Tag Archives: LinkedIn

HR Directors Boardroom Birmingham

DirectorsboardroomWhat reward/recognition initiatives do HR Leaders need in place to make their firm a more sustainable and attractive place to work for?  

Sonia Belfield HR Director from the award winning, highly acquisitive firm Muller Dairy will share the new reward and recognition strategic initiatives she has successfully implemented and explain how they have positively impacted the company. Hear more about her journey and how she has developed these key areas which has resulted in making Muller Dairy a more desirable workplace – one that entices the best Talent. She will lead a debate that will focus on her results and challenges around engagement and recognition, and delegates will also discuss

“What should a consistent employee experience look like’’

Muller is the fourth largest FMGC brand in the UK and has won numerous awards in its sector. It has 19 sites nationwide and employs almost 6000 people across four business units: Muller Dairy, Muller Wiseman Dairies, Muller Minsterley and TM Telford.

Our Chairman for the session, David Beswick of Eversheds LLP, has indicated that this session might be of interest to you and has asked us to extend a personal invitation to you.

David Beswick, Partner of Eversheds International Law Group According to Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession “he is the best employment lawyer around” and is the only employment lawyer in the West Midlands to be awarded a Star Individual ranking.

The HR Debate is completely membership led and to ensure you get maximum return on your involvement the places are limited so if you are interested in attending please click one of the links below.

Venue:      The Boardroom: Eversheds LLP      Birmingham

Address:   115 Colmore Row, Birmingham, B3 3AL

Date:       Thursday 11th June 2015  

Time:         8am – 10am

Cost:        Free of charge

To reserve your place please email kim.macnamara@ashleykatehr.com.  Places are limited so early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.




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.



Ashley Kate HR release 2015 HR Salary Guide and Market Trends Report

peopleThe guide has been produced from a nationwide HR Salary and Benefits survey combined with details from our extensive database of HR candidates and HR vacancy registrations with salary ranges split by sector, region and levels reflecting the diversity of UK businesses.

If you would like a free copy of the 2014/15 HR Salary and Benefits Guide and Market Trends Report please contact the relevant Ashley Kate HR office:




hrnetworkTo automatically receive this guide for free each year why not join the Ashley Kate HR Network.

As a member of the HR Network in addition to Salary Surveys the benefits to you, your colleagues and your organisation include:

  • Discounts on fees for permanent, contract and temporary recruitment
  • Free online recruitment advertising
  • Regular updates on employment law
  • Salary surveys and UK benchmarking
  • Exclusive member-only events with presentations from HR and industry experts
  • HR Director Boardroom events
  • Membership to one of the fastest growing online HR communities

For further information on how to be part of our HR Network please complete your details below.

[contact-form to='joanne.wilson@ashleykatehr.com' subject='HR Network Membership '][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Telephone Number' type='url' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

 If you enjoy networking and want to connect with other HR professionals – we run the LinkedIn Groups-HR Professionals Network-UK and HR Directors Boardroom. The former cited as one of the fastest growing HR specific groups.  Please select the links and apply for membership.


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.



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 : Joanne.wilson@ashleykatehr.com for further information.




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 .






The inside take on how to choose which Recruitment Consultancy to work with


Leon Morley - Ashley Kate HR Recruitment Consultant for the East Midlands

Leon Morley – Ashley Kate HR Senior Recruitment Consultant for the East Midlands

I wrote a blog recently on the reasons why to use a recruitment company exclusively (using multiple agencies). Naturally, I feel if I am giving that advice I should also assist you in how to choose a Recruitment Consultant.

It goes without saying that I believe if you are recruiting in HR or Training, then Ashley Kate HR is the correct choice and you needn’t look further.  We are the HR Recruiter of Choice. However, what if you are looking to recruit a PA, or a Finance Director, or a Quantity Surveyor, or a Qualified Social Worker, or a Buyer… I think you’ve got the gist.


My thinking cap

So I put my thinking cap on and I have come up with what I feel are the 5 easy steps you should do before deciding whether to engage the Recruitment Consultant on your assignment.

tips1 - Before you pick up the phone there are two things you need to do firstly, check they are a member of the REC, this is easy to do and it is essential you work with an agency that is governed by them, follow this link to see why www.rec.uk.com , reclogoand secondly, are they connected? Increasingly in this social media driven world; recruiters are networkers and the more networked they are, the more likely they will find you the best candidate. Check if they are on LinkedIn and review their LinkedIn recommendations.

2 – Now pick up the phone and speak to the Consultant who will (potentially) be working the role with you. Don’t email – it’s impossible to assess their credentials properly and will ultimately take longer. Can they demonstrate to you a history of placing your type of role? For example, if you’re recruiting a Quantity Surveyor, ask them to name some companies they personally have placed quantity surveyors with? Past performance is a strong indicator of future performance. And, if they prefer emails they will prefer emailing candidates and you can’t interview and assess a candidate over an email.

3 – Ask them how long they have been working in Recruitment. Why does this matter? It doesn’t theoretically, but it’s a clue. I believe recruiting is an art, not a science because we are talking about people. It takes time for a recruiter to develop the ‘seduction’ strategies they need to attract good people. Secondly, the Recruitment consultancy world has a funny way of allowing people into the industry, trialling them and spitting out the weaker ones; it’s estimated that 50% of new Recruiters leave or are released within their first year in agency recruitment. Those who don’t make the grade go on to find very successful careers elsewhere where their skills are better suited.

4 – clouseauDo they sound credible? Ask them about the market? – If they don’t sound credible to you they won’t to the candidates you are trying to attract, you have to be a bit of a Clouseau here because you are looking for clues of blagging, dishonesty or possible ineptitude. There are brilliant Recruiters everywhere, I have worked with them. There are however poor Recruiters everywhere too; I know I have worked with some (obviously not at Ashley Kate HR!). Hopefully, if they have passed stages 1, 2 and 3, you probably are talking to a good Recruiter already.

5 - Finally, if you think they sound good and they know what they are talking about. Ask them what salary you should be paying for the role? Of course you will have your own idea and probably an amount signed off. Hopefully, it will be similar. If it is very different from what you considered- ask them to justify it with examples like you would if you were interviewing. If they specialise in that field they should produce an annual Salary Guide to assist you with this. If you still aren’t sure get a second opinion and start again somewhere else – you can always go back. But do consider this, if you believe they are the right consultant and consultancy to work with their salary and market knowledge will be accurate and it is worth taking into consideration.

For a copy of the Ashley Kate HR Salary guide, please email solutions@ashleykatehr.com.

Contact me on 0115 922 3000 or email leon.morley@ashleykatehr.com. I am always keen to network with HR professionals from the East Midlands, so if that’s you please feel free to add me as a LinkedIn connection.

Leon Morley has been in recruitment since graduating with a BA (Hons) Degree in History in 2008. He has recruited in the Social Care, Commercial sectors and now focusses purely on HR Leon works closely with Kim MacNamara, Claire Baker, Lucy Wesson and Emma Dobson recruiting in the Midlands.

Read Leon’s blog regarding using multiple agencies denzel


Which is the best HR Network to be part of?

hrnetworkHR Professionals across the UK have been benefiting from exclusive membership to the HR Network

Start benefiting now

You, your colleagues and your organisation could soon be taking advantage of a valuable set of benefits, including:

  • Regular Employment Law updates – via email, newsletter or webinar
  • HR Salary Surveys & UK Benchmarking reports
  • Exclusive member only events, tailored to each level of the HR profession, delivered by industry experts
  • A Personal Account Director
  • 10-20% discount on recruitment fees
  • Free advertising on leading job boards of all your HR generalist and specialist roles

The Ashley Kate HR Network brings together like minded HR professionals, not just with regular seminars but through our top rated HR Professional Network on LinkedIn.

HRN Header 01The HR Network was set up to assist HR professionals with continuous professional development. Providing members with advice from top legal firms across the country, Members of the Ashley Kate HR Network are among the first to receive free support and guidance on the impact of all new and updated aspects of Employment Law.

We are now giving you the opportunity to be part of this exclusive group, because we believe in strength in numbers it won’t cost you a penny, with an even BIGGER HR Network you’ll make useful business contacts, that’s why we’ve kept membership free whilst still being able to offer generous discounts.

Join us and when you need to find the ideal candidate for your HR vacancy, we’ll give you up to 20% discount on our fees, plus you can meet fellow HR professionals by coming along to one of our exclusive seminars or events.

Take a look at our next HR Networking event on Friday 24th October, joining our HR Network Group will entitle you to FREE access to this Breakfast Briefing.breakfast briefingoctober2

To start your membership simply complete the form below and we will get you set up to receive these FREE benefits.

We look forward to welcoming you to our community, click on the link to join our on-line HR Professionals Networking Group on LinkedIn

If you would like to attend this Breakfast Briefing, please complete your details below and we will be in touch with you.

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6 of the Worst Interview Questions

Kim MacNnamara

Kim MacNamara – HR Business Development Director

I am on a mission!!!

Ashley Kate HR have had over 75 responses so far to this question, ‘’what’s the worst question you have been asked at interview’’ when it was posted on our LinkedIn Group. It is my mission to support our HR clients in perfecting their recruitment processes and I work closely with HR to ensure all interviews aim for a positive experience on both sides which results in a successful hire.


Here are just a few of the responses and questions posed:

silouette There have been several but the ones that stand out are: working for a large public sector organisation for many years and applying for an HR Management position I was asked  “do you think the organisation has gone too far down the lines of political correctness!” I was offered the job and the interviewer advised he decided to throw that one in if candidates were doing well in the interview! Another was “do you prefer city breaks or beach holidays! (Again for an HR management position!) and the top one was “Single parents are not trustworthy as they always take time off to look after their sick kids how can you convince me that this won’t happen if I offer you the job? Job was offered and I “politely” declined!

silouette2Most interesting ones: “Do you think your husband will mind you being away overnight in this job?” (don’t think it was a proposition, but you never know); “Here is a list of the other candidates: what makes you better than them?”; “I was interviewing you for role A, but now I’ve seen you, would you be interested in role B? It’s not vacant yet but when she comes back from holiday I’m going to sack her.” (Run for the hills!).

silouetteMy most hated interview question was posed by a director in an investment bank. “If there were 2 candidates with identical skills and experience but was one was from an ethnic minority, which would you choose?” Open pit for me to fall into. Mmm, wonder if he asked Caucasian candidates the same question…Didn’t get the job. Answers on a postcard, please!


silouette2I was asked by the Director “If the other Director asked you to do something I disagreed with what would you do”. I was tempted to say I thought you were in charge here!! I thought about this question for about 2 secs and decided I did not like the idea of being piggy in the middle of two opposing Directors and blew the interview in a grand style.

silouetteA private sector company once asked me: “If you were attracted to another man who would it be and what would make him attractive to you”. Clearly not wanting to disappoint the young man in question I stated that I found him attractive. His smoky grey eyes and sensitive mouth just promised so much. He left at this point. His colleague and I just looked at each other for an uncomfortable minute until I crossed my legs and said “well that was all done in the best possible taste!” (think Kenny Everett). He burst out laughing, I suggested that his colleague (who was his boss) needed re educating. I didn’t get the job. Gave me a good chuckle all day though.

I was asked ‘ You are holding a dinner party, off the top of your head’ (clicking her finger at the same time) name 3 guests you would invite. I said Bobby Robson, Chris Evans and Nelson Mandela’ …..Hmmmm all males, interesting ….I didn’t get the job.


Chris Evans

Not great are they! Now put yourself in the candidates’ shoes how do you think they felt?

Not only do they have to cope with the stress of hoping they are a good match for your job role at interview stage; prospective candidates often are thinking if this is the right place and move for them.

interviewCandidates are likely to be overwhelmed during an interview, trying to take in all the information being offered and interact well with you. They’re asking questions about the firm, the position and the culture. They are taking note of the work environment, your responses and body language, and trying to gather any titbit of detail that they can use to promote themselves in the best light.

As the Hiring Manger you are representing your firm and your brand so it is essential to promote a positive image as you are the first person the candidate will meet. The impression you make on the candidate during the selection process is an important factor in the candidate’s decision to accept or decline your offer of employment. It is imperative that the candidate has a great experience when they meet regardless of whether they are offered the position. You certainly want them to tell their friends, family and colleague that your process rates highly and in turn promote you as an employer of choice.

After all the ‘War for Talent’,  according to HR related articles recently, is hotting up again so efficient and effective talent acquisition procedures are key.

Here are my top tips for when two strangers sit together for the first time!


  • Choose an interview room that best reflects your firm and be welcoming and approachable.
  • Ensure you provide an interview pack prior to the interview – not just the job role but details of e.g. the firm’s structure and future plans and how they will be involved.
  • Provide the candidate with a map and information on where to park and/or provide a temporary parking permit — before the interview to minimise risk of last minute panics.
  • Be prepared. Read the candidate’s resume before the candidate arrives. Develop interview questions that are directly related to the role and design enough time for all questions to be asked and answered.
  • Go over the interview format and evaluation criteria prior to the candidate’s arrival. Ensure you understand what you are evaluating with the questions. Have you checked that your job role description is an accurate reflection of the role.
  • Introduce yourself – be sure to put the candidate at ease during the interview. You’ll get better information if the candidate is comfortable with you and the environment.
  • Ask easier questions first to get the candidate talking and feeling relaxed.  An interview shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to scare or catch the candidate out. Instead, the interviewer should work with the candidate to help them demonstrate their best knowledge and expertise.



  • Provide the candidate with full information about the role. Offer a wider view of the culture and environment they would be working in and prospects/training opportunities.
  • Follow up and indicate when the candidate is likely to hear about the outcome, even if they are not to be considered for the next stage. Keep them engaged!

Let’s face it: knowing how to interview can be a  real challenge and actually conducting the interview is not necessarily a  god given natural talent that comes easily to everyone.

The team at Ashley Kate HR interview candidates daily so are well placed to advise you and steer you in the right direction and can provide access to local market and salary intelligence, which is incredibly useful in supporting your recruitment process. We are keen to focus on creating a great candidate experience and when we our HR recruitment services are retained by you we can;

  • Sell the benefits of working for your firm above businesses competing for the same talent
  • Provide all interviewed candidates with detailed interview feedback as to why they were successful/unsuccessful so even rejected parties view the experience as positive
  • Provide all advert applicants and candidates submitted at CV stage with an outcome to their application
  • Manage and communicate all changes and updates in the process to ensure candidates are up to speed and engaged
  • Invite two way communication on the candidates experience  to enable your attraction strategy to continuously develop

Don’t forget if you are the actual HR candidate going on interview Ashley Kate HR can also provide valuable tips on interview techniques prior to you attending – take a look at our You Tube video.


Read the War for Talent blog written by Amanda Underhill  from Ashley Kate HR for more information on this subject.

To keep up to date on employment updates and HR related matters please follow us on LinkedIn you can also connect directly with me Kim MacNarama or for further advice and information on HR related matters please feel free to email kim.macnamara@ashleykatehr.com link to us


Feedback Failures

Gemma Thomason - Senior Recruitment Consultant for the North

Gemma Thomason – Senior Recruitment Consultant for the North

As a recruiter I am very aware of many different facets to my role, sourcing and short listing top talent for my clients, sourcing and short listing top companies/employers for my candidates!  It is a two way street.   I have always endeavoured to keep my candidate fully informed and updated throughout the recruitment process especially when it comes to providing feedback.    It is really important to keep candidates informed with regards to this.

Feedback is fundamental to the placement process, of course I have already met and spoken with my candidates at great length and already know their strengths and weaknesses,  I ensure when I shortlist candidates that their skills and feedback1experience are the best fit for the company and the employer as per the job specifications I  receive,  of course not all candidates I put forward will get through to second/final stage interviews and it is important for those candidates to understand why.  It is just as important for the employer to understand why a candidate does not want to take the process any further.

Whether I have heard back from the employer or not I ensure that I have had direct contact with the candidate to get their feedback and understand how they felt the interview went, what their thoughts are on the company and the culture of the company and the roles itself.  It is important to keep the candidate engaged throughout the whole of the recruitment process.

dream jobI love it when I speak with a candidate at the end of an interview and they feedback to me that the client has left the candidate feeling that they would absolutely love to work for the company.  This is when you know your clients’ employer branding is spot on and that the person delivering the interview is doing it right and that you have matched the candidate with the client and the role accurately.

Gaining detailed feedback we all know is tough, we are not asking for a chapter and verse overview on each performance, but here are some tips on what to focus on and what to avoid.

Try to stay away from the generalist feedback;

Do think of how the candidate performed and what they said specifically  it will be constructive and may improve their technique.  For example previously I received feedback  that one of the candidates I had put forward  was ‘not the right culture fit’ it took me questioning this further as to examples as to why this was and the real reason came out. My client advised me that the candidate had focused too much on negative reasons for wanting to leave their current company.

Whilst the candidate did have frustrations they were totally unaware they had been airing these, once I fed this back to the candidate we discussed the best way to tackle and handle certain questions as this individual was most definitely not a negative person however did have frustrations within her current role.

Have a comprehensive measure to score candidates against.  This is useful to see how candidates preformed against the benchmark of other candidates interviewing at the same time.

How were they assessed against the role they would be doing e.g  ‘Simons responses indicated that he might not be able to influence and engage our managers effectively as a business partner’  This feedback is much more useful than ‘not the right level’  It gives a candidate areas on which to focus on to further develop their career.

brandBy giving detailed feedback you will not only assist the candidate by giving them the opportunity for improvement but this will also reflect well on your company.  The candidate experience can have a direct impact on the employer branding, keep the candidate engaged, whether you end up recruiting them or not.

This means keeping to a time line of recruitment with dates already booked in and providing detailed feedback whether the candidates has made it through to the next stage or not! For further tips on your recruitment process take a look at our Time to Hire  blog written by Yasmin Elezaj

If you would like any further assistance or advice on Recruitment or HR, please feel free to email me gemma.thomason@ashleykatehr.com or call 0845 413 3200. For up to date information on HR related issues and top tips please follow our Company LinkedIn page.