Phone: 020 7183 0255
or 01884 664025

Email: team@ellisfox.co.uk





29/04/17



Hook, line and sinker – netting the perfect candidate...


I read an interesting analogy recently that suggested recruiting is rather like fishing. No need to drag me off to an institution just yet, I promise I haven’t gone stark raving mad and, yes, I was sceptical about the similarities at first too, but bear with me...

When you think of fishing, you may well envision a lovely, small boat, the sun shining down and a peaceful trip, which, if you’re lucky, might just result in a tasty supper. What you may have forgotten is the huge amount of preparation that has gone into planning this trip. How much of it really is luck? There really are all kinds of things you need to consider if you want to bring home the bacon (or should that be salmon, trout or cod?!). What kind of fish do you want to catch? Where’s the best spot to find those fish? Different fish need different bait and a variety of different methods to get them to bite. You really need to make your rig (that’s fishing speak for ‘set up’) as attractive as possible in order to hook that perfect specimen which will be the envy of all your friends for years to come. No one wants to that person talking about ‘the one that got away’.

Ah, you’re catching on now aren’t you?

So you see, fishing really is like recruiting. It’s about having the knowledge, know-how and patience to find out exactly what an employer is looking for in a new employee (what type of fish), then setting about researching where you might find people with the exacting criteria (picking your perfect fishing spot) and then doing everything in your power to make the new job as attractive as possible and place that perfect person (choosing the perfect bait and rig).

Many people fish for a hobby – but it takes years of experience to become a great fisherman. You need to know all the best places to fish and you’ll often find that great fishermen have an equally good group of friends who will often have new ideas on where the fish might now be living – they might even know if they’re likely to be moving on anytime soon.

I don’t think I am offering anything revolutionary or secretive here, but as an MD (a golfer perhaps?) or HR professional (a coach of a local team?), you may simply not have the time or knowledge to ‘fish’ as effectively as you’d like to – it’s just not your ‘hobby’. Your jobs are complex and varied and your ‘to do’ list is probably growing even as you read this. Choose a great headhunter and you’re increasing your odds dramatically of finding that perfect catch. You’re investing in years of experience and a network that is far ranging across many disciplines and industries. You have most definitely heard the term “There are plenty of fish in the sea”, well, it’s not exactly the same for talent – there isn’t as much of it swimming around as we would all like to think. But, it’s about knowing where that talent is; it’s about anticipating where you’ll net the best candidate for your growing pond.

Want Ellis Fox to go fishing for you? Then get on the line! 020 7183 0255
10/02/17



Everyone makes mistakes. You’ve heard it throughout your entire life - whether they’re innocuous or truly damaging, bad decisions will strike all of us at some point.

But what happens when you make a bad decision in the hiring process? What if you pull the trigger on someone whom you should have never interviewed, let alone given a job? What will it cost you?

Listen, you went to college. You’ve had nights that ended at 4 in the morning that probably contained their fair share of bad decisions, but a bad hire is an entirely different animal, it’s a rabid animal. A bad hire won’t only harm the reputation of the person who hired them, it will harm the company itself.

Bad hires hurt a business in (at least) four ways: time lost, opportunity cost of not having someone more competent in that position, plummeting morale and low-quality work on projects.

1) TIME LOST
Hiring someone and acclimating them to the culture of your organisation takes time. While every hire you make carries an inherent risk, you do your due diligence through interviews and checking references to ensure that each new employee you bring on will have the greatest chance at succeeding.

While these new hires are getting up to speed, they’re also not working at 100%. Even the top candidates walk in the door and only produce at 25-50% of their capabilities while they learn to navigate new systems and processes. A Harvard Business School survey of 610 CEOs found that the typical mid-level manager needs just over 6 months to reach their break even point.

But what happens when the employee never reaches that break even point? All those long hours you spent interviewing them, checking their references, and onboarding them will be lost. The worst part is that now you’re going to have to start over and hope you make the right decision the second time around, which is by no means guaranteed. By leaving that position vacant again, you will just lose more time that your team could have used to produce quality work.

2) OPPORTUNITY COST
This will be the one that keeps you up at night. Maybe it came down to two people and you chose wrong. Maybe there were a slew of qualified candidates and you picked the one who went to your alma mater. Maybe you were unsure of a certain candidate, but then they complimented your hair. Whatever the case may be, there is a price to be paid for having a bad worker in a position where someone more competent could have been.

3) PLUMMETING MORALE
A new helping hand on a project may seem like a shiny, red bicycle from Santa, but it can slowly turn into a lump of coal. Once team members start realising that the new employee is abrasive or not pulling his weight, things begin to sour. Tempers flare and fights ensue. What was once a reasonable deadline now seems impossible to meet. Even when the bad hire gets fired, it’s not as though morale will suddenly bounce back. The prospect of that position staying vacant is nothing to get excited over and other employees know they’ll only have to work longer hours to achieve their goals. This could easily lead to a domino-effect of resignations and a higher overall attrition rate in recruiting.
Even when work is being covered by other employees, Studies estimate the actual monetary losses for the company at 50% of that position’s wages for the time the position is left vacant. If the work goes unaccounted for due to the vacancy, that loss doubles to 100%.

4) LOW-QUALITY WORK
After all the training you’ve given him/her, you finally trust that your new hire will be able to produce high-quality work. At the first deadline, however, you see how wrong you were. Poor work will not only be a major setback for a particular project, it could do damage do an entire department. Low-quality work will have to be fixed and that takes time. If you can’t trust your incompetent new hire to fix it, either you or one of the team members will have to work overtime to ensure that the project gets completed.


Ultimately, how much a bad hire winds up costing you is dependent on how quickly you realize the error of your ways. Estimates vary, but the overall cost to hire an employee is generally tallied at anywhere from 1.5 to 3 times their annual salary, when you factor in recruiting costs, benefits, training and onboarding time. The sooner you swallow the hard truth that a mistake has been made, the sooner you can cut that multiplier and replace that employee with a motivated and team-oriented person who will gladly (and effectively) do the job they have been given.

Ellis Fox has a reputation for providing a quality service, high level customer care coupled with the ability to source permanent and interim candidates of the highest calibre right across the Utilities, Infrastructure and Built environment. Please call today on 020 7183 0255 or book a telephone consultation appointment by clicking on the following link: http://www.ellisfox.co.uk/Appointments

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08/02/17




Many CEOs claim to have exceptional intuition about hiring for their executive team. “I know in my gut if someone will be a fit,” they say. Much like the stories of gamblers, who will brag about their winnings (but not tell you about their losses), you only hear about the successful hires.

Too many executive candidates today are good salespeople. They know how to create a good first impression, and hit the CEO directly in the gut with their personality, and win the job offer.

A smart CEO will suspend intuition for most of the first interview, and use objective criteria to evaluate if a candidate is a fit for the position. The best way to do this is to establish several SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals, which will also constitute a business plan for the new hire. It is important to do this systematically, because it is easy to think you’re doing it, and make mistakes.

So don’t trust your gut, or you may end up in the gutter, along with those non-winning betting slips the gambler tossed away!

Ellis Fox has a reputation for providing a quality service, high level customer care coupled with the ability to source permanent and interim candidates of the highest calibre right across the Utilities, Infrastructure and Construction sectors. Please call today on 020 7183 0255.
www.ellisfox.co.uk




03/02/17


Indecision or delay when it comes to making an offer works almost every time.

I recommend a slick hiring process whenever possible but I accept that getting time in diaries can be challenging, particularly when seeking time in diaries with hiring managers who travel extensively. The important thing is to plan the process and set expectation.

However, once the candidate has jumped through the final hoop, you need to be decisive and take action. The fact that you have three more people to see in the next two weeks before you can make a decision might seem reasonable enough to you but put yourself in the candidate’s position.

Most candidates read this as that they are no. 2 and being kept warm in case no. 1 turns the position down. If you really have taken three or four candidates to the final stage of the process, then you need to see them all within a couple of days of each other, it’s about effectively managing the process.

Taking a couple of weeks to reflect and think it over before you make an offer will more often than not kill the deal and making a verbal offer and then not getting a written offer out for three weeks won’t help either.

If you want to secure your no.1 candidate, be decisive and proceed at speed.

Ellis Fox has a reputation for providing a quality service, high level customer care coupled with the ability to source permanent and interim candidates of the highest calibre right across the Utilities, Infrastructure and Built environment. Please call today on 020 7183 0255 or book a telephone consultation appointment by clicking on the following link: http://www.ellisfox.co.uk/Appointments

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01/02/17

If You Could Improve One Thing About The Company, What Would It Be?

Any qualified candidate should be interviewing the prospective employer as much as they are being interviewed. By asking about where the company can improve, the interviewee not only establishes that the interview process is a two-way street, but may also find out some important information to use in her decision making. If the answer given is not candid, there is information in that as well..........

Ellis Fox has a reputation for providing a quality service, high level candidate care coupled with the network to place candidates right across the Utilities, Infrastructure and Built environment. Please call today on 020 7183 0255 to discuss your requirements.

27/01/17


Many candidates spend a great deal of time researching prospective employers, polishing their cover letters and resumés and preparing for job interviews. However, they often neglect one crucial aspect of the job search process and that is to ask people to be their references.

Sometimes your references can make or break a job opportunity for you, therefore you have to be careful about who you include.

If you’re a bit lost about who to use as a reference and how to go about it, here are a few pointers to help you out.

Who should you use?

1. Your current or former bosses
Your bosses make good references, as they know about your reliability and professional abilities and if they can put in a good word for you, you have a much better chance of landing a job.

However, if you left a company on bad terms, then it’s probably best that you avoid using your bosses from that company as your references, as you don’t want any negative words to be exchanged about you as a person, or your work performance.

Also, it goes without saying that if your current employer is unaware that you are looking for a new job, do not use them as a reference! A call from another employer regarding your application isn’t exactly the most subtle way of revealing that you are looking to jump ship and you don’t want to jeopardise your current role if you have not yet made any progress in your job hunt.

2. Co-workers
Your former co-workers know your strengths as a team player and are likely to have got to know you pretty well as an individual too, having worked with you on a daily basis. Have you helped out some co-workers in the past or worked on a successful project together? If so, they will most likely have something positive to say about you.

3. Customers/clients
If you have a good relationship with some customers or clients working in a particular role, ask them if they can be your references. This is particularly useful if you are looking for work in the service sector or a client-facing role, as it puts an emphasis on your customer service and communication abilities.

How should you go about it?

Now that you know who to use as your references, there are several things that you should keep in mind:

1. Ask for permission to use someone as a reference
Before you give out someone’s contact information as your reference, get their permission first. Most people will say yes, but it’s a common courtesy to ask for permission. Another reason to contact your reference prior to giving out their details is that they will then be expecting contact and will be prepared, without having been put on the spot.

2. Get the details of each reference
You need more than just their names and phone numbers. Make sure that you know their current position, company name, business phone numbers, as well as their personal contact information, including email address, as some employers prefer to make contact by email.

3. Prepare your references
Make sure that your references know what type of positions you are applying for. Give them a copy of your latest CV and point out any skills and accomplishments that you would like to highlight.

4. Thank your references
Whether your references were contacted by your prospective employers or not, make sure that you thank them for their help. It's not unlikely that you will require their services again.

Ellis Fox has a reputation for providing a quality service, high level candidate care coupled with the network to place candidates right across the Utilities, Infrastructure and Built environment. Please call today on 020 7183 0255 or click on the following link to schedule a telephone consultation: http://www.ellisfox.co.uk/Appointments

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24/01/17



One of the most corrosive effects on any company's success and longevity is an inability to retain good quality people. Many businesses genuinely struggle to keep hold of talented individuals once they have been recruited and embedded them within the organisation.

As a recruitment organisation, we are in a somewhat unique position at the “cutting edge” of dealing with people leaving organisations on a day-to-day basis. A common misconception is that, as a headhunting/search company, we somehow have mystical powers to “spirit” people away from blissfully happy jobs. The reality is completely different. On average, over 60% of individuals we pro-actively approach will rebuff our advances, as they are happy with their present situation. Unless there is an underlying issue there, we are unable to persuade that person to talk about moving.

The #1 biggest issue that causes staff to become unsettled and leave is communication. The most common reasons for good staff wanting to leave companies are issues such as “I feel undervalued”, “no career progression”, “worried about the companys’ future” & “someone’s been promoted above me”.

The nub of every single one of these issues is communication, or the lack of it in most cases!

It is human nature to want to know what is going on, good or bad. In most situations, not knowing anything is worse than knowing something bad is happening, as the mind is free to wildly speculate if there is no information.

So – the advice is very much to communicate to your people as much as possible, both on a macro (company) and micro (personal) level. The best employers are consistently very good at communicating to their people, helping them formulate individual career and goal plans and working with them to achieve their personal career objectives. It’s great for individual performance, makes people happy and optimises the overall performance of the business.

It doesn’t work 100% of the time, but it significantly increases staff retention levels.
On a macro level, the vast majority of people want visibility as to the company's overall strategy and goals. Anyone working as part of a team will perform better and will give that extra 10% if they are clear in their understanding of the teams overall goal.

This stuff is simple, but is surprisingly rarely implemented effectively. We regularly hear stories of individuals being overlooked for promotion, so then want to move on. What’s much rarer, but is relatively easy to facilitate, is the situation where the individual accepts the decision because it is efficiently communicated with the true reasons and justifications being discussed. They may not like it, but if it’s justified and communicated then they will at least understand the decision and resentment is minimised.

Ellis Fox has a reputation for providing a quality service, high level customer care coupled with the ability to source permanent and interim candidates of the highest calibre right across the Utilities, Infrastructure and Construction sectors. Please schedule a free consultation by clicking on the following link: http://www.ellisfox.co.uk/Appointments
20/01/17


I have been recruiting in the Utilities and Built Environment arenas for several years’ and in the last 6 months I have noticed a real change when employers are hiring staff permanently. Gone are the days when there was a ‘normal’ recruitment process timeline of a few weeks from start to finish.

What I am seeing is two distinct extremes in timeframes of either days (fast) or months (slow) and here are a few key reasons:

The Slow Recruitment Process
This are often for newly created positions. These new positions are invariably linked to business growth and although decision makers will have approved the recruitment, they are very cautious about making a final decision. The brief can change multiple times and as the role is not considered urgent, employers will delay their final decision for as long as possible, to secure their perceived ‘ideal candidate’, before committing to making any firm decision. Therefore, the process can be as long as a few months and a number of candidates become frustrated with not receiving a firm ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

The Quick Recruitment Process
These are predominantly the replacement roles. The incumbent may have been working massive hours on a regular basis, most likely taking on the responsibilities of several positions. When this person resigns, hiring managers can understandably go into panic mode to replace the role, permanently and as soon as possible. So much so, when a shortlist of candidates is presented, those candidates who require four weeks (or more) notice are not even considered. The obvious pitfalls of this rushed process are that employers do not see the whole market, preventing them making an informed decision about the long term fit of the successful candidate. Our advice is to engage an Interm who can start within hours and ‘hold the fort’ whilst the permanent recruitment process is underway. For a candidate who is currently employed, this can become very frustrating as they are often over looked in favour of those people who are immediately available. Some can then vent their frustration to us when they have not secured even an interview for a position for which they considered themselves to be highly suitable, based on the notice period criteria.

Fox has a reputation for providing a quality service, high level customer care coupled with the ability to source permanent and interim candidates of the highest calibre right across the Utilities, Infrastructure and Built environment. Please call today on 020 7183 0255 or book a telephone consultation appointment by clicking on the following link: http://www.ellisfox.co.uk/Appointments

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11/01/17


The rule of thumb among recruiters is that 70 to 80 percent of people who accept counteroffers either leave or are let go within a year.

So, you've accepted an offer to work for a new company and it's time to quit your current job. Shouldn't be too difficult.

You do all the right things: give notice, offer to help in the transition, finish projects, say thanks for the opportunity. But instead of just shaking your hand and wishing you good luck, your boss hits you with a counteroffer – one that includes more money, more holidays, and better benefits.

While a counteroffer can be flattering, chances are your boss has ulterior motives. Employee resignations can hurt a manager's record. Or, maybe, he or she wants to keep you on long enough to find a replacement. Perhaps it’s their motive because it's cheaper to pay you a bit more than it is to recruit, hire, and train a new employee.

In some instances, accepting a counteroffer may be a good move. But before you say yes, consider these reasons why you should decline.

1. You had to quit to get a raise. Suddenly you became more valuable after you give notice? It should make you wonder why you weren't valuable enough to deserve a raise before–when you were coming into the office every day and dutifully attending to your job duties.

2. Things won't change. The frustration, the stifling feelings, and the dissatisfaction that led you to seek new job opportunities will remain, and it's unlikely that the bump in pay will make those things any more bearable. Whatever turned you off about your job prior to the new offer will continue to be irksome after you accept it.

3. You may be shunned. When you give notice, you are, in effect, dumping your boss. As in many types of relationships, the rebuffed party begins to bargain: Give me another chance. Things will get better. I can change! No one, after all, wants to be the dumpee. But once your boss' anxiety is eased and you've agreed to the counteroffer, new emotions will set in: resentment, suspicion, distrust. You will likely spend your remaining time at the company on the fringes–excised from the inner circle for your show of disloyalty (and coworkers may resent the raise and how you got it).

4. Job security will diminish. Your boss fought to keep you from quitting, sure. But when it comes time to lay off some people, it's a safe bet that you'll be somewhere toward the top of the list. Remember: Your boss wanted you to stay for his benefit, not yours. If he has the opportunity to get rid of you on his terms– now that you've revealed a willingness to be a turncoat–he’s likely going to take it.

5. You're going to leave anyway. Four out of five employees who accept counteroffers end up leaving the company within nine months.

6. You've already accepted an offer. And what about the new job offer you already accepted? By virtue of hiring you, that employer already has demonstrated a belief that you are valuable–and you haven't even had your first day yet. Your current employer, on the other hand, has begrudgingly offered you more money to get you to stay to suit his purposes. Also, leading on prospective employer–attending interviews, negotiating, accepting an offer, allowing the them to think the job has been filled–is a bad career strategy in general.

Ellis Fox has a reputation for providing a quality service, high level customer care coupled with the ability to source permanent and interim candidates of the highest calibre right across the Utilities, Infrastructure and Built environment. Please call today on 020 7183 0255 or book a telephone consultation appointment by clicking on the following link: http://www.ellisfox.co.uk/Appointments

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20/12/16



...Questions you must ask your interviewer

When you go to an interview, don't forget that you are also interviewing the client. It's a candidate-strong market in these current climes and what an organisation can offer you is as important as what you can offer it.

1. How would you describe the company culture?
A huge part of staff retention is determined by the company fit. By asking this, you are showing that you understand the importance of fit and that you’re assessing whether it is a good match for you – it needs to work both ways!

2. How much support and training will be available to me?
This is a very important question. You need to establish what support will be available to you for professional development – we all know that good training is the lynchpin of a successful career benefitting employee and employer equally. This question will illustrate that you’re open to continual learning and personal growth.

3. What are the core responsibilities of this position?
This is a key question and very important that this answer comes from “the horse’s mouth”! Job descriptions can be extremely generic and vague and you can get to the nub of what will be required of you by asking this at interview. With this question, you are showing you are looking to learn about the real responsibilities involved in the role.

4. What is the most challenging part of this position?
Again, you are showing that you are planning ahead to prepare for the hardest part of the role. If you’re informed honestly about the more difficult aspects of the position, you will be ready to accept these challenges more readily – forewarned is forearmed!

5. Why is the last person who held this position leaving?
This may seem a slightly awkward question to ask, but certainly a fair one and essential for your own peace of mind, as obviously there could either be a good or bad reasons for their departure - were they promoted? Moved to a different office? Fired? Let go?

6. When can I expect to be notified for the next interviewing process?
Don’t forget to ask this question at the end of your interview as it’s entirely reasonable to want to know the time period you may have to wait. Also, it’s a signal to the interviewer that time management is of importance (and everyone needs to be efficient at this to be successful).

Ellis Fox has a reputation for providing a quality service, high level Interim care coupled with the network to place Interims right across the Utilities, Infrastructure and Built environment. Please call today on 020 7183 0255020 7183 0255 or click on the following link to schedule a telephone consultation: http://www.ellisfox.co.uk/Appointments

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