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Key HR Trends To Discuss In Your HR Interview

The Human Resources industry is evolving. As society becomes continuously modernised it’s showing signs of rapid increase, from how people work to the environment they work in, it's constantly changing. This is why for HR professionals, it’s important to keep up to date with trends to show you’re knowledgeable of the changes that are happening within the industry and adapting to keep ahead of the game. To make sure you really stand out from other candidates in the interview process, it’s good to highlight trends that can spark up discussion and show your genuine interests in the sector. Here are a few that you should keep your eye on.

Flexible Working

The attitude towards work is changing within modern society. Work-life balance is now becoming more of a priority for employees as they look to steer away from the stressful 9-5 routine. Many employers now offer the perks of flexible working hours and work from home opportunities. Young and ambitious employees are becoming more sociable and will have flexible working as one of the main priorities, which will have employees seeing it as an opportunity to attract younger talent. Flexible working is also seen as a great way to retain top talent for the long term.

Performance Reviews

Ambition continues to be within the top attributes that any employer looks for in any candidate. The idea is to retain staff and helping them improve leading to the potential of working their way up through the organisation over a number of years. How this is managed is through performance reviews and what once used to be the system of having performance reviews after a 6-12 month period, will now be seen a continuous measurement throughout the year. Added guidance and mentoring will be provided to those who are seen with the most potential, whilst others who are not up to scratch will be found out and replaced if the work isn’t being put in. There are plenty of eager candidates out there and organisations will be constantly looking for progress which they’ll find elsewhere if their current resources aren’t efficient.

Online Learning

As working environments become even more challenging and roles become more competitive, it’s important for employees to continuously learn in their role to improve performance and teach others around them. Online learning is a great way helping employees learn effectively and as younger employees are getting hired, it’s a better way for them to engage with their learning experiences. Technologies are advancing in the education sector allowing different ways of learning which are beneficial and absorbing for employees.


Chatbots are slowly becoming the norm within the HR industry with many organisations now adopting the technology as a first point of contact for customers. It’s a great way for companies to utilise their time and resources in other ways and make the most of their HR team. There seems to be a shift in terms of how customers like to contact organisations, making the most of technology rather than the traditional telephone call method. In introducing chatbots, it saves time and money.


Although Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has been around for a while, it is still yet to be utilised within the HR industry. It’s seen as a great way to retain employees by combining the technology with human data to manage hiring, training and engagement. As AI can provide more supported data, it can be beneficial from an HR point of view to make sure that employees remain happy and the technology can be utilised for decision making purposes.

Bio: Alice Porter works closely with Gorvins to better inform professionals on how to become more successful within their respective industries.

The HR Society appoints Angela O’Connor as president

Angela O’Connor has become the first female president of The Human Resources (HR) Society.

O' Connor is the society’s eighth president and founder and CEO of the HR Lounge, a consultancy that offers bespoke HR services to businesses. Angela’s previous roles include chief people officer at the NPIA, HR director at the CPS and head of HR at three London-based local authorities.

The outgoing president is Andrew Mayo, who has held the position since 2006. Multinational 3M has also appointed a new senior vice president of HR - Marlene McGrath. McGrath will report to the firm’s president and CEO Inge Thulin. She has led HR for 3M’s international operations since 2006.

Thulin comments: “Marlene’s international experience and proven leadership skills make her an ideal leader for this important assignment.

“Her deep understanding of 3M’s employee brand will serve the company well as we expand our operations around the world.”

The role has been filled by Angela Lalor, who announced her departure from 3M to pursue opportunities at Danaher Corp.

Henkel, which owns brands such as Pritt, Sellotape and Schwarzkopf, has appointed Stéphane De Schryver as its HR director, UK and Ireland.

De Schryver will join the UK and Ireland executive committee and head the region's HR team. De Schryver will focus on acquisition and development for Henkel's businesses, and will be tasked with transforming and integrating HR processes. De Schryver joined Henkel in 1993.

Qualifications vs experience in HR in 2011

How to ApplyWhen looking to fill human resources vacancies, it is important that you know exactly what it is you are looking for beforehand or the wealth of applicants may seem overwhelming. In today's climate there are more applicants per post than ever before and each will be trying to sell themselves to you as much as possible.

You will need to have an idea of the type of person that will fit into your organisation as well as the type of qualifications you are looking for from your candidate and this is where it can become difficult for many people. Do you want a candidate who is academically qualified or do you want someone who has experience in the role you are trying to fill?

Qualifications vs. experience is one of the more difficult decisions an employer must make as there are positives and negatives to each type of candidate and different posts may warrant a different attitude. Generally speaking, applicants with academic qualifications and little experience will be easier to train to your way of thinking whilst experienced applicants may come bursting with great ideas that they have used elsewhere to good effect. So, the question is, what do you want?

Look for experience
If your business is new it might be a good idea to take on someone with a wealth and variety of experience. You may have to pay them more money than you had originally intended but the benefit to your organisation will be worth it.

A widely experienced Human Resources professional will be able to assist you in setting up all the policies and procedures that your company will require to function. If you choose someone with recent experience, they should also have a good working knowledge of employment law and legislation that can save you time and money in the long run.

Experienced staff will also be able to help you manage the rest of your team and offer innovative advice based on their past experiences. In the context of new business, experience is often the best choice as they will be able to assist you with areas of the business that you are unsure of.

In established companies, experience is also often preferred over academic qualification and this is especially true when you are looking to fill a vacancy internally. Internal staff know your business best and, even if they have not been working within the HR department, they should be able to demonstrate at interview a wide working knowledge of the existing HR policies and guidelines.

Often, staff members who are moving in from other departments such as training and development, frontline management or administrative positions are ideally situated to identify any issues with the existing department. Their knowledge and experience of the culture and staff of the business can be invaluable in pushing forward and managing any situations that may arise.

If, however, you are looking to recruit an entirely new member of staff to an existing team, there are two things that you must consider; are you recruiting because of an existing issue or are you just in need of a new team member?

Tackling specific issues
If you are recruiting in order to get help for an on-going or existing issue, an experienced human resources professional may be the perfect solution. You can even use the situation as a hypothetical interview question in order to gauge in advance if there are any candidates with experience uniquely suited to tackling the problem.

If, however, you are looking for a supporting member of staff or a manager who you would like to merely take up the reins of an existing set of processes, a recently qualified professional with little experience would be your perfect choice.

Candidates with recent qualifications will be right up to date with employment laws and will be able to easily slot into their expected roles as they will bring no expectations from previous posts. This type of candidate can be ideal if you are looking for support for an existing department, as it will be very easy for the team to update them quickly.

Experience versus qualifications is a question that can really only be answered dependent on the circumstances under which you intend to hire. Think closely about what you require, taking the above into consideration and it should help you whittle down your interview list, making the choice that much easier for you.

What the 21st Century career looks like

Cabin Crew Manager

Twenty-five years ago if you had significant technical skills you could count on a good, well-paying job, according to blogger Dan Erwin.

That was especially true in manufacturing. But even in other vocations, little more than a well-developed technology was all that was required to rise in the organization and get a good-paying job.

Of course the introduction of desk-top computing in the mid-1980s started to change that. Over the next ten years it became clear that everyone in business had to understand and be able to use the digital tools. The US economy was beginning to travel beyond the industrial age.

Visit to read the full article.

The new knowledge worker

knowledgeable worker

What are knowledge workers? Are they a new breed or just a variation of the 20th century professional class, asks According to the site, Neal Gorenflo, co-founder and publisher of Shareable Magazine, has identified (a very preliminary idea) a certain type of knowledge worker:

- Knowledge workers understand information as currency. Sharing is a core strategy for success even in a corporate context. This can bring knowledge workers to the commons.

- Their worldview is informed by systems thinking or is polyglot. It’s not informed by a single political ideology.

Visit the website for the full article.

Unfair Dismissal Laws – Your guide to the changes

Airline Receptionist

A recent amendment to the law pertaining to unfair dismissal is courting controversy as unions argue that workers' rights have been subjugated in an effort to placate business. Earlier this month, Chancellor George Osborne announced the controversial change at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. Claiming that businesses would save up to £6 million a year, the Chancellor extolled the development as a victory for the economy and a saviour of the unemployed, but what exactly is this miraculous change?

As of April 2012, no employee in the UK will be able to claim unfair dismissal unless they have worked for their employer for at least two calendar years. The previous law affecting unfair dismissal set the minimum term of employment at one year; thus, employees are now required to work a further 12 months before they can rely on the law in the event of them being unfairly dismissed.

The impact of the Chancellor's decision has been strongly felt in many quarters. Rather than afford greater rights to workers, Mr Osborne has handed companies the opportunity to unfairly dismiss staff at little risk in a legal context. Whilst other aspects of employment and contract law will continue to govern the relations between employers and their workers, extending the qualifying period for unfair dismissal is clearly not in the best interests of workers.

Mr Osborne, however, has championed the decision as a victory for the unemployed. After all, if more workers are unfairly dismissed in their second year of employment, more vacancies will arise for the unemployed. Logical, perhaps. Fair, just and reasonable - perhaps not. Addressing his fellow Tories, Mr Osborne said, "I know it's important to respect employment rights, but we also respect the right of the unemployed to get a job." He went on to talk about the need to not overprice the employment market and to avoid employment tribunals. Unfair dismissal claims, he explained, would not be pursued until two years' employment had come to pass and this will assure business owners.

The Government has also chosen to change the employment tribunal system, which will soon be subject to fees. Taking effect from April 2013, the tribunal fee system will require workers to pay £250 to apply for a tribunal and a further £1,000 if the application leads to a hearing. The fees are repaid only if the claim is upheld. The change is expected to reduce the number of employment tribunals in the UK by approximately 2,000 a year.

Business Secretary, Vince Cable supported the move to change unfair dismissal laws, stating, "the priority of this Government is to increase growth in our economy." Mr Cable feels that the present dismissal rules discourage businesspeople to hire new staff.

Unfortunately, there is very little workers can do to change the Government's policy on the issue, not least because unfair dismissal is one area of employment law that is not subject to a European directive. With this in mind, workers perhaps ought to brace themselves for further change.

CV writing: why you should emphasise your ‘hot’ skills

Photo by Laffy4k.

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of CVs and have noticed patterns in people’s attitudes and approaches to writing their CV. However, there is one issue that stands out above all others and it manifests itself in the conversations I have with prospective customers.

Their typical questions are often along the lines of: “Can you make my CV look better?” Or: “I need my CV to be more eye catching.” While many often ask: “Can you make my CV look more professional?”

Now you might be wondering what is wrong with these questions! The point is, they focus purely on aesthetics. What a CV looks like is of course important, but it’s completely secondary to the content of the CV.

A nice looking CV full of waffle is going to be less effective than an average looking CV with great content. What makes your CV effective is providing compelling evidence that you have the skills and experience to do the job you’re applying for.

The CV must capture your ‘value proposition’ and ‘value-added’ skills that are aligned with the ‘hot’ skills in your market place. Too many job seekers are unaware of the ‘hot’ skills employers are searching for and resort to listing behavioural traits such as working in a team, working under pressure, and having good communications skills, etc.

When we write CVs we make a point of researching and defining the ‘hot’ skills that are in demand in each profession. We also spell out how these skills might benefit a future employer if they were to hire you. We make sure these skills are pushed in the CV and backed up with tangible evidence.

For example:

  • If you work in marketing you may want to talk about your ability to create low-cost, recession-busting marketing strategies that deliver superior return on investment (ROI).
  • If you are an operations manager, your skills might include being able to lead cost-rationalisation programmes to reduce cost and drive profit.
  • If you are an HR manager you might highlight the fact that you can develop robust succession planning and performance management frameworks to drive superior workforce productivity.
  • If you compare these with the behavioural traits we mentioned above, they are clearly better aligned to the market place and much more powerful. Understanding what the ‘hot’ skills are for your industry and ensuring they are included in the content of your CV is paramount to success.

Matt Craven is Managing Director of CV & Interview Advisors. Matt has seven years’ experience in the CV writing industry. For a free CV appraisal visit the CV & Interview Advisors website.

Photo by Laffy

The Royal Bank of Scotland's former group HR director, Neil Roden, has joined PricewaterhouseCoopers as a partner, according to

Roden, who was ranked 12 in HR’s Most Influential List in 2010 and who became the HR figurehead of the financial crisis, left the bank last year after a decade in position.

During his last year RBS suffered financial turmoil, posting the largest annual loss in UK corporate history (£24.1 billion) in 2009 and ending with the very public resignation of Fred (the Shred) Goodwin.

Speaking to HR magazine as he stood down on 1 October 2010, Roden revealed he offered to quit when new CEO Stephen Hester took over Goodwin. He also defended the HR function at RBS, refusing to take any responsibiity for the financial crisis at the bank, which resulted in the Government bailing it out to the tune of more than £45 billion and the taxpayer owning 84% of the firm.

"I can't see what HR could have done. Lack of money was not an HR issue, the portfolios our businesses kept was not an HR issue; none of them were. There's a debate here about what HR can reasonably be held accountable for. People think HR runs companies. I say, stop getting carried away; HR is a support function, no more or less important than sales or IT. HR critics are way ahead of themselves; they need to get back inside their box," he said.

Michael Rendell, head of HR services at PwC commented on the appointment: "In addition to a wide ranging role advising clients on all aspects of HR, Neil will be focusing on the role of the HR function, how to optimise its activity and the critical impact of people on business performance."

Prior to joining RBS Roden was general manager, human resources, Europe, at National Australia Group.

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