Searching for your next career move may seem like hard work, a bit of a hassle and in some cases pretty nerve-racking. Although we can’t promise to calm the butterflies in your stomach before the big interview, when it comes to making sure you get the job you want, with the company you want, we’re here to help!
We’re hugely proud of our highly trained in-house recruitment specialists and the expertise and support they’re able to provide you within a constantly changing market. Whether you’re looking for your next permanent or contract assignment we can offer you the support and guidance you need.
Throughout the whole process I felt very encouraged and motivated by the recruiter. I was given very detailed information about the different job offers and James helped me understand what all of them consisted of. He answered all my questions promptly and in detail.
This was my best experience with a recruitment agency so far. Tom has managed to find a role which is a perfect match for my skill-set. His commitment and feedback throughout the entire process was second to none. The tips and documentation provided were fantastic and have surely produced results in the interview room.
I found Nicola to be very friendly and very straight talking. I have found a lot of recruiters in the past to waste a lot of time, however Nicola was very honest from the start and acted professionally at all times.
I dealt with Tom at Understanding Recruitment and he helped me prepare for my interview/presentation and liaised back and forth on my behalf a number of times with various queries I had. Tom was responsive, understanding and very helpful indeed and I would not hesitate to use his services again. Thanks for getting me my new job!
This year, a lot of contractors have been wondering what impact IR35 is having on recruitment when it comes to opportunities and how they need to work. One of the first initial questions we commonly get as a contract technical recruiter from professionals is: ‘Is it an “outside” IR35 job?’, so we thought we’d do some myth-busting, as well as launch our new off-payroll (IR35) FAQ. What is IR35 – simplified? “IR35” isn’t new, it’s the name given to the tax legislation in the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 (ITEPA). IR35 applies to any contractor working through a Personal Service Company ‘PSC’ and seeks to ensure that PSC contractors pay the correct employment taxes and NICs. Essentially, IR35 was introduced to ensure that PSC contractors, who would be employed by the client, if it were not for the PSC they work through, pay PAYE and the correct National Insurance contributions. IR35 seeks to establish whether a contractor is genuinely self-employed or a ‘disguised employee’ for tax purposes. How do you know if you’re ‘inside’ or ‘outside' IR35? If you are considered ‘outside IR35’ then you are classified as genuinely self-employed and can receive gross payments to your Ltd company and enjoy the tax advantages that come with it. If you are considered ‘inside IR35’ then you are ‘a disguised employee for tax purposes’ and are required to have PAYE tax deducted prior to your Ltd company being paid. If the off-payroll working rules apply then the end client that you are working for is responsible for determining whether you are genuinely self-employed or a disguised employee for tax purposes. They will take into consideration the contracts in place as well as how you will work and interact with the end client. The key principles considered when determining if an assignment is outside or inside: Your off-payroll status is not determined by one factor, instead, all of the below factors are considered to paint an overall picture of your employment status for tax purposes: Direction and Control Do you have complete autonomy over how, when and where you complete the work? Or; Does the client specify that you need to be at the office, what hours you should work and when you can take a lunch break? Does the client request that you report to a manager to provide updates on your progress? Substitution Are you able to send an alternative worker in your place, if you are unable to fulfil your obligations? Or; Are you personally required to carry out the work? Do you have practices in place that show how you would enlist a substitute if you haven’t previously used one? Mutuality of Obligation When your contract finishes, is the client obliged to offer you further work and extend your contract? Are you obliged to accept an extension, if your contract has come to an end? Are you obliged to complete a notice period, similar to length to that of an employee? Other factors to consider: Financial Risk Are you required to correct any faulty or sub-standard work at your own expense and time? Are you required to hold business insurance to protect yourself from any claim that could arise against your company? Do you incur expenditure on training to ensure your skills are to the required level for the engagement? Do you provide your own equipment? Part & Parcel Do you have access to all the same staff facilities that employees do? Do you attend staff meetings? Do you attend staff social events or receive staff benefits? Exclusive Service Do you work for just one client or do you work for a number of different clients? Have your contracts been renewed numerous times? Basis of Payment Are you paid a fixed hourly/daily rate? Self-employed people are often paid by the job. Intention of the Parties Did the end client intend the worker to be self-employed? Are you engaged through a contract which is a contract of service or a contract for services? How are small companies affected by IR35? On 6th April 2021, the IR35 changes in the private sector were introduced, which means the responsibility for operating the off-payroll working rules are now on the fee payer rather than the contractor. This means that both Public and Private sector clients are now responsible for determining the IR35 status of an assignment. The new working rules only apply to medium and large private businesses as ‘small companies’ are exempt. The definition of a small business is based on the s382 Companies Act 2006 which means that a company qualifies as small if two of the following conditions apply for two consecutive financial years: Annual turnover – no more than £10.2 million; Balance sheet total – no more than £5.1 million; and Number of employees – no more than 50 employees. If an individual “provides services to a small client outside the public sector, the worker’s intermediary is responsible for deciding the worker’s employment status and if the rules apply,” according to official government guidance. Let’s break it down and try and reduce any headaches when it comes to IR35. What effect is IR35 having on contract recruitment in tech? Since updates to IR35 came in in April 2017, it’s reported that as many as 35% of contractors have moved on from self-employment. Contractors are stated to be moving into permanent employment, overseas work or not working. According to the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), over a third (34%) of professionals are working through umbrella companies and over a third are also working through engagements ‘inside’ IR35. As a contract recruiter, we are disheartened to see some professionals leave the contract sector and want to reassure our contract and freelance partners that we only foresee growth in contract jobs available in the sector. Our dedicated contracts team has grown at a record pace this year and is having a number of roles come in to fill with the brightest contract talent. Need advice or support on your next tech contract role? IR35 is a notoriously complicated matter and differs on a case-by-case basis. Read our IR35 FAQ below to find out more about the legislation and how it may affect you or get in touch and one of the team will be happy to help. There will always be a demand for contractors due to their diverse skillset and ability to bolster short-term projects, irrespective of IR35, and we’re here to partner with you on the most exciting opportunities in tech contract recruitment. Form ID:6286
As office life gradually returns, we’ve been reflecting a lot on wellbeing at work following the past two years of adjusting to a new way of life during the pandemic. We’re on a mission to do all we can to support our tech recruitment team, whether with flexible working, team days, or clear career progression, and lead the way on wellness like the tech partners we work with. With the tech recruitment business bouncing back hugely and significant internal growth taking place, it’s been an ideal time to check-in on and hone what we have in place to support everyone, whether their job title states recruiter, marketer, accounts, or director, so they can live a fulfilling life inside and outside work. There are of course the huge rewards of working in recruitment when it comes to financial incentives, skill development and career progression, and supporting someone in finding their dream role. Work stress can affect us all at some point, however, even if we are supported by great colleagues and meeting our targets. How is recruiter work wellbeing? One pre-pandemic report stated that in 2019 nearly three-quarters of surveyed recruiters had had some form of mental wellbeing issue to deal with that year, with over half stating they’d been affected by anxiety. Another study from Every Mind at Work found 38% of recruiters stated their mood as ‘up and down’ (with 25.7% reporting their general mood as ‘happy’ and 11.8% as ‘average’), with over 60% saying they notice sudden changes to their mood. Our team spend most of their time at work, if they are struggling it’s vital to do our part to help them feel their best again (more about this below) and having things in place in our work environment and support available so the occasional low points are as manageable as possible. We don’t want wellbeing at work just to be a tick box exercise, but what we have in place to make a real-life impact on how staff feel in the long-term. Empowering employees to talk about mental wellbeing Of course, one of the most important facets of wellbeing at work is not being afraid to have an open dialogue about mental health in the first place. The earlier CSG study mentioned above stated just over half of surveyed recruiters were comfortable talking about mental health challenges with their manager. These figures indicate recruiters may struggle to discuss mental health in the workplace, so it’s integral to everything else we have put in place to foster a positive, supportive work environment – from the top down. Our journey to supporting every employee’s wellbeing at work is ongoing, like everyone else’s, but we have the following in place for our employees and are always on the lookout for new ways to bolster our wellbeing, so the team feels supported as possible and crucially, enjoys working here! How we work to support wellbeing at work: 1. A welcoming work environment We moved into newly refurbished headquarters in 2019 and the feedback has been great. We have six breakaway rooms from our main office space, as we recognise sometimes staff may need a break from their desk or bustling office, or need to have a one-on-one chat, and a pool table and seating area in the kitchen for lunchtime. Our kitchen is stocked with fruit, drinks, snacks, and coffee if anyone needs a boost. Staff are welcome to take a two-hour lunch to fully recharge their batteries and we finish early on Fridays. We also have a casual dress code so everyone feels as comfortable as possible at work. 2. Clear communication and career progression We recognise and see every day as tech recruiters that often the reason people leave jobs is feeling stagnant and not valued by their employer anymore. This is why, as well as regular team catch-ups, reviews and one-on-ones with line managers on everyday progress, we also check-in with our staff’s personal goals so we can work collectively towards great things. We’re well aware that achieving goals releases ‘feel good’ chemicals dopamine into the brain and is really important for our ambitious team. Listening, furthermore, is one of the most important ways we can support staff, whether it’s about something new a team member wants to do, an extra piece of training or their ambitions. "We have clear pathways and education along the way from sourcing to making business development calls, so no one feels unprepared for the next step in their career" Training is a huge part of what we do, that’s why our growing Training & Development team and other staff run useful training on all areas of tech recruitment from a starter’s induction (and work wellbeing) and beyond. We have clear pathways and internal and external-led education along the way from sourcing to making business development calls, so no one feels overwhelmed or unprepared for the next step in their career as a recruiter. It’s also important for us to recognise people’s talent and growth when they’ve been achieving fantastic things not just when there’s an empty desk when it comes to job promotion. We’re certainly never opposed to really shouting about when someone has done fantastic work on our Microsoft Teams chat, too! 3. Work from home flexibility We are proud to say that working from home isn’t just a benefit we’re going to offer due to the pandemic, but as we return to the office too. We recognise our recruiters have a life outside of Understanding Recruitment, and the more stress-free it is, the happier they are going to be as employees. That’s why we offer hybrid working and two days a week at home for those who want to for easier childcare, dog care… whatever is going on in life! Working from home wellbeing is hugely important too, so we’re often hopping on Teams chats to check-in and share work, just like when we’re in the office. 4. Health & fitness benefits For those of the team who enjoy a gym session, we’ve got it covered. We happily offer gym membership for our team members, so they can enjoy a workout and lower their cortisol levels (the stress hormone) to be in the best headspace possible. It’s important to keep the mind fit too, so everyone can access a paid-for subscription to the Calm app and practice meditation, listen to soundtracks and sleep stories. We’re big fans of the app and it’s been known to reduce stress and improve mindfulness and self-compassion in short-term contexts. We also offer a Cycle to Work Scheme for anyone who wants to come into our St. Albans office via bike. Our Employee Assistance Programme is also available for anything affecting a team member’s health and wellbeing in the longer term, with an online health portal, 24/7 help phoneline and in-person support available if needed. 5. Recharge time We offer unlimited holiday for Understanding Recruitment staff who have been with us two years, so they can enjoy their travels or a well-earned relaxation break and come back recharged. A 5 and 10-year sabbatical is also available – read what our long-term employees Tom and Nicola got up to on their adventure-filled sabbatical. Our top performers also are treated to breaks internationally (though locally, more recently due to the pandemic) every 6 months and year, as well as a trip to swap our St. Albans headquarters for our Acceler8 Talent office in Boston, Massachusetts. 6. Wellbeing Committee We’re proud to have a Wellbeing Committee, comprised of different employees across teams, who work to improve and promote all things wellness across the company. We believe it’s hugely important to have these Mental Health First Aiders to spot the signs someone may not be feeling their best and help them with advice or point them in direction of support. "We believe it’s hugely important to have these Mental Health First Aiders to spot the signs someone may not be feeling their best." 7. Team spirit! We have regular check-ins across our UK and US offices to celebrate the wins of the week and the great achievements some of the team have made. Every department also has a wellbeing day and budget to take the team out and enjoy an activity (crazy golf is a very popular choice!) and some food and drinks, as well as an end of year celebration. We also have a Social Committee in charge of organising events throughout the year and we’re passionate about there always something going on for the team to get to know better at and unwind after all their hard work. We’re still learning and introducing new elements of workplace wellbeing, and this is where our journey has taken us so far. We’ll continue to foster an environment where conversations about wellbeing are the norm, because we’re only at our best when everyone is feeling their brightest. If our wellbeing offering sounds like it would be a good fit for what you look for in a company, then do check out our internal vacancies! Mental Wellbeing resources: https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/ https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/if-youre-having-difficult-time/signs-you-may-be-struggling-cope/practical-ways-help-yourself-cope/ https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/ https://mentalhealth-uk.org/
This is a guest blog by Umbrella Company Parasol. The perils of being caught up in a tax avoidance scheme have been well documented in recent years. These vehicles, which are set up with the sole aim of avoiding tax, bend the rules of the tax system in a way that the government never intended for and pose big risks to anyone who enters one - even if by accident. Work through a tax avoidance scheme and you may find yourself under investigation from HMRC and end up having to pay a lot more than the tax that you tried to avoid once retrospective tax payments, fines and even interest are all totted up. So needless to say, freelancers, contractors and umbrella employees need to know what a tax avoidance scheme is and how to steer clear of one. But how do you recognise a non-compliant arrangement? What are the hallmarks of tax avoidance schemes? Too good to be true If it sounds too good to be true, chances are that it is. Many tax avoidance schemes claim that with their help you can compliantly take home upwards of 85% of your income after tax. This is unrealistic without some kind of tax avoidance or illegality taking place somewhere along the line. ‘Non-taxable’ payments Tax avoidance schemes often pay people through loans, annuities, bonuses or shares that the promoter may claim to be ‘non-taxable’. In other words, they advertise that tax doesn't apply. This simply isn’t true given any income above the personal allowance threshold is subject to tax. You may have heard of the Loan Charge, which was a retrospective tax introduced by the government in 2019, affecting people who had operated through tax avoidance schemes dating back as far as 1999. These contractors, who were paid via ‘non-taxable’ loans, often bought into these schemes on the basis that they were compliant. In short, HMRC decided they weren’t and a reported 50,000 individuals were told to pay back missing Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions. Complicated arrangements Confusing payment arrangements - whether through loans or offshore trusts - that you struggle to make head or tail of, should be avoided. So be wary of complicated processes that divert money through a chain of companies, trusts or partnerships. And if your contract doesn’t clearly state how your income will be paid or detail all deductions, it could be a tax avoidance scheme. ‘HMRC approved’ Many tax avoidance schemes claim on their website to be ‘HMRC approved’ - you might notice a stamp of approval somewhere on the site. The problem, however, is that HMRC never endorses schemes. So beware of any provider that says it has been endorsed or certified by the tax office. Difficult to contact Tax avoidance schemes targeting contractors operate in the shadows and you are likely to struggle to find out much information about the business. If you want to do some digging into a particular tax avoidance scheme you’ll do well to find anyone to speak with or contact. In many cases, these schemes make very little information available deliberately so as to avoid having to answer difficult questions about their legitimacy and keep a low profile. On HMRC’s radar With tax avoidance schemes seemingly on the rise in recent years, HMRC are unsurprisingly clamping down on them and a number are under investigation. The schemes that HMRC believe have the hallmarks of tax avoidance arrangements are listed on the government website. It goes without saying that if you have any concerns, walk away. Does all of the above apply to businesses? Not necessarily. There are still many unscrupulous businesses out there promoting schemes that claim to avoid tax and often these are short-lived. Whilst many will bear the majority of the hallmarks above, the one thing they will all have in common is a claim to reduce your tax bill by using contrived payment arrangements. If you are a contractor or freelancer that is looking at using an umbrella company, you should be paying employment taxes on all of your income. Any arrangements that suggest otherwise are not worth your time, or the risk. If you'd like more advice on contracting connect with our Head of Contracts Jack Cascarino on LinkedIn & check out our latest contract jobs.
As Michelle Obama said: "There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish." At Understanding Recruitment we're proud to be an equal opportunities employer and fully support APSCo's Women in Recruitment initiative. Just in time for International Women's Day, we asked our ambitious, driven and wonderfully talented women here at Understanding Recruitment, who #ChooseToChallenge every day, what advice they would give their younger selves. Nicola Parker, Delivery Manager "Know that there will always be unforeseen hurdles in life, but worrying about what hasn’t happened yet, or might happen in the future is a waste of energy and can stop you from enjoying the now – you cannot control what happens in your future but you can control how you live in the present. Trust that you are always where you are meant to be, whether it feels that way or not at the time – things always work themselves out in the end." Alex Martuccio, Contract Account Manager "If you have a passion or a dream, follow it and make a reality. It will be hard and you will get lots of setbacks and people telling you it’s not possible, but if you really want it, you will do anything to make it happen." Danielle Blake, .NET Researcher "Failure is the first step in success and is just as important as success." Jana Timm, Head of Marketing "You will get to where you want to be but it will take time. Learn as much as you can from the people around you and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You don’t know what you don’t know." Charlotte Young, Java Recruitment Executive "Consistency and determination to achieve will get you far." Cassie Holdsworth, Management Accountant "Don’t focus too much on the destination but enjoy the journey too. I’ve always been one to focus too much on achieving the bigger things, such as; the job, the wedding, the car, the house etc., and you can easily get distracted from enjoying the small things too." Molly Boca, Hardware Acceleration & ML Recruitment Consultant "Worry less about what others think about you and learn to love yourself through your own eyes not someone else’s. The easiest way to be the best version of yourself is to be free from the judgement of others' perspectives." Emma Matthiesen, Training & Development Manager "Work hard - the better you do, the more options you’ll have." Suzy Bolton, Finance Director "Believe in yourself more and it’s true that the harder you work, the better you do!" Monique Hunt, Accounts Assistants "Have confidence in your ability/self and don’t always assume the worst." Laura Trimmer, Talent Acquisition Consultant "Trust your instincts, everything really does happen for a reason." Rhiannon Mehta, Senior Recruitment Consultant - High Value Fundraising "Trust yourself and don’t listen to other people’s judgement on what you can achieve!" Maggie Mulshine, Hardware Acceleration, Photonics & ML Researcher "Don't focus so hard on what people will think, and instead focus on what you really want to do and what makes you happy." Emily Kitamura, Head of Global Talent Acquisition "You're doing great! Everything will work itself out, just believe in yourself and keep doing you!" Anna Heneghan, Head of Machine Learning & AI UK "Worry less about what other people think about you and think about what you are doing instead. Focus more on yourself. Think about how you can develop and increase your happiness." Emma Wilson, Delivery Consultant "Don't be afraid to try new things! Push yourself out of your comfort zone more often... what's the worst that could happen?!" Lisa Booth, HR Manager "Don’t let the expectations and opinions of others limit your ambitions. Only you know what you can achieve." Mollie Redmond, Marketing Executive "You don't have to have everything figured out and it’s okay if things aren’t quite going to plan. Learn as much as you can and remain positive – things will work out in the end." Curious about #LifeAtUR? We'd love to hear from you! DM Emily Kitamura on LinkedIn, email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01727 228 255 to have chat about the opportunities we have for you.
This is a guest blog by Umbrella Company Parasol. Around three and a half years after the UK voted for Brexit, the clock is ticking towards 11 pm on 31st December 2020, the date upon which the United Kingdom will start a new trading relationship with the European Union. Despite being so close to the end of the transition period, there are still a number of things that Boris Johnson and his Cabinet must iron out. Having missed the original deadline of 15th October, the Prime Minister has very little time left to agree on a trade deal. If a deal isn’t struck, the UK will leave the EU without any trading agreements in place. So it goes without saying that whatever happens in the coming weeks, from 1st January 2021, things will be different, deal or no deal. Established businesses can expect to feel the effects of Brexit, be that positive or negative depending on which side of the fence you sit. The UK’s smallest companies, including freelancers and contractors, have also been told by the government to prepare for change. But what specifically do contractors need to know about Brexit? And what, if anything at all, can we be confident of as the transition period comes to an end? No guarantees over EU working As part of the EU, UK citizens are granted freedom of movement thanks to access to the Single Market. However, things are set to change when the transition period ends on New Year’s Eve and there will be no guarantee that contractors can live, work or retire in EU countries going forward. This is at least something we can be certain of. It means contractors living in the UK but working with clients in the EU may well need a visa or work permit to continue doing so. Given the rules vary country to country it’s worth checking this page on the government website. Similarly, if you’re a contractor living and working in an EU country, you should check this page for the latest guidance on visas, work permits and residency. Immigration changes beckon Most foreign nationals, including those from EU states, will need to apply online for a visa if they want to live and work in the UK next year. A ‘points-based’ immigration system will decide this, with the government aiming to encourage what they perceive to be ‘skilled-workers’ to settle on these shores. A score is awarded to an applicant, who is marked based on a job offer (typically with a wage of at least £25,600), their grasp of the English language and skill level in a desirable occupation. How tailored this system is towards overseas freelancers and contractors remains to be seen. If you’re an EU national already living in the UK, or move here before 31st December 2020, you do not need to go through this process. Instead, you’re required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before 30th June 2021. It is worth noting that due to the Common Travel Area, Irish citizens retain the right to live and work in the UK and reciprocally UK nationals retain the right to live and work within Ireland post Brexit. IR35 considerations With changes to the IR35 legislation on the horizon, many contractors working through personal service companies registered in the UK want to know if the changes will apply to contracts held overseas, whether in the EU or further afield. In other words, from 6th April 2021, will contractors be responsible for assessing their IR35 status when working with medium and large businesses based abroad? Or will businesses be tasked with this? It depends, but Brexit won’t have any bearing. If a business is based wholly overseas without a permanent establishment in the UK, such as an office, factory or residence, then IR35 reform isn’t a consideration. This means contractors can carry on determining their IR35 status beyond April 6th 2021. If a client is based abroad but has ties here in the UK, then the reform will apply and the business - assuming it is medium or large - must abide by the new rules. Contractors working with small private sector businesses, whether in the UK or overseas, will maintain responsibility for IR35. While there are still many unknowns for contractors regarding Brexit, we at least know that the UK will certainly leave the EU at the end of this month. And given the post-Brexit landscape is changing all the time, be sure to pay close attention to the government’s Brexit webpage, where you can stay up to date with everything you need to know. If you'd like more information about Brexit or are looking for your next contracting role check out our contract jobs & connect with our Head of Contracts Jack Cascarino on LinkedIn.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge economic toll globally with the latest UK unemployment rate at 4.8% according to the Office for National Statistics. To lend a helping hand to those impacted, LinkedIn has launched a new tool called Career Explorer that helps you identify new kinds of jobs based on your skills. It does this by utilising data gathered from its 722 million members to map career paths that professionals have taken. LinkedIn then merges this data with the current in-demand jobs. Check out the Career Explorer and see where your skills can take you. Unlike a job search engine, the LinkedIn Career Explorer tool matches a person’s skills with jobs they might not have considered before. It also suggests which skills you may want to learn to become even more relevant and provides you with direct links to the appropriate courses in LinkedIn Learning. The Career Explorer can also show you relevant jobs and people in your network who are already in these roles so you can start a conversation. For more helpful tips on using LinkedIn to find your dream job check out this blog.
So, you’ve applied for the job, aced the interview process and are basking in the glory of that awesome new job feeling. Well done you! But now what? Where do you go from here to make sure you get off to a great start in your new role? The first 90 days are crucial and the actions you take during this time will have a major impact on your success or failure. Most probation periods also last around this time so it can often be a vulnerable phase while you’re also trying to climb a learning curve and operate in a new environment. But don’t worry. Our experts have put together some tips to help you settle into your new role without putting too much pressure on yourself. Good luck! 1. Don't be shy! By staying in touch with your employer before you start you can get ahead of the game and find out more information about your role and how it fits into the wider team and business goals even before your first day. While the thought of introducing yourself repeatedly might fill you with anxiety, you’ll want to show your enthusiasm and get to know people in your first days. You can also ask your manager for a list of people they think you should meet with. Try to remember people’s names but if you do forget, a simple “Could you remind me of your name?” will do. We spend a lot of time at work (90,000 hours over a lifetime*)! That’s a lot of time spent with your colleagues so, make sure to get to know them outside of work and try to get involved in after-hour activities. Drinks after work, lunches with your team or even virtual quizzes are all great ways to develop strong relationships with your new colleagues. 2. Define success In your first few weeks, it’s important to establish mutual expectations with your manager. Find out what is expected from you within the team, the wider business, and as in individual. What does your success look like? While you need to know the basics aspects of your role, for example; your working hours and responsibilities, it’s also important to understand the more in-depth parts of your role and how it contributes to the bigger picture. How your performance will be measured and what your job progression will look like, are just a couple examples of this. Write down any questions you have so you don’t forget and raise them in a one to one with your manager. This is also a good time to find out what their pain points are and to plan how you can reduce these and add value quickly (although you may already know these needs from your interviews). Also ask them how they prefer to communicate – in person, over the phone, via email or video chat? Ask yourself: What do you want your legacy to be? 3. Develop good habits Get into good habits from day one. A new job can be a fresh start, so make sure to start it on a positive note and turn up ten minutes early. Decide on how you're going to manage your time, calendar and projects and get set up for your new way of working. By establishing a good working routine early on, you're taking steps in the right direction to achieve your goals and earn the respect from your team and colleagues. This is also the time to set boundaries. Coming in early and staying late after starting a new job can be a way of seeking acceptance but you should try and re-establish the boundaries that help you do your best work. Remember, saying “no” will help you focus on your goals and better manage your time. 4. Ditch the bad ones! This is the ideal time to shed old routines that aren’t serving you anymore! In your first 90 days, avoid developing negative habits and work hard to break any existing ones. 5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes Nobody likes making mistakes, but they can happen, especially in a new role. Feel the fear and do it anyway and make sure to throw yourself into your new role and step outside of your comfort zone; know that you will make a couple of initial mistakes and that it is perfectly fine to do so! Although we don’t like making mistakes, they are a great learning tool and sometimes you need to make mistakes to improve. 6. Get up to speed Your first weeks are more about listening and less about talking. Every organisation has a culture and norms of behaviour that people are expected to operate within so try to absorb these in your first weeks. Take the time to get up to speed on both your industry and your job role; what kind of technology your candidates and clients will be working with, how these fits into their businesses etc. Is there a particular code you need to learn for your role? 7. Review, review, review Don’t forget, while your employer will be seeing how you get on for your first three to six months it’s also a time to see if they are the right fit for you! Don’t be afraid to ask your manager directly for ways to improve and ask for feedback on how you’ve been doing and make sure to check you’re still on track to accomplish the goals you set in your first weeks. Finally, make sure to regularly highlight your wins in a way that makes your manager and team look good throughout the first months in your new role and celebrate those early successes! * Source: Gettysburg College
Whether it’s your first day in a new job or you’ve been in your role since a while, everyone wants to make a good impression on the boss. Their perception can directly affect your salary, pay rises, opportunities for visibility and future promotions. Here are just some of our top tips to make your boss glad they hired you! 1. Do Your Best The best way to get off to a great start is simply doing your job to the best of your ability while also helping others along the way. Find out what your managers expectations are and remember they are only human. They get stressed, face deadlines, and have bosses too. So, empathising with them and seeing things from their point of view will help you become less judgmental. 2. Extra Effort Putting in extra effort can go a long way to getting you noticed. Volunteering to help out on projects that aren’t necessarily part of your job remit will leave a lasting impression and show real initiative. Expressing that you are willing to support them in their work will help your manager see you as a valuable member of the team and someone they can rely on. But don’t overburden yourself with extra responsibilities if you can’t deliver on them. You want to have enough time and energy to do a great job. 3. Have An Opinion Your boss (hopefully!) didn’t hire you to agree with everything and everyone. So, when they ask for your opinion on a new idea or solution don’t just say what you think they want to hear. Being an active member of the team and taking part in discussions shows that you take your job seriously and are passionate about what you do. Don’t be afraid to disagree with your manager. But remember, it’s all about the delivery. Look for the positives before highlighting any negatives and don’t come across as instantly dismissive. They didn’t hire you to sit silently and nod along, so if there are ideas that you’re not on board with, voice your concerns. Just make sure you are respectful and present your reasons informatively with evidence to back them up. 4. Own It Don’t wait for your manager to keep asking you when you’ll have a task completed. Have the initiative to take control of your workload and do what needs to be done without being prompted. Similarly, if you find yourself finished with all your tasks and without anything to do – reach out to your boss and ask what they’d like you to work on. Don’t just assume that because you've finished your current tasks, there isn’t something else you could be doing. See an area for improvement or a way of doing a task more efficiently? Making suggestions that will improve the way you or even your whole team work will always go down well with your manager. Nobody’s perfect so take ownership of your mistakes. Mistakes are made by everyone (your boss too!) but they can be learnt from, so own up to it when things go pear-shaped. This way, your boss can see you’re honest and can help you rectify the mistake. No one likes making errors, but it’s how you respond that will stand out to your boss. Similarly, own up to all aspects of your role. If you don’t think you’ll be able to hit the deadline of your project, tell your boss why. Be honest about the reason and don’t make excuses or pass the blame. At the end of the day, your boss is there to support you. So, support them by respecting them enough to be honest. 5. Never Stop Learning Tech never stands still and neither should you. Been thinking about learning a new programming language? Then go for it! Take the initiative and do some leaning in your spare time. Some companies will even give you time during work hours to work on your own projects so make sure you are constantly developing your knowledge. Taking time to hone your skills won’t just make you better in your current role but also adds value to you as a team member and can even help you secure that next promotion and a sweet pay rise! 6. Handle Criticism You might think you’re doing a great job but when is the last time you asked? It’s always good to ask for feedback from your manager and even better to implement it. Afterall, there is nothing more frustrating than someone asking for advice and then not implementing it. Use your one to ones or appraisals (or even an informal chat at the watercooler) to make sure you’re on track: What could you be doing better? How can you improve? How could you support them better? Is there something you should stop doing? Communication goes both ways so if you have any questions or grievances you should be able to talk about these openly with your manager. Equally give them constructive feedback if you think they could do better in certain areas. Being aware of how we affect other people is often the first step towards making a positive change in the way we act or communicate so having a two-way dialogue will only strengthen your rapport. 7. It’s All About Attitude Gossiping, pulling other people’s morale down or whinging will get you noticed for all the wrong reasons. When a problem surfaces, seek ways to solve the problem instead of complaining about it. Everyone appreciates a colleague with a positive attitude. But be sincere about it. While you may not be planning to work at the same company forever, show you care about your team’s and your company’s success in the long term and figure out how you can align your career goals with those of the company.
This is a guest blog by Umbrella Company Parasol. In March, with the UK on the brink of lockdown and the economic fallout of Coronavirus beginning to show, the government made the decision to defer the introduction of changes to the off-payroll working rules by one year. It was a move that was roundly welcomed by recruitment agencies and the businesses that benefit from the flexibility and skills provided by contractors. Many felt that burdening these parties with the responsibility for assessing IR35 status at a time when businesses were fighting to keep their doors open would have been unwise. The government clearly agreed, and so IR35 reform will not be introduced in the private sector until 6 April 2021, at which point medium and large businesses will begin administering the rules. From this date, responsibilities for end hirers and recruitment agencies will change. Where an assignment is deemed 'inside' and the recruitment agency is responsible for making the payment to the contractor's personal service company, they will become the ‘deemed employer’ and become responsible for making employment tax and NI deductions, before making the net payment to the contractor. Given it’s been over four months since the delay to the off-payroll tax changes was announced, we thought it would be useful to explore what has happened since, how contractors and businesses have reacted and explore some ways recruiters can get ready for next April. Contractor hiring nosedives, but impact of delay difficult to gauge While the news that reform had been deferred offered contractors hope at a desperate time, the devastating impact of Coronavirus means there has been little to celebrate. According to data released by KPMG and staffing association, REC, contractor hiring experienced its worst month in March for 11 years. In the months that have followed, hiring activity across the board has continued to decline as the Coronavirus lockdown saw the need for new staff fall dramatically. However, this unique scenario means it’s difficult to gauge how much of an impact the delay to IR35 reform has had on contractor hiring. In the next few months, and as businesses return to a new normal, we may be better placed to measure what effect the deferral has had on the demand for contractors if any at all. Big businesses reverse contractor bans More obvious is the reversal of contractor bans and blanket IR35 assessments, many of which occurred as a direct result of the deferral. Many companies have made a U-turn and will once again engage independent professionals. This includes the likes of Shell, Aviva, Deutsche Bank and Vodafone, each of whom have reportedly changed their position regarding the reform and have lifted their contractor bans, for the time being at least. While the long-term consequences of these changes, when finally introduced, are uncertain, the fact that many high profile firms engaging thousands of contractors have reassessed their strategy is a welcome development, even if it is only for the short term. What should businesses do now? When taking into account the confusion and concern surrounding the off-payroll changes, the fact they have been pushed back by one year allows businesses extra time to prepare. This can only be a good thing, particularly when you consider the ongoing economic challenges. So the question is, what should businesses do, whether recruitment firms or companies engaging contractors? While there are a number of ways businesses can approach the changes, including learning lessons from 2017’s public sector changes, generally speaking, this is what companies are encouraged to do: Prepare early, don’t wait until the reform lands on 6 April 2021 Don’t panic, avoid contractor bans and blanket assessments Focus on accurate IR35 decisions, given status must be set with ‘reasonable care’ Consider the benefits of engaging contractors deemed inside IR35 through an umbrella company If you'd like more information about IR35 or are looking for your next contracting role check out our contract jobs & connect with our Head of Contracts Jack Cascarino on LinkedIn.
Our head of .NET recruitment Arjun Gillard recently caught up with Principal Engineer at Chip, Guilherme Reis who has a proven track record within the financial industry, B2B, outsourced services, technology, and consultancy. With the theme of helping software developers go from good to great, they discussed Guilherme’s career to date, tips on how to get into software development, how to improve as a developer, how to get noticed by companies and recruiters, as well as answering your questions. Guilherme, what’s your background, and what skills do you think are important for developers to have? I started as a software developer more than ten years ago. I always got this feeling that I liked technology so for me it was the way to go and I started coding when I was 15 years old. And it was a real passion for me to see something building up and then from there I graduated from Uni, I started my own agency and then went on to other agencies as well. I moved to the UK from Brazil three years ago and joined a digital agency focusses on the financial sector as a team leader. The challenge was how to manage expectations for the job and managing people as well. As a software developer you’re always asking yourself these questions around how can I improve myself, how can I move forward in the direction I want to? What are the skills I need to learn for my stack to progress? For me, it was always important to have a goal. And it’s not only about the skills the market is requesting you to have but also the softer skills. I think that the market is huge because we have so many options right now and there are so many roles opening with the market picking up again. One thing I can see is that the market is expecting you to not only have the technical experience but also the softer skills, someone who can communicate and express themselves and can work together in a team. If you can have the tech stack skills and the softer skills, then you’re already so much more ahead of everybody else. I always enjoyed talking and interacting with people, so it was an easy way to start being a leader. I think stakeholders can see if you’re trying to push stuff forward and eventually you become the point of contact for the company. How did you find it coming from a completely different country? Did you face any challenges? I think the language is a blocker and sometimes I don’t know if I am expressing myself the right way. I’m also sometimes nervous about getting the position if my English isn’t 100%. When I was 15, I was learning English through the whole coding experience with the help of YouTube videos. Before I came to the UK, I also tried to improve my English. I can remember my first stand-up in the UK with ten people and I couldn’t understand what they are talking about. That was crazy. It’s different but for me, it was fun at the same time. You’ve got to be open for this type of learning experience. The other side was the gap in technology. I think São Paulo is at the same level in terms of technology but there is no comparison to the experience and depth the UK has. The UK is the leader for the financial sector, and I believe we have so many more startups here than in the US for example. So, there is no way for me to compare the UK with any other country. Artificial Intelligence and deep learning mean you have more opportunities to do cool stuff that will change the way people interact with money and their financial data. So that is the gap that I got to fill in when I joined the UK. Q&A I completed a Bootcamp in C# development after graduating and am currently working at a .NET house, but the software is not .NET. Is there any advice you could give me to get into a .NET role in the future? If you really want a role in .NET you should look for a role in that market. If you want to be able to demonstrate more experience join a few freelance projects. The market doesn’t care solely about past experience unless it’s for a senior role where you’ll have to have a proven track record. As a junior, as soon as you can prove you know how to code in .NET, that’s fine. Create a plan of how you are going to move on and don’t be afraid to jump to another company, that’s how the software engineering market works in order to achieve progression. Also make sure you’re active on LinkedIn, that your profile is up to date and you’re posting and commenting on things that are relevant. Create a portfolio on GitHub and show that you’re active in the community. Make sure you are getting involved in side projects to show you understand the principles when people ask you about them during the interview. You can also post tech tests on your GitHub or Stack Overflow. Doing these things will give you a much higher chance of getting the job you want. How do you get noticed? How do you put yourself out there? Start by finding a really good recruiter you feel comfortable and confident with and get their take on the market. Use your initiative as well when you have an interview with a certain company. Do your research and map out the company and connect with the individuals who are going to be interviewing you and drop them a little message saying “I’m really looking forward to and can’t wait to discuss X, Y, Z with you.” You’ll set yourself apart from the other candidates who just show up to the interview. After the interview send an email to the people you met and thank them for their time. Don’t forget to give your recruiter feedback as well as they’re in your corner. How do you progress your career? Don’t get comfortable! Sometimes you see yourself doing the same stuff every day. If you feel like you’re not learning anything new, you’re not moving forward and there isn’t anything coming up that is going to change that, you’ve got to move on. When you value yourself and know you have the potential to learn and to grow more, you have to leave where you are now at some point to jump to another stack. You can also look at online courses or freelance projects to achieve this but I truly believe the best way to learn more is working with this in a hands-on environment. Sometimes I applied for roles when I wasn’t 100% sure about the technology. If for example, you want to improve your current company’s tech stack just use your own initiative and do some work on it in your own time and show them what you’ve done, why you’ve done it and ask them about their thoughts. This shows that you are going the extra mile. You should feel proud of what you’re doing and take ownership as well. What traits set great developers apart? There’s not really one single trait that makes the difference between a good and a great developer, it’s more of a combination. Proactivity is definitely important as is having the technical knowledge and knowing what great architecture should look like. At the same time, you also need the soft skills to be able to express yourself. Being able to break down technical jargon into easier language for people who are non-technical to understand is important. Get everything you need to know wrapped up in 13 handy tips to make your LinkedIn profile shine and get yourself noticed! Some recruiters have said that I need to settle for a lower salary if I haven’t had a UK job before. Is that true? It depends entirely on the organisation. Some clients would offer less of a salary if you haven’t had a job in the UK previously but on the other hand, there are companies that love candidates from Easters Europe, for example, because they have very good universities out there for computer science and they will pay above market rate. You need to get yourself out there to as many companies as possible but if you find you’re struggling to find a position then it might be worth being more flexible with your salary expectations, at least for the interim. You can come in and after your probation period of 3-6 months show what value you have delivered for the company and ask for your remuneration to be improved. If you're looking for a new role in the current market you really need to make yourself stand out. There will be people who have been made redundant or on furlough who have had to take salary cuts to ensure that their business keeps going so utilise the tips we’ve given here to stand out. If you’re interviewing and not getting positions, ask why. Ask for proper feedback and find out what you fell short on, not just that another candidate was stronger. Do companies look unfavourably on candidates who have worked at one tech company for a long time in comparison to candidates who have worked at a few? Some companies will look at the time you spent with at each company, but many don’t. You have your own reasons for why you left that place be it culture, progression or another reason. Some companies look for longevity (2, 3, 5 years+) but newer companies and startups don’t care as much. To give you a better idea of the industry trend, the average tenure within .NET is 1.3 years. What do you think about meetings? Are they a waste of time for developers? Sometimes the number of meetings can feel overwhelming. While you might be expected to attend some meetings, too many meetings are not helpful for developers because it breaks their concentration and productivity. I am struggling to get interviews that offer visa sponsorship. What should I do? It can be difficult to get a job in the UK if you require a visa. A good place to start is to take a look at these companies that offer sponsorship. If you can prove that you are very good, getting sponsorship can be easier. Another way to go about it is to approach the companies, show that you’re a strong candidate and offer to work for them remotely as a contractor. This would involve opening your own company in the country you live in and invoicing the UK company for your work. After you’ve showcased your work, you’re more likely to get sponsorship through the company you have been working with. Do years of experience really matter? After you’ve got two years of experience it doesn’t matter at all. You don’t need to wait till you have five or six years’ of experience to start applying to senior positions as long as you have the experience and can talk on the same level as the person who is interviewing you. Make sure you are confident in your tech stack and highlight this technology throughout your CV. Do you have any more questions? Connect with us on LinkedIn and start a conversation! Arjun Gillard Guilherme Reis