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eCommerce / Online – Are you missing talent by a misguided strategy?

Posted: 22 Dec 2016

As was the case in 2015, the first 9 Months of 2016 has seen a continued growth in Online Shopping, with many High Street Retailers feeling the full force of the ever growing eCommerce boom / Industry.

It seems to be a way of life now for many, with the ability to browse products in the comfort of your own home, office, in fact wherever you are – you are just a few clicks away from making a purchase.

With so much online offering, the Battle of the High Street has become the battle of the Web with Retailers Investing heavily in their User / Online Journey experience to ensure that the a Potential Customer becomes engaged enough to turn into a Customer - and most Importantly, a customer that will return.

I'll give you an example - because you have done a weekly shop in Sainsbury's for the last 10+ years, does that mean you will naturally shop online at Sainsbury's? The answer is probably yes! However, if you were to check out the Tesco's website and found the Journey friendlier, Products easier to find and all in all had a better experience – which website are you most likely to return to the following week? The answer is probably Tesco's!

But how can you stay at the top OR compete with the bigger players? And how can you compete if your an SME against the multinationals? I recently attended an e-Commerce seminar, where a top eCommerce Director from the industry suggested that to stand a chance of building a successful brand,  it's imperative that you have: the right Investment; the correct Strategy; and the best Talent!

It got me thinking. Obviously the right investment needs the backing of the board and the correct strategy needs the right people at the top, however do companies have the right recruitment strategy to ensure they get the very best talent?

With the increase in social media, technology and to new age of internal recruitment teams, companies have gradually started to remove the recruiter from the process because of cost and lack of belief that recruiters in today's market are capable of assisting. I find this astonishing especially with the belief across the industry that recruiting the right talent is proving more and more difficult in today's market as the demand is outweighing the supply. But are companies missing out on exceptional talent for their business by not tapping in to new territories which can be opened up by the niche recruiter?

I think it's time that we all:

Get back to recruitment basics. Start believing each other again. Work together to build brilliant teams and make the UK proud of being the leading online technology hub in Europe.

Get your investment and board on side. Set a clear strategy & goals. Devise a clear idea of what is needed to not only compete with your biggest competitors but to be better than them and make sure you don't starve yourself of talent by being misguided down the wrong path.


MRJ Recruitment is a niche technology & digital Recruiter, challenging the norm. Passionate about the Tech community (#TechNorth) and helping Manchester become a top 5 destination for Tech (#MCRTOP5), we are proud to partner with some of the leading digital & retail names across the North West & Yorkshire.


Digital Recruiters needed - MRJ Recruitment

Posted: 22 Dec 2016

Born out of frustration from the typical draconian big fish recruitment approach, MRJ was set up to challenge the norm and do things differently in the Digital market.

We’ve had an amazing last 12 months finding the very best talent for some of the most exciting digital companies in the market and now we’re looking to grow ourselves.

The way we work is fast, lean and flexible. We’re open & honest (rare for a recruiter), have a no nonsense approach and we love asking questions (& listening), to simplify and understand our clients and candidates thoughts.

Fun, passionate, dedicated & loyal run through our DNA and the team have one goal – to make MRJ the very best Digital recruiter in the North West.

Fancy joining us on our adventure?

We are looking for experienced Resourcers & Recruiters to work across a number of key accounts from our brand new office in Manchester. No new business is necessary, just you, your personality and your ability to deliver over and above our clients expectations.

The rewards are endless including: our high earning commission scheme, monthly team nights out, trip abroad targets & company car schemes. And if you fancy your chances at Ping Pong, we’ve got a table in house too.

If you fancy a chat over coffee, tea or beer, get in touch today to discuss – jody@mrjrecruitment.com or 0774 894 8255

Start embracing 'Disruptive Talent'

Posted: 22 Dec 2016

Head hunters, recruitment companies, and HR departments find that the markets they are working in are transforming and evolving constantly. Let’s use Uber, Facebook and Apple as examples of companies that ‘disrupted’ their markets, and the founder of those companies became over night millionaires, crushing their competitors.

The ‘disruptive’ types are those innovators who explore and do things ‘differently.’ It’s those who challenge the status quo, and sees the world in a way that others don’t. This ‘talent,’ in the past might not have been put in the limelight, but now companies and start ups are recognising and scouting the weird and wonderful.

However, despite the definite need for the Disruptive talent, there is a perception that they can be difficult to recruit and work with. These game changers may act, let’s say, differently to their peers, so some assume that they are inflexible or stubborn. So we place a word of warning to those companies chasing this ‘disruptive talent’… They must implement a programme that integrates and compliments those people to work effectively in the workplace; consider the fact that they need to be placed around people and teams who will make up for the ‘shortage.’

So the trend outlines that those companies that have shown interest in the disruptive talent fall into three categories: Maybe they were responding to changes that have occurred in their market and they were playing ‘catch up’ to compete in the market. Or, companies have pre-empted that if they don’t find an innovative solution, other competitors will. Thirdly, some companies set themselves ambitious goals to boost their market share and spotted that the disruptive types are the best way to do that.

Every kind of business: big, small, or anything in between can benefit from this disruptive talent, so it’s just a case of that company’s appetite and hunger for innovative and unique ideas and push.

So whether companies are hiring and recruiting for this disruptive talent internally or externally, they should consider developed and relevant assessment strategies and approaches, as adopting something traditional might not be successful or appropriate.

For companies considering on developing a Disruptive Talent Programme, they need to go above and beyond the traditional psychometric tests and assessments. Ideally, seek psychological insights, sector knowledge, and identifying the desirable talent – these programmes give HR, managers, peers and talented individuals themselves the ability to maximise their positive impacts. 

Digital Skills Shortage: Have you Refused Work due to Lack of Talent?

Posted: 22 Dec 2016

In January, we wrote about the skills shortage in the technology industry in northern England and the responsibility of businesses (we’re talking start-ups, national companies and recruiters) and trade associations to help address the issue for the sake of the northern economy.

Statistics of scarcity

Manchester Digital recently carried out a skills audit of digital businesses in the North resulting in some ominous statistics for the future of the digital economy. 37% of businesses surveyed have refused work over the past year due to a severe lack of resource, whilst 25% of businesses have outsourced work outside of the EU as they couldn’t find the talent here in the UK. And sadly, men still dominate the industry with 1 in 5 companies stating that their workforce is 100% male.

Considering specific job roles, developers are the hardest to source, with 65% of businesses saying they struggled to fill a developer position in the last year. At MRJ we agree that good developers are like gold dust, but employers must take some responsibility:

  1. Lack of talent planning. It’s not uncommon for clients to come to us with a developer position to fill along with the request of recruiters’ nightmares, “We need them to start next week!” On average, the entire recruitment process – from job description to developer at their desk – takes 3 months (including a typical 4 week notice period). With the new age of 3 month notice periods, this is set to almost double. By developing a talent management strategy, businesses can implement a human resources plan, based on forecast growth and the development of new services and products, in order to improve planning for recruitment requirements.
  1. Lack of training and development. The only way to meet the growing demand for digitally skilled workers is to invest in the next generation of talent. Tech businesses cannot expect to recruit a graduate or junior developer and see the finished product walk through their door – it requires time and passion to nurture the developers of the future. The Amaze Academy programme, run by digital agency Amaze, offers a fast-tracked, discipline-specific syllabus, equipping graduates with real life skills and experience to transform them into high value tech professionals. It’s programmes like this, which benefit young individuals, the industry and the economy, that companies with the resources must start to consider adopting in order to tackle the digital skills gap.

It’s not all bad news though. 84% of businesses surveyed in the audit reported growth over the last year – up 4% on the previous year. This is something we’re seeing with many of our clients, but there simply isn’t enough talent to meet the demand of growth.

So, what is the government doing to help?

The Tech Nation Visa Scheme was rejigged by the government in late 2015 after the original programme implemented by David Cameron two years earlier only received 19 applications out of a possible 200. The scheme, delivered by Tech City, an organisation created to champion the UK’s digital sector, makes it easier for non-EU citizens with specialist technology skills to enter the country for work by introducing a series of new ways to meet the visa criteria.

The programme also seeks to recognise individuals with “exceptional promise”, targeting specific gaps in highly specialised areas. The North particularly benefits from the scheme as applications to work at companies based in Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle or Sheffield are fast-tracked – all in the name of the “Northern Powerhouse”. All great stuff, but a quota of 200 people isn’t enough. According to Joint Venture Silicon Valley, 46% of Silicon Valley’s workforce comes from outside the US (3.5 times more than the national average of 13%). If the UK is to become a ‘tech nation’ competing on the world stage, these kind of initiatives need to be delivered on a much larger scale. But, of course, immigration is one of the most controversial and divisive political issues in the country right now, so we won’t hold our breath.

A pull in the opposite direction comes in the form of the proposed abolition of tax relief on travel and subsistence for contractors. If it proceeds on 6th April this year, the talent shortage will be further exacerbated. 14% of IT workers are contractors (that’s 9% of all contractors in the UK) – many of whom will be forced to increase their hourly rates to compensate for a significant reduction in income. Manchester Digital’s skills audit found that almost half of businesses (44%) had to inflate salaries to compete in the industry last year – a figure that is likely to increase once the changes go through. Alternatively, contractors will refuse to travel long distances to work, which will only intensify the talent gap.

In our hands

The skills audit was timely released to coincide with Manchester Digital’s annual Digital Skills Festival last week – 4 days of events aiming to help nurture the next generation of tech talent. Students from colleges and universities in the North West, plus Huddersfield, Liverpool, Leeds, Bolton, Chester and Sheffield – plus some from even further afield in Scotland, Nottingham and London – are invited to a Digital Skills Conference, Talent Day and Experience Day, giving them the chance to discover more about the industry, meet potential employers and learn some hands-on skills. The Digital Skills Festival is a glowing example of what we should be doing here in the North to recruit and retain digital talent, and showcase northern businesses. Most importantly, it brings together young talent, businesses and industry professionals; after all, collaboration is the key.

But, are we really doing enough?






5 Simple but essential interviewing tips

Posted: 22 Dec 2016

There is no such thing as a perfect CV because beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to what some hiring managers like and dislike about CV’s. The same cannot really be said about interviewing. There is a right way to go about it and there are wrong ways to go about it.

Here are our 5 essential interviewing tips to make sure you get it right.

1)      Do your research – It may seem obvious but a lot of candidates are still not doing enough research or they are not doing any research at all. It is very likely that you will be asked about the company so make sure you have a solid knowledge base. Knowing how old the company is, what type of clients they have, what type of projects they work on etc is essential. Also find out who will be conducting your interview and do your research on them.

2)      Practise answers to commonly asked questions – Interviews don’t necessarily follow a set pattern but there are a certain amount of questions that crop up more than others. Here is a list.

3)      Be organised/prepared – Again this sounds really obvious but being well prepared can help you keep calm. Give yourself plenty of time to get there, plan your route and make sure you have everything you need the night before.

4)      Look the part – We often get asked ‘What should I wear?’ and to be fair it isn’t always a suit and tie job so if you are going through a recruitment company ask them for advice on that particular client but if you have any doubt then go smart. Make sure your clothes fit, your shoes are polished etc. Your appearance shouldn’t hold so much importance, but it does.

5)      Ask questions – This is hugely important and often overlooked. Prepare half a dozen questions about the company, its projects, its future plans, the role etc. It shows your interest in the position and can really help start a conversation that could make stand out from the other candidates.

Going for interviews can be a nerve wrecking experience for anyone but if you follow these simple steps it can make the process so much easier. If you have any questions or would like some free advice then get in touch 0161 244 9599 

Team MRJ

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What not to do in an Interview...

Posted: 22 Dec 2016

Recently we posted about the positive behaviour that we can exhibit during an interview in order to keep the odds of success in our favour. It was apparent when writing this post that a lot of the things we are supposed to do in interviews are pretty self explanatory – sometimes they just need to be put into context in order to be more instructive and helpful. However, all of the Interview 'do's' got me thinking about the absolute 'don'ts' of interview behaviour. Is what we shouldn't do in an interview just as obvious as what we should do?

Now, there are some basic rules that everyone knows and avidly avoids doing when they are attending an interview, for example; we all try not to be late and we all try to comply with the dress code that has been advised. These are the blatantly obvious rules that are not extremely challenging to follow, this being said there can definitely be a crossover of rules –meaning that there are certain things that an interviewee will see as being positive that an interviewer will loathe.

Interviews can be a delicate process, for what may start out as a generally positive experience; a single mistake could turn the whole thing upside down and have a disastrous effect on the whole process. This is why it is vital that those of us who are preparing for an interview address the don'ts as well as the do's...

So let's imagine that you are an extremely confident person and you want to show the interviewer just how confident you are in yourself? Confidence is great to have, but occasionally confidence can be overpowering when it is forced upon an interviewer. A huge mistake can be to let your confidence drift into arrogance – this will send the interviewer straight to the next candidate. By all means demonstrate your own confidence, the interviewer will appreciate your passion and assurance for your career and skills – just remember that there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance and you do not want to cross it during an interview.

Interviews can be difficult, and it can be easy to let the pressure get to you – which is why we are always told to remain calm and relax during an interview. However, there is a difference between being relaxed to the stage where you are calm and collected enough to ace the interview, and being so relaxed that you feel as if this is not an interview at all. Be very wary of how relaxed you may appear – if you are relaxed enough to feel like you are very much at home and friends with your interviewer – then you may just be too relaxed. You want to build a rapport with your interviewer, but you do not want to become so at ease that you may miss something vital. Interviewers will regularly try to throw you during the interview by asking questions that you may not be expecting or that may be more challenging to answer. In this situation, would you rather be on the ball and ready for any question that may be thrown at you – or would you rather be overly comfortable to the point that you are not as focused as you should be? The point here being that you don't want to be too comfortable with the situation, a few nerves can be beneficial to keeping a level head.

We all know that doing your research before you walk into an interview is essential – despite the fact that this is such a well-known interview step, many people still think that they can 'wing it.' You may be well equipped with the knowledge and skills to be fantastic at the actual job, but what will you know about the organisation if you don't do any research? In recent times it has become such a standard part of the interview to ask the candidate what they know about their potential employer; ignoring the opportunity to do some research before the interview could and probably will result in disaster. It is never wise to assume that you can just blag it when asked what you know about a potential employer – Knowing your stuff on the company will come as a benefit to you when the question pops up.

The topic of money during an interview is very much a grey area. You do not want to appear as if your only concern in joining this company is your own financial gain, however this is not to say that you should not be interested in your salary – after all if would be silly even for the interviewer to assume that you are not going to be interested in the money on offer. The point being made here is that maybe the interview is not the best time to discuss any money concerns, the focus of this stage of the recruitment process should be on gaining the job with a view of discussing and/or negotiating salaries at the offer stage. Asking questions about money during in the interview can give the wrong impression, so it is always best to hold back on these sorts of questions until you have been offered the job and are in a more secure position to ask questions of this nature.

It is vital when preparing for an interview that you address both the do's and don'ts of interview behaviour in order to perform to the very best of your ability. However despite all of the technicalities that interviews entail it would be wise to mention that it won't just be your preparation that helps you glide through the interview – the interviewer is going to be looking at your personality too! It is extremely cliché to use the phrase 'be yourself' when it comes to interviews, however there is an element of truth to this phrase – in order to have a good balance within interview behaviour you need to feel comfortable within yourself – and masking your own personality with interview technicalities can be a little over powering. You need to have a good balance within your interview technique in order to have a successful interview.

Remember the key points are; preparation before you enter the interview, demonstrating positive interview behaviour that shows off your own skills, abilities and personality, and also being cautious of any negative behaviour you may exhibit. Keeping these key points in mind could just be what helps you to have a positive interview experience.


MRJ Recruitment

Queens Chambers, 5 John Dalton Street, Manchester, M2 6ET