• The Benefits of Recruitment at Christmas!

    As we approach Christmas, it’s possible that you will be thinking less about your recruitment needs and more about the Christmas party. Traditionally, January and February have been busy times for hiring. But with the shortage of quality candidates – you can’t afford to wait for the “peak” period.

    In what is a hugely competitive job market, recruiting over the Christmas period makes a lot of sense – and it could put you ahead of the competition.

    Christmas is a busy and exciting time of the year for everyone; not a time you would necessarily associate with searching for a new job or with companies taking on new employees. Job seekers tend to take time off from their job search as the holidays approach with the rational that very few companies will be hiring in the lead up to Christmas as their time will be occupied with staff trips, parties and annual leave. However, more and more companies as seeing the benefits associated with hiring in December in order to beat the inevitable increase in recruitment activity and in turn, industry competition, that occurs in the new year.

    For companies looking to hire new staff members, initialising the recruitment process in December, rather than January can have many advantages. Firstly, this enables hiring managers to pick candidates ahead of their competition; something that is especially advantageous in today’s very much candidate-driven market. From an organisational point of view, candidate interviews and phone calls are easier to arrange over the Christmas period as typically more people have time off work in December than they will in the new year. Those managing the hiring process are also likely to have more free time and less urgent responsibilities in December; enabling more time for staff training and inductions to take place while workloads are relatively low, minimising any potential teething problems that could negatively impact current members of staff.

    For job seekers looking to secure a new role, the benefits of job hunting in December are also numerous. If they are still working, applying for roles when their workload is reduced, and they have more time off will make the application process much easier. Competition from other candidates is likely to be lower as not everyone will choose to continue their job search over Christmas and therefore their commitment to the job search will be emphasised by sending applications at this time, highlighting their diligence, making them stand out and helping to ensure they will not go unnoticed by employers. In many cases, more vacancies start to arise over the Christmas period as employees who have been considering leaving wait to receive their Christmas bonuses before quitting.

    Timing is critical in recruiting, both from a hiring perspective and from a job seeker’s perspective. But of course, the main reason has to be that for job seeker’s and hiring managers, there may be no better Christmas present than receiving their dream offer or the addition of a brilliant new employee!

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    Help us support our Christmas Charity – Derby City Mission

    We are really pleased to be supporting Derby City Mission this year to provide food and presents, to help local families enjoy Christmas!

    Most of us spend our Christmas holidays with the people we love, content with our jolly festivities and that warm and fuzzy feeling inside. It’s easy to forget that there are many people in the UK and worldwide who are much less fortunate than ourselves. Many people do not have a home, do not have simple sanitation and healthcare facilities, live from one meal to the next and never have the luxury of a Christmas present. A lot of these are children, just like your own bundles of joy, nieces/nephews or grandchildren.

    Currently, over 14 million people live in poverty in the UK, 4 million of those are children! 

    Can you imagine getting to an exciting time in the year and wondering how on earth you can afford to treat your children at Christmas?

    Toys to make children smile at Christmas!

    Unfortunately, this is the reality for many families and since 1996, Derby Mission have been reaching out to underprivileged families working in partnership with a number of churches in Derby through donations of new toys for boys and girls, and this year we can help!

    We have a huge box waiting here at Astute to fill with toys, selection boxes, books etc so we can help spread some Christmas Joy! To get an idea of the items required please see Derby Missions Amazon wishlist Amazon.co.uk

    You can also donate directly through the wishlist or make a financial contribution here Children at Christmas | Derby City Mission

    We are also collecting Christmas Treats and non-perishable food items here at Astute, which we will deliver to Derby Mission, who have provided the following list of items they are particularly short of at the moment:

    TRANSFORMING LIVES TOGETHER

    Laundry tablets or capsules

    Shampoo & Shower gel

    Deodorants (male and female)

    Instant noodles / instant mash / instant custard

    In an average year, Derby Mission give out close to 800 food parcels to struggling families and individuals who they also help with Debt Advice at the regular Clinics they hold. The team are also able to provide support to people who are struggling with their mental health through their Community Shop and Cafe where volunteers provide a listening ear and guide to other helpful services.

    A general list of food that Derby Mission are keen to collect at Christmas and all year round can be found on this page Food Bank Donations | Derby City Mission

    They also collect the following items

    Hats and gloves (as new)

    Underwear and socks (new) size small and medium only (male and female)

    Clean, new/as new sleeping bags

    Clean, new/as new fleece blankets

    and we are happy to collect any of these items and include them in our delivery to Derby City Mission on Tuesday 13th December 2022.

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    Fantastic Business Breakfast Event with Claire Lomas MBE

    An amazing morning was had by all last week at our Business Breakfast Event with Claire Lomas.

    Her presentation on overcoming adversity after her tragic accident was truly inspirational.

    Over 30 local businessmen and women attended and enjoyed the motivational talk from Claire and there were lots of questions for her at the end of her talk and also a book signing.

    Derby Arena proved to be a perfect setting for our Event and Team GB Training at the Velodrome added to an extra special morning.

    Guests were offered the chance to enter our raffle using the hashtag #AstuteBusinessEvent and our lucky winner were

    Maria Hanson MBE @MeandDeeUK charity wins the Tattinger

    Bonnie Mach was the winner of the Prosecco

    4 of Claire’s amazing books were won by:

    Winners – Craig Hardy, Diana H, @jonward @handley_stephen

    Raffle Prizes
    Velodrome – Derby Arena

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    Starting a new job successfully….

    Starting a new job is an exciting opportunity for you to connect with interesting people and make a great first impression.  This could be because it’s a step forward in your career, or you might be relishing the chance to work on a fresh, new project. Either way, preparing carefully can help you get the most out of the opening weeks of your job, while also setting yourself up well for the future.

    Below, we explore how you can achieve this:

    Transportation

    Many offices are now opting for a hybrid working strategy. Instead of working in the office every day of the week, employees are given the opportunity to split their working hours between home and the office. Nevertheless, transportation to the office on the days that you are working is important. You’ll want to get to the office punctually and in comfort.

    If you’re anticipating a long commute, it might be the right time to upgrade your car, or at least book it in for a service!

    Clothes

    Every office has slightly different expectations for the clothing you wear. For some offices, it’ll be mandatory to wear a suit and tie to look professional at all times. Elsewhere, smart casual might be more acceptable. Either way, you should find out what the expectations are in your office before sorting out your ‘work wardrobe’ and shopping accordingly.

    Make contact with your manager

    You are likely have conversed with your manager during the interview process for your new job. But it’s certainly worth setting up this relationship further before you start your job. This can help you settle in and position yourself for success from the outset. But what’s the best way to achieve this? Well, a couple of days before you start you could drop your manager a message to show your enthusiasm and that you are ready to be effective from day one. This can help you enjoy first week success before going from strength to strength.

    Research the company and your team

    Finally, it can make the world of difference if you research the company and the team you’re joining. Naturally, you’ll have carried out plenty of research to pass the interview process. But it’s good practice to familiarise yourself with this information once again before the job starts. Plus, you can carry out more specialised research once you know your job title and the colleagues you’ll be working alongside every day. You could also start matching faces and names by researching on LinkedIn people who will be working on your team.

    Starting a new job can be daunting and exciting in equal measure, but by following the guide above, you should be all set to hit the ground running!

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    Astute to host next Business Breakfast with motivational speaker Claire Lomas MBE

    Overcoming adversity and accepting what you can’t control are increasingly relevant in business, and life! The powers of motivation, mindset and positive thinking are of huge value to employers and employees alike. We are therefore delighted to announce the amazing and inspirational speaker, Claire Lomas MBE, will be joining us at our next business breakfast event on Thursday 13th October at Derby Arena.

    The event is the fifth business breakfast we’ve organised, aiming to motivate and educate professionals whilst also giving them the chance to network and catch up with business connections.

    Claire was working as a chiropractor and had reached the highest level within Eventing, when a freak accident left her paralysed from the chest down. She talks about the split second that changed her life, and candidly describes the darkest times.

    Claire challenges her audience to raise their sights, make their own luck by taking opportunities and be the best version of themselves that they can be. 

    People will leave the room believing in themselves, inspired and hugely motivated.

    When faced with challenges in their own lives, Claire’s words will be sure to stick in their minds….

    “Whether you believe you can or whether you believe you can’t – you are right”

    Many people have listened to Claire and left her events inspired and hugely motivated with renewed belief in themselves.

    Managing Director of Astute Recruitment, Sarah Stevenson said: “We are delighted to be hosting our next event with motivational speaker, Claire Lomas MBE . Her mindset and positive thinking about what can be achieved with the right attitudes and support, will also prompt us to think about how differently physical and mental illnesses are recognised and accepted in society. We believe it will hugely benefit all those in attendance, inspiring us and giving us lots of takeaway points which are perfectly transferrable to the business world”.

    Astute Recruitment is a multi-award winning accountancy recruitment agency offering bespoke solutions to clients and helping candidates to find suitable positions. Apart from the recruitment side, we work to create positive life-experiences through our events. Experiences which can inspire our guests, valued business professionals and candidates across the East Midlands.

    Please let us know if the breakfast event could be of interest and one of our team can forward you a complimentary and exclusive invitation to attend with details to confirm your place. This event is strictly by invitation only and there are only a few places still available, so ensure you don’t miss out by contacting Kelly Thomas, Marketing Director by email kelly.thomas@astuterecruitment.com

    Get in touch if you are interested in hearing about future events, and would like to subscribe to our newsletter where we will announce news, views, events and topical career and business articles.

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    Caught an employee lying on their CV? You could confiscate their pay, court rules

    Employees caught lying about their qualifications or salaries on their CVs could be made to pay back their dishonestly-earned wages, following a landmark legal ruling.

    Every HR professional will have encountered a job applicant who has stretched the truth on their CV. Perhaps they exaggerated their skillset, or told a white lie about a lengthy employment gap.

    Then there is Jon Andrewes. In 2004, the former builder and probation officer landed the post of Chief Executive Officer of a hospice after claiming he had a PhD and an MBA. In reality, a Higher Education Certificate in Social Work was the highest qualification he actually held.

    Now, following a major legal case over his wrongdoing, the Supreme Court has ruled that CV fraudsters like Andrewes can be subject to a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act. So if you pad out your CV, you could in theory be prosecuted for fraud and have to pay back a chunk of your salary.

    Judges concluded that Andrewes had landed his chief exec role “by making a number of false or dishonestly inflated and misleading statements about his educational qualifications and experience in his application for that role. He remained employed in that role until 2015. According to the Supreme Court, during this time Andrewes was also appointed to two paid roles as a director and then Chair of the Torbay NHS Care Trust and as Chair of the Royal Cornwall NHS Hospital Trust. Despite his lies, the court heard that Andrewes “did a good job as CEO and was regularly appraised as either strong or outstanding”. But suspicions grew about his true qualifications, and his ruse was eventually foiled. He was prosecuted and pleaded guilty to three counts, including obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception, contrary to the Theft Act 1968 and fraud by false representation under the Fraud Act 2006.

    In 2017, Andrewes was exposed and convicted of fraud, jailed for two years and ordered to hand over all his remaining assets.

    However, the confiscation order was overturned by the Court of Appeal two years ago when judges ruled he had given ‘full value’ for his salary in the jobs he did.

    Now, half a decade after being rumbled, the Supreme Court has reimpose the financial penalty. As a result of the verdicts, Andrewes, who earned around £643,000 as a result of his CV fakery, must pay back £96,737.24.

    The court wrote: “It was clear that he would not have been appointed had the truth about his education and job experience been known”.

    What HR should know about the legal ruling

    Alexandra Mizzi, Legal Director at Howard Kennedy, believes that the court’s decision opens the door for other employers to follow suit.

    She said: “The Supreme Court has issued a stern reminder about the pitfalls of exaggerating your qualifications. An individual who dishonestly inflated his qualifications and experience in order to secure numerous roles, most notably as a CEO role at a hospice, has been prosecuted for fraud. Whilst prosecutions like this have previously been rare, with most employers opting for dismissal on the grounds of lying on a CV, this case could pave the way for employers taking greater action. The Supreme Court has issued a confiscation order, forcing the defendant to pay about £90,000 of the total £643,000 he earnt in the role, offsetting the pay that he would have received if he hadn’t lied about his qualifications.

    “Some surveys suggest CV fraud has increased during the pandemic as people turned to online ‘diploma mills’ to boost their chances of a better job and then misrepresented the qualifications they had obtained. If this case is anything to go by you not only risk losing your job if found out, but also having to pay back some of your salary and the bigger the fib, the bigger the percentage the employer can claim.”

    The bottom line of CV lies

    Although the case of Jon Andrewes is an extreme one, research shows that he is not alone in embellishing his CV for career gain. A study from YouGov found that 10% of Brits admitted to having lied on their CV at some point in their careers.

    The results show that, first and foremost, education and qualifications are the most likely parts of a CV to be embellished, with four in ten (40%) résumé embellishers having fibbed about this.

    Other common CV lies included how long Brits had spent in a job (35%) and their level of experience (30%). People who worry about not sounding interesting enough in the “personal interests” section of their résumé should note that this too was a fairly common fabrication, with three in ten (29%) CV liars admitting to making up hobbies.

    Career coach Matt Somers said: “Just don’t do it. Ever. Rather than wonder if you can get away with a small lie on this CV or that online application, just resolve never to lie. That way you’re never under pressure at an interview to remember what you lied about, interviews are stressful enough as it is!”

    Unfortunately, making some false claims in the recruitment process may be a necessary evil for some.

    HR Grapevine recently reported on the case of a UK worker who claimed he was rejected from more than 100 jobs before finally securing job interviews… after he began using a British-sounding name on his applications.

    Thiago Carmo, a Brazilian man who lives in Scotland on a visa scheme, claimed he had unsuccessfully applied for more than 100 jobs, receiving nothing but automated rejection messages despite holding two degrees AND a Master’s. However, he reportedly received a wealth of interest from hiring firms once he started going by James Carr on his applications.

    Carmo’s case highlights that the calls from the likes of Somers to ‘just don’t lie’ on your CV isn’t always practical – the current bog-standard hiring process means some jobseekers will instinctively feel the need to embellish or conceal parts of their CV in order to get noticed. But how can we change this?

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    Astute shortlisted for ‘Fast Growth Business’ of the Year Category at The East Midlands Business Masters Awards

    We are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted in the “Fast Growth Business” of the year category. The Business Masters Awards attract the most successful and inspirational companies, and independently judged, the Awards are a real celebration of business excellence.

    Fast Growth Business category rewards outstanding growth by a business in the region over the past 12 months, as part of a sustainable strategy.

    Fast Growth Business – Finalists
    sponsored by Arc Business Interiors

    Ask the Chameleon
    Astute Recruitment
    Brindle & Green
    Panther Logistics
    Talk Staff

    We are looking forward to attending a pre-events drinks reception at The Alchemist, Nottingham on September 22nd, where we will get to meet the other finalists and the awards sponsors.

    Then, as finalists, we can’t wait to attend the award ceremony on Thursday 13th October at the Crowne Plaza, Nottingham. The evening will include keynote speakers, drinks reception, three-course dinner, entertainment, as well as the all-important Business Masters awards ceremony.

    Good luck to all the finalists!

    This is a ticket-only event, so if you fancy networking with finalists and sponsors, you can buy tickets from The Business Desk Website. https://businessmasters.uk/#eastmidlands

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    Congratulations Sarah on being shortlisted for Entrepreneur of the Year at East Midlands Chamber Awards!

    We are delighted to announce that Sarah Stevenson, one of our MD’s, has been shortlisted for Entrepreneur of the Year at East Midlands Chamber Business Awards 2022!

    More than 150 organisations from across Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire have been recognised in the 2022 edition of the annual awards, celebrating the region’s world-class businesses. Mazars are once again the principal sponsors.

    The awards are split into three events for each county and feature 14 categories, ranging from Community Impact and Excellence in Collaboration to Excellence in Innovation and Commitment to People Development.

    The Derbyshire award winners will be announced at the Gala Dinner on Friday 11th November at Reach at Riverside Court, Derby. The night is a great chance to network and get to know the other finalists and sponsors. It’s also a super opportunity for businesses to come together and celebrate everything they have achieved in the last year.

    Awards night promises to be an evening to recognise the winners in each category, and applaud the wonderful local business communities that makes our East Midlands region so successful for entrepreneurs.

    Finalists will now have a chance to state their case for winning at a virtual judging day in which they will be interviewed by a panel including sponsors, a Chamber board member and a representative from the Chamber’s senior leadership team.


    We’re all keeping our fingers crossed for Sarah, but we wish the best of luck to all the finalists this year, who have all done amazingly well to be shortlisted!

    Entrepreneur of the Year

    This Award recognises the contribution of a dynamic, creative and visionary business leader. It seeks to define the qualities of successful entrepreneurship – from drive, ambition, vision and tenacity to inspirational leadership, creativity, inventiveness and confidence.

    The finalists are:

    • Sarah Stevenson, Astute Recruitment
    • Vicky Critchley, Bam Boom Cloud
    • Natalie Bamford, Colleague Box
    • Jillian Thomas, Future Life Wealth Management
    • Andy Ball, Great2

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    Astute Recruitment announce sustainability partnership with Future Forest Company

    We are delighted to announce a new partnership with Future Forest Company, which will see us plant one tree with them for every placement we make!

    This means that as a business we’re reducing our carbon footprint, doing our bit for the planet & helping to reduce global warming.

    Future Forest Company will plant trees on their own land, guaranteeing that the tree will never be removed. All trees are looked after & cared for for 5 years after being planted to ensure they mature. The sites also include water areas and other natural habitats to encourage natural fauna and flora to thrive.

    Our Astute trees are being planted on the Glenaros Estate on the Isle of Mull in Scotland, which Future Forest Company acquired in 2020. The hill ground on the estate provides the potential for creating a beautiful, healthy forest with the 2000 acre estate having the capacity to plant up to 1 million trees!

    Tom Norton, Managing Consultant here at Astute added:

    “We’re on a tree planting mission here at Astute! Since being founded in 2009, the business is expanding rapidly and with that comes a lot of responsibility. We’re dedicated to supporting the world around us to make it a better place and that starts with the environment.

    We recognise the importance of protecting habitats as deforestation is one of the biggest threats to the planet. Woods and trees are home to more wildlife than any other landscape, providing homes for thousands of different species including some of our most loved animals”

    Glenaros Estate on the Isle of Mull in Scotland

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    Cost of living crisis – 50% of staff considering quitting jobs over poor pay

    Some interesting research has revealed that over half of UK employees would consider quitting a poor paying job to pursue a pay rise.

    Research from HireVue, found that 54% were considering moving on to a new role with better pay.

    Their latest Candidate Experience Report also found that just under a quarter (21%) are planning to leave within the next six months.

    The report surveyed more than 1,000 UK workers, exploring current attitudes to work and the workplace. Further findings included:

    Lack of benefits, progression and flexible working are also driving resignations

    In addition to pay, almost a third (31%) of employees stated poor benefits would be a reason to leave. Many businesses are looking to improve workplace benefits to help ease struggles, and also improve employee retention. Yet, as the smaller figure – in comparison to pay – businesses would be better off increasing pay brackets.

    Almost a quarter (24%) of employees also suggested a lack of flexible working would play a part in choosing to leave their current employer. Over a quarter (26%) also referenced lack of progression as a reason to quit.

    Richard Matthews, Head of Talent, Resourcing & Employee Relations, The Co-operative Bank commented: “The UK labour market has been in a huge state of flux over the last few years when you factor in the impacts of IR35 tax legislation, Brexit, Covid and the ‘Great Resignation’. Candidates have a huge amount of choice so if you don’t have a compelling employer brand, diverse attraction methods, the latest market insight and a seamless assessment and onboarding experience you will get left behind. Ensuring your hiring process is authentic and consistent with the reality of your organisation is key, otherwise you will see attrition increase.”

    Darren Jaffrey, General Manager of EMEA & APAC at HireVue, said: “The combination of pay, progression, benefits and flexible working all play a part in helping businesses retain and recruit top talent. And for candidates, it’s clear they view these key areas as the main drivers to stay in roles. And rightly so.

    “What’s interesting is that despite pay coming out on top as the leading factor for employees to quit, we’re still seeing businesses put more effort into other factors of the business. For example, ignoring soaring inflation and what truly matters – recognising their employees’ struggles and paying them fairly in this time of need.”

    Demographic differences are also determining workplace satisfaction

    The data revealed younger groups are more likely to change jobs based on company experience, with a fifth (20%) saying they would due to burnout, just 16% if they didn’t agree with the company vision, and over a tenth (14%) based on diversity and inclusion.

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