Interview Turn- Off’s

Failing to smile at interview has been ranked THIRD in the UK employers’ top 10 turn-offs when hiring. According to research from, when asked to choose the biggest body language turn-offs in job interviews, employers went for:


Failure to make eye contact


-Non verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication in interviews. Keeping steady eye contact will show your interviewer that you are confident and focused.


Weak handshake


-First impressions are important. Shaking your interviewers had is usually one of the first things that happen when you walk into the interview room and a weak handshake could shape the interviewers opinion of you before the meeting even starts.


A firm (but not too firm) grip, eye contact and a smile is all you need.


Failure to smile


-Speaking of smiling, it’s very easy to forget to smile when you are nervous but it is also one of the easiest ways to break the ice and set the mood at the beginning of your interview.


In addition, a genuine smile shows people a lot about your personality so make sure you use it to your advantage.


Crossing your arms over your chest


-Pay attention to your body language in an interview. One common pitfall in interviews is the interviewer or interviewee crossing their arms as it is universally interpreted as negative and you could be seen as defensive, stressed or insecure.



Fidgeting (Playing with something on the table, playing with your hair or touching your face, fidgeting in your seat)


This one goes without saying but fidgeting will either show your nerves or convince the interviewer that you are bored and would rather be somewhere else.


Try to keep still and relaxed. Focus on the conversation so you are not tempted to fidget and distract the interviewer.


Bad posture


Your posture can say a lot about your personality, and bad posture can give the interviewer the wrong impression. For instance If you slouch, you may be perceived as lazy and uninterested. 


Try to sit up straight, keeping your hands in your lap with open palms and continue to hold this posture throughout the meeting. 


Handshake that is too strong


Shaking someone’s hand like you are trying to pump water from a well is not going to impress the interviewer at all. In fact, it may give the interviewer a bad first impression of you so keep your handshake firm but, whatever you do, don’t leave them in pain. 


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A-Z of The Best Words and Phrases to Use in Your CV

One of the hardest things when writing a CV is avoiding repetition of words.

Please find a list of words and phrases that you may find useful in compiling your CV.

Remember though – whichever you decide to use, you will need to be able to explain them at interview!

Keep your bullet points brief, but vary them in length to make it easier on the eye.

Most important of all –  this is your brochure and NOT your autobiography.

Good luck and have fun with this!


Ability Accelerated  Accurate Achieved Acquired Adapt Administered Advised Ambition Analysed
Appraise Appropriate Approve Arrange Aspired Assess Assisted Auditing Averting Avoiding Awareness


Budgeted Building Built


Capable  Centralising  Challenging  Clarified  Clients  Coaching  Communicating  Completed  Conceived  Confidence Consolidating  Constructive  Convincing  Co-operated  Co-ordinate  Cost saving  Created  Customers


Decided  Delegated  Delivering  Demonstrated  Designed  Determined  Developed  Devised  Diagnosing  Directed


Effective Efficient Eliminating Enabling Enforcing Engineered Enhanced Ensuring Enthusiasm Established Evaluated Exceeded Exceptional Executed Expanded Experience


Financed  Flexibility  Forecasting  Forming  Formulated  Founded


Gaining  Generated  Goals  Governed  Graduated  Guiding


Headed  Helpful  Honest Humour


Initiative Innovative Innovate Interpersonal Integrity Impressive Inclusive Implement Involve Indicate Iconic Idea Ideal Independent Illuminate Illustrative Illustrious Image Immense Incentive Immerse Impact Impeccable Intuitive Inception Industrious Influence Information Ingenuity Invent Invest Investment




Launched  Led  Liaised  Located  Loyal


Managed  Maintained  Marketed  Mediated  Monitored  Monitoring Motivated


Negotiated  Nominated  Notable


Objectives  Obtained  Operated  Opportunity  Organised  Oriented  Originated  Overcome


Perceived  Perfected  Performed  Permanent  Persuading  Piloted  Pioneered  Placed  Planned  Practical  Prestige  Preventing
Professional  Produced  Proficient  Progress  Profit  Promoted  Proposed  Proved  Provided  Providing  Publishing  Punctual


Qualified  Quantified


Raising  Reasonable  Recognised  Recommend  Recruiting  Reduced  Regulated  Reliable  Reorganised  Reported  Represented Researched  Resolving  Responsible  Results  Reviewing


Simplified  Sincerity  Solved  Standardising  Stimulated  Strategic  Streamlined  Structured  Substantial  Succeeded  Supervised  Supported  Satisfied  Saving  Scheduled  Securing  Selected  Selling  Significant


Team building  Testing  Thorough  Thoughtful  Tolerant  Trained  Transferred  Transformed  Trebled


Understanding  Upgrading  Useful  Utilised


Versatile  Validating  Vital  Verified  Vivid


Wonderful, Working, Window, Wider


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10 Important Things You Should Include In Your CV

Here is a list of the top 10 things you should include in your CV;  


  • You only need to include the last 10 years of your work history except under the following circumstances:
  1. a) You have had a long career break for most of the 10 year period – in which case ensure you show at least 5 – 8 years of career history prior to/after the career break.
    b) You are applying for roles that require a greater level of experience – be sure to check this is the case before you attach your CV.
  • Ensure you always have your name, address, daytime telephone number and email address clearly visible on the first page of your CV.


  • You should not include details of your personal references on your CV, these should only be provided if you are successful at interview.


  • You must tailor your CV for specific roles, career paths, industries or business sectors. E.g. you may have one CV that is tailored for marketing roles in Financial Services and another that is tailored for office management in a Customer Service sector.  You will have the skills and experience in both job types, but by drawing out the relevant information on a tailored CV you will make it stand out more amongst the crowd.


  • When tailoring your CV to meet the needs of specific role/company be sure to look at the language used in any job description, marketing materials, website of the company and mirror where possible this language in your CV.


  • Keep your CV to a maximum of two pages and makes good use of signage and white space.
    Use short, sharp bullets and ensure that when tailoring CVs for specific roles you put the most relevant bullets at the top of each of the sections.


  • If you are running out of space cut down the number of bullets on your older roles and if necessary remove your “Additional Information, Hobbies & Interests” section.  If you are tailoring a CV, you can save space by removing any bullet points, training undertaken and qualifications achieved that are not relevant for the role you are tailoring the CV for.


  • Get someone who knows you well to review your CV before you send it out.  They will be able to help ensure that you haven’t left off any important info about your skills and experience.


  • Once you’ve completed your CV, leave it for a day or two and then come back and proof read it. If possible get someone with good attention to detail/spelling & grammar skills to proof read it for you before you publish it on any recruitment websites or send the CV to recruiters/employers.


  • Always name and Date your CV, we would suggest the following naming convention for a general CV <Your Full Name><MMM YYYY> and for tailored CVs <Your Full Name><MMM YYYY><Tailoring Specifics – e.g. name of role, or industry/sector type>.  This will help you to manage your CVs and ensure you don’t get caught short and not know what CV you sent where!


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How Has The Internet Changed Sales?

Construction job recruiters looking to expand their sales force need to remember that the internet has changed the landscape for many newcomers into the industry.

Writing for Sales Initiative, sales trainer and mentor Tim Gibbons believes the World Wide Web has ‘changed everything’, and businesses across the country have to realise how if they want to stay relevant.

“We can have instant communications with people we have never met; we never have to go into a supermarket again and we can watch world events unfold from wherever we are in the world,” he wrote. “For the salesperson, it has made our lives both easier and more difficult.”

Gibbons explained that now we have the internet at our fingertips, it is very easy to research a company, so there is little excuse to know nothing about them if caught out during a sales pitch.

He added that communication is made very easy with the internet, which is good and bad, because it leaves us open to positive and negative feedback.

An internet-savvy sales team will make the most of the open communication channels offered by the web by being quick to respond to any sort of feedback online.

Finally, the internet means the people you are trying to sell to may already have done their research on you – so when engaging in a conversation, try not to tell them something they may already know.

Becoming internet savvy could help close the mid-level skills gap facing construction.

Recently, the Lib Dem Voice reported that those seeing mid-level jobs in the UK workforce are facing barriers to pursue extra training that need to be taken down in order to help them upskill and progress.

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Addressing The Mid-Level Skills Gap

Those over 25 find it more difficult to retrain, which is why there is a looming mid-level skills gap facing the UK workforce, but if you are looking for construction industry jobs at this level do not be afraid of looking for opportunities to upskill.

Writing for the Lib Dem Voice, Former Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and Humber Rebecca Taylor has been involved in research into the mid-level skills gap at University College London and believes barriers need to be taken down to encourage those in non-university degree-required careers to pursue training.

The report ‘Routes To Opportunity – Addressing The Non-University Skills Gap’ reveals that established workers face obstacles to upskilling, preventing them from taking on medium-skilled occupations.

These workers would benefit most from opportunities to train and upskill and may not be aware of support that exists to help them to upskill.

One of the key findings in the report was that the welfare system does not support established workers to retrain or upskill enough and the former Liberal Democrat representative called on the government to do more to help close the mid-level skills gap.

“To me it seems crazy that we’re failing to address the mid-level skills gap and failing to provide low paid workers with opportunities to upskill/retrain to improve their employment prospects and earning potential,” Taylor stated. “Solving the latter will go some way to solving the former.”

News of a mid-level non-university skills gap follows a report by LinkedIn and CapGemeni revealing there is a growing digital skills gap and it is soft digital skills such as data-driven decision-making job-seekers could benefit from attaining

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How to Survive Redundancy

Redundancy is one of the most difficult events we face. Similar to a separation or divorce, redundancy plunges the person and his/her family into crisis. It puts the family in a state of uncertainty, insecurity and stress. Redundancy can induce feelings of loneliness, low self-esteem and anxiety.


The natural reaction to redundancy is lack of acceptance of the new situation; a strong urge to try and turn back the wheel. Many are willing to bear and put up with a lot to get their old job back. Similarly, in a relationship, a person that has been walked out on will initially try to do anything in their power to make their partner return. Separation sheds new light on the relationship; all of a sudden the relationship seems more meaningful and precious. It takes a while to comprehend the fact that the relationship is over. At work too, one initially tries to undo what has already been done or perhaps find a new and exciting replacement quickly.


Unfortunately, this is not always the case and some may need to face a longer term of unemployment. The tough challenge in this case is coping with the new reality – without having a job to go to and managing all the spare time and the emptiness you may feel. Acclimatising to the new daily life is challenging and takes a while until you learn to enjoy the imposed freedom.


Being let go; suffering redundancy; experiencing downsizing are all very different ways of saying the same thing. Your employer doesn’t want you anymore. Suddenly, that place seems so much more attractive than it did yesterday – and you are going to fight tooth and nail to hang in there. But wait, maybe there’s something in you that relishes the chance to move on and do something different. For all those years when you didn’t quite fit. Where the role you had caused you some unease, there is something to learn. Is it not possible that you were something of a square peg, who over the years had done your best to fit into the round hole of your career?


So, think about the things you truly love, the types of way you want to spend your time and take the opportunity to move on as a sign. Time to look for an alternative future that better suits the person you really are. This can be a challenging time, yet if you see the possibilities and seize the moment, it can be one of the most thrilling phases of your life.

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A Guide to Competency Interviews

Increasingly, interviews are based on competencies. These are particular skills and qualities interviewers are looking for in a candidate. Some examples of competencies are:

  • Leadership
  • Team working
  • Communication skills
  • Conflict management
  • Delegation
  • Influencing
  • Risk taking
  • Integrity

Check on the competencies required in the job description or the application form, then think about examples from your work when you have demonstrated them. It is important when talking about competencies to always give examples. Usually they will ask for this: “Tell me about a time when you had to use your communication skills to influence someone.”

Make notes in bullet form so that you can review them before the interview. If possible have two examples of each one because sometimes they ask you for another example.

Don’t worry about stating the obvious. What may seem obvious to you, still needs mentioning. For example you may believe that you are acting with integrity all the time but you still need to come up with a specific example. If you don’t say it, then they can’t give you credit for it. You could say something like: “My aim is to act with integrity at all times but I suppose a particular example where that became important was…”


When answering this type of competency question try using the following ‘STAR’ structure to give coherence to your answers.

S for Situation: What was the situation you found yourself in? Set the scene with a couple of sentences. Don’t go into too much detail at this point – save that for later.

T for Task: What was it you had to do? What was the project?

A for Action:  This part is crucial. What did you do? How did you influence the outcome? What effective behaviours did you display?

R for Result: People often forget this part. So make sure you end by clearly stating what happened as a result of your actions.

Using this structure will give your answers clarity and direction and will help you to speak to the point and to know that you’ve given the right amount of information.



Practice using the STAR technique, but don’t learn answers off by heart as this can sound over-prepared and inauthentic. Instead become familiar with discussing the examples so that when it is required you are able to speak fluently and precisely


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Recruitment Agencies- The Truth Behind The Myth!

The role of a recruitment consultant and recruitment agency is often one that is misrepresented in society. Good recruitment consultants change lives, add value to organisations and, just as important, build lasting relationships with candidates and clients alike.

Yes, of course there are those agencies out there that are simply ‘CV Shops’ where little or no consultation with clients and candidates takes place, but in our opinion that is not how this industry should operate. After all, the construction industry is a ‘people’ industry.


Simply forwarding CVs from an inbox to a client will more often than not result in a negative experience for both client and candidate. A lack of thorough needs analysis and consultation results in high staff turnover and prohibits long-term working relationships, particularly in small, close knit communities like The Construction Materials Sector.


Here at SRS we are consultants and by that we mean that we take the time to fully understand the needs and requirements of our clients, including in most cases visits to their offices, detailed questioning regarding the culture of the company, what character traits they look for in their employees, what benefits they offer, what if any career prospects there are within that particular firm and so on. The more we get to know our clients, the better ‘fit’ and ‘match’ our CVs will be to specific vacancies.


Since our inception in 1989 we have built excellent, long-lasting and prosperous relationships with 100s of clients across The Construction Material Sector and we are now at the point with a number of our key clients that, when a job vacancy arises, our consultants know exactly what type of person will thrive and prosper in that particular working environment and shortlists can be sent to clients for review in a matter of hours.


There is without doubt a great deal more to the role of a successful recruiter than meets the eye and it is perhaps those companies who operate in our industry without always having the clients and candidates best intentions at heart that result in some of the negative sentiments towards recruitment agencies.


It is an extremely challenging and often stressful position to do well, but also one that is extremely satisfying and there is nothing quite as rewarding as finding the ideal candidate the perfect position with one of our clients and when that individual goes on to add true value to their organisation!



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Digital Skills Gap Widening

There is concern among firms across all industries that the digital skills gap is widening, with 57 per cent of the UK companies surveyed by LinkedIn and CapGemini about the issue stating that they believe the digital talent gap is growing.

One of the main things to note from this research is that there is a bigger gap in soft digital skills than there is in hard digital skills.

From a recruitment perspective, the two soft digital skills that employers believe they are missing the most often are customer-centricity and a passion for learning.

These kinds of skills are essential in any organisation, whether you’re looking for construction industry jobs or are seeking employment directly in the digital sector. Being able to demonstrate either of these traits through your CV and at interview could therefore put you ahead of other applicants.

Other soft digital skills that companies are lacking include collaboration, data-driven decision making and comfort with ambiguity.

Anant Agarwal, founder and CEO of eDX, told the researchers: “These skills are required in every job and are critical for professional success across all industries.”

Among the top ten digital roles predicted in the next two to three years is chief customer officer, which could be particularly applicable in a construction sales setting. This role is number six in the top ten list.

Earlier this month, one publication suggested that recruiters need to be more focused on how people learn, rather than what they know, when they come for a job interview. Management Issues said that looking at how someone will learn in the future is a better indicator of whether they will fit with your team than focusing on their existing knowledge.

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Is Your Business Ready For New Technology?

Whether you work in construction sales or are out on site, there are a number of new technologies that are set to be introduced into UK workplaces more extensively in the coming years, which could have a significant impact on jobs and what roles entail.

A survey by CBI recently highlighted the top three technologies likely to be adopted more widely in our workplaces in the near future, as well as pointing out the stumbling blocks businesses are facing in terms of implementing them.

Artificial intelligence (AI), Blockchain and the Internet of Things were the top three technologies expected to enter workplaces. Where AI is concerned, the biggest worry among businesses is not having a workforce with the skills required to make best use of the technology.

Meanwhile, privacy and security were top worries over the introduction of the Internet of Things. CBI wants the government to look in particular at the potential impact of AI on people and jobs, to ensure the UK’s businesses are prepared for its arrival and adoption.

CBI deputy director-general Josh Hardie commented: “While these technologies are in action now, regulatory hurdles, security concerns and finding people with the right skills, mean that many firms are slow to adopt.”

However, he stressed that firms around the UK that adopt these kinds of technologies have “a golden opportunity to benefit and lift their productivity”.

Making use of a construction recruitment agency in the UK could help you find the people with the right skills to boost your workforce.

A recent study by Fujitsu found that 90 per cent of organisations are investing in digital skills, with 31 per cent stating that having the right skills across their workforce is a crucial element to making a digital transformation project work.

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