Tag Archive for: The Magic Hour

Poor Candidate Experience can damage your Brand.

Kate and I have not always been in recruitment – I personally have been a Picture Researcher, an Account Manager, A Business Development Manager, A Commercial Director and now Recruitment Consultant. Kate has been involved in Theatre, Production and PR in General Management and is now a Recruitment Consultant. Why you may think? Isn’t recruitment dirty and nasty and doesn’t everyone hate you?! Well – yes! But that is why we wanted to do it, because we wanted to do it better and make a difference.

We’ve both been a candidate, We’ve been a Hiring Managers and we like people! We have seen and experienced recruitment from all sides. I am good at Relationship Building, I’m good at selling (though this should not be a big part of my current role) and I care about people getting and doing jobs they love. Kate is too – but she brings the operational focus. The only BIG JOY of being in recruitment is knowing we have placed someone in an awesome role that is completely right for them. If it is right for them – it’s right for the client and great things can happen! As we know – businesses are created by people, run by people and are nothing without their people – so more effort should be placed on finding the right people – Right?!!

When I started up CX Talent Ltd with my friend Kate Baird we didn’t start out as CX recruiters. We started out trying to help local businesses by providing them with short term and interim candidates to help run high level projects. It didn’t work! We fell into CX recruitment almost by mistake – but quickly realised that there was a big gap there, where those recruiting for the roles didn’t understand what they were recruiting for as the roles tended to be so diverse and complex. CX Candidates were completely unrepresented at that time and we found a lovely niche in an area that I would have probably found myself in had I not had my children. We’ve grown our business slowly and organically. Most of our business to date has been by referral and from many of our amazing candidates who like our approach.

What is our approach?

Simply to not be like the other recruitment agencies out there. Don’t get me wrong – there are some awesome ones and those we applaud. However, as you will be aware a great number of people and companies in recruitment have an awful name and reputation and we DON’T want to be like them! We TRY to be as personal as possible, talking and viewing our candidates as individuals not numbers. We try to give as much information and advice to help them secure their next role – irrespective of whether it is with us. Ideally of course – we would place every single person, but that simply isn’t possible. We LISTEN to what our client’s want in a person and then look to our network to find those people. When we have been given a briefing for a role – we don’t immediately rush out and advertise it. We don’t tell our candidates to check roles on our website – we proactively inform candidates when we have a role that is suitable for them. When we’ve been given a briefing – we will already have a few people in mind and those are the first we speak to. Then we go into the database and look to see who else might be interested, then Linkedin and then and ONLY then will be advertise for a role. That is only if we don’t have enough people with the right skill set in the right location for the right money.

So is that why I’m not be familiar with your brand?!

You wont have seen us advertising very often on Linkedin or other job boards. We are not overly shouty about ourselves – but maybe we should be?! Our candidate base is AWESOME full of amazing CX professionals of all levels. If you need someone in this field, In House or Consultancy – seriously look no further – we’ll have them! Other specialist agencies will have amazing candidates in their fields.


Who goes into the Hiring Process with joy in their hearts?

Absolutely No-one!

Customer Experience Recruitment – made easy

What I would like is for when In House Resourcing Managers and Hiring Managers have to recruit for CX roles – they think of us. They don’t think – OH GOD! I’ve got to recruit – this is going to be painful. Which is certainly the current way that people feel when they have to recruit!  Instead of that – they think: – ‘OK – I’ve got a role to fill – I’ll call Kate or Jo and they will get it sorted. It won’t be painful or laborious – it will be a great partnership’. We’ll get them the right person into that position as seamlessly as possible. Shouldn’t recruitment be like that – always for all roles?

I know that there are a lot of great In House resourcing teams – fantastic! However, they are often working on far more roles than a Recruitment Consultant is and they can be hugely varied. The In-House Resourcer is often far more stretched than a Recruitment Consultant. With the more complex and specialist roles – like CX, Customer Insight, Transformation, Digital CX, UX, UX Research etc… it is surely easier for these teams to look to a specialist agency to help them find that talent? It is cost effective to get those people in place in a business as soon as possible. It saves on advertising costs and allows those In House Resourcers to get on and fill the roles that are easier to fill – where they don’t necessarily need expert knowledge to know who is suitable for a role and who is not.

I’ve read so many posts on Linkedin recently by people who have had appalling candidate experiences, where they are one of maybe 400 applicants or more for a role. They are often feeling vulnerable due to not being in work and are susceptible to take the silence badly. Don’t damage your brand by offering bad recruitment experiences. As Noah Halperin (a recent contact on Linkedin) so eloquently said in a recent post – ‘People are not a product and processing them like they are is to the detriment of all’. How can recruitment have become like this? People hire people – yet it’s become very transactional and dehumanised.

How can we help to overcome this?

Why not consider using the smaller Independent Specialist recruitment agencies for the more complex roles? They are often owner run and always want to do a great job – this in turn always ensures a great recruitment experience for both candidate and client. It will protect your brand and you might just help keep some of them in business! It is surely a win win!!?

If you’ve got a role – please don’t just look at the PSL agencies. Please look beyond and see if there are others who can offer you a better service – you may be pleasantly surprised!

If you are preparing for an interview or even looking for your next role – take the time to have a think about how to present yourself on a video call – it will be worth it!


First and foremost, do your homework in the normal way.  Re-read the job description, research the company, prepare some questions as well as answers to standard interview situations like – why did you leave your last role?  What are your weaknesses?


Write down a list of your own strengths and successes and have this to hand.  Having these at the front of your mind will make it MUCH easier to bring out examples to illustrate your skills and experience.


Think about the technical side.  Make sure you are well lit – no on wants to interview a shadowy outline!  But not dazzled either as this will be distracting for you.  See if you can set up your computer in front of a window with a white or cream blind to even out the glare.


Make sure that the background for your call is neutral and tidy – again you want to cut down on distractions.  I would recommend a tidy room in your home as better than a Zoom background screen, you want to appear authentic.


Check your clothes.  It may be by video from home but it IS an interview so treat it as a formal meeting and dress accordingly.  No stripes, small graphics or neon colours, they will all distort on a screen.  Make sure to present yourself in a professional way.


Practise looking at the camera on your screen instead of at the interviewers’ eyes – you will make a better connection.  Remember that you’re only seeing (and showing) about 25% of each other on screen so you may want to ramp up non verbal engagement signals such as nodding, smiling and using hand gestures  (take it easy here!!).


Record yourself on a practise interview with a friend – it really is the best way to improve your delivery and well worth the time.


And finally, allow some extra time at the start of the interview to check your tech – check your camera is on, your audio is working, your son isn’t downloading a massive game upgrade which is likely to interfere with your connection (personal experience anyone?!), your wifi isn’t having a wobble – think of this as your journey to the meeting and leave time for a margin of error.  You don’t want to ‘arrive’ late or flustered – but calm, well prepared and in control!


Very best of luck with the job search and please do get in touch for more help and advice.

Businesses and recruiters who are able to empathise and act with (professional) personability will always do best – now more than ever when all brands are under scrutiny about how they are reacting to the COVID – 19 situation.


From a recruiters’ point of view, you are likely to get a larger than normal candidate pool of interest in any roles you are currently looking to fill.  This will of course add pressure to your Resourcing / HR team – but the candidate experience is still an important ‘touch-point’ with the wider world for you as a brand, and the process must still be handled with respect and integrity.


We’re hearing more often about companies ‘ghosting’ candidates with no feedback or replies at all, and hearing too about how unpleasant and even degrading this feels when someone has taken the time and care to apply for your role.  Doing the courtesy of sending a short reply is an easy win in terms of retaining credibility as a brand prepared to care for its’ employees going forwards.


Being open about the interview process and timeframe is another easy win – if you can manage candidate expectations from the outset it is much more likely that they will stay engaged (don’t forget, strong candidates will be applying to other jobs too!).  Especially as traditional processes of face to face interviews in physical offices are being discarded, it’s vital to set out your expectations in terms of interview rounds, assessments and virtual working frameworks. It’s such a shame to lose candidates to other organisations because they were quicker in their processes than you! By keeping candidates engaged in the process – even if you are not as quick as others, you are less likely to lose them.


For candidates – bear in mind that businesses are dealing with higher levels of applicants and be prepared to be patient.  Be extra careful to tailor your CV to each and every application to make sure that your skills and experience align as well as possible with the job description to get through that first stage  – the ATS system.


Also remember – skills and experience are vital of course, but approach and attitude count too!  Try and build in some ‘WHO YOU ARE’ as well as ‘WHAT YOU DO’ into your CV –  think about why you want this role and why you are interested in this particular company.  Mention both these things clearly in your covering letter.  And, walk the walk.  Think about what really drives you and then be proactive (and professional) on social media platforms.  Put together a list of all the things you’ve done in your career to date that you are particularly proud of. In our world of Customer Experience that would include VoC programmes that have worked well, examples of where you have personally improved the Customer Experience, examples of where you have shown excellent stakeholder engagement and influencing skills. Listing all of these examples down will mean you don’t forget them in interview.


The recruitment process can and should be a great start to a long relationship with a new employee and a fabulous chance to show the human face of a brand – it can provide a useful and insightful window into the business for a wider market.  In fact, don’t let it be anything else!  There is a lot of pressure out there at the moment and it’s more important than ever for everyone in the process to be kind and empathetic.  It will pay dividends.



Some further advice – for recruiters think now more than ever what an independent specialist recruiter can do for you in terms of understanding your needs and acting as your front line in finding the perfect candidate, and for candidates – stay positive and proactive!  We have more help at www.cxtalent.co.uk/the-magic-hour/

Have You Been Made Redundant? Lost your job? This is My Story:

I’ve seen a lot of posts recently about redundancy. About how people are feeling and what they should do next. In a previous life way before I became a recruitment consultant – I was working in a Media organisation and lost my job!

I hope that my own experience and insights might give any of you in this situation some solace and some notion that it WILL BE ALRIGHT!

I was somewhat younger than I am now but I have NEVER forgotten how I felt, what I did and the mistakes that I made. To say that I lost my confidence would be an understatement. It absolutely destroyed me! I was young and, in my mind, invincible and absolutely BRILLIANT (in my own opinion) at the role!! So how could this happen? What was it about me (and 3 others I might add) that led to this?!

I mean how could they get rid of SUCH an indispensable member of staff?! Why me? Why not Janet from Accounts or Cliff from IT? Well – this is an easy one! IT WAS A BUSINESS DECISION! It had NOTHING to do with me, nothing to with my skills or ability to do the job. The ROLE had been made redundant, not me as a person. This is so important to realise – it is not you, you are just as employable as you were before. The business has made a decision that THE ROLE cannot be substantiated and so the decision has been made to make THE ROLE redundant. In all honesty – It took me years to actually realise that and come to terms with it.

I realise now – with several years of hindsight – that work categorically defined who I was. Without the job – who on earth was I? Maybe that very question led me to feel so panicked and lost?! Before a husband and children – as a young person intent on having a great time with their friends, there was not much else in my mind that defined who I was. But, again with hindsight there was a lot about me that defined who I was and work was just one part of that and when I got a new role that would add to who I was – it would not COMPLETE who I was. I think a number of people do this – allow work to become such a huge part of their life that it becomes all consuming – keep perspective on this if you can.

The feelings I had after ‘the meeting’ were disbelief, anger, sadness, disappointment and panic! How could this be? What was I going to do? Quick – get a new job!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Unfortunately for me – I let these feelings completely overtake me!

So, what did I do?! I would call it the headless chicken approach! I contacted and met over 26 recruitment agencies – surely, the more agencies I was listed with – the easier it would be to find a role?! WRONG! I was at that point under the false illusion that recruitment agencies would contact you to let you know about roles that they might have for which I was suited. Some did – but a great many did not. I also thought that they had hundreds of roles all the time that maybe they weren’t telling me about. WRONG! I had no idea how sales driven recruitment was, how jobs needed to be filled quickly, how the recruitment consultants were looking for their next roles all of the time! I was also under the illusion that the recruitment consultants would act as my advocate, helping to sell me into the client as a strong contender for the role. WRONG! I was often sent in with several other candidates often without any supporting evidence of why I might be the right person for the role.

The agencies I dealt with at THAT time – were not interested in me at all as a candidate. Fortunately – today, there are a lot of agencies that do care.

I’m not trying to turn this post into a massive sales pitch – but at CX Talent Ltd we genuinely care about our candidates. We do proactively contact candidates to let them know about roles we are working on that might suit them. We work really hard as candidate advocates. A great deal of our approach was borne out of the time that I was looking for a role and trying to provide a service that I would have found appealing and helpful as a candidate.

I applied for hundreds of jobs – using the same CV assuming that whoever saw the CV would READ it and automatically see that I had some good transferable skills if they read between the lines. WRONG! Resourcing teams usually only look at CV’s for about 6 seconds. They dont always read between the lines – some do, but most do not! And that’s assuming that my CV even got through the then very basic ATS systems! I used the scattergun approach – what an unbelievable WASTE OF TIME!!! I could have been spending my time being so much more effective!

When I lost my job it was a beautiful spring / summer – very much like it has been to date. But I didn’t go out and enjoy the sun, I didn’t read more books or meet with friends for coffee. I sat at my computer ALL DAY EVERY DAY – thinking that if I didn’t then I was not doing enough to get a job. Shouldn’t getting a job be like having a job – shouldn’t finding a job BE the job?! Well – again, with hindsight I would say no! Because I became OBSESSED with trying to find the next job and allowed the panic to set in and grow so I became desperate. I would go to interviews and almost terrify the interviewer with my keenness and would not necessarily present the redundancy issue as well as I could have. So I would come across frequently as a bit bitter.

I needed to accept and come to terms with what had happened to me. My headless chicken approach clearly delayed the acceptance stage for me. In fact I don’t think I really reached that until I had my next role. It took me about 4 and a half months of utter madness and sadly weight gain – before I got the next role. Thanks to an incredible MD and great senior management team – I rebuilt the confidence in my abilities and stayed for nearly 9 years!

Having this experience has given me a personal insight into what it means for someone to lose their job.

I have been both Hiring Manager, Candidate and now Recruitment Consultant so I have a 360 degree view of job searching. I wish I had had someone to give me a true insight into what it means to look for a role and how recruitment works.

CX Talent Ltd offers a bespoke tailored package for candidates for a fixed fee to help – if that level of support is required. It’s called The Magic Hour – (though its longer than that!). However, here are some tips from me to you – to help harness that panic and use it for positive action.

1.Write a CV that really emphasises your key skills and those skills that are transferable. BE PREPARED TO TAILOR IT EVERY SINGLE TIME!
2.Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and that you have SEO’d it so that people looking for someone like you can easily find you.
3.Do reach out to agencies if you see them advertising roles you might be interested in.
4.Do reach out to agencies who are specialists in your field. Independent Specialists are by far the best!
5.Dont register with 26 agencies – that is completely INSANE!
6.Make a job seeking plan and stick to it!
7.Spend no more than 2 hours a day looking for and applying for jobs – it does not matter whether you are the first or last person to apply for a role.
8.Get in touch with old bosses and your network and let them know you are on the look out for a new role
9.Dont be afraid to proactively get in touch with companies you might like to work for.
10.Keep perspective – there are a lot of people in your shoes at the moment. It will take some time – but you will PREVAIL!

Losing my role – was awful. But it made me the person I am today. I honestly believe it made me better as a person – more empathetic, more resilient. I developed an understanding that NO-ONE is indispensable – EVER! Without meaning to sound like my Mother – it was a very character building time! It’s definitely helped me in my role as Recruitment Consultant.

So PLEASE keep the faith – it will be OK! You will get through this! Be targeted in your job search, tailor your applications and TRY NOT TO PANIC! Good Luck!

If you need any help or advice please contact us at CX Talent Ltd – we will do what we can to help. 01279 550102