Smart Moves Technical – The First Year…..

Smart Moves Technical celebrated our first anniversary this month and I can honestly say that I wasn’t prepared for how rewarding a career I had chosen to move ahead with. Our first year has been a fantastic journey, yet we feel that we have only just started and Smart Moves Technical remains our best kept secret.

So, what is “Technical”?
I’ve spent the past year recruiting for a variety of roles in IT and engineering, ranging from SQL developers to electro-mechanical field engineers. I was very lucky in the sense that my engineering background gave me a solid foundation and some industry knowledge, but I was not prepared for the amount I would have to learn. Understanding the client, taking a brief on the job specification and understanding exactly what the role would entail was key, but the importance of understanding the skills a candidate possesses can’t be understated. You don’t have to be a computer scientist or understand the inner workings of a printer, but a grasp of what makes a good engineer really helps.

The exposure to the wide variety of roles I’ve recruited for bodes well for growing Smart Moves Technical as a brand and puts us in a great position to provide the best level of training and support to aspiring recruiters that join us as my team develops. Personally, I’ll specialise in something more specific as we grow the brand, but for now the range of jobs I’m recruiting for is providing a great insight and footprint in the market, as well as attracting the exceptional level of talent we have in the area.

What have I enjoyed?
The amazing thing about this job is that every day I learn something new. Whether it’s the definition of Agile in Project Management or which candidate to put forward based on their transferable skills from another industry; every day is different and every day you get a new insight in to the business world. On top of that, there is no better feeling than calling a company, having a person you placed pick up the phone, and catching up with them on how much they’re enjoying their new role. Or conversely, hearing from a client about what a brilliant job the candidate you placed is doing.

I have the chance to change these people’s lives, and that’s not something to take lightly.

What have I learnt?
Aside from the variety of roles I’ve recruited for, and the number of companies I have had the privilege of learning about, there are things I’ve learnt that I think everyone building a desk should know.

  • Don’t devalue your brand. It’s okay to say no to a company if the terms they offer aren’t in line with your level of service. Be proud of what you are able provide.
  • Listen. This can’t be stressed enough, whilst no one expects you to be a developer or know an air conditioning unit inside out, you need to understand exactly what has been successful for your clients previously in terms of their hiring process, and what hasn’t worked so well.
  • Be honest. If you don’t understand something, definitely don’t blag it. The likelihood is that you’ll be found out straight away and it won’t do your reputation any good – and in this industry, word travels fast. Referrals are a great way to grow your network and saying, “I’m not sure about that, let me double check it and get back to you”, will go a lot further in building long-term trust and a healthy rapport.
  • Don’t be afraid to give advice to a senior candidate. They might have more knowledge about the role than you, but you will (or should) understand the recruitment and interview process better than them, as well as your client’s values, culture and vision. This is key to preparing your candidates and don’t be afraid to offer constructive criticism when you meet them. It’s in their best interests.

In a market that is more candidate driven than ever (especially in Milton Keynes), these points are key to building your reputation and attracting candidates of high quality.

So where do we go from here?
We’re in a very exciting position here at Smart Moves. With the addition of specialist sectors, and the intention to become more niche in our specialisms as our business continues to grow, we will be in the unique position to focus on very specific areas, thus adding more value to our client proposition.

I am massively grateful to have been given the chance to build a niche vertical in such a well-known and respected brand within the local area; joining a company with 16 years’ experience in the local market has been invaluable in terms of the market insight I have gained, as well as being able to help some of our long-standing clients in ways that we were traditionally not able to in the past. It has been an unbelievable year in which we’ve had success that I know wouldn’t have been possible without a market leading brand and the support of an experienced team around me. I can’t wait to see how our 17th year looks as we move ahead with some exciting plans for growth… I should think we’ll have monopolised the Milton Keynes market by 2018.

Until then, don’t hesitate to give me a call if you would like to speak about how I can help you find your perfect role, or if you’re looking to hire someone who would fall under the Technical remit. You didn’t expect this to come without a tiny bit of a pitch, did you?

Our marketing strategy so far has brought in some fantastic clients from across the country, however, it would be great to meet more local businesses to understand how you are finding recruitment. Milton Keynes is a notoriously competitive town, which with low unemployment means truly talented and exciting candidates can sometimes be very hard to find – we should know – we represent some of them exclusively.Okay, that’s enough pitching for now.

Back to the day job, there’s a lot of work to do to make sure that our second year is even better than the first.

The DO’s and DON’Ts post interview

With a fresh new CV to start off your year, it won’t be long until invites for interviews start pouring in. Many forget to think about what happens after the interview and most importantly how to deal with the pressure of waiting. There a few things that are necessary in becoming the ONE that sticks to the interviewers mind (this is key).

BE PATIENT – First things first, it is important not to be desperate; it isn’t viewed as a professional or an appealing quality in any candidate. There is a fine line between looking like a desirable applicant and putting pressure on the company and calling before they contact you, especially before the period of time they may have previously stated. If time has passed and you still haven’t had any contact since the interview, then calling or emailing would be acceptable.

GET IN CONTACT – At this point make sure when you do call, you speak to the right person. During your interview asking for direct contact details or simply getting a business card will ensure you won’t end up speaking to a person outside of the hiring process.

IT’S ALL IN THE DETAIL – With most pressured situations, moments after they occur panic naturally sets in and in the case of an interview, questions on your performance come from every single angle; what exactly did I say? Was it right? Should I have said this too? But instead of panicking just remember it isn’t referred to as a ‘first impression` if you are granted a second, third, and fourth chance too. Be confident in how you first came across. One tip for organising a flustered mind is to make notes from the interview, this way it is fresh and can help tailor any of your future responses.

HAVE A PROFFESSIONAL MANNER – When contacting your interviewer, be sure to use the correct words, grammar and tone, especially through written communication. If this is done correctly it will distinguish you between the warm, welcoming applicant to the stalker type who just won’t go away! More importantly, humour is a no go zone, even more so if the joke is bad enough to begin with!

EVERY INTERVIEW COUNTS – if you are unfortunately not chosen, don’t be sour about the outcome instead ask for direct, constructive feedback if you feel uncertain about your interview methods. A polite and modest candidate is more likely to be recommended for future roles, never assume anything.

Because we are good at what we do, don’t forget this advice is available at Smart Moves Recruitment. We are here to help you every step of the way – it’s what we do best after all!

Significant increase in people seeking new jobs in 2015…

The number of people planning to move jobs this year has dramatically increased with 37% thinking of changing jobs in 2015, according to new research.

The survey of over 1,000 UK workers and managers by the Institute of Leadership & Management shows a dramatic increase in the proportion of UK workers planning to move jobs compared to other years. Previous surveys reported only 19% were planning to move in 2014, while just 13% planned a career move in 2013.

Of those who left their jobs in 2014, 35% cited greater opportunity for progression as their main motivation for seeking a new role – compared to only 12% who sought a higher salary. In 2015, that has increased to 59%, meaning that increased opportunity is a job seekers number one priority; beating a better salary (56%), a more interesting role (50%) and better management (30%).

The Institute of Leadership & Management says that if companies are to retain staff in 2015, it’s important for them to make sure structures are in place for workers to progress, but also to communicate these opportunities effectively.  

Charles Elvin, Chief Executive of the Institute of Leadership & Management, said: “The New Year is always a popular time for workers to look ahead. With an improving economy and more fruitful job market, it is important that employers realise that it’s likely they will have to work harder to keep their talented employees. This means prioritising managing the talent pipeline within the organisation to make sure staff have opportunities to develop and progress.”

The survey also revealed that staff are feeling increasingly undervalued by their managers. Some 25% of those planning to leave said it was because they felt unappreciated in their current role, almost 10% more than last year (16%).

Charles added: “All staff want to feel that they are appreciated by their organisation so it’s crucial that companies actively recognise the efforts and talents of their employees. Companies may want to adapt to this new improved climate, by acknowledging where staff have excelled and moulding opportunities for them to advance.”

Other reasons for changing job included greater opportunities for flexible working, which was mentioned by 18%, while 3% said better options for parental leave were spurring their search for a new job.

Information source: WM Magazine (the online magazine for working mums)

New Year , New CV.

With 2015 soon approaching, the mince pies and mulled wine can make any will-powered, hardworking busy body weaken in the last few week of December. This time of year is crunch time, so as your advent calendar reduces in chocolates the chance to grab the last opportunities of 2014 decreases. Most of all, we tend to review the working year – How have we performed? What have we brought to the table? The majority of us will think about what needs to change, the first thing we look at is the CV. If you simply need to change a few things this will be fine, but if you haven’t dusted your CV off in a decade or so, a re-vamp is necessary.

To complete the ultimate CV before the New Year Champagne is finally popped open is to take the simple step-by-step process. First of all:

BE READY – This means for anything, however sure you are of your current role and position, never doubt your ability and skills. So keep that CV updated, process all of your achievements and career journey. Not everything is expected, but being prepared will always give you an advantage. Whether you have been looking for a new job purposely or you happen to stumble across that dream job, an up-to-date CV will mean you can apply and send it already suited and booted. Send a current version of your CV to the recruitment agency you work with, and the agencies that you have a relationship with will ensure that suitable job goes unnoticed and all the opportunities are sent to you. Even thinking about internal job openings, taking time to refresh your profile on your CV can influence your potential and open up a new job role. Anything is possible if you choose to be ready.

Your personal development is the only way to being ready. As time goes by, it is even harder to highlight all of the achievements and projects you have attained over time. This is a great way to review and improve on ‘you` personally; it could even be one of your many New Year’s Resolutions! Your personal growth doesn’t just have to apply to a CV, but alongside all other platforms such as LinkedIn. Having full control of who views your profile, and easy to update you can access a variety of the market makes this the perfect companion to your CV. The little things like noting down every specific responsibility you are given is recorded, and updating your CV every four-six months can help out a lot. If the thought of enhancing your CV is daunting, think about the basics, like the font. For instance the format needs to be fresh, be sure to look online for templates and guidelines to create a stand out self-profile. This is your one chance to differentiate yourself on paper, so have fun with it.

It is important to remember not to wait until you want or need a new job, update, evaluate and make it GREAT, because GOOD is so 2014!


We’ve all heard the cliché that people buy people, so how important is image?

Are we judged on whether we wear designer or high street clothes? Is there relevance on the cars we drive? Do we truly judge ourselves and others if they don’t have the latest iPhone or tablet?

Living in a society of gadgets and ‘must haves’ makes us very image conscientious – but to what extend?

There is no mistake then when you go for an interview, ‘dressing to impress’ is important.   A smart business/dress suit with clean shoes certainly gives the right impression, but once you’ve exchanged pleasantries and started your interview how important is your image then?

Self-belief and confidence in everyday life, not just in an interview, is our DNA and what makes us appealing to – I know you’re going to say ‘others’, but no – ourselves.

Confidence and integrity come from within, which is the reason people get on with others and experience ‘chemistry’.   If you try to be someone you’re not, people will see through the bravado and distrust sets in.

First impressions are definitely important, but you have to be able to underpin this with a good self-image. If you want people to believe in you, then believe in yourself first.

If you like flashy cars, does that make you flashy on the inside? If you’re designer at any cost on the outside, are you ‘at any cost’ on the inside?

So, is your self-image on the outside or the inside?

Social Media – keep it personal…

Social Media has gained momentum at a phenomenal rate since it first came in to our lives over 10 years’ ago.   It got me thinking as to what we did before?  Apart from picking up the phone and having a conversation, we wrote letters and we had a relationship with a diary, visiting most days to vent our frustrations or lay our emotions on the line, in black and white, and then hiding it away so no-one could see our inner most thoughts.

So what do we do now?  We still put our thoughts out there only this time we publish them for all our friends and associates to see!  If we’ve had a good day or a fun weekend then everyone knows about it, some even ‘like’ our photos and exchange dialogue.  That’s all well and good but why, oh why, do we tell EVERYONE when we’ve had a bad day, especially at work?!

Whether you’ve not felt up to work after the weekend or your workload is a little slow, DON’T PUT IT ON FACEBOOK!  There are quite a few stories in the media of people venting their work frustrations on Face Book which then comes back to haunt them, some have even faced dismissal.  Face Book is a wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to revealing your daily/weekly activities and thoughts.  Use it to share your news with everyone but keep how you feel about work to yourself.  Everyone is entitled to have a bad day, just don’t publicise it.

Some extracts from recent reports to give you food for thought…

‘Had a full on weekend with little sleep J.  Now I’m sitting behind a desk and bored out of my head!  My ………….. of a boss keeps coming over to see what I’m doing and it’s driving me mad!’   

‘Another Monday morning….bored, bored, bored.  I hate my job.’

‘Good job I’m only a temp as you couldn’t pay me enough money to work here!’

Pretty dangerous sentiments to put out on Facebook, don’t you think?  If you’re someone who likes to write things down in order to vent your frustrations, buy yourself a diary and start a relationship with a piece of paper, it could save your job…

February – ‘Love’ your job month?

An article in the HR Review caught my eye the other day, so I thought I would share it with you.

Apparently, ‘National Sickie Day’ (Monday 3rd Feb) is the day that most people are likely to take off.  I was astonished to learn that 375,000 UK workers took the day off last year costing employers close to £30 million in wages, lost hours and overtime.

There will no doubt be some genuine reasons for this figure, but some of the excuses are quite literally unbelievable!  I’ve listed some below – see what you think…

  • A woman called to say she couldn’t come in because she had been play fighting with her boyfriend and hurt her finger as a result
  • One man said he only had one pair of work trousers and that they were wet because his mum has washed them, so he couldn’t make it into the office
  • Another person said they needed new tyres on their car and it would otherwise be illegal for them to drive to work
  • One person said the weather was too bad to cycle to work while another said they were too tired to cycle to work
  • Someone spiked my drink with alcohol at the pub yesterday, so I won’t be in today
  • I got beat on FIFA last night and punched the wall. I broke my hand and will be off today

We all have days where we want to switch the alarm off and throw the duvet back over our heads.  I’m sure even Usain Bolt gets up some mornings and doesn’t feel like training!

It’s easier said than done, I know, but we spend so much of our day at work we really should enjoy what we do.    The article got me thinking… just how many people enjoy or even, dare I say, ‘love’ their job? 

We’ve been fortunate to have been working on some really nice jobs so far this year and the clients we’ve been working with have a great company ethos, not to mention some of the best working environments in MK. The market is definitely changing, so if you’re not happy in your job, don’t switch off the alarm and bury yourself under the duvet, think about changing your circumstances and find a new opportunity.  If that’s not possible, focus on an element of your role that you really enjoy and keep that feeling when you’re tempted to call in a sickie.

February:  Love your job month. 

Has a certain ring to it, don’t you think?!

Smart Moves Recruitment – finger on the pulse!

We said in our first January blog that all the indications were there regarding an upturn in the job market – how right were we?!  The Recruiter magazine has just released the following article:

Permanent jobs on the way up

The UK recruitment industry is poised for a recovery in the permanent jobs market following this morning’s announcement that unemployment fell to 7.1% between September and November 2013, according to a recognised economist and recruitment industry consultant.

The figures confirmed the pace of the UK’s economic recovery, as unemployment fell by 167,000 to 2.32m compared with the previous quarter, and the number of those in work soared by 280,000 to 30.15m, the largest rise since records began in 1971.

The figures, which compare the three months to the end of November 2013, with previous quarter between June and August 2013, reveal that 220,000 of the 280,000 new jobs were full time, reversing a previous trend that had seen many people forced to take part-time work.

Unemployment was down 167,000 quarter-on-quarter, the largest fall since 1997 and the lowest level since April 2009.

A compiler of Recruiter’s HOT 100, tells “Overall these figures confirm that the UK’s economic recovery is now really beginning to benefit the labour market. As a whole, workforce temporary employee levels are now broadly stable and the employment climate is improving so much, the recruitment industry will be poised for a recovery in the permanent market, as well as a continuation of some temporary growth.

“The only ‘negative’ perhaps is that unemployment is improving so quickly that the Bank of England will soon be freed by its own guidance to raise interest rates whenever it sees fit – certainly sooner than originally predicted.”

John Salt, website director at, adds: “Today’s figures are further proof of economic improvement. Employers should recognise this as a signal to invest in people and take advantage of the recent growth.

“Jobseekers should now be more confident of finding employment in 2014 as growth forecasts are revised upwards for this year. The government will look to capitalise on this positive data as they continue preparing the next Budget, which should include further incentives for businesses to take on staff.”


The prime minister tweeted  in response to the news, saying: “The biggest quarterly increase in employment on record. More jobs means more security, peace of mind and opportunity for the British people.”

Today’s figures come as PwC’s Global CEO Survey, launched at the World Economic Forum in Davis yesterday, indicated that UK bosses are the most confident in the world, with 65% saying they plan to increase their company’s headcount this year, compared to 45% in 2013.

All sounding like a pretty good start to 2014!

New Year, New Start!

Hands up who looks forward to January?  Hands up who doesn’t?  The start of a new year really does divide all of us into two camps: love or hate!  Whether you’re an optimistic or a pessimist, it’s certainly looking good for the UK economy in 2014!  Here’s what the experts are saying… 

The UK will be the West’s fastest growing economy at the beginning of 2014, according to a report.

The UK Business Confidence Monitor, put together by accountants Grant Thornton and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), hit +24 during the third quarter, the highest reading since Q2 2010.

It follows a preliminary report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which, based on 40% of the available data, suggests the UK economy grew by 0.8% in the three months to the end of September 2013.

“If our forecast is right, it will mean the UK is set to be the fastest growing economy in the western world going into 2014,” said Michael Izza, ICAEW chief executive.

“UK business confidence has now been rising for over a year, the longest sustained period since 2007. As significantly, there are some signs that the economic recovery is broadening to encompass business investments and exports.

“If this trend continues, the economy will have some strong foundations on which to build in 2014 and beyond.”

(Source International Business Times)

Here at Smart Moves, we’ve certainly seen an increase in recruitment requirements.  Bearing in mind it’s the first full week back after the Christmas/New Year holiday, the signs are very promising!

We believe that a lot of people have wanted to progress their career over the last 3 years’, but have been apprehensive to do so due to the precarious situation of the economy.   Now is certainly the time to ‘grab the bull by the horns’ and start thinking about the future and where you see yourself. 

Start by looking at where you are now and then set yourself your ultimate goal of where you want to be.  If these goals are one of the same, then congratulations, you’re in your ideal job!  However, if this is not the case, start mapping out the jobs you would need to secure in order to help you along your way.  This may also result in you returning to college or university in order to fulfil your dream, so enjoy the journey! 

If you start to get disillusioned with your job, then remember….

Either you run the day, or the day runs you!



The following report was published today by KPMG and the REC and is based on the UK Labour Market.  (It’s good news, for once, and makes interesting reading!)


  • Sharper increase in salaries as candidate availability deteriorates further. 
  • Strong growth of permanent and temporary appointments maintained.
  • Overall vacancies rise at sharpest rate in over six years.

Commenting on the latest survey results, Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, said:

“For those who have set government policy the latest figures are great news, with higher numbers of job opportunities emerging alongside the sharpest increase in permanent wages for six years, as demand continues to strengthen.

“Another question that must be addressed revolves around whether increasing salaries is enough to entice job hunters to move between organisations. All the evidence suggests not, with permanent and temporary staff availability falling in recent months.

The statistics within the recruitment industry continues to show a strong and healthy increase with both permanent and temporary placements during October.

With placements rising in October, the current period of expansion now extends to 13 months. Although easing slightly since September, the pace of expansion remains substantial.  Anecdotal evidence highlighted improved client confidence and faster decision-making. The strongest growth was recorded in the Midlands, while the slowest expansion was indicated in London.

Temporary and contract staff also increased for a sixth consecutive month in October. Although easing to the slowest since June, the rate of growth remained strong.

The Midlands continued to post the strongest temp jobs growth during the latest survey period, while the South registered the slowest rise.   Demand for staff increased further in October, with the rate of growth quickening to the fastest in over six years.

Public & private sector vacancies

Private sector vacancies continued to rise at a faster pace than public sector roles. In the private sector, permanent staff saw stronger demand growth than temporary/contract workers, while in the public sector the reverse was true.

Other vacancy indicators

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that job vacancies were up 12.5% on an annual basis in the three months to September.