The world and beyond – Surviving in the economic jungle

Advice, tips and tricks on how to engage with the UK jobs market and commercial environment, from a female executive's perspective

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Guide to #Job Hunting 15: The power of preparation for #interviews

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prepared-not-scaredIt is impossible to stress how important it is to prepare for interviews!

On 2 occasions during this past week, different clients have given me similar feedback: “If only John / Jane lived up to the expectations raised in their CV! They knew nothing of our company (In one case didn’t even realise the company had no manufacturing facility in the UK!), didn’t know what our products or markets were and gave weak examples to support the experience claimed in their CV.”

The clients were left disappointed, having had their time wasted. Sadly, this also reflected on my own service delivery, and I was disappointed too because I spend time with all my candidates before interview to give them all the information I know about the company and role. All they have to do is build on the bricks I have already given them.

However, I’ve also heard from a client how impressed they were with the depth of research an interviewee had done, being able to bring up and discuss relevant business issues outside of his CV that proved his abilities. This set him apart from being a borderline “No” based on his CV, to a resounding “Yes!” based on his research and ability to deliver it concisely.

With so much competition for jobs and the tight current employment market, it still amazes me that candidates waste the interview opportunity. The hiring client wants you to do well; he’s already bought into your CV by spending his valuable time to see you. Why not grab the opportunity to amaze him even further with your information-finding skills and interest in their organisation?

Especially in sales or commercial jobs, interview preparation is crucial. A good sales person will know his customers and competition, understand his product’s routes to market, the issues that affect pricing and the supply chain. By proving at interview that you have the ability and knowledge to find this information, and use it to position your own objectives and abilities, you show that you have the natural traits of a good sales person on top of the information you provide in the CV. Of course, not preparing sufficiently proves the opposite and you will get short shrift from line managers who have achieved their own positions through doing exactly the same thing properly.

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Definitive Guide to #Job Hunting : Choosing the best agency

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JObs wantedWhether you are an employer wanting to employ a new staff member, or an experienced senior manager looking for your next career move, how do you decide on which Recruitment Consultant will be able to deliver on your expectations? Shop around before making a decision about who is best set to represent you:

1. Credentials

How long have they been active in your specific business area? Do they have references from similar clients or candidates? How did they perform in the past?

This should not relate to the organisation you are dealing with, but the individual consultant. It doesn’t mean that, because the recruitment company has been recognised with accolades, the consultant you are dealing with is automatically qualified or successful. Winning business awards often depends on putting forward a business case. Getting personal recognition depends on service levels and delivery. These will only be meted out on request and is a real indication of the efficiency and ability of your consultant, and therefore his/her ability to assist you in finding a successful outcome.

Membership of a professional body like the REC or IRP, or qualifications gained through a professional institution like the IRP, is a good measure of a consultant’s credibility and professionalism.

2. Objectivity

Realism and objectivity are two key requirements for success in recruitment. A recruiter who makes upfront assumptions is prone not to listen and will therefore get a subjective understanding of the brief or candidate expectation. Sure, a past track record in a particular market gives a recruiter real insight, but it also creates a hypothetical, internal understanding that they should know all the answers. Each employer and each candidate is different, even if they work with exactly the same services or products in exact markets. A consultant who lacks objectivity, or views himself to be in the hiring position (How often have we heard about the “perfect candidate”?) is unlikely to deliver efficient solutions.

A recruiter who asks questions, listens, processes information and asks again to measure his understanding will be far more likely to succeed for both employer and candidate.

3. Market knowledge – Generalist vs Specialist

A recruiter who works in a vertical market in a specific sector is most likely to have a finger on its pulse, and can therefore be more consultative. This makes for a more proactive approach. A generalist is likely to have broader knowledge and therefore able to give wider advice rather than specific factual solutions.

4. Commitment – Retained vs Contingency

There is a lot to be said for a fee paid up front. This is a contentious issue, especially in middle management level positions where there is competition from a lot of candidates and many agencies might have potentially suitable candidates. The current employer market is highly risk averse and paying a consultancy fee in advance seems to be a very risky move. The reality is that it actually reduces risk in the recruitment process.

A consultant who is confident enough of his own abilities to take a proportion of the fee in advance in return for increased service levels and a guaranteed result is in fact sharing the risk with the client. This in turn, benefits the candidate. Consultants can only work on small number of retained assignments at once, so there is a higher degree of quality in their output. Candidates are assured of an exclusive, managed process where they are fully informed all the time, and the trust relationships developed in this business context for all 3 parties are more open and communicative.

A contingency based process (Where the fee is only paid to the recruiter who delivers a solution) is likely to be a lot more competitive, with several agencies involved. the volumes of CV in the candidate pool is usually a lot higher. This does not neccessarily mean that there is a wider choice for the hirer, as the quality of the candidate pool might overall be weak. That said, the majority of permanent agency placements are made on a contingency basis and there is a large number of highly competenent, capable  consultants in the market who are committed to deliver a high quality of service.

If these 4 elements are in place, it brings the likelihood of success in any recruitment assignment because it manages risk for both client and candidate. By carefully selecting the most competent, qualified consultant(s) to represent your individual needs will bring a higher likelihood of success.

Where have all the UK Automotive Aftermarket BDMs gone?

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We are currently recruiting for a number of regional sales positions across the UK.

Our customers are all well-respected, key OE brands supplying the independent automotive aftermarket. The traditional routes to market are followed, with business relationships through all the major buying groups (Parts Alliance, IFA, GA, CAARS and Rapid) as well as all the major distributors and range builders (FPS, ECP, Unipart, Firstline, ADL, etc).

All these roles offer some form of career advancement opportunity, whether  in the short term due to planned growth or in the medium term due to succession planning. The product ranges are diverse, ranging from exhausts and catalytic converters to spark plugs, engine electrical parts and steering / suspension components, all targting the passenger car industry.

I would be happy to speak to anyone working in a sales role in the aftermarket to find out if these roles will tick your boxes, and whether you have the skills and experience to fulfill my clients needs. Please call me on 0845 269 9085, or send your CV to recruitment@cathyrich.co.uk so that we can have an informed conversation.

Or, if you are not actively job searching yourself, what about referring your friend? We offer £350-00 for quality referrals that result in placements – More information can be found in the candidate area of  our website at www.cathyrich.co.uk/

Have you thought about transferring your Automotive or Manufacturing Commercial skills to the Rail industry – Excellent new senior commercial opportunity

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We are delighted to present a great career opportunity at the number one provider of rail solutions in the world. They design, build and service the most complex rail solutions with a full product portfolio of locomotives, bogies, propulsion and control solutions.

Due to the ongoing opportunities within the Rail industry, and internal changes they now need a commercially astute, financially oriented Commercial Manager to join their Repair and Overhaul Division to manage the customer interface and ensure profitability at high level.

They are actively recruiting for a candidate from outside the Rail industry, in order to bring diversity and a broad range of commercial acumen within the team. The ideal candidate will have a commercial or sales / business management background, currently supporting a manufacturing environment. This will include distribution, aerospace, automotive or industrial applications. Candidates from within the Automotive, Aerospace or general Manufacturing industries are likely to have the right mix of technical and commercial exposure.

You will have a high degree of commercial and financial ability, exceptional communication and negotiation skills and the ability to see the bigger picture. Managing high value contracts from cradle to grave is a key element of the role, and experience in this area is highly desirable. Entrepreneurial tendencies will be encouraged, and the ability to think outside the box and bring a fresh approach to commercial processes will be a real plus factor.

Your main focus will be managing the customer interface, maximising on current opportunities within existing contracts whilst also actively creating new business opportunities. Bid support and management of P&L, whilst maintaining customer priorities and maintaining exceptional levels of service to maximise profitability is also part of the brief, as are managing issues such as cash flow, scheduling, prioritisation and risk mitigation.

For more information, please send your CV to Cathy at recruitment@cathyrich.co.uk, or call 0845 269 9085 to discuss how your skill set might  allow you to enter a dynamic and secure new environment.

Exciting sales jobs in the North West – Motor Factor

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We are delighted in the positive and long standing working relationship we enjoy with our client:  One of the largest part suppliers in the UK independent aftermarket, and a leading organisation in terms of best practice sales and people development.

At the start of their new financial year,  a growth plan has been announced to continue the incremental growth they have experienced over the past two years, allowing them to fully maximise all the opportunities available to them in a dynamic and competitive market.

People are the backbone of this organisation, and in order to achieve the desired outcomes it is crucial for them to bring commercially minded, high calibre people into their business to support the already high calibre of their sales teams.

11 new vacancies have just been released to us exclusively, and we would be delighted to hear from not only experienced aftermarket sales professionals, but from people keen to establish a career in the aftermarket.

The roles are pretty diverse, ranging from entry-level Telesales / Parts Advisor, through Branch Manager and Regional Sales, into head office functions such as supporting their web-based sales activities and managing the Telesales team.

All the roles are based in the North West.

For more information, please send your Cv to recruitment@cathyrich.co.uk or call 0845 269 9085 for an informal discussion.

The Definitive Guide to Job Hunting 6: A Regional Recruiter’s View

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So far, this blog series has explored how to find a job through agencies. I am conscious that everything I have posted so far comes from my own personal point of view. Because I work on  a national basis, my approach is also pretty broad.

To make sure that the blog series remains objective, I have asked another independent recruiter from a different specialist area to provide his point of view.

Richard Johnson is the MD of a Regional recruitment agency, BA Recruitment in Derbyshire. They specialise in financial recruitment:

” I am often asked about how many applications I receive and the quality of those applications. If the following can be taken on board by just a few candidates, it will make the life of job seekers easier when working with their local Recruitment agency.

  • Research local Recruitment agencies websites. Type in the search “ Recruitment Agencies and the location. You will first of all notice that there are a lot of aggregator sites, then jobboards, then Recruitment Agency directories and the like. Keep looking and the Recruitment Agencies will start appearing. (They don’t spend as much time and money on getting the main search engines to find them) Check the website. Do they have jobs? Do they have a testimonial page? How often is it updated? Is there a contact page?
  • Prepare your CV well. There is no excuse nowadays not to have a well laid out informative and eye catching CV. Look on the internet, it’s all there, free of charge.
  • Contact the Recruitment agencies and listen carefully to their responses to you. Are they professional and knowledgeable? Do they listen to what you are looking for? Would you want them to work on your behalf? If the answer is yes, let them know that you will be sending in your CV and get a contact name for future reference.
  • Send your CV when you say you will. Include a short cover note explaining who you have spoken to and a brief idea of the job that you are looking for. Where and approx what sort of salary you will be looking for. Follow up with a phone call (24 hours after sending it) ask about going in to see them and get registered. Be prepared to go in and see the various agencies.
  • Arrive 5-10 minutes early. Dressed for an interview.
  • Be prepared to answer questions, fill in forms, complete psychometric tests. Allow around 1 to 2 hours per visit. Some Recruitment agencies may ask you to make a short video of your interview with them.
  • Have an idea of what you want to do in the future or with your career and tell your consultant. I meet many people that say “I don’t mind” What we as recruiters hear is “I don’t care”.
  • Ask how they market their candidates. It’ll give you an idea of what to expect.
  • Follow up call after one week and weekly thereafter. Ask what the market place is doing, more jobs less jobs. At this point Recruitment Consultants may want to get you off the phone – PERSEVERE!! You deserve to be listened too.
  • If you can, pick up to 3 local recruitment agencies that you feel that you can work with and keep contact with them (weekly)
    Send Recruitment agencies an up to date CV (if you have changed it)
  • Don’t ever be rude. Plain good manners are expected from you as well as your recruitment consultant.
  • Working with Recruitment agencies in the United Kingdom is totally free of charge for Job Seekers. Make us work for you!”

I am very grateful for Richard’s practical and specific contribution. Access BA Recruitment’s website on www.barecruitment.co.uk

Exciting new Product Manager role (IAM UK) (Midlands based)

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We are very excited to be supporting one of the world’s largest component manufacturers for the automotive industry with their efforts to further increase their market share in the UK independent aftermarket.

As their footprint in the UK aftermarket grows, they now have a strategy to establish product management in the UK, following on from a previous European support mechanism. The search is now on for the very first Product Manager, located in their Coventry office, to establish product management as a stand alone function reporting in to Europe, but being an integral part of the UK team as well.

In this role, you will be responsible for defining and executing the product line strategy by pricing and range management, as well as providing recommendations towards channel and promotions activities in order to achieve the sales plan in cooperation with the sales- and supply chain teams.

The role requires an experienced and competent Product Manager, with a track record achieved in the UK independent aftermarket. Ideally, you will have experience of working for a major brand or distributor, with the ability to work independently and the drive and motivation required to establish nad grow a new regional function.

For more information, please send your Cv to recruitment@cathyrich.co.uk, or call Cathy Richardson on 0845 269 9085 for an informal discussion.

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