The Harcourt Matthews Blog & News Articles

How’s The Economy Doing?

With the end of Q2 fast approaching, we thought we’d take a look at the key statistics telling us how the UK economy is doing, to find out the current health of the nation.

Inflation - backdoor survivalInflation Falls to 1.5%
May 2014 reported a drop in inflation to 1.5%, its lowest level in 4.5 years, helped by a fall in air fare and food prices. The Consumer Prices Index fell to 1.5% in May compared with 1.8% in April, according to the Office for National Statistics, which is the sixth consecutive month that inflation has been below the Bank of England’s 2% target. Prices, however, are still increasing faster than average earnings, which rose 0.7% in the 3 months to April.

House Prices rise by almost 10%
House price increases accelerated in April, rising by 9.9% compared with the same month a year ago, according to official figures. The typical price of £260,000 grew at the fastest rate for nearly four years. The Office for National Statistics said prices rose strongly across the UK, with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all picking up pace, although London where prices were up 18.7%, remains the driving force behind the housing revival. Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England said he would take prompt action, if action was needed to reduce stimulus in the housing market and avoid another property bubble.

Credit Stable Credit Outlook
Credit agency Standard & Poor’s upgraded the UK’s credit outlook to “stable” from “negative” and kept its AAA assessment of borrowing strength. The agency forecast that the UK economy would grow by almost 3% in 2014. The agency also forecast that the UK economy would expand by 2.5% in 2015, led by business investment and private consumption.

Unemployment falls to under 2.2 m
The jobs market continued to improve in the 3 months to April, with the number of those out of work falling by 161,000 to 2.16 million, bringing the unemployment rate down to 6.6%. The number of people in work rose by a record 345,000, to 30.5 million, but the quarterly rate of earnings growth slowed to 0.7% from 1.9% the previous month. The total number of people out of work is now at its lowest level for more than five years, with youth unemployment, which covers 16-24 year olds, standing at 853,000.

What Does It Mean?
The outlook for the economy over the next 3 months is “exceptionally strong” according to the employers’ organisation the CBI. Its latest monthly survey indicated that growth expectations were the strongest since the CBI started collecting data in 2003. The CBI’s chief policy director Katja Hall said: “These latest growth figures, and the strong expectations for the next quarter, provide further encouraging signs of increasing vigour and confidence across the UK economy.

Has this good news encouraged you to think about your next step on the career ladder or another member of staff for your business? Download our FREE Salary Survey to find out what you’re worth or if your remuneration package is up to speed, take a peek at our Top 50 Competency Based Interview Questions to prepare you for interviews, whatever side of the fence you are on or visit our website to take advantage of our FREE recruitment tips and advice.

photo 1 – backdoor survival; photo 2 – 401(K) 2012

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The Art of Resigning – Part 2

Following on from our earlier blog, The Art Of Resigning – Part 1, in which we covered off 4 initial topics to consider when handing in your notice, we thought that we’d round up by drawing your attention to a further 4 key areas to think about when you’re planning your departure.

Pass The BatonPassing On The Baton
Preparing to leave your existing job in a shipshape and tidy fashion for a smooth handover may entail extra hours that you would prefer not to spend. Top Tip 1. Completing as much work as possible will sit well with your line manager and co-workers. Top Tip 2. Ensure that any uncompleted projects come with a detailed handover to make any transition as smooth as possible.

Working Your Notice
This can be one of the most challenging times during the resignation process as you will have mentally disengaged from your current role and be dreaming on pastures new. However, this is a time when you can really make a strong and lasting impression. Top Tip 1. Keeping focused and motivated is a positive for those around you, and remember, it’s only for a limited time.

ExitExit Interview
Although it might be tempting to be extremely negative in your exit interview, please consider what you have to gain. Top Tip 1. Deliver feedback in a balanced and considered manner. Top Tip 2. Be grateful for the opportunities you’ve had, share what you’ve learned and offer feedback for the next person who will fill your role.

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye
Do remember that ultimately it is for your boss and employer to decide how and when your departure is announced to the business. Once it has been announced there is no harm in a goodbye e-mail but do be careful with the tone that you take. At times the resignation process can be difficult, but handled correctly and with the appropriate effort, your departure should be smooth and with your reputation intact. Trying to take the emotion out of it can be a challenge but a mature and professional approach will pay off in the long term. Above all, remember that your path may cross with your ex-colleagues in the future so think ahead.

Hopefully, this advice will help you navigate the sometimes choppy waters when taking your next career step. If you’re thinking about looking for a new role, then visit our website & make the most of our FREE Job Search Tools.

photo 1 – masayuki sato & potzkun; photo 2 – peter allen

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The Art of Resigning – Part 1

I ResignWith the global economy on the rise and the job market on the up, it’s inevitable that a significant proportion of the UK work force will be tendering their resignation at some point over the next 12 months. Whilst much energy and effort are devoted to identifying and securing a new role, we think that you should apply some serious thought into leaving your current employer on a positive note. The manner of your leaving not only reflects on your professional reputation but leaves the door open should you wish to return in the future. So, what are the key areas to consider when preparing to fly the nest?

ClockTiming It’s tempting to jump straight in and resign as soon as you have a job offer, but, act in haste and you may be repent at leisure. Top Tip 1. Always make sure that you have a detailed offer in writing and that you are happy with the details. Top Tip 2. Try and ensure that your resignation to your line manager is on a face to face basis and consider waiting for 24 hours if this means you can meet in person as a matter of courtesy.

Notice Period Check your notice period in your current contract before considering if you will be expected to work all or part of your notice period. Businesses take differing views on notice periods but this is usually based on who you are going to join and the level of your role. If you are a senior manager and leaving to join a direct competitor then this could affect how and when you leave your current employer. There may well be some negotiation to be had around your notice period if you have holiday owing to you. Top Tip 1. Get all the facts together prior to any discussions and be realistic about what may work for your current employer.

Talk TalkIt’s Good To Talk Wherever possible, your resignation should be in a face to face meeting as this ensures your notice period begins immediately and will sit more comfortably with your line manager. Top Tip 1. Be careful about who is aware of your intention to resign – your boss hearing about your impending departure on the grapevine could make things particularly difficult. Top Tip 2. Be prepared for an awkward conversation if you departure is going to have a direct and negative impact on your line manager. Top Tip 3. Keep emotions and composure in check and be professional at all times – remember that your resignation could come as a big shock.

Modesty, Modesty, Modesty Avoid boasting about your new job, pay rise and fabulous benefits package as this could be deemed as rubbing your colleagues’ noses in it. Top Tip 1. Don’t undermine your great work but behave with gratitude which will ensure you are remembered fondly. Hopefully, this will have given you some food for thought before you rush in where angels fear to tread! Watch out for our next blog which covers how to ensure a successful handover, working your notice and your exit interview.

If you’re thinking about looking for a new role, then visit our website & make the most of our FREE Job Search Tools. photo 1 –  chrisgj6; photo 2 – rhinoneal; photo 3 – hyoinmin

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Routes to Recruitment – Part 2

VacancyFollowing on from our earlier blog, Routes To Recruitment – Part 1, we are now keen to turn our attention to what we consider to be the most efficient, cost-effective and successful recruitment channels in today’s market.

Social Media
The time of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is upon us! Whilst Facebook and Twitter are hosts to a very diverse mix of users, it is LinkedIn that has captured the market as the professional online marketing tool. Top Tip: Set up profile pages for your key recruiters in the knowledge that you are linking in to your known contacts and your contacts’ contacts!

BrandJob Boards
The wealth of existing sites offer almost instant access to job seekers, with the option to broadcast vacancies at the click of a button on a 24/7 basis. Top Tip: Research the most relevant jobsites to your business and consider “branding” your advertising to maximise any potential audience.

Online CV Databases
Generalist and specialist online sites are definitely a route to consider if you are likely to be undertaking multiple recruitment campaigns, as your user subscription will give you access to a broad range of individuals and “alerts” for newly registered candidates. Top Tip: Research the most relevant database sites to your market sector.

Harcourt MatthewsRecruitment Consultancy
This is our favourite tip! There are agencies and consultancies for every sector, discipline and profession – well almost! We know they come in all shapes and sizes, generalist/specialist, local/national, large corporate/small boutique, but they have one thing in common – they can help you!

Top Tips: Identify the most suitable agencies to support your job search: consider job disciplines, sector coverage or geographical spread. Review job boards: which consultancies are advertising roles relevant to your business? Get recommendations from colleagues, friends or peer groups: find out who has supported them previously and who they rate. Review individual consultancy websites: do they offer more than just vacancies or can they advise you on salaries, market conditions & interview process?

For FREE advice on the current market, salary trends & your recruitment requirements, call Guy Matthews on 020 8370 4000 or check our FREE Employer Recruiter Tools for further tips.

photo 2 – fototwerp; photo 2 – loopoh


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Routes To Recruitment – Part 1

ChoiceAs we covered in our last blog, Attracting The Best – Where To Start, it can be difficult for even the most experienced recruiters to see the wood for the trees, when it comes to making sense of the bewildering array of options to attract quality candidates. With the UK economy on the up, we are all going to have to work just that little bit harder and smarter to stay ahead of the competition. So, here’s the inside track on what’s available in the marketplace to take some of the pain out of the decision-making process.

Corporate Website
Seems obvious doesn’t it? But, you’d be amazed at how many companies miss the opportunity to shout about current vacancies online and the chance to recruit interested parties. Top Tip: set up a career or job section and make the most of advertising new roles by speaking directly to your potential audience.

BinocularsInternal Networking & Search
At the risk of teaching our grandmother to suck eggs, you have your very own candidate network in the form of your current workforce, so why not tap into this and resource new staff. Top Tip: Be proactive in offering financial or reward incentives to maximise “word of mouth” referrals and recommendations.

Press Advertising
Treat with caution! Long gone are the days when candidates automatically turned to the Financial Times on a Thursday or industry-specific magazines to find their next career step. Traditional advertising is an expensive and restrictive option in the digital age. Top Tip: there are better routes out there – consider these first.

In our next blog we cover off the most popular recruitment options in the current climate, so stay tuned! Hopefully, this has given you pause for thought about the best way to recruit for your business. Why not take a look at our FREE Employer Recruiter Tools for further tips and advice.

photo 1 – jenn farr; photo 2 – friesen4


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Attracting The Best – Where To Start?

The Extra MileEven if you are a seasoned recruiter, the need to keep one step ahead of your competitors given the forecasted uplift in the UK economy, is likely to take its toll. With the pressure to attract high quality individuals, who are going to add significant value to your organisation and make your business fly, HR and Recruitment professionals need to pull out all the stops to stay out in front.

Whilst staff recruitment can be a pricey undertaking, it is a drop in the ocean compared to the potential revenue loss that results from failing to get “business-critical” hires on board. It has never been more important to get your candidate attraction strategy right.

MazeGiven that this is a bewildering maze of confusing avenues, we thought it was time to focus on the myriad of recruitment options, and shed some light on an increasingly complex market.
Where to start? Corporate Website. Recruitment Consultancy. Press Advertising. Social Media. Job Boards. Search Campaign. Business Networking. Online CV Databases.

It seems as though there is a never-ending list of possible routes to market, but as tempting as it might be to put all your eggs in one basket, this “silo” approach is definitely NOT the way to go. The advent of on-line recruitment has had a tremendous impact on the recruitment solutions available – all that is required is the right mix.

Key To SuccessThe key to success, is to earmark those current recruitment options that will optimise candidate attraction, prior to embarking on any resourcing campaign. Taking a moment to stand back and think objectively about your methodology will maximise your chances of success.

Stay tuned for our forthcoming blog on how to select the best hiring options. Check out our latest Salary Survey to ensure your pay structure is on track and brush up your interviewing skills with our Guide to Competency Interviewing.

photo 1 – pedro gringo; photo 2 – furdis; photo 3- teambonding


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Business Conditions Improving

SurveyA recent NPA survey of business conditions for independent recruitment firms, which accessed some 400+ recruitment consultancies operating in more than 30 countries, has returned some highly encouraging feedback on the current employment market place. According to Dave Nerz, president of NPA, “Our member recruiters experienced an improvement in business conditions for their businesses in the last 6 months and are optimistic about the growth potential for the employment markets in the next 6 months.”

This survey of recruiting firm owners showed that 97% of those surveyed see conditions improving or remaining the same for their businesses over the next 180 days. Additional key highlights from the survey include:

Rocket • 53% of respondents reported improved conditions in the last 180 days, 23% indicated no change, and 23% reported worse conditions
• 72% reported employment markets performing at or above expectations in the last 90 days
• 37% of respondents see their market getting more competitive
• Only 3% of the respondents have a negative outlook for the next 6 months
• 15% project fees to be below the levels realized in the prior 6 months

The research seems to suggest that on the international stage, conditions are improving and growing stronger, which is obviously excellent news for the industry in general.

Has this positive market information given you cause to think about your own career? Why not take advantage of our FREE Job Search Tools to get you started. If you’re on the other side of the fence, and considering adding to your workforce, tap into our FREE Recruiter Tools to find out the latest market trends.

photo 1 – alexskopje; photo 2 – mike willis


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Your Job Hunt – Get Ready, Get Set, Go

Finally, you’re now ready to really commit yourself to the challenge of finding your next career move, so here are some last minute top tips to keep you on the straight & narrow.

TelephoneTIP 1 – Are you contactable?
Have you set up a personal email & mobile number to stay in touch with career alerts, job descriptions & interview details? Avoid very personal addresses & voicemail messages to ensure that you convey a professional image.

TIP 2 – Are you dressed to impress?
People do judge a book by its cover, so ensure that your appearance doesn’t detract from your interview performance – save your “out there” fashion, hair & make-up for Friday nights, Halloween or fancy dress parties.

CalendarTIP 3 – Are you available?
Unless you are facing redundancy, relocating or totally honest with your boss, attending interviews during working hours is just one of the challenges when finding a new position. Whilst most interviewers will try & accommodate early, late or lunchtime appointments, there will be situations where meetings have to take place between the hours of 9 to 5. Make sure that you keep some holiday or “time owed” in reserve for these occasions.

We hope that you have found our blogs on Your Job Hunt useful & informative. For further recruitment updates, tips & advice, please visit our website & make the most of our FREE Job Search Tools.

photo 1 – Iaski Ruiz de Azua; photo 2 – calluna-craft


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Your Job Hunt – Channels To Market

Dream JobHaving confirmed that your dream job exists, that you have the prerequisite skills and above all, that your financial expectations are realistic, you are now ready to dip your toe in the recruitment pond. Within the changing face of the job world, there are many channels to market – how do you choose which path to take? To really maximise your chances of success, we’d advocate a combination of approaches to give yourself plenty of opportunity to land your next role.

Take a look at our 5 Top Options …

Choice 1. Stay Put. If you enjoy where you’re working, why not explore internal moves? 2. Who do you know? Network with existing contacts to find out about potential job ideas. 3. Get Online. Job sites & CV databases are a great way to instantly access career opportunities, set up job alerts & flag up your CV to potential employers. 4. Be Social. The world of Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn are becoming popular as places to highlight job vacancies & let others know you’re thinking of a career move. 5. Use an Expert. Speak to a range of recruitment consultancies & take advantage of FREE professional advice about your job search & current job opportunities.

Road to nowhereHopefully our hot tips mean that you won’t be joining the Talking Heads on “the road to nowhere”. Don’t forget to stay tuned for our next blog on Your Job Hunt & in the meantime, please download our FREE Fundamental Job Search Guide to help you on your way.

photo 1 – freedomainradio; photo 2 – jenn farr; photo 3 – sirsimonmilligan







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Your Job Hunt – Job Market Checklist

Having planned your Search Strategy and written the Perfect CV, your next step is to find out what’s happening in the recruitment world. Looking for a new role requires a significant amount of time and effort, so don’t fall at the stumbling block of unrealistic expectation.

To Do ListReviewing the job market, gives you up to date feedback on available roles, “must have” skills, pricing, sector trends & the state of the economy, which like it or not, has a direct influence on the making that next step. Following our Job Market Checklist will ensure you access a variety of recruitment channels & keep you on track.

Our Top 3 Checks

1. Review online job boards to research available roles, assess experience needs & benchmark salary packages. Good places to start include, & Don’t forget if you operate within a niche market eg: accountancy, oil & gas or legal, there will also be specialist sites focusing on these sectors.

Sign Up2. Subscribe to business news sites to keep yourself up to speed with sectors enjoying investment, growth & development as well as those who are facing tough times. Take a look at, or for a general overview of the latest news hot spots.

3. Talk to those in the know. Discuss the market situation with colleagues, friends & recruitment consultancies to gain an objective view of the market. Talk to those who have recently made a career move about their experience, or contact Harcourt Matthews for advice on the recruitment market – after all, it’s our business to know what’s going on!

PlanB And finally, make sure you have a Plan B! Being ultra-focused on one specific goal is akin to placing all your eggs in one basket – a little flexibility goes a long way and will pay off in the end. While you’re waiting for the next instalment in our Job Hunt series, why not review our current vacancies to see what’s available?

photo 1 – 1875brian; photo 2 – howard lake; photo 3 – ansuckit




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