on 07 Sep 2018
The Lost Art of The Handshake
The Lost Art of The Handshake It’s said that 60% of hiring decisions in interview are made within the first 15 seconds of meeting with someone. When you consider that the average handshake takes an average 3-5 seconds, the humble handshake takes on a whole new importance. When I first started in rec... More...
The Lost Art of The Handshake
It’s said that 60% of hiring decisions in interview are made within the first 15 seconds of meeting with someone. When you consider that the average handshake takes an average 3-5 seconds, the humble handshake takes on a whole new importance.
When I first started in recruitment 15 years ago it was understood that I would be shaking a lot of hands (I hate to think of how many exactly!). So important was this task considered to be, that an entire training course was devoted to shaking someone’s hand. Which hand to use, how much force to exert, should double hands be used and if an up and down motion should be included. We trained for two hours and during this time I like to think I developed a pretty good hand shake!
As a consultant, I have met with thousands of people with an array of handshakes. We’ve had bone crackers (a consultant was once left bruised and whimpering!), limp hand-shakes, left handed hand- shakes and hands given which invited a kiss. All of these candidates have been whisked back into a meeting room and given a quick tutorial on ‘the hand-shake’.
Quite often after interview we have spoken with clients and been told that ‘a candidate has a limp / wet / poor handshake’ although the decision may not have been based on the handshake it sets the tone for the rest of the interview and can be a factor when deciding between two closely matched candidates. This is such a simple, overlooked and yet important thing to get right that it should form part of everyone’s preparation before looking for a new role.
Here is a quick no-nonsense guide on the best way to shake a hand.
• Extend your right hand (even if left handed) horizontally with your palm meeting the palm of the other person. Don’t face your palm up or down.
• Take the other persons hand in your own in a firm (but not rock hard) clasp, ensuring that your hand is interlinked with the other persons hand.
• Shake up and down (slight and not too vigorous!), no more than twice.
• Do not cover the other person’s hand with your right hand (unless you are offering comfort) and do not linger too long on the hand shake as it makes people feel uncomfortable.
• Make eye contact during the hand shake and offer greetings.
Often it is the humble hand-shake that gets forgotten as part of the flurry of interview preparation, everyone always thinks they have a good hand-shake! A few moments of critique from a good friend or Matchstick consultant will ensure that the first impression you give, is as great as the rest of your interview will be.
Matchstick is a Secretarial Recruitment company established in 2006. Specialising in the provision of both temporary and permanent office support candidates, we offer our candidates full support during the entire recruitment process, including, when required Hand-Shaking tutorials!
Melanie – Founder (Matchsticking since 2006!)
on 09 Aug 2018
So you got the job! What next?
You did it – you got the job! Feeling nervous about starting? Don’t worry – everyone gets that feeling, it’s completely natural! Here is a list of our top tips to make your first day just a little bit less nerve wracking. Plan ahead It’s always a good idea to check the weather the nig... More...
You did it – you got the job! Feeling nervous about starting? Don’t worry – everyone gets that feeling, it’s completely natural! Here is a list of our top tips to make your first day just a little bit less nerve wracking.
It’s always a good idea to check the weather the night before, nobody wants to be caught in the rain on the way to work with no umbrella!
Pick your outfit the night before. Unless your new role is in the fashion industry, stay away from bold trends and stick to something a little simpler and chic.
Take a notebook and pen- just in case the training kicks off before you’ve had a chance to get your stationery together! Making notes during handovers will not only prove a valuable resource later on but also inspires confidence in whoever is showing you the ropes that you’re taking in all the information they are giving you.
Today is the day!
Wake up nice and early, have a filling breakfast to keep the hunger pangs at bay until lunchtime!
Check the train and tube websites to ensure you leave enough time to allow for any delays.
Aim to arrive around 10 minutes before you are due to start, but never more than 20 minutes.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! You won’t be expected to know everything on day one so ask away (and remember… Google search is a lifesaver!).
Policies on mobile phone and personal internet use might be completely different from your last workplace- so play it safe and observe what the office norm is. If in doubt, ask your line manager!
Be friendly and smiley! Your new colleagues will want to get to know you but just remember to ask questions back. Show an interest in getting to know them too.
If you get invited for team lunch, go! Be prepared to do a lot of talking, everyone will want to find out more about you on a personal level – now is the chance to build friendships!
They hired you for a reason so relax a little and enjoy the first day of your next big thing!
Sarah – Senior Consultant, Temps (Matchsticker since 2015!)
on 03 Aug 2018
Defeating the pre-interview nerves!
Interviewing can be one of the most terrifying parts of finding a new role. Not only do you have to get to their office in one piece (avoiding tube delays, pot holes and overly fast cabs driving through very large puddles) but once there you have to perform at your best. Sometimes it can feel a litt... More...
Interviewing can be one of the most terrifying parts of finding a new role. Not only do you have to get to their office in one piece (avoiding tube delays, pot holes and overly fast cabs driving through very large puddles) but once there you have to perform at your best. Sometimes it can feel a little like you are in Britain’s Got Talent with five minutes to juggle, pull rabbits out of hats and generally impress everyone within a one mile radius of the office! STOP! Take a deep breath and relax. Here is a Matchstick guide on how to impress at interview.
1. They already know you!
Remember, you have already made it through the hardest part of the process. Your CV has already been read and selected from the dozens of others that the hiring manager has received and they like YOU enough to meet with you and get to know you further. You’ve already passed the first hurdle.
2. Do your research
There is no worse feeling than sitting in a meeting unprepared, it brings back all those exam anxiety nightmares!
Begin by researching the company online, look through their website, company reviews and the LinkedIn pages of who you will be supporting and who you will be meeting with.
Call your consultant the day before your meeting to ensure that you have all the information possible. Ask about interview style, feedback from previous interviews and questions that they may ask you. Your consultant will know what it was about your CV that the company especially liked which will give you a good starting point when it comes to rehearsing your strengths and answers to potential questions.
3. Take a deep breath
Controlling your nerves is the hardest part of an interview. If you feel yourself beginning to panic, just breathe! Try using this proven technique to calm you before you go in.
The technique is called 4-7-8 Breathing, and it has five easy steps:
4. You’re in!
You’ve made it into the reception area. Remember that your interview begins as soon as you enter the building with many of our clients asking their Receptionist for their first impressions of candidates. In some cases your interviewer may be sat on the reception desk waiting to greet you. Take the time to say hello to everyone!
5. The interview
First impressions are very important, a firm (never weak) handshake and positive body language is key. Sit back in your seat, shoulders back, don’t fidget (keep your hands on your lap if this is difficult) and look at your interviewer.
When answering the questions recognise what your interviewer is looking for. Answer competency based questions with evidence based answers and try to be yourself. Avoid ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers and offer expansive answers where possible.
Remember that an interview is a two-way street, as well as them looking to hire you, you are also looking to ‘hire’ them so ensure that you give them all the information they need but also everything you need to decide if this is the right company for you.
At the end of the interview always make sure that you have a few questions up your sleeve to ask. This is an opportunity to show the research that you have done and that you are genuinely interested in them as a company. Avoid questions about hours, holidays and finishing times and instead ask questions about the company culture, future of the company or your interviewers role in the company.
6. After the interview.
It’s very important to call your consultant as soon after the meeting as possible. If an interview has gone well, the client may call to give feedback straight away and speed of feedback is often taken as an indication of how interested you are in the role. It’s important to be honest with your consultant, if it’s not the role for you, let us know – it’s all part of the process!
Remember, if it’s good news and you liked the company and they liked you, you get to do it all again for 2nd interview!
on 26 Jun 2018
Graduates! How to get your dream job!
How to get your dream job. (By a recruiter and someone who found theirs!) It’s that time of year when people are busy fretting over taking their exams or celebrating the end of them before the agonising, pencil chewing wait for results. Once the fug of end of exam celebrations begins to wane, the da... More...
How to get your dream job.
(By a recruiter and someone who found theirs!)
It’s that time of year when people are busy fretting over taking their exams or celebrating the end of them before the agonising, pencil chewing wait for results.
Once the fug of end of exam celebrations begins to wane, the dawning realisation that either you will need to move back home or find a job quick-smart starts looming on the horizon.
This is a quick guide to how best to use your Summer months to kick start the career you want.
Don’t be afraid to take time off.
One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t take time off to travel after uni. My friends that did, all came back focussed, mature and with a clear plan of what they wanted to do in the future. Many of them said that, after uni, they had no idea what they wanted to do and travelling gave them the space to make that decision. It’s a lot harder to take time off once you have started your career so if you can, go!
Decide on a career path and go for it.
Do your research and decide on the industry you want to work in and the type of career you want before applying for jobs. Parents, friends, recruiters, and career advisors are great sources of information for this but, equally, think about your interests and what you enjoy doing. Remember that regardless of your qualifications there is normally a way into any industry, you just need to start at the bottom and work your way up.
Companies much prefer applications from people that know that they want to work in that area rather than vague applications which is why deciding on an industry is so helpful. Once you have made this decision, you can tailor your CV, Linkedin profile and the recruiters you register with to help you in your goal.
The Power of Social Media
Social media can be key in finding a new role.
Start with the basics and check your social media profiles. Firstly, a small plea from a recruiter, make sure your Facebook settings are set to private! A standard background search now includes a basic social media trawl and no one wants to see the drunk photo of you in Crete last year. We have had offers withdrawn due to photos on social media so please do this now! At the same time, delete any Tweets or Instagram posts that may be inappropriate and revamp your LinkedIn profile as a lot of employers will check this.
LinkedIn is a key tool for job hunting, follow any companies you may be interested in joining and link with relevant HR people. LinkedIn has a jobs function which is a great way of keeping up to date with new job roles but also don’t be afraid of messaging people directly in the industry you are interested in and asking for help with your search.
Your first job is not the defining one!
Everyone starts at the bottom rung of the ladder and your first role is a stepping stone. If it is in the industry you were aiming for – well done! If not, use it as a stepping stone to gain the skills you need to get in to your chosen industry. Changing industries is very easy, especially at such an early stage in your career so gain as much experience, knowledge and contacts before moving into the industry you want.
Don’t give up on your dream job.
With hard work, networking, research, and planning, getting your dream job is possible. The job hunt itself should be viewed as a full-time role and your career seen as a campaign! Don’t forget your end goal and get side tracked, stay focussed and you will end up in the industry and role you want.
How we can help
Matchstick consultants are all trained in giving career advice and can help with every step of your journey. Getting you started in the pursuit of your dream job is our passion!
Melanie – Founder (Matchsticking since 2006)
on 21 Jun 2018
You can’t choose your family….
You can’t choose your family….but you can choose your Recruitment agency! Job hunting, we all have to do it and quite frankly it’s hard work; From tidying up your CV to spending hours googling job titles and let’s not even talk about the 100+ applications already submitted for a role posted 3 hours ... More...
You can’t choose your family….but you can choose your Recruitment agency!
Job hunting, we all have to do it and quite frankly it’s hard work; From tidying up your CV to spending hours googling job titles and let’s not even talk about the 100+ applications already submitted for a role posted 3 hours ago! So maybe it’s time for a recruitment consultant to swoop in like a Fairy Godmother and make all your job hunting dreams come true. However, with so many agencies out there how do you know which ones are the right fit for you? Well we have come up with a few recruitment agency must haves to hopefully help you pick out the companies you want to be investing your time in and the ones who you might want to send packing at midnight.
A Genuine Interest
You have to find the right person for the job as much as you have to find the right job for the right person. Agencies should have a genuine interest in the roles in which you want to be put forward for, listening to where you want to be in a few years’ time and offering relevant roles. The last thing you want to be doing is running around London heading into interview after interview for a small media company when really you want to be making your way into the city (through the sea of tailored suits) to work for a massive corporate firm where you want to progress to the top in a matter of years. Every candidate is different and is looking for different things so find the recruiters who will take you seriously when you tell them if you want corporate, creative… the list of questions is endless.
Realistic and helpful advice
So you want to be an Astronaut but you’ve just finished working as a receptionist for a small media company and you are now frantically trying to pull any experience you might have had star gazing back in 2005, to make it valid for a role with NASA? That’s a bit extreme but we don’t want anyone’s time being wasted with unrealistic goals. That’s not saying you shouldn’t have them and won’t one day get to where you want to be but for now, recruiters spend hours talking about who would be right for ‘that’ job so take advantage of this and let them steer you in the right direction to help you get you where you want to be. They should want you to give you advice to help you on your way.
A Friendly face
Nobody wants to be a number on a database; a good agency will want to meet you face to face, in a friendly setting. This will give both you and your recruitment consultant a chance to get to know each other on personal level and to allow your consultant to match your personality to that of your potential new boss. Just be yourself because there’s only one you, and let’s face it you’re pretty great.
From your cv tweaking to what to wear in an, agencies should not send you off into the wild world of interviews without preparing you first. If you have found the right agency then they will have made you feel comfortable right from the beginning. Giving you a little helping hand with what’s ahead, whether it’s a panel interview or a 1:1 with the HR manager who is rather scary no good recruiter will want you to be fazed.
We hope these tips help you on your way to a very successful recruitment agency search. And if you get stuck… we are always here to help! Love the Matchstick Team x
Melanie Whitehall Smith
on 22 Mar 2017
Social Media and Your Job Hunt
Its 2017 and social media is a vital part of your job search. Even if you don’t use social media to conduct your search you can bet that every interviewer that meets with you will have googled you first! The Mistakes The best thing about growing up in the 80s (apart from the perms) is that all my mi... More...
Its 2017 and social media is a vital part of your job search. Even if you don’t use social media to conduct your search you can bet that every interviewer that meets with you will have googled you first!
The best thing about growing up in the 80s (apart from the perms) is that all my mistakes were made before Facebook! If this isn’t true for you then you need to start checking your social media profile before applying for roles.
Check your privacy settings on each of your accounts ensuring that your profile picture is something you would be happy for a future employer to see.
Ensure that you’re not sharing any politically incorrect statements or criticising previous employers.
Once you have completed your clean up, google yourself to ensure nothing unexpected pops up.
Whilst this all sounds very obvious, you would be shocked at the amount of people that don’t do this and have had interviews and offers withdrawn due to social media accounts!
How to use social media to ace your interviews.
Once your Matchstick consultant has presented you with the dream job and secured you an interview, you need to start preparing.
Study your future company’s media presence; get a feel for their ‘voice’, what is important to them and what values they have. Look at their campaigns, blogs, vlogs and relevant news articles. They may use a different tone on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin so it’s important to look up all of them.
Use Linkedin and follow the company so at your interview you will be bang up to date with all their company news. It’s also a good idea to use linked in to check the profile of the person that is interviewing you. It gives you an idea of who to look for in reception and also who their connections are. They will also be aware that you have looked at them which makes you look prepared and interested but do not ask them to connect (there is a fine line between interested and stalking!).
The old idiom of job hunting was that employers decided whether to hire someone or not within the first 15 minutes of meeting them. Now employers start this process before meeting you. Make sure you aren’t caught out!
on 02 Aug 2016
Hints and Tips for CV writers…
Although a little time consuming, a CV is one of the most important documents you will write and is worth spending time on. This is the deal breaker between your potential employer deciding if they want to interview you or not, therefore it is very important that your CV is clear, easy to read, has ... More...
Although a little time consuming, a CV is one of the most important documents you will write and is worth spending time on. This is the deal breaker between your potential employer deciding if they want to interview you or not, therefore it is very important that your CV is clear, easy to read, has no spelling errors and is an honest representation of you and your skills. So here are a few hints and tips to get you going onto job success!
Firstly do not start re-living your youth! I know the excitement of all those elaborate fonts are hard to resist, but in this case ‘Freestyle Script’ will not help you. Use clear font such as Arial, Calibri or even Times New Roman.
Keep it simple and professional, do not use colour, logos or symbols in your CV as this detracts from what you are saying and can look untidy and unprofessional.
Ensure that your correct and up to date contact details are at the top of the page. I would also mention, if you are applying for a role some distance from the address, it might be worth putting ‘willing to relocate’ to clearly outline your intentions and to ensure you are not excluded for this reason.
A CV starting with a personal profile is a great way to get across who you are and why you are interested in a certain area of business or specific role. With this in mind make sure you are tailoring this to each application so you don’t put any potential employer off by being too specific (for example if your profile states you are looking for a role in media but you are applying for a financial role you might want to tweak it accordingly).
Chronological order is the best way to go with your most recent role first. Easy to read… it’s that easy.
Some say your CV should be a maximum of two pages long, while this helps to keep waffling to a minimum, you will not always be cast aside for a 3 page CV. The thing to keep in mind is, will this information help? If you are early on in your career it is fine to include part time waitressing jobs to bulk up your experience but once you have some more recent experience, take these early roles off.
It’s not just about finding the right person with the right skills to do the job; sometimes it’s about matching personalities with yourself and who you will be working closely with. In this case it may help to add an Interests section, explaining hobbies and interests that you enjoy doing so future employees are able to quickly see you fitting into your future team.
Finally – once you have written your CV ensure that you have someone else read and spell check it for you. Nothing puts an employer off more than spelling errors on a CV.
We hope these hints and tips help you on your way to CV writing success!
Melanie Whitehall Smith
on 05 May 2016
For some this can be the trickiest part of the interview and can feel like this part of the interview is just designed to trip you up! It’s a tightrope walk between asking the wrong questions, asking no questions or desperately scrabbling around for more questions because all yours have been answere... More...
For some this can be the trickiest part of the interview and can feel like this part of the interview is just designed to trip you up!
It’s a tightrope walk between asking the wrong questions, asking no questions or desperately scrabbling around for more questions because all yours have been answered ARGHHHHHH!
Don’t panic! The simple answer is yes, you do have questions! Not having questions can make you look disinterested and unprepared therefore it is important to have a few whizzbangers such as these to keep up your sleeve for exactly this situation.
It is also a great opportunity to show off some of that hard won knowledge you have gained with all that research. Questions such as;
The best questions to ask are positive, open questions regarding team & culture. Although it is very tempting to ask practical questions including; salary, working hours, holidays and promotional opportunities, these questions can be off putting to companies and are best asked to your consultant.
Your Matchstick consultant will always call you prior to your interview to answer any questions that you may have. They are your guide to all things recruitment and will be able to advise you on further questions to ask and what not to ask.