Category Archives: HR Network

To Blog or not To Blog?

Kim MacNamara - HR Business Director

Kim MacNamara – HR Business Director

Top reasons why you should be a HR/Recruitment Blogger!! 

Blogging is increasingly becoming an invaluable tool for HR professionals seeking new job opportunities, for a variety of reasons.  Standing out in a competitive job market is key for HR professionals who want to make their mark on a potential new firm.

Here are some of my top reasons why you should be blogging now.whyblog


Self promotion – Blogging enables you to reach huge numbers of people instantly – an audience at your fingertips to promote you and your successes and increasing the chances of conversion into an interview.

Credibility – Writing about key HR topics positions you as knowledgeable and an expert in your field.  This can raise your profile and image in the market place.  Blogs can provide valuable additional information to support your CV in the recruitment process.

hands shakingEngagement – Future employers may be more receptive to meeting you if they understand what you have written about and received value from it.

Opportunities – Your views on a topic can turn into a lead that is picked up by a potential HR function looking for your specific skills set.

Additional Networking Engagements  – Not only will blogging make you more visible to firms, it could open the door for further value added offerings such as speaking and debating opportunities.

Portray an accurate picture -Write factual accounts of your story with no amendments – one that is compelling and makes the employer want to find out more about you.

promotion2014Make new connections - Your readers will potentially become not only new  work colleagues  but also friends and good business contacts that will support your job search and increase your networking capabilities.  Whether it be through comments, e-mails, or social media, you may be surprised at how quickly you benefit from connecting with people on-line.  The blogging community is friendly, encouraging, and genuinely keen for you to succeed.

Building your knowledge - Blogging encourages you to think carefully and deeply about your thoughts and views and you will widen your knowledge  even further  when researching and creating your blogs.  Plus the feedback you get will help further broaden this knowledge.

inspirational-photoInspiration – You not only will be inspired to write but also read and comment on other blogs. Blogs provide valuable meaningful information to the employer who will be encouraged to meet you in person to find out more!

Happy Blogging ! iloveblogging


If you want to be seen as an influencer and build a network of HR connections then the team at Ashley Kate HR can also help support and promote your HR and Recruitment blogs by posting on their market leading online Social Media sites, contact me for further details on how we can assist you with this via email  or call 0845 413 3200.

HRHQ is the Ashley Kate HR blog which features guest bloggers as well and contributions from the Ashley Kate HR team, if you would like to guest blog please email Joanne Wilson

FIRP, HR Recruitment Director –  Kim MacNamara is a HR recruitment specialist who has successfully placed senior HR roles across the UK and is driven by a focus on an excellent customer experience.  Working alongside Claire Baker, Gemma Thomason, Jorja Carr & Paula Shaw they provide effective recruitment solutions for HR roles from Administrative to Board level.

If you enjoy networking and want to connect with other HR professionals – Kim also runs the LinkedIn Groups- HR Professionals Network  and HR Directors Boardroom. The former cited as one of the fastest growing HR specific groups. Kim is also responsible for running the Ashley Kate HR HRD Boardroom style debate events in the UK.

If you are looking for a new opportunity in 2015 register your details with us today.














The by-product of Fifty Shades of Grey

FiftyshadesSo, Valentines weekend coming up and the much eagerly anticipated and talked about release of Fifty Shades of Grey the movie, have you booked your ticket yet?  Be warned a predicted Baby Boom has been announced.

Sociologists come up with all sorts of excuses for baby booms; recession, wars ending, cold winters, hot summers, national disasters, national successes and now Fifty Shades of Grey. The release of the books created the biggest baby boom in 40 years.  That’s right, 2013 was a bumper year for bumps, with a large proportion born in the February, directly correlating to the Fifty Shades of Grey sales spike in May 2012.fiftyshadesofgrey

The upcoming release of Fifty Shades of Grey has had far reaching effects to say the least.  HR Grapevine reported that B&Q have reportedly put staff on ‘stand by’ for increased demand for certain products. The DIY retailer’s staff briefing goes on to say: “All staff are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the content of Fifty Shades of Grey by reading the novel or watching the film upon its release. Copies of the book will be delivered to each store and can be lent to staff on a one week basis. Understanding the storyline and how some products that B&Q stock feature in the film will better prepare staff for incoming queries.”

So B&Q are forward thinking (though not necessarily appropriate), are you? If this potential baby boom were to happen are you prepared for a potential mass maternity/paternity leave exodus? With the introduction of Shared Parental Leave last year what effect will this have on your business come Autumn? With the government’s new shared parental leave which came in to force on December 1 last year, small businesses need to be aware of the HR implications. While the news may be welcomed by parents, there are a number of complicated elements employers need to consider.

For babies due on or after April 5 2015, mothers can now choose to end their maternity leave early and opt for shared parental leave with their partner. Essentially they will take up to a maximum of 50 weeks (of the total 52 weeks) for maternity (or adoption) leave to be shared between them, either at the same time or not.

HRN EVENT BANNERThroughout the year we host a number of Employment Updates with Eversheds LLP across the UK on subject matters such as Shared Parental Leave, Right to Flexible Working & Holiday Pay Entitlement, follow our company LinkedIn page for updates on events near you.


HR Employment Law Update March 2015

HRN Header 01This is an essential update for anyone involved in HR.

We would like to invite you to the next Ashley Kate HR Network Event where leading employment lawyers from international law firm Eversheds LLP will provide an update to HR professionals on key legal developments including;

Calculating holiday pay

The new right to request flexible working

Case law Update

The event will be led by Simon Rice-Birchall from the Eversheds LLP Human Resources Group.

Simon Rice-Birchall:
Simon has considerable experience of employment litigation and has a reputation for his discrimination law expertise, having been responsible for a number of high profile discrimination cases over the last ten years, and continues to build his reputation in this area of his practice. In addition, Simon’s contentious workload includes unfair dismissal, whistleblowing and executive terminations.

In addition to his contentious practice, Simon also gives advice in relation non-contentious matters, such as the implications of TUPE in relation to commercial transactions, issues relating to proposals to change terms and conditions of employment and large scale redundancy exercises.

Simon has expertise of employment issues arising in the public sector, such as in local government and relation to the Police. Simon is described in Chambers by sources as “sharp, on the ball and highly efficient. He is a recommended lawyer in Legal 500.

Kate Sheehan
Kate is an senior associate in the Eversheds Human Resources Group. She specialises in both pensions and employment law and her experience across both disciplines provides a unique insight into the interface between the two subjects.
Kate specialises in all aspects of employment law with a special interest in tribunal litigation, discrimination and advising on changes to employment contracts (particularly when associated with pension scheme changes) and subsequent consultation obligations. Kate also provides general pensions advice to both companies and trustees, including advice on scheme mergers, the pension aspects of TUPE, age discrimination and scheme change.

Breakfast pastries and refreshments will be provided at 8am for an 8.30am start.

The event is sponsored by Ashley Kate HR and is free to all HR Network members. Non-members will pay a small charge of £25 (plus VAT) per delegate.

If you would like to attend this update, please complete the form below.  We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday 3rd of March 2015.

Venue:        Eversheds LLP Leeds
Address:     Bridgewater Place Water Lane Leeds LS11 5DR
Date:           Tuesday 3rd of March 2015
Start Time:  8am for an 8.30am start  Finish Time: 10am



A blog about a blog – and other blogs


Naomi Asher – Managing Director and Co Founder of Ashley Kate HR

We were absolutely delighted that HRHQ, Ashley Kate HRs blog, was shortlisted for the UK Recruiter – Recruitment Agency Blog of the year award, one of just 4 finalists from over 200 entries.

It’s the first time we have entered an award like this so we weren’t entirely sure what they were looking for but we are pleased that what we are blogging about seemed to hit the mark.






If you don’t already subscribe to and read HRHQ, here’s an overview of what you can expect. Our blog is designed to provide insight into, give information on and share knowledge about the;

  • HR sector
  • HR Networks
  • Employment Law Updates
  • Recruitment sector
  • Ashley Kate HR events and internal news

Articles are provided & written by our team of HR recruitment consultants, resourcers, our Communications Coordinator & guest bloggers from the HR sector as well as myself, we post regularly to ensure the information provided is not only informative but also current and relevant.

The Ashley Kate HR team subscribe to many blogs to hear their insight and learn from their knowledge, these include the ones in the other categories of the UK Recruiter Blog awards, here is an overview of some we would suggest for recruitment professionals.


Finalists for Recruitment Department / In-house Recruiter Blogger:

Change-Effect Written by Neil Morrison,  this is a very insightful blog, always full of good strong well written articles which push boundaries, and leave you thinking what you can do to effect change.

HR Gem - Gemma Reucroft continuously provides thought provoking and honest blog updates, combining HR related issues and everyday life into witty, strong, interesting and valuable articles which within out office we all love to share and have a quick debate on.

The HR Juggler  – Written by Alison Chissnell provides an insight into the life of a busy HR Director.

The King’s Shilling – Matt Buckland writes frank, to the point curser scrolling articles, which provoke many comments and get you thinking more deeply into subjects.

Following are the finalists for Recruitment Industry Supplier Blog:

Barclay Jones
Bubble Jobs
Colleague Software
Seed Jobs
T Recs

All of these blogs offer so much to the Recruitment & HR industry and are deserving nominees for the UK Recruiter Recruitment Blog of the Year Award 2015.

There are  a lot of blogs out there, if you are looking for something specific to read about in the HR or recruitment field and the blogs above don’t cover it, or your would like to start your own blog or have content you have written which you would like to be posted on Ashley Kate HRs blog – HRHQ, please contact our Communications Coordinator Jo Wilson via email or call 0845 413 3200, and Jo will be happy to help.





Popular Discussions for HR Professionals on Linkedin

Ashley Kate Logo LargeOur HR Professionals Group on LinkedIn (one of the fastest growing HR networking groups) is always very active here are a couple of questions which generated a lot of discussion last year.

Thank you to all our members who continue to help make this group a useful tool for HR professionals throughout the UK.



Amanda Underhill - Senior Recruitment Consultant for London

Amanda Underhill – HR Recruitment Manager

Amanda Underhill MIRP When recruiting for a role that is ‘Hot Desk’ only – do you think this restricts the volume of applications received?


Les Potton Chartered FCIPD ACII Director – Target HR and Training Ltd- Interesting question and when you think about it, it’s down to what people value and the state of the labour market at the time. if there are lots of jobs around then it may be more restricting. Personally it would attract me as it paints a picture of flexibility and empowerment. However, some might see it as less secure. Hot desking makes economic sense and I can’t imagine it putting off many people.

Amanda Underhill MIRP HR Recruitment Manager- London & Kent- I agree Les you would think it would be an attraction and it definitely is more economical We have had a few roles lately that are ‘Hot Desk’ only , but this seems to put them off and have been the hardest roles to fill.

Les Potton Chartered FCIPD ACII Director – Target HR and Training Ltd- Probably a silly question, but do they really understand what Hot Desking means, or is it that we underestimate the human desire to have office territory !

Amanda Underhill MIRP HR Recruitment Manager- London & Kent- Amazingly yes they do! I thought most people would jump at the chance of working in a collaborative and innovative workspace; it also leads to better engagement. Over heads down, productivity up! A win win situation surely? That fact that it gives people the chance to work from home too I thought would be a huge attraction, but maybe it’s the lack of privacy, or the sharing of workspace , who knows. I just wondered if im missing anything else.

Ruth Hardcastle BSc (Hons) Assoc CIPD. Benefits Specialist – Open to New Opportunities

My experience of hot desking in the office did not work particularly well…the team members who had been there longest were reluctant to hot desk (working from home was not encouraged). The idea sounds good in theory but in practice it doesn’t always work. Humans are naturally territorial and in terms of their environment like to know where they are sitting when they come into work. It can be divisive in teams unfortunately.

Anya Leadbetter Interim Human Resources and Organisational Design Manager at Golden Gates Housing Trust

It doesn’t make the candidate or the new starter feel very welcome I must say. It could perhaps be sold as home working for most of the time which may attract a different kind of candidate perhaps? I can’t see it working if there is no opportunity to work from home – surely the point is to ensure the best use of resources and not have huge office spaces empty in city centres?

Les Potton Chartered FCIPD ACII Director – Target HR and Training Ltd- I agree that it needs to be part of a flexible working arrangement, particularly for roles where people are on the road a lot and can choose to work from home. It’s simply a place to plug into the internet between meetings in the office. I can see it being unattractive if you have to be in the office every day and play musical chairs for the window seat :)

Dr. Mohammed P Aslam MCIPD HRM & Employee Relations- I agree with Ruth. Hot Desking is always a problem for most people. It can be sold for short periods but over the longer periods people become restless and don’t feel as though they are a valued member of the team. It can work but my experience shows it works badly. Homeworking is an excellent alternative but that has its own challenges of motivation and team spirit but with the right kind of infrastructure it works very well.

We are all HR Directors now.  Paul Robertson-Marriott MBA, Chartered FCIPD Director and Founder at Semini GlobalTop Contributor Asks…..

directorWhy is there this proliferation of this title? When you look at the JD it is clear that the role is not really HRD level. Is this employers over inflating the status of a role to attract a wider range of candidates or cost saving by having the HRD do the work of the HRM as well? If I am correct what are the consequences for HR careers?

Laurel Hewitt Human Resources Manager at the sargeant-partnership- It should and could also be considered that the role is to cover all specifically in small businesses who do not have enough employees to warrant having more than one person responsible for the HR function. Also anyone who has a knowledge of the function will only be inflating their own importance and realistically when looking for a job role change will not have the right qualifications. The employer is not always the one at fault when naming job roles.

Andy Bailey Strategic HR Business Partner at Herefordshire Council- it’s probably the same reason that people who found their own companies trade on the title of director as well – it’s about status and equivalence in a world full of sales directors, customer service directors, finance directors ……… need I go on.

Jeremy Mansell HR Director at Orona UK- The trend has probably grown from the need to differentiate the seniority of the role from the apparently omnipresent, often meaningless and always confusing title ‘business partner’ which can mean anything between little more than a glorified HR clerk in some organisations right up to head of function in others. Lets get back to calling a spade a spade and giving jobs titles which really reflect the role’s content and status.

Janet Ogundele International commercially focused HR Director. Media, Retail, Financial Services & Brand Marketing-  The job title should accurately reflect the nature and essence of the role to effectively attract the right level of candidate and not to waste the time of the recruiter who then has to sift through inappropriate applications. Marketing techniques such as beefing up a job title, seems to blur clear communication and this has a cost in terms of attracting the right level of interest. I agree with all the other comments made so far in this interesting discussion.

Laurel Hewitt Human Resources Manager at the sargeant-partnership- I agree with your comments Janet, however, it should also be considered that the person applying for such positions is also being led astray and having their time wasted also.

Janet Ogundele International commercially focused HR Director. Media, Retail, Financial Services & Brand Marketing- Hello Laurel, yes I fully agree with you.

RoseMarie Loft HR Director at The National Gallery- For every job that has an ‘upgrade’ through its title, there is probably an equivalent that has been ‘downgraded’ in the hope that the organisation will pick up the right skills that it needs for a lesser cost. The executive team has a novel idea: “I say, why don’t we save money by removing the Director of HR post and put in a Head of HR, reporting to Finance. But the person can do the same job, we just don’t need to pay them as much!” And of course, through our major cultural change programme, the new Head of HR isn’t going to be hampered by reporting to an accountant at all! Then comes the cycle in two years time when the organisation decides that HR isn’t being ‘strategic’ enough, but we can’t possibly reintroduce the old job title because that would make us look like we made a mistake. “I know!,” says someone in the corner, “Let’s put the word ‘strategic’ in front!”, a particular favourite of local government, or call it ‘organisational development’ instead (favoured by the health sector). “That will make all the difference!” (Like any organisation wants to put someone in place in a senior position that isn’t ‘strategic’?) HR has, unfortunately, been the victim of far too many restructures on restructures on shared servicing on reverse TUPEs where management teams have made very uninformed decisions about want they want from HR without considering what they need. Nor is consideration given to the fact that you can’t point to HR in the corner and say ‘you change’ without realising that in changing the way people are managed means that the biggest revolution in behaviour has to come from the service receiver. By all means, change the job titles, reporting lines and job descriptions, but do your culture, policies and procedures support this? Is there even a need to create parity with other ‘directors’ (I actually support this, as to do otherwise devalues people management)? So whilst I agree that there are proliferations of job titles that don’t really mean a lot, I believe a lot of this has to do with organisations not knowing or understanding what their HR needs are.

Thank you to all the contributors to our HR Professionals LinkedIn Group, we are looking forward to even more interesting debates in 2015.

If you enjoy networking and want to connect with other HR professionals – you can join the Ashley Kate HR LinkedIn Groups- HR Professionals Network  and HR Directors Boardroom. The former cited as one of the fastest growing HR specific groups.

If you are interested in contributing an article to HRHQ please email : for further information.




Death of the Suit?

Gemma Thomason - Senior Recruitment Consultant for the North

Gemma Thomason – Senior Recruitment Consultant for the North

There has been a real shift in the work place on what to wear.  A move by creative companies such as Google and Facebook to wear more casual dress has become a part of new workplace culture.

Attitudes toward dressing for business have changed significantly over the years. Once upon a time, most workplaces demanded suits, ties, dresses, skirts, pantsuits and other formal work wear. In some professional service industries, women were not permitted to wear trousers!

It is a question that often comes up for job interviews; I would always advise to go as smart as possible, unless advised otherwise.  See Amanda Underhill’s Blog on Dress Etiquette for Interviews. Which leaves no room for doubt on dress code!

I always ask this question as would not want an interviewee to feel out of place.

Personally I always clarify further when I hear the dreaded ‘smart casual’ (what is that anyway?) Jeans and jacket? Skirt and blouse? Are clean trainers allowed? – answers on a postcard please! Smart casual can mean different things to different employers.


Would this snappy dresser be able to perform better in a suit & tie?


Potentially the most important Interview of his life…did you judge him before he sang?


I think it does depend on the culture.  I have worked with retailers where you would be out of place if you didn’t dress ‘on brand’ even as a HR professional joining the business.

I have heard of a retailer, reject candidates based on their ‘style’, candidates would be well turned out in professional dress, which would be appropriate for any interview in the HR profession, however rejected based on the fact that they weren’t  ‘on trend’ enough, this particular retailer had expected candidates to visit the store and find out what the shop floor wore and dress accordingly in line with their potential colleagues.

I must admit personally I do prefer having a more formal dress code at work; it puts me in the right frame of mind and always allows me to switch off at the end of the day when I can completely relax leave work at the door and remove the formality of the day.

casual fridayA dress down day is of course is always welcome.  Casual Fridays have become a staple of many work weeks, but dress-down days can be extended to other situations as a way to reward employees for good work, thereby boosting morale. Something very much liked by the Ashley Kate HR team.

I think casual Fridays are a way to reward employees on an on going basis. It marks the start of the weekend with a reprieve from the norm. Dress-down days can be used as an occasion for company-wide charity fundraisers that help bring employees together in support of a good cause. Casual days can also be a reward for reaching a sales goal, successful conclusion of a major project or realising any other achievement.

Dress-down days do not have to be free-for-alls. In some workplaces, it may be appropriate to wear trousers and a button-down shirt on casual days, but inappropriate to wear jeans, sandals or shorts. dressdowndontsMy advice is don’t leave employees guessing. Determine what is appropriate for your kind of business and whether employees will be interacting with customers on casual days. You still want to project a professional look to clients. Lay out guidelines for dress-down days in the formal business dress code and employee manual and cover the subject during training.

For me an office environment with a smart dress code works on many levels and takes the thinking time out of what to wear in the morning.

But then perhaps I was one of the geeks who used to love wearing a school uniform and be excited at the prospect of a yearly trip to Clive Marks (other school clothing retailers are available)

But in todays working world does it still matter how you dress? Just because you’re a sharp dresser does this make you a better fit than a sports billy?

Gemma Thomason- is a Senior HR Recruitment Consultant for Yorkshire and the North West. She is a customer focused, HR Recruiter and a key member of our Northern team.

Gemma has had key success in filling roles in the Yorkshire and the North West area including several at Regional HR Manager level with a global distribution firm, HRBP’s for a national Not-for Profit organisation and also in the Professional Service sector. She enjoys recruiting in the specialist areas of HR and has had some great outcomes especially in the Reward area recently.  If you require any assistance with recruitment please feel free to contact Gemma direct on 0114 221 8000 or email  you are more than welcome to connect with Gemma on LinkedIn or follow her on twitter.



Interviews: Use your Resourcing Consultant as a Valuable Resource!

Jo Pearson - HR Recruitment Consultant for the North West

Jo Pearson – HR Recruitment Consultant for the North West

So you’ve secured an interview for your dream job? Excellent! Now just to make sure you’re prepared for whatever may get thrown at you on the day!

Interviews can be a scary, nerve-wracking experience, but they really needn’t be.  It all comes down to preparation and getting the basics right to make sure you make the right impression.  And when I say basics, I’m not just talking about wearing your best suit, arriving on time, keeping good eye contact, speaking clearly and a firm handshake.

No, these things of course are important and will set you off on the right foot but there’s a few other things you can do to make sure you leave a lasting impression and ensure that you’re the candidate the employer is itching to call back with a big fat offer!

I thought it might be helpful here to compile a short list of tips and tricks based on my experience of working in recruitment for the last 5 years and to make sure you’re getting the most out of your consultant.

  • Use your recruitment consultant to get as much information as possible about what to expect from the interview. It’s great that you have the job description and have done your recruitmentconsultant2research on line but a consultant worth his or her salt will have information you won’t be able to find anywhere else. They should know what you might be asked; what the interviewers are “really” looking for; what puts them off; what will grab their attention.       Your consultant should be calling you with all this information and if they’re not; call them and ask!


  • Take a copy of your CV, the job description and make some notes of good examples of your experience and some questions you want to ask. You’ll look well prepared and if you forget something or “go blank” you’ve something handy to jog your memory and refer to. Everyone’s suffered that moment in an interview when what you really wanted to say goes out of your head! If it gets really bad, take a breath, have a drink of water and ask the interviewer a question.

presentationIf you’ve been asked to prepare a presentation, check what it is they’re expecting from you. Prepare it well in advance and get your consultant to cast a second pair of eyes over it. They should know again what the client’s looking for in more detail than the brief you’ve been given and will be able to give you some handy pointers.  Take plenty of handouts, and if you’re using your own laptop make sure you have your power adapter with you!


  • Do your research on who will be interviewing you. Use Linkedin to your advantage.  Find out where they worked before and ask them why they joined the business and what they like about working there. It’ll help you decide if it’s the right job for you. It’s a two way process after all. Oh, and make sure you call them by the correct name during the interview. A simple thing you might think but I have known some occasions where a candidate has called the interviewer by the wrong name throughout!

interview dress

  • Dress smart and look your best but dress appropriately. I know that outfit looked great on you when you last wore it to Friday night cocktails but……really?! For further guidance on dressing for success read Top 10 Tips for Interview Dress Etiquette



Here is a really useful video to guide you through your interview step by step.


These are just a few ideas based on my experience and where I’ve seen people sometimes not get it quite right.  Now you’re hopefully all set. Good luck!

You can contact Jo on 0161 615 9000 or email him at  The North team consist of Jo, Paula Shaw, Jorja Carr and Gemma Thomason. and are supported by a UK network of HR Recruitment Consultants.




Recruitment is not that bad! Honestly

Kim MacNamara - HR Business Director

Kim MacNamara – HR Business Director

Have you noticed there have been a few derogatory comments made about recruitment consultancies recently on Twitter?  Why is it that there is still a small percentage (thank you to the majority for your positive comments!) of HR that feel it necessary to criticise recruitment consultants. I think this is so counterproductive!

Isn’t it about time we think constructively and come up with new initiatives and for HR to become more in tune with consultancies to make the relationship work so that it is mutually beneficial? The majority of HR out there really value the service consultancies offer, and work in partnership with them, whether that be as a candidate or as a client, and there is no getting away from it there is a market for good niche specialist recruitment consultants. We are here to stay! You only have to look at the recent REC report    to see the value of the UK’s recruitment industry has surpassed its pre-recession peak, recording total revenue of £28.7 billion by the end of the financial year 2013/14.

So how should HR work collaboratively and positively with their recruitment consultant to ensure maximum benefit and continued brand strengthening? You want value for your money in your recruitment process or as a candidate you want excellent service so why not focus on developing a relationship that will really work for you.

toptipsTop tips:

At interview stage – confirm an action plan with your consultant.  Agree how and where they will market you, on and offline and schedule a time to review progress.  Bear in mind recruitment consultants are hard to get hold of during the day, this is because they are actively working during core hours of the day trying to generate a new challenge for you.  Don’t forgot this is 2014, recruitment volumes are higher and yes it is frustrating trying to get hold of people – get a time in place to speak/update and avoid the constant to and fro of wasted calls and emails. Implement structure into your joint action plan.

If you feel your consultant is not probing you enough with questions at registration stage tell them there and then, not afterwards to your fellow colleagues and bloggers.  Make sure you fully equip them with all the information they need to actively promote you to their clients.  This is a two way relationship remember and they need to act in your best interests.

If you feel you don’t understand the role fully you are being considered for – challenge the consultant to find out more.  A good consultant will know the ins and outs – of the role if they have been fully briefed by the client of course.  Brands can be so easily misunderstood if clients do not spend adequate time to brief properly.

recruitment12It has been suggested that consultants can easily damage employee brands.  My response would be – why would we want to do this? – it wouldn’t make good commercial sense to do this right!!  We have access to more industry insights than a candidate or internal recruiter will have. Probe that knowledge further until you are satisfied you are happy with applying for the role. More often than not we work on a retained assignment basis with our clients and this gives us fantastic insight in to a firms objectives and can then truly provide an overall picture of the job opportunity and operate as an extension to the hiring team in promoting cultural values and visions. Failure is not an option in our recruitment world and job seekers are now behaving like consumers so it makes perfect sense to identify what our candidates intentions are and work cohesively together.

hrnetworkIf you are of the opinion that an agency is only interested in a quick fix then think again! Look for specialist recruiters who have a long track record, you can benefit from their market intelligence on areas such as the job role, structural information, contact data, sector and salary and can offer unbiased company views when applying to HR roles. Also ask them about their post placement added value services and how your new team will benefit.  Take a look at our HR Network for further advice on value added services

Remember a good Recruitment Consultant has to be nimble and adapt to the ever changing climate and developing an effective relationship with a HR professional is key but it will only work if both make the effort. Recruitment is an art; there are those that are better at it than others but the long term specialists are the ones you need to be targeting to develop a results orientated approach to your career plan.

tangoDon’t forget this is a 360 partnership for it to work effectively and also remember it takes two to tango!

Ashley Kate HR are always open and receptive to ideas on how to develop effective candidate and client relationships further – if you would like to connect with me to discuss more effective ways of working with recruiters then please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn   or email me directly –  at

FIRP, HR Recruitment Director –  Kim MacNamara is a HR recruitment specialist who has successfully placed senior HR roles across the UK and is driven by a focus on an excellent customer experience.  Working alongside Claire Baker, Emma Dobson, Lucy Wesson & Leon Morley they provide effective recruitment solutions for HR roles from Administrative to Board level.

If you enjoy networking and want to connect with other HR professionals – Kim also runs the LinkedIn Groups- HR Professionals Network  and HR Directors Boardroom. The former cited as one of the fastest growing HR specific groups. Kim is also responsible for running the Ashley Kate HR HRD Boardroom style debate events in the UK.







The Importance of a Happy Team – and how to achieve it!


Naomi Asher – Co founder & Managing Director of Ashley Kate HR

I am naturally a happy, optimistic, positive person, I believe life is short and you have to embrace it and not waste time on negativity or on people who create negativity.

These views I bring into both my personal life and work, if people are happy they are more productive, if they are surrounded by a team of happy, positive people then they will all be more productive, the more productive you are the happier you are, so how do we as Owners / Managers help our teams to feel this way.


Work life balance – I’m not the first to discuss this, in fact in the 20 (ish!) years I have been working it has been a constant topic of conversation, so why are so many companies still getting it wrong – I have worked in environments where you have to be in before your ‘boss’, leave after they have left, your ‘standard’ hours are totally different to the hours you are ‘expected’ to work  why? And part time / flexi hours do work in recruitment; retaining talent is key, so why say no to requests for flexibility.

 I encourage standard and expected hours to be the same, in recruitment this is not the norm, our Consultants work 8.30am – 5pm or 9.30am to 6pm – the Ashley Kate HR offices are open 8.30am – 6pm our clients and candidates get the level of service they require and should expect, but our team get the time outside of work to have a ‘life’. If someone is doing excessive hours I look at why, do they require support in prioritising workload, extra training? I do not reward it.


The working environment – I absolutely want a professional environment but that doesn’t mean stuffy, not able to have fun whilst at work, encouraging and allowing simple things like charity days, dress down (or dress up!) days helps people enjoy their time in the office. Our clients and candidates are professionals but they are also people, they support our Charities and CSR initiatives, and feedback regularly that they like to see what the team are doing.

Social Media – In a world that is embracing social media the importance of being present having a strong brand is high, there are so many guidelines on how to build your brand and the tone you need to use, my advice is be yourself, be professional, share relevant industry information, comment, be authoritative in your field, but be true to who you are, people buy people first, restricting people will not support them in their SM growth and forcing people to be present in forums/platforms they are not comfortable in for example videos or blog writing will not work, if these are essential for everyone a lot of training and support is required but ideally pull on peoples strengths those who don’t like certain things will be comfortable elsewhere.

supportSupporting underperformance – the recruitment industry has a tendency to view people on their last month’s performance, one bad month and you’re out – why? Even your top Consultants will have a bad month, before placing blame find out why, our ‘product’ put crudely is people, they are a lot harder to control than a tin of beans, things happen, interviews get rearranged, clients have to be off, candidates are ill, an extra stage is added to the process, if your consultant isn’t hitting targets they need support, they need training, not auditing and blaming.


Yasmin Elezaj & Leon Morley rewarded for success

Motivating – everyone is motivated by different things, respond to different incentives, find what works, in recruitment it tends to be ££££ but a simple cup of tea made for them, box of chocolates or a well done goes a long way – people are quick to mention the negatives make sure you reward or even just acknowledge the positives.

To put a caveat to all the above, sometimes extra hours are needed, sometimes the working environment has to be fully focused on the task in hand, some things are not appropriate to post on SM, some underperformers can’t be turned round by training, I am realistic, but let’s give the positive a try first and see what happens……

I enjoy going to work, I am not naive enough to think the whole team feel this way every day but I do know the majority of time they do and no one dreads their working day.

Combining professionalism with fun to me is how you achieve a ‘Happy Team’

I’m a great believer in 360 feedback, take a look at what our consultants say about working for Ashley Kate HR. Ashley Kate HR Feedback

If you would like to discuss working with Ashley Kate HR either directly or indirectly email me or register your interest on our website or call 0845 413 3200.




Is Job Share a Solution to Flexible Working?

Gemma Thomason - Senior Recruitment Consultant for the North

Gemma Thomason – Senior Recruitment Consultant for the North

With the new 2014 legislation giving all staff who have worked with you over 26 weeks the right to flexible working, has your company considered Job Share as a solution to offer?

Great idea Gemma BUT …..

  • “Oh no a job share won’t work in OUR business”
  • “This role is too senior to be a job share!”
  • “How do we handover if we are not in on the same day?”
  • “Our customers/clients/stakeholders won’t like dealing with two  different  people”

Valid concerns but in my experience of working on a job share, here are some key ideas on how a job share may work for your business and may be the solution to providing flexible working for more staff in your workplace.

PeopleselectionSelection – Choose the right people – do two staff members requesting flexible working hours already work well together? Therefor it would be an easy solution to match them up obviously as long as they are of similar level and both have requested flexibility.

If you are recruiting into the 2nd job share post ensure the first person is involved in the process.

How will it work? – Schedule a meeting with both job share employees on process and how things are going to work.

Agree a process for them to follow with regards to handovers whether these are written or handover1verbal communications.  The key is simplicity.  Spending half the day deciphering or writing the handover becomes ineffective. Keep the hand over to key points and urgent business.

Emails – Create a shared signature on both emails explaining the days of work for each individual.  Ensure emails are redirected to correct job share partner without an “out of office” you want your customers to see a seamless process not worrying if their email has been received or not.

Skills –  A job share can work in a number of ways to suit your business but it makes sense to play to strengths. Do some candidates prefer to be more client facing, does one prefer to do the analytics and numbers. Two heads are better than one could really add value to the role and your business.

Ccommunication1ommunication – Key to success, not just between the job share partners but also with everyone within the business and your clients will see the job share as success and beneficial to them.

There a number of ways to make a job share work for your business.  By offering such flexibility you will engage and retain your top talent and still maintain business productivity.

If you have been struggling to recruit a HR professional on a part-time basis, I have key experience in this area, do not hesitate to give me a call on 0114 221 8000, or email me

Gemma Thomason- is a Senior HR Recruitment Consultant for Yorkshire and the North West. She is a customer focused, HR Recruiter and a key member of our Northern team.

Gemma has had key success in filling roles in the Yorkshire and the North West area including several at Regional HR Manager level with a global distribution firm, HRBP’s for a national Not-for Profit organisation and also in the Professional Service sector. She enjoys recruiting in the specialist areas of HR and has had some great outcomes especially in the Reward area recently.  If you require any assistance with recruitment please feel free to contact Gemma direct on 0114 221 8000 or email  you are more than welcome to connect with Gemma on LinkedIn or follow her on twitter.