COVID-19 Update:

The way we work is changing as we take necessary steps to protect ourselves and others

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Recruiting in Manchester, Stockport, Trafford Park, Bury, Warrington and the Greater Manchester area

What to expect from the interview process during COVID-19

Friday, September 25th, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has meant changing many of the ways we live and work, and applying for a new job during COVID-19 is among them.

Early in the outbreak – even before the government-imposed lockdown began – we at Alexander Hancock took the decision to minimise face-to-face contact.

That allowed us to protect our staff and to give safe distance to anyone who needed to visit us in person.

However, the interview process is an integral part of getting a new job in COVID-19 just as it is at any other time – so we have continued in-depth interviews with candidates.

So what’s changed since March? Here are some differences you might notice in the interview process during COVID-19, both with your Alexander Hancock recruitment consultant and with any employers who interview you.

COVID-safe interviews

There are several different ways to hold COVID-safe job interviews (or COVID-secure interviews, as they are sometimes called).

One of the main ways is to hold first-round job interviews remotely. You may notice more of your job interviews take place by telephone or videoconferencing in the months to come.

This is beneficial for some candidates in other ways too – you can ‘attend’ more COVID-secure job interviews at times that suit you, as you don’t have to travel in person.

You might feel like your recruitment consultant is holding more in-depth interviews with you over the phone, because we are working hard to make sure we don’t put candidates forward for in-person interviews unless they’re a perfect fit for the job.

Equally, your first-round telephone interview with a prospective employer might feel more probing, but that’s because they too are trying to reduce the number of face-to-face interviews they carry out.

All of this means it’s important to take those initial interviews seriously, even if they’re just a phone call or web chat – they’re your chance to impress and get on to a potentially much shorter shortlist for the next round.

In-person job interviews during COVID-19

If you are asked to attend an in-person job interview during COVID-19, it’s sensible to ask what COVID-secure precautions are in place in the workplace you will need to visit.

For example, you might have to:

  • Sanitise your hands with alcohol gel or wash them with soap on arrival.
  • Wait outside until the interviewer is ready for you.
  • Maintain a minimum physical distance from others inside.
  • Wear a face mask in communal areas or in the interview.
  • Follow other sensible precautions e.g. avoid touching your face and eyes.

Obviously if you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, you should not attend an interview in person; however, you could still have interviews by telephone or webcam.

You might want to keep a smart bag or briefcase ready with essential supplies like spare masks, alcohol gel, tissues, hayfever pills, throat lozenges and so on – whatever you need to feel comfortable and safe on your way to, during, and home from the interview.

This year has been challenging and many people are facing unplanned career changes. By doing everything we can to keep the interview process safe and on track, we are helping as many candidates as possible to find the best jobs available in COVID-secure workplaces.

Contact us today to help with your job search!

Mental Health and Redundancy

Friday, September 18th, 2020

At the beginning of this month, the Guardian reported an estimated 194,706 people had been made redundant, and unfortunately, this number is rising. For many people, the immediate response to redundancy involves panic and an urgency to find a new job. It is important, however, to take stock of your mental health at this time. For many people, working is an innate part of their identity, and is important for intellectual satisfaction and overall wellbeing. Men are particularly susceptible; indeed one in seven men develop depression within six months of losing their job. Regardless of gender, work provides purpose, a social network and a sense of belonging as part of a working team. It is important to recognise the distress that redundancy can bring mentally, often involving a loss of self-confidence, social contact, purpose and financial distress. Losing your job is emotionally challenging at the best of times. But with the added pressures of a recession and global pandemic to deal with, it’s completely understandable if you find yourself struggling with your mental health.

If you have found yourself facing redundancy this year, there are steps that you can take to make this transition a little easier. The first thing to remember is that you have nothing to be embarrassed about and you are not alone. As noted above, hundreds of thousands of talented, capable people are in exactly the same position, and this is simply a product of the unfortunate global landscape. Before you throw yourself straight into a new job hunt, take time to pause and acknowledge your situation, accept your negative feelings and allow yourself to grieve the loss of work. Robust mental health is pivotal to the resilience required for applying for new roles, and it is important to take care of both your physical and mental health.

It is also important to talk about how you are feeling, whether that be with a partner, a friend, or a relative. Many people benefit from professional help too, so do make an appointment with your GP to find out what services are available in your area. Many mental health services have self-referral schemes and online resources that may be helpful. The charity, Mind has a wealth of online advice and support that may be useful at this time. Guided meditation apps like Headspace and Calm can be accessed for free, and can also be helpful in reducing any anxiety, sleep troubles, or stress that you might be feeling.

Creating a plan for yourself moving forward can aid the transition and assist in maintaining a feeling of control over your own life. The obvious impact of a job loss for many is financial uncertainty. If you have worked for your employer for at least two years you will be entitled to either statutory or contractual redundancy pay. If you have been made redundant because your employer has been liquidated, contact the government’s Redundancy Payments Office to see if you are eligible to claim statutory redundancy pay. Moving forward, create a weekly budget to prevent payments from piling up. Look carefully at your spending. Switching bill providers, reviewing shopping habits, and prioritising debts and outgoing payments can assist in getting a handle on your finances. You may also be entitled to benefits whilst you look for a new job. The main benefit you can claim while out of work is Jobseeker’s Allowance, or Universal Credit if you live in an area where it’s already been rolled out. There may be other benefits available to you, depending on your circumstances, such as tax credits or help with housing costs.

Feeling easier about your finances, then take advantage of the opportunities presented by redundancy. Invest time in yourself. Physical activity and being outdoors have been proven to boost mood and improve mental wellbeing, as well as aiding overall health. Going for walks, running, doing online yoga and exercise classes are all activities than can help to provide a new routine and lifestyle that you may not have otherwise had time for. Why not also take this time to clean out your home, partake in some DIY, and enhance your space? Clearing out items you no longer use can help you to feel more content with your surroundings and provide a physical manifestation of new and exciting changes ahead. Diet also plays a crucial role in boosting mental health and wellbeing. Practice cooking new meals and baking, add fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet, and stick to regular mealtimes to further enhance a new structured routine. BBC GoodFood and Mob Kitchen are just two examples of websites with free recipe that can help provide excitement and make a real event out of mealtimes. Try to cut down on caffeine, alcohol, and sugary foods, especially in the evenings as they can disrupt sleep. If you’re someone who prefers to keep your brain stimulated and challenged, listening to podcasts, reading or doing puzzles can all be helpful in keeping your brain active and helping you to relax.

When you do come to think about your next role, create a realistic action plan to help you become controlled and organised in your search, being sure to break down your tasks into small achievable goals. Think about your previous role, the skills you developed, and your key achievements. Take a moment to celebrate all of your qualities and achievements so far. Be sure to also ask your former manager for a written reference. Once you have taken this time, update your CV and create an online networking presence on LinkedIn demonstrating your strength as an employee. Take the time to assess the aspects of the job you enjoyed, and the aspects you would like to avoid in your future role. Ask yourself if there are similar roles or industries that would suit your skill set and the work you have previously enjoyed doing. Reach out to any contacts you have who could tell you a little more about their industries and companies. Identify any areas your skill set could be further enhanced and used this time to enrol on courses to develop these. Coursera is a website with a wealth of free courses from universities around the world in almost every area imaginable; these can not only inform a personal or professional interest, but also help you to develop a sense of daily purpose and fulfilment and enhance your CV further.

Tips for getting a job in the COVID-19 era

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

The full economic impact of the COVID-19 lockdown remains to be seen, but some sectors have already been badly hit by the difficulties of social distancing and reduced footfall in urban centres.

At the same time, many people are looking for new challenges, a change in working conditions, or were just ready for a new job before the pandemic began.

Here are five tips for getting a job in the COVID-19 era, whatever your reasons for looking.

1. Be patient

If you’re able to be patient, try to appreciate that this is a difficult time for many people and for many employers too – even if you are highly skilled and experienced.

Companies are facing a lot of disruption to working practices and workplaces, with social distancing rules that keep changing, but that has its benefits too.

At Alexander Hancock we are working hard to place talented candidates into suitable roles as quickly as we can, taking advantage of more telephone and online interviews to help you find your next job faster.

2. Be realistic

If you find yourself out of work unwillingly, try to draw up a budget and decide how long your savings will pay the bills, and how much you need to earn to survive over the long term.

Look at other options to reduce your monthly outgoings, such as remortgaging at a lower monthly repayment, or ask your lender if they have any repayment holidays available.

You may need to get through several weeks of jobhunting with no income, followed by a period on a lower income than usual.

Either way, we can help you by finding the best rate of pay currently available and getting you into a job faster – and we’ll be honest about the current conditions in your industry, too.

3. Be ready

When an opportunity presents itself, be ready to embrace it – this is where your patience can pay off.

If you can be available for telephone interviews at short notice, you can get your name higher on the list, which improves your chances of landing a job sooner.

4. Be flexible

If you normally work in a sector that has been hit badly by Coronavirus, consider whether you could move into a related discipline even if only temporarily.

We can help you to decide whether you want to do this, by looking at your skills and experience and comparing them with the industries we know have capacity for more jobs at the moment.

You never know – by placing you into a role that suits your experience and personality well, we might put you on a brand new long-term career path for the post-pandemic years.

5. Be optimistic

It’s easy to assume the worst if you find yourself out of work during a pandemic or the recession that may follow – but we can help you navigate this difficult time.

Many employers are offering more flexible roles and remote working, which could save you a lot of time and money on your daily commute.

Overall, this is a great opportunity to strike a new work-life balance, try a new career direction, or fill any skills gaps on your CV, all of which is good reason to be optimistic for your job prospects in the final months of 2020 and beyond.

Why you need a recruiter right now

Monday, September 7th, 2020

As we deal with Covid 19 we are aware that unfortunately, there are a large number of unemployed individuals. New circumstances however, provide new opportunities for employers.

Here at Alexander Hancock we are receiving up to 200 applications for every job we advertise, each from talented individuals who have been affected by this extraordinary climate. But there are still roles to be filled and companies looking to recruit and it is tempting to take on this task yourself, believing that this is the most cost efficient solution. However the reality for most employers is that there simply aren’t the resources nor time that can be diverted to the recruitment process, limiting their ability to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by this unusual job market.

In this precarious global environment, there has never been a more pressing time for companies to adapt, to find new and more innovative ways of working, and to look to the future of their firms. The UK is filled with talented, capable people with a variety of experiences that can contribute to your business.

As airline after airline went bankrupt, with thousands left out of work, the NHS employed these workers, recognising that their skills could be well utilised in the establishment of temporary hospitals across the country. It is this kind of innovate redirection of skills that recruiters are uniquely placed to tap into. With a holistic view of the job market, and over fifteen years’ experience, the consultants at Alexander Hancock are uniquely placed to identify the skills of a wide talent pool to fit your business.

Whilst many companies are reluctant to pay the fees associated with recruitment agencies, in reality, we are positioned to save you money both in the long and short terms. Recruitment processes are stressful and long in normal circumstances. Between the processing and verification of CVs, the organisation of interviews, the procurement of references, and the identification of genuinely qualified candidates, managers can find themselves diverting days to find the right candidate for just one role, often only to be met by further complications with their new employee.

In the current climate, the training and assimilation of new employees has also never been a more arduous task with the obvious obstacles of closed offices and buffering WiFi signals on Zoom calls. It has therefore never been more important to get it right first time. By taking full advantage of our services, we will save you the time and money it takes to train and retrain new recruits.

With our assistance, managers are left to get on with the jobs they are employed to do, leaving the rest to us. We are experts at identifying talent, skills, and suitability, processing hundreds of applicants to find the few that are well-matched to your needs. The value of our recruitment cannot be quantified with a single hire. It is our years of experience and our place within the industry that allows us to create the conditions for magic to strike.

We have a vast network of candidates, the experience of salary benchmarking, a deep understanding of companies, products, markets, and professions, and the stamina to doggedly pursue the right talent for you.

At times like these, we are the two caplets of paracetamol when you have the headache of recruiting; we immediately deal with all the pain, but you have to have us in your medicine cabinet in the first place! You can try and work through the pain, but soon realise that if you had taken those tablets in the first place, you could have saved yourself a lot of unnecessary angst!

Quite unlike paracetamol, we can guarantee our work and there is no limit to the number of times you can use us. In the event of any problems we can provide you with a full refund, with more excellent candidates ready to go with immediate effect.

Are you looking for a new job? Contact us today on 0161 929 6665 to get started.