Today – being February 14th – is all about love. We love our partners, pets, family and friends and today’s the day we don’t hold back. BUT – and hold on, because here comes the tenuous bit – do we love our jobs? Ok, so I am reaching a little here but I’ve spoken to so many people recently who really aren’t in love with their jobs. Is it possible to fall back in love with your work and can you recapture the job satisfaction feelings you may have once had? What can be done? Focus on the positives – take some time to write down all the things you do like and enjoy about your job. Does your boss order in pizza if you have to work late? Or do you have a really fab coffee machine? Are your colleagues some of your best friends? I used to work for a company that took the whole team away for a weekend every year and it was always something that was appreciated. When something annoys you at work, look at your list and see if you can focus on the positive and the things that you are grateful for. Keep a list of all the positive feedback you get too. Read this regularly – it makes you feel good. Don’t sweat the small stuff – does it really matter if a customer was rude or ungrateful? Put things into perspective. Will you lose sleep over the comments? Probably not. An old mentor of mine used to say about rude customers: “if they don’t change your lifestyle, don’t worry about it.” And he was right. Practice some self-care – perhaps your unhappiness at work is due to other parts of your life not being quite as you want them. This could be your personal relationships, financial worries, suffering from stress and anxiety, even ill-health. Take some time out and indulge in some precious me-time, speak to friends and family about your worry – perhaps seek the help of a counsellor or practice mindfulness or meditation. Well-being at work matters and as individuals we have a role to play in looking after ourselves too. Develop friendships at work – we all know someone who “doesn’t come to work to make friends” but getting along with your work colleagues can make a massive difference to your morale. You spend longer in the company of co-workers than anyone else, so make it count. Even if it is just so you can have a mutual moan-fest! Make your workspace your own – don’t underestimate the feel-good factor of seeing your loved one’s photo (human, canine or feline!) on your desk. Or maybe even a small plant or ornament that makes you smile. This isn’t always easy if you’re hot desking but if you’re able to, take the time to personalise your workspace and take ownership. Communicate – if you’re unhappy, how can you expect your boss to try to do anything if you don’t tell them or ask their advice!? This includes asking for more responsibility, more money or more training and development (there are ways to do this, which I’ll cover off in another blog) but remember that no one is a mind reader – especially a busy line manager - but I can guarantee if they knew how you were feeling they would want to help. Speak up and be less passive. Even after all this, you are still not feeling the love, then maybe it is time to look for your next role.February 14, 2019
First things first: we think about your company culture as well as how the vacancy fits into your team. This helps us find the individual who will be a brilliant asset.
We’re not sales consultants or one hit wonders - we want you to come back to us time and time again.
We operate a fastidious vetting process; we won’t bombard you with CVs and we’ll never knowingly put the wrong candidate forward.
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We take this whole business pretty personally, so we’re always available.
Putting faces to names is sadly pretty rare in this business but we love to meet as many people face to face as possible. The ball is really in your court for that one!
IT Service Desk Analyst
My client is looking for an enthusiastic and hardworking candidate with an excellent combination of technical support and customer service skills to join a busy IT Service Desk based in their Head Office at Farnham. This role effectively sits between level 1 and level 2 in the support teams and is an ideal way to join the organisation and expand your knowledge and ability in a professional environment. This role will be part of a team of 6 Analysts providing a high level of technical assistance to keep the internal customers' systems up and running. The successful candidate will be an excellent team player, have excellent communication skills, previous experience of working with a service management tool to record information accurately and the ability to resolve a range of technical issues within a corporate enterprise environment. The Service Desk covers from 08:00 – 17:30 Monday to Friday working an 8.5 hour day and 09:00 – 13:00 Saturday on a rotational basis with other team members. Candidates must have experience of the following: - Knowledge of Microsoft technologies, including Windows, Word, Excel and Office 365 - Great understanding of customer service and proven experience of providing high levels of customer service - Clear and concise verbal communication, with technical and non-technical conversations - Can articulate technical and non-technical conversations via written media - Able to collaborate within the Service Desk and other support teams - Able to represent the company and the team professionally and responsibly internally and externally - Professional attitude and will take pride in own work - Self-motivated, with a willingness to help others when assistance may not be available - Enthusiastic and interested in the company’s business and services - Ability to learn new systems/services/processes within a fast-paced environment - Ability to work under pressure - An eye for detail and quality Experience of Active Directory administration, networking and telephony will also be useful. For further information and an initial discussion please call Keith Wilkins today or send your CV for review. Please note that every application received is personally reviewed by our team. Avocet Strategic Resourcing does not use automated screening tools. On occasion, we may receive a high volume of applicants which may make it impossible to respond to each applicant individually; if this is the case, please accept our apologies in advance. Avocet Strategic Resourcing is acting as an employment agency in regard to this role and does not discriminate on grounds of race, sex, marital status, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or disability. Candidates must be eligible to live and work in the UK to be considered for this opportunity
Service Desk Supervisor
My client is one of the world’s leading educational establishments, with a global reputation for excellence and innovation. This is a 6 months fixed term contract position with an option to extend to full time. Scope of the role: The supervisor will manage a team of 4 Helpdesk agents. The supervisor will be able to manage the team and workload in a planned and structured manner, able to work to strict deadlines, set goals and objectives The principal responsibility is to ensure that a financial / accounting system is kept updated and available to all users on a daily basis so that purchasing activities, staff and non-staff expenses can be undertaken and processed in an efficient and timely manner. The Supervisor will support the Purchasing and Accounts Payable teams within the Financial Services and Procurement Department that are responsible for managing all purchasing, invoice processing, supplier and staff expenses payment activities across the business Key Responsibilities: Analyse the performance of the service desk activities the documented resolutions, identify problem areas and devise and deliver solutions to enhmace the quality of the service and to prevent future issues. Provide information and anlysis to aid with a ServiceNow implementation Skills/Experience: The successful candidate should be educated to degree level or have equivalent in-depth experience, must have good interpersonal skills and the ability to deal with a large customer base, should have experience running a customer facing service, should be computer literate with a system knowledge of using Oracle and helpdesk software (ServiceNow preferable) in a customer service setting. A working knowledge of purchasing and accounts payable processes will be helpful but not essential. This is a superb opportunity to join an outstanding education establishment committed to delivering the very best in all areas. For further information and an initial discussion please call Keith Wilkins today or send your CV for review. Please note that every application received is personally reviewed by our team. Avocet Strategic Resourcing does not use automated screening tools. Avocet Strategic Resourcing is acting as an employment agency in regard to this role and does not discriminate on grounds of race, sex, marital status, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or disability. Candidates must be eligible to live and work in the UK to be considered for this opportunity.
Service Desk Administrator (Finance / Procurement)
My client is one of the world’s leading educational establishments, with a global reputation for excellence and innovation. Scope of the role: Provide a professional and measureable end-to-end financial helpdesk service for both Internal and External Customers with a focus on customer service and first-time issue resolution. Act as first point of contact assisting with the resolution of queries and diagnosis of problems Provide support to the Purchasing and Accounts Payable departments Play a role in the current ServiceNow implementation Key Responsibilities Provide first line support for staff using financial system including Expenses and Procurement Have a working knowledge of Accounts Payable processes with invoice queries To process applications to add new suppliers To support Internal and External Customers on all matters relating to purchase order and expenses processing To monitor outbound purchase orders and ensure any failures are resolved in a timely manner To set up and maintain hierarchies (Purchasing and Expenses), approval groups, approval assignments and buyer allocations To maintain a database of Procurement and Expenses users and authorities To amend cost centres and financial limits for staff and buyers To provide advice and guidance on Import/Export To operate and use the service desk tool so that all internal and external enquiries are logged and tracked To work closely with ICT to test solutions to logged problems To participate in the implementation and operation of business wide purchasing and payables arrangements Skills/Experience Educated to A Level or an equivalent professional qualification. Proven experience of working in a purchasing and/or accounts payable help-desk environment Experience of supporting financial / accounting systems Excellent customer service and problem resolution skills Experience of analysing, recording and presenting information by means of a computer based spreadsheet and/or word-processing package Experience of testing computer systems in a controlled environment Experience of using ServiceNow software will be beneficial. Ability to deal with large customer base Computer literate (including Oracle and Microsoft Applications) This is a superb opportunity to join an outstanding education establishment committed to delivering the very best in all areas. For further information and an initial discussion please call Keith Wilkins today or send your CV for review. Please note that every application received is personally reviewed by our team. Avocet Strategic Resourcing does not use automated screening tools. Avocet Strategic Resourcing is acting as an employment agency in regard to this role and does not discriminate on grounds of race, sex, marital status, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or disability. Candidates must be eligible to live and work in the UK to be considered for this opportunity.
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The single most important process for retaining new employees is an effective induction process, and here are three great reasons why! Continuing your Hard Work The recruitment process can be arduous and costly, and if you’re enthusiastic about a new employee (which you most definitely should be!) you need to continue this investment after they are hired. Employee engagement is an ongoing process, but it is most vital in those first turbulent months when an employee is finding their feet. Of course, we’re all aware of the costs involved in recruiting – each employee is an investment, and if they’re not properly nurtured, it could cost you over £30K to replace them. They’re Vulnerable The probation period is a time when your employees are most vulnerable to poaching from rival companies. The notice time during probation is quite short, sometimes as little as a week; and employees will want to cut their losses early if they don’t feel that this role is the right fit for them. A new role can be intimidating and a sense of insecurity can trigger a flight response. For a permanent position the probation period can last 3-6 months, so that’s plenty of time for an employee to jump ship if they feel like they’re not being looked after. Integration Much can (and should) be done for cultural fit during the vetting and interview process, but you never really know if someone fits into the company culture until they work there. Having said that, people need to be given a change to integrate effectively. If they are not immersed in the culture, invited into the fold, aware of the processes, and properly integrated into the team, they won’t really know the culture and can’t be expected to fit in. Your induction pack should include all the pertinent information (see next week’s blog for more details) about your company, and is an opportunity for you to present your organisation in a way that you can dictate – so don’t miss the chance to leave a lasting impression. In short, you should not forget that the on-boarding process doesn’t end when an employee starts their new job, and that a sophisticated induction process will help to increase employee engagement and retention.January 16, 2019
Gen X often gets overlooked not just in studies and blogs, but in the workplace too. They don’t require the praise and positive reinforcement that millennials need and are generally less demanding. Neither are they (yet) the dominant force in leadership positions like baby boomers. Much is made of helping baby boomers and millennials to work harmoniously together, meaning that Gen X is kind of like the smart but quiet kid in school; they’re dependable and do their work well, so the teacher doesn’t pay them much attention. Which is pretty crazy since Gen Xers are complete upstarts! The Under-explored Qualities of Gen X Portfolio careers Despite what the internet might tell you, millennials don’t have a monopoly on portfolio careers. By portfolio careers we mean an individual who tries various different professions and experiences instead of sticking to one career or job path. These can be undertaken consecutively, but with the increase in flexible working many Gen Xers are taking the opportunity to undertake these roles simultaneously. For example, @AvocetKaryn is currently rocking three jobs! Portfolio careers are excellent for personal development and can help individuals bring a vast set of skills to the workplace. Employers need to be wary however; if you’re not looking after your Gen X workers and they’re being better looked after by one of their side gigs, you might just lose them to a different part of their portfolio. Communication skills The communication skills of Gen Xers is second to none. Unlike millennials (who prefer email, text, or basically anything that’s not face-to-face) they’re not afraid to pick up the phone and start a conversation or meet with colleagues and clients. They’re also much more customer focused than baby boomers, who can have a very brusque and businesslike communication style that rubs some people up the wrong way. This also means they’re excellent at networking and tend to have expansive social and professional networks. Innovation One of my favourite things about Gen X is their awesome capacity to challenge authority. They want to do things the right way, their way, and that’s not always going to vibe with the higher ups. Millennials aren’t too hot on authority either, but tend to resist in in a more passive way by job hopping if they feel that the views of management aren’t compatible with their own. Gen X however are much more likely to stick with it and actually challenge authority head-on, they are loyal but not blindly loyal. Perfect recipe for a disruptive positive influence in your organisation! Gen Xers are independent, productivity and customer focused, and excellent all-rounders. They’ve also got minimum ten years left in the workforce and will be your next leadership team (if they’re not already), over 50 doesn’t mean over the hill! If you empower them in the workplace they will be your hardest hitters and excellent mentors for your millennial and Gen Z employees. Overlook them any longer and they might just start expanding their portfolios.January 16, 2019
With a 2019 just around the corner, you may feel motivated to look for a new job or even a complete career change. The mantra of ‘New Year, New You’ applies to your professional life too. The weeks leading up to the New Year are the perfect time to audit your candidate profile and make sure you’re in perfect shape for the job hunt. Your CV First impressions are key, and the first thing a potential employer will see is your CV. Ensure that it is tidy and properly formatted. Overly stylised CVs can be off putting, so remember simplicity and readability are key. Always include a personal profile which highlights your career highlights to date. Avoid clichés like “good team player” and words like “passionate” Perhaps most importantly, always tell the truth on your CV. Potential employers will do their research and pre-screen candidates before offering employment. What may seem like a white lie, could be the difference between being starting your dream job so put your best, most honest, foot forward! Social Media In this modern age, employers will often screen candidates’social media accounts. Ensure that any personal profiles have the correct privacy settings, keeping those holiday snaps and boozy party pictures for friends and family alone. Remember that your profile picture will still be visible, so have something that you feel will represent you well to potential employers and recruiters. LinkedIn is an important social media platform when job seeking, and ensuring that your profile reflects your correct work experience i paramount. Ensure that your CV and your LinkedIn details are the same. Almost all employers will use Linked in as their second port of call after looking at your CV, so don’t neglect your LI profile. Use recruiters Having a recruiter onside who can best showcase you can be the difference between a job you can do and a job you can love. Do your research to ensure that the agencies that you register with are best suited to your needs, that have an understanding of the roles that you are seeking and are specialised to your field. Personal and Professional Ensuring that you present yourself professionally across the board will increase your chances when seeking new employment. Make sure your email address is personal and professional, we recommend variations on first name/last name addresses – avoid nicknames or joke names: yes “email@example.com” I do mean you! There’s an old adage saying that getting a new job is a full-time job in itself. Treat your New Year job hunt with the same level of professionalism as you would your first day at work.December 14, 2018
Despite their amazing benefits the number of apprenticeship starts dropped by 40% this year. New rules have made apprenticeships a little trickier for employers meaning some have been put off trying it out or expanding their current apprenticeship programmes. Despite this apprenticeships have incredible benefits for your business. Here are five reasons why apprenticeships are a great investment. Diversity Business which employ apprentices can attract talent from a wider pool, including people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as individuals from the older generation and those who find it difficult to find work due to disability. If this isn’t enough of a good in itself, there are many fantastic benefits to a more diverse workforce. Plug the skills gap If you have a skills gap in your business or industry, you can train apprentices to fill those exact skills gaps and tailor the training to their role as well as future responsibilities. Increased loyalty, engagement, and retention Much like employers that offer a lot of learning a development opportunities, apprenticeships result in a better employee experience leading to increased loyalty and engagement, both of which mean an employee is likely to stay at your organisation for longer. Increase loyalty, engagement, and retention Data from the National Apprenticeship Service has found that more than half of employers offering apprenticeships say their apprentices stay with them longer than other employees. This is due to the fact that apprentices get to build their skills from the floor up and feel that the company is invested in their development. Shake things up There’s nothing like new blood to shake things up in your organisation, and the energy apprentices bring can be infectious; 92% of employers who employ apprentices believe that apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce! It’s also good for new business, 76% of apprentice employers polled say they promote their apprenticeship credentials when pitching for new business or talking about their company. Apprenticeships might be a bit more difficult to provide nowadays, but the benefits of apprenticeships for employers make it undeniably worth the effort!August 23, 2018
A competency based interview isn’t as scary as it sounds, in fact, you’ve probably been to one before without even knowing it! These interviews are designed to see if your skill set matches the skills needed for the job, and relies on the principle of past actions and experience being the best indicator of this. Normally the interviewers will have a set of questions each one focused on a specific skill required for the role. What kind of questions will I be asked? You are less likely to be asked informal questions such as ‘why do you want to work here?’ or ‘what can you bring to the company?’ or ‘if you were a kitchen appliance which one would you be and why?’. The aims of the questions are actually really obvious, so it shouldn’t be difficult to see what hiring managers are looking for. Describe a situation when you assumed the role of leader. Were there any challenges, and how did you address them? (leadership skills) Tell us about a time when your communication skills helped diffuse a situation? (communication skills) Describe a situation in which you were working as part of a team. How did you make a contribution? (teamwork) The STAR Method Despite the fact that competency based questions aim to get you talking about your past experience, a common complaint we have from hiring managers is that candidates don’t evidence their competencies with work based examples. You want your answers to fit their criteria as much as possible, and there’s one trusted method for ensuring this – the STAR method. The STAR method helps you at answer interview questions systematically so that you don’t miss anything important. SITUATION: Set the scene for your example by giving a brief description of the context. For example, if you’re talking about teamwork you will need to explain what team you were in, the team’s purpose, how many members, and any important information about the team dynamic. TASK: This one is just about you and what your exact tasks were in the situation. ACTION: This is what you did including going above and beyond your actual TASK. You should include a lot of detail and specifics, and for clarity it’s a good idea to start from the beginning and take your interviewer on the journey of how your actions evolved along with the project. You don’t need to talk about what other people did, but you should talk about yourself in relations to your teammates; how you motivated them, how you helped them, how you worked together. RESULT: Explain the outcome to all your hard work. The best way to do this is to show measurable outcomes, such as finishing a project before the deadline, getting positive customer feedback, or saving the team from extra work. Also include what you learned and if you would do anything differently. For this method to work you will need to do some pretty in depth research on yourself, but trust me it will be worth it. Go through the job description and pick out the core competencies, then think about examples from your career and apply the STAR method to create an answer to these core competencies. Don’t be afraid to take a little longer in the interview to answer these kind of questions, and be sure to let your interviewer know that you’re thinking about your answer instead of babbling to fill time while you think!August 09, 2018
We all know that miscommunications and misunderstanding are a constant struggle professionally and in daily life, there’s a whole literary cannon based on it (looking at you Shakespeare)! Often in life we get the opportunity to rectify the miscommunication and there’s no harm done, but interviews are not one of these opportunities. First impressions in interviews are ridiculously important and, fairly or not, all the explanations in the world won’t take back that gut feeling you’ve given an interviewer that you’re not a great fit. Here’s an example; a candidate of ours recently had an interview. He was (like all our candidates!) a very strong candidate and we were pretty confident. Even the best of us sometime eat our words. The candidate told the interviewer that he likes to do more difficult work, a pretty innocuous statement to most people, and a statement which was clearly intended to demonstrate that the candidate enjoys a challenge and doesn’t shy away from hard work. Unfortunately the interviewer rejected this candidate because he interpreted that statement as meaning that the candidate would only undertake work that he considered interesting and would ignore the day-to-day essentials, which would make him a difficult employee and a poor team player. One take away from this example is the importance of well-rounded individuals. This doesn’t mean you don’t have a specific strength or area of expertise, but that you are willing to do all aspects of the job with enthusiasm. But my larger point is that it’s frustratingly easy to be misinterpreted. A good way to avoid this for candidates is to anticipate the questions you will be asked and have set answers. You can then look for various ways in which your statement can be interpreted, or even ask a friend (or reddit!) to take a look. This is more difficult on the fly and you can’t prepare for every potential question, but just practicing this will change the y you think about your use of language. The best way to avoid this as a candidate is to use work based examples. Something like ‘I was excited to be included in X project which had extremely complex aspects including XYZ. The challenging work pushed me to achieve my best and the team environment was mutually supportive which taught me a lot about supporting others and accepting help from teammates, I also learnt a lot about time management by undertaking this project on top of my everyday tasks.’ See what I did there? You’ve got passion, you’ve got ambition, you’ve got time management skills, you’ve got a can do attitude, you play well with others, you’re eager to learn, but you still finish your dinner before you have dessert. However, the onus should also be in hiring managers. A great hiring manager does not take things on face value and understands that candidates are nervous and might misspeak. Always be probing; the simple version of that would be asking the candidate if they can explain in more detail or give an example. It might be a bit radical, but that hiring manager could have said ‘what about doing (insert mundane task here)’ and used their intuition to divine whether or not the candidate was lying when they professed their love of said mundane task. A more subtle approach would be asking something along the lines of ‘what do you believe you achieve by volunteering for the more challenging work?’, this would have given the candidate the opportunity to explain that they like to push themselves are rise to a challenge. So, it’s the responsibility of both candidates and hiring managers to prevent the interview turning into a misunderstanding of Shakespearean proportions. The candidate needs to be aware of how they can be misinterpreted, and the hiring manager needs to be more lenient with candidates and take the time to ask questions.August 01, 2018