Redwood Recruitment Blog
A message from Founder, Theresa Duncan
Whilst we are facing uncertain times around the Coronavirus, I wanted to reassure you that all of us at Redwood Publishing Recruitment are doing all that we can to deliver the same professional and personal service you have come to expect from us.
My team and I are available and working hard to ensure we continue to provide you with ongoing support, and in addition, offer you any advice you may need in terms of finding a new role at this difficult time.
We are committed to ensuring that the recruitment process is as normal as possible but are taking steps to keep our team and others safe. Not losing sight that some roles will still need to be filled, we are continuing to interview and screen candidates remotely and answer any of your questions as best as we can.
During this difficult time, we would also like to offer extra support to our candidates and of course, people who may be in a situation where they are looking for a new role, which will, of course, be free of charge. We have a qualified Career Coach on the team who can assist with helping you to optimise your future career potential should it be necessary
If you are concerned about losing your job or require further recruitment support please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, even if you would just like a quick chat!
Please stay safe and well and I look forward to seeing you again once we are through this extraordinary time.
Virtual Interview Tips
During the lockdown period, employers are having to conduct interviews with job candidates remotely, either by phone or video conference. The format of this stage of the job application process may have changed, but there are many elements that have stayed the same. Now, as the format has to be different, the way in which the interview is conducted will have changed. In the first of two blog posts, we share our tips for making your interview a success.
One thing that remains the same for any interview, but especially for a face to face or video call, is to be presentable and look groomed. Chewing gum is a no no, as is wearing non-appropriate clothes. You may be enjoying shorts and t-shirt weather, but a shirt or smart top is more appropriate for an interview. And many people like to dress the part even for a phone interview. You will be more focused if you have brushed your hair, brushed your teeth and have changed out of your bed clothes ahead of the call.
First and foremost, any interview will fall apart if you’ve not done your homework. From being clear on the role and having read the job description, to researching the potential employer and business, preparation is key. When we speak to candidates about a role, we provide background information to help with this stage of the process Additional research could be to look at the interviewers profile on LinkedIn (remember to perform an anonymous search if you don’t want them to know you have checked them out) and see what details can be found online.
Getting your answers planned
During the interview, you will be asked a number of questions which will include background on yourself, your career history, current job status, why you are interested in the role and future plans. We’ll cover some of these off below in more detail, but an additional question that’s being asked now is about lockdown. Use this opportunity to share anything you did that was new, even if it was doing a HITT class each morning, taking up knitting or dusting off your bike.
Interviewers want to get to know you, so this includes your personality and character, and these elements are harder to learn when you are not engaged in small talk that often takes place before and after a face to face interview.
The interviewer will want to learn more about your career journey, but as succinctly as possible! Have a career precis planned and ready, to include key milestones, career path choices and how you got to be where you are today. This could include your degree, key positions and relevant businesses that are relevant for the position you are being interviewed for.
The interviewer will want to know why their business and the position appeal to you. This is where you can really stand out against another candidates and reveal how passionate you are about the industry and the business. Include clear examples and make references to campaigns or activities the business has executed. This could include their social media presence, business strategy, announcements or technical expertise. Research is key here and it will pay off to know as much as you can about the potential employer. Redwood is very proactive in this area and will give you as much information and detail as possible. Remember, we know the publishing industry inside out and will be happy to share our knowledge with you. For instance, we can tell you who their competitors are, how many employees they have and how they position themselves in the publishing market.
Tell me more
This part of the interview is the time to tell the employer why you want to work for them. What is it about this business that sets them apart and why are they are different to the competition? What is it about the role specifically that excites you and why did you apply for it? Have your answer ready and plan in advance what you want to say.
In part two, we will look at the questions that might be asked by the employer about you, including your current job, the expectations of the new role and the best way to ask them questions. In the meantime, register with us and benefit from a free cv check and our cover letter writing service.
Mental Health Awareness Week 2020
During lockdown, we have been very aware of the impact of staying at home, working differently and having your normal routine turned upside down, sharing ideas and tips on how to cope with the changing times better.
This week is Mental Health Week (#MHAW2020) and part of its focus is drawing attention to the effect of the coronavirus on people’s wellbeing. The Mental Health Foundation is doing this through focusing on the power and potential of kindness. Protecting our mental health now is going to be key in helping us to recover from the pandemic with “the psychological and social impacts likely to outlast the physical symptoms of the virus”.
Furthermore, “kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity”. We have seen kindness in many forms during lockdown, from the support of Captain Tom to the weekly clap for carers.
And we’ve also become better at building connections. Charity Mind recently conducted a survey with over 10,000 people, which revealed that one of the most common coping strategies used during this time is connecting with friends and family online. Even saying hello to those we meet on our daily walks, cycles or runs has become easier and more common, building a sense of wellbeing and solidarity around us.
What is key is that we continue to focus on our mental wellbeing and make is as commonplace as say eating healthily or taking regular exercise in the longer term. The Heads Together initiative started the conversation and we need to now keep our confidence to maintain awareness around mind health. So, what can we do now and in the future to do this?
Our suggestions include:
Having regular calls/chats with friends and family – and also checking in on workmates. This will be important if we have to continue to work flexibly and perhaps are not seeing others as regularly as before
Staying focused – we are creatures of habit and routine is a good way of keeping on top of things. This could include ‘to do’ lists, getting out of the house at the same time each day, and keeping a note to regularly check in on a neighbour
Taking up a hobby or learning something new – knitting and crocheting are more popular than ever and with bike sales going through the roof, how about learning how to repair yours?
Me time. Leave the pc and mobile behind for a few hours each day and instead pick up a book, loose yourself in a magazine and have some time out. Recharge your mind with some escapism which will help you to focus on things and have more clarity around any problems too
Be kind to yourself – in these times we can be too hard and self-critical, so learn some self-love
It is also a good time to think about your career and path in life, opening up questions about whether you actually enjoy your current role. We are here to help thanks to our extensive experience in the world of publishing recruitment. For instance, we can look at your cv and give you sound advice about your next move, perhaps areas that would suit you to work in, after getting to know you a little better. Simply register your details with us and we’ll do the rest.
Business as unusual
Following Boris Johnson’s update to the nation on Sunday, and further clarification during the week, the UK workforce can now start looking forward to a return to work…of sorts. Businesses are being encouraged to continue to look after their staff, with an extension to the furlough period, and a clear message to work from home (or remotely) if possible.
On the high street, booksellers are now turning their attention to whether they can – and how they can – safely open, backed by an increasing appetite by the public to get things moving again.
But caution is certainly needed. No-one in the UK wants the virus rate to increase, however the thought of further lockdown is depressing. Therefore, a balance needs to be achieved. Redwood’s recruitment model has certainly changed to accommodate business as unusual, or the new normal, filling positions that are now remote, and perhaps will continue to be once brick and mortar workplaces fill up again. In addition, businesses need to ask themselves if they are comfortable with staff travelling to work on packed trains, and whether 9-5 should really be standard working hours – just by staggering a start time will be a positive move for everyone.
Our clients are certainly more open to this remote and more flexible working style. There will not be a uniform approach to how we move forward, and each business will be different. But unity and safety will be at the forefront of every business, setting a new standard of how the world will work, and should work, going forward.
The rise of the e-book during the coronavirus
Figures released by Libraries Connected have revealed that there has been a 205% increase in the number of e-book library loans during the coronavirus. These figures mirror stats being reported nationally which show that e-reader book sales are on the rise during the pandemic.
E-Book App Libby reported a 30% increase in downloads at the end of March alone, with 10m e-book borrows and 247,000 downloads.
And April’s World Book Day survey results showed that Brits are reading more in lockdown than ever before, with a spike amongst younger readers, aged between 18-24 in particular. And it’s not just the e-book market booming. The Guardian reported that the nation rushed out pre-lockdown to buy actual books, with sales increasing by 6%, with sales monitor Nielsen BookScan noting a 35% week-on-week boost for paperback fiction. That same week, Waterstones, the UK’s biggest book chain, reported that its online sales were up by 400% week-on-week*.
So, what does this mean post-lockdown? Libraries have been under the threat of closure for a while, but perhaps now the Government will see what a useful resource they are for a more united community, off and online. With 120,000 people joining libraries in the three weeks after lockdown began, actions are speaking as loud as words – but library groups will have to push hard to keep the momentum seen over the past few weeks going, looking to how they market and promote their services in a post-pandemic world. Perhaps support from authors and publishers will help, and more services offered, such as creative writing groups, or book clubs, to cement their place in society.
And as for reading matter, lockdown has shown that we all need a book to escape to, whether hard copy or on a Kindle, so let’s embrace both, and ensure that we are recruiting the right people to create, edit and publish to maintain the positive momentum we have seen at a time of crisis.
Giving you all the support you need, now and in the future
In good and bad times, we all like certainty. We rely on trusted brands and products and seek advice from those who have experience and knowledge, as we know they can provide the answers and solutions we need. During these times of uncertainty and lifechanging times, this has never been more important as we all seek security and clarity.
Business is no exception, with brands and organisations pulling on their resources to support and help their customers. This is why we feel our experience and 30 years of trading is even more important at the moment.
Redwood Publishing Recruitment was created to bring an original, professional and fresh approach to publishing recruitment and our team has collectively worked across different areas of publishing recruitment for a number of years. We have been involved with leading industry players, spanning books, journals, magazines, part-works, digital and print, and utilise our talent, knowledge and expertise to bring you a recruitment service that can be relied upon.
We have weathered recessions, adapting our business model then, like now, to support our candidates and clients during uncertain times. Our industry insights set us apart, plus, we use cutting edge search and selection recruitment technology, to enabe us to find the ideal candidate for roles, whatever the business model might look like. Our team is here to listen, consult and deliver, now and in the future. We have broad, reliable shoulders and will help you or your business to adapt and adjust as we face a new normal during the pandemic.
Our wealth of experience in providing top publishing talent within the industry for many years will enable us to ride out this storm, placing candidates of all disciplines into a broad spectrum of roles within publishing at all levels.
We offer a reliable, tailored and competitively priced service, bringing up to date knowledge of the industry and a modern approach to recruitment. Our role is to understand your requirements and deliver a recruitment service to you that will add value to your business by having the right team in place, whatever issues the outside world might be facing.
At Redwood, our aim is always to provide a first-class service and to build solid, long term relationships built on honesty, trust, and professionalism, now and in the future.
Staying Focused during this challenging time
It’s Monday and the start of the working week still for many. Whether you are working or if you are looking for a new role, it’s important to have some clear goals and focus during these unsettling times. This is very important if you are working remotely and are finding it hard to get into a routine. We’ve got some suggestions of things to do this week to help keep you focused and on track.
Monday is the perfect day to plan for your week, whether this is for your current role or setting yourself job hunting targets. By writing done at least five things you want to achieve, your brain will stay engaged and help you to feel like you have achieved something, no matter how small.
Before you groan, we’re not encouraging you to do more housework! Instead, use any spare time you have to get yourself back on track. For instance, clear out your email inbox and delete all those messages that you really won’t ever look at. Unsubscribe to email lists that you always bin, leaving you less clutter in the future. If you have a home office, give your space a spring clean and file paperwork and declutter. By having a clear space, whether digital or physical, being tidier will not only make you more organised but will be one less thing to do when we get back to normal again.
In our blog post last week, we wrote about the importance of getting outside. We are able to get out once a day to exercise, but also remember to step into your garden, or look out of the window at regular points during the day to give yourself a break. Several of our candidates and clients have recommended the Headspace app, which gives you the chance to refocus and have some time out. There are many more out there, plus you can stream some great yoga and meditative lessons at the moment. Just choose something that enables you to take some much-needed time out during the day.
Whether you need to or not, make time in your day to talk to someone. If you are working remotely, set up some time for 121’s each day, and a team chat at least once a week. Having regular contact with people is great for mental health, in particular when you are suddenly away from work and people you normally work with. We love Zoom, but there are also plenty of other ways to get in touch, including a phone call, WhatsApp calls and Facetime. Remember to keep in touch with us too – we may have opportunities available that are not advertised, plus we are offering free coaching sessions also, so make sure you pick up the phone.
Challenge and learn
Use this time to learn a new skill or upskill. There are a number of companies offering training for free at this time, so once you have identified an area that you could improve on, search for that topic and look into online training that is available in that area. From improving your Excel skills, learning about Pinterest or even accountancy, there are plenty of subjects to choose from.
How to be most effective when home working
With an increasing number of companies asking their staff to work remotely from the office, many people will be learning new ways of tackling the daily task list. We’ve compiled some helpful tips to make working from home more straightforward, based on our experiences and those of candidates we work with.
The first, and one of the most important tips, is to create a dedicated workspace. Perching on the end of the kitchen table while your family eat around you is never going to work! Even if you have to move to a spare bedroom, use the sitting room for part of the day or even the garden shed, creating your own area to work in.
Once you have secured your workspace, now’s the time to set out a plan and schedule. Think how your normal workday is scheduled and try to mirror this as much as possible. For instance, if you always start with a ‘to do’ list, make this the first thing you do. Keep team meetings and 121’s in place and look to achieve tasks during the day and week.
To help keep your schedule, share it with others who are in your home. Whether this is flatmates or family, it’s important that they respect your time and keep noise and activity to a minimum, especially if you’re on a video call!
It’s important to schedule regular breaks, whether it’s for a coffee or lunch away you’re your desk. While you are at home, take advantage of eating as healthily as possible – homemade sandwiches, baked potatoes, veggie pasta, and rice bowls are great options. Avoid sugary snacks such as biscuits and cake – they only give you a false energy high. And step outside. We are still able to exercise outside, so perhaps use your lunch hour for a power walk or jog. Drop into the garden for air during the day, to literally clear your head.
Identify when you are at your most productive or change your work hours to be online when your clients or colleagues are. And think about dressing for the occasion. We’ve all heard about newsreaders wearing shorts under the desk and a jacket just for the TV camera, but if dressing more smartly helps your productivity, or doing your hair gets you in the zone, embrace it! There is nothing wrong with looking the part just because you are working from home. The important part is your output and getting the job done.
If you were in the office, you would not be thinking about the washing or running errands, so the same should apply when you are home working. Quit the tasks during the day or make time for them before you start work. You need as few distractions as possible, so taking housework or errands out of the mix will help you to focus. Social Media can be a huge distraction, so disable alerts and put your personal phone on silent to help you focus on the 9-5.
One of our final tips is to keep in touch with co-workers. As a recruitment business, Redwood do this on a daily basis, contacting candidates and clients regularly. We plan in calls, emails, and meetings and stick to them, becoming business as usual. Use this to keep yourself motivated in and in touch with your colleagues. We’ve heard how effective Zoom has been for all team and 121 meetings, even being used by some for a 5pm Friday hurrah as the week draws to a close. There are plenty of video calling options; the key thing is to utilise them to keep motivated and in touch with your team. Remote working can be challenging, but this, and the other ideas, should make your working week a little easier to manage.
The Do’s and Don’ts of CVs
Writing a CV can be tricky if you’re just starting out or if you’ve been in a job for numerous years. There is no perfect example of a CV but there are standard rules when creating your CV to make sure yours is even read. We are here to assist you when putting together a CV with a few basic do’s and don’ts.
- Tailor the CV to the job; emphasize the areas that apply to the job that you’re applying for.
- Keep the CV neat; make sure it is easy to read, the employer looking at your CV doesn’t have time to read big paragraphs so bullet points for your duties in each job will make the CV an easier read.
- Put your work history in reverse order; this keeps it easier for the employer to see your relevant experience by having the most recent work at the top
- Keep it updated!
- Don’t make it too long; no longer than 2 pages and no big paragraphs. Employers don’t have time to read 3 or 4 pages of block text.
- Don’t have fancy font; keep the font a reasonable size and easily legible.
- Don’t mix between third and first-person; this will make it confusing for the employer to read it.
- Don’t send a CV without proofreading; mistakes in a CV can be the reason behind you not getting an interview. Especially if you are applying for an editorial role, make sure you have no spelling mistakes/grammar errors. If in doubt yourself, get someone else to proofread your CV.
If you require any more CV tips don’t hesitate in contacting us.
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