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Being prepared for GDPR. I don’t mind admitting it… my boss was right.

My boss and I have always had a pretty healthy work relationship and over the years we have had plenty of disagreements. He is very good at playing devil’s advocate and there have been a number of things that we have disagreed on. I have always been grateful for an environment where I can challenge and be challenged.

He comes from a background of strong internal recruitment experience and I have always worked on the agency side of the fence. One of our different views for example, is around online application forms. I think they should be as short as possible so that we don’t put people off applying for roles. He takes the view that we should make the process more involved so that we end up with candidates that are serious about applying.

It is a fair viewpoint, but I always maintain that if candidates are applying to a specific business, they are already bought in to some degree. They will be more willing to take time over applying when they know who the employer is. Agency recruiters don’t have that luxury and this is why I think our application process should be as easy as possible. This is an ongoing debate that we still have to agree to disagree on.

Recently, Chiumento changed the applicant tracking system that we use. In the past, we have made use of a very well-known system used primarily by internal recruiters rather than agencies. There was no inbuilt CRM system that allowed us to hold both client and candidate data. When we started using the first system there was little in the way of cloud-based applicant tracking systems so we were limited with our options.

When selecting a new vendor, the most important thing for any system from our perspective is that applicants could be directed to an online application form. The fundamental reason for this is that we wanted to make sure that every candidate that applies to one of our roles, agrees to our data protection policy. This was low down my list of priorities but top of my boss’. Turns out he was spot on!

6 years ago when we started getting candidates to apply and agree to our data policy, I took the view that it was a bit over the top. I was not aware of many recruitment agencies that went to these lengths. As of next May, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect and agencies will no longer be able to hold a candidate’s personal data without their express permission. This is going to hit most recruitment businesses really hard as they will have massive chunks of their candidate database wiped out. It is really going to hurt the recruitment industry.

Most of the main systems used by recruitment businesses do not provide the capacity for candidates to agree to an agency’s data protection policy and because of this, they will no longer be allowed to hold this data. This is a massive failing on the part of technology providers and recruitment businesses themselves. It is going to seriously damage the level of service that this industry is able to provide. Clients go to recruiters for their little black book of candidates but these books are about to get a lot smaller.

Thanks to my boss’ attention to detail, GDPR will not affect us in the slightest as every candidate on our database has signed up to our data protection policy. Clients will continue to get the same great service from us without any impact from these changes.

We strongly urge you to look at your own application processes if you have not already and if you would like some advice, please do feel free to give us a call. We are very happy to help and talk you through our own approach if this would be useful.

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Employment Law Update – Autumn 2017

We know that it can be hard to keep abreast of the latest changes to employment law. Which is why we have asked legal experts, Gateley Plc, to produce an Employment Law Update covering the key changes that took affect this autumn.

This edition covers the legal implications of our exit from the EU and the impact this will have on EU workers and those employing them. Plus the upcoming changes to data protection laws (GDPR), the ‘gig’ economy and the impact the recent ruling against Uber and the status of it’s drivers.  Along with details of changes to costs for employment tribunals.

This is followed by real life examples of the law in practice including discrimination during the recruitment process, including overtime when calculating holiday pay, plus whistleblowing.

Download the full report here.

How to deal with bullying in the workplace…

Unfortunately bullying isn’t just confined to the school playground. For many bullying in the workplace is a reality and something they have to endure on a daily basis.  As the recent expose of Harvey Weinstein has shown someone in a position of power has the ability to use that power to their advantage, to bully and abuse those perceived as being below them.

The Weinstein case is thankfully an extreme example, but bullying in the workplace can take many forms and in today’s technology laden world it doesn’t even have to happen face to face.

So what do you do if you’re being bullied or how do you handle a bully within your team?

What constitutes bullying in the workplace

Bullying can come in various shapes and sizes and doesn’t necessarily always come from those above you. A few examples are, being insulted or intentionally embarrassed, having rumours spread about you, being ignored or excluded, being overworked as well as threatening behaviour, unwanted advances, harassment and having any promotions or development blocked or hindered.

However it is important to understand the difference between bullying and performance management.  Being criticised for poor performance, as long as it’s done in a professional manner, isn’t bullying.  Bullying happens over a period of time rather than being an isolated incident.

I’m being bullied what can I do?

  1. Talk to them… They may perceive it as harmless banter or innocent teasing and not realise the affect their actions are having on you.  If you don’t feel comfortable approaching them on your own, ask a colleague to come with you. While this might not always solve the issue, a large number of workplace conflicts can be resolved without taking formal action.
  2. Speak to your manager – If talking to them isn’t an option or it doesn’t help then you need to take it further. Speak to your line manager or HR department. Explain how their actions are affecting you and if you have it, take evidence such as emails or perhaps a colleague with you who can back up your claims.
  3. Keep your cool – It may be hard but try to remain professional and not stoop to their level. Whatever you do, don’t suffer in silence and wait too long to speak up.

A member of my team is being bullied what should I do?

  1. Follow procedures – all organisations should have a bullying policy and procedures in place. Check your organisations definition of acceptable behaviour and the steps that need to be taken should bullying be reported
  2. Be sensitive, seek additional information and remain objective – speak to those involved to gather more information as to what has been happening, it maybe a case of the aggressor underestimating the effect of their actions or it might be something more serious. Speak to each party separately and whatever you personal feelings towards each, keep these out of it and remain impartial and objective.
  3. Action plan – create a plan for the future with steps to help resolve the issue. This could be a simple code of conduct and agreement of acceptable behaviour by both parties, or something more formal such reassigning one or both members of staff.  Make it clear to all involved the consequences should the bullying continue.

To reduce any bullying in the workplace, as an employer try to foster a culture of inclusion, of open and honest communication.  While there is bound to be a certain level of teasing and joking within an organisation make it clear what acceptable behaviour looks like and don’t make any exceptions.

‘How to deal with bullying in the work place…’ was written by Ian Gooden, CEO Chiumento Group. If you like what you’ve read why not follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter and read all our future advice and musings on the world of work.

CBI interviews – what are they and how to conduct them

The interview process can be nerve wracking, and not just for candidates.  It can be just as hard for those on the other side of the table…  As an interviewer you need to be able to assess in a relatively short period of time whether the candidate is the right person for your organisation.  It’s no easy task, luckily there are many tools and techniques to help you make the right decision.

Competency based interview techniques are one such tool, they have grown in popularity over the past decade and for many, are now part of the standard interview process.  But if you’re new to interviewing, they can be hard to master as often feel a little stilted and very formal.  Don’t let this put you off, they are a fantastic assessment tool.

They originated from the need for a way to assess inexperienced graduates, where simply talking through a CV and asking relevant questions wasn’t possible. The questions are structured in a such a way as to assess how past behaviour might be a good indicator of future behaviour.

Pick your competencies

Before you start, you need to decide on the core skills or abilities you require and base questions on these.  For example, individual competencies such as being able to work in a highly pressurised environment, analytical competencies, having the ability to analyse statistics or managerial competencies like the ability to motivate a team.  Other competencies could include interpersonal or motivational ones. Remember to ensure that those you pick are relevant to the role and your organisation.

Write your questions

The questions you ask should be open ended and detailed enough that you can gauge from the answer how well the candidate demonstrates that competency. Where possible add additional layers to the questions to allow for a more in-depth response. For example to assess how well candidates cope with multi-tasking and working in a busy environment.  ‘Working at XX can be very busy and pressurised at times, can you tell me about a time when you’ve had to manage numerous projects, how you dealt with conflicting priorities and resolved any issues?’…


With CBI interviewing the aim is to make the process fair for all those involved and give as impartial a view as possible.  Before you start decide on a scoring system, be it 1-5 or 1-10 and set scores accordingly.  For example, a score of 1-3 for poor demonstration of a competency, 4-7 for average and 8-10 for above average. Each interviewer marks the candidate’s response and take notes.  These are then added together giving an overall score for each candidate.  If certain competencies are more important than others, then these can be weighted accordingly with scores for these questions being doubled for example.


While CBI interviews are a great way of assessing and scoring a candidate’s ability they are very formal and don’t necessarily allow for time to get to know the candidate on a more personal level.  Don’t be afraid to adapt the process to suit you and the needs of your organisation.  Start the interview with a more relaxed informal chat, this will help to put both you and the candidate at ease before the more technical interview starts.  Or you can use it as an additional stage either before/after a less structured interview.

However you decide to run your interview don't forget that it is a two way process.  You need to impress the candidate and sell your organisation to them, as much as they need to sell themselves to you.

If you like what you’ve read why not follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter and read all our future advice and musings on the world of work, or you can read our previous blogs on employment related topics by clicking on the images below.

For more information on how we can help with any of your people needs from outplacement and talent management to recruitment please get in touch.



Networking for job seekers – top 5 tips

Networking is one of the most effective activities if you are looking a new role and is a skill every job seeker should develop.  Networking has a number of advantages. It can help you find out about jobs before they are widely advertised. Often jobs aren’t advertised at all and networking is an effective way of finding these ‘hidden’ opportunities.

It can certainly give you an edge in the recruitment process if you are approaching a company via a referral or personal introduction rather than ‘going in cold’.

Networking includes a multitude of activities; it could be attending meetings at a professional institute or a conference/seminar/exhibition. It could be reaching out and connecting with previous colleagues, customers, competitors and suppliers. LinkedIn is a brilliant way to research and connect with people who may be able to help you.

The chances are, you are probably networking a lot more than you think!

My five top networking tips are:

  1. Create a directory of your network. Think about the people you’ve worked with, old bosses, customers, suppliers, associates and other people that you know. Create a list and then rank contacts by how valuable you think they will be to you and how comfortable you feel approaching them. It’s a good idea to practice. This will help you get in the swing of networking and will build your confidence. Start with people you feel very comfortable getting in contact with but who may not beat the top of the ‘value to me’ list. This means if things don’t go according to plan you haven’t wasted a great networking contact.
  2. Plan ahead and work out what you want to achieve from networking conversations. Are you looking for more introductions? Can they advise you on your CV or introduce to someone who is hiring? Can they suggest any organisations that might be looking for new talent? Can they give you advice or information about a particular sector?
  3. Get your elevator pitch right. When you’re networking you’ll probably only get a short amount of time with someone. If you meet somebody at an event you may only have a few minutes. It’s really important you can describe yourself succinctly and confidently. This is your ‘elevator pitch’ and should only take 20-30 seconds.  “I help companies grow sales and profits” sounds so much better than “I am a business development manager” and immediately conveys the value you can add to a business.
  4. Reciprocate. This is one of the golden rules of networking. Many people will be open to sharing their ideas and occasionally their contacts with you but you must be willing to offer your help and advice in return. If you aren’t willing to reciprocate you may find that people are less willing to help you.
  5. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and complete. Connect with relevant people. Join relevant groups and contribute to discussions. It’s important to make sure that your LinkedIn profile matches your CV.

‘Networking for job seekers?’ was written by Mike Burgneay, MD Chiumento Consulting. If you like what you’ve read why not follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter and read all our future advice and musings on the world of work.