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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8 Interview Tips We Love

If you’re looking for a new job in sales or fancy taking a new career path then you might be interested in finding the best construction recruitment agency to help you. Once we’ve got your CV pats the door, it’s down to you to nail the interview, but if job interviews really aren’t your thing, we think these tips from the team at the Seattle Times could be a big help.

First impressions say a lot – if you look well presented the interviewer will instantly take you seriously. Plan you outfit a few days before the interview date so you don’t have any unwanted stress on the day. Dress in something that is suitable for the role you’re applying for. Details make all the difference – dry clean your clothing if needed, make sure you hair is clean and tidy and your finger nails are looking good. You may choose to cover up tattoos and piercings, depending on how relevant you think it may be to your role.

With that said, make sure you do lots of research on the role you’re applying for and know as much as you can amount the company. Knowledge is power and they’ll be impressed if they ask you a question which relates their business. This shows them that you’ve taken the time to find out more information.

Don’t forget to prepare some questions for the interviewer and avoid any questions of which the answer is already stated on their website, as it this may seem as if you haven’t bothered to look. Instead ask more personal questions such as how they find working at the company themselves.

Start as you mean to go on make sure you’re prompt and on time – being late to an interview won’t start you off on the right foot, so allow extra time when commuting.

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Recruiters Need To Focus On How People Learn

When you’re looking to hire a new team member it can be hard to filter down the final applicants and choose the right person.

Management Issues has suggested that in order to build a team of innovative people who can deliver what your business needs in the future as well as meeting your needs now, you should hire people based on how they learn rather than what they know.

The publication acknowledges that what someone knows is important, especially if you’re recruiting for an expert role, but stressed that looking at how they learn is more important for future proofing your team.

“The way that people have learned what they know and the way they intend learning what they will need to know in the future is the real difference between candidates,” it stated.

Recommendations include asking someone to design a new product, rather than getting them to complete an aptitude test, to get an idea of their ability to innovate, and to get a potential candidate to work with the existing team on a problem to see how they fit into your firm’s culture.

If you want some inspiration on how to change up your recruitment techniques, take a look at the finalists for the Personnel Today Award for Innovation in Recruitment.

Among them are SAP UK, which launched a campaign to humanise its brand and attract a wider range of applicants; and Atom Bank, which created a short video about the company to play candidates before a video interview, as well as bringing candidates to an assessment centre for the day to get them involved in tasks in addition to having a chat with the HR team.

If you’re looking for a construction recruitment company to help grow your sales team, contact us today.

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Want Your CV To Get Noticed? Here’s How

When you’re applying for jobs it can be easy to get a little bit lazy. Just pinging across your CV with a brief covering email might seem like enough, but if you want to get noticed by recruiters or hiring managers, you need to do a little bit more.

An article in the Guardian has offered some advice on how to get your CV opened in the first instance, and how to ensure you’re added to the ‘interview’ pile once it’s been reviewed.

First up is that all-important cover letter. It needs to be personalised to the job you’re applying for and the company you’re hoping to work for. This doesn’t need to be long – just a paragraph will suffice – but it needs to clearly explain why your CV is worth opening, and introduce you as a person.

Once someone has got to your CV, they need to be able to skim read it to pick out the important points. Avoid long sections of text and instead go for short paragraphs and bullet points. Spend the most time describing your current role and try to highlight the skills you use here that cross over to the job you’re applying for.

Including facts and figures in your CV, particularly if you’re applying for a job in sales, is a great way to stand out. Many people will make claims in their CV without the evidence to back them up, so if you can include actual data that demonstrates your impact you’ll be one step ahead.

Once your CV has been picked up by a construction recruitment agency and passed on to the hiring manager, you’ll need to thoroughly prepare for your interview. Take a look at our top answers to some of the most challenging interview questions to help you get started.

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Why Job Seekers Should Know About STAR Technique

If you are looking for the best construction recruitment agency the UK has to offer, then you must be looking for a new job.

While you may have polished of your CV and had a few chats with recruiters, one of the most important things you can do while you are waiting to be called to interview is to keep a done list.

Increasingly recruiters are using competency based interviews to assess the suitability of different candidates for a role. This may include basic questions like: what are your favourite bits of your current role? What experience do you have completing this kind of task? Or even, give us an example of when you have helped your team?

While these may seem innocuous being asked specific questions about what we have done can throw less confident candidates, so it is good to have some quick answers to hand.

Start keeping a diary of what you have done during the day, using the STAR technique.

“Using the STAR technique in an interview allows you to break your response down in a logical way,” David Cairncross, director at Hays Recruitment, told The Guardian.

If anything stands out then consider writing down the:

  • Situation – what was happening
  • Task – what you were asked to do.
  • Action – how you did it.
  • Result – what the outcome was.

If you do this for a few days you will be well prepared for anything a competency based interview can throw at you.

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Virtual Job Interviews and How to Handle Them

Looking for a job has changed a lot in the past ten years. For one thing, there’s less of a need to actually leave your house for a job interview.

Inexpensive Web cams and videoconferencing tools like Skype mean that, nowadays, your first interview (or first couple of interviews) with a company may take place in front of your home computer — maybe, that is, a “virtual interview.”

But although the technology is ready, are you? Before your virtual interview, make sure you’re prepared.

  1. Get a handle on it.

Whether it’s Skype, an instant-messaging client, or another videoconferencing app, you likely have a user name or “handle” that you sign in with. Make sure it’s not something like beerlover2011 or casanova4u. As with your email account, choose something professional — if you can’t use just your name because it’s already taken, try your name combined with your industry (jsmith_Construction, for instance).

  1. Dress for it.

Even for a phone interview, getting dressed as you would for a face-to-face interview can make you feel more confident and professional (and that feeling will affect your performance). Don’t be casual just because the medium seems more casual. And don’t go with the business-on-top, bunny-pajamas-on-the-bottom look. You just might have to stand up for some reason, so get dressed all the way down to the shoes.

  1. Straighten it up.

Consider your background, and make sure it’s professional. You don’t want to start the chat on your Web cam and then notice that your unmade bed is in the corner of the shot. Position your camera so that an interviewer might think you’re in an office (sit in front of a bookshelf, for instance), find a neutral-color background, or find some other background that represents you as a professional in your industry. And make sure you have a copy of your CV and your portfolio (and so on) at hand.

  1. Keep the cat out of it.

I participate in video chats all the time, and I often work from a home office — where my cat has elected herself as my assistant (she likes to help me type). If she shows up in the frame when I’m chatting with a colleague, it’s not a big deal. But when I do more professional meetings, I close the door to Kitty. Whether you’re on the phone or on a Web cam, move pets and kids out of the area, and make sure the environment is quiet (no TV blaring in the next room).

  1. Get an angle on it.

If you’re using a laptop at a traditional desk, your built-in camera may be positioned below your face. As any movie star will tell you, this can be an unflattering angle. A face-on view is better; setting your laptop on a couple of books might help. And pay attention to lighting: if you sit with your back to a very bright window, your face will appear as a dark blob; a light to the side can give you an overly dramatic, shadowy look. Muted sun through a window positioned in front of your desk (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) or a uniform lighting source will help you shine in the interview. (Test your setup with a friend before the big day.)


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The Most Effective Questions to Ask in A Job Interview

Imagine you’re in a job interview and everything is looking great – the job looks interesting, the salary and perks are about right, people seem nice.

What you really need to know now is, “Is this a nice place to work?” Are people happy at work here? Are the managers good? Are the co-workers nice? Or is this company a branch office of one of the nastier levels of hell?

You could always ask them straight out at the interview. “Say… I was wondering… Is this a good place to work?”

But you pretty much know what they’ll say, don’t you? “Why certainly, dear applicant, this company is fully committed to the well-being of its employees. We strive to maintain a high level of employee satisfaction and employees are our number one asset.”

Before you start ‘interrogating’ the interviewer, it’s important to assess who you’re dealing with. You should be able to gauge this within a few minutes of talking to them.

A professional would have taken the time at the beginning of the interview to make you feel comfortable, opening the interview with some small talk. These are the best people to deal with, as they’re likely to listen attentively to what you say. But they will be intolerant if you take liberties.

The psychologist-styled interviewer may try to look for hidden clues in everything you say, but it may be difficult to spot this type. So it’s best to stick to the truth and be brief at all times.

The formalist interviewer usually sticks to a script. This can be frustrating, but don’t let it intimidate you. Just be patient and affirmative, because your chance to have your say will probably come at the end of the interview, or when answering their questions.

The interrogator tries to intimidate you. The key to dealing with these people is not to get flustered. Take your time answering the questions and hold your nerve.
The smooth talker is one to watch. If they’re waxing lyrical about the job and its prospects, without too much concern for your ability, then the alarm bells should be going off. This is the type of ‘high staff turnover’ job to avoid.

The pretentious interviewer is another to watch for, as they can intimidate you with their ‘know it all’ attitude. But if you remain humble and respectful you’re still likely to make a good impression.


Here are some questions to get you going

  • What’s been your best experience working at this company?
  • When do you have the most fun at work ?
  • Who do you enjoy working with the most here? What do you like about them?
  • Which manager do you admire the most in this company? What do you admire about that person?
  • What’s the greatest thing your manager has done for his/her people?
  • How big is the team I’d be working with?
  • Who would my co-workers be, and what are their functions?
  • How many people would I be managing?
  • What are the goals of this department?
  • What are the company’s objectives for the year?
  • What would my primary tasks on this project be?
  • What does the client expect at the end of the project?
  • What would I go to work on first, and what would my function be?
  • What is the deadline for this project? How will success be measured?
  • What makes this company different from its competitors?
  • What do you like about this company? What keeps you here?
  • If I meet or exceed the company’s expectations, will there be additional opportunities to expand my responsibilities?
  • What sort of communication style works best with this team?
  • What are the main challenges associated with the team?
  • What are the biggest hurdles you hope to overcome in the next quarter?
  • What can you tell me about the culture and the environment?
  • How would you characterise successful employees in this department? What are their common qualities?
  • What is the department head’s leadership style? How often would we interact?
  • Which internal customers would I be interacting with most frequently? What are their typical expectations?
  • Please describe the duties of the job for me.
  • Is this a new position or am I replacing someone?
  • Does your company encourage further education?
  • How often are performance reviews given?
  • Do you have plans for expansion?
  • How do you feel about creativity and individuality?

Your questions may fall into the following categories:

  • What sort of responsibilities the job entails
    •    Challenging or routine/mundane aspects of the tasks at hand
    •    What support and guidance is available, such as managerial assistance, flexibility, size of budget, mentoring etc.
    •    How often your performance is reviewed and details on any bonus schemes
    •    Training and development opportunities
    •    Scope for promotion and career path enhancement
    •    Extra expectations of the employer such as travel etc

Timing is everything. During the interview you need to look for opportunities to be proactive and ask your own questions or try to lead the discussion where appropriate. Be careful not to dominate the discussion or take up too much time. Generally interviewers will give you an opportunity to ask questions, but even if they don’t actually ask you directly if you have any questions it pays to have a few prepared.

Questions should reflect your keenness to work for the company and generally you should try to limit yourself to asking just a couple of the most significant questions you have. You don’t want to make the interviewer feel brow-beaten with a long list.

Significant questions to ask about the job:

  • Why has the job become vacant?
    •    What are the key tasks and responsibilities of the job?
    •    How was the job handled in the past?
    •    What is the largest challenge facing staff at present?
    •    How do you review performance?
    •    What support and guidance is available?
    •    What training will be available?

Find out about the company’s long-term strategy. Are there plans for expansion? What new product plans are in the pipeline? These kinds of questions will be essential in helping you to decide whether this company is one you would like to work for. It will also demonstrate your keenness for the company and not just the job.

Pertinent aspects of the company to ask about:

  • Structure of the organisation
    •    Staffing: is it growing, contracting, outsourcing etc?
    •    Decision making process and line of authority
    •    Success of the organisation, its profitability and product portfolio
    •    Future strategies and development

Making an impression

Keep your concentration levels up during the interview and make sure you listen to the responses the interviewer gives you. The worst mistakes happen when people end up asking questions about topics that have already been covered in the interview or don’t hear or understand what the interviewer has said. For that reason your questions need to evolve with the interview. But don’t be afraid to ask for something to be explained in more detail.

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The Fool-Proof Method for Goal Setting and Why You Should Be Doing It

SMART goal setting will help you to stay motivated through challenges and make decisions that bring you closer to the kind of career and life that you want for yourself.

SMART goal setting helps you to work more efficiently, meet deadlines and avoid being sidetracked from your priorities. Failing to set goals is the “ready, fire, aim” approach to career and life management.

So, if you’re convinced you want to start setting goals for your career, a few tips on goal setting will serve you well.

The SMART goals method is a great way to ensure you’ve set a practical goal for yourself.

SMART goal setting – SMART stands for:


Let’s examine the SMART technique using the following goal as an example:
“Within the next three days I will call five business contacts to network and seek job opportunities.”

You are more likely to follow through on a specific goal than a general goal because it is clearly defined. Specific goal setting helps you to focus clearly on exactly what you want to accomplish and how you will do it.

Just saying I will look for job leads is not a specific goal. There are plenty of ways to look for job leads. This general goal gives no direction. It doesn’t tell you anything about what to do to achieve the goal.

The original example goal is very specific. It describes a specific strategy for finding job leads (calling business contacts). This goal lets you know exactly what you need to do to accomplish your goal.

If a goal is measurable, then you will know exactly when you have accomplished that goal. Establishing specific criteria for reaching a goal allows you to determine how close you are to reaching that goal and be motivated by your own progress.

A goal that states, I will call some business contacts to network and look for job leads, is not measurable. How many business contacts do you need to call? How do you know when you’ve achieved the goal?

The original example is measurable. You know you’ve achieved your goal once you’ve called five of your business contacts.

SMART goals are within your control. If you set goals that are outside of your control you are just setting yourself up for failure.

Some people might set the following goal: I will find five great job leads in the next week. At first glance that goal might sound pretty good, but that goal is not definitely attainable by you. You don’t have reasonable control over whether you find five job leads in the next week. You may do a great job of networking and seeking out job opportunities, but you still do not have complete control over how many great job leads you will find within a specific time frame.

The example goal, on the other hand, is an example of SMART goal setting because it is attainable. You have control over whether it happens or not. You do not have to rely on the whims or good will of others to ensure that you call five business contacts, and you can reasonably expect that calling business contacts will lead to the outcome you want – finding several great job leads.

Effective goal setting requires you to take into account the things that you are reasonably willing and able to do to achieve your goals.

I will call twenty business contacts in the next three days. Is that goal realistic? Maybe, it depends on who you are. If you have a big network of contacts and you are not terrified of business networking, that might be a perfectly realistic goal.

If you’re like most people and the idea of business networking strikes fear in your heart, then calling twenty business contacts may be completely unrealistic for you. If you know that calling five business contacts to seek out job leads is the most you can manage, then five should be your goal. Push your limits a little bit, but don’t set yourself up for failure.

SMART goals have deadlines. Deadlines help you to determine how much time you have left to achieve a goal and prevent you from procrastinating.

Your goal might be I will call five business contacts. If you are procrastinator, you’ll immediately see the problem in that goal. When will you make those phone calls? There’s no deadline pushing you to finish the task.

On the other hand, the example goal provides a deadline. You know you have three days to make the phone calls, and that deadline will help you to avoid the trap of procrastination.

When you practice SMART goal setting, you’ll have an easier time staying on track with your career goals. SMART goals can help you to stay focused on the short and long term outcomes that you want to achieve with your career and your life. SMART goal setting is an effective way to stay motivated and keep your career focused in the direction you choose.

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