2016 – The Year of the Candidate?

The Year of the Candidate - 2016

2016 has been dubbed ‘the year of the candidate’ as the job seeker’s position strengthens and the job creator’s gets tougher. The Office of National Statistics found that 7.7 million of the UK’s workers plan to make looking for a new job in 2016 their new year’s resolution – that’s over half.

There seems to be two main reasons that this has been predicted, following activity over the last few years. To begin with, it seem that many employees are unhappy in their current role. Lack of job satisfaction and a feeling of being undervalued are often cited as the main reasons for unhappiness in the workplace, and there is often an aspect of ‘the grass is always greener’. However, candidates are also become savvy to the fact that they may be in the driving seat, or at least feel they are in a position to make positive steps to change their career for the better. Gaining a sense of empowerment to take control of your own employment opportunities may be down to the continued skills shortages which show no sign of slowing in 2016.

Candidates are increasingly realising that there is more opportunity for flexibility and that there may well be a more suited and satisfying job out there for them. It helps that moving from job-hopping (in moderation) isn’t as frowned upon and doesn’t hold quite the negative connotations it once did. With a new sense of power businesses may have to work even harder to secure the right candidates for their organisations and specific roles.

A new year, a new job, is a typical story and although over half of the UK’s workers plan to job hunt in the new year, the amount that do, and the amount the do so successfully will no doubt be significantly less. However organisations should not underestimate the strength job seekers will continue to enjoy. We’ve talked a number of times about the rise in flexible working and the desire for more of a work life balance and this plays a key role here. It seems candidates also have more flexibility with location as jobs are continually becoming more decentralised. Although London will still remain the country’s main job-hub in 2016, there is likely to be significant job growth in other major cities including Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds and Bristol.

If you’re looking for the ideal candidate for your position, please get in touch and see how we can help. We have an ever growing database of candidates and great relationships with some fantastic professionals who are on the lookout for the right fit for them.

Employer Branding

stretta di mano uomo in ufficio per colloquio di lavoro

Due to growing competition in acquiring talent, professionals now have a far greater choice over where they work and who they work for. This shift in power now means that companies are having to sell themselves even more so than ever. General corporate marketing simply will not suffice anymore. Employer branding focuses on highlighting employee experience, promoting the appeal of working for their company, and outlining all the perks of working for that company and how it would benefit the employee. Before social media existed, employers had a degree of freedom to promote their internal processes in a good light regardless of the internal state of the company, and rarely wold people question it. However, employees have such a wide outlet to voice their opinions through social media that companies must ensure employees have a good perception of the brand they are working for and are happy in their working environment.

Create employee satisfaction

A strong employer brand is not achievable if you do not take care of your employees. First assess the position of your current brand identity internally. Conducting surveys and interviews are a great way of determining your employee’s satisfaction rates. Identify what you do well in ensuring your employees are taken care of and establish an account of the things you need to improve on in order to enhance satisfaction in your workplace. Your employees are an asset to your brand and have the ability to influence perceptions of your brand. Your employees are essentially recruiters for your brand and can have a huge impact on acquiring new talent depending on how they portray what its like to work for your company. Implement an employee satisfaction strategy. Build upon what you do well and focus on improving attributes that your employees deem important and attractive.

Determine brand perceptions

Perception has an influence on consumer behaviour, therefore having an impact on an individual’s drive and motivation to engage with a product or brand. There is clear evidence to suggest that perception is an internal stimulus that can be influenced by many external factors. These factors can be easily modified through the use of effective marketing. It can be detrimental to your brand If the correct use of marketing is not utilised in order to influence and enhance perceptions. It is important to maintain an awareness of brand perceptions of your organization. Invest in determining the factors that influence those perceptions.

Once an understanding of the influencing factors that could impact on brand engagement have been established, recommendations of the efforts that the business can make in order to modify their marketing strategy to adapt to these issues can be implemented.

Attract New Talent

At this point in the recruitment process, it is time to start building up your brand image in order to strengthen your employer proposition. Focus on highlighting why job seekers would want to work for you and how working for your organisation would benefit them. Promote the internal working environment of your organization. Ensure that you target your employer branding to the type of individual you wish to ultimately employ.

When marketing your brand to prospective employees:

  • Promote the culture of your organisation
  • Promote the ways by which employees are rewarded and celebrated for their performance and achievements.
  • Advertise your awards and accolades. This is a great way of marketing your organisation and demonstrating your efforts and achievements.
  • Promote the ways by which you encourage career development and outline the training you provide your employees and any progression prospects.


Measure and Evaluate

Now that you have invested in creating a strong employer brand, invest in measuring your efforts. Whether you have been successful in acquiring new talent or not, monitoring the effectiveness of your employer branding efforts both internally and externally is crucial in determining whether you are fulfilling your aims or not. Research from EBI 2011 found that employers use the following in order to measure return on investment of employer branding:

  • Retention rate
  • Employee engagement
  • Quality of hire
  • Cost per hire
  • Number of applicants


If you are looking for someone to help you to improve your employer branding then please contact us on 0207 788 6600 and our expert consultants will help you find the right HR professional for the role.


Your Network Is Your Net Worth

Portrait Of A Businessman Using Digital Tablet

Why Create a Strong Network?

We generally tend to measure our success and career prospects based on our income, skills, qualifications and experience. But we fail we understand the importance of not only having a strong network, but building on that network and maintaining relationships. Your ability to manage and maintain a large network is crucial in the current employment and social climate. Here, we discuss why and how you can build a strong network:

Plan your Networking Strategy

First of all, decide exactly what your goal is and why you are expanding your network. Your ultimate goal highly influences who you contact. If you are looking for a career change, it may be beneficial to determine the career you want and contact people who work in that field. You may use your network to job search, to mentor others in your field, or you may want to eventually become self-employed and simply want to ultimately build an awareness of your brand. Reach out to people accordingly if you feel their contact may be beneficial to you in the future. Identify yourself based on what your goal is. Highlight your interests, occupation and hobbies. Doing this ensures that those you connect with know that they have similar interests as you and leads to creating an element of trust.

Gone are the Days of ‘A Job for Life’

It is undoubtable that job security is far more unstable than ever before, with people having far more choice over where they work and who they work for; and with employees having a far greater choice of quality candidates. Companies are happy to make cuts where necessary and there is nothing we can do to avoid this, no matter what your position in the company. A job for life is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Building a network is like building yourself a safety net. Creating a network of like-minded individuals who share the same interests as you and maintaining relationships provides you with prospective contacts that may be able to help you in the future. In the instance that you have been made redundant or have had to leave your role, with a strong and healthy network, there is likely to be somebody who can help. Think “it’s who you know, not what you know”. There may be someone who is looking for someone like you to join their organisation.

Take Your Future Out of Your Employer’s Hands

Change your approach to how you envisage your future. Don’t assume that your employers will determine your prospects. Once you begin to network and maintain relationships, you then begin to take your future into your own hands. Communicate with your network, ask questions, promote your skills and experience and take in interest in others. You don’t know where your career will take you or in what job role you may eventually end up in. It is a sad fact that no matter how secure you are in your job role, there is always the chance that you may be forced into unemployment. In the instance that you decide to, or are forced to set up on your own , a large network will enable you to reach a large demographic and build a significant brand awareness in a short space of time.

The Movement in Recruitment and Referrals

An increasing number of professionals are looking to social media to seek out job roles. Employers are now encouraging their staff to seek out potential employees online. If you have a large online network, the chances are that there will be someone out there who admires your skills and experience and feels that you could be a great asset to their team. Share job vacancies to those who you feel may be suitable for the role, whether you are applying or not and encourage others to do the same. You may know of someone who would be perfect for a job role, so let them know and refer them! The chances are that people will start doing the same for you.

Related reading: Exploring New Ways to Grow

Preparing Your Business for The Build up to Christmas


Covering Leave

It’s inevitable that employees will want to take leave this time of year. If it’s typically a quiet time of year for your business this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but it’s all in the planning. Encouraging employees to book their leave in advance, possibly with a deadline for booking Christmas leave, is one way to make sure leave is fair and you have time to arrange cover if needed. If cover for certain roles is essential organising this as far in advance as possible is also sensible. Outside cover could be tricky to find at short notice, not to mention expensive. Drafting in current employees to cover extra tasks could be the best solution, but you’ll need to have arrangements and procedures in place in advance to make sure workload is fair and achievable. Christmas bonuses or prizes could be on offer to incentivise extra work over the Christmas period.

Office Party Issues
Christmas parties can be great fun, but create a melting pot of different personalities, built up workplace tensions and alcohol, leading to potential troubles! Choosing and deciding on the venue and the type of even is the first hurdle. Keeping everyone happy, especially when there is a mixture of ages isn’t always easy. Try a vote on a range of options or try a ‘two phase’ event, perhaps with a Christmas lunch for everyone followed by drinks and some dancing for anyone who want to keep the party going. Having your party offsite is the best idea so any potential problems don’t occur on your business property. If you’re hiring out a venue, hiring caterers or entertainers make sure these are booked in early and that you have everything confirmed in writing or a contract. If you feel it’s necessary you could always update your employee handbook and send out a copy of the general code of conduct prior to the event, to cover anyone who’s likely to be caught near a photocopier or under the mistletoe!

A Change of Pace
Unless your business is retail where the pace gets a lot quicker this time of year, the lead up to Christmas usually sees things winding down in the office. To avoid boredom or wasted time, use any spare time wisely. Have your employees clear out old files, organise databases and folders and get those jobs done that just keep falling off the to do list. These kind of tasks can be mundane, so add some festive spice to boring chores and offer rewards, hold Christmas raffles, quizzes or advent calendars to brighten things up and boost motivation.

Snow Days
Do you have a winter weather policy? If the weather is really bad, do your employees know what the correct protocol is? The procedures should be emailed around at this time of year so everyone is clear on what to do. If a cold spell is forecast consider a plan for phone lines going down, pipes freezing up and transport being disrupted.

Planning is the key to most issues you’ll face this winter, and anytime in fact. Trying to foresee any potential issues will help things run smoothly. If you’d like help or advice with you staffing over the Christmas period you can get in touch with us here.

Managing Early Retirement


For those born after 1978 that state pension age will be 68, yet those questioned in the research (a variety of ages) believe they will be able to retire when they are around 62 to 64.

Most of us if asked ‘when would you like to retire’ would reply ‘today’ (if not ‘yesterday’)! The spare time, opportunity for hobbies, personal projects, holidays and just a little me-time are goals many are working hard to achieve for retirement. And although some of us love our jobs, most of us look forward to a day when the hard work has paid off.

However, as a manager loosing employees to retirement can cause a significant hole in your workforce and have an impact on productivity and even moral. As a manger you may well worry, or at least carefully monitor, employee turnover but rather than the number of workers leaving the more concerning statistic may be the important knowledge and skills they are taking with them.

Figuring out how to most successfully retain this knowledge is the important thing. Not only critical IT and systems insights, but long standing client relationships and critical role specific know-how could be lost, making it hard work for a newbie.

Having an appropriate transfer system in place could be the key to transferring the knowledge in the best possible way. For example those who are due to retire may be able to begin documenting their critical knowledge in preparation for leaving. A workforce assessment could be completed to identify any potential problem areas. Soon to be retirees could also choose to phase out into retirement by gradually reducing their hours during the new employee’s enrolment. This would be the perfect opportunity for the retiree to act as a mentor and guide the new employee through the role, solving any problems they may face together.

However, it’s currently the baby boomers who are at retirement age, on the whole a demographic who work hard and have put their all in their careers. The generation of employees who are taking over these positions tend to have different work-life values, and expect more flexibility such as flexi-time or working from home. These differences in working pattern and behaviour need to be taken into consideration too, as it’s unlikely there will be a ‘like for like’ fit.

If you’re a hiring manager and are facing these problems, Langley James are recruiting experts and are here to help. Give one of our experienced consultants a call today.

Exploring New Ways To Grow

Business man working on financial data

Expanding your company into new turfs can be daunting yet rewarding. The business’s world is an ever-changing and unpredictable environment, and remaining complacent and dismissing the idea of growth and expansion can be detrimental to your success. 


Before you power ahead in your mission of expanding your company, ask yourself what your aims are and what are wanting to achieve. Of course, there are in most instances monetary motives behind a company’s expansion. However, aside from profits, determine the desired outcome of your growth, where you want to be and how you will get there. This will strongly determine the efforts you make in achieving your goals. For example, if you are looking to expand your business in order to ultimately gain a larger brand awareness, the marketing efforts that you make in order to contribute to your growth will differ from those if you wanted to improve your existing products or offerings.  


Assess your existing branding. Ask yourself if there are areas that could be improved. Your brand image is a strong platform that can have a heavy impact on the success of your goals, and can ultimately determine whether growth will be easily achieved or not. You need to assess whether your brand values remain consistent with the brand values of your new product, service or division. Continuity across your channels are a must! Your online presence is of paramount, so if you already have a strong online presence, the chances are, growth and diversity will come easier to you than if your online presence is weak. Utilise search engine optimisation tools. This may be costly but if you see it as an investment that will enhance your business as opposed to a cost, you will see big benefits. According to a report by Impact Branding and Design, 2015, 95% of marketers use search engine optimisation to induce loyalty amongst existing customers.


Be mindful of competition. Anybody can create an alternative to your core product, make your offerings nonpareil. You may find that that diversification comes through natural business progression. A growing number of businesses have heeded to diversification in order to keep afloat. Diversification is a favourable method in growing your business, as long as you don’t neglect your original ventures. This is where it can become tricky. Make sure you can balance your focus between all your endeavours. You want to grow your business- not risk it!


Expanding your network will provide you with a solid basis to get your brand out there. Having the right connections can improve your brand reach significantly. A strong network will allow you to market your new offerings to a large audience.  You also have substantial reach to undertake market research and collect significant amounts of data from feedback. Word of mouth and recommendations is an imperative marketing tool, and a strong network can be more beneficial to your new ventures than you would think.