Friday, 31 December 2010

Review of the year. Thoughts on 2011...

There are a few contenders for the big news stories of 2010.  The two obvious ones, of course, are the re-emergence of the Mighty Leeds United and the emphatic sporting victories over our friends from Australia in the cricket and the rugby.

However, away from the sporting triumphs and disasters (the less said about the football world cup the better) it has been a very interesting year professionally which I have attempted to concisely summarise below along with my thoughts on 2011.  

2010 overall

After a bleak 2009 this year has seen all our key markets here at Appointments-uk show signs of recovery. In particular, our Fraud Investigation Team had an outstanding year!  Maybe in 2011 one of you chaps may actually find the time to make that often promised blog post??!  However, I fear there is more chance of Ricky Ponting being voted the best captain in Australian cricket history....

Computer Forensics & Electronic Disclosure

In my personal specialisms of Computer Forensics (CF) and Electronic Discovery (ED) recruitment has really picked up during the second half of the year.  The number of roles available – especially at a senior level – have increased but the difficulty has been persuading the very best talent in the market to make a move from stable organisations at this time when people are rightly uncertain about moving jobs.  This has meant that in the last quarter of 2010 a number of positions – especially at Manager to Director level  - have remained unfilled.

A real positive has been the increased number of appointments at graduate level.   Although the number of applicants still far outstrips the number of positions available, 2010 did see a vast increase in hires compared to 2009 with most of this increased activity coming from Big Four organisations.  Basic starting salaries in this area have slightly increased and now tend to be around the £27k/28k mark in London.  

2011 outlook

The outlook for ED is optimistic. Salaries have continued to increase for experienced people and the opportunities for major salary rises and rapid career progression in this area remain outstanding for talented professionals.  

I don’t think the future for CF is anywhere near as positive.  I see issues for pure CF people in the next year or so as salaries in this area haven’t increased to anywhere near the same level as ED.  This can make senior CF roles hard to fill as predominantly ED orientated potential jobseekers won’t take the pay cut needed to move into a pure CF role.

I also think there are growing difficulties around career opportunities in pure CF.  A number of people have spoken to me this year about hitting a career ceiling when at Manager level earning about £60k or so as there really is nowhere else to go (except for the few who progress to Director positions).  This has meant professionals in this area have attempted to broaden their portfolio of skills to include ED, wider information security skills or other disciplines just to open up career opportunities.

The other concern for CF (here in the UK) in 2011 is the continuing effect of the Public Sector cuts.  This has already had a direct effect on our company as all but two of our CF contractors in the Public Sector had their contracts curtailed during the last quarter of 2010.

It seems clear that recruitment in Law Enforcement is certainly not going to pick up but will there be job losses in this area (in addition to the closure of the FSS)?  Also, how is this change in the landscape going to affect the outsourcing companies?  With chargeable rates reducing as budgets are squeezed and the successful awarding of contracts apparently being increasingly based on ever lower charges does this mean that forensics professionals in the area, even if they keep their jobs, are unlikely to see their pay increase?  This is going to be tricky as some of the practitioners in this area outside London with over five years experience are still earning less than a new graduate in London.

How this is going to play out in 2011 is unclear right now but the future is certainly uncertain in this area.

On a positive note, 2010 has seen an increase in Companies developing their internal CF Teams.  Although predominantly in banking and finance, organisations in areas as diverse as pharmaceuticals and internet gaming have recruited CF experts this year and I would suggest this is likely to continue in 2011.

The thoughts above are just my opinions based on my experience: do you agree?


I thought some readers could be interested in the specific pressures facing recruiters in 2011.

Once more, 2010 has been another year when the reputation of recruiters has continued to slide.  On the positive side, I think 2011 has the potential to be a time where we will see many more recruiters go out of business.  This is no bad thing, of course, as it suggests that those who remain have managed to adapt to the new reality.  The old days of recruiters chatting to you on the phone for five minutes before spraying your CV to a number of organisations on a speculative basis have gone – thank goodness – and although some recruiters who work like this are hanging on it cannot last.

The key for successful recruitment in 2011 to my mind has to be successfully utilising social recruiting strategies and this whole area is progressing incredibly quickly.   Why should you take time out to look at a variety of different media to find a job that could be suitable?  Our job as recruiters is increasingly to bring the relevant content to you where you want to see it.

One of the bloggers who is really up to speed in this area and who has some very interesting views on this subject is Bill Boorman who gives his thoughts on 2011 in the following post:

This unstoppable growth of social recruitment does pose some real challenges for recruiters.  In his post above, Bill talks about changes at LinkedIn which I think is going to be the major challenge for 2011:

‘With the launch of Linked In referral engine later this year, the alpha launch of the new company pages, the delivery of matched jobs to profiles and other initiatives that the boffins in the Linked In labs will be developing over the coming year will make this channel a real threat to third-party recruiters eroding some market share, as sourcing candidates gets much easier and the prospect of direct sourcing and applying becomes much more attractive, fuelled by a reduced cost of hire. As new Linked In applications prove their worth, they will move to the paid for options and by the end of next year the paid for options may well become a necessity rather than a luxury.  How long do you think it will be before the 2nd degree search loopholes (via Bing) get closed, and names and contacts disappear completely unless you pay?’

Of course this is positive for the jobseeker as it will stop you being bothered so much on LinkedIn by annoying recruiters!  Who knows, it may even eventually stop your favourite LinkedIn discussion groups being ruined by recruiters posting irrelevant jobs.

Finally, at the end of this marathon blog, I would just like to wish you all a very happy, successful and peaceful New Year. 

Friday, 24 December 2010

New article

Excting news - well, that is assuming you aren't a fan of cutting-edge, incisive and ground-breaking recruitment articles!  If you are then good luck in your search..... If not, you can now read my latest article (offering advice to computer forensics students on how to secure a work placement) which has been published at Forensic Focus: (other articles I have written can be found here:

As you may know, I spend a lot of time speaking with computer forensics students at various Universities and I hope this article will prove useful in bringing together a lot of the advice out there for this specific discipline.  As usual, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this article (or anything I have written in my blog).

If you are travelling somewhere for Christmas today have a safe journey!

I once said something similar to my rather sarcastic friend 'Glum' who looked me in the eyes for a few seconds before slowly replying:  'No David, I am going to drive fast, take chances and set records'.  He isn't called Glum for nothing!

Finally, thank you very much to everyone who has taken the time to read this blog and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The real cost of recruitment

At 1.30am this morning I was at the poker table as my pal JP won a rare, monster pot, made even sweeter as he had bluffed the usually unbluffable 'Bingo' Bill and 'Joe 90'.  What is it about poker players and nicknames?  Anyway, the table banter was about how some people hate their jobs about as much as Vince Cable must do today!  This subject always makes me think of my cousin.

My cousin works for Google in California.  Unsurprisingly, he loves the work and the people but the thing that he talks about the most is that once Google have hired you they make you feel incredibly special and wanted.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently announced that all employees would get a 10% pay rise next year along with $1,000 holiday bonuses.  Along with other pay incentives announced I imagine that this helps keep people feeling wanted

I thought of this after my meeting yesterday with a senior computer forensics professional who is looking to make a move.  This person loves the work and the people at his company but wasn't at all impressed with the 1% pay rise that was offered after months of hard negotiating to justify any increase.  He appreciates times are tough but was able to clearly demonstrate that he is underpaid for the work he does.  However,  in the end, this whole process made him feel completely unloved which is why he wanted to meet with me.

From here, it is pretty plain to see how events will unfold.  With the help of his favourite recruiter (not that he needs one in reality) he will be offered a new job in the New Year for a small pay increase - the one he wanted from his current employer.  His old company will then:

  • unsuccessfully attempt to counter-offer the person with a higher salary than he originally wanted;
  • recruit someone else to replace him at a higher salary than the current employee;
  • incur a recruitment fee;
  • waste maybe 20+ valuable hours interviewing unsuitable candidates;
  • suffer a few months of reduced productivity whilst the new person gets up to speed;
  • risk a drop in morale as the current Team react to losing a good person;
  • potentially develop a negative perception for staff turnover in the tight CF market.

When looked at like this it is clearly madness.   Isn't it?

The reality - in my experience - is that this happens all the time.  In fact, the deal I was discussing in my last blog post actually collapsed over a tiny salary difference.  This company had been looking to fill that role for seven months and are now back to square one.

I appreciate budgets are tough but surely sometimes the bigger picture is what is really important?

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

How much does salary really matter?

I woke up in Ipswich marina this morning.

Not literally in the water of course - it was a big night but not that big - but in the beautiful Salthouse Harbour Hotel (pictured - with a major headache.  Not just the headache from the party the night before celebrating the brief return of my pal Frosty - currently exiled in Hong Kong - but also pondering how to save a deal I am currently involved in which is falling down on salary.

This deal has made me focus on just how important basic salary really is to people.  It sounds obvious of course but, in reality, just how important is basic salary to you at this stage of your career?

In the specific case I am working on the Computer Forensics professional wants a higher - but not unreasonable - salary (and has been clear about this all along) whilst the employer feels that a lower salary with extensive training and other benefits is sufficient.  This balance is made even more tricky in an area such as computer forensics as, well, let's just say that not all employers are as keen to offer outstanding training and so it is a massive incentive to join a company with a genuine commitment to training and personal development.

On reflection, I think the real issue here is all about understanding what is important to people at different stages of their careers.  Generally, people at the early stages of their career tend to be driven by base salary as this is key for renting/buying houses and instant quality of life whereas in the later stages of a career areas such as pension, shares, and health insurance become more important.

On the subject of salaries, in previous blogs I have talked of my frustration at jobseekers with unrealistic salary expectations.  This week I spoke to one very strong Computer Forensics professional currently working in Law Enforcement, based north of Birmingham and earning £35/40k or so.  When I asked what he would need to earn to work in Central London his reply was £60k as he would need to rent a flat during the week and had other expenses to cover.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry but astoundingly (to me anyway) these wildly unrealistic salary expectations are more common than you may think.  What this chap didn't appreciate is that there are numerous people at his level of experience within commutable distance of London who would take the role for £40k.  Why would any employer pay an extra £25k just because he would have to move to take the job?

In my experience people tend not to get a salary increase higher than 20% of their current basic salary when they change jobs (although, of course, there are exceptions).  Not everyone agrees with this basic view and some argue that what you are currently earning is absolutely irrelevant as you should turn each interview into a discussion about how much money you can make/save an organisation and negotiate salary from there.

I like the theory but then again I think that world peace is a great idea too.  My advice is always to keep the 20% figure in mind!

Finally, I did laugh at this article ( describing Ed Milliband's new spin doctor as a cross between Alastair Campbell, Hunter S Thompson and Rasputin - just imagine that!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Where are jobs advertised?

On one of the forums this week a poster asked where Computer Forensics jobs are advertised.  Really, this should be an easy question to answer but, in reality, for all our specialist markets (including computer forensics) the answer isn't quite so simple. 

Unlike some recruiters who advertise the same/similar jobs endlessly (yawn) as a company we hardly ever advertise our open roles for a number of reasons:

1, Apathy

We aint hot on riting and can't be bothered as we would rather be in a bar with a lager from 11.30 am.   This is, of course, just a rather tame little joke (regular readers will know that most of my attempts at humour tend to be as amusing as a Liberal Democrat MP defending their current position on any given issue).

So, moving swiftly on to the serious points:

1, Advertising is hit and miss

Our Consultants and Researchers have worked in our sectors for a number of years and have large networks.  This means that we tend to know who works where and based on our market knowledge we can then approach suitable people directly for specific roles.  Advertising jobs is a terribly ineffective way of attracting the right applicants for all but the very lowest-level positions - it really is posting an advert and then keeping fingers-crossed for the right response!

The following example illustrates this point.  When we first recruited forensics specialists for the Met Police a few years ago they had previously advertised their jobs in the Evening Standard.  They then interviewed something like 25 people who all proved unsuitable.  Excluding the cost of placing the advert, the cost of four people interviewing the unsuccessful candidates was a tremendous waste of time and money.

There is also the issue of where to advertise online in niche areas as there are just so many different sites.

Out of the generalist boards we use Jobsite for some of our roles and they certainly give us the best response plus, in my experience, they are a pleasure to deal with every time.  Also, as sponsors of Portsmouth FC they are kindly entertaining me in their box for the visit of the Mighty Leeds United in January (thanks, Alex)!

Other sites produce a terrible response and are a real pain to deal with on a daily basis.  Seriously, dinner with Gillian McKeith starts to look appealing compared to working with these guys!  I forget which ones I have vowed never to use again but the thread below about Monster has taken on legendary status in our office (the 'hilarity' begins at the fourth response when the poster is rumbled):

2, Finding the very best people for the job

People who apply for jobs tend to be unhappy for some reason - sometimes due to less than perfect performance (although, of course, not always) whereas our Clients tend to want to employ people who are performing to an exceptional level.  In his fantasic training courses, the outstanding and inspirational recruitment trainer Roy Ripper (his real name, honestly: described this as 'finding the best people in the market rather than on the market'.

As recruiters the very essence of our existence is that we are supposed to find the very best people for any role.  If we can't go beyond sifting advert response then employers may just as well advertise the roles themselves.

3, Time

Although I constantly read from disillusioned jobseekers (presumably) that recruiters advertise jobs just to harvest CV's for most of us that is far from the case.  Believe me when I say that I really don't want to waste lots of time filtering through unsuitable responses and providing the necessary feedback.

However, back to the question of Computer Forensics jobs.  When we do advertise these roles in addition to our website it is either on Forensic Focus or Linkedin (where the number of job postings are rapidly increasing). I would also advise keeping an eye on the better generalist boards such as CWjobs or Jobsite as occasionally jobs are posted there that you won't find anywhere else.  You can also sometimes find gems on the specialist financial sites or legal-orientated boards like the excellent:

My advice is to always employ a balanced strategy.  Check the job boards above, make enquiries through your own network and, most importantly of course, speak to your favourite specialist recruiter!  For those of you who try to avoid recruiters and raised your eyebrows at that last line I suggest you think of it in the following way.   Even if you choose not to be represented by a recruiter for specific vacancies why not take advantage of the free market intelligence a recruiter can provide in the form of trends, salary advice etc.  In this market what is there to lose?

Finally, good luck the Mighty Leeds United tomorrow as they once more demonstrate their unique brand of 'total football' to the people of Burnley!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Oh Dear Ricky...

A very quick post to say how much I enjoyed lunch with my two Australian colleagues today but they didn't seem quite as confident as before that they would regain The Ashes...After a lifetime of watching the English batting attack collapse on a regular basis I have been sitting up through the night unable to quite believe what I have been watching - long may it continue!

Friday, 3 December 2010


Have you ever had a really bad experience with a recruiter?  

Hmmm, actually that is probably a rhetorical question and I can almost hear every single person reading this blog (both of you) either shouting ‘yes’ or else laughing hysterically.   Well, if you have, here is a great way to gain revenge and make any recruiter look really stupid.   It goes something like this:

1, Speak in-depth to recruiter (let’s call this recruiter, say, David Sullivan) about your aspirations and hopes;

2, Let David talk to you about a specific computer forensics role at one of his major Clients in great detail and appear excited about the opportunity;

3, As requested by David (as he is professional in his work), send him an email stating that you are happy for him to represent you on this specific opportunity;

4, But – and this is the beauty of this cunning plan to be carried out with all the transparency of a FIFA Executive - before you give David permission to make an approach you contact the company directly and send them your CV!

5, Sit back and enjoy the hilarious consequences as the company call David saying they have already received the CV directly and in future could he please act professionally and brief candidates fully about any opportunity.

Oh, the joys of recruitment...

Still, this isn't quite as incredible as the scenes at FIFA HQ in Zurich yesterday.  My friend Sausage (because he looks like a sausage, obviously) summed it up for me like this: "How can a professional bid like the one produced by England go out in the first round: even Audley Harrison made it to the third".  He has a point....

Have a good one!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Christmas thoughts

On a freezing, snowy day here in Essex my thoughts have wandered to where I would rather be and, the answer, of course, is in fabulous Las Vegas surrounded by beautiful people - well, my buddys JP and Angus anyway - sipping a cold drink at the awesome Voodoo Lounge (pictured) before heading to the Bellagio for a spot of poker.

If not Vegas then maybe in one of the bars lining Las Ramblas in Barcelona watching the world go by....Instead, on Saturday afternoon I found myself on the outskirts of Reading watching the Mighty Leeds United playing out the most tedious 0-0 draw in arctic conditions - not quite living the dream!

I know it is a cliche but here in England it is odd how everything stops when there is bad weather.  All three interviews I had scheduled for today have been cancelled which is frustrating as we are rapidly approaching that time of year when recruitment slows right down (in my sectors) for a wide variety of reasons.  Incidentally, last year I wrote a short article on when is the best time to look for a new job which can be found here:

I am particularly irritated by these cancellations today as ideally I would like these deals finalised before the holidays begin as it really is a battle to schedule meetings in December.  I am never quite sure why this is the case: is it really because people mentally switch off and move into party mode? 

In recruitment there is a saying that 'time kills deals' due to the two sides courting each other cooling off or other complicating factors arising - for example, here in the UK a number of people I know who were offered Computer Forensic roles in the Public Sector earlier this year had these posts withdrawn following the Public Sector cuts introduced in George Osborne's budget.  A more extreme example is my Venture Capitalist friend who lost all his prospective deals immediately after the terrible events of 11 September 2001.

The Christmas period can also have some very odd effects on jobseekers.  I recall one Fraud Investigator who was at final interview stage for a Big Four Company and was incredibly excited about the opportunity before Christmas.   After spending the holiday with her rather dull husband (seriously, half an hour with this guy makes a Nick Clegg speech look strangely exciting) she finally decided to divorce and so cancelled all her plans to change jobs.

Finally, a note of humour (well, arguably - it made me chuckle anyway) on this miserable evening.  Did you hear the joke about what Audley Harrison and Michael Jackson had in common?  They both wore a glove for no apparent reason....

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Fun in Glasgow

I have been working in Scotland for most of this week and the travelling between meetings has given me a chance to catch up with some reading.  I am currently half way through the excellent second volume of the diaries of Chris Mullin: ‘Decline and Fall: Diaries 2005-2010’.  If, like me, you have a fascination with UK politics and are interested in reading the ruefully honest thoughts of that rare creature – an independent-minded MP whose career was not as important as his politics – I highly recommend it (and the first volume: A View From The Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin).

Whilst in Scotland, I had a lot of fun speaking to the students on the Computer Forensics and E-Discovery degree at the University of Glasgow.  The Course Leader, Brad Glisson, was impressive as was the quality of the students who appeared to be very bright and enthusiastic.  Maybe the habitual moaners on some of the forums who criticise the quality of current undergraduates could break away from tedious stereotyping and learn a little about the reality by spending some time in Glasgow with this bunch of students? 

One question that came up during my talk was whether or not it was worthwhile for students to gain an advantage by taking extra certifications.  Lee Whitfield, founder of:, in one of his excellent articles (, talks about this point: 

“The problem is making yourself more appealing to a potential employer.  My best advice is to get some training. Finish your degree but don’t just stop there.  Find a way to pay for an EnCase passport and attend their courses. If you do that it means that you know how to use the software and can go straight in to a job and start working right away without the company having to spend money training you. Anything you can do to help a potential employer save money will be in your favour and, if you can do the work you already have won half the battle.”

It is rare I disagree with Lee as I think he offers outstanding advice.  However, my view is that if you are studying for a Bsc or Msc at a decent University there is absolutely no point taking the extra certifications.  To my mind, it is just wasting money and for most students in the real world already in debt it won’t make enough of a difference to justify the expense.  On saying that, if you can afford to do so it won't do any harm.   

I certainly do agree entirely with Lee's next piece of advice:

“I would even suggest going to a local forensic company or police force and asking if you can volunteer your time there for free while you finish university. If you offer to work for free I don’t know many people that would turn you down and it would give you some much needed experience. Also, if you prove yourself to be good at the job they’ll be more likely to hire you once your degree is over”. 

If the organisation doesn’t seem too keen for you to spend time with them – they often try to tell you that you can’t spend time with them for confidentiality/security reasons – then offer to make the tea, do the filing or even wash the cars!  Although you should never lie on your CV (the consequences are too severe and you will get caught) you can certainly exaggerate your experience and half a day at a forensics company can legitimately be added as work experience.  This will certainly give a new graduate an edge over others for no financial outlay and will increase your chances of being interviewed.  At the interview, you can then use the experience in a light-hearted way and show your human, fun side – as I have said in numerous articles, it will help make the interviewer like you as a person which is the whole point!

As always, I would be interested in knowing whether or not you agree.  

Finally, as someone with a broken boiler and no heating/hot water for the coldest weekend of the year I will leave you with the following which still made me smile earlier today.  In his note of commiseration to Valerie Profumo after the downfall of her husband, Noel Coward wrote: ‘Do remember that nothing ever matters quite as much as one thinks it does.’  Quite!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Reality of the Big Four

The Big Four firms have recruited extensively (here in the UK) within the Computer Forensics/eDiscovery area over the last few months, especially at new graduate level.  Undoubtedly, both the quality of work and opportunities for progression are excellent at these companies for the right people.  However, just in the last week I have been approached by a number of recent graduates who joined a Big Four organisation in 2010 and have already realised that the work isn't for them and they are now looking for a new opportunity in a different forensics enviroment.

Following on from this, I thought it could be useful to readers of this blog to see the piece below about working for a Big Four organisation which was submitted to me by a very strong graduate who spent some time in a Big Four environment before moving to Law Enforcement this summer:

"I enjoyed my time working in computer forensics at a 'Big Four' accountancy firm. The team was great and the people that I worked with were very intelligent, capable individuals from various backgrounds. For the graduate positions no experience or a forensic qualification was required, and in some cases they took those without computer science-related degrees - indeed, the selection process was much more about general aptitude and attitude than specific technical or industry knowledge.

One of the major benefits was the opportunity to visit different clients and work on a wide variety of projects, and I took part in several high-profile national and international assignments for both public and private sector clients. However, for those expecting to be home every night at a reasonable hour, or indeed home during week-nights for months at a time, then this type of role is not for you. Flexibility is by far the largest commitment of the job, with a requirement to be literally anywhere for an unspecified period of time with not a lot of notice, which is to be expected with the spontaneous nature of corporate investigations. This said, the uncertainty can sometimes be exciting, with the pressure to 'hit the ground running' and get on with the job when you get there - and the flights and hotels were always nice!

eDiscovery is the corporate flavour of computer forensics practised by the Big Four firms. It is battery-farm forensics, sucking terabytes of data from a firm's servers and/or a multitude of PCs, getting the e-mails/Word documents/Excel spreadsheets out, and pumping them into a review environment for trainee lawyers or paralegals to run keyword searches over. At a graduate level expect to be working in a team performing one of these roles on one project for long periods of time. Data Analytics is the other major area of the corporate forensic technology world, which at a graduate level is essentially running SQL queries over large sets of structured data - usually financial. As time progresses it gets a bit more interesting, and with some good in-house training you will be able to reconcile financial systems to check for fraudulent activity.

I have recently moved from a Big Four firm to the law enforcement world purely to embark on a different type of work. Whilst I enjoyed the pressure and the variety of projects at the firm, my individual responsibility in these projects was very small, and understandably so due to the volume of data captured. Although I am now only dealing with the examination of one computer, not ten, I am responsible for this from acquisition, to report, and to court if necessary, and this is very fulfilling."

If you have experience working for a Big Four firm in this sector I would be very interested to know whether you agree with these thoughts?

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Is an IT degree any use in 2010?

I am speaking to the Computer Forensic undergraduates at Glasgow University next week and generally spend a lot of time at Universities outlining the career opportunities available to students.  Even from my brief snapshot of an annual visit I have reached the view – which is, I think, pretty accepted in the uk computer forensics community - that the quality of computer forensics courses varies tremendously from excellent to pretty pointless (in terms of content rather than other skills gained).

There is often debate on the forums about whether a potential computer forensics practitioner benefits more from a general IT degree or a specific one in forensics.  However, could it be that this argument is too short-sighted?

Maybe the question we should be asking is whether an IT based degree is actually of any use?  The CIO panel at certainly didn’t think so in the following article published this week:

I spoke to one very talented, experienced computer forensics analyst to ask his opinion on the article:

“As someone who dropped out of University after becoming disillusioned by what the course was offering - I have to agree with this article.

I was studying Electronics at University and I was awarded a scholarship from a major organisation where I spent two summers working at the forefront of the electronics industry.  I would say that hardly any of my university course was relevant to what I experienced in industry.  The course was outdated, expanding on basic principles that I had learnt at A’ level and far behind where the electronics industry was heading.

Of my peers who did graduate, a significant number have returned to further their studies in other areas as they were unable to find work in the electronics industry for one reason or another.  In my biased opinion, experience counts for far more than any qualification.”

I tend to agree: do you?

Sunday, 14 November 2010

What day is it?

We all have professional pride – even recruiters - and nobody wants to be the Audley Harrison of their profession.  Luckily, in recruitment when we get it wrong nobody dies and we aren’t humiliated in front of thousands of people to the same level as poor old Audley last night.  However, I was reminded of my most embarrassing recruitment error just this weekend.

It was just before midnight on Friday night and I was happily playing poker at the excellent new Fox Poker Club on Shaftesbury Avenue ( – a poker club with windows, whatever next – when a burly figure approached, moved his head very close to mine and whispered ominously: “Oy, David – what day is it you muppet’. 

Oh dear, it was Steve.  Now, I enjoy bumping into Steve as much as people look forward to major surgery.  

Steve is an outstanding Fraud Investigator who was based in Germany a few years ago.  We had been working together on securing him a role with a major Consultancy based in London but arranging the final meeting had been a complete nightmare as his diary was incredibly full and the hiring MD he had to meet was always out of the country.  Finally, a meeting was arranged for a Thursday and all was set for the conclusion of a deal that had been simmering for around four months.  

There was just one slight problem as I had got a little confused with dates and had booked Steve’s flights two days early when the MD wasn’t around and Steve couldn’t stay.  The deal collapsed, the champagne was never drunk and by the time I had finished apologising and refunded all travel costs and compensated Steve for his time nobody was happy - I have always treble checked interview times/dates since!  

This is probably my worst recruitment mistake but it is not as bad as the catastrophic recruiter error that is unforgivable – sending a CV to the company where somebody currently works.  I think you would be surprised just how often this happens, especially with some of the contingency recruiters out there who just scatter-gun CV’s to as many organisations as possible on a speculative basis in the hope that there could be interest. These recruiters often aren’t even aware that one company can be a subsidiary or otherwise related to another which is one of the reasons it is vital for any jobseeker to emphasise to recruiters that they can only approach organisations with written permission.  

Gaining written permission and keeping thorough notes on every call/email made during the recruitment process also helps prevent the loss of control often experienced by jobseekers.  When dealing with recruiters, I am astonished when quite senior people are actually unaware whether an organisation has been approached on their behalf.  I would always advise a jobseeker to ask a recruiter about their relationship with an organisation before they give the recruiter permission to contact a company on their behalf - try the following questions:

·        -  How long have you worked with the organisation?
·        -  How many people have you placed there in the last 12 months?
·        -  Do you work with HR or the Hiring Manager?
·        - Why should you represent me with this organisation?

Recruiters are supposed to facilitate the hiring process and if you don’t have confidence that you are going to be represented professionally then walk away.... 

What a day on Saturday!  The Mighty Leeds United continue their meteoric rise crashing into the play-off spots and the Australians thumped at Twickenham!  What next: surely not victory in The Ashes?

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Not Welcome!

I have sailed for most of my life.  Through this wonderful sport I have literally travelled around the world to compete at events and met some of my very best friends from all walks of life and of all ages.  

Unfortunately, sailing still has an elitist reputation in some quarters.  Those who still hold this view should visit my home club – The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club – to see just how far from the truth this is (in fact, let me know when you are at either of the club houses in Cowes or Burnham-on-Crouch and if I am free I will happily buy you a drink or four and introduce you to some of my pals).  Every weekend sees parents giving up their time to encourage the thriving youth fleets and although there are some very wealthy members (funnily enough, none in recruitment) everyone mixes in a very casual atmosphere on the balcony on a summers evening – it is inclusive and all are welcome.  I like this attitude and actively refuse to attend any sailing event at a snotty club with ‘members only’ on the door.  

I mention this inclusiveness as very rarely for me I am in ‘Billy's Bar’ at Elland Road – home of the Mighty Leeds United (Billy’s Bar is in memory of the late, great Billy Bremner, sadly missed in both Leeds and Scotland)  as they prepare to destroy Hull City this evening – and  yet would rather be elsewhere. I adore being in Leeds so it could be a lot worse especially after our recent couple of startling victories.   

However, the point is that I want to be at the F3 conference with a lot of my friends in the computer forensics sector but I am not welcome.  My name isn’t Dave and I’m not getting in – although ironically it is, but I still am not getting in.....(dodgy 90’s music reference – apologies)!

For those of you not in the computer forensics sector, F3 ( ‘exists to provide an open forum for all forensic computing practitioners, to enable them to share their collective knowledge through discussion and training’. I have tremendous respect for the numerous members of the committee whom I have known for years and the organisation no doubt does a great job for the members.  However, F3 have an annual conference which begins today where, as a recruiter, I am not welcome.  I pay to advertise in the brochure but I am not able to attend the conference as I am not a practitioner.  I have tried to argue the case in previous years that I wish to attend as I am a member of the community but I have had no success.

Yes, it is ‘members only’ and sadly I am as welcome as Phil Woolas at the christening of Ed Millibands newborn child.  

My colleagues here tell me to not get so irate about this as it doesn’t matter in the scheme of things and that there is no point in me attending anyway.  I think that misses the point: the reason I attend Infosec every year is that I am able to hear speakers discuss trends/issues and by understanding these points I am more informed and credible when I am discussing the industry with my network.  Ok, forget that worthy reason, I just want to spend a couple of nights in the bar with some of my friends!
As I see it: 
  • I am active on numerous forums where I think I am a part of the community who is able to actually contribute above the tedious recruiter level of purely posting current vacancies;
  • I lecture extensively to the computer forensics students at Universities;
  • I speak at events attended by experienced members of the computer forensics sector and so far, I don’t think there have been any complaints that I am bothering people (well, except for the unfortunate case involving a case of vodka, three packets of wine gums and the Russian gymnasts which we will skip over as that was a simple misunderstanding).     
But still, I am not welcome at the biggest UK computer forensics event of the year. Is this fair?

If you help run a club, community or forum of any description that bars people for no clear, valid reasons please do reconsider.  Some of the snotty ‘members only’ sailing clubs I have shunned in the past are now desperate for new members to ensure their survival but they have woken up to the new world order too late and the future isn’t bright.

Oh, and if you are at the F3 conference and sober enough to read this, do please have a beer for us recruiters stranded at the door....

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Be very afraid....

Today I waited outside a school and stole the dinner money from the cutest, smallest children.  I then committed a number of armed robberies before finishing off the day with a random killing spree.

That is bad enough, but even worse, I am a recruiter!  I know you could accept all of the above and still be seen with me in public but well, when you know what I do for work I quite understand that you will shun me if we ever meet at a party.

I was prompted to write the above as on Forensic Focus yesterday, someone called ‘4rensics’ posted the following about recruiters:

“Dont get me started! Completely useless... but thats a different rant for another day Smile
If I never rang back any of the people I've done jobs for, both forensic and before I joined this I would have been saked a thousand times over... yet when they don't call back, it’s the norm... sounds like a cushy number, get CVs... End! Go home. OK I've started....
Walk away from the keyboard!!!”

Clearly ‘4rensics’ rather tediously falls into the arrogant trap of thinking that others have easy jobs.  However, sadly the basic views of ‘4rensics’ are shared by many jobseekers and due to the number of terrible recruiters around I have to accept these are widely held for valid reasons.   

This is a major problem.   The perception of recruiters isn’t changing – in the fifteen years I have been in recruitment I would say it has got worse.  I think the basic problem is that as recruiters our fees come from Clients which means there is a tendency to neglect jobseekers unless we can clearly see how they are going to make us money.  As I work in niche markets I can spend a lot of time helping people with their CV’s and discussing the market as although this doesn’t earn me money in the short-term over a longer period of time it is invaluable, but generalists aren’t able to do this.  Surely, however, the model has to change so that we can use our industry expertise (especially those of us in niche areas – I think the generalists are doomed) to help people effectively manage their careers over a long period of time?  

As an amusing aside (well, maybe not amusing at all), I did hear one excruciatingly bad story in the computer forensics area about a real cowboy recruiter who made a ‘headhunting’ call to ‘sell’ an Analyst role to the Computer Forensics Legend Professor Tony Sammes.  To get through to him he told people he was a friend and, well, just came across as a complete idiot.  It is a bit like me calling David Cameron and offering him a role managing parking regulations for a local council.

It is increasingly clear that recruiters don’t just provide a patchy service to jobseekers but also to Clients.  In his excellent blog an HR Manager ( compares the slow death of the recruitment industry to the decline of the music industry for a number of reasons but mainly due to arrogance and a reluctance to accept inevitable change.  

On the whole, recruiters still expect to work to a percentage fee structure regardless of the actual work involved and there is usually no follow-up after a person has been recruited.  In the rapidly changing environment in which we work and with the huge growth of social media this just cannot continue.   In particular, I agree with one commenter on the above blog who says that the big organisations and many medium-sized ones are embracing resourcing as part of a wider talent strategy and as a minimum now have the tools and the ability to eliminate all but the very niche recruiters from the process.  As a niche recruiter it really must now be all about how we can genuinely add real value.

Moving on......

Today, I am entertaining at Twickenham as England see off the All Blacks whilst of course keeping an eye on events at Coventry as the Mighty Leeds United bring their unique brand of silky football skills to another stadium of admirers......Have a good one!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Ask the question?

One of the recruitment newsletters I subscribe to is ‘Ask the Headhunter’ which is written by Nick Corcidilos (  This week he discusses whether at interview you should explicitly ask for the job to clearly demonstrate your interest to the hiring manager.  Nick strongly believes that the answer is a resounding yes, essentially because most people aren’t entirely sure they want a job until they have heard much more about the position and company at the interview.  Therefore, at the end of the meeting you should let the interviewer know that you have made up your mind positively about the position.

I am not sure about this advice.  I appreciate that in some sales interviews it is standard for the jobseeker to ask whether the interviewer has any concerns so that they can then presumably overcome all objections whilst still in the interview.  However, can this more aggressive style really be successful in the sectors for which I recruit or will it actually put off hiring managers?   In fact, is it actually aggression at all or just that as we become adults we develop emotions such as embarrassment, pride and self-consciousness which prevent us from asking for what we want?

Maybe in our sector there are other ways of making it clear that you are interested in the position without actually directly asking for the job.  For example, summarising what the company is looking for and how you have demonstrated this during the interview can make it easy for the interviewer to see how you clearly you fit the role – or is this just over-complication?   I would be interested to hear what has/hasn’t worked for you.

As an aside, I received an amusing CV this week from somebody in their late 20’s who felt it was important to record details of their paper round fourteen years ago, including (bizarrely) the name of the newsagent which was, I think, of paramount importance....Mind you, that is not quite as ‘hilarious’ as the person who sent me a CV through the post earlier this year in an envelope filled with confetti to ensure that their application stood out.  On my knees picking up confetti for ten minutes I admired this strategy greatly which is right up there with comedy email addresses –  in 2010 I have actually received job applications from ‘x-ratedstud@’ ,‘beer-monster86@’ and ‘sweatygirl72@’.  Why?!!!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

I  am delighted to say that I spend way too much time in Vegas (if that is possible).  If you haven’t spent time in this amazing City then you may not understand but if you have been there you will know why I am so pleased that we do lots of work with Clients on the US west coast as it gives me a great excuse to base myself in Vegas for extended periods of time.

Last December I was sitting at a Poker game in the Bellagio Hotel at 4am on the morning of the Vegas marathon which also coincided with the National Rodeo Finals and a tattoo convention.   At the table were four hard-core cowboys, a couple of tattoo superstars (I had never realised that these guys are like rock stars constantly being approached for photos/autographs – a bit like recruiters in many ways) and a few of the poker degenerates that you tend to play poker with in Vegas when you really should be asleep.  The free drinks were flowing and the banter was lively (as always) when suddenly all these well-rested, fit marathon runners started to trail past ready for the big race.  One middle-aged Vegas local who had spent most of the night somewhat drunkenly arguing with a man from Dallas that David Grey was a bigger name in world music than Frank Zappa suddenly announced that he was going to lose five stone in weight and run the marathon next year.  Well, this seemed highly unlikely as this man didn’t look as though he was shy at the buffet to say the very least and after a few minutes of laughter the conversation moved on.

I was back in Vegas a few weeks ago and bumped into the same Vegas local and guess what?  Yes, you know what I am going to say....he was about three stone heavier, denied ever having said such a stupid thing and offered me the following words of wisdom which is, I think, a Sinatra quote :"I feel sorry for those who do not drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day” before heading off to the poker table!   He has less chance of running the marathon this year than Gorillaz being asked to headline at Glastonbury again....

I was reminded of this today when I spoke to a Computer Forensics Investigator who we shall call Steve.  We first spoke just over a year ago when he was working on a short-term contract for a public sector organisation and not enjoying it one bit as he was desperate to get into a large Consultancy where felt his Client- Facing skills would really be utilised.  

Unlike our Vegas friend, Steve put together a real plan.  He called Line Managers from maybe fifteen of the organisations he had identified as where he wanted to work and although some of them weren’t helpful initially his persistence paid off and with regular calls/emails he slowly started to build relationships.  In my opinion, this networking is the absolute key to the job search.  Steve called me regularly becoming a real person rather than just a CV and because of that I really wanted to help him and when I was on a long car journey I would often call him just to chat about how things were going.  

Steve accepted a fantastic role at a major Consultancy today.  This role wasn’t advertised  (for all those people who don’t contact a company if there is no job advertised on their web site, trust me here, most roles in this area aren’t actively advertised) and the first step to securing this job was when he was invited to an informal meeting with one of the line managers he had identified a year ago.  Once he got to interview stage, he was able to make it very clear that he had targeted this company a long time ago and with this clear commitment it is no surprise he was offered the role!

I think this short story clearly demonstrates how important it is to differentiate yourself – whatever your level of experience – and take the time to build genuine relationships with people who are able to assist you in your job search.   If not, there is always the easy way to make your millions in fabulous Las Vegas whilst at the same time discussing the big issues of our time such as the relative merits of Frank Zappa and David Grey....

Monday, 25 October 2010

Something for the weekend

My first ever boss was a big fan of weekend work and he was full of wise, detailed advice such as that if you do a good job and work hard that you may get a job with a better company someday.  Mind you, looking back I think we can discount most of his views as this is the guy who felt that making Steve McLaren manager of the England team was a stroke of genius....

I am currently at the research stage of a major Search Assignment and so worked  for most of the weekend that has just gone and actually quite enjoy working at the weekend with the music turned up and no phone ringing or imminent deadlines to hit.  The nature of my business involves a lot of working with US Clients and also talking to genuinely busy people who can’t take calls during the day so I am used to taking/making calls outside traditional working hours.  Mind you, one of my US Clients - who has now moved on - did take it a little far expecting me to regularly participate in conference calls on a Sunday afternoon that could stretch as long as four hours!  However, in the scheme of things, even that wasn’t too bad compared to some of the other things I could have been doing such as:

·        -  Watching a compilation of Nick Clegg speeches  (Charlie Brooker has posted an amusing article about him today:;
·      -   Listening to an entire ‘Slip Knot’ album on repeat;
·        -  Reading Wayne Rooney’s autobiography;
·        -  Watching either of the Sex in the City Films.

Luckily, in the specialist markets in which I recruit most of the people I need to talk with are online at some stage over the weekend so we often converse via email but I still struggle with making phone calls.  When is an acceptable time to call somebody and why do I always feel the need to apologise for calling  at the weekend?  I try to only call people I know at weekends as we then can usually get straight to the point of the call rather than taking extra time to develop some rapport.

Actually, this rapport building is another issue that I spend way too long thinking about and is a common criticism of recruiters who are sometimes perceived as far too bright and bubbly on the phone which sounds fake.   Don’t you just hate that – I know I do?  I get a lot of sales calls and I really dislike it when someone I don’t know asks me how my weekend was or whether I have anything nice planned for the coming weekend.  I have to constantly resist the temptation to go on a twenty minute rant about how awful my weekend was or how I am due to have some horrendous surgical procedure next week.

No work for me this evening though as I am at Elland Road for a night out with some of my friends from Cardiff as we renew our ‘friendly rivalry’ with the welsh club.  For those of you not lucky enough to be at the stadium to watch low quality football in sub-zero temperatures, you will be delighted to know that you can still follow the latest victory for the Mighty Leeds United live on Sky.....

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Keep it interesting

Like you, I have sat at numerous conferences (occasionally even presenting when the organisers are really struggling) and have often been bored to tears by most of the presentations.   At INFOSEC this year, one particular presenter was well dressed, successful (bewilderingly), and quite possibly the first walking, talking, human sedative who just kept plugging his product in a monotone voice for what seemed like hours.  Ok, so I hadn’t paid to listen but it was still 45 minutes of my life that I wasn’t going to get back and if he had droned on for much longer there was a genuine possibility that my life was going to shortly end – well it was either going to be mine or his and from a utilitarian viewpoint I think I almost had justification!

I was reminded of this presentation today when a really outstanding Computer Forensics candidate was unsuccessful at interview due to being, well, just too boring.  As I have said in numerous articles, in my experience recruiting in this sector, the reason most Computer Forensics people fail to be successful at interview is because their personality goes out of the window and they become just like the Infosec presenter – a robot just answering technical questions in a tedious manner.  

I do appreciate that when an interview has a strong technical content it is hard to avoid this but being aware that it can be an issue has to be the first step to countering it along with ensuring you keep smiling ( but not in that weird way employed by most MP’s), and making lots of eye contact.

As some very wise person once said (probably after a few drinks): ‘knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.’

Monday, 18 October 2010

How much do you earn?

Today really has just been one of those days.

Mind you, it is not quite in the same league as when one of my candidates turned up for an eDiscovery Director role in a Homer Simpson tie (yes, you have guessed it no happy ending here) or when another jobseeker was physically sick all over the desk during the interview (my shocked Client sent me an email titled ‘sweetcorn everywhere’ – nice).  Neither of these are as bad as an ex-colleague of mine who told me the story of one of her candidates who during the interview was asked to draw a picture that best described him. He drew a clown with blood pouring from its eyes, ears and nose.   What on earth is that all about?  Would you have employed him (or even have risked travelling to reception with him alone in a lift)?

As a recruiter one of the things we spend a lot of time doing is talking about salary.  Even now, after all these years in recruitment, I still sometimes find it odd when I have just met somebody and within minutes I am asking what they earn.  Imagine meeting a new person for the first time in a bar and after making small talk about the weather you then ask them about their salary and even more remarkably they are happy to tell you!  Actually, if I kept a straight face I wonder what else I could get away with asking (suggestions in the comments section, please)??!

Anyway, the reason we do so is that because however senior you are salary is still always a big deal and if we cannot come to an understanding on this there is little point proceeding.  If your salary expectations are in my view unrealistic then I  - as with most recruiters – will tell you very clearly that we cannot help you and will wish you well in your search for a new job.

In my experience, as a general rule, it is pretty rare to secure a salary increase of more than 20% of your current basic salary.   There are exceptions such as the Computer Forensics Manager we placed in 2008 who went from a basic salary of £64k to £100k but trust me, this sort of salary hike is very much the exception.

In a discipline such as Computer Forensics, one difficulty I experience is that sometimes people currently working in the Public Sector have unrealistic views about what salary they can secure in the Private Sector.  On a number of occasions people earning around the £40k mark have told me they would need £70k to move roles due to pension constraints and other issues.  Whilst I understand their thinking it is also – in my view - wildly unrealistic.   A similar situation I find difficult is when someone is based in, say Scotland, where the CF opportunities are limited, and they are looking to move to London.  They could be earning £35k and need to earn £50k in London to cover their increased living costs.  However, for the employer based in London why would they pay a a basic salary of £50k when they could secure a local person currently earning £35k for £38k? 

So, this is why we talk about salaries so much to ensure there are no misunderstandings.  However, sometimes when somebody is actually in an interview all the discussions we have had previously go out of the window. Why is this: nerves, ego? Whatever the reason, this brings me back to my bad day today when someone I had spoken to maybe ten times and agreed each time that they were looking for a salary of £60k told the interviewer they needed to earn £ unconfined!  End result:

1, Annoyed interviewer. ‘David, we were quite clear we couldn’t pay more than £60k and ‘x’ told us he was looking for a basic of £80k.  Please don’t waste our time with unsuitable people.’  Recruiter apologises and looks unprofessional.
2, Annoyed jobseeker, ‘I took a day off for this interview – I trust you will pay my expenses’.  Recruiter bites tongue and resists inclination to resort to physical violence as we agreed salary expectations so many times then writes it off as a bad job and authorises expenses.
3, Annoyed recruiter who after having apologised to both (1) and (2) resolves to talk about salary expectations even more often and with even more clarity in future!  Recruiter then ponders drinking a bottle of absinthe...

So, when your recruiter annoys you by talking endlessly about salary expectations please do understand why they are doing so and do tell them what you REALLY think to avoid wasting time at a later date.....

Saturday, 16 October 2010

New article

Are you a fan of cutting edge, insightful, thought-provoking recruitment articles?  Nor me but apparently there are some out there!  In the meantime, why not look at my latest article 'How to seduce potential employers - or even your recruiter' which has just been published at Forensic Focus:

A selection of previous articles/interviews from 2005 onwards can be found on our website:

Another great result for the Mighty Leeds United as we swept Middlesbrough aside this evening but I hope this doesn't mean the end for the 'boro manager and Leeds Legend Gordon Strachan as his interviews are pure comedy!  For those of you who don't follow UK football an example of Strachan's 'wit' was last week when he was grilled by irate local media on how he dealt with the pressure at the club where he has won just 13 times in 45 games."Take drugs, and drink, and smoke," was Strachan's reply!  Unfortunately for the manager not everyone saw the funny side....

Friday, 15 October 2010

Don't miss out....

I have just read an interesting thread on the excellent about when graduates should start to apply for jobs.  Although most of my active work is now senior level recruitment I am still surprisingly often asked to source computer forensics / ediscovery  graduates for some of my Clients.  With the large number of computer forensics courses that have started in recent years and the surplus of supply over demand you would think that recruiting graduates is straightforward?  Sadly not.  The standard of course ranges from excellent to very poor and unfortunately the quality of the graduates is variable which means that if graduates are invited to interview just based on their CV  a lot of time can be wasted.

Still, this is great news for me as it means I can still continue to accept invitations to speak at Universities running courses in this area.  I have been speaking at some Universities for over five years and it is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job as the students are almost without exception incredibly passionate about their subject and eager to learn about the opportunities available to them upon graduation.  Also, a trip to campus always takes me back to those carefree University days and often gives me a chance to catch up with old friends/contacts in different parts of the UK...

When reading the Forensic Focus thread today I wasn’t really surprised that some students aren’t being advised early on about when to apply for specific roles.  When I speak at Universities I am usually shocked at just how unaware students are about the actual roles they are likely to take and how they intend to secure these positions.  I do appreciate that it is difficult for University Careers Officers to offer specific advice about these niche career paths but still, surely a student studying Computer Forensics should at least have some idea about the very real differences between working for a High Tech Crime Unit as opposed to Big 4 organisation?  I guess the key is for the students to be proactive about their future career from a very early stage in their University life so they don’t miss out on opportunities – or to ensure their favourite recruiter is invited to campus to speak not just to final year students but the new intake too!

I trust that like me you will all be glued to the TV screen tomorrow evening to watch the Mighty Leeds United take the three points from Middlesbrough.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Too many cooks....

One of the problems with recruitment is that most people have experienced it in some form and that objectively it is incredibly easy – and it is of course, or rather it should be – but this very simplicity causes a large number of people to 'offer' recruitment advice.  The problem is that a lot of this advice although well-intentioned is just incredibly unhelpful to the unsuspecting jobseeker.

I was reminded of this today when on one of the forums where I am active a new graduate was asking for advice about telephone interviewing.  I have probably been involved in over 100 telephone interviews in 2010 (it is a necessary first step for many of our US Clients) so I have sat in on a lot of calls, heard the feedback and so think I have a pretty good feel for what contributes to a successful call.  I certainly have a clear understanding on what makes a bad telephone interview!  Most of the advice on the forum was the standard stuff you would expect about being in the right environment, preparing properly etc but then one senior person (who when discussing his area of expertise is outstanding) suggested asking about the benefits package including healthcare, pensions and transport costs.  Oh dear...

If you are ever asked to take a telephone interview it really isn’t advisable to ask questions related to the colour scheme in the office, the texture of your keyboard, popular bars for a lunchtime beer or the quality of coffee.  Ok, so you can probably get away with any of the above but I would suggest that the cardinal rule is don’t ever ask about the benefits package before you have even met anyone from the company for a face to face interview!!

There is some amazing interview advice available out there - use it carefully!