Ashley Associates Recruitment Blog

Reasons Why Employees Won’t Give Your CV A Second Glance

When you are looking for a job, your CV or resume is the window through which employers can look at you in order to determine whether you are appropriate for the role. They have nothing else to go on other than the words on the page and so, unless they are well-crafted and advertise you in a good light, you don’t stand a chance of being successful.In the current climate, any job opening is going to attract multiple applications and therefore there is going to be keen competition for any role you apply for. 

Can you really afford to be making mistakes on your CV in such a competitive environment? 
After all, this is only the first hurdle and any busy employer will not be willing to consider anyone who has made a glaring error straight from the off.So what are the most common reasons for a CV ending up in the bin without even so much as a second glance?
Spelling/ Grammar Errors –Even if the actual job you are applying for will never require you to write anything; employers want to know that you have an excellent grasp on language. Therefore a spelling or grammar mistake anywhere in your CV is going to have them reaching for the bin faster than you can say ‘I am writing to apply for the position of…’ These mistakes do happen to the best of us but modern spellchecking capabilities and the fact that you should really check and double check your application before sending it means these are unforgivable.

Too Long Or Too Short –There are no set rules for the length of a CV but ideally it should be kept to one page. Any longer and the person reading it will be reluctant to read the whole thing and may end up not reading any of it. Anything shorter than a page will also be cause for concern as it shows a lack of experience and will look empty compared to others. If you have too many previous jobs to fit them all on one page then consider only including the relevant or important ones. You can always talk about the others when asked at the interview.

A Poor Cover Letter –A lot of applicants will be so worried about their CV that they forget to put just as much effort into the cover letter. 77% of employers have stated that they didn’t even look at a CV which was preceded by a bad covering letter and so neglecting this part of the application could put you in the bad books from the start. Common mistakes include failing to find a suitable addressee for the letter, writing in a generic way which shows you haven’t tailored your application to the specific job role and even forgetting to attach the CV to the email.

Being Too Honest –Don’t get me wrong, honesty is a great trait to have but there are times when it may be detrimental for you to be completely open. For example, if you left your last job because you hated it and didn’t get on with your boss then there is no need to mention this in your application for a new job. Never mention why you left your previous job unless you are asked at the interview stage. Doing this could highlight the fact that you could be a problem employee and this will raise alarm bells with the employer. Another example of being too honest is over selling yourself in your CV. It is natural to have a few lines about what sort of person you are and why you would be a great choice for the role, but this is not a space in which you can blow your own trumpet. If you think you’re great then that’s fine but tone it down a bit so that you don’t come across as cocky or arrogant.Writing a CV is by no means easy and so if you are struggling to create one that really makes an impact with potential employers then there are many places you can turn to for help. Recruitment agencies, like this, will be able to give you some great pointers and there are also many online resources that can help you with this.

Posted on the 21/10/2013

What does your email Address say about you?

We live in a fast paced modern “techno” world where we are accessible day and night and where the art of actual conversation has been slimmed down to an “email” in many situations.

But what does your email address say about you?The old fashioned notion that you only get a few seconds to make a first impression has actually been reduced to “your email address says it all” !

I’ve lost count of the amount of times here at Ashley Associates Recruitment to Recruitment Specialists we have said to job seekers – please use a professional email address.

The first impression is all you have in your locker at this early stage and if your email address is questionable then you have fallen at the first hurdle. Your email etiquette is your door knock!! Get past that door knock and then the interesting things can begin.
Perception is so important and is the only reality on line an opinion is formed instantly and you won’t even know about it. Potential hiring managers will formulate this opinion and will access what is important to you and the effort you are making in your job hunt "" isn’t going to secure you the interview in fact the reality is in many cases your CV won’t even get opened.  It may be true that your choice of prefix for example “rockclimber@” show personality or an outgoing side but it will detract from the actual task at hand which is “can you do this job”
Your email address has to look professional and it has to be relatively easy to read and type. Always use a recognised format such as AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and not one that comes across as silly ( – even if you have to set up a new one for your job hunt it will be worth the effort. A bad first impression is all to often the lasting impression – but get this first part right and the world of interviews can open up for you.
It sounds obvious but checking your emails daily when you are job hunting is also of paramount importance, quick reactions are good reactions in this case it tells the hirer that you will be quick when dealing with clients and solving problems perhaps.
I know there will be some people reading this and thinking how superficial but it is human nature to measure up , judge and otherwise decide what you think about people from how they look their handshake, their spelling so why not their email address?

Posted on the 23/7/2013


5 Unusual Ways To Get Back Into Employment

With the economy having been dipped more times than a Hob Knob in a milky cup of tea and unemployment figures being lower than the limbo stick at a contortionist’s birthday party; there are many people out there who have exhausted every avenue in their search for a new job. But like a satnav that has lead you down a dead end; it’s time to recalculate your route.

If you have tried everything in your box of tricks then perhaps it is time to start thinking outside the box in an attempt to bring about some interest from potential employers. Here are five things you could try when you have come close to trying everything else.

Turn Yourself Into A Walking Advertisement –

You may have seen this done before by similarly desperate job seekers but it can be a great way to get yourself noticed and requires nothing more than just the energy it takes to walk around the streets of your home city.

Turn your CV into a sandwich board and wear it around your neck whilst you walk around. Any employer that sees you may be intrigued and impressed by your innovative approach to finding a job. If the sandwich board approach seems too undignified for you then the same process can be done using a sign that you carry on a stick above the crowds.

Go Viral –

This may be a lot harder than it sounds but think how many videos you watch on a daily bases. Social networks such as YouTube, Vine and Instagram are now all the rage and videos filmed on these platforms are constantly doing the rounds; some of which even make it into the mainstream media. If you were able to create a funny video outlining your strengths as a worker then this could give your job search more exposure.

Put Yourself On Adwords –

This one may take a bit more work than the others but it will get you in front of millions of internet users almost immediately. First you will need to create a basic website which would outline you as a person and the skills that you could bring to any job. Then all you need to do is set yourself up on Google Adwords which is an online advertising platform which allows you to place adverts in the results pages of Google’s search engine.

You would be able to specify which queries users would have to search for in order for your advert to appear and with so many people using Google every day this could be a great way to get noticed.

Find A Mistake And Correct It –

This may sound like something that happens more in the movies than in reality but there are examples of similar things happening in the real world. Companies have been known to give people a job just for simply pointing out an error in their technology or their business model and then, obviously, providing a solution to the issue.

It’s rumoured that the CEO of GoGetFunding offered a job to a programmer who found an error on his site and then gave him the correct code to fix it. There is also a competition held every year which invites people to try and hack into the websites of major corporations around the world and some entrants have been hired as a result of succeeding.

Start Your Own Business –

In these times of austerity there is likely to be just as much job security in attempting to start your own business than there is in working for an established company. More people than ever are attempting to go down this route and there are plenty of government initiatives available to help get you started. If you’ve always wanted to be your own boss and you are struggling to find a job working for someone else then perhaps it’s time to take the plunge and go it alone.

If these suggestions sound a bit farfetched then perhaps you haven’t tried all the conventional routes just yet. Head down to your local recruitment agency and ask what they can do for you. There are agencies that deal in lots of different sectors such as hospitality, office work, education and even recruitment to recruitment agencies that recruit people for recruitment roles

Posted on the 17/7/2013


5 Things That Will Look Great On Your CV

In tough times like the ones we are all experiencing at the moment it is important that anyone looking for work makes their CV as presentable, interesting and, most importantly, impressive as possible. With so many candidates going after each job; companies have the luxury of being able to pick the best of the best for any vacancy, so it’s imperative to put yourself in this category from the start.

If you have found it difficult to regain employment then perhaps it’s time to improve your CV to help you stand out a bit more. Consider trying a few of these things that will look great on any resume.

Internships Or Volunteer Work –

Ultimately this type of work shows that above all you want to work. Volunteer work and internships may not pay anything but they will give you valuable experience and will show any potential employers that you are not lazy and aren’t too focussed on monetary rewards. Volunteering may only be a temporary thing but it will look great to anyone looking to hire you on a more permanent basis. If you don’t know where to start when looking for internships in your area then try your local job centre or enrol at a helpful recruitment agency.

Relevant Qualifications –

Employers don’t just look at the qualifications that you gained whilst at school and so any other relevant awards that you can pick up will set you apart from a lot of the other candidates and show that you know your stuff. You need to ensure that the qualification relates to the job on offer because no employer for a job in a multi-national firm is going to be impressed by your stamp collecting achievements.

If you are going for a job in sport then perhaps a coaching qualification would do you some good or your application for a job in hospitality could be enhanced by having your own license to sell alcohol.

Interesting Interests –

It’s a common myth that employers want someone who is going to be so focussed on the job that they spend every waking hour at the office. This is not the case and employers will actually be pleased to see some interesting hobbies on your CV. Not only does this prove that you have a well-balanced life but our hobbies and interests say a lot about what we are like as people and therefore how well we would suit certain jobs.

Clearly Set Out Career Goals –

The chances are that even the best CVs will not inspire an employer to read every single word that is written. Therefore it is a good idea to condense your background and your career goals into a paragraph or so at the top of the page. This way they will see that you are organised and have a clear path set out for your future. This can help to show that you are driven and have a great will to succeed.

Perfect Grammar –

Something that will definitely put potential employers, and anyone else for that matter, off from hiring you is bad grammar and spelling. Check, double check and triple check every word that you write because if there is even the smallest error it will reflect badly on you and you may have lost your chance at the job before you even started.

Posted on the 08/7/2013


My day out Central London County Court in Regents Park  

Characters - Kay Coles MD Ashley Associates

Chief witnesses - Rob and Jo

Solicitor - Amy

Barrister - Martyn

HR Guru - Duncan Elliot of Your HR Director

Defendants – “those people “

This is a true story and has not been dramatised for your entertainment! The people are real the situation and outcome happened.  I will refer to my characters (no name changes) and “those people” are the recruitment agency we successfully sued.

Firstly for those readers who don't know Ashley Associates we are a UK based Recruitment to Recruitment agency placing in the permanents market. We have been in business since 2003 and have had a couple of similar scrapes but nowhere near as long winded and expensive as the one I am about to tell you about!

Several years ago and quite by chance we discovered that an established but small successful recruitment agency in the Home Counties had employed a candidate some two weeks after advising us that they were not interested in making an offer after two interviews and a presentation! They hadn’t notified us of the placement and ignored the email I sent upon my discovery to suggest this over sight might need a discussion.

Indignant we then provided them with an invoice at full terms of course and hoped they would see sense and pay up. Secure in the knowledge that we had a very strong audit trail and although they had dodged actually signing our terms of business during our previous dealings we knew we were legally covered.

No payment came and we started proceedings through the on line system and in a few weeks we were the proud owners of a shiny new CCJ. In the few weeks that followed "those people" put in an application to have the judgment "set aside" claiming ill health and a dodgy postal service as their defence. I was now beyond my comfort zone and enlisted Amy a superb paralegal from a prestigious firm in the spa town of Cheltenham.

Eventually after some two years of utter nonsense, several court no shows, more illness excuses, more bad paperwork and clear delay tactics, a near nervous collapse (for me) and some 20k in fees the day came..... Myself and the team travelled to London armed with suitcases full of statements and evidence all dressed for the occasion and I am more than happy to admit somewhat nervous and feeling just a little bit sick.

We met our Barrister and I remember thinking how young he looked, very nice looking but “young”.

The Central London County Court is a grand building facing the beautiful Regents Park.  As we entered the building we joined a line of people waiting to be admitted to their various cases and court rooms, and there they were right in front of us "those people"

They were laughing and jostling each other like they were waiting in line at a fair ground attraction and when they spotted us they giggled more and whispered under their breath and stared at us in a slightly immature manner.  I remember thinking they looked like they were dressed for Pizza Hut and not a serious and important court hearing at which they were the defendants. 

Nerves at maximum we were searched and admitted. The waiting room was old, dusty not too friendly but sufficient.  There was no nearby toilet (two floors down) and no drinks machine – my mouth for sure was quite dry by this point. The pack mentality took over – which one of us would have to break off first and visit the loo – surely going in two’s is acceptable in such circumstances?

At 10am we took our places in a very small, hot, cluttered court room the witnesses lined up at the back on some uncomfortable and unstylish plastic chairs and the legal teams only four feet away at their desk facing our judge. He was a jolly looking man long in the tooth and looked as though

 "messing" wouldn't fit his style.

And so it began....

Our witnesses Jo and Rob were up first and it became evident that the barrister for “those people" wasn't as prepared or informed as Martyn. She stumbled over questions, asked the same ones multiple times and was chivvied up by the judge several times. Her line and tone allowed both Rob and Jo to point out politely that they had already answered that and the emails trail proves differently! The evidence bundles were perfect from our side and clearly not been considered in any real depth by "those people".

As lunchtime came I for one failed to eat but we sat on the grass in the park and contemplated the morning and what may lie ahead. Martyn and Amy were confident but not cocky and he advised me how quickly these things can "about turn" but we were indeed in good shape.

The afternoon was hotter and the witnesses produced by "those people" knotted themselves and became agitated and confrontational whilst on the stand. They made wild accusations that they were unable to substantiate and generally dug a deeper and deeper hole for themselves.

 I felt embarrassed for them over their silly behaviour and ill prepared show.  I looked across at the Male MD and wondered if he really had a clue what had happened in the last two years or whether his alleged HR Manager had only passed on her side of events – clearly she had badly advised him from start to finish. He now looked embarrassed.

At the back of the room on the plastic chairs things started to become increasingly uncomfortable and I don't mean my bum went to sleep. One of the witnesses had taken upon themselves to start a hate campaign under their breath. Swearing and intimidating me in particular calling me names and making suggestions of what might occur after court. At this stage I was so grateful for Rob who sat between us like a buffer in a suit staying calm and pretending he couldn't hear the expletives. When they leant forward to try and catch my eye he blocked them with his body movements. For those few hours he was indeed my saviour.

As the MD representing "those people" was ripped to shreds by the judge our confidence grew but we still knew a technicality could change the result at any point. But then it happened just like in the movies I heard the words I had waited for two years - the judge ruled in our favour.  Martyn turned from his desk and looked at me for the first time that day and I can hardly describe how it felt to see his winning face poetic and gracious calm but elated reserved but joyous – at that point I’m quite sure I loved him!

Jo grabbed my hand and told me not to cry just yet - keep your dignity she whispered, always wise words throughout the whole episode - keeping me grounded when doubt crept in.

What followed was sad and unexpected more intimidation “sticks and stones may break my bones” but hanging about the waiting room pointing and shouting through the glass was nothing short of stupid.  I got the distinct impression that one of the witnesses wanted an actual fight!

Martyn addressed the judge quickly before he left the room (he had already mentioned he was late for tea) unbeknown to me Martyn had heard the threats and intimidation throughout the afternoon and he wasn't afraid to expose it. Security was called and "those people" were ejected and after twenty minutes or so we were safely escorted out. 

The fresh air made us giddy and so then did the champagne we ordered at the nearest bar. We could at last relax and reflect the day’s events – laughing loudly as we repeated lines from the case like it was a famous movie script. Emotional phone calls were made by all – Amy’s firm were all waiting at work to hear the outcome elation all round. We sat so long and drank so much we nearly missed our train we scuttled down the platform high on out come and champagne I almost lost a shoe and ended up bare foot in my seat  - Chocolate and Crisps all the way home we suddenly had appetite! We had left Gloucester at 5.30am and as it neared Midnight we returned tired and emotional - bid our goodbyes all claiming we could sleep for a week.

The win was amazing but the principal was of the utmost importance to me.  We had won not only the fee at our full terms of business, but the majority of our costs plus interest equating to some 40K. In hindsight I’m guessing that they perhaps wished that they had been honest in the beginning and paid the 2.5K original fee.

The recruitment industry is huge and it consists of all types of people the good the bad and the ugly - "those people" being the latter two - but standing up for my agency, my team and my rights to not have my terms of business ignored and disregarded was forefront in my motivation. This case damn near broke me in more ways than I care to share but I'm stronger for it more informed and for sure a tougher business woman.

The legal team were amazing the witnesses superb the preparation exquisite and the result is what I believe they call JUSTICE - and the wittnesses mentioned at the beginning my hero’s.

Posted on the 24/6/2013


3 Mistakes That Could Be Affecting Your Job Search

In any situation finding a job is tough, but is made all the tougher by the fact that there are so many people out there at the minute who are in exactly the same boat. Being unemployed for an extended period of time can really set you back on life’s course and could also have lasting effects on your mental health, but the good news is that things are getting better.For a lot of people though they are yet to benefit from the small steps that the economy is making on its road to recovery and unemployment continues to be a daily struggle for them. However, here are three big mistakes that you may be making in your bid to get back into work.

Applying For Jobs You Don’t Want –A common piece of advice given to someone who is looking for work is ‘apply for anything’ but this often leads to the job hunting process becoming even more tedious. There are many reasons why this approach will never work; not least the fact that an employer can see from a mile away if your heart is not really in the role. Even if you were to find a route back into employment in this way it would probably only be ephemeral.In all likelihood you would find yourself searching for another job pretty soon when you realise that, just as you thought, the isn’t the role for you. Sticking to jobs that you really want to do will mean you can put your all into the application process and landing the job will be all the more sweeter for it.

Not Taking Advantage Of Recruitment Companies –As the number of people who find themselves unemployed has grown so has the number of recruitment agencies that we find on our streets. This is definitely something that anyone should be taking advantage of during their job search as these companies can give you a valuable upper hand. From contacting people on your behalf to giving you valuable interview tips; recruitment agencies could really shorten the time you spend out of work.The good thing is that every recruitment agency works within its own niche so all you need to do is find one that operates within the industry that you are interested in and you’ll know that any offer that they can generate will be one you are interested in. There are even recruitment to recruitment agenciesthat will look for a job in recruitment for you.

Sending Out General Applications –I would be willing to bet that this is by far the most common mistake that people make during their search for new employment. This is largely because I have made it myself in the past and so I know how easy it is to slip into the habit of sending the same application in response to every job advert. Every job is going to be different and therefore it will need a different approach in the application. Sending out generic responses may seem like the easiest thing to do but it is only going to prolong the period you are out of work for.The best thing to do is to read the specific requirements on every job advert and use them as a guide for what to include in your application. If the job advert asks for expertise in a certain area then outline why you have it with examples from previous work. This will also help you to structure your responses better too.


Your Country needs you…. At least turn up for your interview… 

Looking for a new job can be a daunting prospect not to mention hard work for the candidate and their recruiter. For most people it is a time to consider the future, their career, short and long term aspirations and of course how to achieve what they want and need to gain from a new role.  We are living in turbulent times the word recession and funding cuts are fairly commonplace in everyday life. Many people and businesses live "hand to mouth" or "month to month"!

WHY THEN.... Do so many people simply not arrive for the interviews that are arranged for them by recruitment agencies? We hear so many excuses on a monthly basis ranging from the weak and pathetic to the down right vile and rude! Very often we have no email, text or phone call, no explanation as to why they have decided to simply not turn up.

After going through the process of applying for a job (that means in the main that they contacted us...) enduring the interview in-depth questions, providing your proof of identity and in some cases billing history, agreeing to the interview .... What the leads up to the decision to, simply not go?

We hate having to make a call to a client who has reserved a slot in their busy diary to met people and in some cases they have travelled somewhere suitable to you. They are busy people with work ethic and care about their day.  Whilst most recognise this is the social ineptness of the candidate and not a reflection on us – it still hurts we do have feelings!

The excuses we do get hear each week range from broken down cars, illness, sudden arrival of the boss, lost phones and family death. However in some cases it becomes apparent that these are exactly that - excuses!!! Recruiters are by their very nature inquisitive creatures and we do have ways of checking out these excuses – it is not rocket science.

And why do some people just not arrive at all? And then never answer their phone again!! The effort and stress that must be involved in then “call dodging” your recruiter can in no way measure up to the simple phone call to advise your recruiter that you are no longer interested of you have changed your mind. Recruitment agencies do not employ ogres (well we don’t) we won’t want to invest our time if our candidates are not on board with their own job hunt.  The lack of professionalism, courtesy and common decency astound me on a weekly basis. 

As a Rec2 Rec we have to handle on average 200 CVs to make one placement. We work hard to source the right people for our clients vacancies we have mountains of roles available - talent is scarce. We build relationships with our clients and of course we don't enjoy having to disappoint them. I've been running my business for ten years and what shocks me is that those people who do a "Houdini" often totally forget and send their CV to, us again in a few months time and expect us to jump to attention and help them out.

I realise this blog will more than likely, provoke some negative attention relating to our ability to manage candidates etc but really if all recruiters were honest and open we all suffer with this problem and it is a disgusting pattern of behaviour from selfish people who have no regard for others!! And as my Grandma used to say “you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink”

Kay Coles

Ashley Associates UK Ltd



My name is Kay Coles and I ... am an iPhone junky!

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? Do you run through a breakfast menu or maybe a wardrobe run down of what you feel like wearing that day?

Do you instantly think I wonder how many emails I have and who has text me while I dared to sleep?  And blearily reach for your iPhone? I often check my emails from the bathroom it's part of my daily routine ! I am an iPhone junky!

We seem to have created and accepted with open arms into society a new type of panic!! The type of feeling  that leaves your mouth dry your heart rate elevated and your rational behaviour turn to a frantic scrabble - the issue is of course "where the hell did I put my iphone"

Just like a stereotypical "junky" needing their next fix - we feel inadequate if we haven't instantly responded to that new email or text message. What will people think?

It is becoming an irrational fact that a huge number of people check their emails before getting out of bed and many can boast of texting their friends and work colleagues before breakfast!  It is not just me and not just recruitment consultants.

According to recent media reports the incidence of repetitive strain injury in workers is rising disproportionately as we all freely fall into the information trap. Must send a text must send a text our thumbs working overtime and for a clever few in unison!

It is natural as humans to crave new information, we all want to do well in our chosen fields - but at what cost?

I found myself being scolded by my mother last weekend (I'm 41) when without a courteous thought in my head I picked up my iPhone to read a text mid conversation with her. She was not impressed and on my realisation that in fact it was nothing important anyway I felt very silly. My first defence of course was to bleat it might be important - her curt response being its 4pm on a Sunday what can be so important your mother is trying to hold a conversation with you for gods sake!

With this in mind Ii recall that there have been several (very good) films in my lifetime that have already suggested that machines or computers would eventually take over the world - terminator and the matrix being two I remember vividly. My wonder is has this already happened but in a far more subtle way! And as I feel it the resistance from humans was non-existent. The informatics age took over when we weren't looking.

We have turned into professionals who take our work on holiday or on parental leave. We stress out if we feel we are out of the loop. We have a craving to shout out I'm accessible.

However it is now apparent to me that this is destructive and unhelpful to us as individuals - we need down time we need a rest our brains need to shut off. We need to set an example by not being frightened to say " I'm on holiday" or "I'll call you tomorrow it's 9pm".

And as I close I feel it only fair to tell you that I'm on Holiday in the Caribbean right now!! My husband has just brought me an iced tea and said can’t you put down that damned phone!!!

As I scan my eyes around the pool there are all types of people, French, German, Russian, Canadian, British I can't spot one without a smart phone! 

There are calls going on some heated some firm and directional. There's a man frantically putting sticky pieces of luminous paper on to a huge pile of paperwork!! I feel like I want to hug him and ask him for his email address " read my blog" and free your self!!

My desire to get my idea for this blog down in words totally derived me of all sense of reason!!! My New Years resolution for 2013 is to CHANGE!!



What Did the Venetians do for us?

You can send a girl on holiday but never forget to pack waterproofs even in Venice….. Helen's recent trip to the City of Love and Wellies….

I recently spent a brilliant few days in Venice and was lucky enough to experience the Acqua Alta which is a natural high tide seen during the Autumn months. After singing “ Just One Cornetto” to myself while riding a Gondola down the Grand Canal, I ordered and devoured a large Pistachio  Ice cream on the Rialto Bridge and later drank Hot Chocolate in the main square, the Piazza San Marco - perfect just perfect! You can’t help but fall in love with this beautiful City…and the person you are with. Love was most definitely in the air and many of the bridges have padlocks attached with couples names and love messages attached. It's awesome! So what did the Venetians do for us? Well, apart from making Violins and great pizza, they can certainly also teach us a thing or two about life in general…it is no coincidence that the early success of this thriving City was due to the fantastic negotiation skills of the first Venetians who were historically merchants. These early merchants possessed the talent of negotiation, who else would have managed to get the whole construction of Venice from conception to reality. That must have taken a huge amount of hard work and determination!I noted that the Venetians walk everywhere and are so much fitter as a result. If not walking they hop onto boats which has to be much more relaxing than sitting in a traffic jam between Cheltenham and Gloucester every morning! Life seems so much nicer without cars. Littering is outlawed and rubbish recycling is compulsory - brilliant !The Venetians also prepare well and do not panic in a crisis. They are aware of their weakness. The day I left Venice in High Tide ( after being woken by the Level 4 Flood Sirens at 5.30am!), I watched the fumbling tourists carrying their suitcases thought the floods wearing flip flops, water riding up their jeans. The Venetians just carried on as if nothing was wrong. Shops and hotels were functioning, although the employees were wearing wellies or waders! Perhaps we could learn a thing or two from the Venetians about how to live a happier and more successful life?

Posted on the 15/11/2012



It shouldn’t all be about the Money Money Money…..

by Kay Coles Ashley Associates UK Ltd 

Today’s inspiration is generated from the handfuls of candidates who accept the first offer of employment.. Of course it’s great when you are offered a job, congratulations are in order BUT how can you really be sure that you have found the best role available if you don’t explore all the options?

All too often in my role I hear those disappointing words… Please cancel all my remaining interviews I have been offered a role, which I have accepted – thank you for all your help

Ask yourself the following:

  1. 1.    When you house hunt – do you buy the first property you find?
  2. 2.    When shoe shopping  - would you buy the first pair you see in the first shop?
  3. 3.    Would you buy a pie without checking the filling is one that you like?
  4. 4.    When partner hunting – do you marry the first person you kiss?

It appears to me (and I have been around a long time in this game) that some people simply accept the first offer of employment without thinking through the options and long term considerations. If you have only been for one interview then what are you comparing this offer too? Maybe you are comparing it to your last role – the one you left for various and most likely negative reasons? Is it just enough to get a bit more money?

When you are seeking a new recruitment role you should be considering a huge amount of elements not just location and money, long-term prospects, brand or market share, team size/dynamic, client base, training, office environment and how you feel about your prospective line manager are just a few of the things that should be thought about.

Long-Term Prospects – Do they recruit from within? Can they give an example of others who have climbed through the ranks? Do they have a structure for career progression?

Brand and Market Share – Do they have a good local and or national name/brand/reputation? Have you seen their adverts either on line or in industry press? Have they won awards and how do they promote themselves? Do they have a good client base, long standing client relationships and repeat business?

Team Dynamics – How big is the team? How long have they all been working together, who has been promoted from within and how long did it take and is it based on service or performance or target achieving?

Office Environment – are they up to date with their computer systems and general equipment? Do people look comfortable/happy in their space? Is the décor attractive and up to date and my personal favourite are the toilets clean?

Targets  – How will you be targeted, what on and when? What are the

Average placements fees?  Do targets rise with performance and or service? How will you be measured in general? Is your bonus a reflection of your achievements or are they tied in with the overall team or company achievement? When are reviews done traditionally?

Training – Is this internal, external a mixture of the two? How is it distributed? Are their any claw back clauses relating to training costs in the contract of employment?

There are of course a whole host of reasons why people seek new employment and often the good old fashioned “gut feeling” is the deciding factor in the decision making process. Our advice is always the same “ don’t go in with your eyes wide shut” Ask the questions do the research. In reality if a company becomes “upset” by your questions and research then they obviously have something to hide, which in itself is a factor that needs exploration.

After all being “thorough” is an asset to a recruitment consultant and if you are this way before you join your new employer can and should take comfort from the notion that you will also be this way with your new clients and candidates!!

Always explore the options – they give you choice and empower you to grow as a person and as a recruiter… 

Posted on the 29/08/2012


To be or not to be late by Ashley Associates UK Ltd  

We deal with many Recruitment Professionals each week and frankly we have heard all the excuses conceivable! I’m not joking! But all to often candidates are arriving late for interviews and some don’t even apologise!

In reality if you don’t arrive a good ten minutes ahead of the scheduled time you are in fact already late! I’ll explain……

Firstly everything you do at your interview will be scrutinised in some fashion or other. Your first test is to arrive on time and in the right frame of mind. It goes without saying that if you ‘fail to plan you plan to fail’.

There is no acceptable excuse for being late for a job interview. If you are unsure of where it is then drive there a few days ahead of the appointment, work out a likely parking spot and judge the time it will take in rush hour of need be for you to get there with plenty of spare time to park, walk, adjust your clothing, refresh your make up, read your notes or evaluate your questions.

Everyone you come in contact with from the receptionist to the interviewer will be sizing you up – it’s a natural human reaction. Use this to your advantage, when arriving ten minutes ahead of the interview you will get a feel for the office. How are people being greeted, how fast is the phone being answered, do staff look happy, are they busy, do they have awards on the wall – you may laugh but even how clean are the toilets! Observation is a huge part of your eventual decision to join or not join.

If you arrive late you really are on the back foot, you may be flustered or soaked – yes it has happened!! You will have limited or no time to “get into the zone” you may not be mentally prepared for an interview situation and this can affect your performance. You will have to work so much harder for the result you envisaged when you accepted the appointment.

The impression you give to a prospective employer by being late is a lack of planning or maybe even that you aren’t that serious about the role. The hirer will be thinking already how that could impact on their business or how their clients would feel about you being late to meet with them. They have to trust you to enhance their business and their gauge will very often be their self and then best team member – John would never be late!!!

The whole focus of the interview has now be taken from your control as the interview wonders why your planning wasn’t done or why you hadn’t researched the location all sadly leading to the inevitable – “we have others to see we will be in touch” 

Posted on the 16/08/2012



Would you move to Australia for your Recruitment Career?

By Kay Coles Ashley Associates Recruitment to Recruitment Specialists  

Most people sadly think of Skippy, Surfing, BBQs and Neighbours when they think of Australia – but that is not the reason that so many Brits are packing their sunscreen and their recruitment skills and making it down under?

The real facts! Australia is the 6th largest landmass in the world! It consists of 6 states and it is almost as long as it is wide!! The rain and searing temperatures produce a highly variable climatic pattern, which moulds Australia's landscape, its nature and human activity. Their coastline extends almost 60 000 kilometres in length – that’s a lot of beaches!!

The lifestyle is generally dominated by outdoor pursuits and many people like the feeling of space, cleanliness and the sunny climate coupled with the newness and the all important cosmipolitian feeling.

The Government has recently recognized that 457 visa applications deserve priority as they are highly responsive to the needs of the labour market. These visas are for four years and it is relitivley easy to apply for residency once you have been with an employer for two years. You may of course bring along your eligiable family members who will also enjoy the right to work and study in Australia. 13% of the newbees arriving in Australia are British!!

The reality is that the Recruitment market is bouyant and dominated by some large well known brands that you will all have heard of. Most recruitment agencies are seeking sales skills, recruitment talent and those with a professional and tenacious outlook on life in general. Those who are able to deomonstrate a history of revenue generation and target achievement are welcomed into existing teams and introduced to a whole new set of clients. Some disciplines such as Education are not as developed as here in the UK which makes British Recruiters the ideal choice to help move the industry forward. A good work life balance is promoted by the majority of recruitment agencies and in general the average salary is higher than here in the UK.

The question is “would you move” for a more attractive lifestyle, for the adventure of this massive and exciting continent, for the beaches, for the sun or for a great step you could take for your recruitment career? 

Posted on the 19/04/2012



Recruitment Agencies a 20 Billion Industry

The recruitment industry is vital to the countries economy. Shut it down tomorrow and schools will close, hospitals couldn’t function, the major cities would seize up, shops would run out of stock and government services would grind to a halt. (That’s irony for you)!! Recruitment Agencies touch on every aspect of UK life, from agriculture to healthcare, from the armed services to retail staff.

The recruitment industry generates in excess of £20 billion for the UK economy yet recruitment consultancy business is probably one of the most undervalued professions known to man!! 

The Government may well be advertising their new "cheap loans for business" as a vote winner but the reality is it doesn't work for the average SME. The banks are not interested in lending money to small businesses unless they can prove they have huge profit (in which case you wouldn't need a loan - right). They have been all too quick to point out if you have been rejected for loans before don’t come knocking again!!

There was a similar scheme back when I first started my business in 2003 – I believe called the Innovation Loan Scheme (don’t quote me on that) – I applied for one as the finite details were that 75% of the loan would be covered by the government should anything go wrong! I set about the long-winded process of applying being interviewed, being questioned to within an inch of my life and finally was rejected. Upon questioning my Bank Manager he simply sat back stroked his tummy and said in the whole time this scheme has been running I’ve only heard of one company who were accepted!! Useful information had it been offered at the start of the process!

I was lucky in the respect that I had some money I could use for the short term – it gave me three months….. Yes 15-16 hour days began but I had little option but to make it work. Determination is indeed free. But that would have been the case with or without the loan….

Those who are subject to these acres or paperwork, hours of meetings and final decisions that are often based on limited experience of our industry – my heart goes out to you.

In the Rec2Rec sector we don't struggle to relationship build with clients, old or new! If only we could find the talent to fill a small number of our opportunities then to pinch a Del Boy phrase "I’d be a millionaire".

Recruitment Agencies across all sectors and disciplines don't get treated well, whether it's driving down the margins or being rejected for loans/overdrafts or making out we are generally not needed - £20 billion says we are!! £20 billion says we have earned our place at the business table.

Posted on the 26/03/2012



Great Cover Letters by Ashley Associates Recruitment to Recruitment Specialists

  1. The only function of this letter is to get your audience to reed your CV , and to provoke a response ideally secure you an interview. Think of your cover letter like the first page of your CV, as a one-page advertisement for you. This will be the first impression the reader has of you. Make your letter brief, enthusiastic, and interesting.
  2. Ensure that everything in the reader's name, job title address is correct. Call the company ahead of posting to check the finite details.
  3. Try not to begin every sentence and paragraph with "I". Focus on the reader of the letter and his/her perspective.
  4. Research the company website, mention the job role specifically that you have seen.
  5. Indicate in brief paragraphs what you are applying for, who you are, why you are interested, and what you have to offer. Don't oversell. State briefly why you are a good match for the job.
  6. Refer the reader to your enclosed CV. Pick relevant achievements and repeat them in the letter, using different terminology to express these points.
  7. Don't put anything in your covering letter which gives the reader an excuse to lose interest, e.g. hi-lighting your lack of a particular experience, or referring to negative aspects like why you left your last job.
  8. If your letter is a speculative approach (i.e. to a company that isn't currently advertising a job), try to ensure that a decision maker reads your letter.
  9. Think carefully what action you are asking for. If you are seeking a meeting, ask for one.
  10. 10. Telephone to check that the intended recipient has received your letter. Ask one relevant question, or mention one reason why you might be able to help the employer, and suggest a meeting.

Posted on the 15/03/2012



How to deal with counter offers

Put yourself in your boss's shoes! Resigning from your present position will have made your employer well aware that you were unhappy in your current role. Consequently, even if you accept a counter offer to stay put, your loyalty may always be in question in the future.

If you are tempted by a counter offer, have a long hard think about what it was that made you start looking for a new position. Moving roles isn’t usually just about greater financial reward – it’s often about new challenges and increased responsibility.

Think about your employer's motivation – are they really thinking about what's best for you – or what is best for the company? If they really valued you as an employee, wouldn't they have offered you the package or promotion you wanted at appraisal time?

Consider the results of a study published in the Wall St Journal. In this study, conducted over a three year period, over 50% of the individuals receiving counter offers accepted them. Within 18 months, 93% of those had left – and the remaining 7% were actively seeking new employment.

Counter offers can often be used by employers as stalling devices to give ample time for a suitable replacement to be found – your replacement!

Don't get trapped into a long drawn out discussion. Leaving the door open for discussion and negotiation induces the company to invest time and resources into enticing you to stay. This can make you feel guilty, which makes it more difficult to stick to your decision to leave.

Consider the future. The company may well pay you to stay in the short term, but you may pay a long-term price. Employers resent being held hostage by employees when the market is in their favour. A rise or promotion today may foreclose the possibility of future benefits.

If you do decide to accept a counter offer then you also have to accept that things will never be the same – colleagues may view you differently and despite what your employer is saying to you, you may not be seen as a true.

Remember that employers don’t like to be fired, some employers find it difficult when they feel that they have lost control, so ask yourself why your decision is not being accepted. People make career moves for their own reasons and not respecting your choice is the same as saying you have no right to choose to leave.

 Posted on the 19/09/2011


Reference writing - A Grey Area by Ashley Associates

At some point in your career you are going to be either writing a reference or being written about in a reference!! But do people really understand what they can and can’t reveal in a employment reference?

Many companies have a particular policy on the very treacherous reference subject – often opting for a “dates only” response.

It is always best practice to approach requests for references in a positive manner - everyone has good qualities which can be hi- lighted, sadly all too often the reference giver will focus on the negative elements of the persons performance or personality – which is perpetuated by the fact that for whatever reason they have left their employment.

The age old saying “If you have nothing good to say about a person it is better to say nothing at all” is in many cases a helpful alternative to writing something that later will haunt you and the candidate. The same caution applies to verbal references anything negative that can be disproved factually can be seen as a slanderous act.

If you require a reference from your employer it may help to draft one yourself or at the very least point out several of your proudest achievements or provide a comprehensive list of your figures against target for your manager or HR department; they may be short of time and in some cases busy trying to recruit your replacement.

All reference material should be dated and ideally addressed to a specific person, be short, to the point and presented in a professional format on headed paper.  It is vital that the person writing the reference has the authority to do so on behalf of the company.

Employment dates should be confirmed, coupled with job title, salary and benefits if appropriate. Conformation that the person’s performance, attitude and relationship with colleagues was satisfactory or indeed exceeded acceptable standards will allow the reader to gain an insight to their personality and general demeanour. If your company has a policy to reemploy then it is advisable to state whether you would reemploy and if not give reasons as to why you wouldn’t reemploy. The receiver of a reference is reassured by references that offer further information can be supplied if required.

To a degree the reference given does reflect the writers personal feelings, but it is always advisable to balance this out with factual information where possible.

For those in a position to be writing employee references it is paramount that the Data Protection Act 1988 be consulted and considered in particular the part that relates to Subject Access Rights be understood.

Reference writers should remember that their words whether verbal or written can shape or break a person’s career progression and once sent can be difficult to change.

 Posted on the 23/08/2011



Sunshine, Sand and Tax Free Earnings? Yes Please !!

Ashley Associates are currently working with a number of Recruitment Agencies in Dubai who are keen to locate and attract professional, high achieving Recruitment Consultants who really do want to “live the dream”! If you have outstanding recruitment/sales drive, excellent client facing and business development skills and a clear desire to smash sales targets you will receive unparalleled reward and recognition within this fast growing and very entrepreneurial organisation.

Dubai’s growth over the last few decades has been astonishing. It is difficult to imagine the transformation that has taken place, from an undeveloped, though flourishing backwater, to today's young, modern metropolis of high-rise buildings and luxurious beach resorts.

Dubai is fast growing in virtually all sectors including of course Recruitment. The projected population growth of 2 million over the next 3 years requires a massive skilled workforce.
With only 10% of the population made up of nationals and interestingly 20% of the world’s cranes are currently involved in building this boom city, the economy is excellent and all areas of the market are seeking skilled job hunters in their hundreds from all over the world.

Dubai’s boasts a spectacular and sprawling cityscape which is growing daily with several of the “World’s Largest” almost ready: The World's Largest Airport; The World’s Tallest Building; The World’s Largest Theme Park and The World’s Largest Indoor Ski Dome.

Dubai is fast becoming the number 1 choice for western job seekers looking to work in the Middle East, and has a more liberal living policy and highly attractive social scene. An exceptional nightlife with many new bars and nightclubs makes Dubai an extremely easy place to make friends and develop a life outside work. The quality of life in Dubai is excellent and the range of accommodation superb. Many apartments and villas offer a wide range of facilities including