Recruiting in 2019

Recruiting in 2019

The UK Report on Job for 2018 has been published and unfortunately the trend for less people actively looking to change roles is looking like it’ll continue through 2019.

Read More

Open Plan Offices less stressed and more active

Open Plan Offices less stressed and more active

An American study has discovered that people who work in an open plan office are more active and less stressed, than those in private offices or in cubicles.

We should learn from the potential health benefits for our office workers…

Read More

Good News for Freelancers and Self Employed


It’s just been announced that Chancellor Philip Hammond has cancelled the proposed Budget plan to increase National Insurance for the 4.8m self-employed. 

This is great news for creative, marketing and digital freelancers.  It's also  good news for companies employing freelance people on a regular or ad hoc basis.  Unfortunately if the proposed increase had happen, I am sure this would have lead to most freelancers increasing rates to pay of the extra national insurance they would have to find.

Freelancers are a huge benefit for the growth of the UK as it enable companies to employ these people on a adhoc basis rather than commit to a permanent role, especially when there is uncertainty.  This is one reason why Green Shoots Recruitment Ltd refers to its Freelancers as Super Hero's it's their ability to fit seamlessly into an organisation to instantly add value and take the pressure away from other members of staff.  By using experienced, skilled and specialist freelancers, we can match these people to a companies requirement, based on 20+ years experience recruiting in the Creative, Marketing and Digital Sectors.

As a self employed freelancer there is no guarantee of income, they do not get paid holiday pay or sick pay, having a lower rate NI does help.  They can offer their particular skill to different companies and freelancers often like the variety and flexibility of this type of employment.  Which is why the proposed increase would have been detrimental to them, businesses and the economy

Is it just me or does it feel good to hear we may actually have a government that is listening to the people, taking advice and acting on it?

Unemployment figures drop again

UK unemployment has fallen again this month to 4.7% its lowest since the summer of 1975 according to The Office for National Statistics (ONS).

They are still being cautious as the gap in wages has narrowed and has slowed significantly in the first 3 months of 2017.  Wage growth is one of the most important pieces of data that the Bank of England uses with regards to interest rates. The next interest rate policy is on Thursday next week.

Zero contract hours now equates to 2.8% of all people in employment.

Constantly being rejected? Could this be the reason?

It is highly likely that your CV has spelling and grammar errors in it!

Ok so I’ve probably lost you now!  Are you are thinking, I’m a great speller, I’ve got a qualification to prove it and I’ve proof read my CV,  it’s perfect this doesn’t apply to me? 

Please keep reading........

You will be surprised to learn that most of the CV’s we receive have spelling and grammar errors in them, a whopping 95 to 98% of applicants. These are from people of all ages and include lots of people who are surprised to find an error in their perfect CV.

Mistakes will prevent you getting a job!!!!

Companies will overlook your details assuming: You lack attention to detail.  Have a poor command of the English language.  Think you will make lots of mistakes in written work, which could damage their brand and reputation.  That you simply don’t care enough to present yourself properly as a future employee for their company.

Your CV should represent the very best of you and your experience!

I often have conversations with people, of all ages, when I am interviewing, about how very difficult it is to spot our own mistakes, in things we type ourselves.  Our brains are very clever at working out what we mean to say, which leads to the copy we write, reading ok in our head but not necessarily on paper.  It’s not until someone else reads it that they spot the errors.  You can spot some mistakes yourself by re-reading, especially if you walk away and check it later.  However having another person check it, helps ensure any additional errors are corrected ahead of you applying for a role.

I use this example when I give career guide talks at local universities, to emphasis the point to students, before I ask them to check each other’s CV.   As this is not exclusive a young person problem, anyone would benefit from this quick test.

"i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg, if i an raed ths jsut igamine how mnay msitaeks cluod be in yur CV!"

Ok so this is an extreme; however it just shows how our brains help us out.  It can usually work out the word if the first and last letters are in place and all the other letters are jumbled up.

For the last few years, I have seen more capital letter errors.  This includes, job titles missing a capital letter on the 2nd word.  Lower case I’s being used.   Descriptive words, in job experience text starting with a capital letter, when not part of a job title.  I can only assume this is due to texting, where we use less capital letters, looks like our brain is evolving to not spot these as important mistakes.

As an experienced recruiter, if I spot an error I am always happy to point it out, so it can be amended ahead of it reaching a potential employer, however this is a last resort and I have also rejected applicants with numerous errors in their CV, especially if a role has an element of proof reading or attention to detail in it.


The simple fix is: 

Ask someone else to proof read your CV! 

Highest Employment in 11 years

Unemployment at it's lowest for over a Decade, showing the UK jobs marketing has remained resilient despite the warning it would be hit by the Brexit vote.

UK unemployment has fallen by 7,000 to 1.6 million people according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Wages have increased by 2.6% in the last 3 months of 2016 which was faster than the rate of inflation. 

Design and Marketing Jobs on the UP since Brexit

Creative and Marketing are in the Top 10 industries to show an increase in job vacancies post the Brexit decision, which is fantastic news for job hunters.  Design jobs are top of the leader board, showing a staggering 43% increase in jobs since June 2016.  Marketing roles are up by 25%.

The data, which analysed the average number of jobs in the UK’s key sectors in 2016, found that the top ten industries for work in 2017 are:

1.            Design – up 43%

2.            Leisure/Tourism – up 33%

3.            Catering – up 33%

4.            Legal – up 32%

5.            Agriculture – up 32%

6.            Automotive – up 28%

7.            Social Care – up 27%

8.            Manufacturing – up 26%

9.            Marketing – up 25%

10.          Education – up 25%

Good to see that so many industries are growing.  This confidence has to be good for all businesses.  The challenges are to attract the very best people to fill these roles and this is where a specialist, like Green Shoots Recruitment Ltd can help.  With over 20 years recruiting for the Creative, Marketing and Digital sectors we are able to provide the highest quality candidates for your roles.

Data provided by CVLibrary

Working Millennials in 2017

I nearly wrote several separate articles on this talk, I have just watched on line (link below) one for Employers, Millennials and another for those that don’t fit this bracket.  Millennials is the term used to describe the people born after 1984. The talk was brought to my attention by my daughter who fits this age bracket. 

I’ve chosen combine my thoughts because I think all sides need to be aware of the challenges the other has.

Millennials moving jobs within a year?

As an Employer, you may have seen people in this age group, leave your employment out of the blue or you cannot quite put your finger on it but they just don’t seem content in their roles.  You have invested time and money to train an employee, only to have them leave within 12 months or feel like they may do soon. Often just as you are feeling they are making an impact. 

Not feeling like you are making your mark quickly enough?

As a person in this age group, you may feel that now you are in the world of work - it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.  You may be frustrated and lacking in self-belief and confidence.   Leading you to think your only option is to give up in your current role and move on, as you try to find your perfect role that gives you a perfect life.

Not your fault!

Millennials have grown up in a fast paced technology driven world.  With Schooling and Parents telling them they can have it all, be who they want, that good things will come to you.  They were constantly rewarded by both as children,  when society told us that everyone was a winner!  There were medals for all on sports day - rightfully so for the winners, those that excelled worked hardest to come first.  However medals were handed out for everyone, devaluing the winner’s hard work.  What about everyone else, well in your heart as a child you knew that you weren’t worthy of a medal for coming last!

Lots of online friends?

We put value in the number of online friend we have, some we might see regularly.  However most will be distant, from the past and some we don’t know at all!  We see snap shots of these people’s lives, mainly in photographs; do we sit down and chat with these people face to face, do we truly know them?

We are all using Social Media to mask our real feelings and experiences.  To the outside world, we are fun, colourful, doing amazing things and full of life and laughs.  We all have times like this but if we are honest with ourselves our day to day life is a little different. 

We all need to learn to engage with people on a face to face basis, especially those people we work alongside.  

Hang in there!

I think as a Millennial you will recognise yourself in this talk.  It might help you recognise that to get what you want, you will need to learn patience and that there are joys and satisfaction to be had with sticking with things long term.  An employer could help teach this age group, that a quick fix is often not the answer and long term solutions will bring more rewards.  As a parent it might help your son or daughter communicate better with others, if you yourself make some changes.

As employers we need to find ways to address this, otherwise the constant churn of staff in this age group will continue and get worse.  We need to find a ways to show the Millennials that they are making their mark in our companies, they are appreciated.  That following things through long term can bring many rewards, job satisfaction and the happy fulfilled life we all desire.

Here is an example of a recent applicant; who qualified in 2012, has already worked for 7 different companies, will not accept a job title less than Marketing Manager, ideally Head of Marketing and a salary no less than £37k.  Now I admire the self-belief here, however most employers would look at the job churn and assume in 6 months this person would be moving on and therefore not consider this applicant as a serious contender for a permanent role.

Get the creative juices flowing!

Ideas happen when our brains are not doing other things, such as, when we are driving, waiting for a train, waiting for a meeting, walking.  Essentially we are more creative, when we are not filling our brains with stuff and social media or being online is now a huge part of this.

Love your Phone and Technology

I love technology, my phone, tech gadgets and being connected; I’m not giving this up or suggesting anyone else does.  However having listened to this talk, I’ve made some adjustments.  If you stand back just a minute and look at how technology and being connected 24/7 is affecting the very thing that makes us human.  It makes you realise we all need to take control of how we communicate with and encourage the people we are closest too. 

And what is even more concerning, Millennials still grew up with less technology than those born since 2010.  How will the next generation cope when they enter the work environment!

If you are Employer, Millennial, Parent or anyone else that doesn’t fit this bracket, take 15 minutes out of your busy day just to listen to this guy.

Would love to hear about your experiences:  Email


New Year, New You, New Job!

Happy New Year!

Here's to a fun filled and fabulous 2017 for everyone!

Well like everyone else I'm glad to be putting 2016 behind me, a new year gives us all the opportunity to wipe the slate clean.  To start again, to look and learn from the previous year and motivate ourselves to make the changes necessary to improve our lives.  

We all need to work, to earn money to enable us to have the full lives we desire.  Some of us are in our ideal roles, content, happy, appreciated in jobs that fulfil our financial needs, as well as our emotional needs.  However 2016 was a strange year that made many people decided to make do, stay put and not to make the changes they knew in their hearts would improve their personal conditions.

Stop Treading Water

Treading water for a long time is not good for anyone, you get bored, tired and frustrated, knowing you aren't getting anywhere.

Make 2017 your year!

Be happier, healthier, less stressed and more contented in 2017.  Part of this is to review the job you currently hold.  Can you make any changes within your current role, that will improve things for yourself in 2017? If so talk to your current employer. Or is 2017 your year to change jobs!

New Year, New You, New Job



Heart-Warming Job News for December 2016


Winter brings more business confidence as new job vacancies are at their highest since the Brexit decision. 

Permanent placements and temporary contracts have grown towards the end of the year according to a report by the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation).   The demand for permanent and temporary candidates is at its highest since May this year.

In contrast most recruitment agencies are reporting a steeper decline in staff availability across all sectors.  Which is surprising as the report also shows a stronger increase in salaries from October 2016 onwards. 

My query is

Are employees content and happy in their current roles?


Are candidates are feeling less confident about changing jobs?  

Read the full report

Read the full report

If it’s the latter, the role of recruiters and employers has to be one of reassurance, positivity and confidence to encourage people to seek new and exciting job opportunities. 

Ann Downs

Managing Director of Green Shoots Recruitment Ltd.  With over 20 years Specialising as a Digital, Creative and Marketing Recruiter in the West and East Midlands. 

01386 871414

2016 Pay Gap Men vs Women

pay gap

Isn’t in shocking that in 2016 there are still reports of a pay gap between Men and Women?

The average woman in the UK earns 85.5p for every £1 paid to a man, which means effectively women stop being paid on 9th November and work the rest of the year for free.

The average female full-time worker in the UK earns 14.5% less than her male Colleague (The Telegraph)

 The Digital, Creative and Marketing Recruitment Specialist, Green Shoots Recruitment Ltd do not see evidence of any pay gap discrimination at the initial recruiting point.  In 20 years recruiting for these sectors I have never experienced a female candidate receiving a job offer lower than a male.  So can only assume the pay gap between men and women female develops as a person is promoted within a business.

Gender Pay Gap Legislation

Subject to the approval of Parliament, the regulations are likely to commence from April 2017, from which point employers will have up to 12 months to publish this information.

Key points

•The gender pay gap is not the same as equal pay or pay discrimination.

•The regulations will apply to employers who employ 250 or more employees.

•Employers are required to publish the figures on the organisation's website and submit evidence of compliance annually to the Government.

•Employers will also need to calculate and publish three other types of figures:

◦gender bonus gap

◦proportion of men and women receiving a bonus

◦proportion of men and women working at each quartile of the organisation's pay distribution.


Interviews and Body Language

Interviews and Body Language

“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it!” 

What you do with your body during an interview can enhance or destroy what you say! 

Did you know that lots of research has been done on verbal and non-verbal communications? 

And research finds that 93% equates to non-verbal communication, leaving on 7% for actual verbal communication. 

7 percent of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through certain vocal elements, and 55% through nonverbal elements (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc). 

A candidate can give out thousands of non-verbal cues within the first minute of meeting an interviewer and those messages make more of an impact than the words that you use during the interview. Our body language says a lot about who we are and our emotional state and poor body language often sends a message that we are stressed or fearful.

 Body Language Tips


Have a gentle but firm handshake (no death grips or cold fish handshakes)

Control your hand movements, when you speak your gesticulation should be natural use sparingly.

When not talking, keep hands in a natural position on your lap.

Keep eye contact, as much as possible but sense the comfort level of the interviewer.

Be mindful of your posture; sit upright but in a relaxed way.

Lean forward slightly to show interest.

Smile and look pleasantly interested.

Nod occasionally when they are talking, this shows you are interested and listening.

Dress appropriately for the interview; it will give you confidence and the interviewer confidence that you can do the role. Try to get a feel for the dress code prior to interview. 


Do Not's

Cross your arms

Twirl your hair

Fidget; this is can be a sign of anxiety or disinterest.

Keep your hands away from your mouth, as this can be in indication of hiding something or lying.

Don’t be a statue, or overly relaxed

Don’t Grin like the Cheshire Cat; smile and look pleasantly interested.

No hands behind your head or feet on the desk!

10 Things you should have on your CV

10 things you should have in your CV


  1. Contact Details: Your name, address, telephone numbers, email address and link to portfolio (where appropriate).

  2. Employment History: Make sure you include more details about the jobs that are most relevant

  3. Education & Qualifications: These may not be directly related to your experience but employers want to see this

  4. Profile: This can be used to display your skills and strengths but also to get some of your personality across.

  5. Good Spelling and Punctuation: Having bad spelling and grammar mistakes in a CV will prevent you getting an interview.

  6. Skills and Strengths: Skills are something you acquire with education and experience.

    Strengths are things that you are naturally good at.

  7. Simple Format: A well designed easy to read format should be used.

  8. Appropriate Layout: Depending on your experience, layout should be work-focused or education-focused.

  9. References: State, references are available on request

  10. Cover Letter: Most employers will expect a cover letter, it gives you the chance to get your personality across, let them know why you think you are suitable for the job by outlining relevant experience

5 Questions you should ask to get the best out of your interview

Introducing the five interview questions you should be asking to get the most out of your interviews!

If possible try to keep every interview the same. By giving every candidate the exact same opportunity to answer, you are giving yourself the ability to be able to compare responses with ease and accuracy.

I know these questions might seem incredibly obvious but when employers get into an interview, these vital questions often slip their mind. Whether you are thinking about the meeting you had that morning or the meeting you are preparing for later that day, sometimes, an interview structure is often low on your list of priorities. But it shouldn't be. After all, this candidate could be the potential future success of your company or team. Spend a few short minutes to write these down beforehand or just print this and take it in with you! You won't regret it once you have answers to compare and you realise that your decision has become far easier.

Five Questions

●  What do you know about us as a company?

The strongest candidates will have studied your company thoroughly. This is not solely about you investing in a candidate, a candidate should be keen to invest in your company too.

● Why did you apply for this role?

You are trying to highlight the candidates with a career plan, real interest in the role or desire to work in your business. Understanding a candidates motivations, should play a key part in your decision.

● Why do you think you are suitable?

As awkward as this is to ask, it is important to know why a candidate feels they are suitable. If a candidate is not confident in their own abilities, how can you be confident that they will succeed?

● Tell me a bit about yourself?

This opens up dialog about what they’ve done in their career but also further into your interview it can be revealing; a candidates hobbies says a lot about the type of person you are talking to. By using this question, you’ll learn more about the personality of a candidate and this will help you gauge whether or not they are a culture fit for your company.

● Do you have any questions?

This helps clear up any questions but can also reveal how much a candidate has invested in this interview.