The Week in Numbers – 13th May

The Week in Numbers

12m – Number of actions taken by MAS users in 2014/15 – far higher than the organisation’s 4.5 million target

1% – cashback offer for first-time buyers launched by Halifax this week

8 – Number of advice firms issued with Section 166 reports (also known as a skilled persons report) by the FCA in relation to insistent transfers

£11bn – Outflows seen by Aberdeen Asset Management in the six months to the end of March

11% – fall in profits reported by Lloyds for the first quarter after it took a £660m hit following the sale of TSB

£4.1m – Price paid by advice consolidation firm AFH financial to acquire national firm Independent Financial Services (UK)

65% – Proportion of 55 to 64-year-olds who are not aware of changes to pension death tax rules, a survey commissioned by Old Mutual says

£1.4bn – Annual slump in retail fund sales in March, according to the IA

lit up city

Originally published in Money Marketing magazine, 7th May 2015

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April Employment Survey News

Key points from the April survey:office seating

  • Strongest increase in permanent staff appointments in eight months
  • Acceleration of pay growth for permanent and temporary staff
  • Candidate availability deteriorated further

 

The main findings for April are:

Permanent placements growth accelerates…

The number of people placed in permanent jobs by recruitment consultants continued to rise in April. In fact, the rate of expansion quickened to an eight-month high. This reflected a stronger increase in demand for staff, with permanent vacancies rising at the fastest pace since October 2014. This made it the strongest growth of demand for permanent staff in 6 months.

Pay growth strengthens…

Growth of permanent staff salaries accelerated to a nine-month high in April, with panellists highlighting a combination of strong demand and skill shortages. Hourly rates of pay for temporary/contract staff meanwhile increased at the fastest pace since July 2007.

…amid tight candidate availability

The availability of staff to fill permanent roles deteriorated further in April, with the rate of contraction accelerating to the sharpest in five months. As much as around 41% of panellists reported lower permanent candidate availability versus 9% noting an improvement. Temporary/contract staff availability meanwhile declined at a marked pace that was similar to that seen in March.

Public & private sector vacancies…

Private sector demand for staff continued to rise at a stronger pace than that for public sector workers in April. The fastest rate of growth overall was signalled for private sector permanent employees.

Other vacancy indicators…

Latest official data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) signalled that vacancies rose 19.8% on an annual basis in the three months to March. That was the slowest growth since January 2014.

Meanwhile, internet-based recruitment spending was up 4.5% on a year-on-year basis in the fourth quarter of 2014. This was the weakest rise since the first quarter of 2013.

Top Permanent Staff Sectors for Recruitment…

Good news for candidates in the financial services job market as Executive/Professional was the most in-demand category for permanent staff in April, with Accounting/Financial in second place.

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Telephone Interviews – A Serious Business

Recruiters reveal an alarming level of complacency by job applicants during important telephone interviews

Tel pic 2

Distractions detract from telephone performance

Going to the toilet, having a bath, eating a meal, walking a dog, breastfeeding a baby, arguing with a family member. These are all perfectly normal human activities; and they are all things that recruitment candidates have done during telephone interviews.

A recent survey of nearly 800 recruitment and HR professionals by Changeboard in association with the Post Office found that many candidates fail to take telephone interviews as seriously as face-to-face interviews, and risk losing out as a result.

Some 60% of organisations (74% of private sector firms) use telephone interviews as part of their recruitment process. They are most commonly used to save time and money by screening applicants before inviting them for face-to-face interviews.

This means that a telephone interview is an important opportunity for the candidate to make a good impression and secure a meeting with the recruiting organisation. But many candidates fluff that opportunity.

 Common candidate mistakes

According to the survey respondents, the biggest mistakes telephone interviewees make are:Father Holding Baby on Shoulder

  • Doing something else during the telephone interview
  • Not preparing properly for the telephone interview
  • Not listening to the interviewer’s questions
  • Having a poor telephone manner.

These errors can all ‘seriously harm the candidate’s chance of progression’ to the next stage of the interview process.

Respondents cited many real-life examples of telephone interview faux-pas. One recruiter revealed: “During the interview it became clear that the candidate was on the loo.”

Another said: “The candidate was pulled over by the police for taking a call in the car without hands-free.”

And a third recalled: “The candidate suddenly said: ‘Sorry, I’ve got to go – the snake has escaped,’ and hung up.”

 Telephone interview hints and tips

Telephone interviews can be especially tricky for candidates, as it is difficult to express yourself clearly on the phone. Nearly all survey respondents (95%) said that candidates can come across differently on the phone compared with face to face. And nearly half (49%) admitted that their mental image of candidates they have interviewed by telephone is often proved wrong when they meet them.

The top tips from recruiters for candidates facing a telephone interview are:
• Prepare yourself for the call as you would a face-to-face interview
• Choose a quiet place to take the call with a landline phone and no risk of interruption or background noise
• Pay as much attention to listening as to speaking

One recruiter advised: “Do not underestimate the seriousness of a telephone interview. It is often harder as you don’t have the ability to demonstrate body language.”

Another offered: “To get in the right mindset I always advise telephone interview candidates to sit at a desk and dress formally to help them think more professionally.”

And a third added: “Stand up when on the phone as your voice will project better. Change the tone of your voice and use it to show enthusiasm when appropriate.”

 Expert advice on telephone interview performance

Rob Willock, chief operating officer of Changeboard, said: “Faced with a huge pile of CVs from equally qualified candidates, recruiters need a way of weeding out the weaker applicants, and many use telephone screening interviews. Don’t give them a reason to reject you them by performing poorly on the telephone.

“Prepare yourself properly, research the organisation, rehearse answers to standard questions, have relevant examples of your achievements to hand and ask some smart questions of your own.

“It may also be worth practicing your telephone manner,” added Willock. “Recruiters reported being annoyed by candidates using colloquial or ‘street’ language during telephone interviews. Calling your interviewer ‘mate’ or ‘love’ or using phrases like ‘innit’ are not recommended, even if you do so with your friends and family.

“There’s even something to be said for cultivating a more business-like ‘telephone voice’ for occasions when you want to impress people on the phone.”

The Apprentice winner and recruitment expert Lee McQueen said: “It’s difficult to give anything your full attention if you’re doing something else at the same time yet it’s apparent that candidates aren’t taking their interviews seriously enough.  They wouldn’t turn up to an interview dressed in a bobble hat and trainers and the same kind of consideration needs to be given when speaking to potential employers over the phone.

“It’s all about selling yourself and making an impression in the first two minutes. One key tip is to take the phone call in a quiet room on a landline so you can be confident that it won’t cut out; the lack of distractions and quality line will ensure a more professional interview too.”

And Hugh Stacey, Head of Post Office HomePhone added: “Telephone interviews are often the first real opportunity that candidates get to shine in front of a prospective employer.  From our research it’s clear that if you fail to impress at this stage, then it is likely that your application is over before it’s even started.  It’s therefore vital to stay focused and get it right first time around.”

The survey of 790 senior recruitment and HR professionals was carried out from 14-24 September by Changeboard, in association with the Post Office.

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Recruitment in the UK rises at fastest rate in five months

Key points:

  • Stronger growth of appointments
  • Record decline in availability of candidates
  • Starting salary growth close to June’s high

The main market indicators for July are:

Acceleration in growth of staff appointments…

Greater numbers of people move into permanent and temporary roles during July, with rates of expansion accelerating to five- and seven-month highs respectively.

…buoyed by strengthened demand from employers

Latest data signaled that available job vacancies continued to rise apace in July, with growth quickening to the fastest since January. The private sector remained the principal engine of job creation, although the public sector recorded a solid increase in vacancies.

Record drop in availability of permanent candidates…

Permanent staff availability fell further in July, with the rate of decline accelerating to the sharpest in the survey history.

…fuels sharp increase in salaries

Average starting salaries for people placed in permanent jobs continued to rise strongly in July. The rate of increase was only fractionally below June’s survey-record high.

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