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Stress affected almost 5 million UK workers last year

Coping with rejection letters byStress is still a major problem across the British workforce, and a big issue for HR professionals to manage, according to new research. A massive 5 million workers, or one in six UK employees, have called in sick due to stress in the last year, says research from pensions provider Friends Life. So which are the most stressed employees?

It seems that young employees are most stressed about the possibility of redundancy, with 36% saying they were worried about losing their job. In addition, young people are worried about money (35%) and work (22%). This reflects the situation many young workers face. Five years of recession, pay freezes, the rising cost of living and job insecurity are simply part of everyday life for most working people today. And these issues are often the root cause of stress.

The research found men are more likely to be stressed due to work than women, with 31% of men saying work causes them the most stress, compared to 23% of women. David Williams, who is director of group protection at Friends Life, says: “UK economic output is improving but this is not having as positive an effect on UK workers’ stress levels as we would have hoped.”
» Read more: Stress affected almost 5 million UK workers last year

How to impress at a panel interview

Interview iStock_000019674221Small 3It’s worth remembering that the intention of the assembled inquisitors at a panel interview is not to intimidate, but simply to get to know you.

And just as in any job interview situation, this is your chance to show intelligence, confidence, interest and ability, and ultimately secure your perfect hr job. So be focused and controlled, and you’ll get results.

Often panels are put together for high level candidates, so that several relevant people within the organization can take part at once – the HR director, the finance director and the head of marketing, for example. They will all be looking for certain qualities – i.e. will you fit the company culture, have you got relevant experience, can you handle a large resourcing budget, will you do your best to promote the company through your work? Some recruitment experts say it’s a good idea to view the panel interview as several meetings handily combined into one time-efficient get together. You’re getting it all over with at once, in other words.

The people who stand out in these panel situations are those who relax and interact. They have clearly used their intelligence to do some research, and have genuine questions for the interviewers showing a rounded understanding of what’s needed. Their personality will come through in the way they cope with a challenging situation.
» Read more: How to impress at a panel interview

Record number of apprenticeships for 2012/13

Apprenticeships cropApprenticeships have really taken off in recent years with a record number of British people – nearly 860,000 – known to be taking part in an apprenticeship in 2012/13, according to new figures.

This was almost 370,000 more than three years ago, according to statistics released by the Skills Funding Agency. The number of participants in higher apprenticeships also increased by 50,000 this year.

Since 2010, over 1.5 million people have signed up for an apprenticeship place. However there was a slight drop in the number of apprenticeship starts in 2012/13 at 495,100, compared to 520,600 in 2011/12.

Skills minister Matthew Hancock hailed these figures, saying: “This is good news for the economy, and good news for those getting the skills they need to prosper. There are now more options than ever before with a focus on the quality and rigour that people and employers want from apprenticeships.”
» Read more: Record number of apprenticeships for 2012/13

Job prospects highest for six years

We're Hiring SignHere’s some good news for jobseekers in the UK, and for those working in HR resourcing and recruitment.

Job prospects for the final quarter of this year look their brightest for six years, a study has found. Jobs are being created in engineering, finance, business services and green energy. In fact every sector apart from construction are hiring more people than they’re firing.

According to a quarterly survey of 2,100 companies by Manpower Group, employers expect to increase staff in every sector except construction, strongest hiring plans were in northwest and eastern England.

These findings echo other recent surveys suggesting that vacancies are rising, increasing hopes that the economic recovery will eventually be felt in the UK jobs market.

The ManpowerGroup survey showed a net employment outlook of plus six per cent, meaning that more employers are planning to recruit than to reduce their workforces.
» Read more: Job prospects highest for six years

How to stay motivated on the HR job hunt

motivationReceiving rejection letters, emails and phone calls can be a tough part of the job-hunting process. Worse still are those days of hearing nothing at all from potential employers, even when you have slogged over countless application forms.

on’t give up! As an HR professional you will know that now is the time for inner strength and renewed energy in your job search. To keep on track until your ideal HR advisor or brand HR business partner job comes along, it’s vital to stay focused and positive.

You know that no one is successful with every job application. The wise way of coping is to try and learn from each experience and move on. Whatever you do, don’t get frustrated and angry and let that show when dealing with potential employers. A positive mindset and raw enthusiasm helps make a good impression, both in writing and in person, so don’t sway from the chirpy outlook, no matter how prolonged and painful the hunt seems to be.

Here are some great ways to stay motivated and on track:

1. Set written goals Having a very clear, structured action plan will help get you started. With a list of goals – including companies you are writing to, where you are uploading your CV and registering for jobs by email, networking you will do, careers events you will attend – you have a record of how much you are achieving over time. Factor in time off and treats too – you will need to reward yourself along the way.
» Read more: How to stay motivated on the HR job hunt

Top tips for the perfect Skype job interview

Webcam-by-David-Burillo-flickr-300x199Skype job interviews are increasingly common today, so how do you make the best of them when hoping to get recruited for a new HR job?

Internet phone and specialist video communications systems, used for first stage candidate assessments, have certainly proved their worth for employers, being incredibly cost and time efficient. Probably most popular right now is Skype internet calling. It costs nothing to use between two Skype users, and allows both parties to be free from holding a receiver up to their ear during long conversations.

Skype cuts out the need for travel for the candidate, and allows employers to easily reach out to regional, even international candidates.

Skype video recording, with the addition of special programmes means the employer can tightly control, pause, replay and share interview footage, generally making the selection process easier to manage. Candidates might only be speaking to their interviewer, and not seen via video link-up, but if you do find yourself in front of the camera you should see this as a real opportunity to shine.
» Read more: Top tips for the perfect Skype job interview

What’s happening at the HR Directors Business Summit 2014?

ICC BirminghamSo what will be the central theme of the next HR Business Director’s Summit, which will take place at the ICC Birmingham on February 4th and 5th, 2014? The event, hosted by WTG Corporate, aims to tackle how organizations should be developing people-focused business strategies. This is about driving business performance through the effective alignment of leadership, talent and organisational development.

Areas being discussed include ‘the new HR function’, engaging and enabling employees, social HR, the latest reward innovations, and driving leadership.

Those attending will learn from leading HR experts and senior business leaders from Alliance Boots, Carlsberg, Canon, Facebook, Fujitsu, Phillips Lighting, Warburtons and more. Typically over 1,000 HR professionals attend the Summit, so this is a really worthwhile networking opportunity.
» Read more: What’s happening at the HR Directors Business Summit 2014?

Apps that make your working day in HR easier

hero_evernoteSmartphones and tablets have already revolutionized our lives – allowing us to shop on the go, apply for jobs, take and send photos and video clips, email from the beach, and instantly access maps just when we need them.

A recent British survey found that we spend roughly 23 days a year looking at our phones. They really are a part of our lives, so it makes sense to try and use them to improve our productivity - rather than holding us back from getting things done.

New apps are coming to market all the time, and many of them can be used to make everyday life more manageable. HR professionals will be interested in the selection below – we hope they make your working day run more smoothly:

Genius Scan + PDF Scanner
» Read more: Apps that make your working day in HR easier

I’ve tailored my CVs so why no HR job interviews?

CV and keyboard imageIt’s well known – especially in HR circles - that job applicants should tailor their CVs or online applications to each specific job as described by the recruiter, rather than send generic details about themselves. But increasingly – as more and more people apply for each advertised vacancy – HR job hopefuls find that even this isn’t working in their favour.

As one frustrated jobseeker says on a forum: “Every application I submit includes a specifically tailored CV or application form. Even though I very carefully stick to the requirements of the job description and highlight successes to demonstrate my abilities and experience, I’ve yet to be offered an interview.”

Not getting to the interview stage – when all that effort has been put into an application – can be soul destroying. So what should be done, to increase your chances of getting invited to an HR job interview?
» Read more: I’ve tailored my CVs so why no HR job interviews?

How hobbies can help you land your dream job in HR

Canoeing hobbies

By Heidi Nicholson

Opinions are divided on whether there is any purpose to the “interests” section of a CV. The traditional view is that your hobbies and pastimes show something of you as a person and demonstrate how rounded you are. The contrary view is that including these only wastes precious space on your CV, especially if they bear no relevance to your ability to do the job in question. Furthermore, you also run the risk of alienating someone who does not share your interests – and believe you me, I’ve seen it happen.

My own view is that you should not automatically insert an interests section on your CV. While showing you have interests beyond studying may be important for a recent school leaver or graduate, this has less relevance as your career progresses. Certainly, showing you are a rounded person will have little impact if you are missing some key competency for the job you are applying for.

Furthermore, the ill-considered inclusion of things that you think make you sound interesting may of course work against you. A number of humorous articles appear on the internet offering alternative readings of just about any hobby or interest you may list. To give you a flavour, some commonly cited ones include:

• Wine: may frequently come to work hung over.

• Travel: only interested in the annual leave allowance.

• Dangerous sports: could take a lot of sick days owing to injury.

I could go on but I am sure you get the picture.
» Read more: How hobbies can help you land your dream job in HR