reasons for leaving a role and listening skills

    ​I’ve been in recruitment since Ant and Dec were in Byker Grove (well almost!) and of course I’ve had my fair share of conversations with candidates about their reasons for leaving their current employer (RFL). Nothing new there. Recently, though, I’ve seen a real shift in the openness being offered by candidates, and it’s this interesting change that brought me to write this.As a recruitment ‘newbie’ in the noughties, I was taught to question and query every RFL given to me. Make sure you REALLY know, I was told. Ask again in a different way, ask for references…the reasons go on and on. As a youngster, I probably asked too much, was too intrusive – in the wrong ways.Over the years, I’ve refined what I ask, how I ask it and always been very conscious of my audience. It would have been unheard of for a candidate to give anything but a standard response (new challenge, lack of opportunities), until recently, when I spoke with a candidate with a different story to share.I’d received a CV from a male candidate, experienced in his field and with a wealth of knowledge (assuming the CV to be correct!). A few years ago, he opened up about how one of his close friends lost their teenage son suddenly. Overnight. Just like that. He explained how this event had had such a profound impact on him, he lost his way at work, and couldn’t focus or gain satisfaction from the field he’d been working in for many years. This led to a cycle of depression, and he eventually left his role, took some time out and subsequently found another position with a similar business to the one he’d left. Should be the end of the story, shouldn’t it?Not so. The reason that he was talking to me was that he’d not been able to perform to the standards the new business required, and he’d been let go from his new role after a year. I felt for him. And I admired his approach to be open and honest with me, someone he’d never met and didn’t know.It got me thinking. There’s plenty of talk now about mental health and I strongly suspect that had this happened now, he’d have had access to more support than has ever been offered.But the real change I felt was that as a recruiter, we have such a duty to support candidates, whatever their reasons for moving on. Not everyone has a CV stuffed full of market-leading achievements, an array of blue-chip businesses they’ve worked for, and a first-class degree. That’s not how life works.I was humbled by his experience and the pain he’d been through. I felt compelled to make sure that I think carefully about how and why we ask about reasons for moving on. And to bear in mind that everyone has a back story and things going on that no-one knows about. My approach is now different. The candidate in question will absolutely secure a new role – he’s good at what he does. I wish him well.What have I changed, and how can we, as recruiters, show the empathy and respect for individuals we should, while still hitting the never-ending targets (whether in house or agency). My thoughts are as follows:Take time. Listen to what people have to tell you, rather than simply listen to reply.Have an open mind. The experience people have shapes them, and everyone has something to contribute.Challenge perceptions with hiring managers. Gaps in CVs, unusual RFL, changes in direction all mean something to the individual, and there could be a real opportunity for someone in a business if the ‘norm’ is challenged.Think like a candidate. How do they feel? Looking for a role can be extremely humbling.Give an amazing candidate experience. As recruiters, we’re ambassadors for our clients and hiring managers, and we need to make them stand out.And so my final thoughts are this as a recruiter. We deal with people, not in people. And we have an opportunity to leave an impression on our candidates as they do with us.In the words of the late Maya Angelou (American Poet):I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.Author, Caroline Vooght – Business Unit Director​​​I’m an experienced recruiter with over 20 years in the industry and a specialism for recruiting in the food/FMCG industry. I’ve grown and developed teams and love supporting others.Source: https://ukrecruiter.co.uk/2020/02/28/listening-skills/

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