In December and January we often see recruitment advertisements with this heading as it

Bust of Julius Caesar from the British Museum

Bust of Julius Caesar from the British Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

seems to be considered a time of year when many people start to look for a new job.  Our own experience bears this out as we tend to have increased numbers of new candidates to work with in January but why is this?

The New Year is a time for thinking about new possibilities when we are attracted by the lure of something new.  Perhaps there is a link to making New Year resolutions as we tend to have time off with family and friends and think about setting resolutions or bettering ourselves in some way e.g. losing weight or giving up smoking.  It is thought that New Year resolutions were started by Julius Caesar as a way of honouring the Roman mythical god Janus whose two faces allowed him to look both into the past year and also forward to the New Year.

If, during this period of contemplation, you decide that you are dissatisfied with your current job perhaps the first step is to think about whether you can do anything to improve it – remember the grass is not always greener.  If you do decide to move on how big a change do you want to make?  How easy or difficult will that be?  How likely are you to succeed?  The diagram below demonstrates the different changes you could potentially make with Same Job, Same Industry being the simplest move and Different Job, Different Industry the most difficult.  Of course it’s up to you how big a change you feel you want to make but be realistic about how challenging a step it might be and think about whether there might be incremental steps that you need to take in order to reach your end goal.

Same Job

Different Industry

Similar Job

Different Industry

Different Job

Different Industry

Same Job

Similar Industry

Similar Job

Similar Industry

Different Job

Similar Industry

Same job

Same Industry

Similar Job

Same Industry

Different Job

Same Industry

If you do decide to take the leap do make sure that your CV is as good as it can be.  There is lots of help and advice out there including at where there are also a large number of jobs which might just grab your interest!





Most businesses choose to have one supplier for particular services e.g. they may have one stationary supplier, one facilities management company, one firm of accountants, one catering company etc.  They may regularly review and even change them but they will choose to work mainly with one supplier for one type of work.

Why will they do this?  Often they will get a good price from the supplier as they know there will be volume business, but also the supplier will get to know the business, the people involved, their needs, likes and dislikes.  They should be able to provide a more tailored, relevant and cost effective service to the business. So why when it comes to recruitment do so many businesses send their vacancies out to a huge range of different recruitment firms in what seems to be a scattergun approach?  We often hear from

in-house recruitment and HR staff how they are swamped with agency emails and phone calls to the point where they can’t get their jobs done.  This approach also often leads to a much slower process and in a market where there are skills shortages and high calibre candidates move on very quickly businesses can ill-afford to miss out on good candidates.  Could it be that their recruitment procedures are at the root of the problem?

At MAC Resourcing we believe that a partnership approach is the most effective way to work with our clients.  Apart from the cost savings often by our approach we believe the flexibility of our service can help our clients through the peaks and troughs in recruitment throughout the year, can provide specialist expertise, can use the client’s own brand to attract candidates who might otherwise not respond and allow their internal staff to get back to their own jobs. Our expertise also allows us to provide insight on the selection of candidates which his hugely important yet often overlooked. We can review the recruitment and selection process from start to finish and offer advice and support at each stage making the process smoother, more robust and quicker, benefiting the company and candidates alike.

Recruitment and selection are after all people based processes so why not build business relationships that work and last.

For an initial discussion on how our partnership approach could benefit your business please call 01224 577070 or visit for more information.

So you’ve applied for a job and been invited to attend an assessment centre – your first thought may be “great they liked my CV” and your second thought might very well be “oh no an assessment centre – scary!”  I must confess despite having being involved in designing and running assessment centres for years I would still feel exactly the same.  Regardless of whether you are a new graduate or someone who has been working for years I think this is a natural reaction.

So how should you prepare for an assessment centre in order to ensure you give your best performance? First consider the obvious things – travel arrangements, dress code, start time and make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before.  Then think about the tasks you are likely to be asked to complete and how you can prepare for each of these.  You can certainly practice ability tests online and you will more than likely have an interview during the day so prepare for this as you would for any other interview  There are plenty of books on the subject as well as internet articles and there are even some companies out there who offer assessment centre practice or coaching but this can be quite an expensive option.

Bear in mind that the assessment centre will be designed around a set of competencies so you should try to think about examples from your past experience where you have been able to demonstrate that you hold these competencies.  These examples do not all have to come from the workplace sometimes personal examples can be just as effective.

I have encountered a small number of people who have decided to withdraw their application rather than attend an assessment centre and I think that’s a real shame.  Only by stepping out of our comfort zone occasionally can we really find out what we are capable of.  If an assessment centre is well designed and managed you should find that you are undertaking tasks which are challenging but not impossible and these should be delivered in an environment designed to get the best out of you.  You should also receive some feedback after the event which will be useful for you whatever the eventual outcome of the assessment centre.

Finally it is worth remembering that the assessment centre is a two-way process and it is an opportunity for you to learn more about the company, its people, culture and so on so think about the questions that you would like to ask the company.  After an assessment centre you will certainly be tired but if you get the preparation right you should have learned quite a lot about yourself and the company and you can feel satisfied that you rose to the challenge despite your initial fears.  Be yourself but be your best self!

As any student is aware, there is only so much you can learn in the confinements of University. It’s all very theoretical with a lack of opportunity to apply the abundance of newly gained knowledge. Thankfully there are a host of growing and developing companies out there willing to offer students an opportunity to challenge themselves in new ways during the summer break. Fortunately I was granted the opportunity to work within a fast growing and reputable consultancy company, Maritime Assurance & Consulting. I can honestly say I’ve been able to experience a succession of unique work which has varied extensively throughout my summer.

Having previously experienced a summer within a large service company, it would be fair to say that the extent of work experienced within MAC has been far more expansive. Because of this I’ve been able to not only build upon the skills which I already possessed but gain many more. Examples of this include gaining an insight into Dynamic Positioning (DP) which is an extensively utilised technology in the offshore industry, the ability to produce 3D designs of complex offshore structures, generate and evaluate RAO’s (Response Amplitude Operator) which are used to determine the likely behaviour of a vessel when operating at sea and finally my social skills, partaking in a number of meetings with clientele.

Additionally I found working within a relatively small organisation very advantageous as this has allowed me to work very closely with a number of very experienced engineers. I gained some invaluable knowledge because of this, as they spoke of their vast experiences with me, sharing the “do’s and don’t’s” of the industry. Furthermore I feel that having a smaller team promotes outstanding team-work and inadvertently contributes to unquestionable communication levels. It’s then no surprise that MAC was recognised at the 2012 Grampian Business Awards, winning the ‘Business Success – Under 3 Years’ category.

On a final note, any aspiring engineer should seriously consider gaining experience working within a consultancy company. This will enable them to broaden their range of skills, knowledge and engineering abilities through working on a vast range of projects at any one time.

Grant hard at work in the MAC office

This Blog Post was contributed by Grant Singer, M Eng Mechanical Engineering Student at the University of Aberdeen who is currently undertaking a Summer Placement with Maritime Assurance & Consulting.

For more information on Maritime Assurance and Consulting visit

For more information MAC Resourcing and for vacancies visit

A number of years ago I had my first introduction to Belbin team roles theory.  I had completed previous personality profiling tools and had found them to be useful so was happy to complete my Self Perception Inventory.  As I was quite new to the company it was felt that the other team members did not know me well enough to complete observer profiles so this would be done later.

My profile came out as I expected (not surprising perhaps since it was me who filled it out!)  From the nine team roles I was a high Teamworker, Coordinator but low Shaper.  That’s right, I thought,  I am someone who gets on well with everyone, takes others opinions into account and doesn’t push anyone around!

Some months later I had my observers add their thoughts into the mix and I was surprised to discover that my top team role had now become Monitor Evaluator.  No, I thought, they’ve got that wrong I don’t know where they are getting that from.

However over time I became aware of myself analysing information that was put in front of me, questioning the team’s approach to certain situations and providing constructive criticism when new ideas were being considered.  I realised that my colleagues had been right but the Monitor Evaluator was a trait I had not previously recognised in myself.

I later had the opportunity to become Belbin accredited and learn much more about the team roles their contributions and allowable weaknesses which has allowed me to be aware of when and how to use my own preferences and how to recognise the contributions that other team members can offer.  Further I think it provides a common language to recognise and discuss these traits.

Scroll forwards a few years and I am in a new role with a new business which requires me to work in different ways and not surprisingly my self perception report has changed again.  I am still high in Monitor Evaluator and Coordinator but Teamworker is now much lower down my profile and Shaper somewhat higher.  I think that as I have got older I have learned that I don’t have to try to please all of the people all of the time and can be successful in what I am doing in other ways.  I will ask my new colleagues to complete observer profiles for me once I have been in the company for more than 6 months and I wonder if there will be further learning for me then.  As Robert Burns said “Oh wad some power the giftie gie us to see oursel’s as others see us!”

To download a sample Belbin report please visit the client section on our website or to discuss using Belbin Team Roles with your team call us on 01224 577070.

It is not so long ago that at least two pre-employment references were taken up on each candidate as a vital part of the recruitment process.  Offers of employment are often still made “subject to satisfactory references” and can be withdrawn if the references are not deemed suitable.

These days, for legal reasons, more and more companies are only willing to provide very basic, factual details in a reference such as dates of employment and job title.  Many companies also have a policy to this effect or have it written into their staff handbook that employees are not allowed to give a reference on behalf of the company. Taking up two of these references can be seen as more of a box-ticking exercise than a useful and informative part of a selection process.

Of course the candidate’s ex-colleagues can provide a personal reference if they want to but are these worth the paper they are written on?  Surely a candidate would only choose someone who likes them and is likely to be positive about them to be a referee?

So, we can get basic details from a previous employer and a gushing description of how fantastic the candidate is from an ex-colleague who is also a friend but how do we really know whether previous employers, colleagues or clients would recommend that individual’s work?

Word of mouth is probably the most common answer, if the candidate has been recommended by someone known to the employer and whose opinion they trust then they are certainly more likely to progress their application.  As the old adage goes it’s not what you know but who you know. Second to this though is online information in other words the recruiter will Google the candidate’s name and see what they find.  A LinkedIn profile is a likely starting point for research – does the candidate’s work history tie in with what is on the CV, are the dates the same, what skills and specialities do they have, and specifically what recommendations do they have?  Be aware though that there is no point having a well-polished LinkedIn profile is you have a Twitter or Facebook profile that gives a completely different picture of you.  Do you have lots of drunken pictures of you on nights out or have you been saying negative things about current or previous employers on your page?  These can all reflect poorly to a potential employer.

We are not suggesting that people should not be active in these social meeting settings but simply that they should err on the side of caution.  If you are job hunting try Googling yourself and double-check the privacy settings on your accounts to ensure that potential employers see just what you want them to.

I have been reading a number of articles recently proclaiming the death of the CV in its traditional format and as someone who is regularly asked for CV advice I like to keep up to date with current views.

Is the CV dead? No but it is certainly changing.

New developments

In the last few years I have seen more CVs with web links in them, perhaps through the logo of a previous company or a link to a graduate’s dissertation or a published paper.  These are useful assuming the CV is being read in an electronic format as most are.  I have also seen candidates from creative industries presenting a CV like an advertisement or even a storyboard and these certainly catch the attention but are they perhaps best left to those in creative roles?

The latest new development appears to be the video CV and there are a number of examples on YouTube as well as tips on how to prepare one. This trend appears to be more active in America right now but since we generally follow their lead eventually it’s worth being aware of. I think the two examples below are pretty cool and surprisingly both of these were produced at least 2 years ago.

There are even some animated cover letters out there admittedly this one is from someone who was looking for a job in animation and it’s probably much harder to animate examples of your work in other fields.

So do we all need to rush out and learn how to animate our CV and take courses in how to present to a camera so we can be on YouTube too?  Probably not right now as most employers websites and application processes will only accept the traditional format of CV but definitely an interesting development for the future and well worth considering for those in Marketing, PR, Communications and even Sales.

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