Category Archives: Jobs

What’s in a Job Title?


Amanda Underhill – HR Recruitment Manager

Recruitment Consultant, Recruitment Manager, Lead Recruiter, Resourcing Specialist, Talent Manager, Senior Recruitment Consultant – these are just a few of the many job titles I could use, but with my last promotion I became HR Recruitment Manager.  Ultimately I help clients recruit HR professionals and help HR professionals find new jobs, I support our Directors in various sales management duties, network through social media and face to face and coach candidates on CV writing and interview technique – so what should I call myself? (be kind :) )  The list for a recruiter is endless, but ultimately most of us do the same role.


jobtitleDo I manage a function, a team, a project – how is my ‘Manager’  title determined?  Am I confident that if I sent my CV out to 100 external and/or internal recruiters or even directly to hiring managers that my CV would be read past my job title before shortlisting me for a further discussion? I am not so sure.  I have been guilty of making an assumption on a job title in the past, and I suspect you may have too.

Consider a recruiters point of view when they are recruiting at a specific level they look for that level or just one below on a CV.  It is important your CV isn’t missed even if you have all the right qualifications.  So consider your  job title when accepting your next role. It will be a stepping stone in your career in years to come. Negotiate for it just like you would your salary.

Jobtitle2So just how important is your job title? How important is the job title in an advert in attracting candidates? In today’s current climate, we have become defined by our job titles, and at times we can depend on them too much, particularly when recruiting or interviewing or ego boosting.

One job title that’s thrown around is the HR ‘business partner’ or ‘strategic partner’. We know the model was created so HR could work closely with the business senior leaders, typically the board of directors and heads of, to develop a HR agenda that closely supports the business aims and goals, but lately I’ve seen the job title, but with a operational Senior HR Advisor job description and salary attached to it.  So why not just call it a Senior Advisor?  Is this just a creative way of employers looking for that “Rising Star” candidate in the industry; paying no more than a £5K increase, but with the title of HRBP to make it look more appealing?  What we do know is HR leaders need to look to their own HR teams to ensure their individuals have the right ‘internal consulting expertise’ if they are truly going to partner managers and bring about the ROI (but that’s a different blog!)

ceoJob titles are important if they are used correctly; if they are used to distinguish the differences between job levels. Hiring Managers should be using them to gauge career progression. Take the title of CEO, there are hundreds of  “twenty-something” entrepreneurs who work out of their bedroom using that one.  How do they expect to live up to such a grand job title?   Stop and reflect – are you actually doing yourself a mis-justice in elaborating too much?

So I ask you again how important is your job title?  Very. So use it wisely!

If you would like to discuss any HR related topics further please feel free to email me  on or call me on 0845 413 3200.  You can also connect with me on LinkedIn or Follow me on Twitter .

Amanda Underhill is a results driven recruitment professional with 15 years experience in recruitment. She loves the challenge of filling those ‘hard to fill’ roles.  Amanda is a member of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals. 

In addition to Amanda, the South team at Ashley Kate HR consists of Jacqui Wall (HR Recruitment Consultant – London), Keeley McKay (HR Recruitment Manager – South East) and Natasha James (HR Recruitment Consultant – South East). 





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.




How to secure the best move you have ever made!

Kim MacNamara HR Business Director

Kim MacNamara
HR Business Director

You have just landed your first interview and are panicking – what to do, what to wear, what to say? You have one chance to make your mark so what’s your plan?

The HR job market is picking up in pace and there is more competition so it is imperative to stand out from the crowd.

Here are my top tips!!

interview1Research  Research  Research ! Have you ever sat at an interview and stumbled when your interviewer asked you what you knew about their company?  Make sure you do your homework – check out their website, latest articles, news snippets, financial status, social media profiles, their groups and discussions, use your network of contacts to get ‘insider’ info and find out what their plans are for the future and how your experience can relate to them and their HR team.

Take a look at the latest developments in their industry so you can share your findings with confidence and highlight what their potential issues could be in future and how you would overcome them.  Sites like Glass Door  give great insights into a company’s culture.

Ensure you know your CV history inside out and read the Job Description provided so you can easily sell up your skills to each of their essential criteria.

Practice Practice Practice! Practice your responses to typical questions likely to be asked at the interview- there are some that are guaranteed to crop up again and again.  Be ready to talk about your knowledge, experience, abilities and skills in detail.

Think about what you can bring to the table in terms of practical skills as well as explaining what sets you apart from other candidates –

  • Highlight your achievements, where you have influenced and made an impact, your major successes and results.
  • Why are you the best person for the role!  An interview is not just about what you have done, but about what you are going to do for them.

interview3Dress to impress! People make judgment calls before they have even introduced themselves at interview so ensure you are smart in appearance and dress appropriately to the level of job and type of firm you are meeting with.

Clean well fitting clothes and polished shoes are a prerequisite. Any outfits with dog hairs, deodorant marks, fraying hems, straining zips or buttons are a big no no! Your interviewer will sit and stare at you for an hour and they will notice every flaw.

successBe Calm and Relax! We all get nervous before interviews but if you prepare well then this will be key to staying in control. Make sure you know exactly where you going for interview (try a practice run before hand), allow extra time for any unexpected delays and get everything you need to take with you ready the night before. Remember to speak clearly, smile (yes you can enjoy an interview!) and remember that your interviewers are just normal people, and they may be nervous too!

Ask Questions Always have some killer questions to ask your interviewer as this shows them are you really interested in the role.  Don’t forget to finish on a  high with great questions – this is your chance to show you are on top of your game, show them you are keen to find out more about them, reinforce and showcase  your skills  and make them aware that you really do want the job!

For further great advice why not take a look at the Ashley Kate HR YouTube film with brilliant tips on making your Interview a Success .

 If you would like to discuss any HR related topics further please feel free to email me  on or call me on 0845 413 3200.  You can also connect with me on LinkedIn or Follow me on Twitter .







Now is the time of the Assistant

Paula Shaw - Head of HR Recruitment North

Paula Shaw MIRP (CertRP) – Head of HR Recruitment North

So lets face it, the economic climate hasn’t filled us with confidence about the hr job market over recent years. Having worked in the HR market for over 8 years I have seen the good and the bad.

During the recession it was a fact that employers didn’t have the time, resources or budget to take on new HR staff needing or wanting development.  Employers have played it safe with new recruits who had ‘been there, done it & got the t-shirt’ for a while now.  As a longstanding HR career coach it has been frustrating for me, working specifically with Junior and entry level HR professionals, with limited (almost non existent) opportunities for ‘high potential’ HR Assistants to move into advisory level positions.


Over the last 12 months specifically, I can confidently say that making the transition from a HR support role into a HR Advisory role has never been more realistic. In fact, now is the time!

Refreshingly, clients I am working with now are actively looking to recruit HR professionals in support positions and providing them with excellent training to develop their own talent internally to transition effectively into HR Advisors and officers. Employers  do not want the finished article at this level.  growthThey do not want someone with the t-shirt and all the bad habits that go with it. They want someone who can be part of their future talent management strategy, who is high potential and can be developed and nurtured into their culture and learn their business way of doing things!

This current war for talent at the £28k and below level is about potential and drive, a distinct shift from experience and skills.  So, how do you show potential and drive ready for this step? That is where Ashley Kate HR and I can help.

Make sure your CV shows you are ready if you are ready then chances are you cvimagehave already outgrown your Administrator duties and are taking on a lot more than this.  Don’t bore your reader with a list of the Admin duties that you were initially employed to do. Excite them with all your additional duties that you have taken on as the Admin is so basic for you now!

Show them what makes you stronger than the other HR Administrators out there – tell them about the fact that you are already advising and guiding managers on a range of Employee Relation matters including, absence, timekeeping, sickness and dismissals within probation.  It doesn’t matter that these may only be the basic issues and they might not all occur in the business.  What matters is that you are actively advising on these matters!

 The biggest mistake I see at this level is candidates writing their CV for the job they were employed to do. DONT!resume

Write your CV for the role you WANT! I’m not saying you need to lie (far from it), but you need to make it clear to the reader that you have developed beyond the remit of your current role and you are knocking on the door of the next step up.  Show you have bridged 50% of that gap and todays employers will come and meet you with development to bring you on with the remaining 50% – and potentially beyond!

promotionHaving had the pleasure and delight of supporting numerous candidates through this transition I have to say this is the most satisfying part on my role. I’ve worked across all salary levels in the HR Recruitment market but still to this day, nothing makes me happier than progressing candidates from those HR Administrator/Assistant roles into the career making roles of HR Officer/Adviser.

If you are a HR Administrator ready for next step then please do get in touch to discuss your career aspirations. Ashley Kate HR can provide you with tailored and personal advice and guidance on how to write your CV in line with the current market trends.  You can also get some handy tips form the Ashley Kate HR CV Writing Tips film.

For further information about forthcoming events or for assistance with any HR requirements please email me or call 0845 413 3200. why not LinkedIn with me, or Follow me on twitter.


GET ON BOARD – top tips to get the start to your on-boarding process right.

Gemma Turner

Gemma Tuner – HR Recruitment Consultant

You have interviewed your shortlisted candidates, you have found the perfect HR person, offered the role and it has been accepted. Great news! Everyone is on board and you have recruited successfully, right?…..

Wrong!!!!! Most candidates have a 4–12 week notice period and whilst you may think you have things ‘in the bag’ do you really know what is happening in that time?

The key time a candidate gets offered or counter offered is within the first week of offer so it is important to get the start of your on-boarding process right.

Top candidates are massively in demand and where we have casually used the words  ‘War for Talent‘ in my opinion the ‘Battle for Talent‘ has just got a whole lot more serious and we are now at full scale ….. ‘WAR’

HR Managers and HR Advisors, Recruitment, L&D and Reward professionals in particular (top talent still remains hard to find) are getting a number of offers from companies at the same time competing aggressively for the same ‘rare’ (top) talent. A key shift in my role in Ashley Kate HR over the past 6 years is to coach hiring managers in the ‘tactics of war’ to stay ahead of the ‘enemy’ to secure the ‘Top HR soldiers’.

During this vital time before your ‘new employee’ starts, ask yourself the following questions:

Have I fully engaged my new employee at interview stage?

Am I in regular contact with my new employee?

Do I have full knowledge of all other recruitment processes my new employee is involved with?

Do I know what the new employees current employer is doing now?

I make no apologies if you feel slightly nervous and anxious now as to whether your new employee will start……. You wouldn’t leave HR strategy to chance so why leave this major investment to chance?

Here are the key things to make sure your perfect person is starting with you on your agreed start date.

contact_detailsContact details  make sure the candidate has the contact details of their line manager. Initial information may have come through another contact; agency or internal recruiter so make sure the candidate has a direct line, mobile and email they can ask any questions that may come up.

Make contact and keep contact– you need to make the candidate feel they are already part of the team. Meet for a coffee, get them to come in for a team meeting, make sure they know who the key stakeholders are they will deal with.

DiaryDates for the diary – what is coming up in the business they need to be involved with once they have started? Annual conference, off site meetings, Christmas party or team social events. If they already have dates locked they will not only feel engaged but already focused on the role ahead.

What is expected?  To get the best out of someone in their first few days it is a good idea to get them prepared. The first few days tend to be information overload and a flurry of names to remember. Give them an idea of format of the induction for the first week before they start and it will give a good feeling of security and keep the candidate committed.

These are just a start, it all sounds simple but there are lots more proactive activities you can put in place. Get a third party involved, like Ashley Kate HR to manage this sensitive time for you.  Our success rate of offer to start is 97% so it’s always best to trust an expert.

victory_imageMake these simple changes to your process to avoid those nasty surprises and ‘Win’ the war for talent.  

If you would like more advice or information or you find yourself in this situation please feel free to contact me, Gemma Turner HR Recruitment Consultant on 0114 221 8000 or why not Link-in with me or Follow me on Twitter.


‘My First Month in HR Recruitment with a HR Recruiter of Choice as a Social Media Ninja’


Joanne Wilson Communications Co-ordinator

Joanne Wilson
Communications Co-ordinator

I think it is fair to say that when you start a new job the first few weeks are the most nerve wracking. Wanting to fit in, wanting to shine and impress, needing to deliver on your interview promises!

My first few weeks with Ashley Kate HR were no different.  My background is not one of Recruitment and Ashley Kate HR has been a real eye opener for me.  Previous working life has found me working with small independent businesses, so I was naturally looking forward to working with a much larger company and therefore my expectations were high of Ashley Kate HR. 

I have not been disappointed. Within my first week I received a formal induction with clearly defined targets and expectations along with a full, continuous HR training programme to help enable me to better understand our client’s needs and expectations.  

Supporting that I was introduced to a fantastic team of people ready to help impart their industry knowledge, perfect for a ‘sponge’ mind like mine.

I soon discovered that Ashley Kate HR is a cleverly thought out pristine machine made up of talented hard to come by parts. The mainframe well maintained and serviced regularly, each element so unique and strategically placed that I now liken it to a Formula 1 team.
The offices are a constant hive of activity, each recruiter passionate and driven, ready to achieve their ultimate goals… ‘perfect partnerships’

I was informed at my induction that the Ashley Kate HR principles and ethics are;
Personal, Professional and Honest
Now, a lot of companies have ‘strap’ lines and try to promote these. The difference I have found with Ashley Kate HR is that these principles and ethics run deep into all of their process and procedures, externally and internally.  They are at the very core of what Ashley Kate HR do.  All of the consultants have clearly been selected based on these three principles and every single one of them display these attributes on a daily basis.
My Mission….
To build strong national partnerships, whilst developing existing relationships through Social Media activities ensuring that, at all times, the three principles Personal, Professional & Honest are adhered to.
I gladly chose to accept this mission. With the tools and the training Ashley Kate HR have provided me with, backed by the business ethos and forward thinking mentality, I am proud to shout, Tweet, Blog, Instagram & Google+  about Ashley Kate HR, all we can offer the HR profession and all our news and achievements.socialmediaimages
Please join me on my Social Media journey with Ashley Kate HR by liking our Facebook page, following us on twitter, or connecting with us on LinkedIn  




Retained Assignments : The choice for smart HR employers!


Ashley Kate HR – HR Recruiter of Choice utilise numerous, successful sourcing strategies when identifying the very best HR talent for UK wide companies. One sourcing strategy, in this current climate, that is proving to be the preferred method of choice is the retained assignment. I am sure there are some in HR who would express initial hesitancy when considering this method as an option – it is to be expected – but the success rates speak for themselves.

handsA retainer-based arrangement involves working with Ashley Kate HR to recruit for an HR professional on an exclusive basis. Activities and initiatives are pre-established between the HR client and your personal Account Manager, and the agreed full recruitment campaign and schedules are detailed in a proposal. Retainers have a pre-determined fee, which is divided into stages with the first stage being paid up front to initiate the recruitment campaign. HR know that the chances of reaching the right  target audience and persuading them to get the ‘buy in’ necessary increases dramatically when Ashley Kate HR are able to use all available channels including  head-hunting and search ,web and social media advertising, direct mail, networking and targeted  PR all work together when identifying a suitable shortlist of screened applicants.

So what are the benefits?

  • You would work with one point of contact which minimises impact on your valuable time and this creates a better external image to your potential candidate talent pool.
  • You gain commitment from Ashley Kate HR to work on the assignment until successfully filled as a priority over contingency assignments.
  • There is a heightened chance of success as working exclusively on a role creates a greater level of ‘buy-in’ from the candidates and ensures better control of the process.
  • We will create opportunities for candidate feedback that you would not normally have access to which will enable you to enhance your future search strategy. We believe all feedback is good feedback.
  • We use all the valuable networking tools  we have available to recruit the best candidate  including passively networking , headhunting and extensive use of our market leading social media groups therefore offering an increased success rate.
  • The candidate benefits from more in-depth market knowledge of your company being passed to them.
  • Access to MI reports that will measure the success of the campaign and provide further feedback from candidate pools on your interview process/style.
  • Strengthens your employer branding with the increased marketing opportunities undertaken by the Ashley Kate team.

And finally


  • Recruiting through the Ashley Kate HR brand will strengthen yours!! We are seen as the HR Recruiter of Choice and a market leader in HR recruitment – HR want to be associated with us.

Ashley Kate HR would be delighted to work with you (or your HR colleagues) on your HR recruitment opportunities on a retained basis and look forward to hearing your thoughts and plans for HR recruitment in 2014. If you are keen to find out more about our Retained Methodology and how  it can benefit your organisation please contact Kim at


Spooky goings on at Ashley Kate HR

Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook, to check out our office festivities.

These HR professionals are NOW looking for work in your area:

  • Head of HR – Operating at senior level ensuring HR strategy is aligned with business objectives to deliver return on investment. Strong commercial acumen developed at senior management and Board levels. Significant experience of designing and implementing new reward structures. 
  • HR Business Partner – Exposure to HR in the UK and internationally with experience of Head Office and multi-site environments. HR generalist experience with extensive experience in restructuring, redundancy, compromise agreements and TUPE transfers. 
  • HR Manager – Strong employee relations experience including disciplinary, capability and sickness absence.  Experience of managing redundancy processes and compromise agreements, CIPD qualified. 
  • Resourcing Manager – CIPD qualified, strong recruitment background. Main point of escalation for the business and HR team regarding recruitment expert advice. Agency PSL management and implementation of new contract volume recruitment campaigns. 
  • Senior HR Officer – CIPD qualified who has supported the implementation of SAP, created role-specific recruitment tools, designed and rolled out appraisal systems based on the groups performance management model and has revised HR policies and procedures including family-friendly policies, disciplinary and grievance procedures. 
  • HR Officer – Multi-site experience, revised the HR and Payroll/Compensations & Benefits Guides, implemented a new HR/payroll system, supported job evaluation programmes and provided generalist operational support. Coached and guided mangers through a range of change programs. 
  • L&D Advisor – Fully qualified with experience of manufacturing and construction environments. Partnered with the Senior Management team on projects, developed a strategy to transform the organisation’s culture from four businesses to a one team ethos. Managing the full training and development cycle including course/workshop design, delivery and detailed evaluation. 
  • HR Administrator – CIPD qualified, supports the HR Manager with delivering HR across 4 sites. Advises on terms and conditions and policies & procedures. Has recruitment responsibilities including advertising, arranging interviews and inductions for new starters.


For further information on these candidates contact us on 0845 413 3200 or email



HR Hot Job of the Week!

HR Advisors / Birmingham, West Midlands / ref:1307-63LST

Increased competition for HR jobs means moving your career forward on your own can be a challenging prospect.

That’s why Ashley Kate HR’s advice, support and contacts can be invaluable and why so many HR professionals turn to Ashley Kate HR time and time again. Take a look at the ‘Hot Job of the Week‘ and if this meets your current career objectives then get in touch with Lucy Wesson on 0121 321 1000 or email

For other HR jobs please follow the link below: