On the Couch With The Chairman: Changes in Recruitment Over The Last 25 Years

This month, our chairman, Hugh Joslin, shares his opinion on

Changes in Recruitment Over The Last 25 Years

Some things have not changed – employers continue to look for the best candidates, while individuals still seek the best jobs with the most generous salaries. However, to get to the job offer, or find the right candidate, a lot has changed.
Here’s a breakdown of the changes I have seen over the years:


  • ‘Black Book’ of contacts
  • Job ads in national press
  • CV’s sent by fax
  • All interviews face to face
  • Process involved one face-to-face interview
  • All office-based with standard hours
  • Suit and tie or equivalent


  • Electronic database of contacts
  • Electronic advertising platforms CV’s sent by email to company
  • Skype/phone/face to face interviews
  • Process includes at least 2 stages and a task/presentation
  • Flexi hours, work remotely/virtual offices
  • Smart casual or dress down


So, it’s the means of communication that’s changed. What hasn’t changed? First impressions continue to matter. Top level preparation remains critical. And, of course, the desire to impress will always be noted


Workplace Faux Pas

Let’s face it, we see more of our colleagues than almost anyone else, so they’re bound to get on our nerves from time to time.

We conducted an informal survey on what winds us up the most:

  • Eating smelly food – This one was the main offender in our survey. Unless you’re working outside in a field, it’s likely that your colleagues won’t appreciate the smell of reheated fish and egg curry!
  • Negativity – There’s always one isn’t there? Moaning and whinging – someone who’d win the lottery and still find something to complain about.
  • Gossiping – I guess this one depends whether you are on the receiving end or not, but it reflects badly on the perpetrators.
  • Bragging – Bragging about your achievements can come across as gloating and intimidating. Modesty is a virtue, you know.
  • Poor music choice – Always a bone of contradiction because it’s so subjective. The only thing to do is to let everybody have a turn.
  • Clipping fingernails – Someone said that in her last job a colleague used to clip their fingernails at their desk. We say at least it wasn’t their toenails.
  • Singing and whistling – Distracting, annoying and one really set to raise the hackles. Even worse when it’s tuneless.

Competency-Based Interview Advice

Interviewers use competency questions to find out how a candidate may act if employed and as a way of fairly assessing people with differing levels of experience.
To prepare you need to start by identifying which skills, knowledge and behaviours the employer is looking for. The obvious place to look is on the job description, but you can also ask the person arranging the interview for more information, for example, do they have a competency framework you can see? Then think hard about situations where you have demonstrated these skills and be prepared to elaborate on your answers

Here are 5 of the most common competencies you might be asked about:

  1. Communication – “Tell us about a time when you had to adjust your communication approach to suit a particular audience.”
  2. Decision Making – “Give an example of a time when you had to make a difficult decision.”
  3. Teamwork – “Describe a situation where you were working as part of a team. How did you contribute?”
  4. Trust worthiness – “Would you report a colleague who you knew was taking money from the company illegally?”
  5. Leadership – “Describe a situation where you took on the role of the leader. What were the challenges and how did you address them?”

Exclusive Access All Areas

Clients have found working with us as sole supplier hugely beneficial. It allows clients exclusive access to the best candidates in the market and is often a highly effective way of speeding up the hiring process. We were recently approached by a client who had been struggling to find the right type of candidates for a position they had been trying to fill. After engaging us on a retained basis, they were able to fill their job inside two weeks and were so impressed with the quality of candidates we delivered for them, they decided to make two additional hires.

Given many clients are using us on a retained or exclusive basis, it’s more important than ever that you keep in touch with our consultants to access the best opportunities in the market. There are often roles that won’t be accessible elsewhere, even on the employer’s website!

Throughout the interview process, we’ll also have a direct line with hiring managers so we can advise on what skills and qualities they’re looking for candidates to demonstrate to give you an extra advantage.

We post regular job updates on Twitter and LinkedIn so you can keep up to date.


On the couch with the Chairman : Face-to-face Interviews versus Phone/Skype Interview

Face-to-face interviews versus phone/Skype interview Both have their advantages – the key is to be prepared for either scenario – that is, do your research and have key questions ready when it’s your turn to ask.   Pros for phones or Skype interviews: Why? You can’t attend a face to face interview due to time …