We are touching lightly upon A.I again this month, but this time from a hiring perspective. This is because it works so well alongside our hot topic of the month here at RISE which has been (other than why is it ACTUALLY so hot we can’t sleep / eat / breathe) :  What a good candidate looks like!

 

A recently published Article suggested that Recruitment Agencies may become a thing of the past as A.I starts to play a bigger part in recruiting and internal hiring. Are companies set to lean towards this kind of technology to find their next star players?

 

But let’s ask the question again…..what does a good candidate look like? Have you asked yourself this question and do you continue to ask it whilst writing job descriptions, scanning through CV’s and carrying out interviews?

At first thought, the usual “tick box” criteria might arise such as “Someone with the right Qualifications” “proficient in using Microsoft & basic admin level Software” “A minimum length of experience in that exact field” and so on.

 

Where all of these things, are of course important, none of these questions make space for a candidate who has the

right personality or interests and outlook to fit the culture of the team or the business as a whole?

 

Sometimes a “good candidate” for you or for the role you are hiring for, could be as simple as “Someone to come and inspire or implement change in a team” “Someone who might be a speedy learner and is not afraid of a challenge” “someone who has outstanding communication skills”?

These are things that are often lost on paper!

These discussions have been open and ongoing in our office this month as our team have been reflecting upon their own experiences of what a good candidate looks like:

 

Aimee “When you look at someone’s CV sometimes they don’t appear to have the skills you’re looking for but when you actually have a conversation with them you can get a better feel for a person and start to see their real qualities and skills.” 

 

 

Our CEO and Founder Angela Piromalli believes firmly in the fact that:

 

Character should not be overlooked, as the ability to fit into a team and get along with other people is what pushes you into top roles

 

As a “good candidate”, having the confidence to honour yourself as an individual and not be afraid to be open about what you are looking for is vital. It has to be a fit for you too!

 

Angela: “Being yourself in an interview is your strongest asset. Even if a certain role doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, it doesn’t mean you failed. Why would you work for a company that doesn’t suit you either?”

 

There are obviously many roles that require a specific skillset, especially within I.T and Technology. Camila, our I.T Specialist Consultant, sometimes finds that if she has a certain role that is a little more flexible in terms of leaving room for training and development then the “Right Fit” can really come in to play.

 

Camila – “I have a candidate who is specialised in a certain field in IT and every time I see a relevant role come up I think of him. Not because he is technically the best, but because he is just a really nice person and I want to help him find the perfect role. I will always push for interviews for him. “

 

All of these things that we touched on as a team really brought to attention, how much of what we do is based on “People”. Understanding, empathy, Human Nature, even guessing someone’s next move. Is A.I going to be that…well…..intelligent?

 

We see it often where clients have a range of candidates with very similar experience and qualifications who, on paper, tick all the boxes but then there will be a “Wild Card” candidate that might not have experience in certain aspects of the role, but they end up hiring that person because they had a better connection with them.

They had turned up bright eyed and enthusiastic and asked all of the right questions. Their personality and vibrancy were just absolutely perfect and the client’s “Light Bulb Moment” was realising that all of other “missing stuff” could just be learned and wasn’t as vital as they had first thought.

 

Chris – “If someone comes in excited and raring to go, that’s a great first sign as it gets me excited about putting them forward to a Client, I look forward to telling them about someone special”

 

Maybe companies could end up missing out on these wonderful experiences if just relying upon tech. An inspiring connection can sometimes be made when meeting people face to face, especially in interviews, for both parties involved!

The other point being, that potentially, A.I might not be flexible enough to accommodate the very best of Human Nature which is to “change one’s mind.” We are all guilty of it and hey life happens!

 

So many factor’s and influences affect people applying for roles and hirers making offers.

Sometimes we get thrown off course ourselves, and well, we understand Humans better than A.I (……..hopefully!)

 

Upon reading a previous article that we published and have referred back to above: “Celebrating the Things That Make you Unique” I stumbled across this quote from Angela:

“If someone walked in here now and they knew what was expected of them, with the right attitude and the right values regardless of their experience I would take them on within a heartbeat. It is that spark someone has in their eyes.”

This couldn’t ring more true and more in line with what we do and I am happy to say that I am living proof of this.

 

By chance I was working in close vicinity to RISE in my previous role, and developed a relationship with the team and four months later here I am! No specific job role experience, no qualifications. Just purely a “connection with the team and the right outlook”. I might not have been able to “tick the boxes” if I had applied for a position in the regular way.

 

We are not saying that skill set or experience count for nothing. That’s far from the point here, but we do think that being yourself, being passionate about something whether related or not and having the right attitude can sometimes get you opportunities that you might not have had access to on paper.

 

Working these things into an interview alongside your skills and experiences, could set you apart or propel you further in to your career. You could end up being someone’s “Light Bulb Moment”.

 

And if you are hiring, then we urge you to consider the “Wild Cards”.

 

I think it could be said that is one of those “human only” things… I’m not too sure that A.I can really reach this light bulb!

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

 

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

 

We had a chat with the lovely Cara Ashford, Business Development Manager for Rolling Rogues about her new position, what a good team looks like and how to take that leap and go for that new career.

 

RISE:  What is your title and what is your role there at Rolling Rogues?

Cara:  My title at the Rolling Rogues is Business Development Manager but as with any small team you rarely just do what is outlined in your title. This week I have been directing some training videos and next week I will probably be making the tea’s! I was bought into the team to drive The Rolling Rogues business forward, searching out opportunities with brands and companies we feel are best aligned with our style of delivery but I will also pull on my marketing and film experience when needed.

 

RISE Do you think the way in which you and others ‘business develop’ has changed dramatically?

Cara:  I hope not, I still believe the best way to business develop is to get in front of people and have a good old conversation face to face. Obviously the technology to do this has changed and made working across distance easier. It now means that we can sit down with companies abroad and not have to jump on a plane but I think ultimately it’s still about the conversation and connection with the client.

 

RISE: When you’ve ever moved jobs, what’s been the big draw for you?

Cara:  When I was younger it used to be the money. If that was the case now then I would be heading straight back to one of my previous sales jobs. I did read somewhere that the hours spent at work in an average lifetime is 90,000 so its no wonder that I have now realised its about the team and also the passion you have for the job you are doing. For me it’s about how that job and environment make me feel. I want to get up every morning and want to go to work, the second that stops happening on a regular basis I will look to move.

 

RISE: You’ve had a hugely successful career with some really interesting roles. Asides from working blinkin’ hard and of course your transferable skills, what other factors have been important in you successfully getting new roles throughout your career?

Cara:  One of the big reasons is I like interviews, I relish the opportunity to speak with someone who works for the company about the role and to get inside the building. You can get a real feel for a company even by sitting in their reception or walking through the office. I also don’t see not getting past the interview stage as a failure. I see them more as a practice for my next one.

I have also had some genuinely great bosses and equally good friends that have let me know about opportunities coming up and there is definitely a ‘right place, right time’ aspect to the roles.

 

RISE:  What makes a team successful in your eyes? I know, this is a biggy…

Cara:  A team is meant to be a set of individuals working together to achieve the same goal. The great teams I have worked in have grown to be really good friends and have supported each other in and out of work. Many of them I am still in contact with. I think a great team is a set of people who are honest with each other, let others share their opinions, champion the growth of each member of the team and also one where every member is happy to pick up the bin and empty it!

 

RISE: What would you look for in a new member of staff or team member?

Cara:  In the Rogues this isn’t my decision to make but I would definitely get the wider team involved, just because I think someone is right doesn’t mean they are a right fit for the team. I would look for someone who looks you in the eye when they speak. Someone who is interested in their health, mentally and physically. A person that has positive energy, honest and has an opinion.

 

RISE:  What advice would you give to someone who is moving career, or fresh out of university that is searching for the perfect opportunity?

Cara:  Do not be afraid to offer to work for a company for a day for free so they can see what you are like and how you fit into the team. At the start of my filming career I walked into a production company and offered to work a day for free, whilst I was there a job came in and they asked me to stay for a further 6 weeks, from then I worked freelance for a number of production companies in London and for the next 2 years I had work – all from a free day.

Pick the top ten companies you want to work for, those you are passionate about, those you can see yourself being a part of. . Tell them you want to work for them and why. Get yourself 10 minutes of their time and put yourself on their radar. There may not be a job for you now but there could be one for you in the future. I think too many people sit and wait for jobs to appear and then apply with a stack of other people. You need to be proactive and find ways to get yourself in front of them.

 

Trying to be everything to everyone does not work anymore and sometimes the service and skill that we would normally deliver in our niche can be affected by the fact that we are trying to provide services that we do not have the expertise for.

 

Could having the right working culture influence the positive growth within businesses and encourage collaboration across the community? Surely that way everyone gets to play to their strengths, and everybody benefits? Most importantly the end users/customers/clients.

We had a chat with Marcus Wincott Marketing Manager at Media Lounge and Chapter Director of Startup Grind Bournemouth all about driving collaboration and where e-commerce fits into that concept.

We will delve into the ideas surrounding nurturing a company culture, owning your ‘own space’ in the market and how you then use the power of social media to back this all up.

The future is bright for collaboration and ecommerce, let’s delve into it with Marcus.

 

Culture – Let The Team Do The Talking

 

We see this word A LOT. As Marcus quite rightly says “I think some people think if you get a ping pong table and some funky wall graphics that’s all you need, that’s your culture nailed, you’ve smashed it.” Perceptions are short lived, your beer fridge isn’t going to help you when your staff are all overworked and unhappy and as a result, the work your agency does is suffering. Culture by definition means “a way of life” not a few fun gimmicks that you can throw in to appear to have an understanding of what people / employees nowadays are looking to get from the work they do.

Your Instagram stories may tell the world one thing, but the hours your staff work can paint an entirely different picture. This can be downfall a for your workforce, leaving them feeling exhausted. Marcus stresses that there can be a change, we just need to move away from rigidness and outdated ideals.  “There was this meritocracy [at a previous agency] applied to staying late, but at Media Lounge we actively encourage staff not to work late because ultimately you have to get the work life balance right and we’re probably not managing our workload properly if we feel we have to work late. Also, you just shouldn’t – it’s not healthy.”

This will look different in every company, but making a culture successful and a team work together is about playing to individual strengths  “When meeting with my team about direction and strategy, I’ll have my own ideas for content and advertising budget and stuff, but I won’t have it formulated because everything has to be discussed with my team because they have to deliver it. I don’t force ideas upon them, but instead let them steer the strategy, change the way they work and be flexible in order to achieve our goals.”

 

How Do We Want To Work, Really Though? 

 

More and more of us are now talking about a better work life balance and having a more Holistic approach to this. However is it really achievable to implement flexible working on a large scale and can every business achieve it?

Marcus sees some positives and negatives in this approach. “Some of the best work we do is when we are all in a room together talking about a project and chipping in which you can’t do if you’re all remote. But for some tech businesses, remote staff works better, some of which don’t even have a HQ.”

Or maybe it needs to be an overhaul about how we work and spend our hours working. “I get it, I think it could be more about bits of remote working, side hustles, and people generally working less hours in a normal job so they have time for all the rest.”

 

 

“I think people still want a baseline salary but increasingly, they also want the flexibility to run a side hustle or a meet up group or something else that they’re passionate about.”

 

 

If we’re going to take this collaborative approach to the next level, maybe this is where we turn to next, where our teams work less hours and pursue passions outside of their 9-5. Could this make for a happier more productive workforce despite less hours in the office? Marcus certainly feels the benefit of this mutual trust between him and his employer and is able to watch his side hustle grow. He is the Chapter Director of Startup Grind Bournemouth which is a series of events for local Entrepreneurs, “Our commitment to the global Startup Grind brand was that we would hold an event every month and since September 2018 we’ve done that. Our only goal is to educate inspire and connect entrepreneurs in our local area to make the startup journey, a less lonely and scary one.”

 

Collaboration In Our Communities 

 

As our community opens up more, and we nurture and support each other’s ideas and smaller business plans, our guards lower and ‘competition’ suddenly becomes less of a threat.

After a few years in London, Marcus reflected on his return to Bournemouth and his surprise at the change. “The extremely active and open meet up an event scene here, just would never have happened 10 years ago. I think the collaborative nature of the digital community here has grown, and it’s because everyone is less guarded now.”

“When I came back from London there was still some of those big names knocking about like BBD, Adido, RedWeb but they were very different, they looked different. They have got their niche and the thing they do and nobody these days claims to do everything.”

The term ‘jack of all trades’ comes to mind but people are not fooled by this anymore. There is a place for’ say yes and learn how to do it when you get there’ but as a strategy this has been proven to fail and these failures do not go unnoticed.

Marcus went on to say that often Media Lounge liaise with agencies that offer similar services, because they know what they’re good at and when a project comes up, if they know they can’t give their 100% they’ll pass it on to the right person or business that can.

“Now times gone on, there is somewhat of a karmic feel to things where kindness and support come back around.”

“The most important thing should be the outcome for the client. Holistically it creates a much better idea of trust.”

 

Online Community And Buying From Those You Trust

 

When we’re pitching to our clients, trust is a key factor in conversion. As we’ve seen the rise in Social Media, Instagram particularly, the term ‘influencers’ is now part of our everyday lingo.

A new feature is on the horizon which we believe could change the face of communities online, making them more authentic. It also opens up the spectrum for the side hustle that is micro influencing.

Individuals within these smaller online communities are now going to be able to purchase directly from their favoured micro influencers posts on Instagram “They are now taking it a step further, so you can now purchase in app. That’s powerful. I think it will make the whole influencer trend more accountable and so-called influencers will have the opportunity to prove the ‘influence’ they have over their communities. Or not.” It’s no surprise that one person having millions of followers and getting paid to post a picture of themselves with a dietary supplement milkshake was going to be short lived. Just like that of a business with a transparent culture, we can see straight through it.

We are hoping this will lead to the rise of powerful and influential micro influencers who are passionate about what they do and have niche, but loyal following. This in turn can be an individual’s side hustle and will help to grow collaboration within our online and offline communities.

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

 

Trisha Lewis

 

 

We had a chat with Trisha Lewis who founded her own Communication Coaching business to discuss what it takes to be a leader and what the big fear of public speaking is all about.

 

 

 

RISE: What is your name and what is your ‘title’?

 

Trisha: Trisha Lewis – Communication Coach – my own business – just me!

 

RISE: A ‘Communication Coach’ can you describe to us what this entails and what a normal day in the life of Trisha looks like?

 

Trisha: I help people communicate better! That’s a bit simplistic I guess – but it is the ultimate goal.  That might mean communicating better with themselves, their team or their audience. Communication is a foundational skill and once you start unpacking what it involves, well – it’s a fascinating gift to unwrap!

There is no such thing as a normal day – which kind of suits me! I have developed good multi-tasking skills and I have a fair bit of energy – even at my age!  I am constantly curious and like the aspect of my work which involves meeting so many fascinating people as well as finding ways to communicate with and grow my network. I rarely say no to an opportunity to get to know someone or brainstorm a possible collaboration.  Oh – and I am also writing a book!  All this means my days have a pretty random quality to them.

However – I do try and put a little structure around the randomness.  If I have a day with no client coaching sessions or company workshops/talks etc… then I will often start early by walking down to my favourite coffee shop – laptop in bag.  I like to work with a little buzz around me rather than silence.  I will then make sure I do at least 30 minutes of business development before getting stuck into blog writing, social media engagement or book writing.

Then there will be days when I have clients coming to my home based office for coaching or I am going out to deliver talks or workshops to groups and organisations. Oh – and some days that mean a very early start or evening trip out for a networking event!

 

RISE: We’ve chatted in the past about this but can you outline what Imposter Syndrome is and how you begin to tackle this?

 

Trisha: I will share with you the definition I give in the introduction of the book I am currently writing!

A nagging feeling of self-doubt that feels real but does not stand up to scrutiny. A feeling that you are on the outside looking in but ‘they’ all have the right to be there. A feeling that if you do not work very hard at being loved, clever and perfect – you will be thrown out into the wilderness by a jeering crowd of haters who have discovered just how useless, bad (or both) you ‘really’ are. A feeling that when people do praise you – they are going to regret it as soon as you leave the room or put the phone down.

 I could delve deep here – but hey – I want people to buy the book!  Having said which I do give a lot of free tips in the various blog posts and videos I share!

In brief – you tackle it by getting real! You equip yourself with a good dose of knowledge about what it is – and what the symptoms and consequences are – and then you use some tactics that involve pressing pause between feelings and actions, talking with others to reveal that you are not alone and ‘bigging yourself up’!

There is no cure – it is not an illness! What you do is become more aware of the signs and quicker at pressing pause!  Again – much more in the book – or for now on my YouTube channel (plug!)

 

RISE: Why do you think that public speaking is such a huge fear for so many of us?

 

Trisha: Ah – again I could go on! So I will try to keep this brief…

Actually I used to be very shy when I was younger – belief it or not!  They do say a lot of actors have a shy streak!

The fear is the same as any kind of fear – fear is a powerful force for all us humans! We are wired to see the negative – it is a survival tool that can get triggered off in an unhelpful way these days! There are rarely sabre-toothed tigers to watch out for.  It is a mind-body thing – and it is far worse when you keep sending signals to your brain that you are afraid – because then your body responds even more – and a viscous cycle is set up!

The main tactic involves getting ‘out of your head’! You need to be present – remember that it is about them not you – and they are not out to get you!

Our biggest fear is often fear of rejection and fear of judgement – again down to ancient wiring! If you acknowledge what is going on and get rational about the reality of the situation (no tigers) you calm you body and brain down!

I also think people get hung up on an idea that they must be like someone else – some version of a good speaker that they have in their head – but isn’t them! The more you try to be like someone else the worse the fear gets.

You also need to be at one with your content – plenty of preparation and a sense of excitement about what you are delivering.

Again – loads of tips on my YouTube channel (did I already mention this?!)

 

RISE: As a member of a community like YATM, do you think these ‘safe spaces’ give a platform for those that wouldn’t normally want to speak or share knowledge?

 

Trisha: Definitely!  I love spaces like YATM.  As the host of events like this it is crucial to create an atmosphere where people realise that no question is daft!

 

RISE: How useful is communication and the understanding of this in the marketing and PR world?

 

Trisha: Massively useful!  Maybe I would say that – but it is true. There are 2 particularly crucial aspects to good communication that are needed for marketing and PR – connection and clarity.  Connection involves resonating with your audience and building trust – and clarity involves the audience being able to ‘get’ your message and know what to do next!

 

RISE: What path have you taken to get you to where you are today? What advise would you give to someone else looking to do something similar?

 

Trisha: Wow! I am old! I won’t give you my life story!  In brief – I have embraced life – the good and the bad.  I have never stopped wanting to learn and I am curious!  When things felt wrong – I changed them and when things felt too comfortable – I took up new challenges!

Whilst I had a number of different mini careers and the job of bringing up a family – I had a constant passion for acting.  It was my career as a professional actor (theatre not TV!) that led me along a random path to various connected opportunities – all involving masses of communication and trust building skills!  I built a good reputation as a speaker on a ‘non-business’ circuit – but decided I wanted to rise to the challenge of using my combined skills and experience in the business world. Just under 3 years ago I took the plunge and up my coaching business. What a learning curve!

I had to be prepared to keep pushing myself over the obstacles and not retreat! I also had to rewire my brain a bit – blending the creative with the business/sales side of things – not easy!

The main constant throughout has been my instinct that offering value, listening and relationship building would be the most effective way to grow – and I am glad to say my instinct was correct.

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

Steele Raymond

 

 

We spoke to Lee Taylor the Business Development Director at Steele Raymond about how business development has changed and why Bournemouth is great.

 

 

 

RISE: What is your name and title?

 

Lee: Lee Taylor, Business Development Director at Steele Raymond LLP Solicitors

 

RISE: What does your day to day look like?

 

Lee: Like many people there are no one day the same. Every day is different. My role is to help implement the business strategy across firm. Every day I work with incredible legal teams who are all working exceptionally hard for their clients. Juggling client work and business development can be challenging, particularly when with much of the business development we do, timing is everything. After all clients do come first (quite rightly) so planning and communication is key in my role.

 

RISE: As someone that has worked in Business Development for a long time, do you think the way we ‘business develop’ has changed?

 

Lee: Very much so. I’ve been working in business development and marketing for nearly 20 years now and the change from when I started is incredible. When I first started in legal marketing it came at a time when the restrictions on what law firms could and couldn’t do were relaxed. In a positive way it was like starting with a blank canvas for law firms. That in itself had challenges as a lot of my time went in to encouraging legal teams to step outside of their comfort zone. But even back then people knew when they were being marketing to. I think everyone does. For me the biggest change has been advising lawyers what not to do rather than what to do.

Placing your trust in a law firm is a big decision and one not to be made lightly. The ability to market to the everyone is easier than ever with marketing tools at the end of everyone’s finger tips. But just because you can market to everyone, doesn’t mean you should. Far from it. I take a very responsible view on marketing and business development. Much of my work involves an audience of one. We are now at a time when the one-to-one relationships have never been more important and I actively work with my legal teams to help develop those relationships.

 

RISE: How would you say that Steele Raymond ‘do it differently’?

 

Lee: Our lawyers and legal teams give businesses more than just legal advice. We are an integral part of their business. We listen to our clients to understand their business and work to realise their ambitions. This all goes back to people and relationships. The people that I work with on a daily basis have developed such hard-earned relationships with their clients. Something that they have invested years and even decades in nurturing, getting to understand their client’s business inside and out. We are at heart a people business. And in that we believe that the law needs to have a human side too.

 

RISE: After working in other various places around the country, how does Bournemouth compare to them?

 

Lee: I’d flip the question the other way around and say how do other places I’ve worked compare to Bournemouth and Dorset. My answer is that they don’t compare. I’ve had an amazing start to my career and have worked in some of the UK’s largest cities; London, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff, Cambridge and Norwich to name but a few. But the thing that makes Dorset stand out the most is the vibrant business community and the work-life balance. Dorset has such a vibrant and friendly business community that in some ways it doesn’t feel like work at all. Because it has such a close knit business community there is also no place to hide and business ethics goes a long way.

 

RISE: Within the industry of lawyers and solicitors do you see a lot of young people coming through? Do you think it’s on the rise?

 

Lee: We have some incredible young talent at Steele Raymond and we work very hard to attract the best legal talent from across the UK. Young professionals are the future of the business so attracting the key talent early on in their careers and nurturing them throughout the business, investing significant time in helping their achieve their career ambitions is one of our key goals.