Category: Blog Post

Mastering the Art of Interview Preparation: “Your Key to Success”

Interview preparation is vital as it allows you to showcase your skills and qualifications effectively, understand the company and role better, anticipate questions and articulate your experiences concisely. By preparing thoroughly, you can boost your confidence, demonstrate your interest and suitability for the position and leave a lasting positive impression on the interviewer, thus significantly impacting the outcome of the interview in your favour.

Research the Company:

Researching a company and its culture before an interview is crucial as it helps you understand the company’s values, goals, work environment and expectations. This knowledge allows you to tailor your responses to align with the company’s culture, demonstrate your interest in the role and ask informed questions during the interview. It also helps you assess whether the company is a good fit for you professionally and culturally.

Understand the Job Description:

Thoroughly understanding the job requirements before an interview is essential as it allows you to showcase how your skills and experiences align with what the position demands. This alignment demonstrates to the interviewer that you possess the necessary qualifications and capabilities to excel in the role. By effectively highlighting this match during the interview, you can strengthen your candidacy, increase your chances of being viewed as a strong fit and ultimately secure the job opportunity.

Practice Common Interview Questions:

Role-playing can be a highly effective technique when preparing for an interview as it allows you to simulate the interview experience and practice answering common questions. By role-playing with a friend, family member, or mentor, you can receive feedback on your responses, work on improving your communication skills and increase your confidence in articulating your experiences and qualifications. This practice helps you refine your answers, identify areas for improvement and better prepare for the actual interview scenario.

Prepare Questions to Ask:

Preparing thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer about the role and the company is crucial as it demonstrates your interest, engagement and preparedness. Thoughtful questions can help you gain deeper insights into the company culture, expectations for the role, potential challenges and opportunities for growth. Asking relevant questions also shows that you are proactive, curious and genuinely interested in the position, which can leave a positive impression on the interviewer and help you make a more informed decision about the job opportunity.

Dress and Grooming:

When selecting interview attire, it’s important to consider the company’s culture and industry. For a corporate or formal environment, opt for a tailored suit or a professional outfit in neutral colours. In a more casual or creative setting, business casual attire like slacks and a button-down shirt or a blouse might be more appropriate. Research the company’s dress code and culture to gauge the expected level of formality. When in doubt, it’s generally better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed for an interview.

Follow-Up Plan:

Sending a thank you email after an interview shows appreciation for the opportunity, reiterates your interest in the position and allows you to express gratitude for the interviewer’s time and insights. It also provides a chance to emphasize key points discussed during the interview, showcase your enthusiasm for the role and demonstrate good manners and professionalism. A well-crafted thank you email can leave a positive lasting impression on the interviewer, setting you apart from other candidates and reinforcing your candidacy for the position.


1. **Research Company and Culture**: Understanding the company and its culture helps tailor your responses and assess if it’s a good fit.

2. **Interview Preparation**: Thorough preparation boosts confidence, showcases skills effectively and leaves a positive impression.

3. **Align Skills with Job Requirements**: Matching your skills with job requirements enhances your candidacy and shows you are a strong fit.

4. **Role-Playing**: Practice with role-play helps simulate the interview experience, refine answers and improve communication skills.

5. **Ask Thoughtful Questions**: Asking relevant questions demonstrates interest, engagement and helps you gain deeper insights.

6. **Appropriate Attire**: Dress according to the company’s culture and industry standards.

7. **Send Thank You Email**: Express gratitude, reiterate interest and reinforce key points discussed during the interview to leave a positive impression.

Further preparation for interviews is crucial as it enhances your chances of success, boosts confidence, showcases your qualifications effectively and sets you apart from other candidates. It is a key step towards securing the job opportunity you desire.

We hope this helps you with your next interview. 

Don’t forget to reach out if you have any questions. 

Can AI help me write a CV ?

SFR has been asked recently, can AI help me write a CV?

So, who better to ask than AI itself? Here is what we learnt.

How can AI help write a cv?

AI can help write a CV by providing templates, suggesting appropriate wording, and offering tips on how to tailor the content to specific job descriptions. Additionally, AI can help by scanning the CV for common errors and providing feedback on how to optimize the document for applicant tracking systems used by many employers.

I want to be specific about my achievements and successes on my cv can AI help?

Absolutely! AI can assist in identifying strong action verbs and impactful language to highlight your achievements and successes on your CV. Additionally, it can provide suggestions on how to quantify your achievements and tailor them to specific industries or roles, making your CV more compelling and targeted.

I want anyone reading my cv to be able to easily identify my key skills, can writing my cv with AI help me?

Yes, writing your CV with the assistance of AI can certainly help you effectively showcase your key skills. AI can offer guidance on formatting, layout, and wording to ensure that your key skills are prominently featured, making it easier for readers to identify and understand your core competencies.

I want my cv to clearly show my values can AI help?

Certainly! AI can assist in incorporating your values into your CV by suggesting language that reflects your principles and beliefs. By providing guidance on how to articulate your values in a professional context, AI can help ensure that your CV effectively communicates the essence of who you are as a professional.

I thrive in fast paced and supportive environment. Can AI help me articulate this?

Absolutely! AI can assist in articulating your preference for a fast-paced and supportive environment by offering language that effectively conveys this sentiment. It can help you craft this preference in a way that resonates with potential employers, showcasing your ability to excel in dynamic and collaborative work settings.

Can AI take my CV and produce a cover note tailored to the job I am applying for?

Yes, AI can take the information from your CV and generate a tailored cover letter for a specific job. By analysing the job description and your CV, it can provide personalized content that aligns with the requirements and highlights your relevant experience and skills for the position.

Let us know how you get on 😊

📞 01522 452423


Ironmongery / Doors / Access Control / Door Hardware


#cv #ai #helpwithmycv

Attract     Recruit     Train     Retain


Talent attraction is a term used in the Human Resources and Talent Acquisition field to describe luring the most desirable of passive candidates to a specific employer and incentivising them to apply for work with implied and envisioned benefits.


Finding and recruiting the people and skills you need to drive business growth.


Talent training is the actual training activities in which employees might participate, like seminars, workshops and lectures. Industry Specific learning through External Education Providers. Talent transformation encompasses those activities, but it might also include coaching, mentoring, new on-the-job experiences and working with employees to help them discover their goals and untapped talents.


Retaining talent, or employee retention, means the ability an organisation has to keep its employees. This is when employees choose to stay with their current company, rather than look for opportunities elsewhere.

SFR have provided recruitment solutions for many years, finding talented individuals for the Ironmongery, Door and access solutions sector.

We also work closely with our clients to devise a plan to not only attract and recruit talent but to retain the very best talent in the industry. Including how to build a compelling employer brand, create a seamless hiring process, and deliver a welcoming, motivating candidate experience.

Like all good plans, it starts with an honest conversation.

Contact us today matthew@sfrrecruitment.co.uk

01522 452423


Ironmongery / Doors / Access Control / Door Hardware

Helping the Herd-The Elephants in the Room Pt 3

Nurturing Development & Creating an Oasis.
Written by Bryony Matthews & Matthew Robinson

If you’ve been following the first two parts of this series, you’ll know why Liam Neeson’s iconic quote in Taken, Disney’s The Lion King, and even the British reality TV show Come Dine With Me, have been referenced in relation to the ironmongery sectors workforce. 

As we reach the finale, you might wonder how themes of breaking an entry, children’s stories and the pursuit for culinary perfection can conclude in an all-encompassing fashion. 

It is particularly challenging for anyone when opening dialogue to discuss the elephants in the room, to guide the conversation in such a way to ensure it is not too hard – and not too soft. 

We can take a cue from Goldilocks, to connect the aforementioned themes, highlight the takeaway for the finale topic and draw the series to a close. 

When it comes to creating an oasis in the work environment and nurturing personal development, we want to get it ‘just right’. Unlike the example that can be found in Goldilocks, however, we don’t want to do so at the expense of disrupting others. 

There is a risk that what works for one, doesn’t work for another. And insufficient plans can be a catalyst in the pursuit of jumbo opportunities and desire to migrate to pastures new. 

Cultivating an environment that encourages professional development and a working environment to thrive in, requires both a collaborative effort, and understanding. 

Whilst Goldilocks had no business in doing so, there is a benefit in trying new things to find the best outcome. With so much specialist training available for different areas of CPD, here are some initiatives that can double up as ways to help in addressing development and creating a healthy work environment, in a new way:

 1.       Learning Effective Meeting Strategies

If Family Fortunes surveyed the top things people say when leaving a meeting, ‘that could have been an email’ must be at the top of the board. Every meeting that is perceived as ineffective or of adding little value, risks chipping away at engagement as well as morale, and sets the expectations for undesirable meeting culture. Various studies and research highlights just how much time is spent in meetings and is considered as unproductive. Investing in developments to improve meetings is a great way to change culture and ensure a nurturing, refreshing environment to be part of. 

2.     Understanding Different Learning Types

Catering to different learning styles is not only beneficial for creating great presentations and training sessions, but directly impacts the retention of new information for your staff. By being inclusive of different needs, the overall learning experience becomes diversified and much less stagnant.

When investing in education and CPD, understanding learning types can indicate where additional support or time may be required due to the course material and its delivery methods. Without considering and assessing needs, there is a risk in terms of the return on investment from the learning objectives.

3.     Cater to Different Motivating Factors

Reward schemes should be fair but that doesn’t mean they have to be a one size fits all solution. There are many initiatives on the market that support learning and development, gamification for objectives and encourage personalised rewards. This level of flexibility provides a level of autonomy and accommodates how one’s goals may change over time. 

It is important to understand motivating factors and review throughout one’s career, however there is a risk that this information will not be shared unless there are strong foundations of effective communication and validation of progression needs. 

4.       Introducing Training Mentor Opportunities

As covered in part two of this series, there are not many titles for the taking. In some cases, this may mean that career progression looks like an uplift for taking on additional responsibilities. Even within the niche of ironmongery, there are further specialisms, whether it is product specific knowledge or a skill. 

Utilising the experience of long-term employees and providing clear structures for mentoring can help to provide new opportunities for existing staff and open entry positions to a wider pool of candidates who can develop as the next generation of our workforce. 

5.     Education & Training in Specialisms

Having the appropriate learning frameworks in place will help in outlining the particular skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours required to fulfil duties in a role. With the recent adaptation to the GAI’s education programme, there is now opportunity to choose a specialist area at Level 3.

Utilising both education and learning plans, there is greater opportunity for less generic and more guided learning and engagement with the relevant and necessary CPD’s to support development of the workforce according to their needs. 

As we reflect on this series, from considering why people leave, as well as the opportunities and oasis that talent is looking for, it becomes apparent that the elephants in the room all have commonality when it comes to mitigating the associated risks.

Our ability to connect, and remain connected, is at the heart of successfully addressing these matters.

That is not to say that connections are limited to one dimension. 

Remaining connected includes being open to growth and supporting development, even when it means parting ways. Hiding away from such conversations can be counterintuitive where departure is inevitable. 

There is much to be said for a community that not only allows but encourages someone to explore a new challenge, even if only to return in a boomerang fashion. 

There is much to be said for a community that hands down knowledge and invests in the future. 

There is much to be said for companies committed to ‘help the herd’, and last but not least, address the elephants in the room.

Helping the Herd-The Elephants in the Room Pt 2

Over 986 million.  

That’s the amount in US dollars that the highest-grossing traditionally animated film of all time made during its initial release in 1994.   

Even in the animal kingdom, titles hold great social relevance- a concept that The Lion King’s narrative is hinged upon.  

With its power to evoke emotions, it’s no wonder that the enchanting tale strikes a chord with us. 

In the movie, when it comes to being King; Scar was overly entitled, whilst Simba was largely burdened – two polar opposite belief systems, that many of us may have witnessed in others, especially in relation to the working environment. 

Whether it’s the formalities of being addressed properly, or what we do for work: titles can be a sensitive area, as they serve to summarise who we are- and what we have achieved.   

In the pursuit of a winning title, however, we want to keep any recipes for disaster in the past, much like the ‘Come Dine With Me’ archives.  

Titles might not be weighted to everyone in an equal sense, and for some: it might not matter at all.

Putting personal preferences aside, it’s important not to glean over the fact that it matters to some, and recognise that our titles go hand in hand with our career development, along with any respective promotions.  

When it comes to new opportunities, a job title can offer clarity and succinctly represent the duties and expectations of the role and its responsibilities.  

There is a risk, however, that it doesn’t.  

This can cost time and money, delaying the efficiency of the recruitment process and the overall experience for our sectors workforce. 

Integrating a new member of staff is a shared experience- it can impact the whole team and their respective workload, well-being and morale, both positively and negatively. 

When it comes to the ironmongery sector, there aren’t many titles for the taking. Anyone looking for a heavy-weight title will want to ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’ – not struggle to punch, like a fight in a dream.

It’s important for development and progression to be attainable to retain talent, or the zest for progression has potential to come and go as quickly as the latest viral TikTok.

In comparison to other sectors that may offer more consistency in titles and their respective duties, job titles in architectural ironmongery are often influenced by the size of the business and the number of departments – as a result, roles can include very different responsibilities, from one company to another.

The comparison for opportunities therefore, is not necessarily apples for apples, posing a risk that other sectors can be more appealing based on a more ‘weighty’ title. 

SFR reveals a closer look into how strategic job titles can influence the recruitment process. Here are some insights and solutions to the matter at hand;

 1. Reflecting the Problem: In some cases, hiring managers end up changing job titles and descriptions to attract more suitable candidates, after low engagement with vacancies. It’s essential that a job title accurately reflects and communicates the challenges and objectives a company aims to address, and it may require thinking ‘outside of the box’ to efficiently attract talent that is aligned with the mission and vision. 

2. Considering Responsibilities: It is necessary to address the demands placed on the business to both determine and highlight the appropriate level of seniority and responsibility for each job title. Ensuring clarity on structure up front ensures that the expectations are understood and explains differences from one company to another, without assumption. 

3. Communicating Flexibility Levels: Recognising that the size of the company largely impacts job titles and organisational structures, discussions should include where flexibility can be offered, or where there are more rigid hierarchies. This can help with a seamless fit into the business and avoid assumptions that a job title might come with expected levels of rigidity or greater flexibility.

4. Fostering a Culture of Growth: Understanding how much someone is driven by their title helps in creating a culture that values talent development and growth. Clarity relating to the job title, such as how the role might transition into a more senior role, or what training aligns with the expectations and responsibilities of the position can motivate and retain top talent.

5. Prioritising Individual Development: Implementing individual development programs to nurture and support future talent ensures that growth is not left to chance. By offering personalised growth plans, organisations can address any discrepancies in expectations relating to the job title early on and ensure that employees have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

By reviewing these factors, companies in the architectural ironmongery sector can attract top talent, reduce risks, and create a thriving workforce.

Whilst strategic methods can be used to attract talent through an effectively communicated job title, the creation of great opportunities is multi-faceted.

Where candidates are concerned, the pursuit for what is ‘ideal’ is personal, and it can easily leave anyone lost in the woods.

If you are looking for your next jumbo opportunity, remembering to remain open to exploring options, trying new things and asking key questions goes a long way in finding the right fit.

Helping the Herd-The Elephants in the Room Pt 1

When One Moves on: Migrating to Pastures New.
Written by Bryony Matthews & Matthew Robinson

The only thing worse than a work bestie leaving is probably if the go-to guru leaves. You know the type…they live and breathe insider knowledge and are somewhere between the ‘Yoda’ or ‘Alexa’ of your business.

ChatGPT has nothing on them. They know the ungoogleable.

In fact, they often are ungoogleable – among the few that remain off the grid.

Sometimes talent lies in these hidden gems. Oftentimes, talent hides in plain sight and it is easy to forget how niche the industry really is, as we remain immersed in our day-to-day norm.

As a collective, ironmongers in the construction world very much have hidden talents that will become increasingly more relevant, as the requirement to demonstrate competency rises.

The talent pool, however talented, is limited. And the risks that occur when one moves on, can have a ripple effect.

Addressing this head on, requires a balanced level of awareness so that we can challenge norms, nurture positive responses and steer clear of only reviewing risks from a negative perspective.

This is a challenge in and of itself, but it is important to highlight, that in order to grasp the true impact of when talent leaves the industry, calls first for recognition of the value that lies in the talent that we have.

Competent ironmongers are individuals with a very particular set of skills. Skills that have been acquired throughout their career, skills that would make anyone in the industry with a vacancy say ‘I will look for you, I will find you, and I will hire you’.

Point taken.

So, when talent leaves a niche industry such as ours, both the workforce and employers may be faced with several risks, such as; loss of expertise, decreased efficiency, talent shortage, as well as delays and disruption to business as usual.

With a view to maintaining a solution led focus, we explore some initiatives to help minimise the impacts and inspire some solutions, when one moves on;

  1. Reducing the Risks of Burnout When someone leaves the proverbial building, taking all of their knowledge with them, the rest of the team can be left scrambling for the answer like a countdown conundrum. Firefighting can be caused by many things- but where talent leaving the industry is concerned, the risk of burnout can be proactively reduced through establishing continuity plans.

This involves having systems, processes, and documentation in place to enable others to seamlessly pick up the workload and access relevant information to continue the work – without significant interruption and without unnecessary firefighting. Cultivating and contributing to this way of working also ensures minimal disruption in case one of the team is suddenly unable to work.

  1. Reducing the Risks of Poaching It’s one thing for talent to leave a company, but it’s another for talent to be poached by another industry. When talent leaves, the risk of poaching can increase due to the temptation in others to follow suit, or because of the ripple effect created by the workload.

We know that the workforce has transferable skills that are desirable for head hunters. Simply providing an open forum to discuss issues can help reduce the risk of talent being lured away. Evaluating and benchmarking are both essential practices to help identify gaps and develop strategies to improve.

Where there is no progression available for an employee, ironmongers that pursue a new opportunity but remain in the industry, contribute to the quality, skills and knowledge of the existing workforce and can serve to improve the value and reputation of the sector. Whilst this may create a gap for their employer, the conservation of talent is of benefit to the wider community.

  1. Reducing the Risks of Delays

Positions can remain vacant for a longer period than is comfortable, or manageable. Based on the time it takes to fill positions in the architectural ironmongery sector, it’s important to reduce the impact of delays and any potential disruption.

Job descriptions that are up-to-date, inclusive, and clearly outline how to demonstrate attributes, not only to support development discussions but help to optimise the recruitment process. Employers that are open to training candidates and have a clear CPD structure can naturally reduce delays, by opening the position to a wider pool.

Getting people connected at the right place and the right time, as SFR can do, can also support efficient placements. Knowledge of the recruitment climate can not only help to indicate the potential time it will take to fill the opening, but can help to retain talent in the industry.

Whilst we have looked at the impact on businesses, where individuals are concerned, there are different considerations to be made when looking for a position. This leads us on to part two, where we look at jumbo opportunities and titles.

As professionals navigate the ever-changing landscape of their careers, transitioning to new sectors can feel like traversing a challenging terrain. However, should adventure lead to no more than an elephant graveyard, individuals should be assured that they can absolutely find their way back and reclaim a title to thrive in their chosen field once again.

As the headline that inspired this series suggests, we are ready to respond – ‘Returning Talent, We Welcome You!’.

Returning Talent: We Welcome You!

Do you feel you’re struggling to recruit from a small pool of candidates? SFR Recruitment Solutions explains that companies should be openminded and welcome candidates who choose to return to the industry after leaving. After all, there are many reasons why a candidate might leave the sector and we should encourage their experience and knowledge returning to the industry.

Let’s look into the reasons why candidates leave and return.

Reasons candidates leave the sector:

  • Their last employer maybe didn’t develop, nurture, or support them in their ironmongery career and frustration led to them leaving.
  • It’s early in their career and they haven’t built up an affiliation to the ironmongery sector.
  • Maybe they relocated or joined a family business, taking the direction of their career temporarily.
  • The elephant in the room, other products sectors may pay more.  

Reasons candidates return to the sector:

  • It’s an incestuous industry that people seem to build a connection with and find themselves wanting to come back to build upon their experience.
  • They may possess a Guild of Architectural Ironmongery qualification which is sort after knowledge and is actual ‘armoury’ to aid a future return.
  • They see the ironmongery has having great career potential due to its nicheness and realise that returning gives them a foothold to further develop their career further.
  • They actually miss the ironmongery industry and realise, after leaving, that it’s where they belong, they are ‘part of the ironmongery furniture’ so to speak.

The importance of industry experience

Over the last couple of months, we have helped three candidates return to the sector in the following roles:

  • Specification Sales Consultant 
  • Internal Sales Executive 
  • Technical Sales Manager

All three candidates had GAI qualifications, one had level 2 but had failed level 3, two had level 1. We were also working with another candidate who had foundation level and was keen to study for level one but had been made redundant. 

The advantage of being a sector-based recruiter is that the candidates who have the desire to stay, progress or return to the sector know who to be registered with – SFR Recruitment Solutions. The recruitment process from a candidate and client perspective is more professional, and is a long-term partnership. Finding the perfect fit is of utmost importance to sector-based recruiters who are trusted to deliver and rely on not only candidates returning but also clients. Sector experience is important and, likewise, ironmongery businesses like a candidate who is willing to learn and commit to sector-based training.

Studying GAI qualifications means that not only do they have industry experience but it also shows that they are committed to the sector. It shows determination and willingness to expand their technical knowledge to help them on the job, it shows a keenness to progress their careers within the industry. It’s not learning that can be applied outside the industry, and the course content can be quite heavy and challenging, often requiring a personal ‘time’ commitment. Say if there are two candidates who both have ironmongery backgrounds, but only one has GAI qualification, the later candidate will naturally be more attractive. 

The advantage of using an industry recruiter 

Why fish in the ocean when you can fish in industry specific or ‘niche’ waters. It saves time and money. Mainstream recruiters don’t have the industry knowhow or contacts, resulting in a lower quality of candidate and a higher failure rating (staying in the role less than 12 months). There’s a tendency to try and fit a square peg into a round hole, and a risk whether the candidate will adapt/transition or enjoy working in the sector. 

Embrace returning candidates

We encourage clients not to judge candidates who want to return to the industry, but see it as a positive thing. It is important to have a strategy in place for retaining talent, but when it slips away beyond your control, make sure to leave the door open.

Having a GAI qualification, it is a good way of backing up candidate’s experience and is a pathway back into the sector. Candidates in this position should definitely register with a sector-based recruiter. Matthew Robinson explains “We welcome candidates that say have had an apprenticeship or possess a couple of years’ experience within ironmongery sector to register with us. A keenness to work towards attaining a full GAI diploma – these are really positive words to hear.”  They stand more chance of being snapped up when they already have industry experience and/or qualifications, and the compensation and benefits package on offer can be more attractive for that perfect fit. 

The benefit for clients of embracing returning candidates is that they are often keen continue their industry qualifications, having made a commitment to return to the industry. Candidates are often hopeful of career progression that gives them a thirst to learn, this type of candidate has the potential to be a ‘prime catch’ and with the right support, development and nurturing can go on to become a long-serving employee with invaluable knowledge.

At SFR Recruitment Solutions we considerably reduce the search time for our clients by finding them excellent industry experienced candidates to interview. As well as knowing the sector really well, we also work closely with our clients, listening to them and taking down a precise brief.  SFR Recruitment Solutions are specialists for the Architectural Ironmongery, Doors, Access Control and Door Hardware sector. If you are looking for any support with recruitment or need any advice, get in-touch with Matthew or Jamie at www.sfrrecruitment.co.uk.

Meet the Team – Matthew Robinson

Matthew Robinson, Director, SFR Recruitment Solutions
  1. How long have you been in recruitment?

Coming up to 11 years now. I started in April 2013. I spent 6 Years working in the Fenestration industry, supporting Window and Door manufacturers and now 5 years running SFR 😊

  • What product sectors do you cover?

We set up SFR almost 5 years ago and have been working alongside the Ironmongery, door and access controls product sectors. We have seen an increase in businesses building teams to support the sales of electronic locking and access control solutions. In the last few years we have also noticed the importance that businesses put on marketing and finding specific skills and experience when recruiting.

  • Tell us about your first recruitment placement?

Interestingly I have come full circle really as my first placement was with an ironmongery supplier by the name of Basta Parsons, a business based in Northern Ireland but supplied the UK merchants and hardware stores. I recruited a northern area sales manager. Sadly they are no longer in business but are remembered fondly by many in the industry.

  • What’s the most enjoyable part of the job? 

Building relationships. Without a doubt getting to know people. Understand how we can help, if we can help.

  • What’s the biggest challenge you face currently? 

Like many businesses there has never been more challenges, the last 2 years have been totally mad, just when we thought the pandemic was over, who would have known that to follow would be Putin’s war, the fuel and energy crisis, Government instability, rising interest rates and the highest inflation on record since 1982! It’s more difficult to attract talent at the moment, before I would easily get 5 suitable candidates to put forward, but more recently it’s a challenge to find 2-3 potential candidates. But I love what I do, and there is nothing more rewarding than finding someone their next career move and finding clients the perfect candidate! I get the ‘feeling’ when we’ve found ‘the one’ you just know!

  • Tell us an interesting thing about yourself!

I don’t feel very interesting at all and that question always stumps me! It’s funny as i’m sure candidates are asked that question all the time in interviews! I have three children aged 5, 8 and 13 that keep me busy! Nowadays, I live for my kids and, although some of my interests have gone on the backburner with family and work, I do love running and my son now runs with me too! I am also an iced coffee addict and frequently found in Costa!

Meeting the Team – Lorna Ellis

What are your main responsibilities? 

I typically work on Sales and Marketing roles within the specialist product sectors.

My main responsibilities are to manage a number of clients within the Door, Architectural Hardware and Locking sectors.

I have a responsibility to find suitable candidates both from a professional and culture fit view point for our clients.

Another part of my role that I enjoy is to network and get to know candidates and there career aspirations and also clients future plans.  

What skills do you need to do your job? 

You have to be a good listener. Whether it’s a client or candidate it is so important to listen and extract information. The ability to form and build relationships is very important.

I need to be methodical and have the ability to search online and multiple search platforms to identify appropriate candidates.

The ability to research and understand the different product markets we work in. 

What does a day in the life of an SFR consultant look like? 

A day in the life of an SFR consultant… usually starts with coffee ☕️

We debrief on what we’ve been working on the day previously and what today’s tasks are in order of priority.

Typically, I will work a process at a time and my duties might be to map out a product sector, or a geographical location and identify who I need to speak to.

I enjoy candidate calls because I like to get to know people and understand how I can help them.

I might also have a phone call or Teams call with a client to speak through a recruitment project.

And the best bit, on occasion delivering offers from clients to candidates and arranging start dates. 

And then….at the end of the day, we usually have to play rock, paper, scissors to decide who does the washing up ha ha!

What is it like to work for SFR?

It’s brilliant! The office environment is incredible! We have a great laugh (at everyone’s expense 😂) we set the world to rights and have lots of friendly debates.

The flexibility to be able to work either in the office or from home is fantastic for me. It helps me work around my daughter and her schooling.  Matt and Jamie are both very helpful when I need support and advice. 

Tell me an interesting fact about yourself….

I went camping for the first time ever at the age of 26 a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed myself despite claiming I would never go camping. I went with my husband and 3-year-old daughter Myla. I even attempted to get over my fear of heights when we climbed the rocks to overlook the stunning scenery in Derbyshire. 

Would you go camping again?

Yes maybe ha ha.

Speak to Lorna at SFR on 07511 210356 or email lorna.ellis@sfrrecruitment.co.uk

Recruiting in a Risk Adverse Market

The challenges of the past few years have been unprecedented, and now the current economic situation in the UK continues to create further instability. We used ‘unprecedented’ a lot during the pandemic, but who would have known that to follow would be Putin’s war, the fuel and energy crisis, death of our Queen Elizabeth II, Government instability, rising interest rates and the highest inflation on record since 1982! All these factors contribute in creating a risk adverse market, but there’s always one or two things that tempt people to consider moving jobs – the first is salary, and second is improved work-life-balance.

What’s happening right now

At SFR we’re being approached by several companies eager to fill positions that have been vacant for a while. The reason for this is they’ve been trying to recruit themselves and have found that the right people just aren’t looking. We’ve found that even as a specialist recruiter it’s more difficult to attract talent at the moment – before we would easily get 5 suitable candidates to put forward, but more recently it’s a challenge to find 2-3 potential candidates.

The reason for above is twofold: 1) passive candidates are happy, content with meeting their targets and bonuses; 2) in an uncertain market people tend to hold on to whatever stability they can in their lives – passive candidates look at the news and decide it’s just not worth the risk – moving jobs is just not on their radar. Putting these 2 factors together, what would encourage people to move jobs right now? It’s difficult for companies to find suitable candidates when they are not even looking, they often need a recruitment agency to reach-out to prospective candidates. But, what else do they need to do?

ATTENTION. Consider if your job vacancy is attractive enough?

In today’s climate, it will take something amazing to encourage candidates to apply. With the rising cost of energy and price inflation it’s a worrying time, but the possibility of earning extra cannot and will not be ignored, also the chance to work closer to home (less commuting time and flexible working) gaining a better work-life-balance. Ask yourself if your vacancy is attractive enough – does it take into account the rise in the cost of living – and is it worth moving for?  With these things in mind companies need to revisit the packages they are offering and not just benchmark the same as a competitor, they need to better it. People just won’t move for the same salary and conditions; it has to be worth considering.

Risk Vs Reward – working with a recruitment specialist

Our advice is to weigh up risk versus reward. Moving jobs is always a risk for the candidate – will they like the job? Will they enjoy working at the company? Are they financially stable? Will they get along with their new boss and co-workers? Will they offer flexible working when I need it?  At SFR we put both our clients’ and candidates’ needs at the heart of the service we provide. We manage expectations of both the candidate and the client, carrying out that vital ‘middle dialogue’ that helps both parties reach an ‘acceptance’.

In today’s market we advise companies not to be stuck on a set salary, and we say to candidates be open-minded and focus on moving-forward with their careers within a financially stable company. We could be stuck in this situation a while and it’s not wise to put lives and careers on hold for long. A company that pays a recruiter to find the right experience, will be thinking of the long-term and finding that perfect match is worth the outlay of the recruitment fees.

When using a recruiter such as SFR we can help support candidates throughout the process and can help negotiate on your behalf to make the job move worthwhile.  A good recruiter will never force square pegs into round holes, it has to be the right – for the candidate and the company. That is why at SFR we are industry specialists and pride ourselves in getting to know all of our candidates and taking the time to find out what their career aspirations are. When a job opportunity comes in there’s a good chance that we already have a perfect match in mind, but the salary package has to be attractive. Offer only an average package and expect an average candidate – logical right? The best experience is gained by companies being flexible with salary and benefits, an offering more to gain more mentality.

If you need help with recruiting or finding your next job role, get in-touch with SFR Recruitment Solutions. Matthew, Jamie and Lorna are ready to talk through your recruitment dilemmas or career progression aspirations. 

SFR Recruitment Solutions