Pigeonholing candidates and then trying to catch one - Seriously though, how essential is 'sector experience' in recruitment?

In a time of economic uncertainty and when budgets are tighter than ever, it is clear that many organisations look to ‘play it safe’ when it comes to hiring new talent. But why is ‘sector experience’ still seen as one of the most important over- arching requirements when it comes to selecting talent? 

Why is it so difficult to hire your replacement?

Many of us know the situation by now: you’ve been hired by a new company in a more senior role with better pay but you’ve been asked to fill your current role with a new hire before you leave. Seeing as you’re on good terms with your firm, you are happy to take on one last role as the hiring manager for a new job. After all, you know the position backwards and forwards, inside and out: who better to discern who the qualified candidates are than you? But soon you find yourself underneath a pile of CVs of candidates who just don’t quite fit the role and you’re running out of time before your new gig starts. So what is it about this process that makes it so difficult?

The Weird World of CVs Is Slowing You Down

 For every candidate you review, it seems like there is a new CV template they’re using, mixing up the order of their qualifications and experiences, highlighting their achievements in a thousand different ways, and some using terrifically unreadable fonts. The lack of uniformity makes it difficult to feel that you’re making an informed decision about candidates and your judgments about CV formatting and style might be influencing your decisions. But recruiters are fluent in the language of the CV, they know how to spot the right experience and qualifications in a snap, even on some of the most dense and difficult ones. And getting through the initial CV pile is half the battle! 

You’ve Got Too Much Wrapping Up To Do

Leaving a job is arguably just as difficult, if not more so, than starting a new one. You’ve got good-byes to say, documents to file, processes to train existing colleagues in, overviews of current progress of project, and then exit interviews on top of all that. Finding your replacement should be one less thing on your mind and handing it off to someone else will be a welcome check off your To-Do list.

 Looking For Replica Instead of a Replacement

It is not uncommon for hiring managers to seek out and prefer candidates with whom they share common traits, backgrounds, and interests, even over candidates who are perfectly qualified to do the job. When a parade of candidates comes through your inbox and you don’t find yourself reflected back, it can translate into overlooking strong candidates for the role whose path toward the job might be different from what your own was, but is no less or more valuable to the job. A recruiter can see the role more objectively and get through this process without being bogged down by seeking out his or her or own mini-me.

It Feels Like Your Legacy Is At Stake

You’ve put a huge amount of work into making your company grow and thrive, creating processes and programs that have improved the workplace and garnered you the appreciation of your colleagues and superiors. Leaving that role behind to someone with whom you’ve only spent a few hours interviewing feels like a huge gamble. What if they don’t adopt your protocols? What if they change the systems you’ve put in place and they fail? What if people forget my contribution here? We spend a huge portion of our waking hours at our jobs, it is understandable that we have difficulty letting go of these roles, which makes it advisable to have a recruiter or other human resources professional fill the role so that you can bid farewell with less fear. They might not find the perfect match straight away, but they will find a match in whom they can see the most potential to grow into the role as you once did, making it their own as you make your next big career move.
Andy Selway MCIPD, Specialist HR Recruiter and Founder, Selway Search HR. Founder of Corporate & Cocktails HR Events.

"You Can't Sit With Us" - HR Networking Can Be Hard Right? WRONG! No Mean Girls (or boys) here.

Do you sometimes feel like this when you join a new networking group or attend an HR event?

There is a reason the word “work” is in “network". It's because networking can actually be quite hard for some people and a little bit scary at first!  So we kept this in mind when we set up Corporate & Cocktails.

With our informal and friendly HR networking events, everyone from large corporate HR types to start-up, SMEs and self-employed HR types can find an informative and fun HR group in London, that will cater to their needs.

So we encourage everyone to come along to our HR events , mix with peers and employers from across the industry to share ideas, skills and connections over drinks and great conversation.

It's a simply formula, that works!  That's why we're proud of having more than 1,800 London HR professionals in our group!  See what some of our members had to say

For more information, please drop us a line.

We are facilitating another ' Business Clothes Drop' in support of 'Dress For Success' at our HR event on 29th June 2016.


Our CSR partner Inspire, Motivate & Engage will be at our Free HR event on 29th June 2016.

We are jointly on a mission to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women, by providing professional clothing and career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. This is done via the charity partner 'Dress for Success'.

We had an amazing success with this initiative a few events ago, that we are going full force again at our up and coming event.  So we need your help!!  

Join us by donating your gently used, nearly-new professional attire. The clothes need to be in good condition and could be worn at an interview. Please bring any items on a hanger if possible, as there will be a collections rail as you come in.

Items we need are:

  • Interview appropriate suits

  • Interview appropriate blouses

  • Professional separates including blouses, slacks, skirts, dresses, blazers and jackets

  • Work appropriate shoes

  • Jewellery and scarves

  • Handbags (briefcases, portfolios or work appropriate handbags)

With your support, we can inspire women to take charge of their lives.

Massive thank you to the team at IME for partnering with us and helping us give back to the business community.


A bit more about IME

IME's  accredited (Level 4) management & leadership programme offers some great ROI for your business: 

  • Improves line management skills by an average of 89%

  • Improves coaching abilities by 83%

  • 87% of managers reported greater confidence to take on leadership responsibilities, rather than escalate to higher management

  • 92% of our corporate partners report greater application of new skills post training

And it also achieved some impressive social impact stats:

  • 98% of the 360 young people who participated in the programme last year reported significantly improved employability skills.

  • 30% actually found full time employment thanks to the help and guidance of their mentor.

As well as offering L&D programmes that positively impact society, IME is the only training provider that commits to giving 5% of its annual turnover to charity each year. 

I hope that by partnering with IME, you will find a programme that truly engages and develops your staff, but also makes an impact on a cause that is important to so many of us. 

I recommend you watch this short video which will tell you everything you need to know about IME: http://inspiremotivateandengage.com/learn-and-make-a-difference/

Are you a 'stand out' HR Supplier we have been searching for??  Check out who we'd like to see at our events this year!


Corporate and Cocktails HR Events is the vibrant and fun human resources (HR) networking group. Wer run regular FREE HR events for HR professionals in London. 

We have over 3,000 London HR members and growing. We also work with a number of approved HR suppliers who are part of our group and attend our events. 

We like to make sure we're able to put our members in front of a variety of approved and knowledgeable  suppliers who can  provide insight into their useful products and services - with a 'no hassle' approach.

We've got good coverage, but due to member demand, we're looking for suppliers in the following areas that we feel are under represented or we don't have in our group:

  • Occupational Health Providers

  • Employment Screening Providers

  • Outplacement Support Providers

  • Large Training Providers

  • Fruit Delivery Companies

  • Wellness Providers

  • Cool, fun, innovative stuff that is amazing for employees

We're also interested in chatting to any new HR techy companies.

If any of these are you, then we would like to have a chat with you about attending our regular events in 2016.

Get in touch now at:  hello@corporateandcocktails.co.uk

Note that supplier spaces at our events are limited, so get in touch now!

Taking the 'WORK' out of netWORKing!!

As we openly acknowledge there is no coincidence that the word ‘work’ is in networking.

For some, it can be challenging and a little bit daunting, which is why we ensure our HR events are ego free, relaxed and fun.   People that don’t value these qualities are probably at some other HR networking event.  Leave them there I say!!

According to our recent Corporate & Cocktails Survey, when asked: ‘How confident are you at networking in general?’ 67% of respondents said they were generally ok, but needed to push themselves, with 9% saying they often feel uncomfortable networking.  When it came to people either loving networking or it not bothering them, this accounted for only 24%.   This shows that for over 75% of HR people that responded, networking doesn’t come easily. 

So, if you are one of the HR professionals that struggle a bit with networking, here are some top tips to make you feel more at ease.  

My overriding message though is just be ‘you’, as most new attendees will be feeling the same as you are, so will only be too grateful for a chat!

So… you’re new to our events and arrive at the venue. We know that walking in can often be the hardest part right?  

Make an entrance

The first person you’re likely to see is either me (the host!) or the person on the registration/sign-in desk.  We’re both great people to speak to first, as we typically know most of the attendees and can help introduce you to people.  If I’m not around, the person on the registration desk can point you in my direction.  Come and speak to me and let me introduce you to others.

It’s tempting if you don’t know anyone to make a beeline for the bar – well that’s ok! Grab a drink, but then head towards someone and just say ‘Hi I’m …….’ .  A great opener is ‘Have you been to an event before’?, then have chat about where you both work and let the conversation flow… i.e. ‘where are you based’? ‘How many people are in your team or company’? Etc etc.

Bingo, you’ve just made your first connection.  You have your buddy, now go and speak to someone else (or a group), either on your own, or better still with your buddy.  Then two can become three and so on and so forth! 

A great rule of thumb is to arrive early, so you can ease into speaking to a few people first. Then when it gets busier you’ve already made some connections and warmed up!

Speaking to groups that have already formed

It’s totally fine to join a group and just hang back and listen to what is being said.   When you feel there’s a natural opening, speak up and get involved. Before that point, you can still appear engaged whilst listening.  

Sometimes you may come across a group that may already know each other i.e. work colleagues, and then you quickly realise that they’re not talking HR, but talking about what’s happened socially to them recently or they are catching up on personal stuff.  You mustn’t take it personally if you can’t break into the conversation.  Try and pick up on something in common i.e. places, situations etc.  If they are totally engulfed in personal stuff, just move on and have another go later on in the evening.  Don’t feel deflated, it’s nothing that you’ve done and it’s not a sign that you’re not interesting! 

One key thing to remember is that you’re not going to have a natural connection with everyone. If the conversation is very ‘stop start’ or you find you don’t have that much in common, there’s no harm in politely moving on.  

Moving along

One of the key skills in networking is being able to move around the room and to break away politely from someone or a group of people.  

It’s easy to just keep talking to the same person or stay within the same group right?  Yeah, but if you do this, you’re not going to benefit from other peoples insight and knowledge and you’re not putting the event to its best use. The next person you speak to could be your future HR work colleague or they could give you some valuable advice and guidance.

You won’t be offending someone if you decide to move on. The key is to not wander off mid conversation. 

Below are a few example of how to do this. Oh, it’s always a good idea to acknowledge how nice it was talking to them and that you’ll hopefully have another chat later on in the evening.

Some ways of moving on…….

 “I’ve just seen a friend walk in”

“I’ve just seen someone who I haven’t seen in ages”

“I’m going to get something to eat” 

“I need to catch up with the host”

“I need to speak to that supplier” 

“I’d better go and mingle “

When it comes to leaving the event, there’s no right or wrong way.  Some people often feel uncomfortable  when the group is small, as you don’t know whether to  give everyone double kisses or just say  “see you everyone” with  a little wave gesture.  Trust me; the only person who is thinking about this is you. If you spoke to someone a lot during the evening you may want to say ‘good night’ personally and then make your exit.   No one is judging you and often people have to leave at different times in the evening anyway due to transport, family responsibilities etc. 

We’re a very informal and relaxed group!  

Although I’ve given you some tips, this is just to make you feel a bit easier about networking.   You’ll find it’s not that hard and things will naturally flow, as we’re all friendly and welcoming. You’ll have an amazing and fun time.

In our recent survey, 50% of people who have attended one of our events now socialise outside our events with someone they have met at our events.  While 96% either go to all our events or mostly all of them. Plus, 87% have recommended us to their HR colleagues and connections. So we are doing something right!


FREE Thomas Engage Survey to the winner of the prize draw at our next Corporate & Cocktails HR Event on 27th April 2016

Employee engagement is an enduring topic within the business world. When people flourish, so do the organisations they work for. Conversely, demotivated employees can hold businesses back. When people lack motivation, they are unlikely to do their best work, are less productive and are more likely to leave – increasing overall attrition and its associated costs.
Thomas Engage provides a structured and comprehensive health check for measuring employee engagement in your organisation. It enables your business to quickly establish levels of morale, provide a feedback channel for your staff and build a plan of action toward higher workplace engagement and performance.
We are offering a FREE Thomas Engage Survey to the winner of the next C&C prize draw. If you’d like more information on Employee Engagement you can download our whitepaper HERE

The curse of the Job aka Counter Offer seeker…..

The curse of the Job aka Counter Offer seeker…..
The “counter offer”, feared by some employers but sought after by some employees. If you are the employee involved in this situation the key thing is to remain a professional during this process to both your current employer, potential new employer and the recruiter (whether internal or external) who has no doubt worked tirelessly to assist you in achieving a new job offer that you had told them when you registered that you had wanted.
As a job/counter offer seeker, whether you have pro-actively started your own job search or you have been approached and temped to move by a recruiter, you need to work out if you even want to leave your current employer and more importantly understand all the reasons as to why you want to leave?
Being that job/counter offer seeker who is using the recruitment process or even worse using the services of a recruitment professional in order to obtain a pay rise from their current employer is not an advised option.
It is far easier and highly recommended that you first speak to your current employer and put your case forward to them as to why you want and feel deserved of a pay rise/ benefits review/opportunity to progress, way before the job seeking process even starts.
Why is it not advised I hear you ask? You may feel the job market is a big place, and yes the UK wide employment sector is extensive, but if you are seeking a new job within a fairly local geographical area to where you currently work/live or within a niche sector you need to think before you act.  Using the job seeking process as leverage to obtain a pay rise may come back to haunt you at some point in your future career.
In business (and life), “it is key to treat everyone and every meeting opportunity with respect and an open mind, the person you are speaking to might not be of direct assistance but will no doubt be connected to someone that you need to know either now or in the future”.
Valuable advice indeed, so why do employers fall for the “counter offer” situation when faced with a member of their team resigning (aka being held to ransom in some cases), frankly recruiting a new member of staff versus retaining an existing one is expensive, from both a time and financial point of view. Sadly an employer who has been cornered into offering a pay rise just may well do so to save further expense and time, particularly when replacing niche skills and experience, which could prove difficult if in short supply. Equally some employers may take your “resigning for a pay rise” personally, especially if they feel their offering to you is already competitive, maybe even generous given your input, resulting in no counter offer and a very awkward resignation period on your part.
It is worth considering what your current employer will think of you as an individual for doing this to them, will them increasing your salary after being cornered into doing so add more pressure to your day to day working life? Will it damage your credibility and/or integrity? Will you be seen you in a different light? Also to consider is what if you are still unhappy after receiving more money to stay?
As a fan of honesty being the best policy and as good practice I will suggest to job seekers that I work with, citing “extra income” as a reason for leaving, that before I will do anything for them they should speak to their current employer.  At least by asking the question before they have taken paid time off for interviews, they can feel safe in the knowledge that there is nothing their current employer can do, so now they are mentally and credibly free to start looking for a new job.
If you are fortunate to be in receipt of a pay/job review, before seeking a new job, you will have some time to decide if the extra money is making a difference to how you feel about the workplace/your work colleagues/the job you are employed to do/the commute to and from etc?  As if it doesn’t then now really is the right time to look to partner with a quality recruitment professional who will find the right employer for you.
Several years ago a national survey was carried out by a national plc recruitment business that found of all employees who upon resigning had received and accepted a pay rise to stay, that 70% of them still went on to leave over the following 6 months but under far less amiable conditions.
Money may make the world go round but being happy, valued and progressed in your day to day working life is absolutely essential to being a fulfilled working human being. 
And remember that if you are already well into the job seeking process and in receipt of a brand new job offer from a prospective employer, who feels that they have done everything in their power to secure you, that if you then turn this job offer down and stay where you are, that bridge could well be burnt for the future.  Ask yourself will you regret this decision in 6 months’ time as 70% of your fellow counter offer seekers have?
Make the right decision at the right time for you and for your employer, else karma may come full circle….

Samantha Carroll - Managing Director - Clearcut Recruitment 

Clearcut Recruitment is an honest, straight forward and independent recruitment agency based in St Albans, Hertfordshire and London.

We recruit for permanent, temporary and contract based jobs, specialising within Human Resources (all levels) and office support - PAs, receptionists, sales, marketing, finance, customer services, projects, EAs, secretaries, events, facilities, office managers to name a few.