FMCG and Consumer Goods recruitment
  • Laptop
    Candidate
    Can you 'Beat the 'Bot?'

    How to craft a CV to pass through Applicant Tracking Systems ​​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

    ​ How to create impact with your CV ​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 touchfor 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 in the UK food manufacturing industry? ​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
    Client
    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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  • Manufacturing Recruitment
    Client
    Insight and Intuition - Engineered Products and Manufacturing

    ​Many key hiring and recruitment trends have been announced over the last few weeks. Surveys, reports, all written to help give us insight into what the market’s doing, and where it might be going.We’re all ears, and we’ll share with you some of what we’ve seen develop across the market, and within Engineered Products and Manufacturing.Covid will be dominant through the summer, well into H2. I think we all guessed this, but it’s interesting to see how businesses will manage through. Vacancies are already up in some sectors such as Building Materials, and we see more positivity starting to creep in. Summer recovery won’t be a ‘return to normal’. What’s that anyway? I think we’ve all forgotten and have all adapted but in business, investment in ‘clicks not bricks’ is evident as more people work from home permanently, and businesses will rely on a flexible workforce, including temporary labour, to manage the change.Resilience is key in a volatile and complex environment. Employee engagement and retention is even more important, as is the financial flexibility and businesses are even starting to stockpile talent. Take note.D&I is a top strategic concern. Recruitment and staffing firms can be a catalyst for change but don’t get left behind with this. It is here and embracing D&I can attract fantastic talent to a business of any size, especially in a skills short market such as engineering.Platforms are being developed and enhanced all the time. It’s the new battleground. From recruitment platforms to commercial and businesses evolving from B2B to B2C to explore new channels.Omni-channel staffing. Whats that? It’s multi-faceted ways of recruiting. From inhouse referrals through to advertising, networking and Social Media. It’s a full-time job. We should know. But balancing the channels is a skill and manufacturing businesses need to ensure they maximise the whole talent pool when recruiting, not rely on one or two sources.Automation has accelerated during Covid, and job losses have been harsh. But it’s here to stay and people displaced are retraining.Reskilling is big business and so much is offered from government funded initiatives, through to staffing firms skilling staff. This is evolving weekly, and for anyone in a position to upskill themselves, the options are vast. We'd love to chat to you about how we can support with your hiring needs, contact us here

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  • I Stock 000021983572 Medium
    Client
    Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical Recruitment - Utilising Extra Capacity

    ​We recently share our insight into the world of Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical Recruitment. Now we’re delving deeper into a key trend we’ve been seeing - Utilising extra capacity.The need to manufacture the Covid vaccine in the UK has been a topic for discussion for a while. We work with Wockhardt who make the Astrazeneca vaccine, and recently Fujifilm Diosynth gained approval to make the Novavax vaccine.But what’s the impact on recruitment?They’re recruiting. Not that that’s a surprise, and the impact of Fujifilm Diosynth needing an additional 300 skilled staff in the North East is a positive one. Great for the local area.But it also has an impact on other businesses in the region. Draining the candidate pool leaves fewer skilled workers for other businesses initially. All businesses in the area need a clear recruitment strategy to hire in the right people and must have a compelling proposition for the market.We’ve seen many manufacturers have to flip their manufacturing model. Changing shift patterns to extend manufacturing hours, and varying terms for workers adds even more pressure onto HR teams, who are already stretched to capacity.Once recruited, new workers need a sound onboarding experience – the last thing a business needs is people exiting due to the absence of a proper welcome.IR35 is still rearing its head. We’re seeing an impact on the availability of interim contracts as companies prepare to navigate through the changes (and we still believe they will come), and interim professionals reluctant to look at FTC roles. A stale mate possibly?The over-riding feeling within the Medical Devices and Pharmaceuticals world is one of anticipation and excitement. Bringing manufacturing into the UK to avoid import pressures from Brexit is heralded as great for the UK. And we agree.For chat about any aspects of recruiting into the Medical Devices & Pharmaceutical market, please contact us - we'd love to hear from you  

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  • Kpmg
    UK Report on Jobs - February 2021 update

    ​​As part of our service to clients, we are pleased to provide access to market information, insight and data.In February 2021, KPMG and the REC published their report on jobs (updated from January 2021) which is essential reading for anyone in a recruiting or hiring role. We hope you find it useful.UK Report on Jobs

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  • Pexels Pixabay 35629
    Client
    Food & FMCG - What's the market doing?

    ​We’ve worked in the Food & FMCG industry for a while. And we know quite a few people as you’d expect. But what’s actually going on? We hear reports of booming sales and output yet parts of the industry are on their knees. How do you navigate through this space if you’re hiring or job seeking?Just like asking Jeremy Clarkson on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, here’s what we think:The skills gap is real. So even though there are perceptions there are more available candidates, that doesn’t make their experience necessarily right for the roles that businesses are recruiting for.Networking is abundant. And by that we mean there are plenty of people connecting, collaborating, sharing information. And we see this continuing. Some businesses are on their knees. Those supplying Food to Go products have found it tough. You can’t make for M&S café, if M&S café isn’t open. Nor can you easily flip to something else. We’ve seen casualties in readymade meals and convenience foods. We’re all at home, more available to cook. Some businesses have boomed. Not just in loo roll, but bakery, ambient grocery and meats/meat alternatives.To meet demand, we’ve seen businesses look to create extra capacity. Through changing shift patterns to longer working or overtime, these changes all affect the working lives of manufacturing staff and require the skills and expertise of HR teams and strong leaders to make it effective.Health, Safety and Environmental roles have come to the fore like never before. We’ve placed several people in these roles over the last 12 months and quite rightly, the ‘safety first’ message is being heard loud and clear.Leadership is key. Like never before. Finding people who are able to ‘take others on a journey’ is the most important behavioural capability we’re asked to identify when we’re looking for candidates. We’ve seen a reduction on emphasis on qualifications and more focus on the qualities and cultural fit of candidates. Senior level candidates have ‘dipped down’ to apply for roles less senior than their previous positions. Whilst some businesses view these candidates as a flight risk, many have embraced the opportunity to bring in expertise where previously they’ve been unable to.I.T. is KINGWe did know this before Covid, but creating efficiencies in the supply chain are advancing, and data analysts and scientists are in demand for developing sophisticated, intuitive systems.Emerging businesses with a lower capital risk are emerging as never before. Factories are expensive beasts to run, so creating agility in the supply of products through 3rd parties and co-packers is smart business for smaller companies. To find out more about the market, and what we can do for you, contact the team here.

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  • Colin D Jn J Zw Ys Wy7o Unsplash
    Client
    Automotive, Logistics & Distribution - The Road Ahead

    ​Automotive, Logistics & Distribution – The Road Ahead There are huge challenges ahead for the Automotive, Logistics & Distribution industry as what Boris Johnson terms the “green industrial revolution” is underway to drive us to a low carbon economy.   This race to innovate set against the backdrop of the global pandemic has created a unique set of demands for vehicle operators.   Here’s some of what we’re seeing: Diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned from 2030 and HGVs will soon follow.  As a result, we need the engineering and technical skills to manage high levels of electric or hybrid vehicles on the road – and at present (according to the Institute of the Motor Industry) only 5% of vehicle technicians are trained to work on these vehicles.  Furthermore, training in the vehicle retail world plummeted by 85% in 2020 when many dealerships furloughed staff and reduced investment in training following a slump in retail sales.  Product and strategic specialists with electric vehicle knowledge, data scientists, data analysts and business information specialists are all in demand as large Automotive fleet operators seek to understand how to decarbonise their fleets whilst meeting changing customer demands. Supermarket home delivery and parcel delivery from online shopping demand has exploded, so fleet managers, account managers, technical operations and workshop operations staff in these sectors are in demand, however on the flip side of this, businesses who deliver supplies to and remove waste from the hospitality sector have experienced a huge loss in demand through the sustained lockdowns and tier system closures the industry has seen. One might expect an influx of candidates wanting to move from badly impacted to booming sectors however we’re seeing many candidates choose to stay with their current employer to maintain furlough eligibility and redundancy rights so competition for talent is sharpening.For more information on the future of the Automotive, Logistics and Distribution recruitment landscape, please get in touch with Francesca Loughrey, we'd love to hear from you. 

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  • Iet Logo
    Client
    Our insight into Engineered Products - what the market is doing

    ​What gives us our #expertopinion in Engineered Products Recruitment? Well, we’ve been operating in that sector for many years, and our resident Steve McKiernan has his eye on what’s changing, and what’s not.Here’s how we see things at the moment:There’s a real variation of demand across the sector. Some areas are in decline (Aerospace), others are flat (Automotive/OEMs) but with some signs of improvement, and other sectors are in growth (Building Materials such as Steel, Fabrication and products used in construction). The impact of Brexit. Manufacturing has shifted both ways, in some cases into the UK such as our clients Jotun and Emerson. Others haven’t been so fortunate, and seen manufacturing moving overseas.There’s still a skills gap. People with strong technical and engineering skills are badly needed (Engineering is identified by the IET as a desired skill and 1 in 2 businesses are concerned that the skills gap will affect business growthhttps://www.theiet.org/media/press-releases/press-releases-2019/18-november-2019-1-in-2-uk-engineering-and-technology-firms-are-concerned-that-a-shortage-of-engineers-in-the-uk-is-a-threat-to-their-business/)Our clients recognise this. Even though there are more candidates available does not mean they are more appropriate.IR35 will affect Engineered Products as April 2021 approaches. Whilst there are more available contractors, some have taken FTC roles within businesses. We predict that within Engineered Products, along with other manufacturing businesses, the risk of high levels of attrition is great once the market picks up after April and more lucrative day rates are available.We've plenty more to talk about, just get in touch and see how we can help you.

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  • Hiring
    Candidate
    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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  • Kpmg
    Client
    UK Report on Jobs - January 2021

    ​As part of our service to clients, we are pleased to provide access to market information, insight and data.In January 2021, KPMG and the REC published their report on jobs which is essential reading for anyone in a recruiting or hiring role. We hope you find it useful.UK Report on Jobs

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  • UK Recruiter
    Client
    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
    Candidate
    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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  • 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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  • Ben Wicks Dvn G7c Zh4 Wm Unsplash
    Client
    Engineering candidate crisis?!

    ​In common with most industry sectors, manufacturing and engineering companies know what they want from job vacancy candidates – the highest calibre of person they can attract. Manufacturing & engineering companies are looking for the most talented individuals who possess a broad range of skills and who can fulfil the expanded roles open to them, as companies seek to maintain profit margins. This scenario has created an unusual situation, one in which engineering candidates are both extremely marketable and difficult to attract. It also means that the best are in the top jobs and if they can be persuaded to look elsewhere, they become prime targets for counter offers as their current employers seek to retain them. Not an easy business, recruiting.Right person, wrong job? Or right job, wrong person?Finding the right person for the right job is a skill in itself. High demand for quality at senior management level has created a supply shortage. And this in turn, has led to ideal conditions for the use of very targeted search. There has been a significant shift in recent times towards targeted ‘head-hunting’ – so much so that it could soon outstrip both other main methods of recruitment, advertising and database services. A combination of all three can be used to ensure every avenue is explored to seek out those highly capable -but rare – “passive” candidates. Traditionally, head-hunting tended to be used at boardroom and senior level among those commanding high salaries. But slowly it has moved down the scale to involve talented engineers and we are now seeing it graduate into the sphere of contract / interim engineering recruitment as well. One of the main reasons has to be that recruitment companies have more than proved their worth in the head-hunting sphere. So, what are the advantages to using outsiders for recruitment as opposed to keeping the job in-house? There are a good number of reasons for letting the experts take the strain. Let’s explore just a handful of them, all pertinent to the engineering sector -market knowledge, recruitment expertise, cost savings, thoroughness of the selection process and sensitivity (also known as secrecy!).Market knowledge: Recruitment and selection specialists operate in the manufacturing and engineering sectors on a daily basis. Their store of knowledge equips them with the expertise to provide clients, who may only recruit sporadically with the latest state of play. The experts can make sure the company doing the recruiting knows exactly what it is stepping into.Recruitment expertise: Specialist agencies have the resources, the contacts and the systems in place to ensure they reach out to as many relevant candidates as possible. Doing the job in-house means there is rarely the time, the depth of expertise or the candidate network available to ensure the best available people are delivered.Cost savings: Put simply -and in terms which will please finance directors and accountants-using a consultancy saves both time and money. Employ a consultancy and it will advise and deliver a solution, which leaves the engineering company free to go about its core business. And don’t forget the ‘hidden’ savings-by using the experts you get the right solution at the outset so that unnecessary expense is not incurred.Thorough selection process: Agencies’ selection processes are robust, resulting in shortlists of thoroughly pre-screened and well-informed candidates. The processes are designed to increase the client’s chances of recruiting and retaining the most suitable person for a specific job.Sensitivity requirements: There are a variety of reasons for running a covert campaign-reasons which often negate any possibility of the recruiting company managing the process itself. Examples of the need to maintain secrecy include: running a search or a blind advertisement to recruit for a new confidential role and the thorny question of salary disclosure leading to internal remuneration issues.Retention is also an important issue. It is not a lot of good filling a post with exactly the right candidate if he or she then ups and leaves in quick time. Recruitment consultancies can help by keeping in touch with their candidates long after they have started work to help them settle in and to flag up any problems before they can escalate.Experts in recruitment should take the time to listen to the employer and then make recommendations based on their industry experience and their knowledge of the individual role in question. Any recruitment consultant worth his salt will not just agree with the client but also challenge the or assumptions in order to ensure their requirements are realistic and result in the formulation of a recruitment strategy which is both appropriate and achievable.Check that a potential consultancy has got an extensive network of contacts and a thorough understanding of the calibre and availability of candidates, the types of employer and the issues within each core sector. If they do, they are well placed to advise companies and candidates alike and to introduce people to the most suitable opportunities for them to develop their careers.THREE TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL RECRUITMENTFirst, have an attractive salary / rate for the role. Benchmark with your industry sector if you need to, but make sure the remuneration is right to attract the calibre of individual you require (Recruitment companies can help with this).Second, put together a detailed job specification for the role. Include in this any new skills and experience a candidate can bring to your organisation. Then use that specification when tackling the interviewing process.Third, move through the interview process swiftly. Time after time good candidates fall out of the job race because of long time delays!​Richard Clegg is a Director at Expion Search & Selection and specialises in retained search for specialist roles.

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  • Ir35 Recruitment
    Client
    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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  • Market Changes Interviews
    Client
    How the market has changed…..July 2020

    ​How the market has changed…..July 2020I said on a previous post that Covid hasn’t changed anything, it’s simply accelerated things. And I meant it. One thing I’ve learnt over many years in recruitment is this. Nothing stays the same and markets change quickly.We couldn’t have seen a much quicker charge than we have done over the last few months, and this week I listened to a very informative webinar by Alex Fourlis – MD for Careerbuilder and Broadbean and James Osborne – Chairman of TRN. Both highly respected and knowledgeable with access to a lot of data. They outlined just a few of the changes that they’ve seen and there are some interesting outcomes.We all know that the number of advertised roles has fallen. Generally, by May, there were half the number of manufacturing roles advertised. Interestingly, regional variance was minimal so the effect was national, despite the peaks of the virus in London and then the Midlands/North during that time. There’s no surprise that applications per role are up an average of 35% per role but whilst applications per role increased, the actual number of jobseekers fell.Fewer people looking can be attributed to many things – Lockdown I suspect, and the furlough scheme have kept many people at home and with some feeling of security that they still have a job. And I’ve seen some fantastic examples of businesses and teams who have kept in touch above and beyond what you’d expect. Scavenger hunts, quizzes, online Pictionary – we’ve all done them and for those who have participated, they’ve been the ‘glue’ that’s kept the team engaged and not reaching for the job boards to start a search for a new path.There have been more temporary opportunities – companies are needing resource but unable to commit to longer-term employment. These roles have benefitted those who haven’t been furloughed (and some who have), and jobseekers have been able to find alternative roles, or join businesses temporarily where demand has been substantial such as supermarkets and distribution.Where is the demand and the highest number of roles? Top 20 professions, and no real surprises here, are Support Workers, Nurses, Warehouse Operatives, Software Engineers and more recently, Teachers. Makes perfect sense. And there’s plenty of talk about people reskilling and retraining to fit the evolving workplace. Recruiters can play a key part in this and I’ve seen fellow #APSCo members doing this well within their internal academies and training their own recruits, alongside up-skilling talented candidates for their clients.The lifecycle of jobs is also changing. Average time a role is now online is 10 days, down from 25 days at the start of 2020. Could the impact of this restrict the stream of talent? If recruiters are overwhelmed by response and are closing roles earlier, have we maximised access to the talent pool? Time will tell.I said at the start of this that Covid is an accelerator, and in no small way either. The use of technology for communication, meetings and interviewing has affected everyone. But the use of more sophisticated AI in recruitment makes some people uncomfortable and it will be an interesting time ahead to see how this affects diversity and the corporate D&I agenda.Data is king. It always has been. Never more so in how we work and how we monitor activity and work flow. I suspect we’ll see a decrease in time to hire as processes speed up through enabling technology, and candidate engagement is high on the agenda. Leaders, managers and employees now need to start analysing data and using it to drive efficiency, but without losing the ‘human’ touch.What will the rest of 2020 bring? Whilst things are still slow, there are signs that activity in the market is starting to build, and I predict that once the schools return in September then demand for candidates and jobs will inflate further. This downturn was created by an event rather than by economics and I’ll agree with Alex James and many thought leaders on this, that recovery will be quicker than after the financial crisis. There is a real will of the people to get things moving again, and I for one can’t wait.Thank you for Alex and James really insightful webinar and look forward to hearing their thoughts as the recovery builds.#alexfourlis#jamesosborneCaroline Vooght – July 2020

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  • Post Covid Interviewing Skills
    Client
    UK Recruiter: Interviewing in a post-Covid world

    ​Will it be different? Should it be different? And can it be different? Yes, yes and yes. And here’s why I think so.We published an article recently about different questions that we predict will become included in a post-Covid world, encouraging people to explain what they did during the pandemic. Did they volunteer, take a different job, or become a homeschooling ninja? Maybe all 3. Or maybe none of the above and they simply followed advice to stay home and save lives. I’m not to judge which would have the most impact or be seen as the ‘best’ answer but mark my words, I believe those questions will come, and everyone will need to be prepared to answer them.But is that the only change that’s likely to come from this? This is a time to radically change how we interview. It’s happening already. Most people are now convinced that video interviewing (Zoom/Skype/Teams) is perfectly viable and is likely to form the basis of many 1st interviews from now on. I agree – it’s more time-efficient, cost-friendly and can cut down a lot of unnecessary activity.There are plenty of options to automate this part of the process if you feel inclined (and there’s some brilliant tech available to do so), as more redundancies occur, application numbers have a canny knack of soaring. And thus presents an opportunity to embrace a broad range of people, skills and capability, and so whichever way you wish to tackle it, tackle it you should.But mostly it’s the format I think should change. Now, don’t get me wrong, competency and biographical interviews allow the interviewer great insight into experience and capability, and in turn, whether the candidate has suitable skills to fulfil the role they are being interviewed for. However, we are moving towards a world where many people are being displaced. Airlines, for example, are laying off swathes of staff, some of whom may never return to the world of aviation, and will be seeking roles in different industries, sectors and disciplines. They will have a multitude of transferrable skills, and while a well-structured competency interview will pull some of these out, plenty may be missed.So what to do about this? How can we, as recruiters, lead the way in challenging the norm in interviewing? While many dread the ‘Tell me about Yourself’ question, I think we should embrace it. Fully.Let’s give candidates the chance to talk about themselves openly and what they value, what they can bring and ultimately, how they can be an amazing addition to the business – your business and your team. I’m not advocating hour-long presentations here with power-point galore…that would be too much. But it’s about giving people that chance to really think about the skills they have for a role, why they want it, and how they can contribute. Proper job descriptions and an insight into the business and the team to be shared with the candidate before the 1st interview (using technology of course) with a brief to prepare a short piece about yourself and your suitability will allow them to do this.I hear you mutter – candidates will hate this. Possibly some will. But some will embrace the chance to have a voice, show capability and strength, and actually talk about things that they might never be asked. If you gave me this chance, what might you find out that’s not on a CV? You’ll find out that I’m actually a qualified fitness instructor (not relevant to my recruitment job), but it taught me to be able to speak to groups of people with confidence and encourage engagement, and that I used to be in the Royal Naval Reserve. Both of these experiences built me as a person yet are so unlikely to come out in an interview, and won’t feature on a CV necessarily.This won’t suit every role of course, but I think it could open the doors for candidates who are changing sector, to demonstrate capability and strengths which may not be evident. In fact, in the recruitment sector, when I recruit for my team, I’m not looking for people who have necessarily already been in recruitment. I’m looking for the skills and aptitude to be able to build relationships, be resilient and hardworking. There are plenty of people who will have these skills and be able to show them off using this approach. And that’s why I think we should give candidates more of a voice. To tackle assumptions that can be so easily made when a CV is read. I’ve heard some shocking preconceptions recently which I won’t repeat, but this could also ‘weed out’ people who aren’t really dedicated to the cause.There’s a danger with a video 1st interview that candidates won’t take them seriously. Too easy to ‘no-show’. In fact, I quake in fear that we’ll get dropouts at the last minute that will disrupt and disappoint. That’s a tale for another day…but to ask candidates to put in a small amount of effort prior to a Zoom will surely tackle those who are ‘in’ and those who are ‘out’.I suspect not everyone will agree with me. But I listened to a talk last week by Grant Leboff who said:Covid 19 changes nothing. It has simply accelerated things. I agree.​This is a guest post provided to UK Recruiter‘s: Recruiting Weekly Series by Caroline Vooght, Director at Expion Search & Selection.

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  • APSCo Logo
    Candidate
    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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