Tag Archive for: Talent Acquisition

I am one of the founding Directors of CX Talent Ltd – an independent, specialist recruitment agency. We specialise in Customer Experience roles and all roles that focus in and around the customer. I am also one of the founding Directors of Modulr Space Ltd – a business that provides beautiful, Architect designed sustainable, home offices and garden buildings. At Modulr Space Ltd we have come up with a new idea for an employee benefit. It’s called Small Space for business – I’m not about to go into a sales pitch about it here – you can have a look at the proposition on our website if you are interested and get in touch if you want to talk further about it – but I promise this is not what this article is about.

So what – you may be asking, has this to do with what Candidates are looking for in terms of a new employer and the sort of benefits and perks they want?

Well – I am fortunate to be in a unique position to talk about what candidates want and now need when it comes to looking for a new role. Most of my time is spent talking to candidates of all levels about future roles, what they want to do more of, less of, the sorts of companies they’d like to work for and the always thorny question of money and package. We set up our recruitment business in 2012 and we have seen requirements, needs and trends change in terms of what people are looking for in their next employer and package.

It’s been a unique (and hopefully never to be repeated year in recruitment). The world has changed remarkably and quickly and people have new and considered ideas of what is important to them moving into 2021 and beyond.

I have collated my most recent findings from extensively reading reports and articles on this very subject and from speaking to my candidate base and extensive professional network. The point of this article is really to draw attention to what people want from the organisations they work for to feel valued and to help companies focus their offers to new candidates based on the new norm rather than the old ways.

I hope that you find my piece interesting!

Employee Rewards and Benefits for 2021. How can you attract and retain the best talent?

I promised myself that I would write at least one post this year that did not mention the dreaded C word! However, no matter how much I have tried to not allude to it or mention it – its unavoidable! Covid-19 has had an unprecedented (another word I didn’t want to use) effect on recruitment, staff engagement and wellbeing and leaves us wondering what do people now REALLY want in terms of their overall renumeration and rewards package? How will companies attract the best candidates and keep their existing talent through 2021 and beyond? It’s true – the market is flooded with amazing candidates who have sadly lost their jobs. But how do you secure the best talent? Ensure you are keeping up with the latest trends on renumeration packages and benefits? Please read on!

As I mentioned, I have conducted my own research by speaking to our candidate base and network as well as researching this topic extensively through reading reports from industry associations such as REBA to get a strong indication of where candidates are in terms of the renumeration and rewards packages they are likely to expect and want in a post Covid world.

The key themes that spring up over and over again are flexible working arrangements, a better work/life balancepersonal development and training and an increased interest in companies who invest in employee wellbeing.

Company culture is of imperative importance to candidates. Most want to work for an organisation who will want to invest in them as employeesGood Management support, the ability to be autonomous and input into key decisions for an organisation rate highly. To be treated with trust and respect is also very high on candidates’ agendas – rather unsurprisingly! Companies with visible and credible CSR strategies are very important to employees it is an important indicator of culture for a lot of candidates. One member of my network stated

‘ I am very keen for companies to have a strong CSR strategy. This will become a huge motivation factor to work for a company that is trying to improve its social and environment impact’. If there is respect for what the company does and employees are passionate about it then it will eventually show in the customer service and quality of product or service’

Salary is always an issue and clearly candidates want to be paid their market worth and rightly so. According to a Glassdoor survey 46% of active candidates want a high salary (don’t we all?!). However, in discussions with my candidates and with my network – candidates are looking for an all round package. A good / fair salary that reflects their experience and skill set and the responsibilities of the new role – but with good benefits or the ability to sacrifice some of their salary to get a greater range benefits or a greater work life balance that suits them as an individual. Very few candidates are interested in the money alone. In this piece I will take each of these parts of the employee package in turn and pass on both the feedback and opinion from candidates, industry professionals and myself.


According to an article in HR Magazine October 2020 Employers in the private sector are expected to increase pay by an average of just 1% in the year ahead as a result of COVID-19. 

Pay rises have been falling over the past 12 months, with average pay rise now worth 2.2% down from 2.5% this time last year according to research from pay analysts XpertHR. Most employers said they were likely to issue pay freezes, with nearly half (44.8%) of private companies saying they do not expect to increase staff wages. This is certainly true of the majority of clients that we deal with at CX Talent Ltd. Sheila Attwood, XpertHR pay and benefits editor, said:

“Many employers are not optimistic that they will be in a position to award a pay rise in 2021, with a pay freeze easily the most expected outcome of any pay review next year.”

This is not altogether unexpected – and the fact that inflation has fallen makes this altogether understandable (although for many disappointing).

According to Matthew Gregson – Director, Head of Corporate at Howdens who recently said in Employee Benefits ‘Pay rises may take a back seat in 2021 if the economic uncertainty continues. There will be a fundamental shift from monetary reward to the wellbeing of employees’says Gregson.

“Organisations used to attract people with big job titles, big basic salaries and a catalyst promise of ‘more, more, more’,” he says. “What’s really attractive to people now is about the social impact; it’s about the workplace, it’s about the culture, it’s about the environment and that’s why there’s more and more overlapping of benefits. There’s a lot of repositioning; who we like to work for, how an organisation can take an active role in an employee’s wellbeing and how they take an active role in society.” 

So with salaries unlikely to increase over the next 12 months – how else can a company attract and retain talent?

It turns out that actually salary is not everything to todays candidates. Certainly – people want to be paid a fair wage and one that reflects their experience and the new role responsibilities. However, there are other key drivers for workers now that are extremely important.

Flexible Working:

Flexible working and Work/Life balance are the BIG issues that candidates are looking for right now. The majority of candidates state this as being one of THE most important aspects of a new role. This is not just because of forced remote working thanks to COVID. It has been an increasing trend over the past few years with our senior candidates expecting this as a given in any new role. COVID has simply accelerated this trend with candidates from middle management upwards looking for a more flexible way of working. Flexible working in terms of WHERE they work and WHEN they work.

A piece in UC News states that nearly half of Brits would resign if they were forced to return to the office. It also states that:

‘55% of workers are planning a more hybrid role with one to four days in the office. With working from home likely to become part of the future of working life, 45% of office workers are willing to take a pay cut in order to continue working from home in the long-term. 15% would be willing to take a pay cut of 5%, the equivalent to £1,518 a year when looking at the average full-time UK salary of £30,353 (ONS 2019 Av UK salary’.

That’s a pretty clear indicator that flexible working is here to stay. Those companies who do not advocate a flexible working arrangement for their staff – are in our experience – much less attractive to the best talent. Most of our candidates like the idea of a hybrid way of working – with some time in the office, but a large part working from home. This means that businesses can open up their talent pools as people are more inclined to travel further if it’s just for one day a week or fortnight. So instead of getting the best person in the locality who is available at the time. You can just get the very best person!

Offices will need to adapt in order to accommodate this new way of working. They are more likely to become collaborative meeting spaces that people come together to meet and share ideas than where the day to day working activities happen. It is likely that the younger more junior workforce will need to be in the office full time. This is so they can learn their roles and enjoy the social aspect of work. More senior staff are likely to rotate in attendance and on a needs must basis and work remotely for a lot of the time. A great working environment is therefore, essential for when people are in the office – it should be a place that embodies the culture of an organisation and gives employees a sense of belonging for when they are there.

Flexible working arrangements help with a better work/life balance. Employees can use the commute time, dealing with other things. Suddenly – a number of individuals have another couple of hours in the day they didn’t have before! Parents can more easily deal with childcare and do school runs, not have to take time off if a child is unwell, or to attend an assembly or nativity play, people can exercise more easily and use the additional time for leisure. This has a big knock on effect for employee wellbeing. There are of course several other benefits for employee wellbeing – I have covered them in blogs for Modulr Space Ltd and it has been widely written about. If you’d like to read more on this – please visit our news page. https://modulr.space/news

With the change in working practises, employees now expect the employer to provide office technology equipment (laptops, printers, screens) and also in some cases office furniture – desks, chairs etc… And to contribute to bills when working from home – such as electricity and Wi-Fi. SMART meters can be fitted to be able to measure this and bill accordingly.

Companies need to look to work out ways of ensuring their staff are working safely and effectively and maximising their productivity in work time. They also need to consider how to help employees feel connected and part of the team even if they are not altogether in person.

Employee Wellness:

An emphasis on Employee Wellness and a commitment from a prospective employer to contributing to employee wellness is another big and increasingly important factor for employees. Have you considered whether your current wellness programme meets what employees are actually looking for and now need? This is what I found when speaking to my candidate base.

Employees are ideally looking for health and wellness benefit options that match their personal lives and needs. They are more interested in holistic employee wellness plans that include both mind and body and help to manage potential mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression. This can include working from home, so they are able to work with less stress created by commuting and more time for physical, leisure and family activities. Mental health care could include wellness coachingmindfulness courses and in some cases individual therapy. According to ClassPass 88% of professionals who they surveyed said that they would be more likely to put in a good word for an employer who supports their wellbeing efforts.

Wellbeing also covers finance wellbeing and counselling. Financial stress can severely impact productivity and by being able to offer finance wellbeing programmes – from seminars, to workshops can help alleviate some of this stress and enable happier employees.  Increasingly we’ve seen businesses are now offering ‘knowledge share’ seminars in which different staff can share their specialisms – eg accountants on budgeting.

Personal Growth and Development:

Next on the list in terms of importance for candidates is personal growth and development.

‘I’d love to work for a company where people are encouraged to grow even if it meant to negotiate a bit on salary’

‘Actually investing in staff – training and coaching both new and existing staff. Happy Staff stay longer’

‘An organisation which invests in providing opportunities for its people to develop and grow’

The above quotes taken verbatim from responses to a Linkedin post I did recently about this very subject.

Candidates appear to be looking to companies to stay for the mid-long term at the moment. The trend for moving every couple of years has slightly changed with candidates looking to work for an organisation for 4-5 years, maybe longer as long as there is development and potential career progression. Retaining engaged and motivated staff saves enormous sums of money in recruitment and training of new staff – so this should be something that companies should be looking to invest in. Resources such as online learning platform Udemy were cited as attractive. Additionally company mentoring programmes were mentioned as being an attractive benefit / idea for employees’ personal development.


good holiday allowance is always attractive to candidates, the ability to purchase additional holiday is also something that we have seen an increase in interest in. The government passed a temporary law in March of this year allowing staff to rollover 4 weeks of their paid holiday due to COVID – this may not be something that employees look to do for 2021, but certainly something that they will want to be able to do in the future.

Additionally – as part of the wellness piece people would like some sort of family / care giver leave available to them.

Sense of security:

Increasingly and understandably candidates want to start a role with a sense of security. This can take several forms – they want to know that they will have job security of course – particularly if they have recently lost a job. But also this covers financial aspects of the overall package such as pension and health insurance. Company pension schemes vary in generosity – but to a great number of candidates this is a very important piece of the package puzzle. If a company offers a generous pension scheme – with contributions over the statutoryThis is very attractive for candidates.

Health insurance whether it be individual or family is also very important and high up on the list of ideal benefits for employees.


To the beginning of this year (2020) a bonus was an important part of the overall package for an employee. Interestingly – very few candidates brought this up as a requirement for their next role in our recent survey. It is a nice to have rather than a necessity and candidates would rather be paid market value or fairly for their experience and skills on the basic and have their package made up of other aspects than a monetary bonus. Everyone loves a bonus of course – if it is genuinely achievable and based on performance. I can only summise that the fact that very few employees are receiving a bonus this year as opposed to last may have influenced this. Perhaps this has ceased to be as important as it might have been before in better economic times. Personally – I think it is an important perk and helps employees strive further if there is a financial benefit for exceptional performance.

Car Allowance:

For most of our senior executive positions we would usually expect a car allowance to be given as part of an individuals’ package. However, thanks to the pandemic people have been unable to travel around and meet people as part of their roles or have needed to use a company car to make work journeys as they have been working from home. Very few candidates have cited a company car as being an important part of their package for a future role. The use of technology and video calls has to have had a significant bearing on the requirement for company cars. Most candidates who have enjoyed a car as part of their previous package would ideally look for this to be continued or made up on salary or alternative benefits.

Childcare Vouchers:

Most companies are open to discussing childcare vouchers with employees. It is certainly something that candidates are keen that a company is able to offer their employees.

Other Benefits and Perks:

Other benefits and perks that were brought up are Gym MembershipCycle to Work schemes, Eye care vouchers, platforms such as PerkBox. The ability to offer 1 or 2 days to work for a Charity – which is a nice way to help employees feel as if they are doing something good for the community beyond just working for a pay cheque was also suggested.

Benefits like fruit and dress down Fridays, bars etc… were seen as nice to haves – but by no means of significant importance to candidates.

In Conclusion:

From my research it seems to me that candidates are much more interested in the type of company they work for than in how much they earn from it. Candidates want to be paid their market rate in terms of salary. But most importantly they want to be valued as both employees of a business and as individuals. In terms of benefits and rewards packages – emphasis on wellbeing and more individual approach seem to be the most attractive options to candidates for 2021.

An environment where:

‘the employer values the quality of life of their employee and reflects this with flexible working options, mental health support etc…’

‘A fair and mutually supportive environment would be attractive in addition to flexible working, work / life balance with a reasonable salary that related to experience and qualifications’

Getting it right – how to future proof your Wellbeing strategy

The trends I’ve talked about here have been seen for a while – they are not all born out of Covid and we believe they are here to stay.  That does bring me back full circle to Modulr Space because a stand alone home office is now a significant benefit, both to the employee who has the use of it and the employer who owns the space (disclaimer – other home offices are available!)  This is not the only solution to the changing demands of the talent market of course, and not everyone would even be able to host one.  But, formalising the home office in terms of health and safety requirementsconfidentiality and productivity should be factored into future planning for TA and HR professionals particularly those dealing with significant numbers of senior staff.

Small Space by Modulr Space Ltd, flexible, architect designed, sustainable, tax efficient working from home solutions for business.

The other real constant running through our research that we have heard many times, has been the need to be heard and valued as individuals. People who can bring their authentic selves to work are more powerfully aligned to the shared success of the business as well as their own. A really easy and efficient way to create this relationship is to offer the right, well thought out range of benefits and salary sacrifice options, so that people can tailor it to make a real difference to their day to days lives. It could be childcare vouchers, gym membership, a home office, an EV or an enhanced pension – and over the course of a typical employment these choices will probably change. Employees have different needs and priorities and respecting that simple fact goes such a long way towards delivering a happy and engaged team.

By Jo van Riemsdijk

Director – CX Talent Ltd and Director – Modulr Space Ltd

At CX Talent Jo and I have long been interested in the whole end to end world of recruitment and what best practise should and does look like – we love the whole process. Here are some of the highlights, as well as news on our latest developments.


We start with the business problem – discussions with the hiring manager around what sort of skills and experience the client is looking for to solve their challenges or move them forward. We need to really understand that in order to be able to find the right talent, and it’s always an interesting and inspiring part of the job.


The candidate experience – this is so important! We are transparent about the opportunity and the salary banding from the word go, and of course we do all the due diligence we can to make sure that the role is real, signed off and ready to go. Candidates invest their time, effort, experience and skills in each and eery application (as do we), and we respect and support that. We try ago make sure that the process moves smoothly. momentum is maintained and feedback is timely. This isn’t always in our power, but we try!


The shortlist. Our shortlists are just that – having gone out to our network and had lots of conversations, we usually present between 4 an 6 excellent candidates for consideration – usually within around a week. We are able to do this because we’ve spent over 8 years building up our network of CX professionals and we know who we want to talk to about each role almost straight away. The way CVs are presented in the first place has evolved – many companies now ask for names and DOBs to be redacted and some go even further. We love getting involved with helping businesses act to reduce even unconscious bias in this space.


The result! A happy Client who has quickly and efficiently filled their role from a carefully and expertly curated shortlist so that in the quickest possible time they are up to speed with their brilliant new recruit in place. Their other applicants had a decent experience and their business brand is stronger than ever. And the right Candidate is in the best next job for their career!


Alongside the nuts and bolts of recruitment are the associated issues of employee wellbeing, rewards an benefit packages, bonus structures and so on – and working with HRs to advise on expectations and build the right package is another important part of the job. We’ve definitely see that changes emerging over the last few years have been accelerating in this aria. Overwhelmingly now people want some flexibility in how and where they work – and they are absolutely looking for this to be a permanent change post Covid.


This is partly what has led Jo van Riemsdijk (CX Talent co-founder as or course you know) and her architect husband Hans to develop their new business, Modulr Spaces Ltd. Modulr Spaces offers a premium, architect designed, plug and play office that can be delivered to almost the smallest of outdoor spaces and provided a comfortable, secure, sound proofed, ergonomically optimised office. It’s aimed at businesses to buy or lease for their staff, and we hope it will fill need for people who are continuing to work from home to be as productive an comfortable as possible.


So at CX Talent we are very much involved with launching and placing this hugely exciting new product and I am sure you will hear more about it! You can find out more from either of us and/or the link at the end of this article, and any feedback is gratefully received.


The core business of Customer Experience Specialist Recruitment, and the offering of our Magic Hour personal job search training sessions, continues as normal. We are currently recruiting in London, the Midlands, Europe and Japan, as you may have seen on other posts, and we hope to be busier than ever next year, so please stay in touch!

There is a LOT of help for job seekers available at the moment and it can be confusing to navigate.

Where do you start?

Definitely with the free stuff! A quick google search for hints and tips for jobseekers will bring you free advice on curating and styling your CV and LinkedIn profile, writing cover letters, practice questions for job interviews, tips on how to approach them on Zoom and much more.

Whose do you use?

Much of the information is common sense based and overlaps, some is specialist to particular industries – all of it is obviously generalised. Go to websites of recruiters you know, media outlets that are particularly relevant to your industry, or the large jobsite websites. Read around and find a source that offers advice you find helpful.

Many different people are offering paid-for services in addition to free help. Access to these can be as simple as buying a book on the subject! They also include specialist recruiters like us, career coaches, CV copywriters and others – we all offer different services and niche resources.

The different models:

There are different models to choose from – from one-off CV writing to subscription services. One-off copy writing services can be helpful but a word of warning here – make sure that your CV and cover letter read as authentically you – this is especially tricky now that documents need to be ATS friendly and be free of most formatting.

For a bit more of a financial commitment, subscription services give months of coaching together with access to supportive online communities which can be useful for networking as well as maintaining optimism and resilience through your search. Don’t forget that you can and should find and build your own community on LinkedIn too. If you are job-seeking, you should already be active on LinkedIn by engaging and commenting on posts and even posting yourself.

If you have more of a budget, you can align with a dedicated career coach to take you hand in hand through a personalised process and there are some very good people in this space. This can be expensive though, so try and get a personal recommendation, and be prepared to research a few so that you are sure you have the right fit for your personality and experience.

Which is going to offer the most value to you?

What do you need it to achieve? This obviously depends on your own personal requirements and needs. None of these options are a quick fix to ‘get a new job’ – this is all about supporting you in your process of finding the right one.

Like many other recruiters we at CX Talent Ltd offer a combination of free and personalised advice. There are hints and tips on our LinkedIn feed. We publish regular blogs on our website in the hope that they will help as many people as possible. We also post frequently on our Linkedin page – job tip reminders and encouragement.

What we offer –

If you want or need more focussed, personalise and individual advice – we offer a service called The Magic Hour. This is a purely bespoke and one to one deep dive look at your CV and LinkedIn profile, your jobseeking plans and your strategy. We don’t write your CV for you but we work through your experience with you to make sure that you are presenting your best, most hire-able self. We get your jobseeking self in its’ strongest possible shape and we support and encourage you in your search. It’s an opportunity to have a sounding board about a future direction and some no-nonsense feedback from a team who have been recruiters, hiring managers and of course candidates ourselves.

We’ve had some great feedback –

“It was really great to speak with you yesterday, I found the conversation, tips and guidance extremely useful and it has given me the boost and motivation to focus my efforts in a constructive and disciplined way to search and secure that new opportunity which is out there somewhere for me!”

“Speaking with Kate and Jo has been invaluable in understanding how to best position myself in the job market. Really deep diving into my CV and LinkedIn profile has placed me in a much more confident position regarding any future job hunt! Kate and Jo have a wealth of amazing experience and they chat with you openly and honestly, a great team to have in your corner.”

This may not be right for you at the moment – if you are on track with your collateral (CV etc) but need ongoing support, look to LinkedIn for a largely helpful community – find the relevant groups and get involved with conversations begun by leaders in your field.

If you are thinking of a career change, you may want to find a specialised career coach to work with you over a period of time.

For general good advice, use our free materials and those of other reputable recruiters, jobseeker websites and media outlets.

And of course, if you feel you could benefit from our one-to-one personalised advice to help you get started or to re-boot you on your job seeking journey, give us a call!

Customer Experience – A Business Critical Team:

In your business – where do you feel that RIGHT NOW there are business critical hires to be made?

If you are not thinking about your Customer Teams you could be making a costly mistake!

As we teeter on the edge of a second wave of this awful pandemic – shouldn’t you be really thinking about how to keep as many of your customers as possible? To do this – you need to: understand how they are feeling, what they need, how they want to be treated. Overlooking the importance of this could lead to huge swathes of customers going elsewhere. They will look to other businesses who are putting their needs at the heart of what they are doing. RIGHT NOW is the time for organisations to swiftly change and adapt their offerings to meet the needs of their customer bases.

ALL businesses serve customers – they are there and survive because of the customers who buy the product or service. This is irrespective of sector and whether you are B2C or B2B organisation.

Listen to your Customers, get Customer Programmes underway NOW:

If you don’t listen to your customer – how will you ensure that you are doing the best for them? You need to make sure that their needs and requirements are at the centre of strategic business decisions. If you aren’t doing the best for your customer – they will go elsewhere. New customers are a lot more expensive to find than the retention of existing ones! Existing customers often make recommendations to friends and family and businesses get more long term custom because of this. So – this is surely one of the most effective ways of marketing and one that is cost effective!

Businesses have become so process orientated – but those processes often aren’t to benefit the customer. They are to benefit the business – making it easier for the business to function. It does not necessarily make things better for the customer!

Investing in your customer teams and enabling your employees to really listen and understand what the customer wants will help organisations stop and think about whether implementing or changing something operationally will ultimately make the experience their customer has with the business better.

Meet and Exceed your Customer’s Expectations:

Since the first wave of this pandemic – when so many organsiations were – not to put too finer point on it – caught with their pants down! We have become acutely aware of how businesses need to adapt, meet and ideally exceed customer expectations at the moment in order to survive. Do you think that NOW might be the time to consider investing in those teams or customer projects?

Organisations investing in Customer Experience will surely be able to navigate their way through this and live to tell the tale. Please Don’t leave it too late or to chance. Invest in your Customer teams. Don’t leave recruitment of these individuals to chance. You need the very best people for your organisation and we can help find you the right person quickly, efficiently and effectively. We have spent 8 years growing and developing our candidate base. Whatever your sector, whatever the maturity of your CX programme, whatever level of individual you need – WE KNOW THEM and can get them into your business making a difference FAST!

CX Talent Ltd is an Independent Customer Experience Recruitment Specialist. We have candidates at all levels. We are only interested in putting the right person into the right role. For all your Customer talent requirements – please contact us today. We are ready and here to help! www.cxtalent.co.uk

I’m seeing this more often as new insight is getting published, and I REALLY hope we can make it true.

Two examples from last week – 1. the restaurant of an adventure park. One way system in place, fine.  We were seated and had to order food on an app and then pay for it. It took half an hour to be delivered, we were with children, it was boring. We had to order drinks separately (and pay on the app again but in a separate transaction) – they took 20 minutes to come. If we wanted pudding, we had to order again and pay in a 3rd transaction. The menu was limited to 3 deep-fried options and there was not table service. This was set up to be easier and cheaper for the business with fewer staff needed and restricted food options, at the cost of the ease of the customer – and that’s what it felt like. We cancelled supper for the second night there.

And – 2.  A rural pub in Norfolk for another family meal.  One way system in place, fine.  A warm welcome when we were seated.  They had obviously taken on additional (friendly) staff so that all orders for food and drinks were efficiently taken and delivered by table service as we couldn’t go to the bar, a wide menu of fresh food and the bill (and big tip) at the end.  This business was thinking about their customer experience and making changes aimed around putting that first and it really showed!  It was a safe, lovely experience and we recommended it to friends and went back for another meal. It was the Wiverton Bell if anyone wants a recommendation for a North Norfolk meal, by the way!  Have the crab salad!

I really hope people will be active about sharing and talking about their good experiences and helping those businesses who are rising to the challenges we are all facing, and being true to their brands and themselves.

Whether you are a village pub or a global B2B organisation or anything in between – CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MATTERS!!

It’s true, COVID has had a devastating effect on the recruitment market. Understandably as the worst recession was recently announced – organisations are battening down the hatches and doing what they can to protect the staff they have. Jolly good for them for doing so! Great staff are literally worth their weight in gold! So is the sun setting on traditional recruitment agencies?

Is Anyone Recruiting?

Are, or will organisations be recruiting for new staff? In some cases yes and in a lot of cases no! Very, very generally speaking that depends on the sector and the discipline. It also depends on the strategy of any individual business. Will companies be recruiting directly rather than using agencies – same as above – in a few cases yes and in a lot of cases no! In house resourcing teams will be under pressure to reduce costs and in a lot of instances that will mean not using agencies.  Sadly – it will lead to the demise of several of the recruitment agencies we all know. It will be a survival of the fittest for sure.

The Dawn of a New Era for recruitment?

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The positives as an industry should be that we can change recruitment for the better. Many of the sharp practices that have become synonymous with recruitment consultants (some totally unfounded and unfair by the way) will have to end. The great agencies who offer over and above client and candidate expectations will prevail and rightly so! Recruitment has the chance to really clean its act up and together with the hiring organisations we can make a difference and improve the current inadequate processes.

If you don’t use an Agency are you REALLY cost cutting?

In terms of cost cutting – many of the roles that will need to be filled are likely to be business critical. In other words – super urgent! In those instances, resourcing teams would be well advised to seek out a specialist agency. Those roles need filling fast! You need to be efficient with your time and resource. The cost of employing an agency who already has a huge network of candidates in the relevant space is totally counteracted by getting the right person into the business quickly and efficiently.

Use a Specialist Agency:

Specialist Agencies know the people in their market – it is their business to do so. They know who has what skills, experience and their availability. They know how to get in touch with those brilliant candidates quickly and easily and most importantly – efficiently. In the instance of CX Talent Ltd – whatever level candidate you need from CXO to CX Manager – anywhere in the country – we would be confident of getting you someone brilliant within a week to two weeks. Obviously – things can take rather longer on the client side with aligning diaries etc.. but as an in house resource , you could completely leave it up to us to find you someone whilst you get on with other tasks.

Getting candidates into business critical roles – especially now, quickly, is cost saving in itself!

So Sunset or Sunrise?

To conclude – though things are a bit grim at the moment, they won’t be forever! In House Resourcers and Recruitment Agencies will continue to work together. Relationships between agencies and companies should be strong and mutually beneficial. We should be using this time to make sure that all candidates as well as clients have a good recruitment experience.  This will improve recruitment for all (genuinely – please believe me on this!) – but that’s a whole new subject for another day!

Those agencies who continue behave well, add real and tangible value, treat candidates with respect and try to help wherever they can – will prevail!  I am certain of that – even in my darkest hours (and I’ll be honest there have been quite a few as job after job gets pulled) – I have never considered the prospect of CX Talent disappearing into the ether. So – best foot forward, chin up, and keep on keeping on!



For any Customer Experience or customer related roles – please do get in touch with us at CX Talent Ltd. We care about finding you the right person for your role and the right role for our candidates. Get in touch today. www.cxtalent.co.uk. jovr@cxtalent.co.uk


How and Why did we come up with the idea of The Magic Hour?

You may have seen us posting about our new service – which we’ve called The Magic Hour. The name was coined by one of our candidates who we helped with some coaching and advice earlier on this year.

Essentially – The Magic Hour is an individually tailored, one to one coaching session where we review your CV and make recommendations on how to improve it, how to make it ATS friendly and how to show yourself off to the best advantage. We also look at your LinkedIn profile and make recommendations on how to change it and how to post to improve your visibility on the platform. We explain how recruitment in the UK works and how to navigate your way through it. We encourage you to work out and articulate what you enjoy about your role and home in on what exactly you are looking for next.  We also give some general advice around job searching and your individual job search plan.  We believe that it gives candidates a sound base from which to launch their job search and helps them secure their next role more quickly.

My Own Experience:

The idea for this came from my experience of being made redundant a few years ago. I felt like I had been cast out to sea – with no direction or understanding about how to best go about finding my next role. It left me feeling very vulnerable and exposed and the experience of this has been one that has been long lasting in my professional life. I wanted to be able to help candidates by providing a useful service to help them take back control of their job search in these very strange and unpredictable times. I wish I had had something similar – it would have saved me weeks / months of floundering about like a mad woman (read my redundancy post!).

In the normal run of things when we are briefed by a client for a role, we start by having a chat about which candidates on our database and network would be a good fit for the position, and who from that list might be ready for their next move.  Then we’d schedule a conversation and go through a very similar process to the Magic Hour, but obviously tartgeted to the new brief.  So we coach candidates through aligning their skills and experiences as closely as possible to the role profile to make sure that the most relevant strengths are easily apparent to the client.

At the moment we have very few ‘live’ briefs on the go!  But we want to keep talking to people and helping candidates to be as strong and focussed as possible in their job searches, so in order to be able to keep doing that we’ve streamlined and focussed our experience and advice and come up with The Magic Hour. This is a fixed fee service we have priced at £150 incl VAT.

We have talked to candidates across the private, public and third sectors in the UK and internationally – consultancies, agencies and in-house clients – and we have seen what works.  We’ve placed candidates in huge complex global businesses and smaller, owner managed companies, and we’ve been doing this successfully since 2012.  There are thousands of professionals on our database and we’ve talked to them all!

A Complete 360 degree view of recruitment:

Before becoming recruitment consultants we have both been candidates (obviously!) and hiring managers, so we really do have a 360 degree view of the process and we have consistently had positive feedback from our sessions.  In fact our business has grown precisely because our candidates often become our clients as they move through their careers and grow their own teams.  So we are confident that we add value.

We are partnering with some clients at the moment and working on some fantastic opportunities and our network of candidates can absolutely rest assured that we will be actively in touch about those as and when appropriate.  The idea is that you do not need to be a candidate for a specific role in order to benefit from our help and advice, or even a CX professional – The Magic Hour is relevant to candidates across any discipline and industry.

Those who do not undertake The Magic Hour will be at no less of an advantage for future roles with us as we are ONLY interested in fitting the right candidate with the right job. That approach will never change at CX Talent Ltd.

The Magic Hour is there to help keep you going in your job search. If you decide you’d benefit from our in depth advice and book a package – you’ll be helping us keep going too!

Here are some recent testimonials:
‘I’d recommend THE MAGIC HOUR, 100%. CX Talent Ltd care, that shows in the EPIC service they provide!’ –

“I found the conversation, tips and guidance extremely useful and it has given me the boost and motivation to focus my efforts in a constructive and disciplined way to search and secure that new opportunity which is out there somewhere for me!”

‘I loved my magic hour, it was not only informative it also motivated me to do things differently…. a real breath of air. Thanks Jo & Kate’.


Are there any positive outcomes for Customer Experience Recruitment from COVID?

As a Director and owner of CX Talent Ltd, I have spent many hours lamenting the lack of CX roles, wondering if we can continue to trade as a business with the very few roles we’ve managed to hold on to and fill during the last few months. I know that I am not alone in this – many of the recruitment agencies we all know of may sadly not make it through. In House resourcing teams are under enormous pressure to fill roles internally rather than use agency partners in order to help reduce costs. We’ve all seen the tsunamis of candidates applying for each and every role! With that sort of role demand – what’s the point of appointing an agency? I wont lie – there have been moments of panic and several sleepless nights!

Advantages of Appointing an Agency at this moment in time:

There are many advantages to appointing a specialist recruitment agency for specialist roles. In a nutshell, we can fill them REALLY quickly and efficiently with the right people and the best talent, while ensuring an excellent candidate experience. I don’t need to advertise unless we don’t have the right people with the right skill set, in the right location for the right money. Other than that – we use our extensive network and database. But enough of that – I’ve talked about it at length in previous posts and this is not the purpose of this particular post

I still have moments of despair and worry about the state of the economy and the lack of roles out there. However, I do have more and more moments of clarity and positivity. I’d like to share them as even in adversity you can find positives to reflect upon:

Listening and Talking with increased number of diverse individuals:

Over the past few months I have spoken to several fantastic individuals both from the CX world and external to it. I have really enjoyed listening to other people’s stories and in many cases being able to help them move forward effectively in their job search. LinkedIn has been our mouthpiece to talk about issues around recruitment and customer experience that we find useful and interesting (and hopefully you do too). Our post engagement seems to be growing – so I take this as a good sign?!

Our huge and rapidly growing top talent database:

Our candidate database, which was already amazing, is now bursting at the seams with the most amazing Customer Experience candidates. I would be confident of filling any Customer Insight, Research, Strategy, Implementation, Change and Transformation, Digital, Product role in a heartbeat. When the market does eventually return to some degree of normality our reach in the Customer Experience world both here in the UK also internationally looks likely to be unrivalled.

Kindness and Longevity of relationships:

We’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness and graciousness of those candidates and individuals that we have spoken to and advised, some of whom have even gone on to publicly thank us. I cannot tell you how much that means to both Kate and myself, it makes all the hours of work and all the conversations more than worthwhile. We see our relationship with candidates and contacts as ongoing and beyond just the next role. Whether we place candidates this time or in 1,2 or 5 years is irrelevant – once you are in our world you’ll stay in it as long as you’d like to, whether that be as candidate or client.

Magic Hour:

We continue to offer and enjoy our Magic Hour sessions with candidates and again, are delighted with the feedback and thanks we have received. These are not just interesting but also so rewarding, as we are helping people position themselves to their best advantage to help them secure the next role – wherever that might be from.

Best Mates and Laughter:

Talking personally – I am so lucky to work with one of my dearest friends. There is never a day that goes by that we don’t find something to laugh at! We pick each other up off the floor when needed and celebrate when things go well. We discuss the matters of the day, current affairs (always an opinion to be shared and very usually agreed upon), and very occasionally the frustrations of being a WFH mum of school age children (Quite a few actually) and newly WFH partners as well (Quite a lot more!).  I genuinely would not enjoy my job as half as much if it was not for the fact I work with Kate.

So all in all – though business may not be where I’d like it to be and though I’m not able to help as many of our candidates into roles as I would like, I count my blessings.  It might just be that when we get out of these strange times or indeed learn to live with them – CX Talent Ltd will be better, stronger and more resilient as a business than ever before.

If you are thinking of expanding your customer teams and need to act fast and efficiently – please contact Kate or myself. We pride ourselves on being open and transparent and kinder than many other agencies out there. We are fast, efficient and offer the best candidate and client experience we possibly can and WE REALLY CARE about doing the best job, finding the best talent and finding the best talent the right jobs.

Are we being too quick to abandon the physical office?


I signed up with a temping agency after graduating – I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do and needed to earn some money.  After sending me around a selection of advertising agencies I was sent to the Really Useful Group (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theatre production company) as temporary secretary to the Head of Marketing.  I didn’t know that Arts Administration was even an option, but I loved it, stayed, got offered a permanent job, and that was the start of a 15 year career in theatre production, pr, marketing and management.


So going into different offices gave me the chance to find a career I loved but more than that, being in the office with older, successful professionals actually taught me HOW to do these jobs.  I listened to phone conversations, went along to meetings, visited the different box offices / ticket agents / ad agencies / theatres themselves and saw and heard all these different professionals at work.


How are people learning how to do their jobs?  Online mentoring and zoom meetings are  great, really valuable – but not the same as sitting in an office actually hearing different people engage, negotiate, present, make business cases and generally helping you find our own professional voice.


Jo and I were able to start CX Talent Ltd over eight years ago now because of our experience and interests – we had both been regularly recruited and been hiring managers and knew what worked and how to deal with people and their careers not as transactional target points but the real life events they are.  In addition we both had different but valuable understanding of customer experiences in different industries and were interested and connected enough to find out more.


Our careers would have looked very different without the real time exposure to our business environments.


What can we do to help young people starting their careers to broaden out their learning?  My feeling is that businesses will gradually bring back most of their workers for most of the week to an office environment despite all the early thinking that almost all staff who can do will start to WFH.


As well as the learning environment provided by the shared workspace there is also the creative and competitive buzz – of solving problems, innovating, sharing a laugh or encouraging each other along.


There are real issues for businesses to weigh up here – how much office square footage can be safely lost without loosing out to these other, difficult to quantify issues?  I hope that we are able to go into this change carefully and with consideration to future proofing in terms of long term resilience and keeping the pipeline of new talent on track.


For a conversation about talent planning or customer experience recruitment please do get in touch – we are specialists in this field with client across many sectors and industries in the UK and internationally.


If you are a candidate in the current market please check out our website and LinkedIn page for free access to hints and tips to support your job search, or for a personalised session consider booking a Magic Hour.

As we’re emerging from lockdown and easing back into the world it’s interesting to look at the new behaviours that could improve our lives in the future – and what we’ll be happy to leave behind.


Remote working – this is the big one and there has been a lot of focus on it.  Companies can no longer claim that productivity has to suffer and many more people will be working for part of the week from home.  This will have a really positive impact not only on work / life balance for individuals and families, but also on the wider transport system and environment as collectively there will be a significant impact on the number of journeys taken each week.

But also…. the joys of office working – despite the advantages of working from home many workers are keen to get back to the office at least part time.  The company culture, camaraderie, feeling of teamwork and shared endeavour are all stronger and more accessible when we’re physically together.

Busy = important?  Let’s leave this one behind.  I hope that the forced slower pace of the last few months helps us be more mindful about what we WANT to do and break the cycle of doing everything we CAN do just because it’s there.   Stress as a status symbol seems a very old fashioned pose when we are surrounded by the horribly real issues provoked by Covid-19.  Let’s keep focussing on productivity, not hours at the desk.

Customer service is JUST as important as we knew it was – as customers we’ve given companies the benefit of the doubt for months about long wait times for reduced support,  but all the signs are there that we have had enough of poor customer service and want our issues resolved now!  Businesses which acted with the best intentions to hastily adapt processes in order to keep afloat now need to accelerate when it comes to aligning those processes with customer satisfaction.  Customer loyalty is more important than ever and businesses that are doing well in terms of both customer and employee engagement are very visible – these actions now will be remembered!  Good Customer Experience is the KEY differentiator – and both successes and failures are widely shared.

Deliveries – I think we’ll all keep on shopping more online.  The extra billions enjoyed by Jeff Bezos over the last few months as a result of Amazon’s success reflect the trend for taking advantage of the convenient and efficient access to almost everything we need, delivered to our door.

Cleaning – the rise of the anti-bac!  I am sure that this will gradually relax and that hairdressers for example won’t need to ostentatiously wipe down each chair between clients – but it seems likely that we’ll all keep the habit of being more aware of keeping especially shared spaces a lot cleaner.

LinkedIn and virtual networking – LinkedIn particularly has seen a huge surge in networking as people use the platform to connect, build relationships and successfully find new roles.  It’s great to see the support being offered – and the positive results will keep us all coming back for more.

Raised profile for health and care workers – they’ve always been appreciated but now they are rightly celebrated.  Let’s hope (and lobby for) better pay and conditions for these sectors in the future.

Pets – lots of people have used the time at home as an opportunity to get a cat or dog, knowing they can spend the time training and socialising them.  I hope that the pets will adapt as we go back to work, they might find the adjustment difficult at first, but hopefully a new balance of home and office working will ensure success.

Community and creativity – we’ve found different ways to be sociable and communities have found many ways of supporting each other. From making phone calls, delivering food and prescriptions, timed celebrations on VE day and the clap for carers bringing us together, to hyper local seed swaps for people spending more time in their gardens – hopefully some of these links will endure.

Recruitment – we’re talking to people all the time in different sectors and waiting to see how this will change.  Many companies are coming to the end of recruitment freezes and looking to solve their own new problems.  Customer Experience looks likely to be more important than ever as people are more careful with their spending and each buying experience matters for products and services across the board.


If your company is recruiting in the CX space give us a call – we are expert specialist recruiters who have spent over 8 years building a network of customer experience candidates.  We understand the sector and will curate a shortlist of fantastic talent for your role, leaving your hiring manager and HR to get on with the many other demands of the complicated present.

If you’re a CX professional looking for your next role, get in touch – we are always happy to chat and make sure you are in our database.  We are actively working on roles and may have the right one for you.