Archives for: November 2007
A night at LK Bennett!
Wednesday 14th November truly was ladies’ night as BLT hosted their first ever private shopping event in conjunction with LK Bennett.
The stunning Covent Garden store was the venue for our champagne and canapé fuelled extravaganza during which contacts were gained and money was, most definitely, lost! However, the beautiful selection of LK Bennett goods and the numerous staff to help attendees make the perfect choices meant nobody went home without a beautiful addition (or two) to their winter wardrobe! And for those whose will-power resisted the ever-flowing champagne, our goodie-bag meant even they took home a little piece of LK Bennett in the shape of an attractive leather clutch evening bag – not to mention the other freebies which included amongst other things a BLT key-ring, 10% discount for life at LK Bennett and a Green & Blacks chocolate bar!
For those who left business cards at the beginning of the night we have now drawn the winners of the LK Bennett vouchers prize draw.
• 1st Prize: Gillian Robinson @ The Association of British Insurers - £100
• 2nd Prize: Lynne McCarthy @ Capgemini - £75
• 3rd Prize: Lisa Marlow @ Deloitte - £50
Congratulations to you all! Make sure you make full use of your discount card when making your purchases!
BLT would like to thank all that came along and participated in our evening. It was a great success and one which we will most certainly be repeating!
20 years of excellence in Management Consultancy, HR, Company Secretarial and Taxation Recruitment
It was twenty years ago today ...
...well, give or take a few weeks
Don, Caroline, Sheila, Guy, Liz and Paul put down their lyric sheets to explain the evolution of ‘Sergeant’ BLT’s recruitment philosophy.
According to Mr Lennon and Mr McCartney, it was in 1947 that Sergeant Pepper founded his ‘Lonely Hearts Club Band’ as celebrated by eponymous record released in 1967 – a milestone in the nation’s musical heritage.
Recruitment consultants BLT were founded in 1987, so in the tradition of maintaining the same 20-year distance, we are now celebrating that milestone in the nation’s Management Consultancy, Tax, HR and Company Secretarial recruitment heritage.
When we began, our aim was to provide a unique recruitment service to clients. First, we were one of the few agencies to provide a specialised recruitment service in each of our markets. And secondly we wanted to set up a firm that offered an ethical and high quality approach to recruitment. We wanted to be experts in our fields and, 20 years on, we are proud to have achieved this goal.
The brand evolved around the personalities of the main directors and much of the work came in via recommendation. Little has changed; our forte then was in developing long-term relationships and this still exists today, with the people we placed 20 years ago now being our clients. We have often followed them throughout their careers – a quick glance at the existing partner populations and the key players in the HR, Management Consultancy, CoSec and Tax markets illustrates that many started life as one of our placements!
Still thinking creatively
BLT has always sought to find creative, effective ways of uniting great people with great jobs. From Mike Beament’s interview on Radio Four for the ‘World at One’ about the exodus of staff from the Inland Revenue, through our monthly BLTmail round ups, to the launch of our new BLT Blog we are constantly exploring new channels of engagement.
Has the humble tax specialist changed over the years? Not really, although within the profession, the emphasis on marketing and relationship building has resulted in the existence of (and need for) more well-rounded ‘all singing, all dancing’ business types. Simultaneously, your archetypal in-house tax professional needs to be highly commercial and visible within the business – tax is no longer confined to the backroom! That said, there will always be a place for technicians who are ideas driven and tax
has become no less complicated over the years
The CoSec market has developed significantly over 20 years. Once a largely unrecognised and mis-understood profession of academically-minded individuals offering ‘backroom’ corporate administration services, subsumed within legal or accounting departments, it is now a high profile discipline led by commercially-focussed experts working pro-actively and creatively to add real value to Board-level decision-making. Much the same could be said for HR, which has steadily climbed the value chain, whilst the Management Consultancy market has grown exponentially.
Gone are the days when our database consisted of index cards in a shoebox. Advances in technology and e-mail have changed the way we communicate and the pace at which we work. CV’s can be submitted at the touch of a button, and the internet has helped to streamline recruitment processes. But at BLT we still adhere to our key values of building relationships and providing an ethical service. In our view, there is still no substitute for picking up the phone.
The International Angle
One of the greatest advances has been the international explosion. We regularly work on assignments in Asia/Pacific, the US, western, central and eastern Europe and the Far East. It’s getting to the stage where if you name a country – we will have had involvement there – although the Eskimos have yet to benefit from our services!
Throughout all these changes and advancements, BLT are proud to have remained the consultancy of choice for our clients and candidates in the worlds of direct and indirect tax, CoSec, management consultancy and HR, and will continue abiding by our ethos of providing ethical, efficient and effective recruitment solutions for all.
Above all, we enjoy what we do and will continue to do so. Again, like Sergeant Pepper, ‘Sergeant BLT’ would like to say ‘you’re such a lovely audience, we’d like to take you home with us’, but we don’t think there’s room. So, let’s just say - here’s to the next 20 years!
I’d heard very little about video CVs until last week, when three connections hit my in-box: a company promoting them (click here), a business school careers advisor asking me if her students should make them, and an example of the thing itself at a recruitment event.
Now I’m all in favour of platforms that give candidates/job seekers a way of presenting more information about themselves, but it needs to be relevant, and worthwhile!
The video CV I saw was a 90 second film from an MBA student in the US. The opening shot was of him walking down the stairs from the entrance of his mid-Western college, introducing himself, his business school and his subjects studied. It then switched to him sitting on the grass apparently talking to three fellow students, while he voiced-over a description of his qualities and attributes. Finally, he talked straight to camera in a head-and-shoulders sequence that was probably filmed in a classroom. In this last portion he talked about his work experience and his career plans.
Now, I’m not sure if I learned anything about this fellow that I couldn’t have gleaned from a CV and a telephone conversation. Maybe if he were applying for a job in media, or where presentation skills were important, I could see the point of the video. But the thought struck me: supposing I had to spend my working day looking at video CVs, rather than reading them? How long would that take? How easy would it be for me to scan a video quickly to pick up the key points in someone’s career history.
So, my reply to the careers advisor was No.
I’m not convinced about the worth of a video CV. Do you disagree with me?
What's in a blog!?
I think most recruiters would welcome the chance to gain some extra insight into an individual, and using a blog to say something useful (and relevant to your career) can only help. But how many of us can truly claim to write a piece that offers thought leadership or conveys a deep understanding of an issue?
'Personal branding' is fine if you are a Tom Peters or Charles Handy (to use a couple of examples from the management consultancy sector).
But I suspect that most of us wouldn't be able to blog well enough to project the brand we want.
I'm reminded of a comment I heard about corporate branding and Harley Davidson. What images are conjured up by this iconic brand?. Hells Angels. Easy Rider?
So what's the personal branding a Harley owner gets? It allows balding, paunchy 43 year old accountants to wear black leather, drive through small villages and frighten people.
It's the blogging equivalent of projecting something you are not. So by all means continue blogging....but don't overestimate the blog's true value to you.
And what's your own view?
How do we find the best person for the job – with the right fit for our business? It’s my job to know the answer for my clients but this doesn’t make it any easier to answer for BLT; why is that, I wonder? Or, more importantly, how might I resolve it?
What do you think the BLT personality is ?
As you hopefully know by now, we're really keen for you to get involved in this blog . Whether you're a client, a candidate or even a competitor, we'd love to hear your thoughts and comments.
To encourage reticent writers and blog virgins, we have a magnificent BLT Carluccio's Hamper to give away to deserving bloggers.
We're delighted to announce that Kerry Porritt is the first winner.
Kerry comments on Caroline's post on "Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA): what's in a name?" can be read here.
Blogger (Caroline Evans, left) meets Contributor Kerry below as the hamper changes hands. Well done Kerry!
Next time it could be you! If you're not sure how comment, just email us here. If you have a perspective and would like to post, email us to become a guest blogger
The Growing Role of Social Media in Recruitment
The importance of Social Media to both employers and candidates was stressed in an article published recently in the Financial Times.
The article states the ‘Social networks are often said to be about giving power to the people, “democratising the web”, and so on. The implication is that they take power away from traditional suppliers of content on the web, including businesses.’
Networks are set up to help people to communicate with each other. How can they help, or hinder, with the recruitment process?
Dow is planning to launch a series of private networks at the end of this year. Called Dow Connect “It’s a way for us to reach out to people who have worked with Dow, to have regular dialogue with them, and to recruit some of them back to Dow,” says Julie Fasone Holder, vice president in human resources. The reasoning behind this move is very simple. Ex-employees are a huge asset to a company. Even if they themselves don’t want to return to work for the company, they may well know of someone who would be suitable.
The idea of using private networks is still a reasonably new one. The majority of social networking is still done in the public arena using sites such as Facebook. The accountancy firm, Ernst and Young, uses Facebook extensively to recruit potential graduates from US colleges. The benefit to the company is obvious, but what does the candidate gain? Firstly they might secure a job without needing to trawl through a myriad of job advertisements; the company approaches them and invites them to a meeting. Secondly, the candidate can check out the company in advance, asking other Facebook members if Ernst and Young is a good company to work for.
What, if anything, is the downside to this new trend of social networking? Candidates should take a certain amount of care when inputting their personal information. It’s all well and good to post photos for your friends to see, but what would a potential employer think if all he saw was you drinking and partying every night? As we’ve written about before, there are serious risks to candidates: according to the Times, a survey of 600 British companies revealed that one in five had logged on to Facebook and other networking websites to vet potential employees.
And the downside for the employer? As with any site where the public are allowed to contribute, you could receive a bad write-up. It could be a disgruntled employee or a customer who has had a bad experience with the company in general. Or it could be internal communications viewed outside of their original context. As the fifth highest result on a Google search for ‘Ernst and Young’, this is a cringe-inducing example of an Ernst & Young Recruitment Days video posted on to YouTube. This clip ‘Oh Happy Day’ and the accompanying comments illustrate why HR and PR need to carefully monitor social media and “listen to the conversation.”
The traditional website is never going to go away, but like them or loathe them, social networking sites are here to stay. As our dependency on the Internet grows ever more each day, they could well end up being a major but incremental force in the recruitment industry – adding to the tools that already exist.
Please click here for the full article on “You Can’t Stop Them Talking”
Blackberry Or “Crackberry?”
I don’t know about you but since I decided to have a PDA I find myself addicted to the continual need - or desire (I am not sure which!) - to access emails outside of work. Of course there are some great benefits with the opportunity of catching-up on emails on the train, or when you are on the hoof to meetings... But there are some big drawbacks.
With more and more communication being conducted by email, I sadly find it difficult to put the PDA down in the evenings, and I have even been known to check them whilst on holiday. So are we now becoming inadvertedly stressed and worn-down by the addictive use of these hi-tech machines? An article in Personnel Today seems to think so:
The study of 3,018 workers, commissioned by the organisers of the Leaders in London conference, found three-quarters believed the endless onslaught of new technology made them feel under pressure to be constantly available, even outside of working hours.
Four in 10 (43%) revealed that they check their PDAs and BlackBerries as much as every 10 minutes.
Three-quarters (77%) of those surveyed admitted that they had checked their e-mails during numerous social occasions, including weddings (15%), birthday parties (14%) and even on dates (5%).
A quarter admitted that they couldn't even resist checking their inbox while on holiday.
Almost two-thirds (61%) felt that the pressure to be regularly on call meant that they spent barely 15 minutes working without interruptions during a typical day.
Excessive emails and the use of the “Crackberry” seem to be make us feel the need and expectation (as well as for me the addiction) to check and respond to emails 24/7.
So let me know your thoughts - do you lay on the beach emailing work to say you are having a nice time - or find yourself responding to emails and the demands of your business?