News from 2018
Four Blogs from 2017 - That Are Worth Another Read - and Maybe a Further Comment!
2017 seems an awfully long time ago now. Christmas may be a distant memory, but I thought that I would use my first blog of 2018 to look back on a few of the key blogs from last year that might deserve a little more love! Sometimes I think that we have a tendency of leaving things in the past too readily, but as with most content, the opinions here are evergreen…
I am sure that you have had a busy start to 2018 – we certainly have (judging by the fact that this blog is coming out at the very end of January - later than planned!)
I appreciate your time in giving some thought to these four posts.
In the spring, we shared some thoughts about why big billers leave their employers. It is our job as recruiters to consult with our clients and retaining talent is actually more important than recruiting it in the first place (and probably far harder). Do they want a better package, work for a different brand, move into management or maybe even set up on their own? The insights that we get from our candidates are priceless and we do our best to share the knowledge across a wider audience.
In the summer, we celebrated 25 years as a Rec2Rec agency, and with over 250 years of experience, I hope that we continue to provide the very best possible service to our client and our candidates. Being entrusted with someone else’s dreams is no small undertaking, and knowing that their recruiters will go on to impact the lives of countless candidates just adds to the pleasure that we get at work.
After the summer break, we came back to work in an introspective mood. It is always healthy to question to role of technology in our lives and workplaces and as social media had been a hot topic all year, we wondered just how important it was in the marketing kit of a recruiter. From my point of view, marketing and recruiting are becoming inextricably linked plus with the advances in AI technology, soon content will be discovered by potential readers - rather than pushed into the void.
As the long winter nights started to close in, our thoughts turned to our colleagues in warmer climes. I wrote a blog about the opportunities that an international career might provide for someone at the right point in their life. Granted, the Australian visa situation did not help matters in one of the most popular destinations, but thankfully that situation is now a lot better and rosier than it might have been when recruitment consultants were going to be denied entry! Also many recruiters have been setting their sights into Europe, America, Middle East – and more exotic destinations. Cayman Islands anyone?
So now as we move into the busiest start for a year, I am asking myself what sort of topics we should cover this year. What are our areas of priority in recruitment? Is it Training and Development? Perhaps new Technology? As the months pass, Brexit may well dominate the headlines and there may be some recruiting sectors which may suffer... However, as with everything, good recruiters will rise to the top and McCall will do our best, as we have during our 25 years, to facilitate those moves in every which way that we can for our candidates and clients.
I do hope that you have had a fantastic January (despite the cold weather and the various lurgies doing the rounds) and I wish you a successful February and beyond!
Written by Julie O'Neill
In a World of Increasing Choices…
here’s an emotive one;
Should we have Dress Down Friday – or not?!!
It’s a conundrum for some. The left believe that fitting in and being comfortable in a work environment on Fridays is an acceptable end to the week and it thus has become part of the office culture (indeed many trendy firms now are constantly in dress down mode.) The right on the other hand, believe it is important to always be smart (you never know whom you might need to meet at the last minute) and that it keeps everyone in the right business head space – and that they associate with a suit (and an increasingly more optional tie for the men.)
When I attend and conduct meetings on Fridays, and last week I held four, I generally now email ahead and say I’m in dress down and hope that’s not a problem. Obviously if I’m visiting another office and that isn’t their accepted attire I wouldn’t wear my casuals. Then again – what would I do if one was and one wasn’t ….luckily I’ve not come across that yet – in fact I think I would stop doing Friday meetings if I had to change during the day!
But when I think back to my early recruitment career dress down definitely didn’t happen. I started out working for a major corporate and I had my children in my early 20’s and I even remember having to wear…. here it comes… maternity tights! (Don’t ask.) However women also couldn’t wear trousers…. Now I’m perhaps showing my age. Nonetheless similar clothing dilemmas still exist; a classic one for me is ‘business casual’ which I find very difficult. I note men typically wear chinos - but do ladies have a clear alternative? Frankly I generally prefer to be casual or business – not in between… that is no mans land.
So what are your thoughts folks – how important is Dress Down Friday?
Written by Julie O'Neill
The Value of a Grandmother in Recruitment: Pat’s Story
Sometimes you catch a glimpse of how things should be done. As Pat Eagling started to talk about her experiences in her first interview for a role at McCall, I was transported back to a time when recruitment put people ahead of profits.
You might argue that any business has to put profits at the top of their agenda, but when Pat started her recruitment career in 1972, you couldn’t blast a candidate out to 40 potential employers, email (and even fax) was a distant prospect, and having a social strategy meant having lunch with a client!
You had to put people first.
As the workforce ages, more people like Pat are adding incredible value. She is reminding us of what great recruitment is all about.
Here is her story told in her words:
“In 1972, I walked into Brook Street Bureau in Cannon St, London. I was looking for a job, but I didn’t quite know what would suit me best. An hour later they had offered me a job working there, and my recruitment career began. It was wonderful working in the bustling financial hub, and I had been promoted to Manager in a suburban branch by the time I was 21.
I was then approached to work for one of the first specialist IT recruiters, placing hundreds of contractors into UK and European clients. I remember one such project when I personally sourced 93 contractors within three weeks for the European Space Agency. I missed my daughters first birthday. The reality of recruitment was hitting home already - but I was hooked.
I then set up my own boutique agency that I ran for thirty years. If you are a passionate recruiter, there is nothing like running your own shop. One project that I will never forget was a six-month on-site assignment for Walt Disney. That was utterly magical in every sense. As we grew, we invested in wherever technology was available and we bought two of the original Apple Macs. They are worth £250,000 a piece these days…. We got rid of them long ago. (No comments please)
My husband’s health unfortunately deteriorated, so after a rewarding career, I decided to dedicate myself to making his last few years as comfortable as possible. I am glad that I did because there is more to life than work.
So after his passing, I decided to return to my other passion: recruitment.
I am aware that technology has transformed the recruitment landscape and will undoubtedly continue to do so. However, I am a firm believer that human nature cannot change as quickly and I hope to bring my skills to the Rec2Rec industry.
Having worked at McCall for a month and not yet quite shaking that “new girl” feeling, I know I’m simply doing the same rewarding job – but in a different way.
Interesting parallels remain. In the seventies, women were changing the world, empowered like never before. Now we also find ourselves at a crossroads of equality and inclusivity. When you work in a people industry, there is nothing more important, and I am glad that this Grandmother still has a place in the world!
There are many other Grandmothers out there like me, wondering if they can make more of a difference in the world. The business leaders of this world simply have to give them a chance. Thank you to Julie and Nick at McCall for my chance.”
We all know the workforce will be working longer – look at the rising age stats -have you considered the merits of older employees in your recruitment business?
Is it really just a young person’s game? Not just Mum Returners but Grandma Returners!
With the gig economy ramping up and plenty of recruiters leaving to set up their own businesses after sometimes just a few years of experience, the older generation of recruiters can be an important asset in years to come. As the machines do more of the mundane stuff, people skills are firmly back on the agenda. The value of the older generation in this case cannot be understated.
We at McCall are pleased to be a trend setter and pioneer!
Written by Julie O'Neill
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I never know whether to consider myself the worlds luckiest person - or indeed the most unluckiest person … Things can either go VERY well or VERY badly! When the going is good it’s great…. But doesn’t it feel like sometimes EVERYTHING and ANYTHING that can go wrong does, without fail. So then whatever I touch needs to be done twice; once to phone the plumber and then again to chase the appointment because he didn’t show up! Recruiters absolutely know that although it maybe sunny when you read this, but generally it never rains - it just pours! However I actually explored this further. I wanted to see if there is any science to ‘luck’ so recently I willingly participated in an official 3 year study conducted by the University of Hertfordshire to see if luck really existed – and more importantly, if so, was it tangible. Well that I couldn’t resist… indeed I thought I might just be able to grab a bit of this luck - perhaps bottle it for future use! That would be worthwhile.
However three years later, after countless forms to fill out and eventually electrodes on my head, they came to the conclusion that ‘ you couldn’t pin luck down.’ In addition, I was very ‘subliminally receptive’. Meaning that not only am I unlucky, but if for example you quickly flash a sign at me, I will see what’s written on it and am highly likely to buy the product….gullible as well as unlucky?! With these results from the study, I thought at times perhaps it’s my timing that’s off kilter and not my luck, is it really just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Throughout my lengthy recruitment career I have been very creative and came up with some fantastic ideas – but often they were before there time i.e. they were too new and innovative to catch on, yet now they are industry standards, with someone else having made the millions out of the idea a little later down the line! Today is a very good day; I just had a candidate accept a new role and is starting next week – and that’s illustrative of that fact that it’s actually true to say that I’m pleased to say things typically work out in my favour in the end! Plus positivity is key – I really believe that. In fact I might write a blog about that next time! I do really well out of a bad situation, with people around me saying “You’re so lucky”……so maybe the old methods can still work - in future I’m just going to flip a coin…..
As the summer holiday season approaches, our thoughts may inevitably turn to sun-kissed beaches and leisurely days by the pool. Some of us might do something more strenuous - maybe an activity holiday or sailing; or perhaps a return visit to Florida or Vegas…but is that the best type of holiday for us, or just what habit has taught us?
It may have been the Victorians who came up with the concept of a beach holiday, but in those days it truly meant a break from the daily routine. Everyday life stopped and the lucky few could enjoy some well-deserved rest and recuperation.
These days, many of us our lucky enough take our annual holidays for granted as part of our lives, but how much of a break are we really gifting ourselves if we do the same old things over and over again? If we are not giving our brains new experiences to occupy them, aren’t we risking those precious moments of a change of scenery or true rest and relaxation?
Somehow, I think that novelty is important for mental recuperation. With this in mind, my recent holiday was something entirely different to the norm and I’d encourage everyone who has the opportunity to put this on their bucket list.
We decided to take a cruise to Alaska, and it prompted me to revaluate what I am looking for in a holiday. After a city break in San Francisco, we spent ten days on a cruise ship (Princess actually – if it’s good enough for Jane McDonald….!) immersed in the absolute majesty of the nature that surrounded us. The sheer size and scale of the mountains and national rainforest (17.2 million acres of it!), the sadly shrinking glaciers reminded us of the fragility of our daily lives in a constantly changing world. The abundant wildlife proved that resilience in the face of the harshest of conditions is part of our make up. The change in weather meant the White Pass railway was shut – there had been an avalanche – it was very humbling and I remembered how I can be disappointed with a bit of unexpected rain at home… The lack of internet made me realise just how much we take technology for granted in the west. I know what the libraries (free wi-fi!) look like in all the ports we stopped at!
I had peace, I had stillness, I had a totally different type of break - in a way that wouldn’t have happened on a beach in the Med.
When you are doing something new, you don’t have a mental groove to fall back on, and you are almost certainly “present” with whatever you are doing. I am not suggesting that everyone travels to Alaska or goes trekking in Nepal, but even the smallest breaks for the norm on holiday might well bring refreshing benefits? We might have booked that beach holiday - but there are probably still many options around how we spend our time.
When we are stimulated by a new experience, all sorts of fascinating thoughts can germinate. I have certainly come back from my trip with a renewed focus and sense of purpose.
I have a suspicion that even thinking about doing something different might make a difference to mental wellbeing – it’s exciting, adrenalin-fuelled...Conversely, of course there are times when we are shattered and just want to return to someone we’ve been before –as we know we like it…maybe there’s a new baby and it’s a first family holiday (that’s a bit change!) and other times we may volunteer and find that hugely rewarding on both sides…I’m suggesting that there are other times when perhaps we should be bold and appreciate wider horizons for annual break other than the norm, if and when we can.
It is a real treat when you give your brain permission to think these thoughts. How do you inject that sense of the unknown into your holidays?
Written by Julie O'Neill