Tag Archives: HR advice

Must do, Online Branding tips for Job Seekers


Keeley McKay – HR Recruitment Manager

Why is your ‘online’ brand so important?

When over 90% of recruiters and HR professionals refer to social media to review your profile, managing your online reputation is KEY. – take a look at this article published by HR Grapevine A teenage girl who was offered a job at a pizza parlour has been fired, before she even started, for sending an expletive tweet about how she really felt about the role.’


stalkingThe rise of the search engine is both a blessing and a curse – logging all of life’s little indiscretions making pre-screening an interesting read. Simultaneously, this very same tool offers a gloriously unlimited pool of information at our fingertips that we simply couldn’t function without.    Debate the issue of privacy all you want; what goes online, definitely stays online so it’s time you step up your online personal brand management and adapt in this modern age of acceptable cyber-stalking. It’s about keeping your profile interesting and relevant.  Most importantly, adding a single step into your existing process – consideration. Consider not only what you post, but how you post it.

Here are my top tips on managing your online brand

Building your online brand

brandingIf you are a ‘no show’ on Google, then let’s get started. There are a number of ways you can leverage your online presence to get on the radar of potential employers and recruiters. Effectively managing your online profile and maximising your online personal brand should be an integral part of your job search.  In a professional capacity, your LinkedIn profile is the one that needs immediate attention and will be reviewed the most by recruiters and HR professionals alike.

LinkedIn linkedinbranding

  • Make your LinkedIn profile as attractive as possible
  • Sell your skills, experience and competencies
  • Maintain an up-to-date profile
  • Ask previous employers or clients you have worked with to recommend you
  • Build your professional network and leverage your connections
  • Follow key industry experts and companies you want to work for
  • Join Groups where they will have a presence


  • Use your feed as a platform to communicate your specialist knowledge and industry expertise
  • Follow industry leaders and media to retain top industry insight
  • Maintain a good balance of professional and informal tweets to show your personality

Facebook facebook

  • Decide if you want Facebook to play a part in your online career arsenal
  • If you do, treat it in the same way you do your LinkedIn profile
  • Publish details about your personal interests and profile-enhancing updates like your charitable activities and voluntary work, sports or writing.
  • If you wish for this to remain private, then update your security settings!


  • Blogging in a professional capacity can help enhance your online personal brand see To Blog or not to Blog written by Kim MacNamara HRHQ
  • If properly managed, it is a channel to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise to a targeted professional audience
  • Tailor your content to your audience

Put yourself out there

  • Don’t forget the professional blogs and LinkedIn discussion groups
  • Raise awareness of your specialist expertise across your professional network – engage in this space by providing commentary on topical discussions
  • Managing and monitoring your online brand should be part and parcel of your career development.


Keeley McKay is a HR Recruitment Manager  for the  South East and Home Counties and a key member of our Southern team. she works alongside Natasha James for the South East.

Keeley has had key success in filling roles in the Home Counties area including several at Regional Senior HR Manager level with a Global Manufacturing firm, HRBP’s for a National Retail, Distribution and also in the Professional Service sectors.

Having enjoyed some great outcomes especially in the Reward and Talent area please contact Keeley for any advice in the South East market. 

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



Hobbies & Interests on your CV, useful or superfluous?


Lucy Wesson – HR Recruitment Consultant for the West Midlands

I recently put forward a simple question on LinkedIn around the importance of ‘hobbies and interests’ on a candidates’ CV which garnered quite a few responses from various professionals within HR and other business sectors.

Please see below for some of the responses:

Zoe Clark, MCIPD – HR Business Partner | Available for new HR opportunities in Kent and London. I think that they are useful – they contribute to the picture that I build up about a candidate before I interview them, of the type of person that they are, how that might fit in to the team etc.

hobbiesSteve Hargreaves – Owner; Coach, leadership developer at Socratic Learning and Development Not really my area of speciality though I think it begins to tell potential employers something about who we are rather than what we do/have done. Although there often appears to be a bit of a tick list it does potentially give us a starting point to consider more about who they are.

hobby Lee Goodwin – Information Security Manager at North Yorkshire Police  I have spent the last 18 months or so speaking to a wide variety of HR consultants and specialists with an aim to build the perfect CV for my entry into the world of HR at Management level. On all occasions I have been told to leave hobbies and interests off a CV. Due to the demand across the HR industry employers are only interested if you can do the job they want to employ you for and you are prepared to hit the ground running from the off. At 14 job interviews ranging from HR Business Partner to HR Advisor I have never been asked about hobbies and interests. I do not include these on my CV. At your interview you should be able to let your personality and character shine through and include teamwork examples.

 Mark Turner – CSO at Capita BDO Since a CV is about applying for a position through experience and capability I think that hobbies are wasting an opportunity. The exception would be where your hobby was aligned to business delivery or ethos but these situations are unusual. A good interviewer will usually establish what a person does to relax anyway as part of the discovery around the individual in case their hobby conflicts with ethics or need of the company (think rock climbing, rally driving, etc).

COLIN HAGUE (DHFT)  – Director of HR at Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust  My view is it is useful to have some concise background on hobbies and interests that help give an understanding of the person and can support a CV.

hobby1Frederick Caiger – English Tutor at Global Village Foreign Languages Ltd  In the UK with the way the tick box mentality work when recruitment consultants scan through CV’s for short listing, it serves no purpose. On the other hand, with company internal recruiters, it may well be very useful, as a skilled interviewer can learn a lot about a candidate by exploring their hobbies with them. This will relax the candidate and induce him to open up more later in the interview, thereby feeling no threat from the interviewer. But the operative term is “skilled interviewer”, and this seems to be in short supply nowadays.

Jonathan Edge – Divisional HR Director | International Organisational Development, L&D & Employee Engagement Specialist  In my experience they only serve possibly as a rapport builder once a candidate is at interview stage, however if I received a CV without any hobbies or interests I would not consider that anything was missing.

hobby3 Julia Robinson, MA, MCIPD – Human Resources Consultant, Writer I think it’s helpful at the end of a CV to have just a concise sentence of a few interests. Keep them neutral e.g., theatre, music, charity volunteer or keep fit. Nothing that might make you appear whacky.

Lisa Gibson – Hiring, Inspiring and (sometimes) firing your staff. Human Resources consultancy, networker, Juice Plus+ advocate. Agree they are useful as an icebreaker. Top tip don’t just list ‘hobbies’ or interests that you have no real understanding of. Once interviewed a candidate who said they were a keen skier, turned out they had once been to a dry ski slope. Agree also keep neutral.

Frederick Caiger – English Tutor at Global Village Foreign Languages Ltd  It’s useful to gain an understanding of the persons character if explored properly at interview. A perceptive interviewer, who is also skilled, can observe a lot from a candidate as a person through exploring their hobbies with them. But this type of interviewer with these people knowledge skills and understanding are not exactly plentiful. For the average interviewer who doesn’t have these perceptive skills, a hobby will probably serve no purpose in a CV, but I don’t see that it can do any harm, and in the off chance you come across a skilled interviewer with excellent character perception, it may even pay off.

interests and hobbiesLeigh Cacchioli SMICS – Training Consultant (Interim) at Barclaycard I always read the hobbies and interests as it gives you more of an insight into a candidate’s personality, but I would only ask about them in interview if I was particularly intrigued about something that stands out from the norm.

Depak Dhar  – Technical L&D Advisor at ARM Holdings Plc  Dependent on the role, but for the most part, very important. During my graduate recruitment days, we had x amount of CV’s coming through with very similar degree’s, experience etc. Hiring managers and I were looking for individuals that stood out, that would be a perceivable ‘good fit’ for the team we were hiring into. It really does help differentiate and gives us an insight into the individuals prior to shortlisting. Hobbies / interests can bring in other skills to a role which experience otherwise may not have provided.

 Colin Grethè – HR Consultant at The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland  For a very long time now, I have NEVER been asked about my interests/hobbies or any ‘personal based’ questions. I think this is a big mistake as surely you should be looking for the right experience, skills and knowledge coupled with a ‘right fit’ of person…?   Sadly a lot seem to rely on ‘tests’, some of which I have done have been ridiculous (writing the letter ‘S’ forwards and backwards as many times as I can in 10 seconds).   I have also come across some serious misunderstandings by management of ‘engagement’…thinking it is about staff doing what they are told rather than being consulted and part of change.   I look to the CIPD to influence this need for change, but as ever they appear to have no interest or impact.

As you can see – there are a lot of contrasting views on this subject, which to me is extremely interesting.  As a specialist HR recruiter, the ‘hobbies and interests’ section on a CV does not detract from a candidates’ skills and expertise, but at the same time, it doesn’t necessarily add anything either.  The candidates’ skills and experience are the driving factors unto which a candidate is put forward for a job.  However, this could be possibly due to the fact that a client has never indicated to me that they are looking for a HR Professional who frequents the gym or is ‘a keen film buff’.

It could be argued that the hobbies and interests section on a CV has become rather generic and therefore ultimately outdated?

Keen to hear your thoughts – you can still contribute to this discussion on our HR Professionals LinkedIn Page

After previously recruiting in various sectors across the East Midlands, Lucy Wesson joined Ashley Kate HR in March 2013 to recruit for HR professionals from £25k to £40k in the West Midlands. Lucy works alongside Leon Morley, Emma Dobson and Sarah Eite in the Midlands team.

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



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



Do’s and Don’ts for an Interview Presentation

Gemma Thomason - Senior Recruitment Consultant for the North

Gemma Thomason – Senior Recruitment Consultant for the North

You got through to final stage interviews you’re up against two other candidates, they ask you to deliver a 15 minute presentation, what are you going to do to ensure you seal the deal and knock your competitors out of the water?  Use a generic presentation and change a couple of pictures?  I sincerely hope not!  Any Recruiter worth their salt will advise on the best approach for this presentation and what to expect.

Many of my candidates send me their presentation prior to their interview to have a quick look over sometimes for an additional proof reading eye or to assist in making suggestions as to the content in relation to the client.

I have devised a list of Do’s and Don’ts to assist you in your preparation.


Do stick to time – if you have been given 15 minutes then time yourself when preparing. There is nothing worse than being given a timescale and going way over your allotted slot

Do engage with your audience – make eye contact, smile and be passionate about the subject you are talking about.  Do not read off slides or notes word for word.  A presentation is exactly that, a test of how you would present so make sure you do.

Do be creative  – PowerPoint has been over used in many presentations and as businesses are always looking for a different edge, it may help to make you stand out if you use a different medium.  Take a look at these 5 Must Have Tools for a Killer Presentation  You can use animation, video clips or bring in props to visually explain your thinking.

Do be yourself – Don’t do any of the above if you feel uncomfortable. It will make you more nervous!  Your presentation style should reflect you.  Some of the best presentations I have witnessed saw the candidate speaking and engaging with the panel, without any bells or whistles ultimately gaining the buy in as an individual, this being achieved by talking passionately and knowledgably  about the topic.  Remember to always play to your strengths.

presentation1Do prepare for the questions you could face – You compiled and delivered a fantastic presentation, make sure you are prepared for any questions sections which may come up at the end.  Think about your presentation objectively.  Have you made any statements that may need expansion? Any examples you will need to provide further detail on? Think of how you would answer these in advance.

Do rehearse your presentation before it is presented.


Don’t rely on technology – If you are delivering a formal presentation and have been asked to use Powerpoint or another application make sure you have hand-outs just in case your USB/Laptop fails on you.

Don’t go off Topic – If you have been given a certain question make sure you are answering it.  Do not rely on generic answers or an old presentation you may have done at your last interview. Research the company and make it relevant to them.  Use terminology that they use as a company to show you understand and relate to their culture.

Don’t think you won’t be asked any questions until the end – this can be difficult as you may be asked questions by the panel as you go through.  (Usually when the answer may be coming on the next slide!)  If you are asked questions this can be seen as a positive sign that you are gaining engagement from the panel,  If however feel that it may distract or confuse you or add to your running time answer politely that you will be taking questions at the end or you will be moving onto this area in more detail.

Don’t pace around too much We all have little quirks which only seem to happen in certain situations, rocking backward and forward, pacing up and down can be distracting, try to stay relatively still whilst ensuring your body language is open and interested.

Don’t mix up different styles through your presentation (e.g. if you start out using Title case in your headings keep this going throughout).

Don’t use difficult to read or uncommon fonts that might not be accessible on other computers.  Use universally accepted fonts such as Arial, Verdana and Calibri.

Don’t put in meaningless slides, e.g. additional slide titles or agendas on a short presentations.

confidenceSo remember, think creative, answer the subject matter and most importantly smile, believe you can do this and you will.

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 Gemma.thomason@ashleykatehr.com  you are more than welcome to connect with Gemma on LinkedIn or follow her on twitter.




10 questions you must ask yourself before you publish your job adverts

Kim MacNamara - HR Business Director

Kim MacNamara – HR Business Director

At the heart of a great business is a great product or service and every firm wants to be an ‘employer of choice’, attracting the very best talent.  Having an eye catching advert is also crucial in building your brand proposition and it plays a huge part in making this happen and if you want to strengthen and manage the perceptions of your company, then a strong advert is required. If you want differentiators for your product or service and want to attract top talent then you need to give prospective employees a real reason why they should choose you over your competitors.


tenquestionsWhy not ask yourself the following 10 Questions and remember if the answer to any one of them is a NO then start again!

1) Has it got an attractive job title – does it appeal?

2) Does the advert highlight your firm’s USP’s? Add a short introduction about the role to entice the candidate to keep reading on? Don’t make the mistake of providing too much information as the job applicant will do their own research if they want to find out more

3) Does your advert make a candidate want to find out more about the job and your firm?

jobadvert4) Does it stand out – if you were applying would you read it all to the very end?

5) Does it offer the candidate any benefits/reason for joining? Don’t bore your applicant with a cut and paste version copy of your Job Description – highlight the key tasks they will undertake.

6) Are you aiming it at the right target audience?  Be succinct about your person criteria as you can affect your response rate dramatically with just a few carefully chosen words.ninja turtles

7) Does it come to life and are you using appropriate language? Try to relate the roles responsibilities to your business objectives so the applicant can understand how the role will fit into your company’s objective.

8) Is it realistic and is it believable – will the candidate really experience the job on offer? Do mention location as well – this is just as important as the role they are taking on?

9) Are you pointing out key benefits in your reward package – this may make the difference between them applying to you rather than your competitor! – and help you attract talent from your competitor.

jobadverts10) Are the details of how to apply easy to follow?

So if you have answered YES to all of the above and you believe you have made a compelling case, you appeal  to the right level of candidate and to their  ‘needs’ and ‘wants’,  have thought of them as a customer AND believe they will be, ‘bought’ in to your offering THEN post your advert.

If you want any further support in how to write a job advert for your next HR role then you can also get in touch with the team at Ashley Kate HR. They are highly skilled and successful in composing eye catching, HR job adverts that maximise and promote their HR clients’ brand proposition and job opportunities.

Kim MacNamara FIRP, is a HR Recruitment specialist who has successfully placed HR Professionals  across the UK and is driven by a focus on excellent customer experience. Kim works alongside Claire  Baker, Gemma Thomason and Jorja Carr in the North West region and provides effective recruitment solutions for HR roles from Administrative to Board level.

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


HR Recruiter of Choice and an Industry Update

Kim MacNamara - HR Business Director

Kim MacNamara – HR Business Director

Knowledge and skills development is vital to the health and growth of organisations. Ashley Kate HR recognise the value of up skilling their team so they maintain their pole position as the HR Recruiter of Choice. Last week we welcomed two HR professionals to our Head Office to share their experiences of what it is like to be, and recruit for, an Organisational Development professional and an HR Director in the current climate.



Ruth Gawthorpe  is a commercial,  innovative and results focused OD and Change agent and her rolled up sleeves and direct approach has been instrumental in supporting many CEO’s and HRD’s who want to develop their People strategy, HR and L&D Teams to support growth.  She gave a great insight into the work of OD; defining what key skills are required to be noticed by HR Update1potential employers in the current climate, and provided many fascinating and also humorous anecdotes on how she has guided firms successfully through the process of OD and change management resulting in a high performance culture. In particular, she outlined the strategic plan she adopts when implementing OD change and provided some very useful insights in to typical questions we should be asking OD specialists when recruiting for our HR clients.

Her feedback was also extremely positive  and  the Directors at Ashley Kate HR were pleased to hear that she thought we had a, ‘’ a cracking team of Recruitment Experts.  I loved their authenticity, the different personalities and humour in the team and their thought provoking questions.  At Ashley Kate it’s obvious that you are all really keen to continually improve your business knowledge and intellect and I think that is bound to have such a positive impact on the service that you give to your Clients and Candidates. Well done for building such a capable team who display a real growth mind-set.’’

Peter Lunn is an experienced, HR Director with many years of experience working within household named concerns .  He made comment after his insightful overview of life as a HR Director client and candidate that the session was, ‘’A great initiative and one I’ll try and pinch …….. by inviting one of you to talk to my HR team.’’

HR updateHis session offered a true reflection of what it was to be  a job seeking HR Executive and the team enjoyed debating what aspects of service were key in the  HR Recruitment relationship from both sides of the fence in the present climate. He highlighted the importance of the candidate-client relationship being key to a long term partnership with an external  Recruiter and the team were keen to explore and understand his views of what HR would be like in 10 years time.

Feedback from the team highlighted how, ‘’informative‘’, the session was and that it provided, ‘’much food for thought’’ emphasising the increasing importance of thorough preparation and knowledge of the role, relationship building and structure when recruiting for a senior HR role.

Kim MacNamara – HR Business Director  explains how key training is even for very experienced recruitment consultants,  it , ‘’ builds confidence and this confidence allows us to focus on providing a  high level of service to our HR candidates and clients. We all enjoyed the session as it provided us with new ideas and impetus to keep us at the cutting edge of industry developments. Recruiters who are competent and on top of changing industry standards in turn will recruit the best HR talent that will help firms hold their position as a leader and strong competitor within their industry sector.’’

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.

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



Beat the Winter Blues


Claire Baker – Group Operations Director

Motivating Employees through the Winter Blues

So the clocks went back, winter has well and truly set in with a weather bomb battering the country. The majority of your team have used up most/all of their holiday entitlement and we are on the last slog, with most of the Christmas festivities and break they are all looking forward to so close but yet so far.

The short winter days and darkness can lead to a dip in employee morale, mood changes, feelings of sluggishness and all of this could lead to work hours becoming less productive. So here are my top tips for giving your staff that boost without involving a trip to the Bahamas:

walking1Make sure staff take some time away from their desk for at least 30 minutes each day and step outside. Natural sunlight can help lift moods and a short brisk walk can alleviate those sluggish feelings.



Encourage healthy food choices in the office staying hydrated and eating more fruits and vegetables can help battle the winter blues. Keep fresh water on hand in the office. (My team will laugh at this one as I am always the first up for a certain popular fast food burger and chips).


Change things – staff may become more motivated when their job roles are made a bit more interesting, give them a new project to focus on or a task they wouldn’t ordinarily undertake. Sometimes a simple move around in the office can be all that is needed to get employees to change where they sit in the office.

Give staff something social to look forward to, a Christmas party, a simple get together after work or 5/10 minutes in the office to down pens and talk about non work related topics. This will help keep staff engaged and interested in each other and in their workplace.  Get them involved in raising funds for your chosen charity. christmasjumper

Remember though not to take over and let your team interact freely!

Allow your staff some face-to-face time with you. Emails/phone calls often eliminate the need for personal interaction so make the effort to speak with your employees directly.

Let your staff know how they’re doing. Even a simple thank you or well done can go a long way toward letting employees know they’re appreciated.

So wrap up warm and remember it may be gloomy outside. but the outlook from your team doesn’t have to be.theoffice

Claire Baker is the Group Operations Director for Ashley Kate HR with over 18 years recruitment experience in a variety of fields.  Please feel free to connect with Claire Baker on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter  you can contact Claire direct on  0845 413 3200 or via email Claire.baker@ashleykatehr.com

For further insight read The Importance of a Happy Team  from Naomi Asher .






HR Directors Boardroom Update – Birmingham 2014

HRD Boardroom Header 02Leading HR Directors gathered at the Eversheds Boardroom in Birmingham on Tuesday 18th November to join Jenifer Richmond HR Director UK Coach from National Express as she led the latest Ashley Kate HR Directors Boardroom forum.

A number of key topic areas were discussed and all joined in a lively debate that focused on how HR can create an effective coaching culture and gain a ROI. Take a look at the outcomes of the debate by clicking on our YouTube page  

boardroom4One of the top benefits of our HRD Boardroom attendance is the networking value. Where else can you find leading HR leaders facing the same issues as you and your organisation? Are there solutions you’re not aware of? Our market leading events provide HR leaders with a secure forum opportunity to debate topics that are relevant and current and allow HR Directors to clearly focus on key issues that will affect the future boardroomof their HR function. If you are keen to understand more about the debate, hear about the outcomes and would like to receive a free copy of the full notes from this essential HRD forum please email kim.macnamara@ashleykatehr.com

Why not take a look at other HR Directors views of our Boardroom events by reviewing Kim’s recommendations on her LinkedIn profile. http://uk.linkedin.com/in/kimmacnamara 

Ashley Kate HR are planning their full schedule of HRD Boardroom forums across the UK in 2015, if you are interested in sharing ideas and experiences with other senior level HR executives and would like to join our HR Director’s Boardroom, offer your services as a key speaker or if you are recruiting for a senior HR position currently please let us know.  Also if you attended the event in Birmingham please add your comments on below so we can share the value of these HRD events to other members of the Group.

Ashley Kate HR offer the full range of HR recruitment services further details of which can be found on our website or our Company LinkedIn Page


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 jo.pearson@ashleykatehr.com.  The North team consist of Jo, Paula Shaw, Jorja Carr and Gemma Thomason. and are supported by a UK network of HR Recruitment Consultants.